Jump to content

Menu

Anyone have experience with RVs?


Not_a_Number
 Share

Recommended Posts

This may be something I'm only thinking about during the pandemic (it'd be fun to take a road trip, but I have NO desire to go indoors anywhere still 😛), but does anyone have experience with RVs? Preferably small ones we could actually successfully drive? 

Like, are they fun? Do they smell because of close proximity to the toilet? (DH had apparently been in an RV that had this issue) What do you do with one? Would a road trip with one in a pandemic be fun or stressful? What makes them more/less fun than just a standard road trip or taking a van? 

I'm finding the idea appealing, but I have literally no experience here, so I have no idea if I'm being unrealistic! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don’t have experience with my own, just with other families. Still, DH and I are seriously considering selling one of our homes, buying a 24-30’ trailer (I don’t want a motor home/coach) and road tripping across America for a year after he retires. I didn’t notice a smell except in the old/irregularly used ones and it wasn’t from the toilet but just from lack of use, like a car that’s been shut up for years. Following.

Edited by Sneezyone
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

I don’t have experience with my own, just with other families. Still, DH and I are seriously considering selling one of our homes, buying a 24-30’ trailer (I don’t want a motor home/coach) and road tripping across America for a year after he retires. I didn’t notice a smell except in the old/irregularly used ones and it wasn’t from the toilet but just from lack of use, like a car that’s been shut up for years. Following.

Interesting. Why does a trailer seem preferable? I don't really know anything about either type. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We've had an A (large, bus-like RV) and a B (van like RV). Twelve years of RV'ing, from Key West to Nova Scotia to California and back. It's a fun way to travel but it is more stress/hassle than traveling in a car. There's definitely a learning curve. Lots of systems means lots of things can break. Toilets don't typically smell if maintained properly and an adequate amount of water is used when flushing, although in really hot/humid weather you can get a whiff now and then when flushing. Van sized RVs are meant for one or two people. I can't imagine trying to do a trip in one with more than two people. That would NOT be my idea of fun. We sold our B at the beginning of the pandemic, and haven't regretted it. I really don't want to be traveling at all until things are better.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have a travel trailer. We've had it (or, well, one--we're on our third) for 6 years, so well before the pandemic, but it's definitely been great to have over the past year and a half in particular. We just did a 7 1/2 week trip; it's great during covid for all the reasons you'd think--you have your own kitchen/bathroom and don't have to have any more contact with other people than you would at home, pretty much, and it encourages a focus on outdoor destinations. 

They shouldn't smell if you're taking care of everything correctly. 

They're fun, but they're not for everyone; something's always going wrong, because it's essentially another house to take care of, only this one you're driving down the road at 65 and shaking everything up constantly. Travel's sort of inherently stressful, IME, though--it's a different sort of stress with an RV, but not necessarily worse. 

So we mostly got ours because my husband has summer's off, and we wanted to do long road trips, and this was how we could afford to do that. We've done three summer-long trips now--one that was a big loop around the country with lots of national parks, one to Atlantic Canada, and the one we just finished was up the east coast to New England and then across a lot of the midwest before coming back south. I personally probably wouldn't have one if we were looking at, say, a week long summer trip and occasional weekends; it wouldn't be worth the money or trouble then. For us it's mostly a means to an end (the end being frequent, affordable travel) rather than being about the RVing experience itself, although there are definitely aspects of that we've also come to appreciate. Campgrounds can be great places to go with kids--way better than hotels--with lots of space and activities and playgrounds and all that. 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

We've had an A (large, bus-like RV) and a B (van like RV). Twelve years of RV'ing, from Key West to Nova Scotia to California and back. It's a fun way to travel but it is more stress/hassle than traveling in a car. There's definitely a learning curve. Lots of systems means lots of things can break. Toilets don't typically smell if maintained properly and an adequate amount of water is used when flushing, although in really hot/humid weather you can get a whiff now and then when flushing. Van sized RVs are meant for one or two people. I can't imagine trying to do a trip in one with more than two people. That would NOT be my idea of fun. We sold our B at the beginning of the pandemic, and haven't regretted it. I really don't want to be traveling at all until things are better.

What would go wrong with 4 people? We were definitely mostly look at a van-sized one for the 4 of us. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been thinking about building a Skoolie when I retire from homeschooling. It would be the ideal remodel job since I could park it in the driveway and not affect my actual living space regardless of how far I go over schedule.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Not_a_Number said:

What would go wrong with 4 people? We were definitely mostly look at a van-sized one for the 4 of us. 

