A Guide to RVs for Seniors

Want to try before you buy? Rent your RV first!

Seniors that live in or travel in their own RV are likely the envy of some of their neighbors or friends. Living a seemingly carefree lifestyle, with the ability to pick up and go whenever and wherever you want possibly sounds appealing to many people.

How do you know whether purchasing an RV is a good idea? Are you a senior considering purchasing an RV for travel, or for starting a new lifestyle of living in an RV during retirement years? How do you know which is the best RV option for you?

The Senior List presents this RV for Seniors Guide, a thorough guide for seniors considering an RV purchase. Learn how to choose an RV best suited for your needs, tips for traveling in your RV, along with information about meeting other seniors that enjoy their RV during their retirement years. This guide from The Senior List provides comprehensive information for seniors considering purchasing or renting an RV and for seniors that already enjoy RV ownership.

What Exactly is an RV?

An RV stands for recreational vehicle, which are categorized according to their class. Kampgrounds of America (KOA) describes the various classes.

Class A is the typical standard RV, which usually has a full cab, which includes the driver, the front passenger and interior of the RV, and is usually equipped with six wheels. Prices for a Class A motor home, the standard in modern RVs typically ranges from $70,000 to more than $1 million.

Class B motor homes sometimes begin life on the road as a van, later converted to an RV. Today’s newer models do not require the conversion or retrofitting to make your van into an RV, potentially allowing seniors to consider making a Class B RV purchase, rather than investing the time and money it typically takes when converting a van to a recreational vehicle.

Designs and layouts for Class B RVs vary between RV manufacturers and models, an important fact for seniors considering a Class B purchase. Plan to pay $40,000 to $125,000 or more for a Class B motor home.

Class C motor homes are the RVs on the road that typically have a prominent overhang, which allows for an overhead bunk bed space. They often resemble a truck, and usually have a variety of amenities and ample space. Seniors considering living in their RV likely find the Class C RV an ideal option.

There are other options for seniors interested in the RV lifestyle, including for camping or vacationing. If you are not sure that you want a large RV with state-of-the-art features at a state-of-the-art price tag, consider a smaller RV such as a towable model. Seniors possibly find these types of RVs more to their liking when using for a camping or fishing trip or traveling alone. They often have similar features as some larger models, such as sleeping and living spaces, but in a more compact version.

Choosing the Best RV for Seniors

Choosing the best RV for seniors is an individual decision. The right RV for you is not necessarily the same RV option chosen by family members or your senior friends. Consider your plans for your RV before you make your purchase or decide which RV you should rent.

Some seniors opt for renting an RV just to get a feel for using or traveling in an RV before making a purchase. Remember to test drive the RV prior to committing to the rental. You do not want to discover that the vehicle you chose is too difficult for you to drive or that there are issues once you hit the open road.

Renting an RV offers some advantages for seniors, mainly the fact that you do not pay the large upfront costs related to an RV purchase. While some seniors potentially consider renting an RV a good idea, others prefer to make an RV purchase instead of initially renting it and then spending more money on a later purchase.

When you consider the ideal RV for your needs, there are some specific tips for helping you make your decision. One consideration is who will travel in the RV? Are you a senior traveling alone, enjoying a weekend camping trip or vacation? Do you plan to travel with your spouse on vacation or on regular trips across the country? Do you plan to reside in your RV, either by yourself or with your spouse? Will family members join you in your RV for fun and travel opportunities? Do you want the basics or do you prefer all the modern amenities?

Your answers to these questions go a long way in helping with decisions regarding the ideal size and RV class for your purchase.

Consider attending an RV show before making your final decision. Many communities have local RV shows, which allow seniors the opportunity to get inside a variety of RVs and sit in the driver’s seat, check out the comfort in the rest of the RV and to check out the facilities. Ask questions of representatives, and there is a possibility that before you leave, you have the best RV for your needs in mind.

Do Seniors Really Retire to an RV Lifestyle?

The Balance points to information from the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association who estimated in 2018 that between 100,000 and 200,000 seniors either make their RV their home for an extended period or make it their permanent home. Seniors likely think of pursuing their travel goals, enjoying nature or historical destinations first-hand rather than on a television show from somewhere across the country.

Some seniors join RV clubs as a way to learn more about traveling or living the senior RV lifestyle and to make new friends. Consider researching and joining an RV club, or visiting a website designed specifically with senior RV owners in mind. RV Seniors provides information for senior RV owners, whether a first-time RV owner or a senior with decades of RV experience. Enter RV clubs in search and discover RV clubs that appeal to you.

I am a Senior with a Pet. Is it Safe to Take Pets in my RV?

Many RV owners travel with their pet along in their RV, whether on a weekend camping trip, a longer vacation, or living the RV lifestyle.

Take plenty of food for Fido or Princess, the food and water bowls, the pet bed, pet medications, travel crate, leash or harness, and necessities such as pet shampoo, flea and tick spray, and favorite toys.

Know Before You Go

Always have a plan. While hitting the freeway and enjoying the freedom of traveling wherever the road takes you, have a plan and checklist wherever you go. Make sure that you plan your budget, plan for stops along the way to your final destination, and have an alternate route in case construction, inclement weather or some other reason prevents you from taking your planned route.

Check with your physician before leaving on every trip if you have health issues. Take medications with you.

Check out the campgrounds, RV Park or other location where you plan to park your RV along the way or at your destination before you go there. Learn the routine for the campground, such as the setup checklist offered by Reserve America.

Whether you are a RV novice or an experienced RV owner living the retiree RV lifestyle, follow tips in this guide from The Senior List for a potentially safer, more enjoyable RV experience.