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Harleys

Cost of getting into RVing

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Hello fellow RVers!  As the wife and I are fast approaching retirement, we have been spending countless hours researching every aspect of this new lifestyle. We have also been to many RV dealers and RV shows. There are so many RVs to choose from the choice is difficult. What we have learned is that many of the products that YouTube videos show and recommend that you update have a very hefty price tag. Lithium batteries, Internet boosters, etc. This is in addition to all of the standard items that do not come with your RV purchase.

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Really no answer to such a broad question. Everything depends on what type of RV, your plan to travel, how much "comfort" you need, and last, budget. Might be better to ask specific questions on your concerns. We have been doing this for 23 years and have altered on method several times, again, ask specific questions.

 

Good Luck.

 

Jim

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Are you planning on going full time or just part time? This would help determine what type of RV you will need and what accessories will be required. For most applications you will need at least a water filter , water regulator , and a couple of 25 foot fresh water hoses, 15 to 20 feet of sewer line and a wash out hose separate from your fresh water hoses, an Electrical Management System, a couple of outdoor chairs, beer, sunglasses and a hat, lol lol lol.

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Stick to purchasing on an as needed basis or you may end up with unnecessary items taking up valuable space and weight. You may need to plug in for power, you may need to dump tanks, you may need to use water, you may need battery power. Your personal needs and desires will arise after using the RV. If you have a plan or objective then go for it, which may be what the YouTube folks are sharing. Remember that it was their plan and not your need, though you may have similar ideas, and that they're turning out videos. 

Edited by rm.w/aview

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Answer..I have no idea. IMO the primary factor is the financial  consideration. How much can you spend,How much debt can you absorb. IMO that determines everything. We have  over  125K in the F-350 Truck and 2013 Montana 3402 Big sky both purchased new, We had the Ford  X plan discount and  30% off sticker on the Montana. That is just A truck and a Empty RV. Furnish the RV.. silverware, dishes , cook ware, toaster everything you have in your S &B you will need in the RV. Hitch,, EMT hoses. My guess another  5 K.It was over 2.5K for the Trailersaver BD3 hitch , rails, etc

What ever your  budget  allows  is what it will take get you on the road

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You certainly don't need lithium batteries or internet boosters.  We full-timed 16 years without them.  When we began we didn't have a t.v., computer or cell phone.  We had the telephone booth! :)  We got along just fine... even in the boonies.

As to what kind of RV to buy it depends on many factors..... for full-time travel; for weekends & a two-week annual vacation; for sitting still in a campground, etc. 

If you've never camped you might want to start out with a small travel trailer - approx. 27' or a 5th wheel.... if you already have a truck.  Then if you like it you can progress upward in size or type.  Everyone is different. It's up to you alone.  Don't fall for the 'you've got to have this and that' because you don't.

Don't put a big chunk of money into something before you know if you'll even like RVing.  Also, don't go into debt to do so.

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We all have different needs. We all need water, power, and tank dumping equipment but I never bought a hose to wash my dump hose; I just dumped black first then gray and that was enough. I do recommend an EMS to protect your electronics from over or under power surges. Lots of us do fine without a tire pressure management system. I never had lithium batteries; I did like my AGM ones because they required no maintenance but lots of people do fine with golf cart batteries. We only had a wifi booster in our first rig because we didn't yet know we didn't really need one. Do check the dates on the tires your rig comes with but other than that just go. You will learn what you need along the way and it may look nothing like what anyone else has. After all, in the rig we rented before buying we never even had a water filter but traveling for three weeks from Minnesota to the west coast and back we never got sick from drinking the water in our tank. Please, don't let anyone scare you into buying things YOU don't actually need. After all, "need" and "nice to have" are NOT the same thing.

Linda Sand

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Cardinal 2018 3825 FL fifth wheel, $68,000, 2019 F350, CC, long bed, diesel and hitch, $64,000. After that $132,000, other then a electric management system at almost $400, the rest seems inexpensive! Good Luck

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! Your question reminds me of one I was asked some years ago by a young couple. Their question was, how much does a house cost? The range in price of RV is nearly was wide. I have personally been in RVs that cost as little as $10,000 new to as much as $1,600,000. I know of some today that exceed $2millon. If you buy a good quality RV there is very little more that you need in order to use the RV. There are thousands of dollars of add-on items available and many of them have been suggested on these forums but at various times but as someone completely new to RV travels I suggest that you first set a budget and then find an RV to fit into that budget and start using it. There is no one RV that is best for everyone and none that everyone likes. If you are thinking of living in the RV full-time, I strongly recommend that you read a book or two on the subject before you buy any RV.

