Custom RV’s and the Best Places to Take Them
When it comes to vacationing and exploring the world around you, there are plenty of options available, but none are quite as inviting or exciting as traveling in an RV. Unlike camping or staying in hotels, an RV allows you to take your home with you, which can help you save money while still enjoying all of your modern luxuries and amenities. For this reason, many people love to explore the country from their RV. Whether it’s a lifestyle choice or it’s for a vacation, traveling via RV is one of the best experiences around.
For that reason, we are going to go over all of the ins and outs of making your RV trip as enjoyable as possible. As one of the best RV dealers Colorado Springs has to offer, we know the ins and out of buying and selling used RV’s. From picking out the right RV for your journey to seeing the best sights that the country has to offer, this will be the ultimate guide to help you get the most out of your recreational vehicle.
Types of RVs
If you’re ready to head out and see the world, then you want to make sure that you get an RV that can take you there. Whether you want to go across the country or stay relatively local, buying the right RV will make your trip memorable and enjoyable.
So, to help you get started, let’s take a look at all of the different makes and models out there from which you can choose. Before you buy anything, you first want to figure out a few things. These are the questions you should ask when comparing RVs.
- Do I want to drive my RV?
- What amenities are most important to me?
- How often will I use this RV?
- How many people will stay in it?
- How long will I stay in it when I use it?
While that list is far from comprehensive, it will give you a good idea of what features and components you should look for in your RV. For example, if you have a pickup truck already, then it might be better to get a trailer that has extra room for sleeping. However, if you want to drive your RV, then you will want to figure out which model will be best for your needs.
When looking at different models of RV, you will notice that they are broken down into various classes. Here is a brief overview of each, along with a list of pros and cons you can expect when making your comparisons.
If you want something spacious and luxurious, then a motorhome might be the way to go. These RVs are usually the largest and come with the most features, which makes your living quarters much more amenable. In some cases, they may even come with slide out portions to expand the interior even further. Overall, you will want a class A RV if luxury and amenities are the most important factor for you. That being said, these models can be cumbersome to drive and can be limiting as far as where you can park overnight and which roads you can travel. Also, they are usually the most expensive, both to purchase and to maintain.
- Better living quarters
- More spacious than other models
- More living amenities
- Luxurious and high-tech
- High cost of ownership
- May be too intimidating to drive
- Not very maneuverable if you want to make quick trips
While class A motorhomes are giant behemoths, when you get to B class RVs they are comparatively small. Usually, these models are built out of standard vans with extended walls and roofs. As such, they are much easier to drive and maneuver and can be much more conducive to quick trips and running errands. The downside, of course, is that you can have severely limited living space. Although class B RVs can still come with all of the standard amenities like a fridge, shower, and toilet, you will be sacrificing space with each additional item. Also, cooking has to be done on either a hot plate or an external fire as these models usually don’t have a stove. Overall, these RVs are made for quick trips with one or two people who don’t mind being a little intimate while moving around inside.
- Less expensive to maintain
- Easy to drive and maneuver
- Ideal for quick vacations
- Still comes fully loaded
- Limited interior space
- Limited amenities
- Limited storage and cargo space
If you want something that is a bit of a blend between class B and A, then C may be your best option. These are the RVs with a truck cab in the front and an overhanging portion on top. Usually, they are built out of a standard pickup truck chassis which is why they look that way.
The best part of class C rigs is that you get more room than a B model without the high cost of an A unit. In addition to the basics like a bed, shower, and toilet, these RVs usually have a kitchen and other features as well, such as a TV. Overall, this is like the best of both worlds, which is why they are so popular with families. Typically, you can fit up to four people in a class B without feeling too cramped.
- More living space
- More amenities
- Fits up to four people
- Less overall cost (fuel, insurance, etc.)
- Self-contained unit
- Can be bulky and cumbersome to drive
- More expensive than other models
- Not ideal for quick trips or running errands
Makes and Models
In addition to the three primary classes, there are a number of other RV models from which you can choose. These are units that require towing, so you will have to have a pickup truck or something similar to bring them with you while you travel. The biggest reason to get a trailer as opposed to a motorized RV is so that you can detach and run errands into town without having to bring the whole rig with you. Also, the fuel and maintenance costs may be lower, depending on the model you get.
