Revving Up the “Home on Wheels”

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With recent passenger scuffles and power struggles, air travel has lost its luster. But sometimes the journey is just as important as the destination. If travel is your least favorite part of a family trip, why not consider an RV – otherwise known as a “home on wheels”?

Going camping in an RV allows you to slow down, kick back, and savor family time “in flux” from one stop to another. There’s no need to worry about unpacking your luggage, missing your connection or placing your pet in a kennel – your entire family travels with you. And just as homes and hotels run a gamut of shapes, sizes and styles, so do RVs vary, from the palatial to the petite to the pop-up trailer.

But no matter the level of amenities and creature comforts, RVs can boost the power of your vacation budget. Most RVs excel at weight and wind resistance—translating into fuel economy between eight and 20 MPG, depending on the RV you select. Here are tips to maximizing your RV muscle:

  • Rent before you buy. It’s the only way to explore and define your comfort level. Find an RV dealer who rents out the type of rig you’re interested in; and try your home on wheels for a weekend. Try finding a realtor who will let you do that with a house!
  • Bigger isn’t always better. The bigger the rig, the more complex the maintenance, and the larger your insurance bill. Shop around for the best rate and service before you buy.
  • When you’re crunching numbers, remember: camping fees may vary according to your RV’s size and style. Also, when you’re not traveling, you may need to store your rig at a facility for a fee.
  • Make sure you have the right equipment. That includes everything from a trailer hitch (for safe towing) to the GPS and Wi-Fi Booster to keep you connected.

If your family enjoys home-cooked meals, make sure your RV has kitchen options. If you prefer to dine out, look for two-for-one coupons and early-bird specials while rolling by restaurants. And if you fall somewhere in between, consider eating out at lunch and eating dinner in. To trim even more from your food budget, think beyond the big box supermarkets: buy food and sundries at discount stores, dollar stores, church bazaars, flea markets, roadside veggie stands, thrift bakeries, and u-pick orchards.

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