RV Depreciation – How To Use It To Your Advantage

This article is going to be about RV depreciation. About what it is, and how you can minimize it and save money on the purchase of an RV.

So what is depreciation anyway? I mean, we hear that term used a lot. So what is it exactly?

Well, it’s simply what happens when something you buy loses value over time.

Now it often happens with vehicles, like cars and trucks. And of course with RVs as well.

So why do they depreciate so fast? Mainly because, especially with RVs, new ones are coming out every single year.

And they have new features and capabilities with every new model year.

So that means that the older ones are not quite as valuable anymore to the buying public.

Also, from year to year there’s going to be wear and tear on the RV too. And that’s going to lessen the value as well.

Watch my video on RV depreciation

So the thing I want you to keep in mind is that RVs should not be considered an investment in any way!

They’re all going to lose value somehow over time. But the question many RV owners want to know is, how fast do they lose value? And how much?

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RV Depreciation – How Much Does It Affect The RV’s Price?

Well, most new RVs that you buy are going to lose about 20 percent of their value within the very first year or so of your ownership.

And then after that they will lose more from year to year. But it’s not going to be nearly as much as that first couple of years.

Now here’s the good news though. Depreciation does affect the RV’s price quite a bit in the first five years.

But after five years it tends to slow down a lot in its drop in value from there on.

In fact, by year 5 most RVs have depreciated somewhere around 35 percent on the average. But by year 10 it’s only dropped to 50 or 60 percent.

How RV depreciation affects RV prices
How RV depreciation affects RV prices

So I think you can see that RV depreciation starts to level out a little bit between year 5 and 10.

RV Depreciation Doesn’t Affect All RVs The Same Way

But different brands and different manufacturers lose value at different rates. And why is that?

Well, that’s because some brands are better known for quality. They have a great reputation with RV buyers and so their value holds longer.

These are brands like Airstream, Casita, Newmar, Tiffin. And there’s others as well. I can’t go down the whole list here in this article.

Perceived RV quality affects RV prices a lot
Perceived RV quality affects RV prices a lot

But there’s quite a few high quality brands that just hold their value better than others do.

And on the other side of the equation there are the typical high production RV builders.

You know, the ones that you see everywhere at almost any dealer you visit.

And they’ve got tons and tons of models and various price ranges and so on. Typically, they are the ones that often lose their value quicker than other quality built RVs. So just keep that in mind.

Now how can you slow down this loss of value in an RV that you have bought?

Well, I’m going to share three ways that you can do that. And number one is something we’ve actually already covered.

The Number One Way To Tame RV Depreciation

That is to try your best to buy a quality RV brand from a quality RV manufacturer.

Now how can you spot quality in an RV? Or what are the brands that have the best reputation?

Well, I know it’s a challenge for many buyers! And that’s why I created several guidebooks to help you in the quest to identify quality RV brands. I’m sure they can be a big help for you in the buying process.

Download my RV guidebooks on manufacturer quality

But now let’s move along to our second point on keeping the depreciation loss as low as possible.

The Second Way You Can Keep The Value Of Your RV High

And that is to maintain your RV as well as you possibly can while you own it.

Unfortunately, this is something that I’ve got to say a lot of RV owners don’t really do very well.

Maintain your RV to keep it's value high
Maintain your RV to keep it’s value high

They buy the RV, and then they kind of treat it like a new home that will never have issues. Or at least it will be a long time before they’ve got to do anything to it.

But the truth is are that RVs constantly need maintaining. And it doesn’t take an awful lot to learn what to do. Also it’s not difficult to do for most people.

In fact, roughly 80% of the things that need to be maintained or repaired around an RV can be done by the average RV owner.

All they need is just a little guidance and know-how that is usually easy to find online.

So try to maintain your RV and keep it in really good shape. And keep a record of what you are doing as you maintain and repair it too.

Record any maintenance you do or any repairs that you make to that RV. Keep very good records of the care that you have put into it.

And let me tell you, that impresses a buyer a lot when you go to sell that RV.