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Your first RV will be the "learning" RV, buy used. Once you determine your RV style then you can upgrade to what you think is your "final" RV. RV Boot Camp would be a good start.

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X2. Even then, your second one may not be exactly right. About the time you think you have it right, circumstances change, and something else makes more sense.

My suggestion is that you try to figure out what you will be doing and what sorts of things will be necessary for you to accomplish that. For example, if going up and down steps is difficult, you probably don't want a 5'er, since going from outside to the upper level is about a flight of stairs in a house. If you are going to stay in one place for several months at a time, a towable probably makes more sense than a MH.

Spend some time talking about what you want to do and how you want to live. Are you going to boondock a lot, some, or never? Are you going to be going to luxury RV resorts or will you be in COE parks? If you are going to boondock a lot you will be looking for solar, superior batteries, low-current appliances, and large tanks. If you are going to be at FHU sites all the time it doesn't matter how big the tanks are or how much current the appliances draw.

Next, get into every RV you can, no matter the type, condition, or cost. Imagine yourselves living in that. "Wash" the dishes, "make" the bed, "take" a shower, "watch" television, "prepare" a meal. It won't take you very long to figure out what floor plans will work for you and which ones won't.

Look at rigs that are several years old to see how they age. You can buy some very low-priced rigs that are ready for the junk yard after a few years of full-time use. That same money can buy you a used high end coach that will still look fairly new even after you've used it for several years. What's the difference? The quality of the construction.

Pay attention to the difference between Gross Vehicle Weight Rating and Unloaded Weight. That difference is how much weight you can carry while traveling. In the case of a MH it includes the weight of the people, pets, fuel, water, groceries, television, etc. Some vehicles don't have much difference between GVWR (the most the rig can weigh) and the empty (dry) weight. Also find out what is included in that empty weight. Sometimes a dealer will spec a trailer with NO propane tanks or batteries and only one air conditioner. That keeps the price low and the empty weight low. They then advertise it that way. When you want propane and a battery, the price and weight go up. Dealers also like to quote the empty (dry) weight to unsuspecting customers. They may even tell you it is towable by a half-ton pickup. While they are technically correct, by the time the trailer is loaded for actual use it is beyond the safe ability of the half-ton truck.

Travel trailers (bumper pulls) are the least expensive type of RV, and diesel pusher motor homes are the most expensive, at least as a general rule. Get used to the idea of something towing something else. A travel trailer of 5'er will require a truck. A MH can tow a fuel-efficient car or an off-road Jeep, or whatever else you want. You will have two or three engines to maintain with a MH, one or two with a towable. What's the extra engine? The generator.

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When you are imagining yourself in an RV think about 2-3 days of rain when you are inside all the time.

Do not believe any salesman, no matter what they say. Come back to us and verify.

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21 minutes ago, kb0zke said:

X2. Even then, your second one may not be exactly right. About the time you think you have it right, circumstances change, and something else makes more sense.

My suggestion is that you try to figure out what you will be doing and what sorts of things will be necessary for you to accomplish that. For example, if going up and down steps is difficult, you probably don't want a 5'er, since going from outside to the upper level is about a flight of stairs in a house. If you are going to stay in one place for several months at a time, a towable probably makes more sense than a MH.

Spend some time talking about what you want to do and how you want to live. Are you going to boondock a lot, some, or never? Are you going to be going to luxury RV resorts or will you be in COE parks? If you are going to boondock a lot you will be looking for solar, superior batteries, low-current appliances, and large tanks. If you are going to be at FHU sites all the time it doesn't matter how big the tanks are or how much current the appliances draw.

Next, get into every RV you can, no matter the type, condition, or cost. Imagine yourselves living in that. "Wash" the dishes, "make" the bed, "take" a shower, "watch" television, "prepare" a meal. It won't take you very long to figure out what floor plans will work for you and which ones won't.

Look at rigs that are several years old to see how they age. You can buy some very low-priced rigs that are ready for the junk yard after a few years of full-time use. That same money can buy you a used high end coach that will still look fairly new even after you've used it for several years. What's the difference? The quality of the construction.

