Retirement Travel - Truck and RV Trailer
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Thread: Retirement Travel - Truck and RV Trailer

  1. #1
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    Retirement Travel - Truck and RV Trailer

    I'm not retired yet, but I'm picturing my first phase of retirement.
    In this first phase of retirement (say the first 10 years) I want to be active and travel and discover different places.

    Perhaps spend time in the US Southwest (Arizona, Utah, Texas, for hiking and cycling) and some time in Florida (for some slower activities, like golfing and beach time).

    I'm thinking, one of the best (and cheapest) ways to accomplish this is with a truck and RV trailer.



    Let's do a calculation.
    The cost of a new truck, $40k. The cost of a new RV trailer, $40k.
    Let's say, that I utilize both of these items for 10 years. In other words, after 10 years, I'm older and I've become tired of this lifestyle and want to slow down. We'll also assume the cost of these two items depreciate to zero after 10 years. Therefore, my cost is $8k per year.

    Let's say, I want to spend 3 months per year in the USA. RV park costs depend on the individual park and the length of stay. It could cost anywhere from 500-1500 per month. Let's use $1000 per month as an average. Therefore, the 3 months accommodation charges would be $3k.

    In total, my 3 month costs would be (8k+3k) $11,000 per year.

    This truck/RV combo means I don't have to fly to my destination. I don't have to rent a car for 3 months. I don't have to pay for further accommodations. I can prepare cheaper, healthier meals, in my trailer. The truck gives me the freedom to set my trailer down in an RV park and continue on day tours. The trailer could stay in the park for a day, week or month. I'm free to go wherever and whenever I want.

    Also, I could continue to use the truck as my main vehicle for the rest of the year in Canada.

    All in all, I think this is a reasonable cost, for this kind of freedom and lifestyle.

    Any current retirees do this? and can comment on this lifestyle?
    thanks.

    Last edited by avrex; 2015-03-08 at 12:32 AM. Reason: added photo
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    Some years ago I drove through Newfoundland in a rental car staying in B and Bs. I talked to some RVers who said they thought that because of the cost of gas, they were not saving any money.

    Looking only at the costs you've set out, I think this is probably the case. If instead of the truck and RV you bought a $30,000 car, your annual depreciation would be $3,000 instead of $8,000, leaving you $8,000 to spend on accommodations instead of $3,000. This would give you $90/day to spend on motels and B and Bs.

    Looking beyond that, you would spend a lot more on gas with the RV, and even just driving the truck for the other 9 months of the year. On the other hand, the RV allows you to save on meals since you can prepare your own and eat in restaurants less.

    The RV would be inconvenient for visiting cities where trailers parks may be far out of town or not exist.

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    Not that it makes much difference, but.... A $40.000 trailer is getting fair sized. Any amount of pulling, you're going to want a diesel truck. New with a few bells and whistles will run you to $50,000 easily.

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    Have you read this thread? Read the post by OldPro for a typical snowbird evolution re RVs.

    http://canadianmoneyforum.com/showth...irement-Option

    I would ask if you have traveled in an RV before or been to any of the parks to see if you like the lifestyle. I don't think you can rent a 5th wheel but if you can it would be great to try it out, or at least in a rented RV to see how you like it.

    I am familiar with a large RV park (1400 site) in south texas with probably the most facilities in the state. FYI, it's 579/mth plus electricity. however Texas is known to be a cheaper area. Florida is not.

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    I've rv'd the last five years...in my case I bought a motorhome and tow a jeep behind. We love the life so much that we sold our house and then bought a sailboat which is similar to our rv' ing lifestyle. I am happier doing this, never miss owning a house.
    I would suggest don't wait till you are near death...go now.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBull View Post
    Have you read this thread? Read the post by OldPro for a typical snowbird evolution re RVs.
    http://canadianmoneyforum.com/showth...irement-Option
    Yes, this evolution is very interesting.
    I'll include his quote here.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldPro View Post
    A lot of people when they retire like the idea of buying an RV to tour and to winter somewhere south in. Most of them also follow a pattern. They discover it's not so easy to stop along the way in a motorhome and tend to just drive directly to and from a destination where they park it for however long. ie. the winter. There goes touring. Then they discover it's not so easy to drive the RV into town to get groceries or something so they need a vehicle that they tow for doing that or change to towing a 5th wheel to have a separate pickup truck. Then they decide there's little point in driving it back and forth for the winter and having to deal with storing the RV back home somewhere. So they rent in an RV park by the year and leave the RV down their all summer. Then they discover that if you are staying in it for 4-5 months in the winter you need more space so they sell and buy a park model that never moves. Then they discover that paying for the year and being stuck with only going to that one place gets boring. Finally, they end up renting a park model for the winter and having the flexibility to change where they go every year if they want.
    I can't afford a 200k motorhome.
    Plus, as he states, it's not easy to drive the motorhome into town for groceries.

