RV Camping in 2024: Planning for the Year Ahead
As the holiday season approaches and we start to list out all the new toys we want in 2024, it might be the right time for you to put a new RV on your wishlist. While there are many things to consider when making this investment, in this post we’ll touch on a few important points: timing the purchase, booking your dream trips, and other important costs of RVing.
When is the Perfect Time to Buy an RV?
The cost of purchasing an RV can vary widely depending on the type you are looking for. The image below shows the average prices for many of the different classes of recreational vehicles on the market. The average price range will vary widely depending on the fit and finish you desire. There are many different considerations; what is the quality of the furniture, do you want faux wood or real wood, etc. We suggest having a list of your non-negotiables when looking at all the different RVs. Having this list written out will help you stay focused on the features that matter most to you and will help prevent you sacrificing something you really want.
|Class||Average Price Range|
|Class A (Diesel) Motorhome||$200,000 – $450,000|
|Class A (Gas) Motorhome||$145,000 – $185,000|
|Class B Motorhome||$145,000 – $160,000|
|Class C Motorhome||$100,000 – $150,000|
|5th Wheel||$55,000 – $80,000|
|Toy Hauler||$45,000 – $60,000|
|Travel Trailer||$25,000 – $40,000|
The Perfect Year to Buy Your Dream RV
2024 may be the perfect year for you to buy your dream RV. While inflation has been high the past few years, tailwinds are starting to shift in the buyer’s favor. While there is no separate recreational vehicle inflation index, we can gain insight on the state of the RV market by looking at the producer price index by industry for recreational dealers, which is provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The producer price index measures the average change over time in the selling prices of their goods, in this scenario, it would measure the sales price for recreational vehicles at dealerships. In Exhibit 2, we have shown the quarterly change in the producer price index for recreational dealers. As you can see, the increase in the sale prices for RVs peaked around early 2022 and the increase in price has started to slow down throughout 2023. While prices are still increasing, this relaxation in pricing pressure has created a window of opportunity for people looking to buy.
A Great Time to Buy is Coming
A great buying time is on the horizon because the slowdown in auto inflation is coupled with the upcoming rollout of 2024 RV models. Typically, the winter season is a great time to buy an RV for the following reasons.
- There is typically less competition when shopping for motorhomes, 5th wheels, and travel trailers.
- Dealers are starting to get ready to sell the newer models and you might be able to find good deals on prior models.
Now, you may be wondering whether you should go with a new or a used RV. Here are some key points to consider when determining if you should go new or used.
- Depreciating value on a new RV: As with any new vehicle, the second you roll off the lot, the RV depreciates in value. This can be quite costly if you end up needing to sell the RV in the next few years, because you may not get a great return on your investment. Additionally, if you financed your RV you may run into a situation where your RV is worth less than the loan value. This is possible if you buy a used RV too, but it is more common when buying new.
- Cost: Buying used almost always has a cost advantage versus buying new. Buying used can limit your options as far as getting the exact fit and finish you want and getting some of the latest technology available in the market. However, if cost is your biggest consideration, buying used may be your best choice.
- Prior maintenance on a used model: If you are buying a used RV, you’ll want to make sure it was well maintained. RVs require maintenance to stay in good condition and a prior negligent owner may increase the likelihood of things breaking in the future. One small leak that goes unfixed or poor handling over time could lead to large and unforeseen issues. If you are buying used, it would be a good idea to have a third-party inspection completed before purchasing or you may consider purchasing from a trusted source. Either way, getting an inspection done on a used RV may be worth any costs associated with the inspection.
With cost increases on the decline and newer models coming out, 2024 may be the best time to buy your RV. After you bought your RV, you’ll want to put it into good use and plan your 2024 dream trip?
Your 2024 Dream Trip
While RVing is a fun and flexible way for you to go out and travel on the fly, spontaneity may not allow you to go on your dream trip. Some of the most popular campsites are fully booked 6 months in advance! Other sites reach capacity too due to online reservations making it more competitive to book sites. People may book multiple sites for a weekend before committing to a spot. Depending on the cancellation fees and policy at the campground, the person who booked the site may not bother to alert a campground they are no longer coming, and they end up keeping the multiple bookings. Luckily, you can start planning that perfect RV trip in 2024 now to make sure you have your spot secured before the competition arrives.