Not so much go wrong as just really, really claustrophobic. Plus safety -- most van sized RVs have the two seats in front and no other seats. So no seat belts. There are a few models that come with four seats, but then that really cuts down on bed/living space. I've only ever seen one model that had four seats.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Pawz4me said:

Not so much go wrong as just really, really claustrophobic. Plus safety -- most van sized RVs have the two seats in front and no other seats. So no seat belts. There are a few models that come with four seats, but then that really cuts down on bed/living space. I've only ever seen one model that had four seats.

I mean, it seems like it'd be less claustrophobic than an actual van, you know? 😛 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have a small travel trailer  It is great.  No smell from the toilet.  We take it camping but also to visit people like grandma that don't really  have room for us.  It's really great at an amusement park, festivals, sports tournaments etc that allow it.   You can basically live in the parking lot and take breaks from festivities whenever you want.

Edited by rebcoola
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Not_a_Number said:

I mean, it seems like it'd be less claustrophobic than an actual van, you know? 😛 

An actual van doesn't have beds, a bathroom, microwave, stove, etc., etc. Trust me--it will be really claustrophobic.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Pawz4me said:

An actual van doesn't have beds, a bathroom, microwave, stove, etc., etc. Trust me--it will be really claustrophobic.

No, it's true, but you also have no leg room or anything. I guess it's possible having all the space taken up would make things less fun, though. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We rented one 2 years ago.  DH loved it, I most definitely did not.

Pros:  DH and the kids thought it was the best thing ever.  Super high novelty value.  A tiny house that's car!!

Cons:  I hated driving it.  It felt huge.  Coudn't fit in a normal parking spot.  Had to plan everything based on would the thing fit in the parking lot, could it get around that tight corner etc...... It used an obscene amount of gas.

A trailer you can leave parked at the campsite while you go places in your car.  And RV you have to pack the whole thing up to go anywhere - short runs for firewood etc are impossible.

Edited by wathe
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, wathe said:

We rented one 2 years ago.  DH loved it, I did not.

Pros:  DH and the kids thought it was the best thing ever.  Super high novelty value.  A tiny house that's car!!

Cons:  I hated driving it.  It felt huge.  Coudn't fit in a normal parking spot.  Had to plan everything based on would the thing fit in the parking lot, could it get around that tight corner etc...... It used an obscene amount of gas.

A trailer you can leave parked at the campsite while you go places in your car.  And RV you have to pack the whole thing up to go anywhere - short runs for firewood etc are impossible.

Where did you guys take it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Not_a_Number said:

And it felt too crowded, I take it? 

Tight for two adults and a small dog. But we all like each other.

Would I have done it with kids? No way. That's why our first RV was a 35' Class A. We needed that space when the boys were with us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Not_a_Number said:

I mean, it seems like it'd be less claustrophobic than an actual van, you know? 😛 

But you don't live in a van! Really, it depends on what you're looking to use it for. If it's just a place to sleep and a way to get from point A to point B then maybe you'd be fine. And there are definitely people who travel in a van with kids and seem happy (check out Mali Mish on instagram; they have 3 now pretty big kids in a van). And you can outfit a van however you want, so you can have a back row of seats, maybe a pop up tent on the roof. But for longer trips there are an awful lot of trade offs to a smaller RV. Probably no full bathroom (particularly with a second row of seats), small holding tanks, rainy days when you're all stuck inside, etc. etc. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

Not so much go wrong as just really, really claustrophobic. Plus safety -- most van sized RVs have the two seats in front and no other seats. So no seat belts. There are a few models that come with four seats, but then that really cuts down on bed/living space. I've only ever seen one model that had four seats.

We looked into this years ago and the safety issue was a huge issue that put us off. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Interesting. Why does a trailer seem preferable? I don't really know anything about either type. 

 Many people pull a smallish car behind their RV . Others think its easier to buy a nice truck and pull a camper. When we were shopping years ago, there were more choices with 5th wheel types over the RV. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The vans are actually just as safe as a regular van, I think. The body isn't usually modified much, if any. Ours felt very safe (much safer than the Class A, which did scare me a little).

I just looked at the Solis, and it looks nice. And I did note it has four seats. So that's good. But those two extra seats are really going to cut down on usable room. Like if you're in it at night or if it's raining three people are going to have to stay put while one moves around. However you configure sleeping space for everyone--once that happens nobody is likely to be able to move much, or easily. Any kind of movement takes cooperation and coordination.

ETA: Just FYI, in case you're thinking of buying new -- the typical markdown you should shoot for is 15-20 percent off MSRP. Or at least in normal times it is. I know RVs have been in huge demand, so I don't know if that's holding true now or not.

Edited by Pawz4me
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Pawz4me said:

The vans are actually just as safe as a regular van, I think. The body isn't usually modified much, if any. Ours felt very safe (much safer than the Class A, which did scare me a little).

