Motorhome purchase worth it?- Rent out when not in use?

Discussion in 'Camping at Disney World' started by PartyOfSe7en, May 14, 2019.

  1. PartyOfSe7en

    PartyOfSe7en Earning My Ears

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    We are looking into purchasing a motorhome. We are a family of 7 and travel a lot. Due to our size we require 2 rooms most everywhere so we thing the motorhome may be a good option. At Disney we stay at Shades of Green, so its a little more affordable than Disney hotels but still spendy. Motorhomes are just pretty expensive to justify. Do you think you get your "money's worth" so to speak? We camp quite a bit and it would open up our camping seasons since weather is a bigger impact when tent camping. Also, do you store and rent out your camper to others when not in use through a local company? I would love to hear all thoughts on this! Thank you!
     
  2. PaHunter

    PaHunter Photographer in need of training...

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    First of all most trailers or motorhomes will not fit that many, comfortably. Our trailer is said to sleep six, and it is 43ft long fifth wheel. 2 in the bedroom, and each couch in the living room becomes a bed. If you are taller than about 5'4 inches your feet will hang off the bed. A lot of trailers or motorhomes the table becomes a bed, but only for a smaller child. Then of course one has to get them out of bed and make the table before you can have breakfast.
    No one else sleeps in our beds, that is part of why we own a trailer. Renting out is way to much work, removing clothes, personal items, things you don't want stolen or lost.....then putting all this stuff back when you want to use it.
    Do you have the right vehicle to tow a trailer ?? a large fifth wheel ?? with a motorhome are you towing a car ?? can you flat tow your vehicle ?? if so there are brake bars, and mounts to be purchased for that vehicle and they are specific. If not towing and you forget milk or something, now you have to pull up camp to go to the store.
     
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  4. tinkerjo

    tinkerjo Crazy Disney nut

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    We also have been debating the question if owning an RV it is “worth it”. We love camping and tent camp often and we also like to travel. We would love the convenience and ease of an RV but know the gas mileage and upkeep may outweigh the benefits. I agree with the above poster about renting it out. I want my space to be mine. We are thinking of going with a solid used class C ( we need an RV d/t often towing a boat) with low miles so we don’t have the life savings invested, but I also would be interested in hearings others comments on this.
     
  5. PartyOfSe7en

    PartyOfSe7en Earning My Ears

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    While I would much rather get a trailer to pull, finding a vehicle that fits 7 and pulls a large motorhome is just as big of an issue. I appreciate your insight. We have rented motorhomes from the military MWR a few times and enjoyed them so we have the itch.
     
  6. StitchesGr8Fan

    StitchesGr8Fan DIS Veteran

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    There is no way I would rent out my personal motor home. 2 reasons. First, the interior of any RV is made to be lightweight. Therefore things aren’t as durable as in a house and break when not used and maintained properly. And when things break it can be costly and inconvenient to get fixed. Second, there is no way I would let strangers who probably have no idea what they are doing drive, hook up, and dump my motor home. Again, repairs are expensive and inconvenient.
     
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  7. 2goofycampers

    2goofycampers Sounds like something a camping trip could cure! Moderator

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    Camping doesn't come down to just $. It's a lifestyle choice and for some (us) a sleeping in your own bed issue. If you add up the cost of the RV, gas, insurance, road side assistance it's probably more $ then a cheap hotel. Once the RV is paid off you come out cheaper. For a family of 7 it may come out cheaper with an RV.

    As for rental, I think most RV owners would not rent out their personal RV. Someone being in their space, higher insurance, breakage, wear and tear. I have also heard of people leaving the black tank open and it filled and got hard and had to be replaced. The phrase "party bus" also comes to mind.
     