Maintenance records are a great way to get more money for your RV
Maintenance records are a great way to get more money for your RV

When you hand over the records that show exactly what you’ve been doing to keep that RV in excellent shape.

Well, automatically in the buyer’s mind, the value of that RV has increased immediately.

The Third Way To Keep High Value In Your RV

OK, let’s go to number three on our list of slowing RV depreciation loss.

And that is to keep your RV updated as you go with newer technology. Also with newer styles and appearance.

Update your RV's appearance to keep value high
Update your RV’s appearance to keep value high

Now this is important. Because a lot of times people are looking for the latest gadgets and the latest technology.

It’s the things that make RVing easier and more pleasant for them. Also, if you look at older RVs, you’re going to see colors that just aren’t anything near what we are into these days.

You will see things like carpet used everywhere all through the RV, instead of hardwood floors.

And you’ll often see things that clearly date that RV by the appearance alone.

Well, try to keep your RV updated as much as you possibly can. And then when you do, the money you put into it isn’t wasted.

Because that way the investment is not only beneficial for you and your use of the RV.

But it’s also a big plus in the mind of a prospective buyer who’s looking at purchasing that RV too.

And that’s an important point! So keeping the RV modern in appearance increases the value of the RV to them too.

When Is The Best Time To Buy An RV?

OK, so then now the question is, when is the best time to buy an RV to prevent value loss?

In other words what’s the sweet spot in depreciation loss where you should be buying an RV?

Honestly it’s somewhere between year 5 and 7 in my opinion. Because up to then, like we discussed earlier, price depreciation has been pretty rapid.

RV Depreciation Value Loss Sweet Spot
RV Depreciation Value Loss Sweet Spot

But then it just sort of starts to level out a little bit at that point. And you can get a great RV for a great price that’s depreciation stable at that point.

Should You Never Buy A New RV To Prevent The Big Depreciation Hit?

So here’s another question, should you never buy a new RV then? Because of that big depreciation hit that you take right off the bat.

Well I’m not saying that at all! There’s actually several very good reasons that people buy new RVs.

For instance, they may just want that bumper-to-bumper warranty that comes with it for the first year or so.

That way they don’t have to worry about paying for any major repairs during that time.

Also, a lot of people like new RVs because nobody’s used it before them. So they know how that RV has been treated, since it’s brand new.

That means that nobody has had it before and done some bad things to it. Especially things that may not be obvious to the next RV buyer. So they like that!

They also like the idea that there’s not been anybody who smoked in it. Or had pets in it, or things like that.

And that’s especially important to folks that have allergies to those kinds of things.

Also people like to buy new RVs for the latest features, like this article mentioned before. They just want the latest technology available.

And there is nothing wrong with any of those reasons for buying a new RV at all. But here is another important point in favor of buying new RVs.

A Major Reason Why RV Depreciation Doesn’t Always Affect New RVs

And that is if you plan on keeping your RV. And I’m talking about keeping it for many years, maybe 10 years or longer.

Well then honestly, depreciation doesn’t really factor into the equation very much at that point.

Depreciation on new RVs doesn't have to affect everyone
Depreciation on new RVs doesn’t have to affect everyone

Because during all those years of RV depreciation, you are keeping that RV instead of selling it.

But what if you think that you may sell your RV within the next few years or so?

Well then, it’s important for you to factor in the depreciation loss of value in the cost of that RV.

And then try to minimize it as much as possible in the ways I’ve covered in this article.

Well that’s it for now. Have safe and happy RV travels!

RV Camping Memberships That Can Save You Lots Of Money

This article is about RV camping memberships. And how you can save lots of money with them.

Of course, the biggest expense for RVers, and especially RVers that like to travel a lot is camping costs.

That’s because those nightly fees are just going to add up and up. And it’s going to shock you how much you spent on camping at the end of the month.

However, if you have plenty of money you don’t have to worry about any of that.

You can just go wherever you want and you can stay wherever you want for as long as you want.

