Is RV Camping The Best Way to Travel?


Kate Morgan

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Kate Morgan is a freelance journalist whose work on science, food, adventure and more has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the BBC, Harper’s Bazaar, Popular Science, Fodors, USA Today, and many other places. She lives in rural Pennsylvania.

There are a lot of ways to see the world, but RV camping has always been the coolest. Combine the classic road trip with the allure of the great outdoors, add an RV to take you there with the comfort of a home away from home, and you’ve got a recipe for some serious adventure.

According to recent consumer research, nearly 50 million Americans plan to travel by RV this year. Here are some very compelling reasons why you should be one of them:

It’s a Safe Way to Travel

The pandemic interrupted all of our travel plans in a major way, and now that the world is beginning to open back up, many travelers still want to be cautious. Camping with an RV lets you stay in your comfort zone, with everything you need right there in your rig.

The US Travel Association reports that the average American is nearly four times more likely to say they feel safe traveling in a personal vehicle than getting on a domestic flight. On the Association’s list of “safe” activities, visiting a park or campground ranks higher than rental homes and hotels. In fact, it’s second only to taking a road trip.

(Image by Tyler Cave)

It’s a Lot Cheaper Than a Hotel

Frequent—or even occasional—travelers know how quickly hotel and other lodging costs can add up, especially if you’re traveling with the whole family. There’s perhaps no form of travel more undeniably cost-efficient than RVing: You can snag a towable RV that sleeps five people for payments that work out to under $5 a day.

Across the country, campground prices generally start at around $20 a night and rarely exceed $75. The average RV spot, with power and water hookups, will run about $30, according to J.D. Power. Any way you slice it, that’s a significant savings over the typical vacation.

It Gets You Off the Beaten Path

Traveling in a home on wheels can take you places most people never see. Many of America’s most breathtaking spots are far from towns with amenities and lodging. But the trek is always worth it, especially if you have an RV to carry you there.

Drive out into the desert and experience the brilliant International Dark Sky Parks of the American Southwest. Or tow your RV into Maine’s 100 Mile Wilderness, so named for good reason. Maybe find a quiet site on the beach in Northern California and watch the sun slowly set over the Pacific. No need to worry about hotel rooms or rental cars—when you travel by RV, home truly is where you park it.

the san diego coast
(Image by Tyler Cave)

It Doesn’t Come With Baggage Fees

Ok, so you can’t pack everything—even the biggest mobile homes still have weight limits—but you can get pretty close. Unlike travel on planes and trains, which limit your luggage or charge an arm and a leg to stow it, RV travel means you don’t have to worry so much about packing light.

If you’ve got the storage, you can bring along everything you need to be comfortable for as long as you’re on the road. Maybe that’s mountain bikes for crushing the world-renowned trails around Moab, or perhaps an easel and canvas to sit and paint a moss-draped live oak in Savannah. There are as many styles of RV travel as there are passions to pursue—what will you pack for yours?

It Lets You Slow Down

A more “traditional” vacation is often planned down to the minute. We’ve all experienced the stress of rushing to catch a flight, check into a hotel, or make it to a dinner reservation. The real magic of RV travel is that it can free you up to do things at your own pace. Spend a whole day exploring a park or museum; take a drive and stop whenever you see something worth stopping for. In fact, you can stop anywhere you want, anytime you want.

When you’re not concerned about getting back to the hotel every night, you’re able to just go with the flow. The ultimate flexibility RV travel offers means your trip is constantly open to spontaneity, and that usually makes things a whole lot more fun.

It’s Pet-Friendly

This point speaks for itself: You don’t have to leave your furry loved ones at home or fret over placing them in uncomfortable travel carriers on a flight. Welcome aboard, copilot!

It Brings You Together

Though some RVs have more living space than you could possibly imagine, even the biggest isn’t exactly palatial. And that’s a good thing. Close quarters mean lots of bonding time for you and your travel companions—and isn’t that the part of a vacation that creates the most rewarding memories?

It’s a True Home Away From Home

An RV can be like a dream hotel suite you get to stay in anytime (and anywhere) you like. The amenities, luxuries, and upgrades are endless, and an RV designed to your exact specifications will quickly become your happy place.

