Is owning a travel trailer worth it?

In this article, we will discuss: Is owning a travel trailer worth it? We will talk about the benefits of owning a travel trailer, but also about the costs, the maintenance and the downsides. We will also discuss whether motorhomes are better than travel trailers. 

Is owning a travel trailer worth it?

Owning a travel trailer is completely worth it if you like to travel with all the comforts of a home and if you have a vehicle powerful enough to tow around 5,200 pounds (2,350 kilos) dry weight.

Let’s see some of the main reasons why owning a travel trailer is worth it:

  1. A travel trailer grants you space: Lots of space in fact, as typical travel trailers vary in size from twelve to thirty-five in length, accommodating between 1 and 10 people in relative comfort. There’s also room for luggage, personal effects, and any extras you might want to bring like bikes.
  1.  A travel trailer is more practical for a lot of things: This is especially true when it comes to bathrooms. Having your own toilet (and usually a shower, too) is 100% more enjoyable than sharing facilities with strangers, especially on cooler or humid days.

Then there’s the added convenience of not having to pitch tents – you just arrive, park, and that’s about it, except maybe to hook your trailer up to the power supply – that’s True, you have the power to cook, so barbecuing is an option rather than a necessity.

Did we mention that if you want to take a detour you can just unhook the trailer and take off in your car – no need to wander around town in a huge vehicle looking for a store with a parking lot big enough to fit in. 

  1. A travel trailer is an affordable way to spend a vacation: Daily or weekly rental fees are usually much cheaper than a hotel, especially when you have larger groups sharing a travel trailer: while still being able to cook some or all of the meals for yourself, you also significantly reduce your expenses.

Because having a travel trailer is, in a word, freedom. A travel trailer is to be viewed as an investment vehicle.

Owning a travel trailer versus owning a motorhome: the pros and cons

The practice of camping is more common every day, and, especially, with the pandemic it has grown significantly, as it is considered a safe tourist activity since it does not require contact with other people, it takes place outdoors and spaces for eating and sleeping are those of each camper. 

With this growth, with the boom in motorhome rentals and the massive camperization, there are many who have started directly to travel with the house in tow, without having previously lived the camping experience, and with many “novice” doubts. 

The path or evolution of many has passed through the store, the travel trailer, the camper, the motorhome … not necessarily in this order, and some who have directly embarked on the purchase of a vehicle have later discovered that it was not the most suitable for what they were looking for.

Although travel trailers, motorhomes and campers are similar, their use can differ, facilitate or hinder your habit of travelling. As we are more fans of travel trailers, but camper and motorhome users are growing much faster, we reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of travel trailers. 

  1. You may not always want to travel with your house.  Although it sounds like a contradiction, when you travel to a place to explore it in detail, the least you may want is to always have to go with your house in tow. 

If you travel with a travel trailer, the normal thing is that you go with it to a specific point, usually, a campsite, where you leave your travel trailer and camp: you put your awning, you take out your table, your chairs, you settle down … and from there you walk the area only with your car, being able to easily access anywhere and without the difficulty of going with a large vehicle that cannot access or park anywhere.

With a travel trailer, you can set a stay, which is possible to change every few days or stay a long time, and move easily with your car to explore the area, while with a motorhome, or camper, to each place you want to move you have to move with the whole vehicle unless you carry a small additional car, motorcycles, bicycles.

  1. On the other hand, a travel trailer requires the right vehicle to pull it. A standard car would handle a small travel trailer, but larger models obviously require a larger vehicle. Most people are successful in pulling a travel trailer, although you may need some practice or some advice at first.
  1. The costs of owning a travel trailer vs owning a motorhome. One of the main arguments in favour of a travel trailer is the price: you can find new travel trailers for a family for 15,000 dollars or less, while motorhomes and campervans can easily triple this price. 

Unless you have a very small car and take into account the possibilities of each vehicle, it will surely be enough to tow your travel trailer, so you do not have to make a double investment. While a car is usually changed every 8-10 years, a travel trailer at 10 years is practically new, unless you mistreat it. 

With the current changes in vehicle engines, you could keep a travel trailer for 20 years and meanwhile use three different cars adapted to the possibilities of each moment. In the case of motorhomes, which can also last the same years, the evolution of engines will surely make their use difficult. And the fact that the motorhome is a home-motor vehicle means that it also depreciates and loses value over time, while travel trailers retain their value better when it comes to being sold.

  1. Space and large families. Most of the motorhomes come prepared to sleep and travel four people, many of the campers are for two, so if you are a large family (more than four members) you will need a large motorhome to sleep and, above all, to be able to travel inside five or six people. With a travel trailer, the passenger limit is set by your towing vehicle, usually, 5 seats and 7 more and more models, and practically any three-room travel trailer is for six people and there are larger ones.

The feeling in the living space is undoubtedly a point of interest, being in very small spaces. Travel trailers are usually more spacious, as they are not conditioned by position and the space that is lost with the cabin and the engine. 

In most cases, the table adapts next to the cabin, taking advantage of the space of the seats, which rotate, but it loses space. In addition, the travel trailers have more distribution possibilities that adapt them to each type of family, achieving a more homely feeling.

  1. Long stays and a second home. If what you like about camping is the outdoor life, and on your vacations and getaways you want to be calm, resting in one place, without moving too much, having a motorhome can be a too large outlay to have it stopped. 

However, you can leave a travel trailer at a campsite during the summer months, holidays or even for most of the year and use it as a second home on weekends. Many campsites have offers for weekend use, one month, two, three, or more, and use it only on weekends. Also, the travel trailers allow you to place an advance, giving extra space for both summer and winter.

Conclusions

In short, each type of camping vehicle has advantages and disadvantages, and each one sees his own according to his needs and habits. Surely if you prefer a travel trailer you will find more advantages, and if what you like is a motorhome, some of these advantages seem more inconvenient. Caravaning has a multitude of uses and for all tastes. What’s yours?

FAQ on Is owning a travel trailer worth it?

Are all travel trailers junk?

No, not all travel trailers are junk. In fact, a travel trailer holds its value longer than a travel trailer or RV, it is easier to tow and cheaper to maintain. Travel trailers have gained a bad reputation due to certain models, but keep in mind that there are other factors that outline the quality of a vehicle.

What are the worst travel trailers to buy?

The following are considered the worst travel trailers to buy:

  • Hurricane.
  • Coachmen.
  • Jayco.
  • Coleman.
  • Keystone.
  • Winnebago.
  • Fleetwood.

What is the most reliable travel trailer brand?

The most reliable travel trailer brands are:

  • Airstream.
  • Winnebago.
  • Forest River.
  • Jayco.
  • Keystone.
  • Oliver.
  • Happier Camper.

Do travel trailers hold their value?

Travel trailers do hold their value longer than RVs or travel trailers. A travel trailer can hold its value between five and 15 years, more or less regularly. 

References