Traveling in an RV has exploded in popularity over the last few years, and for many reasons. If you are an avid traveler who enjoys both road trips and exploring new places, then RVing is arguably the best way to travel and explore the country. Whether you are going to a national park for some outdoor adventure or looking for a relaxing getaway, an RV (recreational vehicle) will enable you to have a great vacation experience with a number of benefits you may not have realized.
Some people think RVing is the same as camping. While there can be some overlap, RVing is definitely not roughing it! Others might associate long-term RV traveling with retirees and snowbirds who travel the country for long periods of time. But we are proof that you don’t need to wait until you retire to enjoy the perks of RV travel.
In fact, there really are many benefits to taking a vacation in an RV over traditional forms of travel including flexibility, cost savings, and much more. If you are curious to learn more about what makes RV vacations so appealing, here are 10 reasons why RV travel is the BEST!
** This post was originally published in 2018 but updated in 2020 **
1. Enjoy the Comforts of Home on the Road
One of the biggest pros of traveling in an RV is the ability to feel at home while on the road. Most RVs (motorhomes and travel trailers) will have amenities such as comfy chairs or sofas (and even recliners like we have), a kitchen with a microwave, fridge, oven / convection oven, TV (or multiple), DVD player, bathroom, shower (or tub), and of course beds to sleep on.
There’s also the ability to have hot water when you want it, a heater if it’s cold and an air conditioner if it’s hot! Many RVs also have retractable awnings so you can sit outside in the shade and enjoy the views, or even watch TV from outside too (Josh’s fave if there is a big football game on or even having movie nights outside under the stars).
In addition, some RVs even up their game by coming with slide-out rooms (like ours does) that further increase the space inside to make it feel even more spacious. In fact, we love our slides because they double the size of the living space giving us plenty of room to hang out, and even for the dog to enjoy laying around!
Compared to traditional tent camping, camping and traveling in an RV can give you a lot of amenities that feel almost luxurious compared to roughing it and sleeping on the ground.
** READ MORE – Different Features of RVs
2. You May Save Money With an RV Vacation
While it is true that traveling in an RV involves higher gas costs, the savings on other travel expenses can be immense. Even if you have rented an RV, all the costs incurred could still be less than what you would spend for a traditional vacation. Of course, this savings calculation depends on how long you will be gone, how many miles you drive, how many people in your family, and your vacation style.
Cost of Campgrounds & RV Parks vs. Hotels
With a motorhome, you can save significantly on lodging costs because even most of the expensive RV parks are on par with a moderate hotel. Although, most RV parks are significantly cheaper in price (maybe $30 – $60 per night) and there are also super cheap or even free public lands where you can camp too!
Yes, that’s right. You might even be able to camp completely for free! For example, we have camped on beautiful BLM land (Bureau of Land Management) in Colorado and many other states. And on travel days sometimes we have camped at rest areas for free as well as casino parking lots (Mesquite, Nevada was one of our favorites).
Mixing a few free nights into a trip can really cut down on expenses. And we all know, after a long day of driving when you just need a place to crash for the night, it stinks to have to pay for a hotel when you are just sleeping then getting right back up in the morning!
Gas May Still Be Cheaper Than Flights (and a Rental Car)!
While the cost of gasoline may be expensive when traveling in an RV (they don’t get great gas mileage, sadly), so is booking flights for the entire family! So even though you could spend $500+ dollars on gasoline for an RV trip, if you have a larger family then you know that’s nothing compared to what you would spend if you had to buy plane tickets for everyone. Plus, you might also need to book a rental car if you flew to a destination too. So really, the cost of gas in the RV might end up being cheaper!
Save Money on Restaurants
Another major cost when you take a vacation is food. Most often when you are traveling you end up dining out for a lot of meals. Now granted, this can be part of the fun depending on where you are traveling. But eating out at a restaurant for every single meal during your vacation can certainly add up! Especially if you have a larger family.
So it’s nice to have the option to be able to cook some meals in the RV. For us, breakfast is usually pretty simple and easy. Things like oatmeal, toast, coffee, juice and fruits, etc. And while going out for pancakes is fun sometimes, we don’t need to do it every day.
We also really enjoy the option of being able to have lunch in the RV. Especially when we are visiting a State or National Parks, it’s nice just to be able to quickly make some sandwiches to pack up and take with us or just have a nice picnic outside. Having the fridge makes it easy to keep everything cold and we have all the plates, flatware, and a table to make it on.
At the end of the day, these transportation and lodging costs can be some of the biggest costs in a vacation! And while it’s nice to go out to a nice dinner when we are on vacation, we don’t have to dine out for every meal. All of these costs really can add up during your trip. So being able to offset them and save a bit of money is great because that’s more money we can spend on the fun stuff we want to do on our vacation!