It can have all the domestic trappings, too. Appliances, furniture, fixtures—it’s all customizable, which means you can add everything you need to keep you and your family feeling totally comfortable and at home, even while you roam far from it.

camping at a campground in souther california
(Image by Brian Lewis)

It Gives You an Instant Community

There’s no camaraderie quite like the kind you find at the campground. At a hotel, you might never meet your neighbor, but in RV parks, people from all over seem to uncover common ground. It’s not unusual to find yourself swapping travel tales over the campfire with a new friend. In a world where we’ve all become a bit wary of each other, a campground is still a place where no one stays a stranger for long.

In fact, RVing may be a huge community—more than 10 million strong in America alone—but it’s still a small world. And with more than 2,000 Good Sam RV parks and campgrounds across the country, you’re never far from a kindred spirit. No matter where you wander, you’ll find folks who understand the unique joys of RV travel. Ready to join them?

  • Comment (13)
  • Kathy Thomas says:

    RV-ing has been great for my husband and I. We travel for about 5 weeks in the fall. We’re retired. We travel in a 25″ class C and bring a small tow vehicle. We take a slow approach to traveling, staying at least 2-3 nights at each spot and use the tow to explore the area. I was not enthusiastic about the idea of cooking on vacation at first, but now I find it healthier than eating all meals in a restaurant and we still have a lunch or dinner out a few times a week. Also, its fun to seek out farmer’s markets and local foods.
    We are fortunate to have a building we store our rig in, so do not have to pay for storage. We started with a small corner queen, then a larger one, and now have settled on our favorite which has a wide slide and walk around bed.

  • Jerry Weeks says:

    I see motor homes sitting on many home properties that seldom get used. After looking into getting one for retirement I asked myself how much I would use it. I’ve got family who go south for half the year and live in there’s. That makes sense as a home away from home. Ill probably buy a smaller used one to see if we enjoy this. Then Ill decide if I want to own a larger one. Upkeep and parking at home still concern me.

  • D. Stanley says:

    To my way of thinking the best thing about it is that I know who slept in that bed last night.

  • Brendan Schuierer says:

    If you add up the cost of gas mileage, toils for extra axels, camp expenses it doesn’t seem cost effective to me. When we vacation, we eat out, no food for mama to prepare, no dishes to wash, After all it’s a vacation for her too. I rather check into an air conditioned motel watch tv, go out for dinner But that’s me.

  • mario blanco says:

    My concern is how can I find a parking place in every town I visit. How safe this can be ?

  • H Bulger says:

    RVing isn’t camping! Tent and a sleeping bag is camping! We have a travel trailer and that’s because we compromised Mama wanted something that let you have some of the comforts of home. When I go alone the tent and sleeping bag are what I use.


    We Full Timed RV for 7 years. Only issues out of our control got us off the road. Summers in beautiful Utah / Colorado with winters in South Texas / Florida. Coast to Coast at times. Short drives a day with a lot of sightseeing. Making new friends in far away places. From weekend to vacations to full time. Great life with all RV sizes to fit all family needs. Start small see you you like it then move up and maybe move up again. Never make it a challenge to see how far you can go. Short hopes with longer stays. Enjoy. “Life is short. If you do not stop and look around you could miss it”. Ferris Buller.

  • Susie Rose says:

    The problem with an RV is that your are left with not transportation once you settle in it your campsite. I prefer pulling a travel trailer for that reason.


    electric bikes/scooters/check area for van pick up to shopping centers and eating out……if you are in the back country four wheeling trails to town are fun!

  • Wade Thiel says:

    Totally valid concerns, Jerry. You’re thinking the right way here. I’d say to start small and then upgrade as necessary.

  • Wade Thiel says:

    Brendan, you can certainly spend more money camping in an RV, but you can also spend less if you do it right. It’s really all about what you want, and with RVing there’s a lot more flexibility than with hotels and whatnot. But to each their own! As long as you’re out there traveling and enjoying yourself, that’s what matters most.

  • Wade Thiel says:

    That is a great, and often understated point.

  • Wade Thiel says:

    Everyone has their own style. A lot of folks think RVing is camping, myself included.

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