When we decided to travel the country, we were faced with a fundamental decision. Did we want to buy an RV or a travel trailer? Both offer unique pros and cons and the camps are divided. To those not initiated in the world of travel vehicles, RVs are all-in-one where the driving cab is a part of the traveling home. Travel trailers are pulled behind a truck, distinctly separating the driving space from the living space.
It is a debate we had a year ago when we bought our current trailer…
and one we are revisiting as we look to the next year on the road.
RV – Reasons to Drive
RVs offer a great deal of flexibility. Everything in the home is accessible at any time including beds, tables, and bathrooms. These facilities can be used even when the vehicle is in motion. They are more self-sufficient and provide comfortable roadside stops and offsite overnights.
For our family, it would make homeschooling while traveling much easier. I could sit one-on-one with each child at the table (there are seat belts, btw). The other child can be seated at the couch reading, etc. It would also provide a certain set of siblings a little more space which may or may not provide less headaches for mom and dad.
Here is an example of what we’re considering…
This particular floor plan has the seating close to the cab so the driver can be included in conversation. There are a lot of options for the passengers that a truck simply cannot offer.
As my husband is the driver, he is leaning towards this option. He likes that any park can become home for the night. We can have hot lunches and limit our stops to stores and restaurants.
Trailer — Reasons to Pull
Travel trailers do not offer flexibility while driving but they offer a lot more living space. In our case, we have made ours a 300 sq. ft. home. The kids have a small room on one end and we have a bedroom on the other. As we are living on the road, not merely taking a vacation, this has been very important to me.
Here is our floor plan…
When set up and open, it feels like a little home.
When closed up, however, nothing is accessible but the master bedroom and the bathroom from the outside. It looks like this…
There is no power source or places to sit.
Six of One, Half Dozen of the Other
With the trailer, we find a location and create a home for a few days or weeks. We drive to destinations with our truck as anyone would from their home. Long drives are tiring as we are all in the truck and we are limited in our travel food offerings. We also must plan out our trip carefully to ensure that we will have a place to open the slides and hook up.
With an RV, we can stop anywhere as I mentioned. While finding an RV park would be nice, we are able to be spontaneous in the planning. But it is a big vehicle. It uses more gas and if we want to travel on smaller roads, we would need a second vehicle. I’m sure you have seen the coaches towing small cars. So even with the all-in-one, we would probably still need to tow.
Finally, the cost of an RV is much higher than a truck and trailer. There is a premium on the convenience.
All of these things we considered before and landed on the trailer but we hadn’t actually lived the road life. The RV offers a lot of enticement. We are driving a lot and it would be great to utilize that time more. But RVs feel like travel not home (at least, the ones we could afford). I’m not sure I’m ready to give up my little rolling home.
Around and around, we go again. Have you traveled long term? Did you have a trailer or an RV? Which would you choose?