This article takes on the broad category of travel, but we will narrow it down to a specific genre of travel, namely RV travel and the RV lifestyle.  It may not be the most common mode of travel (the average American travels 13,746 miles per year by car), but it is a mode which is rapidly rising in number, especially during the pandemic years of 2020-2021.

Various methods of RV travel

RV, or recreational vehicle, is a bit of a misnomer.  It generally includes travel trailers, and by no means is a travel trailer a “recreational vehicle.”  However, the abbreviation RV generally means travel with motorhomes, trailers, 5th wheels, and truck campers.  To break it down further, motorhomes can be either Class A, Class B, or Class C, there is a wide variety of trailers and hybrid trailers, and then the RV’s which are really stretching the definition a bit, which would include converted buses, camper vans, and even tiny houses on wheels.

What does “travel” mean with an RV?

Diving deeper into this category, the RV life, we find that there are part-time RVers, full-time RVers, and those who live in RVs full-time and do not travel in them at all.

In other words, RVing and RV travel is a complicated mess when it comes to definition.

RV Travel expense

The expense of traveling by RV is wide-ranging.  Pulling a small camper trailer to a site requires only the cost of gas, the cost of a site for camping, and the food you eat.  Those are the bare minimums in necessary costs.

Those bare minimum costs increase, usually, with the size of an RV.  For instance, pulling a small tent trailer may lower your gas mileage a bit, but only by a mpg or so.  On the other hand, driving a 30-foot Class A motorhome will net you about five mpg, and the cost of an RV spot in an RV park will most likely be more expensive than a simple day pass in some state park, mainly because most Class A motorhome require full hook-ups for things like power, water, and sewage disposal.

To put it another way, I have known campers who can put a tent trailer to a campsite, stay two nights, and spend under $100 for the entire weekend.  It is virtually impossible to do the same with a Class A motorhome unless you practice boondocking, or living off the grid, in that motorhome.

Quality of life

Finally, a word or two about the RV lifestyle and how it affects the quality of life.  Living on the road, for a short-time or a long-time, is a breath of fresh air for most people accustomed to working the 9-5 job year after year after year.  Seeing new sites, breathing in fresh air, meeting other RVers, and just being away from the daily, mundane grind of life are wonderful benefits to traveling via RV.

Very few people RVing will come back home and say “I wish I hadn’t gone on that trip.”  Once you experience the RV lifestyle, it usually will be something you look forward to doing again and again and again.