** READ MORE – Our Favorite RV Apps You’ll Love
3. RV Travel Can Provide a Flexible Itinerary
RV travel is the best choice if you are looking for a flexible vacation. Imagine not being tied to a particular schedule, just going with the flow not worrying about getting to your hotel each night. Traveling by RV gives you complete freedom and spontaneity. You can choose to stop wherever you like, whenever you like, and even choose to extend or shorten your stay there. In addition, you have the flexibility to change locations even at the very last minute.
Josh & I can tell you how wonderful having this type of freedom and flexibility is. In fact, most of our RV trips are loosely planned. We have an idea of the area and number of days, but we totally make it up as we go.
Of course, if you prefer to book everything for your trip and come up with an itinerary – then that’s great too! You have the option to travel however you want in an RV. Many times if it is peak season or if we are going somewhere that’s extremely popular, then we will make sure to book in advance. But if possible, we do like to keep things a little loose if we can so we can enjoy whatever we stumble across!
See Video Below — on a recent trip through Utah, I looked at the map and realized we would be driving near Zion National park. So we decided to take a spontaneous detour and drive through Zion National Park! It was not on our itinerary, but we decided to change up our plans!!! Neither of us had been there before, but we’re SO glad we did because it was gorgeous!
4. You Can Bring More With You (Golf Clubs, Bikes, etc.)
Unlike traveling with airlines, trains, or busses, with an RV there are no major restrictions on how much luggage you bring as long as it fits in the RV. You have the luxury to pack everything that you will need, and even extras like sports equipment, bicycles, computers, etc. For example, we like having our own bikes with us so we can take bike rides and not have to rent them (again, saving money). And Josh loves to bring his golf clubs in case we stumble across a beautiful course that he wants to play. With our RV, we don’t have to pay extra to bring these items with us – as long as we have a place to store them in the RV.
So if you are tired of always having to limit your suitcases when traveling by airplane, perhaps you should consider giving RV travel a try.
Another benefit is that most RVs come fully equipped. If you rent an RV, it should have many necessities already such as dishes, cutlery and even bedding. And when you own your RV then you will likely keep it stocked with all the necessities anyway — meaning that you could just show up with your clothes in a bag and be ready to hit the road!
This is actually something that Josh and I really enjoy about our RV. It’s stocked with everything so we just bring our clothes and entertainment (and Hana’s travel gear) and we’re ready to go.
5. Family Time Together & Making Memories
With the current busy life that many of us have, it can be hard to find time to connect with family. Since a motorhome acts as a small living area, you can’t help but have some “together time.” Going on RV trips enables parents spend quality time with their children, and gets everyone together without many of the distractions of modern life. At home, it may be easy to go in the backyard or get away from each other in different rooms of the house. With an RV you may have some space, but not like home — so chances are, everyone will be hanging out together throughout the days.
See Video Below — This is my Dad and Josh acting like 2 big kids in the KOA campground where we were staying in San Diego last April! You can see where I get it from!!!
Plus, RV travel provides opportunities to engage in family activities that you don’t normally do, such as telling stories at night around a campfire. These are memories that last a lifetime. It improves family bonding and creates an atmosphere where everyone can get a little closer. In fact, growing up in an RVing family, I can personally attest to this. As I’ve become an adult, I realize that my relationship with all my family members is really close (of course we have our differences, as anyone does). I really attribute it to all those days / nights when we were camping together in our RV – telling jokes at night and trying to get mom to laugh and arguing about whose idea it was to give dad chili before bed.
Ah, those are the moments when memories are made.
6. Camaraderie With Other Campers (if you want)
Another thing that we have discovered about RV travel is that there seems to be so much more camaraderie among other campers you meet. When you go to hotels, most people keep to themselves. But RV parks are the perfect place for developing friendships and chatting with people from all over the globe.
Nicer campgrounds and RV parks such as the popular KOA’s offer entertainment, game nights, and socials where you can get to know other fellow campers. You can share stories with other adults and let your children play with their children. While many resort hotels have activities, we’ve found that it’s just not the same. There is something truly different about people who frequent these RV parks – it just seems everyone is more open to talking to each other and building friendships. It’s quite a wonderful experience!
In fact, we have met a number of friends over the years during our RV travels. We’ve been invited over to other camps for “game night” and to enjoy a campfire. We’ve exchanged contact information, we’ve even made business connections with other campers. We’ve enjoyed dinner with our neighbors and even met up with some of our favorite RVing friends that we met down at Fiesta Key in the Florida Keys in other towns and locations if we happen to be near each other.
RVing really is a great way to meet people and make friends, if that’s something you enjoy doing.
7. You Can Bring Your Pet With You!
Duh!!! One of the best things about traveling in a motorhome is the ability to bring your pet along with you for the ride. And we can tell you, our pup Hana absolutely loves exploring in the RV!
