Skip to Content

UPDATE: 7 Reasons to Avoid RV Travel Trailers

RV travel trailers are the most diverse grouping among all RV classes. However, one thing is clear; they’re the most popular type of camper on the road.

From 14 feet to 30 feet, travel trailers serve many purposes. They can accommodate large family travel, and travel trailers can also get people way off grid. Best of all, they’re the most affordable RV on the road.

However, today we’re sharing seven general reasons you may want to avoid purchasing an RV travel trailer.

Before you invest in a new toy, we caution you to read the following points.

Young woman having fun in her travel trailer.

What is an RV Travel Trailer?

Travel Trailers are the most common RVs on the road. They have one distinct identifier – a bumper hitch tows RV travel trailers. This is the hitch on the very back of a truck (unlike 5th wheel RVs towed with a hitch in the bed of the truck).

Travel trailers often look very boxy. They can have many slides or no slides. Some have two wheels and others have six wheels. A teardrop camper and a travel trailer toy haulers are all found within this segment.

They’re diverse to say the least.

Here are the reasons you may want to avoid travel trailers.

If You Must: These are the best Travel Trailer Brands.

1 .Travel Trailers are Mass Produced

Due to travel trailer popularity, RV manufacturers are incentivized to produce these units on a large scale.

If you can believe it, manufacturers assemble these RVs in less than a day. Many of the workers get paid by unit-completion, and not by the hour.

When you put these puzzle pieces together, it’s easy to identify why many RV travel trailers don’t stand the test of time.

Indeed, Class A, B, and C RVs are also assembled quickly. Their higher price point, however, increases (slightly) the manufacturing quality.

In our experience, traditional travel trailers are notorious for using the cheapest quality build-materials.

2. The Value of Travel Trailers Dimish is Rapidly

Unless you have a charming vintage trailer or a molded fiberglass trailer, chances are, your run-of-the-mill unit will lose value faster than virtually any other RV type.

The problem is three-fold:

  • There Are LOTS of used units for sale
  • New Units are relatively inexpensive
  • Travel trailers don’t hold up well

On the upside, if you want to buy a used travel trailer, you can usually find a great deal.

3. Less Towing Safety from Travel Trailers

When it comes to towing, a travel trailer has fewer safety features than its 5th wheel older brother.

Sure, you can buy sway control, an equalizer hitch, or upgraded trailer brakes. Regardless – it will never be a safe as a 5th wheel.

This is why semi-trucks use the same hitching mechanisms as 5th wheel RVs.

If your travel trailer is 16 feet or under, towing will likely be less stressful. Long travel trailers give me the chills just thinking about pulling them next to big trucks on the interstate.

4. Not a Ton of Exterior Storage

I always get hate-mail when I mention the lack of exterior storage in travel trailers. I understand you do have exterior storage in your travel trailer.

The fact is, if exterior storage is crucial to you (bikes, kayaks, outdoor gear), you’re better off buying a 5th wheel or Class A RV.

5th wheels have raised interior rooms. This design feature provides ample, long & tall) exterior storage.

#5 If Unused, Travel Trailers Decline Quickly

Touching on our #1 reason to avoid travel trailers, the lack of build quality leads to easy degradation.

Leaks seem to have more quickly in these units.

It’s harder to keep rodents out. (Here are a few tips if you’re worried)

We’ve probably all seen travel trailers rotting in a nearby yard.

You have to stay on top of the maintenance. Otherwise, they’ll slip out of control.

Again, it’s not that other RVs don’t degrade. It’s merely that the low cost of travel trailers makes them less of a priority to upkeep. Fewer owners will spend $300/month on enclosed storage.

  • The high cost of motorhomes typically makes an owner more attentive.
  • The easy storage of Class B RVs keeps them out of the elements at a low price.

Agree or disagree, but travel trailer degradation is visible in every town in America.

#6 No Access While Driving

Unlike Class A, B and C RVs, you can’t access the living space of a travel trailer while driving.

Why is this a bummer? Well, let me name the ways. If you’re hungry, thirsty, have to go pee (or worse #2), or simply want to lay on a couch….you can’t do that in a travel trailer while driving.

#7 Can’t Make a Quick Overnight Parking Escape

Like we mentioned in #6, there’s no cab access from the living space of a travel trailer.

If you get spooked at an overnight parking spot, you can’t quickly crank up the engine and escape. This is a huge safety short-coming with travel trailers.

It’s Not All Bad, Though!

Don’t get us wrong; we like travel trailers. In fact, we’ve owned two!