If you’re looking for a basic RV setup that you can tow with a variety of vehicles (cars or trucks), then a travel trailer is the best way to go. These range in size from compact to luxurious, and they are a self-contained unit that has a set of wheels and a tow connector. As far as amenities are concerned, you can find units that come with only a bathroom and bed setup, or they can be as fully loaded as you like with a kitchen, bedrooms, and a living room. The only thing you have to be aware of is the size of the trailer while driving as it can be difficult to turn or back up with larger models.
- Can be less expensive than other RVs
- Available with all the amenities you need
- Can be detached to allow for trips in the tow vehicle
- More variety of tow vehicles can be used
- Can be hard to maneuver
- May be impossible to back up
- Tail swing can be a big issue on the road
Fifth Wheel Trailers
These models are almost identical to standard travel trailers except for the way that they attach to the tow vehicle. In this case, these RVs use what’s called a gooseneck hitch, which is where part of the trailer extends over the bed of the tow vehicle to provide a more secure connection. The added benefit of a gooseneck hitch is that it adds extra space to the trailer itself, which can be a nice touch. Otherwise, you can find these trailers with all sorts of amenities and features. The only major downside is that you can only use a flatbed truck to tow the trailer.
- More spacious interior
- Comes with all standard amenities
- More secure connection to the tow vehicle
- Can be difficult to maneuver or reverse
- Only works with certain tow vehicles
- Passenger space during trips is limited as a result
Folding and Tent Trailers
If portability is more important to you, then you may want to get a folding trailer. These units are much smaller than most travel or fifth wheel trailers as they rely on folding compartments to expand and offer more living space. The result is that the RV is much easier to tow overall and can be attached to a greater variety of vehicles. The downside, however, is that you have limited storage space and the folding sections will break down quicker than the base unit. Also, depending on the material used you may be more exposed to the elements. Finally, due to the size constraints these trailers usually lack kitchens or showers, but not always.
- Easier to tow
- Works with a variety of tow vehicles
- Less expensive than other models
- Limited interior space
- Folding sections can wear down faster
- Limited amenities
Sport Utility Trailers/Toy Hauler
If you are going on an excursion where you will be using outdoor vehicles like ATVs or dirt bikes, then you may want something like this instead of a standard travel trailer. The way that these are set up is that you have one section in the back that acts as a portable garage, with a divider in the middle to separate your vehicles from your living quarters. While the living space is limited and doesn’t come with many amenities, it is still better than roughing it by pitching a tent, which makes it a better option overall. As such, these RVs are specifically designed to tow smaller vehicles, so if you aren’t going to bring an ATV or dirt bike on your journey, don’t bother with this model.
- Ideal for ATV or dirt bike excursions
- Better than camping
- May still come with amenities and features
- Limited interior space
- Only designed for bringing smaller vehicles
- Can expose campers to harsh chemicals from those vehicles (gas, oil, etc.)
Still lost? Check out this trailer review guide for more info.
Making the Most of Your RV Experience
Once you’ve figured out the best RV to get, then it’s time to hit the road, right? Well, not necessarily. Before you get out and start exploring, there are some things that you should consider to make your trip as enjoyable as possible.
Know the Rules
If you’re still new to RVing, then you probably aren’t aware of what limitations and restrictions you will have on the road. First of all, driving an RV is an entirely different experience than driving a car or truck, so you will have to familiarize yourself with your rig to make sure that you can stay safe during your travels. You will also have to pay attention to your routes as you will be limited with regard to how well you can maneuver or traverse over rough terrain. Simply put, there will be some places that you physically cannot go.
In addition to the limitations you will face due to the size of your RV, there are also laws that affect your trip as well. For example, if you spend the night anywhere you have to make sure that it’s legal to do so. This is called boondocking, and it refers to when you park your RV overnight in a spot that is not designated for RVs. These can include parking lots or the side of the road, and different states have varying rules about the practice.
Finally, you also want to make sure that you handle things like dumping properly and legally. You will have to empty your waste water from the toilet and dispose of your trash all by yourself, so it’s imperative that you know where and how to do that. Don’t throw your sewage away on the side of the road; it’s gross, and it could get you into trouble.
