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Hotels vs RVs: Vacations in the USA

Depending on how you like to travel, you may enjoy hotel vacations more than staying in an RV.

If you’re weighing your options, you’re not alone.

We’ve collected all the info to help you decide if traveling the country in a motor home would be fun for you. Maybe you’ll decide that staying in a hotel sounds more leisurely.

Let’s get into it!

How Do Hotels Compare to RVs?

If you already own an RV, traveling in your rig might be the easiest way to get around. You can have more flexible travel plans because you won’t have to worry about hotel availability. You’ll also save on nightly rates, as campsites usually cost less than rooms. 

Bringing an RV also comes with its own costs, like fuel and maintenance. You won’t have to worry about dumping your waste tank or hooking up properly if you stay in a hotel instead. Each method of travel comes with pros and cons.

You can rent a motor home if you don’t already own one. This might be more expensive than renting rooms along the way, but the lifelong memories you’ll make might make the price tag worth it.

One often overlooked perk of traveling in an RV is that you’ll get to stay in unique places. You can camp in national parks or overnight along the ocean. Hotels can’t always be found near every destination, but an RV will usually get you there.

Pro Tip: If you’re considering combining an RV trip with a hotel experience, uncover Can You Sleep in Your RV Overnight in a Hotel Parking Lot?

Hotel exterior
Staying at a hotel can be a relaxing and luxurious experience when on the road.

The Benefits of Hotel Vacations

When traveling to a big city, we usually find booking a room easier than navigating busy streets with our rig. Hotels can give you a quiet, comfortable place to stay right downtown. Using a loyalty or rewards program can help you rack up points toward free or discounted stays in the future.

Staying at a hotel can feel safer than camping in a remote area or a Walmart parking lot. An extra layer of security can help you sleep soundly on comfortable furniture. 

Some motels have great amenities. We love staying at spots with room service and swimming pools. You can also find places with fitness centers and laundry services. Many hotels even offer complimentary breakfast. It can be nice to take a break from cooking in the RV.

But the best part might be the housekeeping. You won’t have to wash the sheets or vacuum the floor. It’ll be taken care of for you. This can keep your vacation truly relaxing. 

Pro Tip: Can You Park Your RV at a Hotel?

The Disadvantages of Hotel Vacations

We’ve mentioned some of the benefits of hotel vacations. Now we should dive into some of the disadvantages. Booking a room can get expensive, depending on your location. You might not be able to find a spot to stay in your price range. 

If you plan to visit remote spots like national parks, you’ll probably have to drive to and from the park every day and waste precious vacation time in the car. If toting around young children, this might prove especially difficult. 

Kids can also make it tough to find a room with enough space. You might need to book a suite or adjoining rooms to have enough room for your family, which can get expensive. Hotel accommodations don’t usually have a lot of space to spread out, so your family might get a case of cabin fever if you don’t head out enough. 

Pro Tip: Combine RVing and a hotel stay with this Ultimate Airstream Hotel Guide.

Camping in RV
Enjoy the freedom that comes with taking a vacation in an RV.

The Benefits of RV Vacations

On the other hand, staying in an RV will give your family the entire great outdoors to spread out in. Feeling cooped up? No problem! Just stroll through the scenic campsite or sit at the picnic table with a glass of tea. 

When traveling in a mobile home, you won’t have to live out of a suitcase the entire time. You also won’t have to load and unload the car at each destination because everything you need will be self-contained. RVers even get to vacation with their dogs, which is much trickier in a hotel.

Traveling in your rig can also save you a lot of money on accommodations. In most places, camping is much cheaper than renting a room. If you want to visit somewhere remote, you can camp on-site rather than drive in each day. We also love the flexibility our RV offers instead of being locked into hotel reservations. 

The Disadvantages of RV Vacations

Every form of travel also has some downsides. Unlike hotel stays, you’ll need to do all the cleaning yourself, which can put a damper on those relaxing vacation vibes. There’s never a shortage of chores in a mobile home, from doing the dishes to dumping the sewage. 

Driving a big rig can be difficult and isn’t very efficient. Gas prices can add up, and the slower speeds mean it’ll take you longer to get there. Research shows that RVs are up to 50% less efficient than cars. You won’t be able to sneak into town driving an RV. And once it’s parked and hooked up, moving it can be an ordeal.

You might miss out on some city attractions when traveling in a mobile home. It’ll be tough to navigate busy city streets but impossible to park your rig. If you want to explore the heart of a big metropolis, an RV vacation probably isn’t the best way to do it. 

So, Which Is Better, Hotels or RVs?

We think both hotel and RV vacations can be a blast! Ultimately, it depends on what you want to do and where you want to go. Take a motor home for your next trip to a national park, but consider booking a room for your next visit to a city. And remember that while it can be pricey, renting a motor home can give you a taste of freedom without a considerable investment.

No matter where you decide to stay for your next trip, we hope it’s a good one!

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below: