On The Road Again: 3 Things To Know About RV’ing And The Pandemic

Traveling in an RV can make you feel like you’re traveling inside your own personal pandemic “bubble.” Photo Vidar Nordli-Mathisen/Unsplash

Is the open road calling your name? It is for more than a few of our clients.

Anxious to get out of the house, but not so keen on traveling by air or staying in a hotel, more people are giving in to the lure of RV’ing.

Some of our clients have been RV aficionados for years, spending months on the road and driving all the way to Alaska and Maine to visit family and see the sites.

But the pandemic has introduced RV travel to an even bigger audience. RV rentals are reportedly up over 1,000% from earlier this year. We’ve been talking both to clients wanting to buy an RV, and others who just want to rent one temporarily for a family vacation.

Traveling by RV makes them feel they have more control over their schedule and their personal well-being. That’s why some RV fans say traveling in an RV is like traveling inside your own personal pandemic “bubble.”

“Travel by RV is the one escape in which you can avoid airplanes, bypass interactions with people at hotels and, if you purchase or rent a vehicle with a kitchen, forget worrying about closed restaurants,” says Jim Byers, writing for AARP.

Here’s three key things to know if you are in the market for an RV:

  • You can rent or buy RVs. Right now, both are in huge demand, which has pushed supply down and prices up, so shop around. One of our clients scored a good deal by calling the RV manufacturer directly to locate the specific model she was interested in. There are several good articles online that can give you a general idea of costs. For tips on renting an RV and suggestions for scenic trips tailor-made for RV’ing, check with AARP or RVshare.com (an online rental marketplace).
  • You can finance an RV purchase but know that the interest rate on an RV loan is higher than it would be on a home mortgage. To cut costs, you may want to consider financing the purchase by using a mortgage on your home, if you don’t already have one, or by drawing on a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit). Make sure to check with your credit union, if you use one, as their loan terms might be more attractive. How you finance the purchase may have an impact on your taxes due to mortgage deductibility rules, so check first with your tax preparer or financial advisor.
  • If you plan to buy, understand how much your new or used RV might depreciate after purchase. An RV is not like a traditional home and you should not expect it to go up in value over time. It will depreciate similarly to an automobile. In your budgeting, factor in the cost of insurance, sales tax, gas, parking and campgrounds, and periodic repairs. Those costs should be compared to what you would normally spend on airfare, hotels and other traditional travel and vacation expenses.

Happy trails!

About Mari Adam

Mari Adam, Certified Financial Planner™ and President of Adam Financial Associates Inc, has been helping individuals and families chart their financial futures for over twenty-five years. Have a question about your financial situation? Ask Mari!

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