Are travel trailers the biggest bang for your buck? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-10-2011, 01:39 PM   #1
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Are travel trailers the biggest bang for your buck?

Good afternoon,
Don't take this too seriously but I am interested in the cost factor of travelling with say a 13 - 17 ft trailer vs travelling with a fuel efficient car and staying in motels/hotels.

Has anyone sat down and figured out what the actual costs are for having/using a travel trailer?

For example when you are using a vehicle you can get your average actual costs/km (mile) which includes, depreciation, gas, wear and tear, routine maitenance etc.

How do you put a price on:
- the ability of going where you want
- when you want
- staying as long as you want
- inadvertently finding new locations that you might never gone to
- having your stuff in one spot
- having a spot to disappear to - for whatever reason
- sleeping in your own bed
- eating your own food
- meeting new people

Random thought starters:

Is figuring a loss of fuel efficiency of 20 - 30 % a reasonable amount on the tow vehicle a reasonable amount?
Besides fuel costs - Is travelling in the USA cheaper/on par than Canada?

Average cost of staying ovenight - full hook up $30?
Average cost of a decent hotel/motel room $120
Average cost of restaurant meals for 2 $60 vs
Average cost of buying/preparing your own food $20 ?
Maintenance costs of trailer.
Initial cost of trailer.

I don't know if any of these numbers are close but I'm willing to bet someone knows and will correct me LOL

Wayne
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Old 01-10-2011, 02:04 PM   #2
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Hi Wayne,
I have a spreadsheet that I use for calculating and comparing costs. I live in New Brunswick, Canada and towed my 13' Trillium to Florida in November. Being retired I am on the road each week during the summer. I have found;
If taking a relatively short trip, the economics are weighed heavily in favor of taking the trailer. Also, if taking a long trip, (4,000 mile round trip) the economics favor taking the trailer if I'm staying more than a week. This past summer, I took my trailer through the northeast states, into Quebec and southern and northern Ontario and return. With this trip, I had no schedule or agenda. I drove until I was tired and pulled off to take a nap. If I found an interesting area I booked a campsite. The flexibility provided by towing your kitchen and bed are hard to put a number on but it certainly reduced the stress related to searching for a reasonably priced hotel/motel room, especially during a peak season. I have regularly stayed overnight in Walmart and Flying J parking lots while driving point to point.
When planning a trip, I collect and compare data related to distance, fuel costs, meals, rooms etc. and then make a judgement call. Especially with all the bad press of late regarding the bed bug problem in hotels I would rather not stay in a hotel room unless the comparative costs of taking the Trillium just makes no sense at all.
My 2 cents worth.
Enjoy,
Barrie
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Old 01-10-2011, 02:26 PM   #3
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:00 PM   #4
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No stale air. If your trailer is dirty, it is your own dirt. Your very own bed. If you are on a special diet, you can prepare it. Your potty is your own and available. No carrying luggage in and out. Always packed and ready. How do you put a price on all that?
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:29 PM   #5
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I know you said someone would say something about your figures, well I figure if you are going to spend $120.00 a night to rent a room at a hotel/motel you might as well buy a new camper and make payments. Personally I would never pay that much to sleep in a hotel/motel, that's just me.
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:32 PM   #6
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google technomadia they have a cost breakdown of rv'ing fulltime.
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:00 PM   #7
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I would say more like $75 a night for a decent motel room. But it's really a calculation that each person would have to make based on their own preferences... what type/level of motel, what kind of vehicle (with its own fuel mileage, all are different), how fancy the restaurants you like, etc. Also the trailer cost can be figured in (a depreciation-like figure), and this will vary... a $25K, big heavy stick built trailer will cost way more per year than a little FG trailer purchased used that probably will lose little or no value over the next few years.
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:30 PM   #8
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The purpose of the trip and the miles needed to be covered and the time we have to do it determines if we take the camper. We saved Greg's company money by staying in our Scamp most of the summer but sometimes it wasn't practical and besides the motel room was only $8 more then our campsite (no bedbugs included or thin walls).
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:31 PM   #9
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Biggest advantage of your own travel trailer - no bed bugs. Priceless
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:34 PM   #10
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All,
All good valid points.