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  8. MiniMN

    MiniMN Earning My Ears

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    Here's another idea: Try a used pop up camper first. The bunks slide out and provide the space for the kids. Used ones are fairly cheap and you can see how you like camping with a trailer. We went from tents to a 10 foot bed pop up for very little money (used) and were really happy for years. Bought a second used pop up with a 12 foot bed and used that for another 8 years. Last year we bought a 30 foot travel trailer with double bunks in the back, which we love, but it's not as easy to pull. A little part of me misses the pop up and wishes I had scaled back to getting a more decked out pop up. At the same time, the other part of me decorated the travel trailer with all sorts of Mickey, and I really like the room in the big trailer. Good luck in your search!
     
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  9. Happyinwonerland

    Happyinwonerland DIS Veteran

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    I have done the math over and over, and an RV just doesn't make financial sense to me.

    Monthly payments for the RV, insurance, expensive fuel, and then lot rent or storage rent all add up to be WAY more than what I pay in nice hotels every year.

    People RV for the lifestyle, not to save money on travel.
     
  10. mco65

    mco65 get busy living, or get busy dying!

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    I would agree with this... unless your getting a popup like MiniMN suggested and you can store it at home.. a big motorhome to sleep 7 would not save much money. i suppose if you got a 10 year old Class C bought with cash that you could store at home, you might save some $ initially but eventually that C will break down and you will have replace it... I don't think buying an RV to save money on vacationing is the correct thought process but it sounds like you already camp (tent) and moving up to an RV or travel trailer is the next step in that lifestyle! ;)
     
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  11. michelb

    michelb Mouseketeer

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    FWIW, we're a family of 4 and have a class A motor home. As others have said, you'll be hard pressed to find a trailer or motor home that sleeps 7 comfortably. The most class As *might* sleep 4 comfortably, you can get find Class Cs that sleep 6 relatively comfortably and you can get trailers (bumper and 5W) that will do 6 comfortably. Having said that, it will be hard to find anything where you can *live* 6 people comfortably - if you don't mind spending most of you non-sleeping time outside, it's not really an issue but you won't really have much room to have 6 people sitting around or eating. For most living space, large 5W are arguably your best bet but keep in mind the truck you need to tow it. For the biggest 5W, you might be able to manage with a 3/4 ton but you really need a 1 ton DRW which, if you don't need one for anything else, is a lot of money just to tow your trailer.

    As far as renting it out, RVs have things that break all the time. Add the inexperience of driving and towing and I think you are likely asking for trouble BUT I believe there is a decent rental market so it is an option. We don't rent ours out - part of the reason is that ours is older and ours has license requirements in many areas (air brakes and 30k lbs so some places require a CDL).

    As far as the cost, if you use it a lot (we probably spend an average of 8 weeks per year in it), it might not be so bad but it's certainly not cheap. We average under 8 mpg and annual maintenance, repairs and insurance adds up pretty quick. For us, it's the convenience of having our things with us.

    The other thing to keep in mind is sitting positions, towing and driving around when you are at your destination. Our class A has 9 seat belts I believe but I suspect that many have much less. A Class C might have 6 seat belts. If you are looking at towing, I'm not sure how many belts are in most pickups 5 max? Also when you get to your destination, you likely won't want to drive your Class A or C around so will need a car to drive around in.

    We actually leave our motorhome in storage in Florida all winter long but that also means that we leave a car storage in Florida all winter long so in addition to the extra insurance, maintenance and storage of the motorhome, we are also insuring, maintaining and storing an extra car.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019 at 11:38 AM
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  12. Tallis

    Tallis Mouseketeer

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    I could have written this answer myself. I agree with everything said 100%.

    Hobbies and leisure activities are not really about making financial sense, but more about quality of life. If an RV is something you would use a lot and make great family memories, it's worth it.

    I doubt you would find a motorhome that sleeps 7 comfortably, but a bunkhouse travel trailer would be a better option for a family that size. A large passenger van would accommodate 7 and pull a travel trailer. We own (but don't use for camping, our son lives in it on our property) a Keystone Cougar. It has a master bedroom in the front with a queen sized bed and the back bedroom is a bunk room with 4 bunks. While the dinette makes into a bed, it's rather short. The couch pulls out into a large bed, and is much easier. That could sleep the 7th person, or two kids could share the double bottom bunk in the rear bedroom.

