A luxury motorhome makes it easy to travel in style when you set off for a relaxing, sight-seeing journey. The family can relax and watch television, eat, sleep and use the facilities at any time during the journey. This makes the trip so much more enjoyable for everyone. The days of riding in a stuffy car, having to stop every couple hours and listening to "Are we there yet?" can quickly become a distant memory. There are some important factors to consider before you invest, though. Here are the answers to some of the questions you might have about if you are looking to make the transition into the RV vacation lifestyle.
Do I need a special driver's license to drive a motorhome?
That varies from state to state. Some states require a class B, non-commercial driver's license. California requires one of you are driving an RV that is longer than 40'. Other states, like North Carolina and Pennsylvania, require a class B license if you are driving an RV that weighs over 26,000 pounds. Contact your local DMV to find out what is required.
What if I'm not sure if I want to invest in a luxury motorhome?
Rent one. That's really the only way to be absolutely certain that you are comfortable driving one of these behemoths. Find a campground nearby, locate an RV dealership that rents RV's, reserve space at a campground and go for a long weekend or a week. Keep the trip short. That way you'll only be driving an hour or two the first time. You don't want to plan a cross-country trip and end up with a nerve-wracking, white-knuckle drive that gives you a new ulcer instead of a relaxing vacation.
Should I buy used or new?
As soon as a brand new motorhome is purchased and driven off the lot, its value drops by 30%. That's a bit of a hit right off the bat, but it won't make much difference in the long run if you plan to keep it forever. The new motorhome will come with a good warranty, and you will know how well its cared for right from the beginning.
If you aren't hung up on getting a motorhome that is brand-spanking-new, it's much smarter financially to buy a gently used, low-mileage RV. All costs considered, such as financing, maintenance and general cost of ownership, a motorhome that is about three years old and well taken care of will cost you about half as much as a brand new RV and will last nearly as long.
How much does a new luxury motorhome cost?
It is possible to get a small, new, Class A, gas-engine-powered motorhome for about $80,000. Small means 26' to 27'. A brand new, 38' to 40' luxury motorhome with a gas engine starts out at about $200,000. A new 45' diesel pusher starts out at between $800,000 and over $1,000,000.
Keep in mind that a motorhome is classified as a home by the IRS. The interest paid on a loan for an RV will likely be deductible. Be sure to consult an income tax professional to confirm that your motorhome qualifies.
Can I get an RV with a diesel engine to save on gas?
Yes and no. A luxury motorhome with a diesel engine, known as a "diesel pusher," is the top of the top-of-the-line in luxury RVs. It will not save you money on gas, though. It will actually not save you money on anything.
A diesel-powered motorhome will get you where you want to go more easily and comfortably than a gas-powered RV. It will cost you about twice as much, though, when you buy the motorhome when you have it serviced and at the pump. Diesel pusher motorhomes do not get better gas mileage, and diesel fuel is generally more expensive than gasoline. You even have to pay more for tires for a diesel pusher than a regular motorhome. A diesel pusher is also heavier and has less ground clearance than a gas-powered RV, which puts limitations on where you can park it.
The big upside to having a diesel pusher is that it will last much longer than a gas-engine-powered RV. A well-maintained diesel pusher can be expected to run for over 1,000,000 miles. It can be passed down through generations of RV-vacation-loving family members.
What does "Class A" or "Class B" mean?
The class designation in motorhomes indicates its quality level. A Class A RV is a top-of-the-line, luxury motorhome. Class B is the next step down and so on.
What luxury items usually come in a motorhome?
A full-size, brand new luxury motorhome commonly comes loaded with creature comforts. A refrigerator, range, cooktop, and sink are standard kitchen features. Kitchen and living area furniture are included, as well as beds. The configuration and size depend on the RV you select. Air conditioning is standard. Infotainment equipment commonly includes multiple LED televisions and a Blu-ray player. Some of them come with an exterior television, too. They are generally cable and HDMI ready, have a digital TV antenna and come with a Bluetooth radio system.
Larger luxury motorhomes often come with pop-out or slide-out rooms and drop-down patios. These features give you quite a bit additional living space after you park the RV.