    That's why I like the Truck and RV trailer idea.

    I agree with what @OldPro is saying.
    I've always believed that there will always be different phases of retirement, in which there will be different lifestyles.
    Perhaps at some point, my wife and I will get tired of touring around and want to settle in a model home or something. That's ok too.

    But, for Phase One of my retirement, I definitely want to do some major traveling.
    I think the Truck and RV trailer idea could be a way to do this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnlyMyOpinion View Post
    We've kind of swung the other way recently, thinking we should instead travel lighter with a Honda C-RV and then 'rent-a-month' or stay in B&B/hotel for shorter term accomodation. Among our considerations though are other family commitments that make it uncertain how long and how many times we would be out on the road. Can certainly see pros to your plan. Interested to hear how others have traveled NA in retirement with or without their 'home' in tow.
    We've done a lot of car camping, with a tent, over the years. Coincidentally, also with a Honda C-RV.

    Also, a couple of years ago we rented a small Class C RV vehicle for 2 weeks.
    We toured the Rocky Mountains from Banff down to Denver, Colorado.

    We like the campground / RV park lifestyle.

    Quote Originally Posted by OnlyMyOpinion View Post
    Oops, also DW has ideas of more trips across the pond
    Ideally, my wife and I would also like to spend some time in Europe.
    Perhaps we would go for a few weeks a year, as a break from the North American RV park lifestyle.
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  9. #8
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    i can't comment but surely with a rig like this, you would have already sold your house in canada? you'd be free as a bird? having invested the house $$ to boost income?

    a california couple sold their house to travel the world. They didn't RV, they flew, mostly all over europe. They rented houses & apartments in their favourite cities for longish periods of time, such as a month to three months, so they could live the local life & truly get to know each country a bit.

    wife Lynn recently wrote a book & the couple seems to be travelling much less now, staying much longer with adult married children in the US of A. I get the feeling that wandering without roots might be fun & fine for a few years, while 10 years might bring on a touch of homesickness.

    http://homefreeadventures.com/
    ''bonté gracieuse et toute cette sorte de chose" - Astérix chez les bretons]

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    Well first of all let me say that everyone is different. Some like eder may be happy to live life in an RV till they die. Others such as my wife, having tried living in an RV once for 3 months(another story and irrelevant) never want to see an RV again in their life. I agree that life is not stagnant in retirement. That is, interests change over time and you do go through phases just as you did before retirement. So you have got that part right in my opinion avrex.

    I've been retired for 25 years and while I have nothing against it, I have never owned an RV. I have however known a lot of people who were retired and did own RVs. I also have a Brother who is retired and who full-timed in an RV (class C) for 3 years. He then sold the motorhome and now owns a truck and trailer just as you are considering. However, he now has the trailer up for sale saying he's done with that. So what I know about RV life is second hand but from quite a few different sources all of whom I have spoken with personally about what they have found over time. That is the source of the outline I gave and you quoted above.

    So here are my thoughts on what you have written. First, a truck and trailer has the advantage over a motorhome in that you can set up the trailer and then still use the truck. With a Class A or C you cannot do that obviously and that is why people like Eder tow a vehicle. I can't see any advantage to that combination over a trailer and truck combo. I believe the motorhome plus tow vehicle combo is probably as a result of having discovered the need for a separate vehicle after having bought the motorhome. Perhaps Eder could tell us how they arrived at their combo decision.

    Whether you go with a truck and trailer or motorhome and tow vehicle combo, both are not 'tour friendly' in my opinion. Unless tour means parking in places for a minimum of a week or more at a time. What I'm getting at is you cannot easily get into more remote areas and just stop for a day or two to look around. You are limited to fairly good roads. You can also find as one couple I know did, that smaller park campgrounds may not even be able to take your rig size wise and/or that it is just too much hassle for a weekend trip. They had a truck and 5th wheel (30ft) and ended up buying a truck bed camper to use for summer weekends in Canada while leaving their 5th wheel parked in Yuma, AZ and driving to it from BC each winter. Setting up, leveling etc. an RV over and over can become a real bore, real quick.