Pay attention to the difference between Gross Vehicle Weight Rating and Unloaded Weight. That difference is how much weight you can carry while traveling. In the case of a MH it includes the weight of the people, pets, fuel, water, groceries, television, etc. Some vehicles don't have much difference between GVWR (the most the rig can weigh) and the empty (dry) weight. Also find out what is included in that empty weight. Sometimes a dealer will spec a trailer with NO propane tanks or batteries and only one air conditioner. That keeps the price low and the empty weight low. They then advertise it that way. When you want propane and a battery, the price and weight go up. Dealers also like to quote the empty (dry) weight to unsuspecting customers. They may even tell you it is towable by a half-ton pickup. While they are technically correct, by the time the trailer is loaded for actual use it is beyond the safe ability of the half-ton truck.

Travel trailers (bumper pulls) are the least expensive type of RV, and diesel pusher motor homes are the most expensive, at least as a general rule. Get used to the idea of something towing something else. A travel trailer of 5'er will require a truck. A MH can tow a fuel-efficient car or an off-road Jeep, or whatever else you want. You will have two or three engines to maintain with a MH, one or two with a towable. What's the extra engine? The generator.

Everything kb0zke said!!!!  Start with the basics:

  • Attend an RV Bootcamp or RV Dreams education rally
  • Buy used
  • Check out as many as you can 
  • If buying a trailer, make sure your tow vehicle can pull it safely.
  • Make sure your rig has sufficient cargo carrying capacity (CCC)
  • Make sure your tires are rated for the load and in good shape

You don’t have to start off with everything.  Start with the basics and grow from there.  Each of us started pretty much the same and learned what we wanted/needed as we went along.  Attending an RV Bootcamp or educational rally will broaden your knowledge base and help educate you tremendously while you are looking for a rig.

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If you are buying a towable make sure your truck can STOP the trailer. That's more important than towing it.

Linda

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11 hours ago, Harleys said:

Hello fellow RVers!  As the wife and I are fast approaching retirement, we have been spending countless hours researching every aspect of this new lifestyle. We have also been to many RV dealers and RV shows. There are so many RVs to choose from the choice is difficult. What we have learned is that many of the products that YouTube videos show and recommend that you update have a very hefty price tag. Lithium batteries, Internet boosters, etc. This is in addition to all of the standard items that do not come with your RV purchase.

Yes.  So what is your question?   

Same could be said of any house purchase.  Think back to when you bought your first house - did you know about everything and what needed to be added?  Or did you ask specific questions?

So make a list of specific questions we can answer for you.   And when you ask, it would help to tell us if you are going to Full-time or Part-time.  If part-time, long trips or short ones.  Are you keeping your house or selling?  Have you RVed before?

I've never watched a YouTube video on RVing.  Never felt the need.  Sounds like all of this is new - if so, I'd recommend you rent an RV for a couple of weeks with just the basic stuff in it and spend time seeing if this is what you really want to do.  All have the basic setup for power (12V and 120V systems), water, wastes, heat, refrigerator.   Until you have figured out the basics, don't bother with "extras".

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We went fulltime in 2013 and I tracked my startup expenses.  We bought used and, also, I included a bunch of stuff that was more annual expenses than startup expenses.   If you want to look at my info I suggest you not focus on what we paid, but rather on what we spent money on.  I focused on livability and safety.  I did a blog post about what it costs to get started fulltiming:  Here's the link.

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One of the essential steps to fulltiming is making a budget. You have to know what your income is going to be in order to decide if it's going to be achievable.

That being said there are things you can do to make up shortfalls such as work camping, boondocking etc.

For us the major decision was that we would be debt free when we set off. That influenced what RV we bought, what we towed and our daily camping cost average target.

Also we don't have to have the latest ad greatest things to enjoy what we are doing. Lithium batteries are high tech but lead acid can and will suffice if you aren't planning on being out boondocking as much as humanly possible. We don't find the need for solar when we only drycamp for about 4 days, what's wrong with running the generator now and then?

We shop at thrift stores for DVD's rather than spend big money on satellite TV. Out cell phones provide us with internet and some limited streaming.

The old saying is "Cut your cloth according to your means". You can and will enjoy fulltiming even without all the bells and whistles.. We stopped getting magazines and newspapers before we retired after we realized that all they are there for is to sell you things you don't need.

http://banbrv.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-top-10.html

But have fun and we'll see you out o n the road somewhere.

