The Pros & Cons of RVing (From a Full-Time RV Couple)

Do you dream of travel and wonder if RVing is right for you?

When we got hit by the travel bug, we had a few things top of mind that helped us choose RVing as our main mode of travel: freedom, flexibility, budget, and the ability to spend plenty of time outdoors in nature.

RVing has allowed us the opportunity to travel all over the U.S. and Canada with the privacy and comforts of a “home on wheels” in tow.

We can follow the weather, choose our own routes, plan itineraries that work for us, and change things up at a moments notice.

While there are both pros and cons to RVing, we believe RVing is a wonderful way to get out and see the beauty that this world has to offer.

Yes, we may be a bit biased and think everyone should experience the joys of RVing, but we are realists too. It is not for everyone!

We are breaking down all of the pros and cons of RVing to consider as you decide whether to rent an RV for your next vacation, buy an RV as your mobile vacation home, or even jump into living the full time RV lifestyle.

Pros and Cons of RVing To Consider

A fifth wheel RV camping in the desert outside

Depending on what specifically are looking for, some of the pros might feel like cons and some of the potential cons might feel like pros.

That’s okay, use this list as guidance and thought experiments to help you decide if RVing is right for you!

Pro: Freedom to explore on your own schedule

Far away from the set arrivals and departures of the flights at the airport and the strict schedule of guided tours, RV travel is about as close as you can get to complete freedom.

RVing allows you to create your own itineraries, traveling in a way that works best for your schedule. The only constraint you will run into is the check-in and check-out times of certain campgrounds

Other than that, you are free to travel in a way that uniquely meets your desires and needs. (Yes, this can be a con if you hate planning or do better with guidance for what to do when, but blogs like this one can help you with that😊).

Pro: Freedom to travel wherever you want

As you can see, something we love most about RVing is the freedom that comes with it!

Most trips follow a certain route, but perhaps you want to change it up and visit a lesser-known spot?

With RVing, you can.

You can travel wherever you want…and even change it up last minute if your plans change, the weather is less than ideal, or you simply have a change of heart.

We love that RVing allows us the ability to look at a map, choose where we want to explore, and be flexible as needed.

Why should you have to waste your vacation time in a week’s worth of rain if you could simply change course and head for the sunshine?

Pro Tip: Always be sure to check the cancellation policies if you reserve campsites. Some parks will be better than others at offering refunds

Pro: Free camping options for budget-friendly travel

RVing and road trips have long been the chosen vacation strategy for budget-minded travelers.

A major pro of RVing is that there is a wide range of FREE camping options available to help you cut costs.

In addition, stays at campgrounds and RV rentals can often be a cheaper alternative to flights and hotels.

Our favorite free and low-cost RV camping options:

  • BLM (Bureau of Land Management) Public Lands (check out some of our favorite free campsites here)
  • National Forests and Forest Roads
  • Unique stays and experiences through Harvest Hosts
  • Rest areas in a pinch

Pro Tip: Be sure to check for signs about camping limits on public lands (most will have 7 or 14-day limits posted). If you plan to stay overnight in a place like Walmart or Cracker Barrel, always check inside the store first when possible.

Aerial view of a fifth wheel RV camping on public lands with beautiful canyon views
Boondocking is a great way to enjoy more privacy and stunning views while RVing

Pro: Plenty of storage perfect for long-term trips

If you are any shade of a chronic over-packer, RV travel will feel like a breath of fresh air.

A big pro of traveling by RV is that your size and weight restrictions for luggage greatly increases. You can pack more and be ready for more adventure.

Cook your own food (a big cost saver), have plenty of outfit options for any kind of weather, and bring along your favorite games or activities. More room = more stuff, you get the idea.

Important Note: RV’s do have cargo-carrying capacity limits and become unsafe to travel with when overloaded. So be sure not to go too overboard!

Pro: No need to pack and unpack for a multi-stop trip

Okay so convenience isn’t everything, but one of the biggest positives we have found with RV travel is not having to pack and unpack at every stop we make.

When you RV, there is no need to live out of a suitcase or backpack and you always have the same consistent place to come back to after a day’s adventure.

Pro: Ability to be self-sufficient and not rely on public restrooms

Okay so maybe this is only a pro of RVing to fellow serial avoiders of public restrooms, but I think being able to travel around with your own toilet and shower is the best.

Need to use the bathroom, but there’s no rest stop in sight? Pull over somewhere safe and use your own!

Getting fuel and want to take a potty break? Use your own bathroom instead of braving what you might find inside the gas station’s stalls.

Okay, so it’s not ALL sunshine and rainbows…ready for some of the drawbacks?

RVer standing on a ladder doing maintenance on his RV

Con: You will likely have to get your hands dirty

With freedom comes great responsibility. And some dirty jobs.

