Today, we explore the key differences between class a motorhomes and travel trailers, and help you decide which one is right for you.
When deciding on what kind of RV lifestyle to pursue, it is important to understand the different classes and styles of recreational vehicle to purchase. One of the main choices to decide on is whether you want a travel trailer or a motorhome. There are advantages to both kinds of RV styles, but you should look into the advantages and disadvantages of both to see what unit will work best with you and your family.
Pros and Cons of Class A Motorhomes
For a full soup to nuts review of the exact specifications of a Class A Motorhome in particular, check out our helpful guide: What, Exactly, Is A Class A Motorhome?
Motorhomes, in general, when compared to travel trailers, combine both the living space and the vehicle in a single unit.
The cab of a motorhome includes both the drivers and passengers seat and essentially provides a more comfortable, luxurious form of seating.
The living space in a motorhome is accessible
In a class a motorhome, every part of the living space is accessible as soon as you pull over. If someone in your family tends to need rest stops more regularly, the motorhome has everything you could need right there in the vehicle — kitchen, bathroom, pantry, and the like. You don’t need to go searching for rest stops that can accommodate the travel trailer as well as have all the amenities you may require — all your personal facilities and amenities are right there in the vehicle.
Another advantage of having your living space accessible is there is much less risk of pulling up to a campsite with a complete disaster in your wake. If the fridge door opens during a turn someone in the motorhome will probably notice and remedy the situation before you have a mess of yoghurt and orange juice covering the floor.
Class a motorhomes also let you keep your pets right there in the RV with you. They are more comfortable as you may let them roam rather than keeping them in a crate for long periods of time, and your furry companions get to enjoy the ride with you.
You will need to stop for gas less often
The fuel tank in a class a motorhome was designed for driving your motorhome, so it is large enough to take you long distances.
If you’re driving a truck with a travel trailer, you’ll burn through gas a lot faster than just driving the truck, because trucks were not all built to be hauling cabin-sized trailers all day, everyday.
Class a motorhomes are easier to drive
Many people who have owned or used both motorhomes and travel trailers say that a motorhome is far easier to drive.
Towing something as large as a travel trailer is not an easy task and requires a lot of forethought when it comes to exiting, changing lanes, or turning in general.
Having your full travel experience, home and vehicle, makes for much easier driving.
Class a motorhomes are easier to set up
Setting up the water and electricity for a motorhome tends to be quicker and easier than a travel trailer. People who know their motorhome well can often set up within 20 minutes from parking.
You may be limited in where you can visit
Because Class A Motorhomes are quite large and require particular setups for water and electricity, it’s usually most ideal to park motorhomes in some type of RV park.
On the other hand, travel trailers are a little more versatile and can be parked in most (if not all) campsites, while motorhomes are more particular and need specific accommodations.
It’s more difficult to leave your campsite
Motorhomes make driving from site to site much easier; however, once you get to the site it can often be difficult to go out for groceries or see the tourist destinations in your city of choice.
People don’t want to connect and disconnect the water and electricity and park the large vehicle multiple times a day, so the best way to still have easy travel within a city while using your motorhome is to tow a small car behind you.
On the other hand, this point is very much a matter of opinion as to whether it sits in the pros or cons list. Some motorhome enthusiasts say they prefer towing their small car behind them as then they don’t need to drive their big truck in the city, while travel trailer advocates have said they prefer having a larger vehicle with them so they can do more and carry more in their truck.
A class a motorhome costs more
Motorhomes, because they are an all-in-one unit and tend to have more amenities tend to be much more expensive than travel trailers — especially if you keep in mind also needing a small vehicle to tow behind it.
You pay for what you get, so since there tends to be more convenience and more things with ready access with a class a motorhome, they do come with a higher price tag.
Servicing requires a particular mechanic
When you choose a motorhome you need to be more diligent with your servicing schedule because not every mechanic will be able to provide repairs and tune-up services. On the flip side, travel trailers don’t tend to break down, trucks do, and the truck is often easier to find a suitable mechanic.
Pros and Cons of Travel Trailers
It’s easier to travel outside of your site
Because all you need to do is unhitch your truck from your trailer to leave the site, travel trailers have the advantage of being able to leave your belongings behind at your camp destination as you head out to explore the sights and sounds of the area you find yourself in — even if it’s just to leave for a beer run.
Travel trailers offer safer transportation
Children are always safer in the backseat of a truck than they are in a motorhome. Motorhomes will have places for children to sit and sometimes buckle in, but the backseat of a truck keeps families safer than that of a motorhome.
Travel trailers are less expensive
Travel trailers are significantly cheaper than motorhomes because they are just that, trailers not vehicles.
You pay less because they often have less amenities and “perks,” but if you’re looking for a simple way to travel and go camping — and your tenting days are behind you — travel trailers are an incredibly economical option.
You do need to include the cost of a vehicle that can actually tow your trailer though, trucks and some SUVs can tow a trailer, but your Honda Civic isn’t going to cut it, so the added cost of a truck needs to be considered.
Travel trailers require less maintenance
Travel trailers do not break down as much as a motorhome would because there is not as much to maintain, if your hitch and wheels are in good shape, you’re usually good to go!
Travel trailers can be more difficult to drive
If you’re not used to towing large items, driving with a travel trailer is going to be quite the learning curve. Making turns, changing lanes, and the like are all trickier when you’re towing a trailer.
Travel trailers are more difficult to set up
Setting up camp with a trailer is not very quick, you have to unhitch your truck which is not an easy process as well as get everything ready. Setting up your trailer at a camp site can take anywhere from an hour, depending on how much experience you have.
Travel trailers are less spacious
If your trailer is meant for full time living, a travel trailer may be too small for you. You can get incredibly large trailers up to 40 ft, but when you do that the travelling and driving conundrum is increased. For a trailer that is easier to travel and drive with, you will have to sacrifice a large amount of living space.
As we’re sure you’ve come to notice, when it comes to choosing between a class a motorhome and a travel trailer, it isn’t really a question of which one is better, but, instead, a question of which one suits your needs and lifestyle best.
The same features or challenges can be viewed as either a disadvantage or an advantage by different people. The important thing is to figure out what kind of camping experience you would like to have, what is important to you, and what isn’t as important.
Whether that ends up being travel trailer and truck because you like the versatility, or a class a motorhome towing a small car because you like the ease associated. Whatever matters to you, there is a recreational vehicle that will be right for you, and we’d love to help.