Here are the reasons a travel trailer may be a good fit for you:

  • Many floor plan options
  • Affordable
  • Good for Boondocking
  • Few, if any, campground limitation
  • Cheap to buy used

Here are 5 of the best travel trailer brands on the market.

Explore the Most Stunning Free Campsites in America

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 that 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:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Andrew Kotlarz says:

    Amazing, you like everyone else miss the most important difference between trailers and RV’s.
    If you have an RV you travel in comfort if you have a trailer you’re buckled down in a car seat for umpteen number of hours… And since getting there is half the fun and the time…. The choice is easy….

  2. Brian Cooke says:

    I prefer a travel trailer because I dont like having to tow a vehicle behind or rent a vehicle wherever I’m camping, I do like the older campers though, they are heavier, so they tow better and they are just built better than the newer ones

  3. Lynn L Blake says:

    We love our little travel trailer! I want to be able to unhitch and drive off in our truck, not try to drive a giant RV into mountains or historic areas. Bonus, we can fit in most tent sites and have been allowed to stay in parking lots with no RV overnight signs.

  4. Bert Newman says:

    I would place Outdoor RV in the top five. Another high quality mfg head and shoulders above the majority brands.

  5. HARVEY THOMAS says:

    My wife is paranoid about boondocking, but finding spots at rv parks is difficult. I hate only being able to get my trailer out 2 or 3 times a summer.

  6. Alva Shoemaker says:

    VERY useful article; THANKS for sharing your knowledge…(can you share any advice when buying a USED travel trailer? AGAIN…THANKS…. PS:your enthusiasm’s catching & encouraging 👍👍😃

  7. Bshort says:

    A correct point made regarding low end trailers being rapidly produced but completely off key with the remaining points. The topic is about travel trailers but comparing apples, oranges, and potatoes when talking about access to the vehicle, storage, etc. If this was the case you should have titled the article- camping: just go buy some type of motor home.

  8. Bob says:

    Can’t agree with your thoughts and opinions about travel trailers! We’ve owned 5 such units since 1978. Aren’t fifth wheel RVs also mass produced? Is it possible to get into the living areas of a fifth wheel unit while still continue moving? Can you really say a travel trailer declines in price and condition any faster than a motor home or fifth wheel? Explain what is not as safe about a travel trailer vs motor homes or fifth wheels. Some travel trailers don’t have a lot of exterior storage. But don’t we have tow vehicles with storage on board that is occupied by a hitch in a fifth wheel towing pickup. My travel trailer can be towed by a pickup, full sized van, or a large SUV. We’ve pulled our travel trailers to southern Colorado, to Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Guelph, Ontario, to Lebanon, Tennessee, to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and many places in between. NEVER a safety issue. We’re still using a 35′ Newmar Country Star towable bought new in 1998. Wouldn’t trade our Country Star.
    And that motorhome is a pain if you’ve set up and want to go to dinner or go sight seeing.
    Face it, one way or another, you’re usually going to tow something.

  9. Dan Stroud says:

    We are senior citizens and switched to a travel trailer several years ago because all of our 5th wheels required that we climb stairs to go to bed but worse we had a couple 5th wheels that required a step or two down just to go to the bathroom at night and old people usually do that a lot. we both have bad knees and once up into our travel trailer everything is on the same level. I’ll admit 5th whls pull much nicer and more storage but there’s a lot of secure storage in my pickup bed with a retractable cover.

  10. Gandalf says:

    One of your observations is incorrect. The reason a fifth wheel/kingpin setup is used by commercial haulers is not because it’s safer. Its because you can haul more weight. Yes I own a TT. They’re not a cheap throw away thing like you’re suggesting either. Just because something is mass produced doesn’t mean it’ll fall apart once you park it in your driveway. Cars, trucks,and motorcycles are all mass produced as well.

  11. Donovan Troy Volk says:

    Cheap to buy used where are these used cheap trailers at ? Maybe by your budget if you purchase a quality trailer they are not cheap , yes fact they drop in value quickly so does a new car !!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Crap article

  13. Agree with most of your points – however in Australia, caravans are common & most are well made. The most common length is 20’6 (floor length). Our Bushtracker is a very sturdy off-roader (each one made to order). Also, you must travel with your seat-belt on at all times!

  14. Jerry says:

    Thx..appreciated the info.

