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Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 09:47 AM   #1
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Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Ever owned a motorhome?

I cannot find ANY reason how a motorhome can save money. With the price of gas, repairs, maintenance, RV parks prices etc, it seems much cheaper to rent by the month in a location you want to visit.

Yet, I am drawn to owning one.

I love road trips, but what are the benefits or alternative to Motorhome ownership?
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 09:53 AM   #2
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

No I have never owned one. The DW thinks it would be fun. I have my doubts.

Think about buying a lightly used one. The depreciation on RV's will knock your socks off.

Alternatives: Take that big expensive RV payment and fly (or drive your car) somewhere and stay in a hotel. Just maybe you'll save money.
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 09:53 AM   #3
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

I idly looked into this and found that you probably would have to rent 12 or more times a year to come out ahead financially owning a home. *However, I have seen a place that will rent your motorhome on consignment while you are not using it, which could take away some of the financial pain.

The big difference between owning and renting is that you can be a lot more spontaneous about your trips if you own. *But you pay up for the privelege.
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 09:58 AM   #4
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

My ER in-laws are permanent travelers in a fifth wheel.
They definitely recommend truck/fifth wheel combo over a motorhome.
They mostly do dry-camping, meaning without hookups, which is frequently free or costs nominal amount of money (like Arizona state permit which is I believe $160 per year)
They have solar panels on the roof for electricity, but would run their small honda generator if they need air conditioning.
Internet over verizon cellphone, but they are considering a satellite, since they came down in price.
They have a mailbox and street address in South Dakota, since this is one of the most tax friendly states.
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 10:05 AM   #5
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

I'm kind of the same way...economically I simply can not justify owning a motorhome, yet I'm still attracted to the danged things! Have been, ever since I was a kid. Back then, my grandparents had a 1976 GMC crew cab pickup with a slide-in truck camper. They took me on lots of camping trips as a kid, and in the campgrounds I'd always admire the big Travcos, Winnebagos, Airstreams, and other rigs.

I envisioned being able to just drive your home anywhere, at a moment's notice, and just being free to explore the countryside at your own pace. But then I grew up, realized I'd have to work for a living, and just wouldn't have the time to enjoy a motorhome. Also, the reality of being 6'3" really sunk in. I have to duck under the roof a/c unit of most motorhomes, and I just feel hemmed in. And most of them have a really horrible driving position. It's like driving a bus.

Still, I want one! I'd definitely go used though, because they do take a steep depreciation hit. I remember in 2000 I looked at a 32 foot or so motorhome that was 10 years old, on a dealer's lot. It was really nice, low mileage, and well-equipped. I think they wanted $20K for it, and I'm sure they would've bargained. I'm sure a brand-new 32 foot Class-A motorhome would run you close to $100K for a halfway decent one, and the really nice, quality ones can easily top $500K. Especially if you get into bus-based ones.

Also in 2000, I almost bought a 1974 Travco 220 (Class-A motorhome, but in a tidy 22' length). Now that might be going back TOO far, but it had a rebuilt Industrial 440, and the guy only wanted $2900 for it!
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 10:09 AM   #6
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

A nice used one has crossed my path again, and though I am not ready for one yet, the price is quite nice.

Having it sit for most of a year has gotta hurt, and I need to convince myself that other deals will come around, if/when I/we decide to give it a try.

We have done much rough/hobo travel in the past, and it can get abit smelly after a week or so, and a nice RV would sure feel good.

But then, I figure, when we road/hobo travel, we could hotel it a couple times a week, but then it works out to ($100 x 2 days / week) x 4 weeks a month = $800 a month for a shower and warm bed a couple times a week. Ouch. But then, thats what a RV park would cost, or monthly rate apartment, or RV tranny repair.

