The idea of seeing the country from the bug-splattered windshield of an RV brings to mind the 2006 Robin Williams classic, RV. Who wouldn’t rather see America the beautiful face-to-face in lieu of from its spacious skies? Especially in a fully self-sufficient rolling bungalow with modern amenities? No malfunctioning hotel ice machines or questionable roadside diners to worry about. No praying your anguished 10-year-old can hold it until the next rest area. Sounds like the way to go.
While the pros are many, so are the cons, depending on who you ask. Some vacationers have experimented once, which was one time too many. Others would hear of no other way.
Here are some of the biggest pros and cons of blazing your own RV vacation trail. You be the judge. If you think it might work, give it a shot. If you’re in the all opposed say “nay” group, at least your decision will be well informed.
Pro – Know Your Neighbors
No one ever hangs out in a Motel 6 parking lot no matter how many lights are left on. Guests at hotels typically avoid one another preferring the privacy of their rooms over making new acquaintances they’ll never see again. Cheerio slurping guests at hotel breakfast bars ignore one another as they prepare for their day.
RV campgrounds are the total opposite. Friendly travelers wave and smile as they stroll around relaxing park-like settings. They share stories of their adventures and recommend places to visit. They talk and roast marshmallows over campfires. They marvel at star-filled skies while enjoying the sweet sounds of nature, and they awaken to birds chirping rather than someone rolling their luggage past their room or screaming at their kids to get in the car.
Con – Fill ‘er up
Gas isn’t cheap and the tank is big. The cost to drive the same distance in a car can easily quadruple in an RV. The average MPG of these monsters is between 9-14, but some of the older or larger ones can get as little as five. This doesn’t require frequent stops due to the size of the gas tank, but the cost when you do have to fill ‘er up will be akin to a taking a sledgehammer in the knee. You’ll probably buckle while waiting for the pump to stop.
Still, all of this must be factored in which brings us to the next pro.
Pro – The Cost of a Good Night’s Sleep
Depending on a person’s requirements and/or standards, and their location, hotels can break the bank quickly. Resort areas are untouchable to lots of folks and highway-hotels are notorious for demanding more than their quality dictates. This is where the plastic gets swiped the most.
Location still has everything to do with how much a night in an RV park is going to set someone back, but it’s all relative to the cost of hotels in the same area. A beach area is going to cost much more than a state park in Colorado, which if you’re going to do this, state parks should be given every consideration. A night at Yellowstone starts at only $15. Others are less.
If someone really wants to save big, plus get away from it all, they can strap a generator on the back, head to the desert, find the perfect spot, and set up camp. Free.
Con – Bigger Isn’t Always Better
If the driver of a larger-than-life RV has never driven anything bigger than the cherished Fiat they’ve had since college, getting behind the wheel can be a frightening experience. Even the steering wheel is big. And all those gauges!
Maneuverability, especially in tight spaces, becomes a conscious act rather than a conditioned reflex. In some cases, the need for a spotter might be required. Considering RV’s are 8-feet wide and range in length from 20 to 30 feet, extra caution is not recommended, it’s required.
Pro – Zig When You Want to Zig
One never knows when they will encounter a bizarre roadside attraction of little-known existence just 15 miles left down an unmaintained road. Who wants to miss the worlds largest Aardvark museum?
RV’s allow for the flexibility of going where someone wants to go, and when. Once a person gets to a resort or a hotel they booked for the week, they’re there. There will be no unexpected strange sites other than a few of the weird guests among the 100’s of others sharing the same spaces.
An RV’er at a campsite may suggest something they saw along their route which might sound better than what the other RV’er had originally planned causing them to zig instead of zag.
Con – Not Enough Oxygen
If too many people, or too large a family, are all breathing the same air in the confines of an RV, they could get a little testy. While four, maybe five depending on the RV, can sleep comfortably, beyond this number is chaos. Fuming battles will ensue over territorial rights, especially if children are involved.
It’s always better to work these things out before hitting the highway, keeping in mind the old adage about the best-laid plans. The law of physics clearly states a container can hold no more than its volume will allow.
Pro – The Most Important Pro
There is absolutely no better way for a family to share bonding time while creating everlasting memories. Years down the road one of the children will surely say, “Remember that time?” The same applies to lifelong friends fulfilling their bucket list, or brothers, sisters, or cousins wanting to share a life experience with one another. A young couple wanting to enjoy one another before they grow their family could do no wrong.
Whatever the reason, the experiences will be many, the highs will far outweigh the lows, of which there may not be any, and discovering first hand what a great country we live in is something we all should experience. Ultimately though, the choice is yours. Resorts still need patrons so if this remains your preference, there’s not one thing wrong with your choice.