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Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-16-2007, 06:09 PM   #1
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Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

I have stayed in RV's with a Friend that owns one. We pay about $18 a night for hookup and get about 11 miles to the gallon. I split the expenses with him when we go fishing, but it seems a bit expensive and a lot of work.

Has anyone done the math and figured out how many nights you'd have to spend in an RV for it to become more economical than a $75 a night hotel room? - I think the RV's cost about $40K.
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-16-2007, 06:29 PM   #2
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

I did. I have never owned an RV... but I rounded up some numbers and ran them in a spreadsheet. If you consider the depreciation (i.e.resale value) as using the RV up plus maintenance, campground hook up, gas, etc... A motel was less money in my projections. I think it somewhat depends on how often you actually use the RV, how many mile are driven, etc. Not to mention the work. Remember... someone cleans up the motel room.

I think that people who RV don't do it because it is less money, rather, they do it because they like the lifestyle.

When we do extended travel (when we retire), we will probably go the Motel route and perhaps short-term rentals (few weeks at a time).

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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-16-2007, 06:36 PM   #3
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaco
I think that people who RV don't do it because it is less money, rather, they do it because they like the lifestyle.
Agreed. We're researching RV's as a toy, definitely not to save money.
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-16-2007, 06:48 PM   #4
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

Cut-Throat,
I own a Casita and the benefits of a RV over a motel were the deciding factor for me - a couple of them are:
Location - you can usually find a goog RV park near some great places
Accomidations - Motels/hotels can be seedy - There are alot of nice RV parks some in National Parks
Food - you can cook your own and stay healthy
Ease - You don't have to unpack
There are others.

Play with these numbers and let me know what you think.

15,500 Purchase Price w/other necessities
800 Purchase Tax
16,300


978 Opportunity Cost for 16,300 @ 6%
2000 Depreciation
80 Insurance
840 Storage
250 Maintance
102 Misc
250 Annual Registration
4,500


75 Motel Cost
10 Incremental Gas while towing per day
-25 RV Hook UP
60 Net Motel Cost

75 Days to break even on Motel Vs RV
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-16-2007, 07:18 PM   #5
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

CT
RV indutry mags have done a couple of studies to provide a positive spin to the lower cost of having an RV. Think they used a family of 4 and had 2 motel rooms for every night.
A lot of the cost/benefit decision is driven by how you travel and what you like to do. The single biggest cost with your RV is depreciation. If you do not have it on the road, you are not generating any "savings" from the lower cost travel.
For most RV, it is as other posters mentioned more a life style than bucks alone. Frequent benefits given high value include:
Always know who slept in the bed last night
Meals are when you want them and the menu always includes just the things you like
If stuck in traffic, relief is just 15 feet away.
Minimum stops at nasty rest stops
You do not have to smuggle your pet into the room
etc, etc etc
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-16-2007, 07:39 PM   #6
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

CT,
I've updated the numbers for motel food costs.


15,500 Purchase Price w/other necessities
800 Purchase Tax
16,300


978 Opportunity Cost for 16,300 @ 6%
2000 Depreciation
80 Insurance
840 Storage
250 Maintance
102 Misc
250 Annual Registration
4,500

Per Day Costs
75 Motel Cost
40 Motel Food Costs
10 Incremental Gas while towing per day
-25 RV Hook UP
100 Net Motel Cost

45 Days to break even on Motel Vs RV
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-16-2007, 08:01 PM   #7
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

You can't make it work financially. No deal. True with heavy use it can begin to feel like it's cheaper, but add in all the real and indirect costs and it's an indulgence.

I think even Audrey feels that way, and she's a full timer with a depreciable home, as she says.

OTOH, you can get to so many places where there are no reservations, no motels (like this country's park system, state parks), it's always ready to go (no packing here), clean, cheaper and better food, fun meeting people, and a thousand other enjoyable aspects that for the right people it's a worthwhile indulgence.

Forget the money - doesn't work out. The experience? Priceless. And oh, yeah -- you can bring the dog.
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-16-2007, 09:16 PM   #8
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat

Has anyone done the math and figured out how many nights you'd have to spend in an RV for it to become more economical than a $75 a night hotel room? - I think the RV's cost about $40K.
We own both an RV and a lakefront RV park.

We use the RV b/c we like the comforts of home rather than the slightly-seedy nature of even the nicest motel/hotel, not b/c it's a cheap mode of lodging.