    There is NO WAY I would rent out any of our personal campers. Ever. Nope. I think once you own one, you will realize you don't want to do so either. I suppose if you are buying RVs for rental only, and not going to use them for your family, it would be different. But, once you have one that is clean and has all your stuff in it for your family, you're not going to want other people messing with it.

    All that being said, I also agree with the post about trying a pop up. The one we currently own (our 4th) can sleep 7 people. We have actually stayed a week at the beach with 7 of us in it, 3 adults and 4 children. On the king sized bunk, we use hanging fabric shelves (5 sets) lined up to separate it into 2 private twin bed sized spaces when there are that many people with us. It's a small space, and not a place you would want to live permanently with that many people, but we live outside much of the time, other than sleeping. We also set up an instant tent, that is large enough to stand up in, to keep all the clothing and act as a changing room. We only do this when grown kids and grandchildren are with us. We do have a full bathroom w/shower where we can change when there are just a few of us. We paid either $1,200 or $1,500 for this particular camper. I don't remember which, as we've had it around six years. We can tow it with our mini-van, which is a huge plus to get 20+ mpg over our truck which only gets about 12 mpg.

    We have 5 grown children and tent camped our entire lives. We only bought our 1st pop up when our two youngest were teens. We love camping and go often so having a camper makes sense for us. We paid cash for the Keystone about 4 years ago, I think around $11k, but after a couple of trips realized that it didn't fit our camping style. We were going to sell it, but then decided it was a good fit for one of our sons, as he suffered a TBI in 2013, so needs to live close, but gives him his independence as well. So we set it up on our land for him.

    As far as camping at the Fort, you can always set up a tent on your site as well. I love that we can have up to ten per site, and we often have some of our kids' families come and go different days while we are there. They can set up a tent on our site for their own personal space. If you have teens, this is a good option as well.
     
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  13. liveincontrast

    liveincontrast Earning My Ears

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    Forest River has a few Class C options that sleep up to 8 pretty comfortably. Queen in back, twin bunks middle, queen/full over the cab, and the couch and table each fold down. We meet up with my parents and sister a few times a year to go camping, and the last time we had five adults and three kids with no issues.
     
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  14. CDNCruiser

    CDNCruiser Recreation Professional

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    We owned a 36' Class A for 12 years and traveled extensively.
    We thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it, but as people here say, it's not the most economical option.
    It really is a lifestyle decision and we don't regret it at all.

    After 12 years in the coach we had our 'bucket list' all done . . . our only plans were to return to The Fort at least once a year.

    We sold the Class A and we now rent a travel trailer for about 4 weeks a year at The Fort.

    The trailer rental costs us less than storage and insurance used to cost for the rig we owned.

    The rental option works just great for us and still gives us the 'lifestyle' we enjoy!
    Our dogs love it too!
     
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  15. North of Mouse

    North of Mouse DIS Veteran

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    Our 34' mh sleeps only four comfortably as we chose to have standalone dining and not a booth. There are some that say they will sleep more, but you will mostly be 'wall to wall' sleeping when all beds are in place, so depends on how much open space you are willing to sacrifice. Much longer mh's will naturally sleep more, but would be much more expensive.

    We are in our mh about 8 weeks a year or more, so we enjoy it immensely, and justify owning it.
    As for renting it out, no way would we do that as it's very private to us, and we leave our personal belongings in it year round.

    And yes, there is maintenance to consider (which dh does mostly 100%) also ins. & taxes. It has also been a relaxing way of life for us for many years (including other types RVing)

    It is not 'cost saving' but because we use it so many weeks a year for various reasons, it also is not the same as someone only using it a couple weeks a year. If you are only looking to get your money's worth, you are definitely looking at the wrong RV. Popups/hybrids trailers sleep more, especially with younger children.

    The convenience, on the road, or parked in CC, is priceless to us, but traveling with 7, we are very seat belt/safety conscious and you would not have enough seat belts in any mh I have ever seen.