But what if you have to budget your costs of RVing? Well then, you really should get some RV campground memberships in my opinion.

Because they will be able to save you lots of money on your total costs of RV living.

Watch my video about RV camping memberships

And this article is about 4 campground memberships that Cheri and I have personally used.

So we have a lot of experience with them. And we can recommend them to you based on our own past experience.

Now I’m not using all of them all of the time though. And I’ll explain more about that later on in the article. So hang with me on that for a while.

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RV Campground Membership #1

But let’s start with number one on the list. And that is a campground membership that I keep talking about over and over again.

Honestly there’s only one reason why I do that. It’s because it has saved us more money than anything else we have purchased in our RV life.

And that RV camping membership is with Thousand Trails. Now I’ve made a couple of videos about Thousand Trails already.

Thousand Trails. One of our favorite RV camping memberships.
The Thousand Trails RV camping membership

And those videos go into a lot of the details about the program itself. And also what you can expect, as well as how much it saved us.

So I’m going to list those videos below here and then you can go take a look at them.

Click this image to watch the video
Click this image to watch the video

But I’ve also created a web page that pretty much has all the information on Thousand Trails that you could want to know.

And if you have a question about their program, it should be answered right there. Here is the link to that website article – https://rvinspectionandcare.com/thousand-trails-review/

But now let me tell you what I love about Thousand Trails more than anything else.

It’s the thing that never gets old to me no matter how long I’m in their program.

Real Savings On Camping Costs With This Membership

And that is paying $0/night for all of my water, sewer, and electric use at each campground. Let me say that again – $0/night!

Now to be fair, there are costs involved that has to do with buying your membership itself. And there are also annual dues to pay.

But Cheri and I have done all the numbers and run the math on what it’s cost us.

And we figure that our Thousand Trails membership has costs us less than $3/night with everything included.

Now I honestly don’t know how you’re going to do any better than that for camping costs. Especially for full hookups wherever we go!

That one RV camping membership alone has saved us thousands and thousands of dollars.

So I highly recommend that you watch the videos I listed above. And then check out the article that explains Thousand Trails memberships in detail too.

If you do, I think you really will learn a lot by doing that. And then you can decide whether it’s something that’s good for you or not.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a full-time RVer, a part-time RVer, or if you’re a snowbird.

In each case, one of the Thousand Trails RV camping memberships can work well for you.

But take a look at the information I’ve provided in the videos and that article. Then you can decide whether it’s useful for you or not.

RV Camping Membership #2

OK, let’s move along to number two on the list. And that’s Passport America.

Now Passport America is a great RV camping membership. Because it doesn’t cost a whole lot.

Passport America camping membership
Click this image to learn more about the Passport America camping membership

But it provides you a 50% discount on all of the parks and campgrounds that participate in their program.

And there’s a lot of campgrounds in their program. In fact, there’s thousands of them all across the country.

So especially when you’re traveling a lot, this can be a great membership to have.

Of course, generally it’s only for one night stays and things like that. But still, you get a 50% discount. And that’s serious!

But you might ask, what is the catch here? Well the thing to remember is, the discount is not always available at all times.

It’s mainly available during mid-week periods. And during off season times for RVing.

So the weekends and the high season is often not available at the greatly discounted rates.

However, if you’re traveling at the right time of year, this is going to be perfect for you.

I also have to say that we have used Passport America over and over again in our travels.

And we have always saved money with this RV campground membership.

Now it’s true that it costs you a little bit to get into it, but not that much.

And it has come in handy so many times for us. Plus we’ve always saved more than it cost us.

So I highly recommend Passport America as a great RV campground membership to have.

RV Camping Membership #3

Now let’s go on to number three on the list. And that’s Harvest Hosts.

They are essentially a collection of businesses that allow you to stay on their property overnight while you’re traveling through the area.

Harvest Hosts. Another one of our favorite RV Camping Memberships.
Click this image to learn more about the Harvest Hosts RV Camping Membership

And here’s a great advantage to that. Because they’re businesses, they’re very often close to major highways where you’re traveling.