I just looked at the Solis, and it looks nice. And I did note it has four seats. So that's good. But those two extra seats are really going to cut down on usable room. Like if you're in it at night or if it's raining three people are going to have to stay put while one moves around. However you configure sleeping space for everyone--once that happens nobody is likely to be able to move much, or easily. Any kind of movement takes cooperation and coordination.

So apparently it sleeps 4, with 2 sleeping up above in the pop top. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

OP, don't you live in NYC?  Where would you keep a van or trailer?  I don't think one would fit in even a garage space.  Or are you just thinking of renting one for a vacation?  

Edited by JennyD
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, JennyD said:

OP, don't you live in NYC?  Where would you keep a van or trailer?  I don't think one would fit in even a garage space.  Or are you just thinking of renting one for a vacation?  

I was vaguely pondering of renting one for a vacation, yes 🙂 . DH really wants to go see his friends in California, too, and we aren't comfortable flying during the pandemic with things like they are... so making a road trip of it could be cool. Plus, it sounds like the kids might adore it, and I'm really doing my darndest to create fun, positive memories for them during a pandemic. An RV trip might be such a thing. 

This might all be a pipe dream, though. DH has to teach this year, for one thing, so it might be totally unrealistic. I'm just feeling things out, you know? 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, JennyD said:

OP, don't you live in NYC?  Where would you keep a van or trailer?  I don't think one would fit in even a garage space.  Or are you just thinking of renting one for a vacation?  

As for parking things, our car is already at an uptown lot, so I suppose if we ever went crazy and bought one, we'd have to do the same thing with it!! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I was vaguely pondering of renting one for a vacation, yes 🙂 . DH really wants to go see his friends in California, too, and we aren't comfortable flying during the pandemic with things like they are... so making a road trip of it could be cool. Plus, it sounds like the kids might adore it, and I'm really doing my darndest to create fun, positive memories for them during a pandemic. An RV trip might be such a thing. 

This might all be a pipe dream, though. DH has to teach this year, for one thing, so it might be totally unrealistic. I'm just feeling things out, you know? 

Check the rental prices.  Super-expensive.  Like, staying in really, really good hotels would cost a lot less.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Not_a_Number said:

I did notice that, lol. But I don't WANT to stay in a hotel during COVID!!! 

I get that!

 Factor in ridiculously bad fuel consumption and campground fees, too.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, wathe said:

My kids loved our RV trip.  They keep asking when we can do it again.  It would be a great memory-maker.  Renting is expensive, but less expensive than buying a mistake.

I'm DEFINITELY not buying an RV. There's literally no way 😛 . 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I was vaguely pondering of renting one for a vacation, yes 🙂 . DH really wants to go see his friends in California, too, and we aren't comfortable flying during the pandemic with things like they are... so making a road trip of it could be cool. Plus, it sounds like the kids might adore it, and I'm really doing my darndest to create fun, positive memories for them during a pandemic. An RV trip might be such a thing. 

This might all be a pipe dream, though. DH has to teach this year, for one thing, so it might be totally unrealistic. I'm just feeling things out, you know? 

It is a fun thought!  We drove from TN to CA some years ago -- it took 10 days and my kids were older than yours -- but it was a great experience.   Of course, then you'd have to drive back.   Do look into the safety thing, though.  Maybe there have been improvements since we investigated the possibility, which also happened to be when we, too, lived in a NYC apartment with little kids 🙂  (Although no pandemic.)

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, JennyD said:

It is a fun thought!  We drove from TN to CA some years ago -- it took 10 days and my kids were older than yours -- but it was a great experience.   Of course, then you'd have to drive back.   Do look into the safety thing, though.  Maybe there have been improvements since we investigated the possibility, which also happened to be when we, too, lived in a NYC apartment with little kids 🙂  (Although no pandemic.)

I've looked. The Class B ones don't freak me out, although it's not optimal. But I do assume there's at least a bit of a bonus for being a large vehicle with more momentum. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dh and I considered it off and on for a while.  He already is used to driving bigger vehicles and pulling trailers if we want to go that route.  But it just didn't make financial sense for us.  It is more economical for us to air b&b or stay at cabins as we get older and his mobility issues that interfere with tent camping increase.

Plus, there's the gas mileage, having to either take the thing with us everywhere on vacation or drive a separate vehicle once we get to a destination, and the upkeep/taxes..

It's a good idea, it's just not for us at this point in our lives.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Van/B RVs aren't horrible on gas. On our NC to CA and back trip I think we averaged right around 20 mpgs.

One thing you really, really would need to consider is storage space. Not only for clothing and towels and food, but . . you'll have a power cord, a fresh water hose, a sewer hose and possibly some attachments for that. Those things are bulky, and a sewer hose isn't something you want to toss on a bed while traveling. 😉 I have no idea how storage for those things are handled on rental Bs. On ours we used a hitch mounted cargo carrier and totes, but . . can't do that on a rental.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

Van/B RVs aren't horrible on gas. On our NC to CA and back trip I think we averaged right around 20 mpgs.

