RV Buyer's Guide — What to Consider When Buying an RV

Open a savings account to cover the cost of an RV and get rolling faster

Ready to hit the road? For many people, RVs (recreational vehicles) bring back happy memories of camping in a travel trailer or illuminate the prospect of traveling the country in a motorhome during retirement. However, buying an RV is a significant leisure investment for most people, and you may be wondering how much it will cost and what type of vehicle is best for your lifestyle and trips. Our RV buyer's guide below can help you compare the differences between vehicles as well as outline savings options to grow your RV savings fund.

Understanding the different classes when buying an RV

If you've just started thinking about buying an RV, you may be overwhelmed by the range of sizes, shapes and options that are available. Before you start researching the average cost of an RV, you should become familiar with the different vehicles on the market. They include:

  • Class A motorhomes: These larger vehicles have a specially-constructed chassis and include bedrooms, shower and toilet facilities, cooking areas and sofas, making them a home away from home.
  • Bus conversions: More luxurious than Class A motorhomes, these are often used by musicians, athletes and actors on the road.
  • Class B motorhomes: Built on a van chassis, these more compact vehicles are best suited for vacation travel as opposed to full-time living due to their smaller size. Their compact size also gives them better versatility and fuel economy.
  • Class C motorhomes: These 'mini-motorhomes' are also built on a van chassis, though if you're on a budget, this might be best option as they offer more room and features than a Class B at a price lower than Class A.
  • Towable RVs: This category includes pop-up campers, travel trailers, destination trailers and fifth wheels. While these RVs need a vehicle to pull them along, they may be less expensive and, in some cases, offer more living space than a motorhome.

How you plan to use your RV may determine which type you should buy

Will you be using your RV for a two-week vacation or several months of the year? Will you need extra room to accommodate family members or amenities? Do you think you will eventually live in your RV permanently? If you're just going to use it for the occasional camping trip or road trip, a pop-up camper or travel trailer may be all you need. If you plan to spend several weeks or months on the road, consider Class B or C, but if you plan to one day live fully from your RV, a destination trailer or luxury Class A model may be best. Decide what meets your needs so you can begin estimating costs and open a savings account and prepare accordingly. If you aren't sure which option to choose, you may wish to explore and test drive each class before buying an RV.

Understanding the cost of an RV

The wide range of styles and amenities available as well as the age and condition of the vehicle greatly affect the cost of an RV. A new, luxury Class A motorhome with high-end amenities can have a price tag as high as $2 million, while new travel trailers can easily cost five or six figures. If you have your sights set on a larger, or more luxurious, vehicle, your RV amenity options may include wood floors, granite countertops, leather seating, custom bedding and upholstery, custom lighting, additional 'basement' storage and even electric fireplaces. While this may not be practical as an everyday vacation vehicle, the added comforts and elegance may be a good option for those that are buying an RV as a more permanent home.

Because additional amenities will add to the total cost of your RV, it's important to plan accordingly and choose a savings option with a more competitive interest rate to save more. On the other hand, many RV buyers opt to purchase a used vehicle to save money. If you're considering buying a used RV, make sure that it is in good condition; ask for maintenance records as well as a demonstration of appliances to make sure they work correctly. Also, check inside cabinets, closets and along the roof line for signs of water damage - even small leaks can lead to costly repairs.

Whatever type of recreational vehicle you decide to buy, make sure you also account for other costs associated with an RV, including:

  • Insurance.
  • Fuel and tolls.
  • Maintenance.
  • Nightly camp ground rates.
  • The purchase of a lot at a favorite destination.
  • Depreciation, as RVs lose resale value quickly.
  • Food, toiletries and other trip or daily necessities.

Save for the cost of an RV with a Circle Gold Savings® account from Citizens Bank

Once you've read our RV buyer's guide and have decided what type of vehicle to purchase, you may want to prepare for the cost of buying an RV by opening a dedicated savings account and setting up monthly transfers. Our Circle Gold Savings account gives you 24/7 online and mobile access, automatic transfers from your Circle Gold Checking with Interest®, and the GoalTrack Savings® program that lets you plan, track and receive rewards for meeting your savings goals. If you're ready to hit the road in an RV, contact a Citizens Bank customer service representative today to learn more about Circle Gold Savings.


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