    Good luck with your choice.
     
  16. team bradfield

    team bradfield happy campers

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    When kids were young, we had a 5th wheel with bunkhouse, (3) beds, a pull out sofa, (double bed) and our main bedroom (king) easily slept our 5, could've handled 7, but we would need 2 vehicles for 7 people. NOM made a good point above, you probably wont find a MH with that many seat belts

    as others have said, its a way of life. I would never consider renting mine
     
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  17. PaHunter

    PaHunter Photographer in need of training...

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    And this is where the Class 8, HDT makes it worth it. They can be customized to handle that many people. I have seen some with seats all the way around the sleeper. And well cost wise, they are cheaper than a new 1 ton DRW.
    I can carry 6 in my cab, the two primary seats and then 4 at the workstation.
     
  18. MudQueen22

    MudQueen22 DIS Veteran

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    We bought our travel trailer to be able to travel more frequently with our family for the cost of one motel-and-eat-out-every-meal trip. It does allow us to take five or six local-ish trips per year (in Texas or Louisiana) for what it would cost for one such trip if we had to stay in a hotel.
    What we are learning is that we have lots of costs associated with ownership that we weren't really thinking about when we purchased, and it eats into the travel budget. (Fortunately, we paid cash for our unit.)
    At this point, we can only take one "big" trip every other year, or maybe even every third year, depending on distance and other matters. (Disney is one such "big" trip.) The gas is just too high.

    Overall, we're glad we have it. We've enjoyed it. It allows us to get out more at a cost we can afford, but it is not as affordable as we had envisioned. Having said that, I've enjoyed having our own space when we are out of town. I like that we can make our own meals, and I like the camping experience.

    We would never rent or loan ours out. Too much can go wrong, and there is so much to learn. I would always wonder if my renters leveled the trailer. Or if they plugged in the EMS and attached the water pressure regulator. Did they put baby wipes or feminine hygiene products down the black tank? Did they let their kids swing from or jump on the bunks like a pack of wild zoo creatures? Did they remember to put the awning in before the winds kicked up? And the list goes on. Too much can be damaged.

    I would recommend against a motor home. They are pricey. You're limited on seating options during travel. I don't know that they can comfortably accommodate such a large family.
    Consider a bumper pull and something along the lines of a Ford Excursion, but really crunch those numbers to make sure the tow vehicle can handle whatever you buy. Many travel trailers have queen beds in one section for parents and a section with bunks for children. Many of the bunk room models have four separate bunk, plus a sofa that folds out or a dinette that folds down. A family of seven will be crammed if you're all trying to hang out inside at once, but if you plan to only use it as a place to sleep, you should be comfortable.

    We don't really stay in ours during the day when camping. IF the weather will be bad, we make alternate daytime plans, such as museums.
     
  19. 2goofycampers

    2goofycampers Sounds like something a camping trip could cure! Moderator

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    Good point, cooking in a camper will definitely save $ for a large family. Also the not having to have 2 rooms at a motel.
     
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  20. rml0win

    rml0win Earning My Ears

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    I believe an RV purchase is a personal choice. We have had two pup-ups, four motor-homes, and our latest purchase an airstream travel trailer. It is expensive, however, it is the only thing DW and I spend our money on.
    When our son was younger he would invite someone to go along as he is an only child. They loved to batch it in a tent to themselves. That may be an option for you as well.
    As for renting out I would suggest not. This past year we went west from Ga. to AZ. then to Mt. and back. We saw many rental class C's. Three things I noticed: 1) camper was not leveled, meaning somewhere down the line the refer will malfunction 2) no pressure regulator used on city water hose, possible water damage in camper plumbing 3) no surge protector used meaning possible electrical problems
    I'm fairly certain the renters didn't know what most RVer's learn along the way.
     
  21. PaHunter

    PaHunter Photographer in need of training...

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    Most renters do not care, it is like that sports car from Eprise, they are driving at 120 mph and stomping on those brakes. Why ? They don't own it and they will not be paying the repair bills.
     

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