RV vs Travel Trailer: Pros and Cons

camper trailer parked in the woods

Both the RV and the travel trailer offer the chance to travel the country freely and at your leisure. Both are serious financial investments, and careful consideration is important as you decide which way to go.

There's no simple answer as to which is best, but with an understanding of the pros and cons of both, you'll be equipped to make the right choice.

The RV: Pros and Cons

An RV is a motorized or towable recreational vehicle that provides transportation and temporary living quarters for travel. The RV does not include a mobile home. Most RVs include a kitchen, refrigerator, bathroom, shower, dinette, sleeping area and other living and storage space.

Many RVs offer easily maintained floors, a dedicated work area and a reconfigurable dining area. RVs can be easier to handle than the travel trailer and require no special training, although practice is important before your first trip.

RVs tend to be easier to back into campgrounds than travel trailers, and they're generally more affordable. They average between $4,000 and $15,000 plus the cost of the travel vehicle, or coach.

The most popular version is the slide-in model, which holds its resale value well and provides the greatest amount of living space.

On the downside, RVs are large and are not fuel-efficient, so your gas cost per trip should be considered. Another negative can be the storage space. Larger RVs are difficult to store in your driveway or on your street.

There are storage facilities in most cities, but the storage cost should be taken into consideration.

The Travel Trailer: Pros and Cons

Travel trailers are hitched to the back of trucks, vans or heavy cars, depending on the size of the travel trailer. They tend to be more expensive than RVs. Travel trailers provide the ability to enjoy the experience of camping without being exposed to the elements.

They can frequently be stored in a garage, allowing you to avoid the extra storage expense. Travel trailers can house a small family or couple comfortably but would be too small for a large family. They tend to be smaller and lighter than RVs.

They are more fuel-efficient than most RVs, however, due to their size and weight.

One of the cons to the travel trailer is it does not include the same level of amenities as the RV. The smaller travel trailers don't offer an inside cooking or eating area, and may not even have a toilet or shower.

Longer travel trailers can be difficult to maneuver, don't complete turns well and require special driving and backing up techniques.

As you hone in on your final decision, take financing into consideration and decide if you want to go with a new or a used vehicle. Consider how, when and where you want to use your RV or travel trailer. Look at various floor plans and decide which one best meets your needs.

Take your time, visit local dealers and search the Internet. Before you purchase, consider renting the vehicle of your choice and taking several trips in it to make sure that it's what you really want.