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Choosing the Right RV for your Family

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By Edited May 15, 2016 0 0

There is a growing population of Americans who are investing in recreational vehicles, not only for use on vacation, but also as full time homes. Recreational vehicles are an economical solution for many families who love to travel. RV’s are particularly convenient for breadwinners who make their living via technology such as the Internet, which is easily accessed from an RV.  An RV, or motorhome, is a completely self contained environment; therefore it is possible to park in locations without camping facilities. Imagine the possibilities! One can literally choose any location according to price, isolation and privacy, adventure, or just the need to be near to a target area.

So, once your family has made the decision to buy an RV, what are your options? Well, the top of the line motorhome is called a class A. Typically the most expensive, it is also, by far, the most luxurious. A class A  motorhome is typified by its incorporation of the chassis (motor) as part of the vehicle. Therefore this type looks more like a bus. Generally ten feet in height and around thirty to forty five feet in length, this model often has unique features, such as modular walls, that can be expanded once the vehicle is parked. This is also the heaviest among the models, typically 15,000 to 30,000 pounds, owing to all the additional equipment loaded inside as well as the extra space. Customizing your new home may be a good option if this will indeed be your family’s primary living quarters. Just because it's a motorhome does not mean it can't be full of all the luxuries you desire. In fact, because of the smaller scale you are working on, you just may be able to include more rather than less.

A class C chassis is typically built separate from the trailer and then combined together to form the complete vehicle. Therefore, appearance wise, it is similar to a truck with an extension above the front drivers seats (on the roof), and continuing as a trailer towards the back. Perhaps not as spiffy in appearance as class A, it is a decidedly safer design for traveling. This design evolved from the standard road vehicle, with the frontal cock pit area and all-steel cage offering much better protection for the driver and passengers. This type is typically ten feet high by twenty to twenty five feet long and approximately 10,000 to 12,000 pounds. While the amenities available in this type of RV are not as upscale as type A, it is standard to have two bedrooms, a dinette, kitchen, living room and bathroom. When buying this type of motorhome, the most important aspects are the chassis capacity and wheelbase, as well as the correct engine for your needs. If you have more than one passenger it is vital that you consider where they will sit and how they will be strapped into their seats.

A class B motorhome is the smallest, having a chassis incorporated from a passenger van. Most start at the height of seven feet, are around seventeen to nineteen feet long, and weigh 6,000 to 8,000 pounds. These models have very basic features, which include at least one bed, a small bathroom, and a dinette/ kitchen combination. Unless you are a very small family, perhaps two adults and a small child, this is not a viable option for full time living. It is, however, an ideal vacation use vehicle. Recent innovations have made this an exciting new option, as now when parked there are slide-outs and pop-ups to expand the living space.

Trailers are vehicles fitted for living in, however they require the additional use of an engine powered vehicle, usually a truck. The average trailer is connected to a frame mounted ball hitch. Specifically, for safety reasons, the tow vehicle must have a factory trailer towing package. However, as far as longevity, your average trailer home will not depreciate as fast as its cousin, the motorhome, because the engine is a totally separate entity. Also the advantage of a separate towing vehicle is that your RV may remain parked while you attend to errands or take short side trips. Travel trailers are a lower priced option to the motorhome, yet still have a remarkable selection.  Again, within the travel trailer in general, there are sub-types. A fifth wheel has a forward portion shaped like a goose neck which houses a hitching pin underneath.  Fifth wheels come equipped with as many amenities as the previously described motorhomes, and are equally viable for full time living as well as vacationing. A much lighter weight trailer is the pop up trailer, (sometimes referred to as an a-frame), and it is a terrific idea for those who are more interested in camping. Weighing in at 1500 to 4000 pounds and ranging from eight feet to fifteen feet long, once parked they have expandable features (usually canvas sided) in either a vertical or horizontal direction, and can provide sleeping quarters for up to eight people (depending on the model). However this type is not suitable for full time living. Another trailer type that is hauled is called a toy hauler. This is an RV divided into a forward section, for living quarters, and a rear section, or garage, for hauling an ATV, motorcycle or snowmobile. Typically heavy, weighing from 5000 to 8000 pounds, and quite long, on average twenty six to thirty feet long, this is for the serious minded RV enthusiasts. A toy hauler is not easy to handle while towing, and can be a bit more dangerous because of the added weight of the sports utility vehicles which are housed in the back of the trailer.

One other model to consider is a truck camper, where the body sits in the actual bed of the truck, and therefore gives you the advantage of not having to worry about towing. This model is typically as long as a truck bed, eight or nine feet, and the height varies according to the style. Some are just “sleepers” and can be made of canvas, and others are hard-sided and provide more shelter and amenities. Again, this is not a camper suitable for full time living. It is very popular among hunters, forest rangers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The best way to ultimately make a decision for your family’s needs and within your individual budget is to visit a reliable dealership, where you will find a wide range of new & used recreational vehicles for sale. Be sure to investigate RV financing, RV loans, RV warranties and extended RV warranties. When making such an important investment, you will find it key to work with a dealership that you feel is providing the best personalized service as well as offering you the best price.



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