The RV lifestyle is appealing for many reasons, not the least of which is simplifying your life – and your stuff. RVs have limited space and there usually isn’t a lot of room for extra stuff. But if you’ve owned an RV for many years, you may have found yourself “upgrading” to a larger RV from time to time, whether it’s because you were looking for more space, the family grew, or vacationing by RV was the only way to vacation.
Still, there may come a time when those things aren’t as important or necessary. You may find yourself thinking the opposite: It’s time to downsize. Under what circumstances is it time to downsize the RV? Let’s go over them here.
- The family is smaller. Many parents in their 30s and 40s invest in an RV purchase to take their young, growing family on vacation. As the kids get older, a larger RV may be necessary to accommodate everyone. But then the kids start going to college and moving away to start lives of their own. Mom and Dad are left with a large RV and fewer or no kids to share it with. Now, a lot of couples may enjoy having the family RV left to themselves. After all, it’s more space and the kids will come camping every once in a while. The question is, is it necessary? Is there a smaller RV that can give you the same freedom, flexibility, and comfort?
- Gas mileage. An important line item in every RVer’s budget is that for gas or diesel. Although gas mileage is improving, large Class A motorhomes take a lot fuel to get places. Switching to a Class B (camper van) or Class C motorhome would make a big difference in fuel consumption and the amount of fuel needed for travel. Switching to a smaller towable RV offers a similar perk. A smaller and lighter travel trailer will impact your fuel costs and help you go further on a tank of gas.
- Maneuverability. It pretty much goes without saying that larger RVs (motorized or towable) are trickier or more cumbersome to park and drive. They are heavy, wide, and offer restricted visibility. Downsizing to a smaller model can make driving in urban areas easier, not to mention less sway on the highway. Tied in to this is being able to fit in and navigate parking lots much more easily. This makes doing errands with the RV possible.
- Smaller carbon footprint. Smaller tanks. Less gas consumption. Lower electricity needs (maybe even go solar?). There are some “green” benefits to downsizing the RV. If you want to do you part for Planet Earth, then full-time living in a smaller RV is one such way.
- Lower insurance costs. Just as the price you pay for your home insurance premium is based on the location, age, and size of your house – and you have options for flood coverage, jewelry riders, etc. – larger RVs tend to have larger insurance bills. They are more expensive to replace in the event of a loss or theft, plus collision coverage, personal effects coverage, etc. Downsizing will help reduce that overall cost.
- Simplicity. Downsizing to a smaller rig or trailer has a secondary effect: reducing clutter. You can simplify your belongings even more, which also reduces the weight of the RV. You keep only what’s essential and important. There isn’t space for a lot of extras, so you have to be choosy. If you’ve already owned an RV for many seasons, then this isn’t news. If simplicity is important to you, then downsizing to a smaller RV will further help you simplify and keep your focus on experiences and living, not material possessions.
Although “pros” of downsizing are significant, it’s important to be all-encompassing in your thought process. Consider some of the “cons” of downsizing, too. The cons include smaller holding tanks, louder engine noise, smaller bathroom space, less payload, and less space with fellow occupants.
Is downsizing for you?