And very often they have very easy methods to get in and get out of their property.

That’s because they need to be supplied regularly as a business. So trucks are usually coming in and out to bring their supplies to them.

And if a truck can get in to supply them, an RV can usually get in easily too.

Now another advantage to Harvest Hosts is you get exposure to different things. Different products from different businesses.

And there’s all kinds of businesses in Harvest Hosts too. Like orchards, distilleries and wineries. And even golf courses.

Nightly Costs Are Very Low In This Membership

And all these businesses ask is that you spend about twenty dollars for staying there overnight.

That way it’s a benefit for you as you get to stay overnight really cheap.

But it’s also a benefit for them as they get to expose their products and services to more people.

Now keep in mind that you’re going to be boondocking there. So there’s not a lot of hookups at Harvest Hosts providers.

But the experience is still pretty good. You get to stay overnight cheap. And you get to be able to sample new things too.

On top of all of that you also get to kind of have a little adventure while you’re there.

And even if you spend twenty dollars a night. That’s a lot less than you would be spending very often at RV parks while you’re on the road.

So I highly recommend Harvest Hosts. It’s one of our favorite RV camping memberships. And by the way, it works really good for big rigs too.

That’s because it’s usually pretty easy to access these businesses and get in and out. And for big rig owners, that’s a huge plus!

RV Camping Membership #4

Now let’s move on to number four on our list of RV camping memberships. And that’s Boondockers Welcome.

They are essentially a collection of people, not businesses, who are allowing you to stay on their property overnight while you’re traveling.

Boondockers Welcome. One of the most popular RV Camping Memberships.
Click this image to learn more about the Boondockers Welcome Camping Membership

They’re usually very friendly and very hospitable. And there’s a lot of RVers involved in the program that are offering their property for overnight stays.

Of course, they know what it takes to be able to RV on the road. Because they do it themselves.

And they’re happy to offer their accommodations to fellow RV travelers. So here’s a couple of good advantages of the Boondockers Welcome program.

First, you can often stay more than one night at Boondockers Welcome spots.

Yes, many of the hosts will let you stay 3 – 5 nights. Sometimes even more. And they’ll tell you that in the description of their accomodations.

So that can be a great plus when you would like to take a few days to rest up.

The Huge Advantage of Using This Campground Membership

Another advantage is that it truly is 0$/night in most cases. They don’t really expect you to spend anything with them.

Now as the name says, it’s boondocking. But there are some situations where you may have hookups and there may be a small charge for that.

One of our Boondockers Welcome overnight spots
One of our Boondockers Welcome overnight spots

However in most cases you’ll be boondocking overnight at no cost to you. And it’s really kind of a great thing to be able to do.

In fact, I know some RVers that travel all around the country spending nights at Boondockers Welcome as they go.

And can you imagine the huge savings they experience on their camping costs? It’s a very unique way to save lots of money while RVing!

However, I have to admit that Boondockers Welcome is the one RV camping membership we don’t use anymore. Why?

Why We Don’t Use This Membership Any More

Well, we found that it was great and we enjoyed our stays with the people in the program.

But because of the size of our rig, Boondockers Welcome didn’t work out as well as we had hoped.

That’s because their locations can be almost anywhere. And they’re often far away from cities and towns.

And far away from the roads that we like to travel on most. Often the roads leading to the property were smaller and more cramped than we like.

Also, getting in and out of the locations sometimes could be a little hairy too. At least for a 40 foot diesel pusher motorhome like we have.

So we just decided to use Harvest Hosts instead. Because we felt that their program fit the size of our rig better.

But what if you have a smaller RV that’s more of a normal size or smaller?

Well then, you’re probably going to really enjoy Boondockers Welcome a lot. And it’ll be a great experience for you.

You get to meet more new friendly people that way. And enjoy your time there as well.

And I’m sure it will be one of your favorite RV camping memberships.

