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8 Advantages of RV Travel

RV on the road in the mountains
Allianz - RV on the road in the mountains

Recreational vehicle (RV) travel is capturing Americans’ imagination like never before. The open road, the freedom of driving, and the chance to explore the nation’s wealth of national parks and scenic roads all appeal to a new generation of RVers. We’ll look at the reasons RV vacations have become wildly popular.

But first, we’ll answer a question we hear often: Do you need to buy travel insurance for your RV vacation? It’s always a good idea to protect your trip with insurance, but you need to understand what’s covered. Trip cancellation/interruption benefits are key: They can reimburse you for non-refundable, pre-paid trip costs, such as RV rental costs and campground reservation fees, if you must cancel or cut short your trip for a covered reason.

Look for a low-cost travel insurance plan that’s suitable for domestic travel, and check the maximum trip length for your plan before you buy. Get a quote from Allianz Global Assistance.

1. RV travel is cheaper.

Many first-time RVers are attracted by the idea of low-cost travel: no hotels, no airfare, few restaurant meals. However, you will have to pay for gas, insurance, RV park fees and renting or buying the RV itself.

The average cost per day to rent an RV starts around $55 for a trailer and around $125 for a larger motorhome.1 Take a look at Outdoorsy, an RV rental marketplace, to get a sense of how much you might pay. A super-swanky, 45-foot motorhome might rent for $500 per day plus fees; or you could get an older Winnebago for under $100 per day.

The charge for an overnight stay at a full-service RV park usually runs between $35 and $50, with higher prices for places that are in really desirable spots or in high demand. Still, an RV park is an great way to stay in a place where hotels cost hundreds. At Camp Gulf, you can park your RV under a palm tree, and right on the sand of beautiful Miramar Beach on the Gulf Coast of Florida. At Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina, enjoy beachfront dining, poolside cabanas and watersports.

2. RV travel gives you total flexibility.

If you want the most flexible vacation possible, RV travel is a good choice. It offers complete freedom and a welcome respite from being tethered to a schedule. Change direction on a whim, and if you like what you see, you might want to linger. Just be sure to check the maximum trip length on your travel insurance plan, so you don’t lose protection.

Many RV parks offer long-term or extended-stay deals, so your nightly rate can be cheaper if you stay longer. Make sure you get a full-hookup site, so you can connect to water, electricity and sewer.

3. You can carry everything you need with you.

A pile of books. Your favorite coffee mug. Board games and video games. A cabinet packed with snacks. RV travel allows you to bring the comforts of home anywhere you go, which is a relief for people who struggle to fit the essentials into an airplane carry-on.

Just be aware that packing too much stuff into your RV can be a safety hazard. Every RV has a cargo carrying capacity — you can find this number on a label, typically inside a cabinet or closet. The cargo carrying capacity is the weight of everything — people and stuff — you can safely carry in your RV. Exceeding capacity is dangerous, as it can strain your brakes, axles and tires, and potentially cause an accident.2 

4. It’s a unique way to connect with nature.

It’s lovely to fall asleep to the nightsong of crickets and the hooting of owls, but tent camping may feel a little too close to the wild (not to mention waking up with a sore back). Staying in an RV lets you enjoy your natural surroundings and sleep comfortably.

If RV parks feel too busy, you can try boondocking: RV camping without hookups. Just make sure you understand the rules: Get permission to park your RV at your chosen location, and leave the site just as you found it. You may want to get a low-cost membership in Harvest Hosts, a network of more than 1,100 farms, orchards, ranches and wineries that allow RVs to stay free for a night.

5. You’ll get closer to your loved ones — including pets.

RV travel is ideal for family vacations. Not only are you saving money on meals and hotel rooms, but campground environments are designed to allow children to explore freely and have fun. KOA campgrounds, for instance, often feature pools, playgrounds, volleyball courts, bonfires, crafts and more.

RV travel also allows you to bring pets on your vacation instead of boarding them. However, you can’t expect every dog (or cat) to love the experience — at least right away. Allow your furry friend to explore the RV, at their own pace, when it’s parked. Begin with a few short trips before you set off on a weeklong adventure. And never leave your pet alone inside the RV unless you’ve taken precautions to ensure safety.

6. RV travel is ideal for social distancing.

At a time when people are itching to travel while avoiding crowds, RVing is an appealing alternative to plane or cruise travel. It’s self-contained, so you don’t have to visit public restrooms. You can cook, eat, wash up and sleep in your own space.

That being said, it’ll be your responsibility to keep the RV clean — and that can be tough when multiple people (and pets) are sharing a small space. Make sure you use the right cleaning products to disinfect surfaces without scratching them. Sanitizing the holding tanks may be a yucky job, but it’s essential to keep everyone safe and avoid noxious odors. Take a look at this guide to RV cleaning to get a sense of what’s required.

7. You can try out a minimalist lifestyle.

Maybe you (like the rest of us) read Marie Kondo’s guide to decluttering and never quite succeeded at ditching possessions that don’t spark joy. RV travel forces you to decide what’s truly important and leave the rest behind. In the course of your trip, you may find that the memories you make are far more valuable than the possessions you’ve accumulated.

8. RV travel puts you in the driver’s seat.

Do traditional modes of travel make you feel anxious or frustrated? If you dislike dealing with long airport delays, crowded trains, coughing passengers and crying babies, then an RV vacation is perfect for you. Sure, there’s an occasional traffic jam, but most of the time, you’re in control of your journey.

Just remember that trip insurance from Allianz Global Assistance can provide essential coverage for your RV trip. While it won't cover the RV if it's in an accident, travel insurance can reimburse any lost prepaid expenses if you need to interrupt or cancel your trip for a covered reason. Best of all, you get the peace of mind to really enjoy your vacation.

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Jul 30, 2020