So, generally do you see a 20 - 30 % decrease in mileage when towing your particular trailer?

Trailer depreciation is something that may or may not happen depending on what you buy and how long you have it.

Up until now we have generally stayed in mid line hotels and looked for deals. We've found US prices cheaper generally, but add in the exchange and you are sort of close in price (depending).
Gas is a lot cheaper in the US.
Heck, We're already $30/day up just because we don't have to board the dogs.
Both dogs love to travel - snooze city.

Wayne
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Hill View Post
All,
All good valid points.

So, generally do you see a 20 - 30 % decrease in mileage when towing your particular trailer?

Trailer depreciation is something that may or may not happen depending on what you buy and how long you have it.

Up until now we have generally stayed in mid line hotels and looked for deals. We've found US prices cheaper generally, but add in the exchange and you are sort of close in price (depending).
Gas is a lot cheaper in the US.
Heck, We're already $30/day up just because we don't have to board the dogs.
Both dogs love to travel - snooze city.

Wayne
The amount of extra gas you burn will depend on your towing vehicle and driving habits. I found I burned a lot more gas when I maintained normal speed limit speeds so I have slowed my speed when towing; it's safer and saves money.
Also, keep in mind that staying in a camper rather than a motel is as much a lifestyle choice as an economic one. I prefer staying in my camper and it would be worth a premium to me but it saves me money; win, win.
Barrie
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:28 PM   #12
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We bought our trailer mainly to just go camping at local state parks for a couple of nights at a time. A cost comparison with motels just won't work. I never even considered the possibility of it actually saving us money. I figure the first year expenses of owning our trailer at about twenty thousand dollars; that includes the trailer, trip to buy it, license and insurance, reduced gas millage, cost of preparing the truck, and various other accessories and incidentals involved in setting up home.
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:44 PM   #13
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Ray,
Sort of like buying a boat to go fishing. The first fish costs you thousands, the second 1/2 that, etc. LOL
Wayne
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:39 PM   #14
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We have used and calculated in recent years the cost of traveling via (1) a 35' motorhome, (2) two years after the MH and prior to the Casita staying at motels and (3) more than a year and 17,000 + miles with the Casita. (1) The MH cost on average $100 or more per day including gas at $2.50 to $3.00 a gallon but NOT counting the cost of the MH payment. ( A MH, like a large fifth wheel, is great and can be economical if you go directly to one spot and stay there for days or weeks at a time. It is not the rig to tour in). (2) The motel thing cost an average of $125 a day or more when counting the cost of gas for the car, the room (avg of at least $85 per night) and eating out all the time. Yuck! Downsides of motels include dragging luggage in and out all the time, sleeping in strange (in more ways than one) beds every night and eating out all the time (Yuck, again!). (3) Ah, the Casita. Has cost us on average $65 to $75 per day including gas, food (cooked by ouselves!), CG fees, souvenirs, etc. We like to move around, see the sights, keep on the move. The Casita is the way to do it. Additional benefits are that both of us can drive the Casita with tow vehicle rig. The Mrs. could not / would not drive the MH. It was very tiring to drive the MH 600 miles a day by myself. With motels we felt the need to always make reservations. With the Casita we rarely do and have had no problems getting into CGs. With the MH we were 51 feet and you can't back up with the dinghy hooked up. With the Casita we are 31 feet and can get in and out of places that we would have to pass up with the MH. I was always uneasy at motels - concerned about someone messing with the car. I've never felt uneasy in a CG, either public or private. Then there are the intangibles benefits of Casitas vs. motels like being able to take your morning or evening walk around a CG, meet new people, be out in the open, etc. At a motel you are pretty much cooped up for the night. What are you going to do, walk around the paved parking lot and listen to the freeway traffic? I never met new friends while staying at a motel. I have met many new friends traveling with a Casita both fellow fiberglass owners and other CG residents and just the ones that walk up to you and tell you how "cute" your egg is. I only regret that it took us 40 + years of RVng to discover all that small, fiberglass TT traveling has to offer. In summary, I definitley think a small TT is cheaper than any other form of traveling, unless you include hitchhiking, but in addition there are many additional positive intangibles that make it all that much more appealing.
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