So it may not be the best solution for us anymore. But I highly recommend it for all of you folks that have midsize and smaller RVs.

Conclusion

Well, I hope this article on RV camping memberships will be helpful for you.

We can recommend all of these camping choices to you. And that’s because we’ve used them all.

We like them all and we think you’ll like them too!

And if you save money on your camping costs, guess what? It just leaves you more money for having fun adventures in your RV travels.

Have safe and happy RV travels my friends!

4 Season Travel Trailers – The Top Picks

This article is about the best 4 season travel trailers brands to buy.

But what does “four season RV” mean anyway? Well interestingly, there’s no set standard for it in the RV industry that all manufacturers accept.

So it can be a pretty wide definition from one brand to the next. And you have to pay close attention when a brand advertises ‘4 Season Capable”.

Now most travel trailers that you buy are usable from somewhere in the spring to late fall. And that makes them essentially “3 season” travel trailers.

Click this image to watch my video about 4 season travel trailers

But what about hot weather in the summertime time? Well you know, hot weather can be tolerated if you have a good RV air conditioning unit.

Of course, it may be a little uncomfortable at times, but that’s about it. However winter poses a much bigger challenge for RVs.

Because not only will you be uncomfortable in really cold weather, but it can also do damage to your RV.

It can freeze water pipes, waste tanks and other components in the RV causing expensive repairs.

So winter is that fourth season that we want to add in to make a true “four season RV”.

4 Seasons for RV travel and camping
4 Seasons for RV travel and camping

Now let’s go over a list of things that really should be included in a 4 season travel trailer.

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4 Season Package Feature #1

And number one on the list, is upgraded insulation. Really good insulation. In fact, the higher the “R” factor in the RV’s insulation, the better.

Now RV manufacturers use various materials to put insulation in their RVs. But probably the most common are materials like either fiberglass or rigid foam.

The two main methods for insulating travel trailers
The two main methods for insulating travel trailers

And if you had to make a choice, rigid foam is probably the better choice among the two.

However, here’s a warning. Make sure that you verify that the manufacturer has done more than just put higher “R” values of insulation in the walls.

Also verify that added insulation is in the ceiling and the floor too. Because you really need that extra insulation all around the RV’s living area.

4 Season Travel Trailers Feature #2

Now here’s the next thing you want to look in a 4 season travel trailer. And that is that it should have a sealed or shielded underbelly.

And that’s because you need to protect your RV’s water pipes and waste tanks. Not to mention other components that could be hidden down there as well.

So you don’t want that area exposed to the elements in really cold weather.

Winter weather can freeze pipes quickly
Harsh winter weather can freeze pipes quickly

That’s because a cold wind can go right in under the RV since there is nothing to stop it.

And that means that it can get super cold under there and cause lots of problems.

So make sure the RV’s underbelly is sealed and protected as much as possible.

Now here’s a way RV builders can upgrade basement areas even further. And that if the RV has a vent that puts heat down in that area too.

That’s a really nice feature that makes sure that basement areas don’t freeze.

And another help in really cold weather is RV tank heater pads. They attach to the waste and water tanks underneath.

And usually you have a control button to turn on your tank heaters somewhere on your RV’s control panel.

Now these added items are really good to have. But if your RV doesn’t have them, at least make sure that you have a sealed underbelly.

4 Season Capability Feature #3

Now the next component you want to look for in a 4 season travel trailer is double pane windows.

And I think we all recognize the value that double pane windows bring to stay more comfortable in various kinds of weather.

When you’re dealing with extreme temperatures, they help keep cool and heat inside. And they help keep the uncomfortable weather outside.

Now if you don’t have double pane RV windows, that’s going to be an issue. Especially if you want to use your RV in more extreme weather.

That’s because single pane windows are a huge place for loss of heat or cool air. So a true 4 season travel trailer will offer that feature.

4 Season Capability Feature #4

Next up on our list is to make sure you have a really good furnace and air conditioning system. And that will be huge help to keep up with extreme temperatures.

