Starting out

Hi there. My family is considering RVing full-time for the next couple of years. We have two small children and want to travel about Canada and the USA. We have just started to navigate through this web site which has been great but I wondered if someone that had a good deal of knowledge about RV's could tell me what would be the most practical/economical approach for us i.e class A motorhome vs towed trailer etc. We are going to sell our home and would like to live in something comfortable. I have a few questions as well(and I hope they don't sound to stupid). Can people move about in an RV while it is moving? What sort of gas/deisel milage do you get approx? Do camp grounds charge by the foot to accomidate you? and what sort of services do campgrounds provide? i.e-Internet, sewage hookup, water, electricity etc. What does WiFi mean? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. S.P


Senior Member
Starting out

quote:what would be the most practical/economical approach
There is such a wide range of RV available today that this is an impossible question to answer. The most economical RV for family use for week ends and vacations there is no doubt that the pop-up would be most economical. Next to that would be the hybrid. But only you can decide if that is also practical. That would depend upon your camping skills and the degree of comfort and amenities you want. On the other hand, for a family to live in fulltime you are sure to want more than either of those offer. The question then is one of budget. RV's come priced from used ones for less than $10,000 to new motorhomes that exceed a price of $1,000,000.
quote: We are going to sell our home and would like to live in something comfortable.
This is again something that we just can't answer without much more information. We have been fulltime now for six years in a motorhome that all of our friends believe to be too small, yet we have found it to be more than just comfortable. Then there is also the issue of where you expect to be in what kinds of weather. If you spend time in extreme heat or cold you will need much more insulation than if you plan to follow the weather.
quote:Can people move about in an RV while it is moving?
If you choose a trailer of any kind, it is not safe to have anyone in it while traveling. In a motorhome, limited movement can be done but not legally as seat-belt requirements do apply. Most of us do use the bathroom while traveling and also the refrigerator. But only in light traffic and we stay seat belted in the majority of cases. It has some risk to move about, but is usually safe if good judgment is used.
quote:Do camp grounds charge by the foot to accommodate you?
No. Some parks do have "big rig" sites that cost extra, but not by the foot. Most are based on what hook-ups the site has. The majority of RV parks have sites that all have water and electricity, and others that have sewer as well.
quote:What does WiFi mean?
That stands for "wireless fidelity" and refers to internet access via a wireless connection that can be accessed by a computer that has that capability. It might be free or for additional cost. Thus far, less than 1/4 of all parks have it available, but it is increasing rapidly.

I strongly suggest that you spend some time at your nearest RV show and learn what is available and at what price first. You would also be very wise to spend the money to join the RV Consumer Group.( They will provide you some much needed educational materials. And if you are thinking about full-time RV travel, you would be very wise to buy at least one good book on the subject to learn just what is involved. I would suggest either "Full-time RVing" by Jan & Bill Moeller and available from Trailer Life Press, or "Home is Where You Park It" written by Kay Peterson and available from Escapees RV Club (
Starting out

Thank you so much Kirk for your honest and thorough reply....much appreciated. I will purchase one of the books you mentioned and do much more research before any big decisions are made. We are going RV hunting this weekend to see what is available.....and are very excited. Thanks again and take care. :blush:
Starting out

I would also recommend that you go to at least 7-8 different RV dealers and tell them exactly where you are. We considered several different types of RVs before we bought the one we bought. Which one we bought is not important since as Kirk said, different options suit different people better. We love ours, but others might be miserable in it.

When we finally settled on which one to buy, the dealer we bought from was surprised that we bought so quickly. He told us that most of his customers took around a year to make thier decision. We had done that, but with other dealers. We romanced one RV for about 3 months and visited it several times on the dealer's lot before we began to see some things about it that we didn't like.

We did a thorough background check on the dealer we bought from before we ever contacted him, so we knew he was reputable and backed his products with good service.

You have already taken a positive step in following this forum. Please continue to do so. I also believe that you will find that RVers are, for the most part a pretty outgoing lot and willing to share their experience. It would probably be a good idea to rent an RV, go to a few campgrounds, try out the lifestyle, see how others do it, and ask why.

DL Rupper

Senior Member
Starting out

Hi Canadianbacon! This is just sn opinion, but if you plan on being out RV'ing for a couple of years, a 5'er would give you the most room for your buck. Remember this is just an opinion and I have lots of opinions. Some say I'm full of them. Also if you tow a reasonable sized 5'er with a Diesel you can expect about 10-12 mpg towing and 19/21 mpg highway empty. :laugh: Compare that to what a motorhome and towed vehicle would get. :( Happy Camping wahatever you decide on. :)
Starting out

If you are nuetral about pulling a 5th wheel vs driving a motorized RV then I sincerely believe the answer to your question on most practical/ economical is hauling a 5th wheel. Dollar for dollar per square foot of living space a 5th wheel and suitable rig can be had on a much better per square foot cost. Also even a large tow rig and you must be sure you get a proper tow rig appropriate for the 5th wheel of your choice be it an MDT or HDT, I don;'t believe there is a 5th wheel big enough to live in as you are selling your house that can be pulleed by any pickup. I suggest you buy the largest 5th wheel you can. If you read in RV forums you will learn that there are far more people who move up 3 or 4 times before they get onne big enough. Quality used 5th wheels are an excellent beginning point. Not in order of preference here is a list of 5th wheels made for full time living as opposed to part time use;
1. Alpenlite - Model: 'Portofino Villa'
2. Excel by Peterson - Model: 'Limited'
3. Holiday Rambler - Model: 'Presidential Suite'
4. Mobile Suites
5. New Horizons - Model: custom
6. NU-WA - Model: 'Premier or Champagne'
7. Teton
8. Travel Supreme
Oh yes before I forget the answer about moving around in a moving RV, most states have laws prohibiting doing so, common sense I think has an even more to say about it, STOOPID THING TO DO!


Senior Member
Starting out

Just a couple of thoughts. We have been fulltime for six + years and of the group of five of us who met just as we began, only one has yet traded his RV. The point is that you do need to choose carefully, but larger is not always better. We have known fulltimers who live happily in a pick-up camper one in a pop-up and another in a 16' Cast trailer. It the RV fits you it does not need to be big.

On the mpg of one RV over another, we travel by gas powered motorhome and we do only get about 8.5 to 9 mpg with that, but our toad gets 23 to 25 and it is a 4WD. There is just no hard rule as to what you need to live in fulltime. Escapess magazine says that of their fulltime members, 44% have motorhomes, 41% have fifth wheels, 9% have travel trailers and the remaining 6% are using everything else. The point is that there is no hard rule to determine what you should have. Get what fits you and your lifestyle.

DL Rupper

Senior Member
Starting out

Larger is not better. Think about pulling a house with a pick-up truck. We have had a 30 foot 5'er, with 2 slides for 11 years and say a little prayer each day thanking the almighty that he gave us the wisdom to choose a medium sized RV over a large one. Remember that no matter which type of RV you buy, you have to be able to stop it once you get it rolling down the road. Smaller is sometimes better. Milage does count. Consider the high cost of fuel when determing wich size of RV to buy. Smaller/Lighter gets better milage.