Skip to main content

Motor home vs. tow-behind: Which RV is right for you?

The RV lifestyle is one that is unmatched when it comes to travel. You can travel just a few hours or across the country and have a place to stay at all times, with no need to ever rent a hotel room. There are so many conveniences that come along with buying an RV, but when it comes to the different variations, which is right for you — a tow-behind RV or a motor home?

To answer that question, you’ll want to ask yourself a few more questions. What is your budget for this purchase? Will most of your time be spent on the road or set up at a campsite? How comfortable are you driving large vehicles? Once you’ve answered these types of questions, the right choice for you will be fairly obvious. Let’s dig into some of the pros and cons of both motor homes and tow-behind RVs.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Motor home RV

One of the best features of a motor home is that you have access to all of its amenities, even when you’re en route to your destination. You don’t have to stop for bathroom breaks and you don’t have to pack a snack bag for the road — everything you need is just a step away! This is particularly beneficial when you’re taking long road trips. There is, however, something to be said about traveling with children in a motor home. The safest way to drive with children is to have them in a vehicle seat with a seatbelt on, which is not always possible.

Easier to drive

Especially in the case of smaller motor homes, people tend to prefer driving them over hauling a travel trailer. A small or medium-sized motor home handles easily and can often feel similar to driving a large SUV. Particularly at high speeds or in windy conditions, motor homes tend not to sway as much as a tow-behind travel trailer does.

What about maintenance?

Since motor homes are both a vehicle and a dwelling, chances are something will require maintenance at some point. Not only do you have to worry about the vehicle’s mechanics, but you also have to think about required maintenance on all of the other amenities that exist in the dwelling. This includes kitchen appliances, septic tanks, plumbing, and electricity. Additionally, if vehicle repairs pop up while you’re traveling, this can pose an annoying situation for travelers since they have nowhere to stay while the motor home is being repaired.

Initial purchasing cost is higher

While prices of motor homes vary depending on how much space you’d like and what kind of amenities you prefer it to have, the initial cost of purchasing a motor home tends to be much higher than that of tow-behind trailers. If you want the best and most luxurious home-away-from-home, however, motor home options contain the best in travel luxury.

Image used with permission by copyright holder
Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

Tow-behind RV

Since your dwelling is being hauled behind your truck while you travel, you won’t be able to access the kitchen or restrooms on the road. This, unfortunately, means more rest stops and more time spent on the road. Additionally, it’s much less comfortable to travel long distances sitting in a vehicle rather than on the comfy couch in the RV. Towable RVs do have one benefit, however, when it comes to traveling on the road: When you get to your destination, you can unhitch the travel trailer and use your vehicle to drive around. With a motor home, you have to bring a second vehicle or drive your home-on-wheels to the nearest store if you need groceries.

Requires caution while driving

As previously mentioned, travel trailers tend to sway a lot more than motor homes do while on the road. When it’s windy outside or when a large semi passes you, the gusts of air can cause the trailer to start to fishtail. This can pose an extremely dangerous situation, so caution is advised while traveling with a tow-behind RV at high speeds.

What about maintenance?

Since tow-behind travel trailers are not actually driving, they require less maintenance than that of a motor home. There’s no need to worry about tune-ups, oil changes, or standard vehicle repairs. There is still a certain amount of maintenance that will be required in the dwelling when it comes to appliances and the upkeep of other RV amenities, but the overall cost of maintaining a tow-behind RV is much lower than that of a motor home.

Lower initial purchasing cost

Particularly if you already own a truck or SUV that can haul an RV, your upfront cost will be much less with a tow-behind RV. If you have a limited budget or if you’re just starting out with the RV life and you don’t want to make the largest of investments, a towable RV is a great option for you.

Whether you’re a solo traveler or planning to take the whole family on camping trips over the summer, the RV lifestyle is one that anyone could love. Deciding between buying a motor home and a towable travel trailer comes down to a few considerations: Your driving comfort, your travel experience, and your budget. Depending on what type of traveling you’ll be doing and how much driving it requires, your choice should be based on these factors. Never fear, though. No avid traveler ever regretted buying an RV.

Veronica Sparks
Veronica Sparks is a writer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who loves writing about gardening, home décor, and DIY life. She’s…
Our simple guide tells you which ski and snowboard wax to use for any conditions
There's a simple trick for knowing which ski or snowboard wax to use, and we have it
Snowboard ready to wax

Thanks to new snowmaking technology, the ski and snowboard season is getting longer each year, in some areas, it can even stretch into summer. If you want to take advantage of the extended season, instead of the usual springtime storage wax, this year, you might need to keep your snowboard gliding into July. Waxing your skis or snowboard is one of the fundamental skills that every rider should learn as part of tuning their setup. Sure, you can drop your gear at the store to have it tuned — it's good to support local businesses, and getting a pro tune once a season is not a bad thing — but if you're riding regularly, the price starts to ramp up.

By the time you've paid for a few waxes, you could have got yourself a tuning kit and gone for the DIY approach to ski care. That means ironing on the ski wax, letting it cool, and scraping off the excess. While your iron and scraper will do the job for every waxing session, your wax won't. Snowboard wax is temperature dependent, and getting it wrong can affect your riding, so here's our guide on how to pick the right wax for your ride and how often you should wax your snowboard or skis.

Read more
Grounded’s G2 EV RV offers all the comforts of home, remote-controlled everything, and a 250-mile range
Explore the country with this customizable, high-tech electric camper van
Blurred view of the Grounded RVs G2 electric RV camper van driving down a country road.

We're still in the early stages of the EV revolution, but there's no denying that the future of cars — all vehicles, really — is electric. But the EV revolution for RVs has barely just begun. Thankfully, a number of companies are leading the charge (pun intended) to develop new and innovative technologies to take recreational vehicles to the next level. Case in point: Grounded's G2 Campervan. It's an all-new, all-electric RV with all the comforts of home, a boatload of remote-controlled tech features, and a solid 250-mile range.

From the outside, the G2 camper van might look like a repurposed Amazon delivery truck. The design is low-key, bordering on bland. But that streamlined, no-nonsense profile helps keep this EV aerodynamic — an important element in achieving its 250-mile range. While that figure hardly competes with even the thirstiest, gas-powered vans capable of hundreds of miles on a single tank, it's a respectable starting point.

Read more
The story behind that viral, terrifying ski lift malfunction video you’ll see posted across social media all winter long
Everything you need to know about a video you're going to see a lot of
People on ski lift

Your first ski lift ride is usually a chilled experience — for skiers, at least; it's a different beast for beginner snowboarders. It's also usually your first chance to leave the bunny slopes behind you and get your head into the clouds, riding high and looking down over the entire ski resort. But not everyone's ski lift experiences are that positive.

If you've never ridden a ski lift and want your first experience completely untainted, then now is probably a good time to skip over to some of our other ski and snowboard-related content. Ski lift malfunctions are not commonplace, but the terrifying viral video below shows that they can be chaotic and highly dangerous when they go wrong. But just what happened for this chair to go out of control in the first place?

Read more