So look for more than the average heating and cooling capacity here. For instance, a higher BTU furnace and a better air conditioning system.

Also keep in mind that it’s best to have a ducted system in your RV. That way you can spread the air throughout the entire living area.

And that is really going to help to make sure that everything is protected the way it should be.

OK, so those are the four things that you want to be looking for in a good 4 season travel trailer.

Now entry-level travel trailers are not going to have all of these features just mentioned.

They might have one or two, but they’re not going to have them all. But true 4 season travel trailers are going to have really pretty much all of these components.

And that means they are upgraded and therefore more expensive to buy. So just expect that 4 season travel trailers are going to cost you more when you buy them.

Now here’s a positive side of the cost of 4 season RV components though.

And that is that generally speaking, when you get 4 season components in a travel trailer, you’re also usually going to see better overall construction methods and materials being used throughout the RV as well.

So it usually means that you are getting a better travel trailer all around.

What Brands Make The Best 4 Season Travel Trailers?

Now let’s get to the question of what brands make the best 4 season travel trailers?

Well I’m going to provide a relatively small list here. And my list will only include brands that I feel build better quality overall products to begin with.

Now there’s lots of RV brands out there. And in the travel trailer segment of the industry, there’s dozens of brands you could consider.

But a lot of them just slap a sticker on a travel trailer identifying it as being “4 season capable”.

And that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have all the components we have covered in this article.

So I’m not going to include RV brands that are generally building with sub-par quality.

Only those that I feel not only build really good 4 season products, but they’re also made with good quality overall.

4 Season Ready Brand #1

So number one on the list is Oliver. And let me just say that Oliver builds a fabulous travel trailer.

Oliver makes great 4 season travel trailers
Oliver makes great 4 season travel trailers

As a result, they have an incredibly high customer service rating from their owners.

So look for the Legacy Elite 2 as it will have a lot of 4 season features built right into it.

And you can read positive comments and reviews from Oliver owners online.

And they often mention how they use their travel trailer year round. So Oliver is a very good place to start shopping.

4 Season Ready Brands 2 And 3

Now number two and three on the list in this article is actually two brands together. And that’s Northwood and Outdoors RV.

Northwood and Outdoors RV are 4 season capable
Northwood and Outdoors RV are 4 season capable

Why do I put them together? Because they’re both owned by the same company.

So they have a lot of similar ways of approaching the task of building RVs.

And they are known in the industry for building true 4 Season travel trailers. So either one of those companies would be great to choose from.

4 Season Capable Brand #4

Then number four on my list is Lance. And Lance builds a better quality travel trailer in general than many of their competitors. Especially those competing in a similar price range.

Lance travel trailer RVs
Lance travel trailer RVs

So look for adding on the “4 seasons certified” option to your Lance trailer. And that will bring you into 4 season territory.

4 Season Travel Trailers Brand #5

Finally, number five on the list is Grand Design. They make some great products and they have a lot of loyal owners despite what you may heard otherwise.

Grand Design Reflection can be 4 season capable
Grand Design Reflection can be 4 season capable

In recent years they have had their issues during the Covid pandemic. But they appear to have resolved those issues and have returned to their pre-Covid form.

So if you’re going to buy a Grand Design travel trailer, look for the Reflection. And then add the “Arctic Package”.

Then you’ll have something you can use for 4 seasons of travel and camping.

Conclusion

OK, that’s where I’m going to stop in this article. But I’ve given you five brands that would be good choices for 4 season RVing.

So does that mean that’s all the really quality brands that are building true 4 season products. No, not at all!

There are others but what I’ve given you here is a good place to start shopping. And these brands are some of the best choices you can make.

Also, now you should have a list of components that you’re looking for to make a travel trailer a true 4 season product.

So you can take what you have learned here and use it to find other brands and models that are 4 season ready.

My hope is that you will make good use of the information in this article.

If you do, I’m confident that you’re going to be able to find a 4 season RV that will fit your needs very well.

Safe and happy travels my friends! Until next time ….

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