Dear RV Shrink:
Every time I get the urge to do a road trip my wife throws cold water on the idea by asking me how much it will cost in fuel. I tell her it is all relative. With our motorhome the biggest expense is getting there. After we arrive we spend virtually nothing. She tells me about people that travel cheaper with smaller rigs, do not tow a car, or have diesel. I’m tired of defending my position. I really think we are as economical as the next RVer when you compare apples to apples. Can you please give me some backup? —Up Late to Debate in Des Moines
Don’t fall for the bait in the debate. I agree, compare assets to assets. I debated with a guy who wanted to compare his traveling in a Prius to my motorhome. When I nailed him down to what he spent on a three-month winter trip, I was miles ahead and dollars behind him. When you compare the cost of running an RV at 8 to 10 miles per gallon, you have to look at all the expenses of taking the same trip in some other fashion. If you decide not to tow a car you can add a mile per gallon – just don’t forget to subtract all the miles you accumulate going to the store in the RV for a gallon of milk.
I often talk to people who think it is terrible I would spend $1,500 in gas to take a 3,600 mile road trip. But the same people think nothing about giving Amtrak twice that to reach the same destination When I get there I still have my berth – theirs is heading down the rails.
You can look at this expense a hundred ways. It all boils down to what it’s worth to you to travel the RV lifestyle, with your own belongings, in a comfortable setting, being fully self-contained, and staying in areas you could often not enjoy any other way.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for squeezing every penny in the travel budget. Once you and your wife decide on what and where makes you happy, I would ease out of the driveway with a big smile on my face and “Move It on Down the Road.” —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink
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