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The Great RV Debate: Trailer or Motorhome?

One day, long ago, a man looked at a snail. “Hmmm,” he thought, “that’s the life for me – I can carry my house with me wherever I go, and live out my days enjoying the sights and sounds of the open road!”

At least that’s how we’d like to think the RV came to exist. Since that day RVs have popped up in all shapes and sizes – tiny pop-up trailers, big fully-fitted trailers, little campervans and even enormous, touring-bus sized motorhomes complete with bathrooms, multiple bedrooms, hot tubs and big-screen TVs!

With thousands of RVs available on autoTRADER.ca the choices can be overwhelming. So which is the best option for you?

What are the options?

Broadly speaking, RVs come in two main flavours – trailer (or caravan in some parts) and motorhome.

A trailer is great if you only want to move some of the time, and it allows you to use your existing car to tow it around. Trailers are often cheaper than a full-blown motorhome, but you also have to factor in the cost of your tow vehicle if your daily driver isn’t up to the task.

Ok, so a trailer is a good choice?

That depends. Like motorhomes, trailers range in size from the petite and playful, to the monstrous – the only limit is budget, what you can tow with your car, and storage space. A good-size trailer is sometimes a more economical choice, and you have the added benefit of being able to leave the trailer behind for quick drives to the lookout or beach.

But trailers can be limiting. Because it’s illegal to ride in a moving trailer, your entire family will be forced into the cramped tow vehicle for long-haul trips, rather than spread out in the available space of a motorhome.

Ah, so I want a motorhome?

Perhaps. With a motorhome you also get the option to tow recreational vehicles or even a small run-about for sightseeing adventures at your destination. You can add a trailer to a motorhome to lug around motorbikes, jet skis or snowmobiles – enhancing your holiday fun.

A motorhome is also easier to drive in many cases – trailers are vulnerable to wind gusts and dodgy roads, not so with a motorhome. Ever tried to reverse a trailer? Sure both make rearward visibility a drama, but it’s a lot easier to manoeuvre one vehicle in reverse than two. Another plus for a motorhome.

Are motorhomes always enormous?

Again they come in all shapes and sizes - everything from a petite and playful campervan, to a 45-foot Class A Motorhome.  Large motorhomes traditionally have better fittings and features than an equivalent trailer, and with the added benefit of drivability represent an more user-friendly option for the nomadic adventurer.  Being able to take additional equipment with you makes this a more convenient option too.

So, trailer or motorhome? Ultimately the decision is up to your family and your budget.