There are many types of RV campgrounds to choose from. You can go with a luxurious RV resort or be more in tune with nature at a national or state park. Below are some of the common camping options you will see available for your RV camping. For any of these types, it would be important to know whether the site offers full hookups (water and electricity), the amps provided by the electrical hookups (typically 30 or 50 amp), or if they only offer dry camping (a spot with no hookups). Knowing if the site provides hookups will help you be prepared for your stay.
- Resort Park – These are highly developed parks that are priced on the higher end given all the amenities they offer. Just because it is labeled “Resort” though doesn’t mean it is luxurious. Make sure to research the park’s reviews and amenities before booking your stay at a resort park.
- National Park – The National parks are usually large and preserved natural areas. Many of them have specific camping areas for RV’s, but given their size, they can be hard to maneuver around. Make sure to research exactly where you want to stay in the park and if there is an option available. Additionally, with how large and unique these landscapes are, there may be length restrictions that prevent your RV from entering the park.
- State Park – These are parks run by state facilities typically in natural areas. These will usually have areas set aside for camping as well. Make sure to check if they have any specific restrictions for camping.
- Membership Camping – Some frequent campers would look to invest in membership camping. These memberships can get you access to private parks at discounted prices. A membership would be most valuable to invest in if you plan to use your RV often.
- Event Camping – Many weekend-long events like races, renaissance fairs, concerts, etc. offer RV parking for people to stay onsite during the event. This can be a fun way to stay close and enjoy the event. One of our friends, RVeely, spoke to some RV owners this year at different RV events. You can check out some of the videos from these events on their Community page. RVeely spoke to RV owners at F1 at the Circuit of Americas Austin in 2023 and at the Austin RV Expo.
- COE – Army Corps of Engineer (or COE) campgrounds are also a great alternative to State parks. They are typically family friendly, budget friendly, and have well maintained campgrounds.
- Boondocking – Boondocking is finding dry camping locations. Dry camping means there are no electric or water hookups for your RV to use. Boondocking is typically free or low cost. There are a few ways to Boondock. One way is parking in your local Walmart parking lot (or another large parking lot that allows RV parking). Always be sure to check if you are allowed to park in the parking lot before doing so! Another way to Boondock is to look for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land or land owned by the Forest Service, as these lands would be open to campers.
Plan Your Route
Now that you know all the places you could stay, you would need to research exactly where to stay. We’d recommend using this campground directory provided by RV LIFE to get a few ideas for where to go. They have a thorough list of places you can stay, reviews from people who stayed there before, and photos from campers who stayed there. Use a tool like RV LIFE Pro to plan a safe route based on your vehicle’s height, weight, length, and even whether you carry propane or not. It’s the most complete trip planning and navigation suite available.
After planning out exactly where you want to go, you need to book your stay to lock-in the dream site. There are many tools and apps available to book a site. Still some campsites can only be reserved the old fashion way, giving the campsite a phone call. Make sure to check exactly how the campsite needs to be booked.
RV Accessories and Tools You Will Need
Before your first trip, there may be a few other key items to invest in for your trip. Most of these are some simple items but can make a world of a difference in your experience.
- Satellite Internet – You may want to go completely off-the-grid when you go camping, or you may want to still connect with friends and family back home. Having a good internet connection while camping can help you stay online while camping. While some campsites offer free Wi-Fi the actual strength of the connection could be weak. Investing in your own Wi-Fi extenders, satellite internet options, or improved cell phone data plan could be worthwhile before your trip.
- Automatic Levelers – We’ve spoken to many RVers and one thing they mention is that getting the RV leveled correctly is a big hassle. There are options and RV upgrades that assist with this process. If you are not particularly technical with setting up your RV or want to alleviate this hassle, it may be worth researching automatic leveling options.
- Portable Gate– If you travel with pets, having a portable gate that you can place around your RV can make a world of a difference. This gives your pets more room to roam without needing to be on a leash. Make sure you get a portable gate that is sturdy and as large as you need. This could also be great for young kids or if you just like a little additional privacy.
- Tablecloth– While there are tables at most RV parks to use, you may still default to wanting to use a tablecloth to have the table as neat as possible for your food.
