Vacations are a great way to recharge and get some time away from the daily grind. While many working men and women take one or two vacations per year, recreational vehicle owners can travel more often without breaking the bank.
Recreational vehicles, or RVs, are often referred to as campers or motor homes. Equipped with many amenities, ranging from kitchens to multiple sleeping areas to entertainment spaces, RVs offer many of the comforts of home.
The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association says RV ownership is currently at an all-time high. According to Dr. Richard Curtin, RV industry analyst and director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan, 8.9 million households now own an RV. That's up from 7.9 million in 2005.
Drivers considering buying an RV may have many questions about these increasingly popular vehicles. RVs come in two main types: motorized and towable. Understanding the differences between the two and the various subcategories of RV can help drivers make the most informed decisions when purchasing their RVs.
Motorized RVs are broken down by class, including class A, B and C. The distinction between the classes of RV is based on size.
• Class A: This class of motor home is very large and offers all of the comforts you'd expect from home. Many people who purchase a class A RV plan to travel all year long. Slide-outs can expand the living area when parked, and full bathrooms, complete kitchens and more are the norm. Because of their size, class A RVs tend to be the most expensive and may be more vehicle than many people can afford. Their large size (many look like a bus on the road) can make them difficult to navigate for novices.
• Class B: Class B RVs are often referred to as "van conversions." Class B are the smallest, fully enclosed campers available in the motorized category. Living space is limited in these RVs, but economy and versatility make them quite popular. Usually these campers can sleep between two and four people.
• Class C: Class C RVs are a compromise between types A and B. Class C are mid-sized with a driver's compartment similar to a van and a larger box in the back for the living area. Some come with a sleeping bunk above the cab. Depending on the floor plan, class C campers can sleep up to 10 people.
Towable RVs are another option and can be more affordable because they can be pulled behind your existing vehicle.
• Travel trailers: Travel trailers look similar to traditional motorized RVs but without the driving cab. They can be hitched to the back of a vehicle. Travel trailers are popular because of their versatility. Travel trailers can be ideal for those with limited budgets but the desire to have a self-contained unit.
• Pop-up: Folding camping trailers, or pop-up trailers, are inexpensive and lightweight. They provide many of the conveniences found in a basic travel trailer but in a smaller size.
• Fifth-wheel: If you own a pickup truck, a fifth-wheel trailer may be good for you. These hitch to the top of the pickup bed and have similar features to a traditional travel trailer.
RVs make great investments for men and women who love the open road. They also are a great way to take the entire family on an affordable and memorable vacation.