The RV thing is ONLY good in North America also. It won't help off shore or south of Mexico. Basically, Canada, US and Mexico.

oh, the delemma
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 10:20 AM   #7
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Here's a website that I find kind of interesting. This guy travels all over in his RV and posts everyday through a satellite link about his RV adventures.

http://vagabonders-supreme.net/

right now he's in Mexico
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 10:21 AM   #8
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

We recently bought an old class C motorhome that's in good shape. The guy we bought it from was a fanatic about maintaining it, so hopefully, our repairs won't be as much.

Can it be cost justified? *I don't think so. However, in our situation, there were a few things that made it easier:

We have 3 drivers in our family because our oldest daughter is driving now. However, we only have 2 cars and the motor home. I work at home and don't do much driving, but in a pinch, I can drive the motorhome if need be, so instead of paying for a 3rd car, we pay for the motorhome.

Surprisingly, the cost to insure the motorhome is cheap if you go through a company that specializes in motorhome insurance.

But like you said, the real reason we bought one is that we just wanted one.
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 10:26 AM   #9
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Here's a budget from a guy who lives in his RV year-round

http://vagabonders-supreme.net/BudgetInfo.htm
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 10:57 AM   #10
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

John L, that was one of my justifications for the little Travco I was interested in. I figured that I could drive it on occasion as a spare vehicle, and something 22 feet long wouldn't be TOO cumbersome! I have a 1979 Chrysler that's 18 1/2 feet long, so how much worse could it be?

I imagine an industrial 440 moving 4+ tons of motorhome would make the Chrysler look downright economical, though.
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 11:32 AM   #11
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

In 1986 I bought a 1976 Class C RV for a very low price. I kept it for 12 years and sold it for a very, very low price. In that time I only averaged 2K miles a year. It did get some use but mostly we had an annual trip up the California coast and a few weekends to nearby beach spots. One trip to near by Mexico. But my son born just after getting it and it was nice to have a heater, stove and bathroom. The biggest problem was 9 MPG and it was possible but difficult to use as a third car.

Now we have a 1985 VW Westfalia camper. Better MPG and much easier to drive, we are putting more like 4K miles a year on it but it gets used as a van to cart things from Home Depot and it will carry my 16 year old Mohawk haired rock drummer son's drums easily. He really wants this van for his own.

If you are going to use an RV for a second or third car then I would recommend a Class B unit.

My in laws full timed in a 30 something 5th wheel and they had other large RVs in different days. The 5th wheel is great for extended travel although a Class A with tow car would probably work as well. Throw in enough money and you can have an RV with all modern comforts. They saved money only in the sense that they did not have a house through this period. It was a good life style choice for them. I would expect there are ways to economize with an RV, staying at free sites, cooking your own food but it is designed for recreation more than economy.


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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 12:19 PM   #12
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

We bought a '84 mini-Winnie a couple of years ago. *DW & I use it 8 to 12 times a year. *Paid about 8K for it and have replaced the fridge and A/C over the years. *We took it to the tip of Nova Scotia (Cape Breton) on a 21 day trip one year. *Fabulous!
We also use it to go to concerts, football games and bluegrass festivals. *It's real convenient to have a refrigerator and bathroom before and after the event. *Just crank the A/C and some tunes and sip one while the traffic clears...
Our Goldens like it too and get all excited when they see us packin' for a "Road Trip!"
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 12:29 PM   #13
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Renman:

That's about what I would like to pay for a RV.

My question for you is - With an older RV are you concerned about having mechanical problems if you took it somewhere remotely located and sparsely (if at all) populated, ie. - away from it all ?

What is your contingency plan in such a situation ?
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 12:45 PM   #14
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Quote:
Originally Posted by yakers
He really wants this van for his own.
Sounds like a cheap & excellent solution to the baby boomerang problem!
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Old 01-05-2006, 12:49 PM   #15
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster
Renman:

That's about what I would like to pay for a RV.

My question for you is - With an older RV are you concerned about having mechanical problems if you took it somewhere remotely located and sparsely (if at all) populated, ie. - away from it all ?

