Why Travel Trailers are the Best Choice for Luxury RVers
Since the dawn of the RV era in the early 20th century, people have been debating which is better – a travel trailer or a motorhome. Since we make luxury travel trailers, it’s probably pretty obvious which side we come out on! There are pros and cons to every type of RV, whether it be a Class A, Class B campervan, Class C, travel trailer, fifth wheel, toy hauler, or pop up.
People tend to land in one camp or another based on their personal preferences, which means there is no right or wrong answer – there’s just the RV that works best for the way you and your family want to go RVing. We believe that travel trailers offer the most luxurious and flexible luxury RV experience you can have (especially if you’re towing a Bowlus) – and here’s why.
Ease of Driving
By most accounts, towing a travel trailer is a much more pleasant experience than driving a motorhome. Class A’s, for example, are built on a bus chassis. That means Class A owners are literally driving a bus. Wind, passing semis, and the entire driving experience can be exhausting – which is why so many older RVers age out of their motorhome, opting for a travel trailer because it’s easier to manage on the road.
If gas mileage is a consideration for you, then a motorhome is probably not the way to go. At 10-12 mpg (if you’re lucky), a motorhome sucks up fuel quickly. Now of course, if you’re towing your luxury travel trailer behind your fuel efficient midsize SUV, your mileage won’t be as high as it would be under normal driving conditions. But it will still likely be better than you’d ever achieve in a motorhome.
All-electric motorhomes have yet to hit the market, but you can tow a lightweight luxury travel trailer like the Bowlus Terra Firma or Endless Highways Edition with many electric SUVs. If you’re looking to travel sustainably, there’s no better combination.
Which brings us to the topic of dinghies. A dinghy is what RVers call the car they tow behind their motorhome. They’re popular among the motorhome crowd because they give RVers the ability to park their behemoth coach and still have a vehicle to use for sightseeing. There are two dinghy towing options available. Option 1 is you flat tow a vehicle, which means all 4 wheels of the towed vehicle are on the road. The challenge here is that not all passenger vehicles are towable in this way. Your car needs to have either a manual transmission or a manual transfer case that can be placed in neutral. So, if you were thinking you could get a motorhome and not have to buy a new car, that may not be the case. You may still need to make a trip to the car dealership in search of a towable vehicle.
Option 2 is to use a car dolly. Secure the front wheels of any car onto the two-wheeled dolly, being careful not to exceed the towing capacity of your recreational vehicle or the RV’s hitch, and you’re ready to go. The downside is that you’ll have to find someplace to put the dolly while you’re at your campsite. At around 450 pounds, they aren’t exactly easy to move around. Even then, many campsites aren’t long enough to accommodate your RV, your dinghy, and the dolly – and some campgrounds won’t allow rigs that include car dollies, complicating your entire travel experience.
With a travel trailer, you don’t need a dinghy. Whether your tow vehicle is gas or electric, when you park your trailer at your campsite, you have your SUV for day trips and sightseeing.
Road Safety & Maneuverability
Road safety is another key consideration when choosing between a motorhome and a travel trailer. When you’re towing a travel trailer, your passengers and pets are safely buckled in their seats in a tow vehicle equipped with the latest safety features, including 3 point safety belts and side airbags. While motorhomes have belted seating for passengers sitting outside of the cockpit, many of those require your passengers to sit facing the side of the coach, rather than facing forward. Equipped with just lap belts, this seating arrangement isn’t as safe as the one found in your luxury SUV.
Safety aside, for riders with motion sensitivities, riding sideways may make for an uncomfortable trip for your passengers and your pets. Dogs and cats can suffer from motion sickness, just like their human companions and riding sideways may make them ill.
Keep in mind that just like it’s not safe for a human to walk around a motorhome while it’s in motion, it’s dangerous for pets to be mobile as well. Pets should be secured in a kennel or with a pet seat belt. If you’re towing a travel trailer however, your pet rides in the car with you, just like they would any other time you hit the road. Not only will they be safer in case of an accident, but it will also be more comfortable for them. Crack a window open and let them enjoy the full road trip experience.
Maintenance & Repairs
Another consideration in the epic motorhome versus travel trailer debate is around maintenance and repairs. Simply put, motorhomes need more maintenance than a travel trailer. There are oil changes, transmission maintenance, and a slew of other components that need upkeep to keep a motorhome on the road. Plus, many Class A and Class C motorhomes have diesel engines. That means you have to take your RV to a specialized service center that has experience not only working on diesel engines but has bays tall enough to accommodate your motorhome.
On the other hand, if you’re towing a travel trailer, you don’t need to do anything special other than keep up with the regular service schedule for your tow vehicle. And since it’s a regular passenger vehicle, you can just pull into the service center of your choice.
Also, consider that if your Class A or C has an issue while on the road, you’re going to have to find a hotel while your RV is in the shop. With a travel trailer, you’ll still have your own private space if your tow vehicle requires maintenance.
Boondocking and Other Camping Restrictions
The length of the rig is another thing to think about when choosing between a motorhome and a luxury travel trailer. Many new campers are, at first, attracted to the creature comforts, large living space, and amenities found in Class A motorhomes. But those luxuries require you to make some tradeoffs. The biggest is that national parks, state parks, and many private campgrounds have size restrictions that simply don’t accommodate large motorhomes. If you invest in a motorcoach, you may find yourself only able to camp in specialty motorcoach resorts. While these RV parks offer lots of luxurious amenities, they likely aren’t situated near (and certainly not within) the natural wonders you were hoping to enjoy when you first dreamt of an RV.
It comes down to what’s more important to you – a 40 foot motorhome with four slideouts or being able to set up camp in your favorite national park? Why not go for the best of both worlds and pick a luxurious, amenities packed travel trailer like the Bowlus that is perfectly sized to go wherever you want to set up camp?
Travel trailers are also the clear choice for people who love to boondock. While the enormous holding tanks on a Class A might be considered a benefit for extended off grid stays, getting in and out of a remote campsite in a motorhome can present quite the challenge. They’re big, they’re heavy, and if the ground is muddy they’re a challenge to get back onto the road.
Travel trailers, on the other hand, are easier to maneuver down dirt roads. And if it rains during your stay, you can always put your luxury SUV into 4-wheel drive and pull your trailer out of the mud. You don’t have that option with a Class A or a Class C motorhome.