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Whether you prefer to travel by land, sea or plane, almost nothing compares to the thrill of seeing new places.
However, once you’ve been on the road for long enough, you may be tired of the packing and repacking, checking in to flights and out of hotels — not to mention the unsuccessful attempts at claiming your half of the armrest.
If this sounds like you, you may want to consider buying a recreational vehicle (RV). There are plenty of perks: It can save you money, it feels like home and it gives you more freedom than other types of travel.
Let’s look at the best time to buy an RV and some of the benefits of owning an RV.
When is the best time to buy an RV?
You’ll want to take a few factors into consideration.
It may be tempting to invest in an RV when the sun is shining, the trees are blooming and the fresh summer days are yawning ahead.
Don’t. It’s during the best weather that prices for RVs are at their peak. Think early spring to early fall, when the roads are good and families have time off.
Like cars, RVs also come out with new models. Take advantage of last year’s model — or buy used — to spend less out the door.
Instead, like other purchases, you’ll want to buy your RV when demand is low.
The best time of year to buy an RV is around late fall or early winter after the high season has passed. This may mean waiting a bit before you can hit the road, especially if you live somewhere with a colder climate, but it can save you money in the long run.
» Learn more: RV vs. Hotel, which is more economical?
Why buy an RV?
We’ve already discussed the best time to buy a travel trailer, but what if you’re on the fence? There are plenty of reasons to buy an RV, though you’ll want to do research to be sure it’s the right move for you.
There are RV pros and cons, but here are a few reasons why it may be worth it.
It can save money
Is owning an RV worth it? An RV is a big purchase — there’s no doubt about that — but in the long run, it can save you money overall.
Of course, this will depend on how much you travel, how many people you travel with and the budget you typically have, so you’ll always want to crunch the numbers to be sure the purchase makes financial sense for you.
If you tend to splurge on travel or have a large family, vacation costs can quickly add up. Plane tickets, rideshares, meals out and hotels will all run up the tab.
RVs can be an expensive purchase upfront, but there’s something to be said for having a place to sleep, a kitchen to cook meals in and space for extra people without paying more.
You can bring pets
Everyone who’s ever owned a pet knows how hard it can be to travel. Whether you’re planning on leaving them with a sitter (which costs money) or taking them with you (which also costs money), there are added logistics around traveling when you have animals.
Bringing your own RV allows you to take your pets with you without paying extra. It also means you won’t need to be separated from your furry friends.
It gives you more freedom
Anyone who’s ever flown to a destination and stayed in a hotel knows that transportation options are limited.
If you’re in a city center, you can use public transit or walk, but otherwise, you’ll likely need a rental car. This can seriously inhibit the types of places you can visit unless you’re willing to pay for a rental vehicle, or several rideshares (if available).
While an RV isn’t going to help you navigate narrow cobblestone roads, it gives you the freedom to travel wherever you like at any pace you want. And because your vehicle is also your bedroom, you have more flexibility of where to stay, especially in remote locations.
It can earn you serious points
You should always maximize the rewards you earn on your spending. This is true for everyday purchases but especially for costs you incur while traveling.
A whole host of travel credit cards focus on rewards for airfare and hotels, but if you’re traveling with an RV your biggest expense is likely to be gas.
Coincidentally, some cards will reward you for spending on gas, including the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which will give you 3% cash back on all your gas purchases, with no annual cap.
If you’re more interested in earning points, you may also want to consider the Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Business Credit Card, which earns 8x Wyndham Rewards points on gas purchases. Since free hotel nights at Wyndham start at 7,500 points per night, it’ll be easy to rack up enough rewards for plenty of stays.
You can also rent vacation homes from just 15,000 Wyndham points per bedroom per night thanks to the company’s partnership with Vacasa.
It feels like home
Perhaps the biggest perk of purchasing an RV is filling it with all your things. These things then come with you, wherever you are, and you never need to worry whether your bag will incur fees for weighing more than 50 pounds.
This means you’ll have your own cups, blankets, ergonomic pillows, clothing and more on hand with no fuss. That can be worth a lot in peace of mind and comfort.
» Learn more: RV secrets straight from the experts
Buying an RV recapped
Buying an RV is a big decision and one you’ll want to consider carefully.
While it can be expensive, choosing to travel with an RV can provide some significant benefits over other methods of travel. This includes the ability to pack as much as you’d like (including bringing along your pets), extra freedom to travel where you want and no per-person ticketing costs for things like airfare.
Before you buy an RV, be sure to do the math to make sure that it makes sense for you. You’ll also want to wait for the best time of year to buy, when prices and demand are at their lowest, to ensure that you get the best deal.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card