What is your contingency plan in such a situation ?
Hmmm, if you look at the vagabonders supreme link, he seems not to have any real problems running around in remote arreas in an older RV. I suppose that its like any vehicle: maintain it well and you are much less likely to have problems.
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 12:50 PM   #16
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gReeNy
Ever owned a motorhome?
I love road trips, but what are the benefits or alternative to Motorhome ownership?
gReeNy
We took the plunge and made our first RV purchase last Spring. *Went to many many RV shows, read all the boards (rv.net is a great resource) and rented one for a vacation. *Ended up with a 29' Itasca gasser.

You can find some economics that support rving being a less expensive form of traveling when your family size gets over 4 and you need multiple motel rooms and the dining racks up some significant bill.

Biggest single expense in any RV is the depreciation--you pay it, no matter if it is in your driveway or on the road--same as a boat when you do not use it.

Like a boat, RVing is a lifestyle choice. *It offers independence, convenience, a form of security in case of emergencies (move in when you loose power or have things such as hurricanes, etc), and many RVers claim as one the greatest benefits over hotels, they know who was in their bed last. And you have all your stuff where you want and never have to unpack and repack. *Depending on your travel plans, you can live for less than $40k/yr pretty easily--lots of RV sites out there have living budgets.

To your later question, yes you can always find a deal. *Key is to really know what your requirements are and to stay focused on those units and try to not get caught buying a unit because the deal is "so good". *You will just end up not haing a good experience. * *Buy new only if you can stand the depreciation. *Also watch out for units that have too low of mileage--sitting is really tough on the mechanical side of a RV. *Ideally, not less than 4k/year. *Tires are big cost items and they typically aged out before they wear out. *Any tire over 4 years old is considered ready for replacement regardless of tread--so add 250/tire to the price.
PM me if I can be of any assistance
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 02:02 PM   #17
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Quote:
Now we have a 1985 VW Westfalia camper. Better MPG and much easier to drive, we are putting more like 4K miles a year on it but it gets used as a van to cart things from Home Depot and it will carry my 16 year old Mohawk haired rock drummer son's drums easily. He really wants this van for his own.
Hey Yakers, I thought a VW camper van would be a wise choice also, as it is cheaper on gas, smaller to get about, but, I have always been under the assumption that they are not very reliable. I'd love your comments and experiences with one of these...
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 02:08 PM   #18
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

My inlaws have a huge diesel pusher. Basically their rationale is they take lots (and I mean LOTS) of trips in california, nevada and new mexico to visit family and friends. They want to take a lot of their stuff, and they usually take kids and grandkids with them. I still doubt they're saving any money or seeing any convenience after you take out the aggravations of maintaining and paying for the thing.

Consider it a vacation home on wheels. If you have the money, will get some enjoyment out of it, and the enjoyment wont be negated by the associated aggravation, get it. But there arent many cost savings or benefits analyses that hold water.
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Old 01-05-2006, 02:21 PM   #19
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

This is the best of both worlds:

http://www.casitatraveltrailers.com/home.html
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Old 01-05-2006, 03:12 PM   #20
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Quote:
I thought a VW camper van would be a wise choice also, as it is cheaper on gas, smaller to get about, but, I have always been under the assumption that they are not very reliable. I'd love your comments and experiences with one of these...
I've got a VW camper and have used it quite a bit...including to Alaska and back from Arizona. We love it for camping, with some major caveats.

Strengths:
>Good gas mileage
>small, and drive around and park easily
>efficient interior design, with stove, sink, fridge, sleeping for 4 (if very friendly), etc.

Weaknesses:
>No toilet. Not a problem in established campgrounds, obviously.
>AC is weak, something an Arizonan is sensitive to.
>VW reliability...meaning I hope that you are an amateur mechanic. It's quite a contrast compared to, for example, owning a Toyota. I seem to always have something that needs fixing or is on the edge of repair, although we did go to Alaska and back (10k miles) with only the need for an oil change and one stop on an Alaskan beach (with brisk wind to dispel mosquitoes) to tighten a v-belt.
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