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RV Rules: Your 10-Year-Old Camper Is Out of Luck

You’ve found the RV resort of your dreams, and you’ve reached out to book a spot for your next trip. But for owners of some rigs, it all falls apart when park management asks one simple question – how old is your RV?

The RV 10-year rule can significantly affect how and where those in older RVs travel.

It’s crucial to understand before buying an older RV. So let’s take a closer look at this rule, how it came to be, and how to avoid it.

What Is the RV 10-Year Rule? 

The RV 10-year rule is pretty simple. The 10-year rule prohibits RVers with a rig older than a decade from staying there in parks that choose to implement it. The idea is that many RVs older than 10 years may not be in the best condition.

Parks are interested in having some quality control on the rigs that stay there. This prevents customers from ending up next to a very old RV that could ruin their stay.

Therefore, the 10-year rule came as an effort to enforce minimum quality standards on RVs for the good of all park neighbors.

Do RV Parks Really Turn Older RVs Away?

In some cases, they do! But it shouldn’t be a surprise that leaves anyone in the lurch. Most parks that enforce the 10-year rule are very clear about it on their website reservation form or by phone. It’s a bad idea to try to get around the rule.

Some try by either lying about their rigs or simply showing up and hoping management won’t deny entry.

It’s important to remember there’s a whole universe of places to stay with no such rules. They’ll welcome you with open arms no matter the age of your RV. 

The majority of RV parks and resorts are privately owned establishments. This gives them reasonably broad latitude in setting their own rules about their guests and residents, beyond particular legally protected characteristics.

Certain parks have long been restricted to certain styles or types of rigs (like Airstream-only campgrounds).

PRO TIP: Restrictions by age are also legal

How Do You Get Around the 10-Year RV Rule?

As we mentioned before, the one thing you should not do to get around the 10-year RV rule is to simply ignore the rule. Don’t show up at a park, hoping to either go unnoticed or negotiate your way into an entry. This unnecessarily puts you and the RV park management in a bad spot.

The crucial thing to know about the 10-year RV rule is that, in most cases, it’s not a hard and fast one. 

Remember the reason for the rule – to prevent very old RVs from filling up an otherwise nice park. If you have a rig that’s more than a decade old but still in good condition, you should reach out to the RV park’s management. Explain the situation, and ask for an exception to the rule.

They may ask for pictures of your RV or other information to help verify the condition. In many cases, this is enough to be granted an exception, provided your rig is in as good condition as you think it is. 

Another great way to get around the 10-year RV rule is to simply stay at a place that doesn’t have one! You’ll rarely, if ever, run into this kind of rule at county, state, or national parks. Plenty of private campgrounds don’t use it either. You may not find as many amenities or enjoy that luxury resort feel. However, you should have no trouble finding a place to stay with your older rig. 

Does The 10-Year Rule Apply to Travel Trailers?

In most cases, it will. Again, it all comes back to the motivation for the rule. If campers don’t want to stay next to an old motorhome, they won’t want to stay next to an old travel trailer.

But the same exceptions apply, as well. An older, well-kept travel trailer will, in many cases, have no trouble granting an exception. 

Should I Buy a 10-Year-Old Motorhome?

Buying a decade-old motorhome presents a few challenges newer models don’t. While the 10-year rule might force you to alter your travel plans on occasion slightly, you’ll be able to find exceptions in many cases. Plus, you’ll always have access to numerous campgrounds without any such rule. 

The other aspects of owning an older RV aren’t as easily avoided. For example, you may encounter higher expenses for repairs and maintenance or have difficulty finding parts if they’re no longer commonly available. You’ll likely also have to deal with significantly outdated technology or brave the potential issues and expenses of updating it for modern RVing. 

Still, buying a 10-year-old motorhome may not be a bad choice for some. Those looking to RV on a budget will find more lower-priced options when considering decade-old rigs. That could make the difference between being able to RV or not.

Some may also simply enjoy the retro style of these motorhomes and not care as much about staying at the best and fanciest RV resorts.

Are Older RVs Worth It?

Many factors go into whether or not to buy an older motorhome, far beyond the 10-year rule. Additionally, there are many things to consider, like the initial cost, maintenance, updates or modifications, and comfort and style.

While not the most important, the 10-year rule should be among them to allow you to develop backup plans for where to stay. Weigh your pros and cons before deciding if purchasing an older RV is right for you and your travel plans.

Do you have a 10-year-old camper?

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  1. Mike K says:

    I have a 2011 Mobile Suites 5,the wheel.
    Except for the front decal it’s not showing it’s age. Bought it three years ago for under $40k.

  2. keebler says:

    what next ? you are to old we don’t want YOU camping at our campground.

  3. Nan says:

    @keebler, Not likely. Right now age discrimination goes the other way: lots of private parks are 55+. Geezers only, no kids allowed.