BnB

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WOW!! What a great response.. Thank you all so much for the information. I have a spent a great deal of time viewing YouTube videos on RVing and thought that life would be better if we start off upgrading. What a learning experience this has been. I will look into RV Bootcamps educational Rallies. Thank you all once again. 

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Many people suggest that you keep about $10,000 to spend the first year on repairs and upgrades, with the emphasis on repairs. Get the rig working correctly first, then spend money on making it better for your purposes. A solar system is more important to someone who boondocks a lot, while it isn't as necessary for someone who only stays in FHU parks.

Also, living with the coach for at least several months will point out to you what needs to be done first. You may know that certain things need attention immediately (and the price reflected that fact), but other things won't become obvious right away. This will also allow you to work out the best deals on parts and labor, and maybe you can combine some projects.

When we bought our coach six years ago we were not at all impressed with the curtains, but we knew that there were other things that were more important. Once we thought we were ready to start on the curtains, we made a plan. We ordered one MCD shade for the window by the dining table. When it arrived I installed it. In the meantime Jo Ann recovered the chairs and the valance with matching fabric. We liked the MCD shade, so later we ordered the shades for the living room windows. Again, Jo Ann recovered the valances with material to match what we wanted in that area. We've not yet done the bedroom windows, but when we do them, it will be the same deal: valances will be recovered to match what we want in that room.

Some repairs and upgrades you can do yourself, while others are best left to professionals. The more you can do yourself the less cash it will take.

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1 hour ago, Harleys said:

I will look into RV Bootcamps educational Rallies.

RVers’ Boot Camp

One thing that may help us to give you better advice to know if you plan to buy new or a used RV? Tell us a little about what sort of things appeal to you and your spouse, if you have one. 

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13 hours ago, Harleys said:

WOW!! What a great response.. Thank you all so much for the information. I have a spent a great deal of time viewing YouTube videos on RVing and thought that life would be better if we start off upgrading. What a learning experience this has been. I will look into RV Bootcamps educational Rallies. Thank you all once again. 

Harleys, you are on the right path.  Just keep doing your research.  Probably the first decision that you will have to make is what type of RV you will be getting.  After that you will want to find the perfect floor plan that meets your needs.  There are hundreds of variables and everyone is different.  

My only advise at this point would be if you would be tempted to purchase a new RV, just be aware that generally speaking the represented MSRP price is never what you should pay.   The purchase price should be 20% to 30% below that figure.  For used RVs it is a little harder to determine a good price so you will just have to do some digging.

Good luck.  We are loving full time traveling!

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15 hours ago, Harleys said:

WOW!! What a great response.. Thank you all so much for the information. I have a spent a great deal of time viewing YouTube videos on RVing and thought that life would be better if we start off upgrading. What a learning experience this has been. I will look into RV Bootcamps educational Rallies. Thank you all once again. 

You need to decide on your preferences.  A great many people want to get an RV as big as a house with all the conveniences of a house.  Of course, that can be expensive.  On top of the original cost, you then need to be concerned about campground fees.  Depending on the area, a decent campground with hook ups can easily be in the $30-60 range.  

Personally, I am a believer in going as light and small as possible while still having basic comforts.  My wife and I spent a couple of years as full timers in a medium sized truck camper.  We still go out for months at a time and never miss having a big rig.

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3 hours ago, JimK said:

Personally, I am a believer in going as light and small as possible while still having basic comforts.  My wife and I spent a couple of years as full timers in a medium sized truck camper.  We still go out for months at a time and never miss having a big rig.

Right on! Dave and I spent a year and a half in a 24' Class C. Being friends with your spouse and knowing how to meet each person's needs is the most important thing when it comes to full time RVing. If you don't have that it's nearly impossible to live this lifestyle. 

Linda

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Good advise from many experienced folks here. Do what you can afford and what you choose to do.We are all different our first 5th wheel was our 4th RV the others all TT's .We were still working and pretty much week end rv'ers and maybe a two week vacation. We retired and our goal was to see the country. We chose to be long timers and  purchased the biggest truck and biggest 5th wheel we could afford.If we were going to see the country it was going to be at the highest level of comfort we could afford. We did tents, backpacks, popups , boon docking when we were younger. We are now older . We been there, done that now we are going to pamper  ourselves..... and we are.

Do your own thing and it will be the right thing.

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