** READ MORE – Must-Have Dog RV Travel Gear
Since dogs are an integral part of the family, it can be hard leaving them behind when you go on vacations. In fact, on our recent trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, we can’t tell you how many people approached us asking to pet Hana because they missed their pet back at home. They all told us they wished they could have brought their pet along but traveling by air with your pet can be costly, and quite stressful.
Fortunately, with RV there is enough space for your pet to fit and enjoy the ride too.
We have traveled and stayed in hotels with our dog before. However, it’s not quite as fun. We find that many hotels have restrictions, it’s a pain to find ones that are dog-friendly, and they often charge you more! Plus, sometimes they don’t let you leave the dog in the room (even for short periods of time) which is a pain. And honestly, Hana doesn’t like it much anyway because it’s an unfamiliar place! But in our RV, she feels at home and loves it!
8. Get Closer to the Great Outdoors
One of the major reasons people choose RV travel is because it’s a great way to get close to the great outdoors. There’s just something about being in the wilderness where you can wake up to a moose in your camp (it just happened on our trip to Grand Tetons a few weeks ago!) or being able to gaze up at the stars at night while campfire smoke swirls around you.
It’s a peaceful experience, and luckily with an RV you don’t need to be some wilderness expert to survive — which makes RV travel a great option for families with children too. In fact, children absolutely LOVE camping in the wilderness because it gives them a chance to indulge their curiosities with in-depth explorations of museums, wildlife, and geographical formations. It fosters learning in a fun way! Alternatively, kids can choose to go out to play and meet other kids or take part in educative campground activities.
But it’s not just families and kids who love traveling by RV to explore the great outdoors. Josh and I absolutely love this aspect of RV travel – possibly even more than just going to a fancy RV park!
9. Some RV Parks Are Luxury Resorts!
There is a misconception that traveling or camping in an RV means that you are going to be “roughing” it in the middle of nowhere. That’s only true if you want it to be. If you prefer a more comfortable and even resort-like experience, you can still get that even if you are traveling in an RV!
In fact, we have visited some amazing luxury RV parks that rival some of the most beautiful resort hotels you can find. Some of these higher-end RV parks may be perched right on the ocean. Others might have large sites with separate “casitas” or “palapas” next to them that include a luxurious living area with outdoor furniture, TV’s and kitchens. Some RV parks have giant resort-style swimming pools complete with lazy rivers. And then there’s golf – we’ve gone mini-golfing at multiple RV parks and even stayed at full-sized golf resorts (Josh loved being able to play a round of 18 just walking from the RV).
While some of these more luxurious RV parks and resorts may not be super cheap, oftentimes they are still cheaper than if you were paying for a 5 star hotel experience.
** READ MORE: Staying at Disney World’s Fort Wilderness RV Park
10. Power Up Your Devices & Stay Connected (if really needed)
While many of us want to take a vacation to get away from technology, with the advancement in technology, it can be hard going off-grid completely even when on a camping adventure. There could be times when you do need to check your email or do a few things here and there just to keep work going.
And on the other hand, sometimes having a bit of technology can add comforts to your trip – such as being able to watch Netflix in the RV together!
Of course, this means that your devices will need to be charged regularly. Thankfully, RVs and motorhomes have their own power sources so you have the ability to fully power-up most used devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops even when traveling down the road. You can easily plug the motorhome into that campground’s electricity hook-up or choose the option of generator or solar power that many RVs are equipped with.
Getting Internet in an RV
With more and more people being able to work remotely, another benefit to RV travel is the ability to stop and do a bit of work when you need to. This is especially valuable if you are taking a longer trip and don’t want to be off work for the entire time. For some people, it is possible to work from your RV as long as you have great RV wifi that you can use. Because we run multiple online & remote businesses, this has been a game-changer for us.
We’ve been able to spend weeks RVing the entire California coast and only had to take a limited time off work. We could still stay in contact with those we needed to and still do some work when necessary. If you are interested in this, make sure you read our complete post about how we get internet in our RV!
There’s a Motorhome for Everyone – Whether You Buy or Rent
There are so many different types of RVs that you can choose from depending on your traveling needs. If you find motorhomes looking like tour buses intimidating, you can still get the same experience with available smaller options. There are Airstreams and pop-up travel trailers that can be pulled by your car and still offer you with nearly all the motorhome’s features. If you like going big, there are motor homes that come with more convenient options like several sleeping rooms.
It all depends on the size of your family, and your travel style. The great thing about renting an RV is that you can test out different sizes / types to see what you prefer most before you take the leap and buy an RV.
** READ MORE: Class A RV vs. Class B and Why We Upgraded
Consider an RV Vacation for Your Next Trip!
From using your own kitchen and bathroom while traveling to forgetting about dealing with long hours of flight delays, RVing removes all the hassles you face with traditional travel. With a motorhome, you simply gather your whole family, pack up all your stuff, and set out on your road trip. If you’ve never done it before, we highly recommend that you should consider closing that flight booking tab and give RVing a try.
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