Purchasing your first RV can seem overwhelming and you want to choose the right type of RV for you and your family, so below is what I considered and why I chose an entry level travel trailer for my first RV purchase.
I have a family of five and we have lots of extra monthly expenses, such as after school daycare, tutoring, recreational sports, music lessons, ballet lessons, martial arts lessons, vacations, etc. So, for my family, choosing an RV that had the cheapest monthly payment and maintenance costs, along with the space and amenities we needed was what we were looking for. Motorized RVs are typically on the more expensive side of the spectrum in terms of purchase price, insurance, and maintenance. And, towable RVs were typically on the cheaper side of the spectrum (although they can get pricey too), so they aligned best with our budget concerns.
Type of Camping
When I was deciding what RV to buy, I thought about what type of camping my family typically does. Some people like to set up camp and stay at their campsite for the duration of their stay. My family likes to set up camp, then drive daily to nearby beaches, museums, national/state parks, fishing spots, local attractions, and the supermarket (when we forget to pack something). So for me, a towable trailer made sense so we could jump in the SUV after setting up camp and drive to where ever we needed to go for our day’s activities. Note, you can tow a car when you are driving a motorized RV, but again there is the budget issue.
Tow Vehicle, Construction, Family Size & Storage
In terms of towable trailers, I ruled out 5th wheel trailers because we had a SUV and you can only tow 5th wheel trailer with a truck. I ruled out cross over and pop up trailers because we felt more comfortable in terms of security and cold weather camping with a complete hard shell exterior (no soft sided walls). And, because of the size of my family, I couldn’t consider a tear drop trailer. So, travel trailers seemed to fit my family’s needs the best in terms of towable trailers.
Also, I went with a stick and tin travel trailer instead of a fiberglass laminate travel trailer because we planned on keeping our trailer in an outdoor RV storage area. We figured we could worry less about how the elements would affect the exterior of a stick and tin trailer.
Level of Travel Trailer
Although I could afford a higher level trailer, I bought an entry level (cheapest) travel trailer for many reasons. Because this was my first RV purchase, I didn’t want to spend a lot in case my family didn’t like camping with a travel trailer (or some other issue) and wanted to sell it. I figured owning a cheap travel trailer would be easier to sell to because there would be more buyers at the cheaper price range. And, I kept the cheap travel trailer it wouldn’t be as much of a burden financially versus if I bought an expensive one.
Typically, the cheaper travel trailers were also lighter than the more expensive trailers. Because I’ve never towed anything in my life, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of issues related to towing. The cheap travel trailer I purchased was well below the maximum tow weight for my SUV and I’m so glad I purchased a lighter travel trailer!
When you buy anything that is on the cheaper side of things, it typically costs less to maintain and repair. For example, compare buying a Ford Fusion sedan for $23,000 versus purchasing a Mercedes Benz S Class for $173,000. Which do you think is going to be cheaper for maintenance and repairs?
So, for all of the reasons discussed above, I bought the entry level travel trailer below. It’s 30 feet from bumper to tip, has a bathroom (with a shower/tub, toilet, and sink), kitchen, dinette, master bedroom, bunk beds, a couch, and no slides. Overall, I’m happy with my purchase and I’ve learned so much in my first couple of years of camping with my travel trailer. After all that I’ve learned, would I purchase the same travel trailer if I could do it all over again? No. I will discuss everything that I learned in my first year of ownership and what I will do differently when I purchase my next travel trailer in my e-book.
Hopefully you learned something new from why I chose an entry level travel trailer for my first RV purchase. Happy camping!