How Much Do RVs Cost?
If you love to travel, heading out in an RV is a great way to save money in the long run, because you’re not paying for accommodations along the way.
But, it takes money to get started, of course. And the RV cost depends on what type you choose and what features you want.
How much do RVs cost? It’s a good question with a complicated answer – and we’ll do our best to cover as much ground on the topic as we can for you.
Unless you can come across some kind of miracle, once-in-lifetime opportunity that involves a close friend or a relative, expect to spend at least $10,000 to get up and running.
What’s the high end? Well, believe it or not there are some luxury RVs on today’s market with a sticker price of around half a million dollars! Most of the folks we know are looking for something that’s not extravagant, though. They expect a certain level of comfort but mainly something reliable, practical and safe.
Different Types of RVs and Their Price Ranges
What kind of RV are you looking for? They fall into a few different categories, and that means different price ranges. We’ll give you a quick rundown on the different kinds, starting with the high-end:
Class A Motorhomes
These are luxurious big rigs that look like buses. They’re motorized, self-contained, and comfortable enough to live in year round.
Class A RVs are typically anywhere from 20 to 45 feet in length, and can sleep 8 to 10 people. These rigs run on either diesel or gas, and aren’t what you’d call “fuel-efficient” by any means. Dig deep into your pockets! If you buy new, these RVs cost starting around $100,000 and can be five times that amount!
Class B Motorhomes
Sometimes called sleeper vans or camper vans, Class B Motorhomes are the smallest of the type that have their own motor. They usually have a small kitchen, a toilet, a bed, and some storage space … but not much. Class Bs are agile, so they can get you into some cool, tight spaces. These RVs cost $40,000 to $175,000 brand new.
Class C Motorhomes
Built on a regular truck chassis, these are pretty easy to drive and get a lot more miles to a gallon than the behemoth Class A campers. They’re a lot less expensive, too, and many of them are loaded with comforts. As for how much these RVs cost, you might find a used Class C for $15,000 or less… but a new one can run as much as $150,000.
Fifth Wheel RVs
Fifth Wheels are secured to the bed of a full-sized pickup truck rather than a hitch, so they are more stable and don’t sway as much.
They can have lots of room inside – there’s usually a bedroom, kitchen and bathroom plus a living room with slide-outs so it gets larger once you’re parked. They range in price from $20,000 to $50,000.
Fifth wheels are potentially the best option for a family RV.
If you’ve got a hefty-enough pickup, SUV or van with the right kind of hitch, you can pull one of these no problem. Some have all the amenities that a motorized RV has while others are more modest.
Pop Up Campers
These compact travel trailers fold down for travel or storage and have canvas sides that have to be pulled out for use. Frankly, pop-ups are not our favorite, but many people swear by them, and they are an affordable option, with prices generally from $10,000 to $25,000.
Small and compact, these little guys get their name from their shape. They are lightweight, too, and usually have enough sleeping space for two people and a simple kitchen in the back. They’re for people who don’t mind small spaces, and they are great if you have a budget of $5,000 to $20,000.
Factors That Affect RV Prices
Within these different categories there are lots of factors that can affect RV cost.
First off, you can save significantly by shopping for used rather than new. Even by finding one that’s just a few years old you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars. (Be careful, though. If the RV has considerable wear and tear, you can end up spending so much repairing or replacing items that it cancels out your savings.)
Be mindful of mileage, too. If it’s a motorhome, how hard was it driven and for how long? It’s always a great idea to have a mechanic check it out under the hood, if possible.
Something else to consider is the condition of the tires, which aren’t cheap to replace. And even if they’re not worn, they could be out of date, which means they may have deteriorated to the point of being unsafe.
How rare is the RV? That affects price, too. If it’s a particular make or model that’s highly popular, the price will be higher simply because of that demand – and sometimes it’s inflated not because of the quality of the RV itself but simply because the manufacturer is a famous “name brand.”
Other RV Cost Considerations
The floor plan makes a difference in terms of RV cost, too. It’s likely that the more space you have for queen-sized or king-sized beds, full bathrooms, full kitchens, and larger dining and living spaces, the more money you’ll pay for your RV. The same goes for extras.
If you’re looking to customize your new RV down to the specific types of flooring, décor, and colors as well as whether it comes with the latest and greatest TV or those solar panels or that fancy generator, expect to add thousands of dollars to the cost.
Another thing to consider is the time of year you’re buying. The worst time to buy an RV is right before camping season begins because the price will be higher, so keep the calendar in mind when you’re planning your purchase.
We hope none of these scares you off from shopping for the RV of your dreams. Once you find it, and lay down your initial investment, it can provide you a lifetime of rewards. Happy hunting! Be safe on the roads…
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Would like to see you review models like the Aliner pop up
Good information, but you didn’t mention our favorite, truck campers! We are new to RV’ing and are quite interested in a truck camper. Keep the posts coming!
Could you review a teardrop trailer alternative called the Runaway Camper. They have a starting price of about $5,000.00 Thanks!
Suggest you emphasize more the need to double check tires if a person decides to buy used. The el cheapo travel trailer we acquired this summer had tires where the tread looked great but when we checked the date code it turned out they were old enough to vote. We were willing to spend the money for new tires because the price for the trailer was sufficiently low, but we made sure we had two spares with us when we went back to drag the beast the 100 miles home. Some RVs don’t move much so tires don’t wear out — they simply dry rot and then fall apart with little warning.
Very good point, also check / replace / grease wheel bearings as needed. There’s no fun in being stranded on the side of the road after dark or on the weekend. (ask how I know)
I think you’re a little off on the 5th wheels. I’ve seen them as high as $140,000…
Yeah, especially the Host Mammoth because it looks awesome!