Saving Money While On the Road
Odds are that you decided to get an RV so that you could save money on your trips. Instead of paying for a hotel room each night you can live in style by bringing your home with you. However, there are still plenty of costs associated with traveling this way, such as fuel, water, and food. Therefore, you want to make sure that you have a plan in place to accommodate for such expenses so that you aren’t going over budget. Usually, if you set a route ahead of time then you can minimize your costs, but sometimes you want to see where the road takes you, which means that you might wind up paying more overall. If that is the case, here are some tips to help you save money.
- Boondock as much as you can. As long as you make sure that it’s legal, you won’t have to worry about paying fees at RV parks or campgrounds.
- Use apps to find things like gas stations and truck stops. If you use an app that is designed for truckers, it will still apply to your RV. These programs can show you where the best prices are as well as where you can boondock.
- Stock up on essentials beforehand. Paper products and things like silverware and dishes can be bought at the dollar store, which means that you can save a bundle by purchasing in bulk and keeping it on hand. Also, to help minimize your water usage you can find disposable options of everything.
- Learn to cook. One of your biggest expenses will be food, so don’t make things worse by eating out all of the time. If your rig has a kitchen, then use it to your advantage. Or, if you want to minimize your propane expense then learn to make meals that don’t require an open flame (or learn to make campfires).
- Keep your tires in shape. If they are under-inflated, then this will increase your fuel costs, and if they are exposed to the sun all of the time, then they will crack and wear down sooner. Cover your tires and check your pressure as often as possible to mitigate these issues.
- Learn to repair common problems. There is a wealth of information out there, so there’s no reason not to find out how to do things like change your oil, fix your installations, or install new fixtures. The more you can do yourself the more money you will save in the long run.
Top Five RV Destinations in the US
Okay, now you’re ready to hit the road. But where is the best place to go? Well, whenever you RV you have to think about locations that are best for parking your rig overnight, which is why we have compiled a list of the top five RV-friendly destinations in the US. Whether you stay for one night or a whole week, these places have a lot to offer.
#1 Boyd’s Key West Campground, Florida
If you’ve never taken a trip to the Florida Keys, then you are missing out. A single highway connects this island chain, and the views are spectacular. No matter which key you visit you are sure to have a great time on your journey. This campground is located in Key West, which is the furthest island down the chain. The area is littered with beaches and oceanfront properties, which make it a premier destination for fun in the sun or fishing. Just be sure to reserve your spot ahead of time as it does fill up. Other features include free wifi and a marina if you bring your boat with you.
#2 Mount Rushmore Campground, South Dakota
As far as national monuments go, none are quite as impressive or awe-inspiring as Mount Rushmore, which is why this is our second go-to destination for you and your RV. While seeing the mountain will take about half a day, the campgrounds surrounding the area are excellent for hiking, exploring, and getting back to nature. Typically this will be a perfect place to spend about two or three days, so plan accordingly.
#3 Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
This is a major tourist attraction, meaning that you might have to reserve your spot in local campgrounds before you go, so you aren’t stuck camping elsewhere. The best part about Yellowstone is that it is huge, taking up the whole Northwest corner of Wyoming and spilling into both Montana and Idaho. That means that after you see Old Faithful, you can still find plenty of things to do as well as park in various parts of the park to experience nature in all of its glory. Overall, this is a fantastic place to unwind and spend a few days or a week drinking in the natural setting.
#4 Redwood National Park, California
While you’ve probably been to the forest before, nothing is quite like camping out in the middle of the redwoods. Because the trees are so tall, they block out most of the sun during the day, giving the whole area a peaceful and somewhat melancholy atmosphere. In fact, the woods can seem downright ominous at times, which is why they are so fun to explore. Although you can’t drive through the old redwood tree anymore (lightning took it down), you can still find plenty of natural wonders throughout the park. Best of all, there are plenty of small towns littering the main highway so you can experience some local culture along the way. Also, the park reaches all the way to the coast, so feel free to get some beach time in as well.
#5 South Padre Island, Texas
Much like Key West, this location is the perfect setting for anyone who wants to lay on the beach and relax. This island is located on the Gulf of Mexico, so expect some tropical weather all year round. As long as you avoid hurricane season, your biggest worry will be getting too burned from all your time on the beach. Overall, if you like the island life and want to experience it from your RV, this is a fabulous destination for you.
In the end, when it comes to RVing, there are no limits to where you can go or what you can do. Whether you want to spend a whole year exploring the countryside or you want to take a weekend trip into the woods, an RV is the best way to do it. Happy travels!