January 27, 2020

How to Buy a Recreational Vehicle

The Open Road

Planning to hit the road for the entire summer? You’ll need the right vehicle to travel in style.

There are many times where I’ve dreamed of a life out on the road, combining living and working and exploring all into one big ball of fun. I’m not so sure my family would agree with my desire to live the life of a traveling nomad though. Tha’s not exactly their idea of the kind of family travel they would enjoy as much as our normal vacations.

I’d imagine actually buying a recreational vehicle would be fun, but you have to have some knowledge about RVs before making a purchase. The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association considers an RV to be a motorized or towable vehicle that has transportation and temporary living quarters for camping, recreation, and travel.

Determining Which Types of Recreational Vehicle You Need

Before you can purchase a recreational vehicle, you have to determine which type you’ll need. What will it be used for? How often will you use it? How many people will be traveling in it? What will you be taking along with you? This will help you determine the size, amenities, and flexibility that you need in an RV. Some RVs come with all the amenities of a hotel, while others simply provide glorified camping amenities. What you’ll be using the RV for will determine how much you’ll need to spend and whether or not you’ll also need to purchase a pickup truck.

5 Things to Know About Recreational Vehicles

  1. Visit a specialty dealer (an RV dealer) rather than a car dealer; car dealers don’t typically sell RVs and even if they do, they won’t be knowledgeable enough to help you make a good decision. RVs can be purchased either new or used.
  2. Motorhomes are motorized recreational vehicles that offers both transportation and living quarters. Various sizes and styles are available, from van-sized campers to luxury RVs. A variety of amenities can be included in a motorhome.
  3. Towable recreation vehicles are travel trailers, truck campers, and sport utility recreational vehicles. As with motorhomes, there are various sizes and styles of towable recreational vehicles.
  4. Motorized recreational vehicles are more expensive than towable vehicles. However, the perk of a motorhome is that you don’t need a separate vehicle to get it around.
  5. Towable vehicles typically require a pickup truck, which is a major consideration if you don’t already own a truck.

Looking for more information about recreational vehicles? Find more here.

A Homeschool Life on the Road

If there’s one thing our family has enjoyed as a side benefit of homeschooling our kids it’s been the increased flexibility in our schedule to travel a little more than we probably get to in any other circumstance. My challenge is that I’d like to push that effort even further, but my wife and kids aren’t of the same mind.

You see, I’d love to sell most of everything we own and just hit the road full-time and explore. Along with homeschooling our kids with the curriculum we’re already using, I can’t imagine a better education could be obtained than by literally exploring the world around you and applying what you’ve learned in all of your adventures. I’m sure it would give my kids plenty of content for the blogs they say they want to start writing of their own as well.

Sadly, I don’t see this adventure happening anytime in the near future for a variety of reasons. I think one reason that would be tough for me to get over would be the loss of the community of friends we’ve established here on the south side of Indianapolis. The majority of our family are here or within 2 hours drive of our home so we get to see them regularly. And, we’ve built a tremendous network of friendships through our local church. That would be very hard to replace with a life on the road.

Luckily for me, I can live a little vicariously through some other homeschooling dads that are on the road living their adventures and sharing their stories with the world through their websites.

Recalculating Route – The Arnold Family

Recalculating Route - The Arnold Family

First there’s the Arnold family. They are originally from Indianapolis and I found out about them through one of my employers. Jon, the dad, used to have an office in the same corporate office space in Indianapolis that I work in now. Since I found out about his story and his website, I’ve been following their family’s adventures.

As some of you already know, my family and I are planning a bit of a lifestyle change later this year by taking life on the road for a year in an RV. Even though we’ve been thinking this through for well over a year now, there remains no shortage of hurdles that could derail our plans at any moment. Some of these hurdles, like renting the house, are so big they become ironically easier to face. It’s the seemingly smaller but more sinister hurdles like fear or complacency that I believe pose the greatest threats.

You can hop in the virtual backseat with the Arnold family at Recalculating Route.

It’s A Haigood Life! – The Haigood Family

It's A Haigood Life

Next up is the Haigood family. They were originally in the St. Louis area I believe and Alan was a pastor. They were looking at a change in their calling to ministry, but wasn’t quite sure what that would entail. In the meantime, Alan decided it was time to spend both quality and quantity of time with his kids.

Finally, my life is to lead my boys. Not only do I want to honor and obey God and love, honor and serve my wife, I want to model it for them.  I don’t want what the world would consider safe and secure to become golden handcuffs that would keep me from being the dad God wants me to be.  I want to be there with them when they find a cricket, see a shooting star, ask why the sky is blue, figure out a math problem, and tell a funny story.  Now again, I’m not saying every dad should stay at home, but for me, for this time, this is my place…and I don’t want to miss a minute.

How busy do we get in life as dads doing important stuff, but still missing the more important things in life?

You can keep up with the Haigood family at It’s A Haigood Life!

Boyinks 4 Adventure – The Boyink Family

Boyinks 4 Adventure

Bringing up the rear of this little family RV caravan is the Boyink family. This is the most recent family I’ve come across experiencing the adventure of life on the road. I stumbled across their story as I read an article about them through a software company I use (Techsmith’s Snagit software is what I used to grab the screenshots of this post).

I encourage you to read the entire “Why We’re Doing This” post on the site as it probably most closely reflects my own feelings about the current state of matters. But if you don’t want to read it, here’s a little snippet:

It’s a crazy system we’ve created for ourselves – wherein we give away the best years of our lives to someone (or something) else.  We have kids but are too busy to be with them.  We buy a house and then have to work long hours to pay for it and keep it up.  We spend our most productive and creative years helping design, build and sell widgets that were the fruit of someone else’s dream.  And we do all this for years – in hopes that when we finally get to retirement age there is just enough money and just enough health and just enough life left in us to finally kick off the shackles and take complete ownership of our days.

Another family. Another adventure. Follow along with the Boyinks at Boyinks 4 Adventure.

To find even more families that are doing full-time traveling together, visit the Fulltime Families website. It’s a members saving program and website for families that full time RV, but also a great place to find more families and read more stories from the road.