RV road trips are some of the most popular types of vacations in the United States, with millions of people across the country choosing to take their families on an RV vacation each year. If you’ve rented an RV before and enjoyed the experience, you might be asking yourself, “Is buying an RV a good investment?”
For those wanting a nomadic lifestyle, an RV can be a great investment. For others, let’s dive into when an RV is a good investment — and when it isn’t.
Is an RV a Good Investment?
When deciding whether to invest in an RV, you have to consider whether your lifestyle and desires are a good fit for RV ownership. For example, if you plan to live in your RV full-time or take frequent RV trips, owning your vehicle might be a good investment, as it'll help you save on RV rental fees, hotels, flights, and more. However, if you’re simply looking to invest in an asset to buy and then sell for a profit, then purchasing an RV might not be the correct investment strategy.
What About Depreciation?
The unfortunate reality is that your RV will depreciate over time. However, almost all personal vehicles depreciate over time, and that doesn’t stop millions of Americans from heading to a dealership and purchasing a new car.
In fact, a study done by Camper Report found that RVs lose 21% of their value as soon as they’re purchased and over 35% after five years. While this may sound harsh, the depreciation rates of an RV aren’t that much different from those of cars. You can expect the average car to depreciate 20% within the first year and around 40% after five years. That means an RV can hold its value better than a personal use car five years later.
You can also compare your yearly RV rental costs with the expected depreciation rate to determine whether an RV would be a sound investment. For example, assuming a 35% depreciation rate by the five-year mark, a $200,000 RV would lose an average of $14,000 per year to depreciation in its first five years. If you plan on using the RV for a long time and spend at least $14,000 per year in RV rental fees, then it would make financial sense to purchase your own RV.
The RV Lifestyle
Purchasing your own vehicle can make plenty of sense if you plan on using it regularly or living in your RV full-time. Not only will this allow you to travel and see the country (and save on airfare and hotels), but it will also allow you to save on your monthly rent or mortgage expenses. And if you already own a brick-and-mortar house, you could make supplemental income by renting it out while you live in your RV.
However, the RV lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Living in an RV has its own difficulties, like finding the right campsite and dealing with unwanted animals. If you don’t feel comfortable buying an RV just yet, it might be a good idea to rent first until you’re sure that owning an RV is a good lifestyle for you.
Why Buy an RV?
If you’re still wondering whether buying an RV is a good investment, you should think about your lifestyle and what an RV can do for you. These are some of the biggest reasons to purchase an RV.
Save Money on Vacation
One of the most popular reasons why people love to go on RV trips is because of how affordable they can be. Compared to a traditional vacation and spending money on airfare, hotels, car rentals, and dining out, an RV vacation generally includes much lower expenses, like the RV rental costs, gas, and groceries.
Purchasing your own RV will eliminate all rental fees, making RV vacations even more affordable. This means you can put that money toward other financial goals or spend even more time of the year on vacation. What’s not to love about that?
Whether you want to take a trip with your entire family, your spouse, or your college friends, there are few better ways to make long-lasting memories than in an RV. Every day is a new adventure in an RV, as the flexibility of going to a different place each day allows for spontaneous decisions.
Plus, taking an RV with your friends and family will allow you to visit many locations in just one trip. Gone are the days of fighting over where to go on the next family vacation, as you can easily travel to different national parks within just one trip. Whether you want to visit the glaciers of Montana or spend a few days enjoying the warm breeze of the California coastline, RV travel will allow you to enjoy a diverse range of sceneries with your loved ones.
Live in it Full-Time
If you’ve rented an RV before and can’t get enough of it, then living in one full-time could be a good option for you. Those who have experienced life in an RV can attest to its unique benefits, like not paying a mortgage and enjoying a new adventure every day.
If you’re still unsure whether full-time RV living is for you, try to rent one for the summer and take an extended vacation. After that, you’ll have a better idea of the pros and cons of living in an RV.
See the United States and Beyond
One of the biggest benefits of full-time RV living is the ability to travel whenever. This will allow you to see not only every corner of the USA but also some impressive sights in nearby Canada and Mexico. And if that’s not enough to satisfy your globetrotting ways, then you can even look into taking your RV to Europe. While it requires quite a bit of paperwork, planning, and money, it’s something that can be done if you own your RV.
Change Your Lifestyle
Many people choose to invest in an RV lifestyle after major milestones, such as after retirement or after the kids go to college. If your life is becoming a bit monotonous and you’re looking for a change, then switching to an RV life might be a good idea for you.
Switching to the RV lifestyle can help foster a sense of excitement in your life, as every day offers new opportunities. Having the freedom of waking up and simply driving to the next national park is something everyone should experience — and something sure to keep your life exciting in the best possible ways.
Keep in mind that these are just some of the most popular reasons to buy an RV, and you might find other unique benefits for you depending on your lifestyle. The best way to find out is by renting an RV and imagining yourself as the proud owner of a recreational vehicle.
Ready to Buy an RV? If Not, Rent One!
While there are many benefits to purchasing an RV, not everyone will get a worthwhile return on their investment. If you’re simply looking for an asset that will grow your net worth, then you might be better off looking for traditional financial instruments like stocks and retirement funds. However, if you’re committed to the RV lifestyle and enjoy spending time in nature, then few investments could bring as much joy to your life as purchasing your own RV.
Ultimately, whether buying an RV is a good idea depends on your personal goals and aspirations. If you’re still not sure, why not rent an RV from Cruise America in the meantime? We are an employee-owned business that has been helping people fuel their passion for the RV lifestyle since 1972.
Contact us today, and one of our RV specialists will be happy to answer any questions you may have about renting or purchasing your first RV.