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Average RV Cost — and What Else to Know About Buying and Owning an RV

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A recreational vehicle (RV) — whether its a $6,000 bare-bones camper or a $500,000 luxury home on wheels — can be a way to get out of town for a long weekend or spend a socially distanced summer touring the country.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact traditional vacation plans, RVs have become an attractive alternative due to their comfortable cabins and spacious interiors. In fact, RV purchase interest jumped 162% in 2020 across the 50 states and District of Columbia compared to the prior year, according to new LendingTree research.

The highly versatile vehicles can be customized to fit your lifestyle and your budget, so keep reading if you’re interested in learning about the average RV cost and much more.

How much does an RV cost?

Though the average RV cost will depend on its style, size and features, the price of a new towable travel trailer generally ranges from $11,000 to $35,000, according to Camper Report. Meanwhile, the average Class A RV price is just over $160,000 for a motor home that can often fit between two and six people, according to Glampingorcamping.com.

Costs can ratchet up quickly when factoring in:

  • Luxurious amenities
  • Outdoor awnings
  • Custom features such as slide-outs

If new RV prices seem out of your range, you might consider searching for a used model — buying a used RV could save you thousands of dollars. Depending on its size, a used towable trailer may run between $9,500 and $22,600 on average, according to Glampingorcamping.com. Meanwhile, it cites the average used price of a Class A motor home at roughly $93,000.

While the cost savings can be significant, bear in mind that you also may inherit costly mechanical and equipment problems — though, it could be possible to offset this risk by undergoing an independent RV inspection.

18 example prices

Below is a sampling of prices for various RV styles based on new 2021 models, via NADAguides.

Class A motor homes

Class A luxury motor homes, which generally run on either gas or diesel and have the appearance of a commercial bus, typically fit between two and six people. For added room, Class A RVs — which usually range from 34 feet to 42 feet — are often equipped with slide-outs.

Year/make/model Suggested list price
2021 Thor Motor Coach Evo 27.2 $131,250
2021 Jayco M-36 A Ford V10 $169,568
2021 Winnebago M-34T 340hp Cummins Diesel $268,784
Class B motor homes

Class B motor homes resemble elongated vans. While they’re smaller in stature, they come equipped with a kitchen, bathroom and sleeping quarters. These motor homes, also known as camper vans, can be a good option for one to two passengers.

Year/make/model Suggested list price
2021 Coachmen by Forest River M-22 D-RWD Ford $137,172
2021 Winnebago M-59GL Ram $149,779
2021 Airstream M-19 Tommy Bahama $168,666
Class C motor homes

Built on a larger chassis than their Class B counterpart, Class C motor homes are more spacious and can generally sleep as many as eight people, based on the configuration. Like Class B motor homes, they can be easier to navigate through city streets.

Year/make/model Suggested list price
2021 Gulf Stream M-5210-Ford E350 $83,971
2021 Entegra Coach M-24B Ford $115,110
2021 Wayfarer M-25LW $151,093
Fifth-wheel trailers/toy haulers

A fifth-wheel trailer is a spacious towable trailer that can typically sleep up to six people. Features may include a dining area, a king-size bed and a decent-sized kitchen. Many have slide-outs to add more room. Meanwhile, a toy hauler resembles a fifth-wheel trailer in size but has garage-like storage in the back to transport motorized vehicles, kayaks and other recreational equipment. The rear doors work as a ramp when folded down.

Year/make/model Suggested list price
2021 Jayco M-222 $37,238
2021 Heartland RVs M-323 $85,552
2021 Keystone RV M-381 TH $87,938
Travel trailers/camping trailers

Travel trailers, also called camping trailers or lightweight RVs, are towable trailers with a small kitchen, sleeping area and a bathroom. They can range in size and are typically the least expensive RV option.

Year/make/model Suggested list price
2021 Rockwood by Forest River M-1940F $15,145
2021 Flagstaff/Forest River M-12RB $15,754
2021 Coachmen by Forest River V1 $18,255
Truck campers

Truck campers, which are attached to the bed of a truck, are roomy alternatives to the traditional RV. They’re easy to drive and maneuver, and they also boast low maintenance costs.

Year/make/model Suggested list price
2021 Travel Lite Rayzr FB $12,313
2021 Rogue by Palomino EA-2 $15,976
2021 Northern Lite M-8’11” Dry Bath LE $51,905

*All suggested list prices current as of Feb. 24, 2020.

Coronavirus pandemic drives RV interest up 162%

Social distancing and lockdowns changed the face of summer trips, pushing vacationers to find alternatives to air and hotel travel. LendingTree’s internal data highlights increased interest in RVs during the pandemic, as RV purchase interest spiked 162% in 2020 compared to 2019. RVs became a popular way to limit exposure to COVID-19 while enjoying the outdoors from a comfortable, self-contained cabin.

