Have you ever dreamed of spending the winter living in the sun without having to stay in a motel or hotel? Then driving down to the southern United States in a recreational vehicle could be just what you need! The best part is that you wouldn't be alone. A whole community of motor home owners heads south every winter in search of sunshine and warmth.
Here’s a guide on how to buy your first RV and turn your dreams into reality.
What are the Different Types of Recreational Vehicle Classes?
The first thing you have to do if you are looking for an RV is to decide what type of RV you would like to purchase. Many RVs are available on the market today, so you should research which class is most suitable for you.
Are you looking for an RV that is small and easy to maneuver? Perhaps you would prefer to drive a large vehicle with as much space as a mini-home?
There are three basic classes of motorized recreational vehicles: Class A, B and C.
Vehicles in the Class A category are the largest and most expensive vehicles available. They are generally large, bus-like vehicles with flat noses. Class A RVs range in size from 25 to 45 feet long! These vehicles can accommodate anywhere between two and eight people.
Class B vehicles are smaller and more affordable than Class A vehicles, making them ideal for weekend getaways and short trips out of town. The famous Sprinter camper van comes to mind, which is popular with van lifers! These RVs are considered vans but have all the amenities of larger motor homes, including beds, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a living space. A class B RV usually ranges in size from 16 feet up to 22 feet in length. They generally sleep 1 to 2 people (sometimes more).
Several characteristics distinguish Class C vehicles, including beds above the cab and being built on a truck chassis. These medium-sized RVs can range in size from 21 to 35 feet. Depending on the model, they can sleep two to six people.
Alternatively, you could tow a trailer or tent trailer behind your truck or SUV instead of purchasing a motorized home.
How Much Does an RV Cost?
In general, it will cost more if you choose to take a motorized home over one that is towable, as a motorized home provides both a vehicle and a living space at the same time.
Prices vary greatly depending on the vehicle class, model, year, mileage, and the engine's general and mechanical condition.
Due to the immense size of Class A RVs and their extensive features, most Class A RVs cost between $95,000 and $500,000 CAD, depending on the vehicle manufacturer and the option packages you choose. The good news is that you can buy a used Class A RV for much less than you would pay for a new one.
It may come as a surprise to you, but class B vans can be quite expensive. Even though these vans are smaller than Class A's, they're not cheap. Based on the manufacturer and the RV model, the typical Class B RV costs between $65,000 and $150,000 CAD.
Class C vehicles are available in various price ranges, starting at about $43,000 and running up to over $200,000 CAD.
You can narrow your choices by determining what you can afford in terms of your budget. Limiting your options will also help you choose the type of RV that best suits your needs if you want to buy your first RV.
When is the Best Time to Buy an RV?
The best time to buy an RV is usually when dealers try to clear out their inventory to make room for newer models and get rid of the older ones. This means you'll get the best deals in early fall or the middle of winter, well before spring. However, if you can't find the perfect RV this time of year, don't worry. There are still great deals to be had if you're willing to look for them.
You should also keep in mind that RVs depreciate quickly, sometimes by as much as 15-20% in the first year. You should buy an RV at least one or two years old if you are looking for a good deal.
If you purchase your RV in Canada, ensure that it has winter tires and is insulated so that you don’t have any issues while driving south for your next winter getaway. The last thing you want is to begin your vacation with burst pipes.
How Much Fuel Will Your New RV Consume?
RV models can differ considerably in their fuel consumption. Fuel consumption is definitely something to consider when shopping for a vehicle.
One of the great advantages of an RV is that you can take your home with you wherever you go. A drawback to RVs is that they tend to consume a lot of fuel, which can become rather costly.
An RV's fuel consumption depends on several factors, including the vehicle's size and the load's weight.
Generally, a class A RV consumes between 16 and 29 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers.
The light weight of Class B RVs allows for excellent fuel efficiency. A Class B RV allows you to travel anywhere without worrying about excessive fuel consumption. Most of these RVs only consume between 9 and 12 liters of gas per 100 kilometers.
Class C motor vehicles are midway between Class A and Class B in terms of fuel consumption. For a Class C RV, you can expect fuel consumption of 11 to 15 L / 100km.
Rent Before You Buy
There are many opportunities to rent an RV for a few days or even weeks during your next holiday. Find a model that you are interested in and test it out before you set out to buy it. Simply search the Internet to find RV rental agencies near you. You can also rent the vehicle directly from a private individual on RVezy, the Airbnb of motorized vehicles. With this platform, you can rent a motor home directly from an individual. Since you will be in contact with the owner, you can ask questions about the vehicle and experience it firsthand.
From Preparation to Inspection to Transaction and Finally Off to the United States
So if your dream is to hit the road and escape the winter this year, then now is the perfect time to find the RV that will fit all your needs. Be sure to take several test drives before you hit the road!
Be sure to contact a soNomad agent for your travel insurance in the U.S. before planning your American dream road trip. It is always a good idea to make sure you have travel insurance before you leave.