RV or VRBO? Which One Fulfills Your Retirement Dreams?
Are you one of the 76 million Baby Boomers in the United States? Did you know that according to the Insured Retirement Institute’s (IRI) 2016 update, we’re retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day? This will continue through at least 2030, when almost 73 million of us -- more than 20 percent of the country’s population -- will be 65 or older. That’s a lot of youthful Boomer with travel time on their hands!
If you’re planning to be one of the millions of footloose retirees living in an RV full-time, or among those who dream of hitting the VRBO (vacation rental by owner) trail, you’ve got some decisions to weigh. Here are five key questions to explore. They should give you some insight about which lifestyle you're better suited for, based on the feedback from millions of other Boomers already enjoying their Golden Years.
1) Have you calculated all of the costs?
RV -- Whether you have your eye on a mini or luxury motorhome, towable trailer, truck camper, or park model trailer – you can count on unexpected expenses. Seasoned veterans suggest you explore used RVs that can be found for under $30,000, especially if this is your first RV.
But how will you feel about refilling a 100-gallon tank that gets 7 miles per gallon? A rear tire blowout night run you $800. Remember, you've got annual depreciation, insurance, and registration. Will you store your RV if you don’t use it full-time?
Don’t forget about campground fees. Renting space by the month can cut your costs in half, but experts advise that you expect to pay $400 to $750 per month on average. High-end facilities and those near major cities and resort towns are even pricier, nearing $1,000 per month.
VRBO -- Sure, a short-term rental home is cheaper than a hotel, but like everything in life, “cheap” is relative. Let’s say you want to spend a week in the Napa Valley next April. You can pay $114 per night for a 400-square-foot downtown cottage, $800 per night for a bucolic farmhouse, or $1400 per night for a 5-bedroom vineyard estate. Don’t forget your airline, rental car, and gas fees.
2) Do you enjoy driving -- slowly?
RV -- Depending on how heavy your RV is and the specific laws of the state through which you’re passing, you may be driving slowly. Whether you’re towing something behind you or not, winding through 20 miles of Western North Carolina mountains can take an eternity. Not to mention the glaring stares from the convertible sports car trapped behind you on that two-lane road.
If you believe that the journey is as pleasurable as the destination, RVing may be more to your liking than getting where you’re going as quickly as possible.
3) Are creature comforts non-negotiable?
VRBO -- The average vacation rental is 1,850 square feet. You might enjoy a fully equipped kitchen, private dining space, outdoor hot tub, and on-trend décor that matches the town’s vibe. If a spa jet bath tub for two and a gourmet kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances are prerequisites for your comfort, a cramped RV will be torture.
RV – However, you always sleep in your own bed, and you're not constantly packing and unpacking. You don’t live out of a suitcase, and you know your way around the kitchen. You’re not tied down to a reservation or a contract, and if you have noisy campground neighbors, you just pack up and drive on.
4) Are you a DIYer, or do you like to be done for?
RV – Full-timers agree that you need to have a good deal of maintenance capability to deal with an RV. Things like winterizing, hooking up utilities, and dealing with generators all take know-how and skill.
VRBO – Something not working? Pick up the phone, call the owner, and go back to your vacation. Done!
5) Where do you really want to go?
Give some deep, soul-searching thought to how you want to travel. If spending a week at a time in a populated city, Southwest artist colony, or seaside resort town calls to you, VRBO is ideal.
If you want the ability to go to out-of-the-way, remote destinations such as National Parks, Wildlife Management Areas, or Bureau of Land Management property, an RV gets you there. Plus, no matter where you go, you’re always "home".