One thing you really, really would need to consider is storage space. Not only for clothing and towels and food, but . . you'll have a power cord, a fresh water hose, a sewer hose and possibly some attachments for that. Those things are bulky, and a sewer hose isn't something you want to toss on a bed while traveling. 😉 I have no idea how storage for those things are handled on rental Bs. On ours we used a hitch mounted cargo carrier and totes, but . . can't do that on a rental.

In the one we rented, the sewer hose slid into the rear bumper.  The rest fit into an hatch on an outside panel.  It all came with the rental.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me — I will not ever be the person dealing with a hitch or with sewage.  
 

If you have a trailer, you are dealing with a hitch.  
 

If you have a camper van, you are either driving it everywhere — and that is limiting too, because it won’t go down every road or into every parking lot.  Or, you have a hitch and are towing a little car.

 

If you are doing a little trip, I don’t think it matters.

 

One of my husband’s good friends has a trailer and he lived out of it for 6 months at a campground.  
 

He would definitely want a trailer for that, because he was still driving to work every day.  
 

I think for most people a trailer will be more flexible.

But people who want an RV and can afford it — want an RV.

I do not know anyone as an adult who would spend the money on an RV.  They are very expensive unless you are also living out of it for part of the year.  
 

A trailer is more flexible and much cheaper.  
 

Practically speaking my husband would be the one dealing with driving, parking, sewage and water hook-ups, and a hitch…. So if we rented I would leave it up to him what he wanted to deal with.
 

If you go one place and park — you can just do all the set-up once and it’s done.  
 

With an RV — I think it is much easier to just drive in and out and do sewage and water hookups.  
 

So I think it does matter, do you want to set up one place and stay there?  Do you want to go somewhere new all the time?  Does whoever will be doing the “work” part have a preference?  
 

Also — if you WANT water and sewage hook-ups, if they are a MUST, that can change what campgrounds you can go to, and it can be hard to find a space with hookups sometimes — because some places have a lot of people who live there seasonally and not many spots for people who just want to show up a night or two.  
 

My impression is you can line up to dump your sewage without having a spot with a sewage hookup.  But then you may or may not have a water hookup.  
 

My impression is you can have a hookup with water but not sewage.  
 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing to remember is that you don’t have unlimited water/sewer tanks.  They have to be dumped and not all places are free to dump. Plus, some rest stops/truck stops are now doing away with dump stations so you have to find one if you need it before a campground.  I wouldn’t do that kind of trip with that size for long.  If you have never been claustrophobic you will be after a day or two.  
 

We have an RV but for that long of a road trip, we would just drive our suv and stay in hotels along the way.  
 

For the record-  we had to stay in a hotel not too long ago. It was by far the cleanest hotel experience I have had.  They even had the remotes in ziplock, hand sanitizer in rooms, etc.  I would do it again no problem. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, itsheresomewhere said:

One thing to remember is that you don’t have unlimited water/sewer tanks.  They have to be dumped and not all places are free to dump. Plus, some rest stops/truck stops are now doing away with dump stations so you have to find one if you need it before a campground.  I wouldn’t do that kind of trip with that size for long.  If you have never been claustrophobic you will be after a day or two.  
 

We have an RV but for that long of a road trip, we would just drive our suv and stay in hotels along the way.  
 

For the record-  we had to stay in a hotel not too long ago. It was by far the cleanest hotel experience I have had.  They even had the remotes in ziplock, hand sanitizer in rooms, etc.  I would do it again no problem. 

I worry about going into a place with lots of shared air. I don't mind the surfaces. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Separately — with a trailer, you have to have a hitch.  

You have to have a vehicle with a hitch and enough horsepower to tow whatever weight you would be towing.  
 

We own a pick-up truck and it is a smaller one and we ruled out wanting to tow various things when we picked this one.  Instead we are saving some money on gas and it’s easier for me to drive and park 😉

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, wathe said:

In the one we rented, the sewer hose slid into the rear bumper.  The rest fit into an hatch on an outside panel.  It all came with the rental.

But was that a van? Those don’t typically have any outside storage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I worry about going into a place with lots of shared air. I don't mind the surfaces. 

Honestly, it was done well.  We had our own air unit and they were not putting anyone in rooms next to each other unless they were all part of the same party.  

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

Interesting. Why does a trailer seem preferable? I don't really know anything about either type. 

B/c we don’t have to tow a car, just park, unhook and drive freely. Also, fewer  motors to maintain.

Edited by Sneezyone
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...