The Pros and Cons of Owning an RV

Sharing is caring!

Thanks for your support! If you make a purchase using our links in this article, we may make a commission. And, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See the full disclosure here.

Updated March 31, 2024

For many people, the idea of RV ownership is very appealing. We get asked all the time if they should buy an RV. Owning an RV seems like a great way to travel, camp, see the country, and live like a free spirit on the open road. But there are many pros and cons to owning an RV.

As you might expect, the cost is the biggest con to owning an RV unless you plan to live in it full-time or travel extensively. But what about the vast majority of people who just RV for vacation or enjoy camping in general. Is owning an RV a good idea?

I’ll be the first to admit that owning an RV for most people does not make financial sense. But there are many other reasons why owning an RV may be worth it. So, we have put together a list of pros and cons to help you decide if owning an RV is the right choice for you.

For the purposes of this article, an RV is any type of motorhome, travel trailer, camper or 5th wheel. So, no matter what type of RV you are considering our list of pros and cons applies.

Pros of Owning an RV

1. You Are More Likely to Go Camping

Now I know you don’t need to own an RV to go camping more often. But I do think that if you experience all of the benefits listed here and in the remainder of the pros listed below you will be much more likely to go camping.

And going camping more often can be good for you. Check out all of the benefits of camping featured in this chart from The North American Camping Report prepared by KOA.


2. Everything is Packed and Ready To Go!

The only things you will need to pack are your clothes and some food. Other than that everything else you need to go camping is kept in the RV. It’s so nice to have all the camping gear packed in the RV and not have to pack and unpack for every camping trip. This also means you don’t need to find a place in your house, garage, attic, or shed to store all of your camping gear when it’s not in use.

3. Spontaneity

Since everything you need for a camping trip is already on board, you can make last-minute decisions about going camping. We love having the ability to be spontaneous and decide last minute if we want to take off and go camping for the weekend.

We also like knowing we have the option to cancel a trip if the weather is not cooperating. Either way, we win because the RV is ours, and we are free to come and go whenever we want.

4. Comfort

You can set up your RV with the most important items you want so you are comfortable while camping. We have everything we need in our RV, like a memory foam mattress pad, our own sheets, blankets, pillows and towels, and our own kitchen and dining utensils.

It’s just more comfortable for us to know we are sleeping in our own home on wheels. We also have accessories, games, bikes, fishing gear, comfy anti-gravity chairs and more stored on board.

5. You Can Live In Your RV Full Time or Travel Extensively

It seems like more and more people each year are opting for the nomadic RV lifestyle and for them, their RV is their home. And many retirees spend months on the road exploring the country or wintering in warmer climates.

Being able to travel full time or travel a lot just isn’t feasible if you rent an RV – unless maybe you “rent to own” an RV. By the way, check out our article 11 Smart Reasons to “Rent To Own” an RV if you would like more info on this topic. It’s a great option for people who want RV full time but don’t have the down payment or credit score needed to own one.

6. You Will Travel More

If you own an RV you will most likely travel more too. And traveling is a great way to explore the world around you and expand your horizons! I love this quote below about international travel, but the lessons apply to local travel too.

“On the surface, travel is about seeing new places and giving a bit back at the same time. But underneath it is so much more, opening your horizons to experience completely different cultures, cuisines and landscapes. While photos are proof that you went and saw, it’s the transformation that takes place within that is often the strongest evidence of why travel is important.”

“Some argue that it’s an indulgent expense, spending money to travel that could be spent saving for a home loan or “building for the future”, but travel addicts would debate a strong case against this. It’s not about ticking off the “bucket list” and being able to recount all the countries you’ve visited, but the way travel impacts you as a person, your interactions with others and your humanity towards the rest of the world.”

7. It’s A Fun Lifestyle

For Susan and I, we enjoy the RV Lifestyle every day. We love freedom, meeting other RVers, the sense of community, the passion for exploring, trip planning, making camping memories with friends and family and learning all we can about RVing.