- Lawn Chair– The ultimate lounging device! Getting a good lawn chair for your RV is a great way to relax while outdoors. It is also a great community builder. You can pull your chair up to chat with RVing neighbors or the people you arrived with can all sit outside together.
- Portable Grill– While you could use the charcoal grills found at RV parks across the nation, you could also show-off by bringing a nicer portable grill. This way you can be a 5-star chef at some of the campgrounds you visit.
- E-Bike– Electric bikes are becoming a popular toy at RV parks. You can enjoy zooming across the campground and being able to get to desired locations easier. Be sure to check if there are any restrictions to E-bike usage before bringing it to the RV park.
Great RVing Resources
It is always great to learn from, talk to, and connect with other RVers. In the digital world we live in now, it has never been easier for us to reach RV owners. There are many forums to write to others on, many how-to videos to learn from, and many blogs to read. So where do you start getting connected? RV LIFE has some of the most popular publications, blogs and forums for you to leverage and is a great starting point to get connected to the RV world!
Not every aspect of owning a recreational vehicle is glamorous. From the owners we talked to, some of the important costs to consider when owning an RV are maintenance, storage, and insurance. While insurance and storage are typically fixed costs, maintenance can be an unknown cost and is why it is so important to consider when first buying the RV.
The average cost of RV maintenance per year is around $1,200. We list out many of the routine maintenance tasks in RVeely’s Beginner RV Guide. A brief list of maintenance for your RV consists of inspecting and adjusting tire pressure, doing maintenance on your water system, and winterizing the RV for winter. A great tool for staying on top of all the RV maintenance you need is RV LIFE Maintenance. You will want to make sure your RV is well maintained, so you can safely enjoy those great trips.
Storage is also important, not only for protection, but because you may have to purchase storage if you live in a residential area. The cost of storage will also vary depending on what type of storage option you choose but is usually around $100 to $300 a month. There are options to store your RV in a temperature-controlled indoor storage facility, storing it under a carport/pole-barn, or in an empty lot with no overhead coverage. Another item to consider is that some insurance companies change your insurance pricing if you don’t store your recreational vehicle in the same zip code or state that you reside in.
Proper Vehicle Insurance
Finally, one of the most important items is your RV Insurance. Insurance can protect your way of life and get you back on the road in case of catastrophe. The average cost of RV insurance is $1,500. Your RV insurance cost will vary depending on the coverages you want, the value and type of your RV, and your own personal driving record. Many RV owners look for ways to save on your RV insurance.
Some look to bundle their policies to save on insurance costs. This typically works for bundling your auto policy and home insurance policy, but not every insurer covers RVs, and it isn’t always the most important item on the insurer’s list. By defaulting to bundling, this may mean that an insurance company outsources your “bundled” coverage to a cheap RV insurance company and the coverage you get doesn’t fully insure your RV. If you are going to bundle, it would be best to inspect your bundled policy and check if it covers everything you want for your recreational vehicle.
Increase Your Deductibles
Another way people look to decrease their RV insurance is by increasing their deductibles. This lowers premiums by making you pay more out of pocket for your coverage if you have a claim. This may not be the best option, because if you have a small incident, you may defer getting it fixed due to the high deductible. Not fixing the issue could lead to further damage not covered by your insurance, then you are in a bad situation.
Shop for RV Insurance
Another way people are looking to save on their RV insurance is to shop around. People look online for their insurance and compare prices to try and save on their RV insurance. You could check with a local agent or get a few quotes online if you wanted to compare prices this way. For instance, you could get a quote with either of these links:
One spot you can shop for insurance is RVer Insurance Exchange. They have a few options for you to check. Another source we recommend is getting a quote with RVeely. RVeely is helping RV owners by creating a new type of RV insurance. RVeely noticed that some RV owners keep their RV parked or stored most of the year, so RVeely created RV insurance that lets people save when their RV is parked or stored. They do this with a pay-per-mile RV insurance offering. You could get a quote in ~2 minutes with RVeely and be able to save ~40% on your insurance.
RVeely has written about their unique approach to RV insurance, How We Are Keeping RV Insurance Affordable. Paying-per-mile lets the RV owner only pay for the coverage they need when they need it and save when their RV is stored or parked. Get a quote with RVeely today to see how much you could save.