  15. Micki says:

    If you take care of your pull behind. It will last. We lived in are camping no slideouts for 3 years. With 2 boys in school. People say how nice are camper is. For what year it is 2003. Powler. If you love it. Have fun

  16. Phil says:

    How about all the mechanical issues RVs have? Starter going out, over heating, and countless others things. Not to mention the biggest problems for RV owners,
    YOUR stuck at your campsite unless you have a TOW vehicle. So if you don’t want a tow trailer, why is it ok to have a tow vehicle? Had a RV, sold it for a trailer and am much happier. Just like an RV, you still stop to pee unless your the passenger.

  17. Jose T. Mercado says:

    In the Era of public disorder and rioting
    Is it not wise to have a pickup truck and a medium sized model of Home comfort. What would it cost?
    If my location is burning
    Or tense, I could move my home to a quiet surroundings. YA?
    Jose T. Mercado
    Atx 78745

  18. Dale E Francis says:

    To be truthful camping and traveling across the country and looking for that perfect spot isn’t all it is cracked up to be. 1st of all you have to always be concerned about your transportation needs. Your brake downs away from home can and is a real pain. Expenses is number one,time consuming #2. You may end up waiting up to two or three weeks to just to get a simple problem fixed.Then there is nature itself you have to be concerned about. Spider,snakes,wind storms up to fifty mph. That’s what I call rock and roll. Yea you get told about all the glamor and excitement, but no one tells you about the bad that gose with it.

  19. Fred says:

    The author of this article is full of shit…

  20. Mr Wonderful. MN says:

    So true.
    We bought a 2022 Travel trailer and 40ft destination trailer last May 2022.
    I declined to reveal the make and model. In six months we had like seven warranty claims, most of them were reimbursed.
    I would probably not buy another one.
    Bad construction and build issues and poor quality.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Why bash trailers. Have camped for 25 years. Pop up, trailer, class c and class a. Now have a trailer again. Require maintenance like anything. Totally disagree with this article.

  22. J Connelly says:

    I believe it’s against the law to travel in any moving vehicle with out being bucked up, so if what your saying about laying around or moving around in any trailer while it’s moving is not true.

  23. Leonardo Carmen says:

    Thanks for helpful information. I am in the process of buying an RV trailer or Class A,B or C

    Thanks to thia info I will make a better choice

  24. Annie says:

    Check out Safari Condo Alto trailers. They don’t lose value as you described. They are also built better than most RVs.

  25. MARCELLUS D BELL says:

    The comment always made by motorized RV owners is “I can get up and go to the bathroom, get something to eat, or just stretch”. You should be sitting with your seatbelt securely fastened! Or is it okay to move freely around the cabin once your RV is in motion? That a BS reason and you should apologize and promote safe RV travel. Shame on you.

  26. K The Copywriter says:

    Very shabby article. Opinionated and not factual. For one, no one should want to lay on the couch during driving. For two, who gets so scared in a parking spot that they can’t step out and around to their front seat and drive off? Grow some balls.

  27. Carl Wills says:

    Have owned 5th wheel and pull behind trailers for 40 years. Disagree with most of your points. Current Coleman 6 years old is first rate.

  28. Dusty says:

    What I notice are the sides sperating so little support to hold them together .. How do you stop sides from seoerating? ANY SUGGESTIONS..

  29. Chad says:

    Whom ever wrote this about travel trailers just hates them. I could write a better article in my sleep.

  30. Joe says:

    “This is why semi-trucks use the same hitching mechanisms as 5th wheel RVs”

    While I get your point semi trucks and fifth wheels have been around far longer than RV’s and fifth wheels where created for semi trucks.

    Your statement should read “This is why 5th wheel RV’s use the same hitching mechanisms as semi-trucks.”

  31. Tom C says:

    Pro’s and con’s for all RV classes, just depends on how you camp, but I do disagree with some of yours.

    RV’s have seatbelts for a reason. I do believe semi trucks and 5th wheel came before the RV. PRO not having to take your campsite down when you need/want to go somewhere that’s unless you bring that TOW’d vehicle. No mention of storage in a class B or what do you do when you have engine problems and your home is now in the shop.

    Try to be a little more open minded as people’s choices are different based on what they like to do in their RV.

  32. Casey McDaugale says:

    Y r they free

  33. Jason Hall says:

    A travel trailer is not by definition bumper pulled. Gooseneck and fifth-wheel travel trailers…. It’s in the freaking name. 🙄

  34. Thomas says:

    Where are these discounted used trailers at? The ones I see they want what they paid for on 3-4 year old trailers. They know they got ripped off the last couple years and won’t take a loss.
    That’s their problem not the people they’re trying to sell it to.