And we even love the feeling of satisfaction we get when we make a repair to our RV, or overcome some challenges on our journey that many others would consider a Con of owning an RV.

Cons of Owning an RV

1. The Cost!

The number one con to owning an RV is definitely the cost. And there are many other costs involved in owning an RV than just the price of the RV. There is maintenance, storage, insurance, and many other costs as well.  Although I wrote it about owning a Class C RV it applies to any type of RV or camper you are considering.

2. Your Travel Locations Can Be Limited

What some RVers find is that they tend to travel closer to home when they own an RV. This is especially true if you use your RV for vacations or weekend getaways.

For example, if you live on the east coast and you have a week off for vacation then driving 36 hours to Zion National Park in Utah probably isn’t a good option. But for RVers who are full time, retired, semi-retired or remote workers then long-distance travel is not a problem.

3. Maintenance

If you own an RV you will need regular maintenance to keep your RV in good condition. First of all, you will need to maintain the RV engine and drivetrain by performing oil changes, tire replacements, brake replacements, tune-ups, and dash AC refills.

In addition, you also have to maintain the kitchen appliances, water heater, furnace, rooftop AC, and generator (portable or onboard). All of this maintenance can add up to a sizable amount. And finally, depending on where you live you may need to winterize the RV too.

4. Storage

If you don’t use your RV full time you will need to store your RV somewhere and the cost of a storage facility is expensive. It can run from $100 to $200 for outdoor storage and from $250 to $500 per month for indoor storage.

Some folks may be lucky enough to be able to store their RV in their driveway. But, many homeowners associations do not allow RVs to be parked in the driveway or even in the road in front of your home.

5. Unexpected Repairs

This category is different than Maintenance. Unexpected repairs are things that break unexpectedly. For example, an awning tear, a side view mirror breaking off, flat tires, tree branch damage to a roof, leak damage, and all types of other unforeseen damages that can and will occur to an RV.

This is why we chose to buy an RV warranty when we purchased our Class A RV and it has already paid for itself in less than two years.

6. Lack of Mobility at Your Camping Destination

Depending on the type of RV you own you may need a second vehicle to get around once you have set up camp.

For example, if you own a Class A RV or a Class C RV you will either have to unhook the hookups every time you want to travel or have a second vehicle to drive around. We have all seen the Class A’s rolling down the highway towing another car behind them.

7. Essential RV Gear and Accessories

Once you own an RV you will still need to buy many essential accessories. For example, you will need to buy things like toilet chemicals, RV toilet paper, a septic hose, a freshwater hose, leveling blocks, a fire extinguisher, and the list goes on. For a detailed list check out our article called 29 Must-Have RV Accessories for a New Camper or Travel Trailer where we list everything you will need to outfit your RV.

Related Questions

1. Should I Buy an RV?

Owning an RV certainly has its advantages and disadvantages and you should read our article called Full Time RV Costs to Consider for details. But if you think you will use your RV for more than 30 days a year it is worth considering purchasing one.

But you also should be sure you would enjoy most of the Pros listed above. Many of the benefits of owning an RV are not financial, but intangible and personal in nature.

2. Should I Rent an RV?

If you think you will use an RV less than 30 days a year then renting is definitely the better choice. Renting an RV has never been easier thanks to companies like Outdoorsy that link private RV owners with potential renters.

All types of RVs are for rent so you can easily find the type of RV you are looking for. It’s also a great idea to rent an RV before you purchase one to see if you like it or not.

Have you purchased an RV, camper or motorhome and have some helpful advice you would like to share? Please leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading this article and if you would like to contact us directly, please visit our Contact Page to send us an email.

To see a list of all of our articles check out the Blog Archive!

Learn More!

25 Wise Reasons Not to Buy an RV
Cheapest States to Buy and Register an RV
25 Best Places to Buy an RV
Should I Buy an RV This Year?

