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RV vs VRBO, Airbnb
Old 02-04-2016, 02:46 AM   #1
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RV vs VRBO, Airbnb

Trying to decide whether buying an RV is worth it to travel the US and Canada or hotels and VRBOs. Thoughts?
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Old 02-04-2016, 05:05 AM   #2
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I've owned two RVs since 1999 and quite frankly, it's probably much more economical to go the hotel route. I continue to own an RV because I enjoy the lifestyle and avoid the constant packing and re-packing of hotel stays.
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Old 02-04-2016, 05:39 AM   #3
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If you like staying in parks and such, the RV may get you closer to nature than the hotel route. But it probably not cheaper, and you will need to be comfortable with road miles on a big vehicle.

We "car camp" in an old school bus, and we got to stay in a lot of very beautiful camp areas in the US and Canada as a result. But the hotel beds and showers were far superior in comfort!
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Old 02-04-2016, 08:40 AM   #4
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It depends on where you want to go. If you're primarily interested in visiting cities then using Airbnb & Hotels is the way to go.

But it's a big country and the best way to explore all those miles outside a handful of the coastal cities is with a camper of some kind.

It's true that you don't absolutely need a camper. Some of the national parks have lodges inside park borders. But I doubt you'd find Airbnb offerings everywhere you wanted to go. And some of the worst, most depressing, hotels we've experienced anywhere in the world we found on a coast to coast car trip in the good old U. S. of A.

After spending 4 years R.V.ing in North America and 2 years backpacking the globe using hotels and Airbnb's, our opinion is that traveling by motorhome in the U.S. is hands down the more enjoyable way to travel.
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Old 02-04-2016, 08:41 AM   #5
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I think you need to decide what you are going to see first. You're not going to be staying in a vrbo in a national park. Likewise you won't be dragging your RV downtown and finding street parking.


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Old 02-04-2016, 08:42 AM   #6
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What is your definition of worth it...are you concerned with costs, flexibility in travel or the comfort of sleeping in the same bed every night?

I suspect answers will vary wildly without a little more information from you.
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Old 02-04-2016, 08:45 AM   #7
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I have an inexpensive RV and do both. It all depends on what you consider for be adequate for a person of your tastes and style.
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Old 02-04-2016, 10:39 AM   #8
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They are very different experiences. If you have never had an RV before, I strongly suggest you rent once (or more) to see if it's to your liking. We love our RV, but also know others who bought one and rarely used it because they just didn't enjoy the experience (some people really dislike dumping the waste tanks!).
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Old 02-04-2016, 11:46 AM   #9
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RV's can be an expensive option unless you are a DIY'er. Even a new one with a warranty could be a major hassle just getting warranty work done. We lived full-time in a Newell 45' 2 slide coach for 2 years. Excellent build quality and factory support. But it wasn't trouble free. It would have been expensive if I didn't do most of the regular maintenance myself.
That said last year we spent 4 months renting VRBOs in Utah and Colorado. Very different experience. More spacious but debatable if it was more comfortable than our 45'er.
In an RV you don't need reservations as much or as far in advance as VRBOs. So we are finding there is more planning involved than in an RV. But if you find the VRBO is a dump you're pretty much stuck there. In an RV you can move on. We had that happen in a rental in Colorado. Fortunately we had only booked 2 weeks and left money behind when we moved out in less than a week. Couldn't stomach dog hair everywhere....
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Old 02-04-2016, 11:50 AM   #10
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What is your definition of worth it...are you concerned with costs, flexibility in travel or the comfort of sleeping in the same bed every night?

I suspect answers will vary wildly without a little more information from you.

It's a lot of money for a nice new or used RV. What I was wondering is the cost of parks, RV vs hotel, lodges and vrbo. Cities vs country we want to see it all.


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Old 02-04-2016, 12:00 PM   #11
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Size of the RV is important depending on where you want to stay. 40'+ limits you to nicer parks and limited sites available in national/state parks. 45' even more limited. Not just the size of the site but the turns getting into the site. We had to back out of parks a couple times because of the turns.
RV parks range from ~ $20/night up to over a hundred or so at a very nice resort (not all "resorts" are the same). Could be cheaper nightly rate if staying for a week or less for a month. There are also places where with the right size setup where you can stay on public land for nothing or only a couple bucks/night.
If you have an RV you would probably need to tow a car for sightseeing, grocery trips, etc. Another expense.
I'd suggest going over to the Escapees forum and spending time reading there. Escapees Discussion Forum
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Old 02-04-2016, 12:09 PM   #12
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It's a lot of money for a nice new or used RV. What I was wondering is the cost of parks, RV vs hotel, lodges and vrbo. Cities vs country we want to see it all.