Key findings

  • Interest in RV purchases spiked 162% in 2020 from the year prior. For comparison, interest in boats rose 104% in that same period, while interest in cars and light trucks dropped 26%.
  • June 2020 saw a 303% year-over-year increase in the number of people completing purchase query forms for RVs, compared to June 2019. According to Google Trends, late June and early July 2020 saw the most search interest in RVs in at least five years.
  • Even without the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 was shaping up to be a big year for RVs. Interest in RVs was up 41% and 56%, respectively, in January and February compared to the year prior.
  • Vermont (296%), Delaware (270%) and Maryland (259%) saw the most increased interest in RV purchases between 2019 and 2020. Hawaii (80%), Iowa (120%) and Maine (132%) saw the lowest increased interest, despite the figures still being high.
  • People with higher credit scores showed greater interest in RVs year over year. Consumers with credit scores greater than 680 had an increase in RV interest of 174% between 2019 and 2020. For consumers with credit scores between 620 and 679, that figure was 163%, and 144% for those with credit scores below 620.


Traditionally, RV sales are seasonal and spike in the summer. However, the sustained interest in purchasing one shows consumers are looking for a year-round way to escape without risking exposure in hotels or restaurants, according to Jenn Jones, LendingTree auto expert.

“The numbers show that people see RVs as a safe way to avoid going stir-crazy,” Jones said. “It gives families a way to cook and eat in their own bubble, rather than masking up and going to a restaurant.”

Methodology

LendingTree researchers analyzed anonymized data for people who completed query forms for purchasing RVs. Data covers the period from January 2019 to December 2020.

RV cost of ownership: 9 expenses to know about

Even if an RV fits in your budget, it can put a big dent in your wallet, from purchase price to campsites. If you plan to buy an RV, you should consider these nine expenses before you make your purchase.

  • Purchase price: Whether you’re buying that $6,000 camper or a high-end model for $500,000, the average RV cost depends on its size, features and style. Motor homes can be the most expensive due to their expansive living quarters and kitchen, while camping trailers that are attached to the back of a car or SUV cost much less.
  • Loan interest: If you finance your RV purchase, you’ll owe interest. The APR can be based on the length of the loan, how much money you put down, the RV’s condition and your credit score. For example, APRs for RV loans from Good Sam Finance Center ranged from 4.29% to 9.99% as of Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.
  • Insurance: Carrying insurance on an RV is not only mandatory, but it’s important to protect your investment. Insurance rates vary by region, the type of RV purchased and your driving record. The average annual cost of RV insurance for a Class A motorhome is $1,000 to $1,300 annually, according to NADAguides.
  • Gas: Fuel costs depend on the weight and design of an RV. Camper Report offered the following estimates based on the type of motor home:
    • Class A: 7 mpg to 13 mpg
    • Class B: 18 mpg to 25 mpg
    • Class C: 14 mpg to 18 mpg
  • Taxes and registration: RVs are typically subject to taxes and registration fees, but what you’re required to pay varies based on the state in which you reside. Most states charge sales tax on the purchase price of an RV, and you should also expect to pay property taxes on your RV’s value (depending on where you’re staying).
  • Tow hitch: If your towable trailer doesn’t come with a hitch, or you prefer to use an aftermarket one, expect to spend between $100 and $1,000, according to Kampgrounds of America. Toy haulers need a hitch that attaches to a truck’s bed, generally raising the cost to between $500 and $2,500.
  • Maintenance: Like other vehicles, RVs require ongoing maintenance. Their engines, mechanical equipment and tires need to be inspected and maintained. Living quarters and custom features need frequent care as well, such as maintaining seals around the windows, doors and roof, plumbing and lubricating slide-out rails.
  • Storage: RVs should be stored when not in use. If you need to store the RV off-site, you may have to pay a weekly or monthly storage fee. Outdoor storage costs start at $30 a month, according to Storage.com. If you live in an area with inclement weather, you may choose heated storage, which can run from $100 to $450 a month.
  • Campsites: Campsites charge a nightly fee. The cost differs widely by location, but the average fee across all sites is $29, according to travel publication Wand’rly. Public campgrounds charge an estimated $22 a night, while private RV parks charge an average nightly fee of $39.

Find out how much RV you can afford

Our RV loan calculator tool can help you see if the RV you’re eyeing fits your budget. Determining how much RV you can afford depends on what you’re looking for, as well as your finances and credit score.

To estimate your monthly payment, plug in:

  • The amount you plan to borrow
  • The length of time of the expected loan
  • The expected APR

To find your best RV price, be prepared to spend time researching different styles and features available. Consider the reputation of the manufacturer and the warranty offered.

Since RVs are typically seasonal purchases tied to the summer months, the right time to buy may usually be in the fall or winter, when dealers may be more willing to offer discounts.

FAQ on RVs: Resources, cheapest state to buy, pandemic impact

What is a good resource for RV prices?

NADAguides allows you to compare manufacturer pricing for different styles of RVs. Before you buy an RV, spend time reading up on what they cost.

What is the most expensive RV?

The most expensive RV is the Marchi eleMMent Palazzo Superior, according to RVshare. Noted by Barron’s for its $5 million price tag, this state-of-the-art RV features an open-air sky lounge and impressive living quarters.

What is the cheapest state to buy an RV?

Montana tops the list of cheapest states to buy an RV in, according to travel blog Getaway Couple. The state doesn’t charge sales tax, and it allows out-of-state residents to register their RVs in certain situations.

Has the pandemic impacted the ability to buy an RV or use RV camps?

Like many other industries, RV production slowed when the pandemic began last spring. Lower inventory affected the ability of consumers to buy an RV, though production generally restarted in May 2020. Since national parks and RV camps follow federal and state guidelines, many are either closed or restrict the number of visitors.

 

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