Mike Scarpignato – Bio

Mike Scarpignato created over five years ago in 2018 to share all we have learned about RV camping.

Mike is an avid outdoorsman with decades of experience tent camping and traveling in his 2008 Gulf Stream Conquest Class C RV and 2021 Thor Challenger Class A motorhome.

We attend RV Shows and visit RV dealerships all across the country to tour and review drivable motorhomes and towable trailers to provide the best evaluations of these RVs in our blog articles and YouTube videos.

We are 3/4-time RVers who created to provide helpful information about all kinds of RVs and related products, gear, camping memberships, tips, hacks and advice.

Mike and Susan from RVBlogger at an RV Show

Sharing is caring!

14 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Owning an RV”

  1. It’s a good thing you mentioned how an RV would be ideal for spontaneous getaways. Everything you need is already on board, as you indicated, so all you need to do is arrive and depart whenever you like. I’ll absolutely share this with my sister because she’s been considering acquiring one because she and her friends enjoy going on nature trips so much. I’ll also look for RV builds from experts who can assist her with tailoring it to her needs.

  2. What got me the most is that we can go camping whenever we want if we have an RV – even if it’s a last-minute decision. You did say it’s because we already have everything on board. My husband is spontaneous. He likes doing things on a whim. I’m sure having an RV would suit his personality well.

  3. Oh, wow. I have to applaud you for reminding us that we must not forget to include insurance expenses when purchasing an RV. This is what my cousin needs to remember when making a policy acquisition afterward. He has decided to buy a secondhand RV this summer.

  4. I like how you said that you can create a space that is comfortable in your RV with your most valued items. I think RVs are also beneficial because they can be easily remodeled. My grandparents have had an RV for many years, so I’ll suggest that they hire professionals to remodel and improve its comfort so they’ll spend more time in it.

  5. I liked what you explained about owning an RV and how it’s definitely a nice way to travel. My wife and I found a great deal for an RV, but it’s in another state, so we think we’ll take our chances and hire someone to help us drive it all the way to our home. We appreciate your RV tips since they helped us make up our minds about purchasing one of our vacations.

  6. hi Mike thanks for sharing great ideas for interested person like me. Any advice for me and my wife who is trying to recover from a stroke 2 years ago but very enthusiastic to go rving?

  7. thinking about buying an RV…camper, travel trailer, motorhome, etc….?

    ….rent one first….rent for a week, rent for a month…use it…live in it…cook in it…sleep in it…eat in it…bathe, shower,use the toilet….drive it…tow it…..park it….hook it up, unhook it…fill the gas tanks, propane tanks, water tanks….empty the grey water and the septic (black water) tanks….learn about it…

    will you have to winterize the unit…?

    how does it handle in the rain, wind, snow, ice….climbing hills and mountains, descending hills and mountains….how tight can it turn…?….try taking it into a Walmart parking lot near you….maneuver around a gas station….?

    how do you clean it….inside and out…?….hook it up, unhook it….

    where will you store it…..?

    learn the strengths and weaknesses of the type you choose….learn what YOU like about it, what YOU don’t like about it…

  8. I am considering buying an RV. I’m a widow with 2 little dogs and am feeling cooped up. I like the idea of just taking off, but with the current situation I am concerned about running into closure issues. Would you recommend a newbie buy an RV in the current “climate”?

    • Hi KC,
      RVs are flying off the shelf right now at dealerships across the country so now is not the time to buy new. If you can find a good deal on a used RV that would be your best bet. However, if you have never owned an RV before I highly recommend renting a few different types BEFORE you buy so you know what you like and don’t like.
      Good luck!

  9. It’s great that owning an RV allows you to use your own comfortable bedding while camping. I tend to have trouble sleeping, so it’s important that I have a certain type of mattress and a weighted blanket. Owning an RV seems like a great way to ensure that I have these things while camping.

    • Hi Lyla!
      Thanks for reading the article and for your comment!


Leave a Comment