    My wife and I are big on hiking and have spent a lot of time in the US Southwest. In a few places, an RV of some kind would be a plus. For example, Organ Pipe National Monument, southwest of Tucson, has an RV park but there is no real decent motel accommodation within 100 miles of it. On the other hand Chaco Canyon National Park, northwest of Santa Fe, has no RV camping and in fact it is not reccommended that you try to drive an RV on the dirt road that goes into the park.
    http://www.nps.gov/chcu/planyourvisit/directions.htm Similar examples exist all over the place obviously. The point is that if you are happy driving directly to an RV park in Florida or Arizona or wherever for the winter, that's no problem. But if you really want to tour in it as you suggest you see yourself doing in 'phase 1', there are limitations and you need to be prepared for that. For example again, Chaco is an amazing place. If I wanted to visit there I would leave the RV in a campground elsewhere (Bandelier National Monument perhaps) and drive the truck to Chaco taking a tent and the bikes.

    Regarding the $40k truck and $40k trailer. Your numbers are much higher than they need to be in my opinion. My Brother bought a 3 year old pickup (probably off a lease) with only 20,000 Km. on it for $20k including tax. He then bought a 5 year old 18ft trailer (he's single) which had been towed to Florida and back to Ontario only twice since brand new, for $10k tax in. Both as near to new as you can get for $30k compared to your 80k figure. Let someone else lose on the depreciation. The truck was still under warranty even. Buy smart, you can never get that capital back. By the way, he is now hoping to sell the trailer for $5k cash and questioning if he even got $5k (the loss IF he can sell it for $5k) of use out of it. He hauled it to Florida twice in 4 years that he's had it. He would in hindsight have probably been better to have just rented somewhere for those 2 winters. But, he wasn't in 'phase 1' of his retirement.

    Regarding your other costs. Your RV and truck depreciation plus campground fees are not the only costs to consider. Fuel is a big number to add and there are a lot of other smaller costs. Propane fuel; insurance both for the truck and trailer and travel insurance; electricity if you use it in a campground is usually an additional metered cost; maintenance of both is a real cost also and there are other small costs as well. The point being your depreciation plus $3k(for 3 months) is too simple an estimate. There is also no question that the more you use the RV the better in terms of spreading the cost. Why limit it to 3 months once a year? Why not 3 months twice a year for example.

    Selling your home to become a 'full time RVer' is a whole other story with many other pros and cons. But there is no point going into that unless you are considering it AFTER having RVed for a few seasons at least. I think of the RV lifestyle as much like vacations in that while it is great to visit a place for a few weeks and you may love it, living it full time is a completely different story. No different from someone who loved a vacation in country X and then decides to move their in retirement. Something I have personal experienc with having lived in several countries since I retired. Of all the people I met who tried it, I'd say 50% gave it up within 2 years and only between 1and 2 were still there after 5 years. What suits some doesn't necessarily suit most. I'd guess full time RVing probably has similar numbers.

    So my advice is a bit more research before taking the plunge of buying avrex. Here's a thought. RVs of all types are easy to buy and HARD to sell. Ask anyone who has tried (and I'm not talking about trading in one RV for a bigger one at a dealer). With that in mind and thinking of my Brother's situation as an example, I wonder if someone were to look at RVs for sale privately, if you couldn't find one that suited you and offer to rent it for 3 months instead of buying it. Either a straightforward offer to rent or maybe even a 'rent before you buy' offer. I would imagine if someone offered my Brother (as an example, I'm not suggesting it to you personally) $2000for a 3 month rental and then he gets it back and still tried to sell it for $5k, he might consider it. After all, it is just sitting parked in a storage yard this winter and he is paying to park it! Insurance would have to have a work around of some kind. Owner loaned it to a friend? What if you did this and rented one every year for several years? You are considering a $4k per year depreciation on a trailer. Why not consider a $3k per year trailer rental cost instead?
    Last edited by OldPro; 2015-03-08 at 12:48 PM.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by avrex View Post
    All in all, I think this is a reasonable cost, for this kind of freedom and lifestyle.

    Any current retirees do this? and can comment on this lifestyle?
    thanks.
    Retired but I don't RV. I watched my parents try it after dreaming about it for 10 years and they hated it. When you get older you want convenience. Their RV took ton of gas to drive around, took tons of time to maintain and then living in crowded noisy campgrounds was awful. Driving on the highway in wind or poor weather conditions was always a white knuckle experience too. They spent more time on the RV than on the vacation.

    They sold it and now just book flights and hotel rooms. $80k plus $11,000 per year buys a lot of hotel rooms and flights if you book carefully. You can even rent a house for a few thousand a month and do day trips out of it with a good SUV.

    Before you buy, you should rent one for a season. I hated staying in them because they are really cramped, even the expensive ones. The bedroom is like sleeping in a closet and if you are little claustrophobic, it will not be fun.


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