At our park, we charge $45 a night for our prime RV spots. And if you have dogs or extra people, there are extra charges for those too (both incur extra expenses on our part). Sometimes customers look a little shocked when we tell them their total charges and some say, with not a little outrage, "I could get a motel in town for that much." And that is true. But, as I tell them, they wouldn't have a waterfront or waterview motel room (all our sites are), nor would they have acres of wooded, tranquil, lakefront property to walk through, nor access to all the other amenities we offer. They'd be staying in town with a window fronting the highway, and few amenities besides a place to park their car.

Point is, Rv-ing is becoming more and more upscale all the time and park publications are encouraging RV-Park owners to upgrade their facilities and to charge accordingly. Industry consensus is that rv parks should be able to charge 50% of the rate that neigboring motels demand for their rooms. RV-ing is no longer necessarily a cheap form of accomodation (though if you "boondock", you can certainly save a lot of money)

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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-16-2007, 10:03 PM   #9
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

Gas for a trip to Florida (from WV) ...a LOT

Hitting traffic in Jacksonville...getting up (I wasn't driving) to make a hot BBQ beef sandwich. Grabbing an ice cold soda from the fridge before sitting down at the dinette to have my sandwich and watching a little TV. Looking out the window to see an SUV full of people looking up at me (and my sandwich) in envy....priceless

RVing is definately a 'lifestyle choice'. Much like LBYM, some people 'get it', some people don't.

Personally, I like to take my cat and my car (towed behind) on trips. I also like sleeping in my own bed, and having a clean bathroom at every stop. I can't stand lines or crowds (read: hate airports/flying). I cook some kick-butt steaks on my portable grill, and always have a cold soda at hand.

I have a Class A (the big ones) RV, so I sit pretty high up when driving and have plenty of leg room. So driving for 12+ hours is not the same as it is in a car. You are also on 'your schedule'. If I'm hungry, I stop and eat. If my wife is on the trip (I travel alone in the RV a lot for business trips), and wants to sleep in, she can.

Is all that worth the payments, insurance, and maintenance? Probably not, but like I said, it's a choice.



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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-16-2007, 10:13 PM   #10
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

I don't have one, but have also thought about buying one....

I look at it like a second home.. can you justify paying for one NO.. not at all, nobody can (well, if you have it in a place that grows in price fast.. maybe)... but, my point... it is a lifestyle choice... like owning a sailboat for some, a power boat for others... the ski cabin... it is something for you to do..

NOW, if you don't plan on using it then it is a major waste. My BIL has a 45 ft sailboat and then live in it half of the weekends of the year... but they tell me of other boats, bought brand new (he got his REAL CHEAP..) that they have never seen the owner... and he asks the people in the office and they have never seen the owner either... just a money drain... so, is your lifestyle such that you will use it or just have it as a money drain
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-16-2007, 10:57 PM   #11
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

OK, it can cost a lot less than a motel:

http://www.slabcity.org/

And we will be taking our 1985 VW camper to Burning Man this year:

http://www.burningman.com/
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-16-2007, 11:13 PM   #12
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

Dex: your numbers for gas are bizarre: you are going to use substantially more gas with an RV than driving a car, not less. Second your food costs: apparently you don't need to spend any money for food with an RV (neither from grocery stores nor restaurants?)??
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-17-2007, 05:58 AM   #13
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

I've looked at RVing and have come to the same general conclusions. To cost justify the purchase the RV needs to be used frequently. A low cost vehicle (like Dex's Casita) needs to be used about 100 days per year. The big Class A's can never be cost justified. You have purchased a "lifestyle."

One of my DW's infinite number of aunts lived with her husband for years in a 5th wheel. They had no home and would go places and stay for days, weeks or months. They eventually got too old to drive around and spent all but the last year of their lives (they died within a could months of each other) in a trailer park in their 5th wheel.

The hassle of driving or hauling an RV/trailer is a big negative. The joy of having what you want and not unpacking every night is a big positive. Unless you plan on using it "alot" I would recommend against buying an RV/trailer.
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-17-2007, 06:40 AM   #14
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

I do not want to knock it. It is a recreation for many people and they enjoy it.

However... for me it looks alot like my experience owning a sailboat (catalina 22). I was not able to use it enough to justify owning it.


I think the same argument can be made regarding vacation homes/condos.

I have considered RVs and vacation home/condo. So far, I have not been able to make the numbers work. Plus, the headache of ownership. We will probably lease/rent and use a pay as you go approach to this type of item.

All of that said. I have dreamed of taking a 3-4 month RV trip to cover the Western US when we retire. If I decide to do that, I am likely to get a small RV (used class B... really a large converted Van). Get the maintenance done on it and sell it after the experience. I say small RV, because I suspect that the DW will want to spend some time at motels/hotels depending on where we were at the time. A small RV can be parked in a parking lot, used for general transportation, and still function as a place to sleep in a national or state park.