RVing means you can bring all of the same comforts of home with you almost anywhere you want to go.

It also means that you become responsible for taking care of the waste you build up along the way.

Be prepared to dump both your gray water tank (used water from sink, shower, etc.) and black tank (where all toilet waste goes).

A good pair of gloves and a nicely threaded sewer hose can really help avoid any disgusting disasters and ultimately it will become not that big of a deal.

These essential RV accessories will make sure you are set up for success! You do not want to RV without them and there are some items you just should never cheap out on, trust us.

Con: RVs can require a lot of maintenance

One of the biggest things we hear from people when we tell them that we are full time RVers is how nice it must be to not have all the house maintenance to worry about.

And while it is true that we don’t have lawn care to worry about or 1,000+ square feet to upkeep, make no mistake about it… RVs come with their fair share of maintenance and repairs.

Even the best-built RVs require consistent care. The roads can be tough out there and all that banging around can really take it’s toll.

So if you are looking for completely carefree and no-hassle vacations, these RV maintenance requirements can make for a big con of RVing.

It’s not always the most fun and honestly, we aren’t always great about keeping up with things as often as we should, but maintaining your RV will help you save lots of money on repairs in the long run.

A woman and her brown dog standing in front of a white truck towing an RV being loaded onto a two truck on the side of a highway
We also highly recommend paying for roadside assistance that covers your RV (like Coachnet)

Con: RVs can have a steep upfront cost (to purchase or rent)

One big con of RVing is that they have pretty hefty price tags if you choose to purchase one. Rentals aren’t always cheap either!

Purchasing an RV can definitely be worthwhile if you plan to use it often, have a place to store it, and are able to take care of it’s needed maintenance.

This said, it might not be worthwhile if you don’t plan to use it regularly.

RVs are depreciating assets.

This means that unless you plan to use them a fair amount, likely the costs of ownership will be more than what it would cost if you simply rented an RV for the few times a year you decide to go camping or rent a hotel or cabin.

Don’t get us wrong, RV ownership has plenty of pros, and being able to know you have your RV there to use whenever you might want and know exactly what you are getting offers great peace of mind.

Used RVs can be a great way to step into ownership and save money. We purchased both our luxury fifth wheel and our Casita used and 100% believe buying a used RV is the way to go.

Read all of our best tips for buying a used RV for more on why this option is so worthwhile.

Finally, if you do want to own an RV and aren’t sure how much you will get to use it each year, you can also consider renting it out to make some extra money using services like RV Share and Outdoorsy!

We had a great experience renting out our Casita through these services and it was great to see our RV being put to good use when we weren’t able to be out in it.

Con: RV’s can be tight on space

Depending on how you like to spend your free time, an RV may or may not be the best choice for you.

As all RVs have to make their way down the road one way or another, they are tighter on space than you might get in a nice hotel room or comfy rental property.

If you don’t mind getting cozy with your family/travel companions we feel that the pros of RVing far outweigh this con.

We have found that the small space of our RV (roughly 400 feet in our fifth wheel with the slides out) actually makes for everything we need and nothing we don’t. It’s quick to clean, easy to set up and break down, and has shown us how little you actually need to be completely happy.

More stuff a lot of times can mean more stress anyway.

As you weigh the potential pros and cons of RVing, here are a few other reminders to keep top of mind that can really make or break your RVing experience:

A large fifth wheel RV camping in a grassy area on the bank of a river

Other Important Considerations For RVing:

  • Choose the size of your RV wisely based on how you plan to use it and where you plan to go. The larger the RV, the more limitations you can run into in terms of roads you can travel, and number of campsites you will be able to fit into.
  • If you plan to own an RV, stay up to date on important RV maintenance to avoid costly repairs and additional costs
  • Being handy or being open to learning a few new skills will help you out a lot (and save you a lot of money) when it comes to RVing. Being able to get yourself out of a tight spot when you are far from repairs or making your own fixes or upgrades rather than paying top dollar for an RV mechanic can be a complete game-changer.
  • Check fuel prices along the route you plan to travel and know how many MPG your RV or your tow vehicle gets to help you budget. Depending on how far and where you plan to travel, RVing may not always be the most cost-effective option compared to other options. Do your homework so you aren’t surprised!
  • RVing requires a bit more of a hands-on touch and can be more physically demanding than other forms of travel (due to setup, breakdown, and towing requirements). Be sure you can handle these elements of RVing and how they vary between different RV types when choosing the right option for you!

We hope these pros and cons help shed light on both the wonderful things about RVing as well as some of the drawbacks and challenges as well.

Nothing is perfect, but if you are up for all that RVing entails it can be a really rewarding way to travel and see some of the best places that our world has to offer!

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