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Costs are incredibly variable. What hotels do you consider reasonable? Motel 6 or the Hilton? What RV do you consider reasonable? A big newer Class A or the 1976 Airstream motorhome we bought for $7 grand?
Switching to VRBO and AirBnB...are you willing to stay in just a room in someone's house with a shared bath, or do you want the whole place to yourself?

All of these have vastly different price points. I can tell you how to do stuff on the cheap and fun, but my standards are way lower than most folks. It all depends on what you consider reasonable.

One thing you could do is model the costs for a 4 week trip, using your "reasonable" hotel prices for each night or comparable VRBO, then plug in the mileage for an RV you would consider buying, and the costs of the kinds of campgrounds you'd want to stay.

That won't factor in the cost of the RV, but really, you don't want to know how much it "really" costs, much like owning a boat. Pro tip...they both go down in value!
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Old 02-04-2016, 12:27 PM   #13
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but my standards are way lower than most folks.
To quote the Four Yorkshiremen', "Luxury!"
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Old 02-04-2016, 12:36 PM   #14
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To quote the Four Yorkshiremen', "Luxury!"
Hard to pick a best of from that skit, but this seems applicable:
House? You were lucky to have a HOUSE! We used to live in one room, all hundred and twenty-six of us, no furniture. Half the floor was missing; we were all huddled together in one corner for fear of FALLING!

TG: You were lucky to have a ROOM! *We* used to have to live in a corridor!

MP: Ohhhh we used to DREAM of livin' in a corridor! Woulda' been a palace to us. We used to live in an old water tank on a rubbish tip. We got woken up every morning by having a load of rotting fish dumped all over us! House!? Hmph.

EI: Well when I say "house" it was only a hole in the ground covered by a piece of tarpolin, but it was a house to US.

GC: We were evicted from *our* hole in the ground; we had to go and live in a lake!

TG: You were lucky to have a LAKE! There were a hundred and sixty of us living in a small shoebox in the middle of the road.
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Old 02-04-2016, 12:41 PM   #15
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"But you try and tell the young people today that... and they won't believe ya'".
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Old 02-04-2016, 12:44 PM   #16
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Costs are incredibly variable.
So true.

Whenever anyone asks me "how much does travel cost?" My answer is always the same. It doesn't matter whether we're talking RVing or any other kind. Travel always costs exactly as much as you can afford.
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Old 02-04-2016, 12:47 PM   #17
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Travel always costs exactly as much as you can afford.
For us it's what we're prepared to spend...which, thus far (and likely forever), is (often substantially) less than we can 'afford'.
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Old 02-04-2016, 12:56 PM   #18
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For us it's what we're prepared to spend...which, thus far (and likely forever), is (often substantially) less than we can 'afford'.
I don't see them as necessarily different.
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Old 02-04-2016, 01:03 PM   #19
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It's a lot of money for a nice new or used RV. What I was wondering is the cost of parks, RV vs hotel, lodges and vrbo. Cities vs country we want to see it all.


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Okay, well total cost will depend on your travel style. Hotel.. flexible, probably more costly and if you want to prepare meals instead of eat your meals out, choices are limited. I feel noise can be a problem in a lot of hotels, if this is important to you. It seems as though the newer the hotel, the more noise you hear from above.

VRBO... our style is to go for around a 30 day rental and not hit a place during "peak season". A lot of 30 day rentals will cost around 50% per day less then a weekly or daily rental. You would have a full kitchen in most of them and perhaps washer, dryer and free wi-fi.

RV I know nothing of RV costs, but some RV'ers here can probably help you out . Don't forget to be honest about depreciation when you are figuring cost per night.
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Old 02-04-2016, 01:06 PM   #20
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I don't see them as necessarily different.
So, if Bill Gates stayed at a Motel 6 you wouldn't see any incongruity?
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