Anyone have any experience with class B RVs?
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-17-2007, 07:56 AM   #15
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

Also.... look at buying a used RV.... there are some nice ones that are maybe 4 to 7 years old that make it a lot more reasonable...

And as Chinaco said... buy a 21 to 25 ft one that is basically a small truck... I have looked at a few ads and they can be had for the mid $30s... not for a family, but a couple could do OK in them... and it is not so big that you could not use it as a 'normal' vehicle if needed...
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-17-2007, 09:12 AM   #16
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pasttense
Dex: your numbers for gas are bizarre: you are going to use substantially more gas with an RV than driving a car, not less. Second your food costs: apparently you don't need to spend any money for food with an RV (neither from grocery stores nor restaurants?)??
The analysis computes the break even days between a motel and my RV.

The section below computes the NET VARIABLE DAILY COSTS FOR MOTEL VS A RV.

Per Day Costs
75 Motel Cost ------------------------------------------Motel room cost
40 Motel Food Costs----------------------------------Incremental Eating at a Resturant vs cooking in RV
10 Incremental Gas while towing per day--------Extra GAS/DAY while towing
-25 RV Hook UP---------------------------------------- RV hook up cost
100 Net Motel Cost

It there is a mistake it could be that I should have subtracted the incremental gas costs not added it. Then again I did the analysis and 3 minutes.

The MPG on my Pick Up went from 20 mpg to 16 mpg while towing last year - that was over 3 months over mountains etc.

Please provided your financial estimate - I'd like to see others to learn from.
Thanks

15,500 Purchase Price w/other necessities
800 Purchase Tax
16,300


978 Opportunity Cost for 16,300 @ 6%
2000 Depreciation
80 Insurance
840 Storage
250 Maintance
102 Misc
250 Annual Registration
4,500

Per Day Costs
75 Motel Cost
40 Incrementa - Motel Food Costs
-10 Incremental Gas while towing per day
-25 RV Hook UP
80 Net Motel Cost

56.25 Days to break even on Motel Vs RV
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-17-2007, 09:27 AM   #17
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

We have had small slide in truck camper for many years. I have bought 3 over the last 25+ years, all used, most expensive was $3500. These are the under 1400lb 8 foot campers that will go in a standard 1/2 ton pickup. I always have a pickup around as a second vehicle for other hobbies and hauling anyway, so it works for us. No extra license or insurance, small loss in MPG when loaded. Fits in a standard parking space, and go anywhere a pickup can go (accept parking garages). Not the Hilton, but comfortable and no unpacking. When we are on longer trips we hit a Motel or campgrounds with nice bath houses every few days. For us it is just connivence, the trip and the destinations are why we travel not to spend a lot of time in a camper or a cheap motel room. Add to that a lot of place we go a motel is either not an option or very inconvenient.

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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-17-2007, 09:32 AM   #18
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaco
All of that said. I have dreamed of taking a 3-4 month RV trip to cover the Western US when we retire. If I decide to do that, I am likely to get a small RV (used class B... really a large converted Van). Get the maintenance done on it and sell it after the experience. I say small RV, because I suspect that the DW will want to spend some time at motels/hotels depending on where we were at the time. A small RV can be parked in a parking lot, used for general transportation, and still function as a place to sleep in a national or state park.
I have the same dream but DW doesn't seem to interested in living in a mobil hotel room for an extended period of time. She seems perfectly happy to putter around town doing what she does. Of course should I retire, she wonders what I would do all day.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dex
The analysis computes the break even days between a motel and my RV.

Per Day Costs
75 Motel Cost
40 Incrementa - Motel Food Costs
-10 Incremental Gas while towing per day
-25 RV Hook UP
80 Net Motel Cost

56.25 Days to break even on Motel Vs RV
I won't pick at your numbers because mine aren't that much different until you do the division at the end. It still comes out that to "cost justify" even a modest Casita trailer requires a substantial time commitment to RVing.

I'd love to give it a go for a few months but, at the moment, I'd have to go alone.
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-17-2007, 09:36 AM   #19
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

Jeb-NY
Who makes the 8 ft travel trailers you buy? I found that I don't even need all the conviences I have in the Casita (microwave; indoor shower & toilet - I use the campground facilities). So I might be interested in what you have in the future.
Thanks
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?
Old 03-17-2007, 10:27 AM   #20
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Re: Anyone ever do the math on the economy of an RV vs. a motel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2B
It still comes out that to "cost justify" even a modest Casita trailer requires a substantial time commitment to RVing.
Absolutely. I tried to cost justify an RV purchase as part of our decision and couldn't come close. We're still interested in getting one, but definitely not as a cost savings. It would just be a toy to enjoy!
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