A Beginner’s Guide to Travel Trailers

by Admin

RV ownership has increased by 62% since the turn of the century, with around 1 million of these people choosing to live in their RVs full-time.

Among these around 31% choose travel trailers for this lifestyle, although this type of RV is most popular amongst recreational RVers.

There are four main types of RVs available today, but if you prefer a towable version, keep reading for more information on how to select a travel trailer that ticks all your boxes.

What Is a Travel Trailer?

Travel trailers are towable RVs secured to a vehicle with a tow hitch while on the road. The best-known brand of the travel trailer is the Airstream, which is even on display in the Museum of Modern Art.

Since they detach from the towing vehicle, travel trailers offer the convenience of having a vehicle to drive around once you’ve set up camp. You don’t need to drive or tow an extra vehicle as you do with motorized RVs.

Most travel trailers are between 13 and 40-feet long and can sleep as many as 10 people. There are several types and models of travel trailers to choose from, so they suit those shopping on a budget.

Types of Travel Trailers

Whether you choose to live in an RV or enjoy the occasional weekend jaunt, there’s a travel trailer to suit your needs. These are some options available:

Folding or Pop-up RV Trailers

These are the most compact, lightest RV trailers, best suited to only two people and short stays. In transit, they barely reach 4 ft. high, but you can unfold them on arrival to create a compact area for cooking and sleeping.

These trailers often come with tents attached to increase your living area or canvas sides that fold down out of the way for travel. You can tow these tiny trailers with almost any vehicle.

They’re the cheapest type of travel trailer available and their aerodynamic profile doesn’t affect your vehicle’s fuel consumption as much as a full-size trailer does.

On the downside, these trailers offer limited insulation and security, don’t have a bathroom, and require additional maintenance due to the canvas component of their design.

Traditional Travel Trailers

These are the most popular type of travel trailers varying from small teardrop versions to huge luxury campers accommodating eight people. You can tow most of these trailers with a mid-sized SUV or large powerful sedan.

They offer an enclosed living space with hard sidewalls that offer better insulation from sound and temperature as well as enhanced security. Some models have bathrooms that may include a shower and many have slide-outs to maximize the interior living spaces.

The larger models are difficult to tow and park and impact your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. While they offer many conveniences for traveling full-time, the most luxurious models cost almost as much as a small family home.

Expandable or Hybrid Trailers

These trailers give you more sleeping space without adding length and weight to the trailer. They combine the hard sides of a conventional trailer, with the pull-out extensions found on folding trailers.

The tented extension usually incorporates a bed, leaving the interior of the trailer free for storage, cooking, or seating. The larger versions can accommodate up to eight people without too much of a squeeze.

It takes a little longer to set up these trailers, the tented part doesn’t provide much sound insulation, and the tent canvas may need repairs every so often.

Toy Haulers

Toy haulers, also called sport-utility trailers, have an enclosed garage at the back. This accommodates all your ‘toys’ like bikes, ATVs, and other outdoor equipment.

There’s a ramp at the back of the trailer that makes it easy to load and off-load your leisure equipment. Some of these ramps convert into porches once you’ve unpacked and set up camp.

You can also use the garage as an extra sleeping area when it’s not in use, and it’s excellent for extra storage, too.

Fifth Wheel Trailers

Fifth-wheel trailers are a type of towable trailer that occupies a league of their own. You need a powerful vehicle with a specialized towing attachment to transport these enormous trailers.

You can see examples of the different types of travel trailers for sale here.

How to Choose The Right Travel Trailer for You

With so many styles and types to choose from, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when shopping for a travel trailer. Check out these pointers for picking one that suits your travel aspirations.

Consider Size

If you don’t want to buy a new towing vehicle, you can only consider travel trailers that suit your car’s towing capabilities.

You must consider the trailer’s weight plus the estimated weight that you’ll load into it when you travel. AAA recommends adding around 1,000 lbs to the gross weight of the trailer for luggage, etc.

Towing aside, you should also take a look at the floor layout to see if it meets your requirements.

If you’re going to be living in a travel trailer, arguments can start fast if you’re confined in too small a space.

Does the trailer have enough space to accommodate your sleeping and dining needs? Does it have slide-outs that help increase the living space, and does it have an onboard bathroom?

Remember to check whether the trailer’s bathroom and shower are large enough.

Storage Is Important

Most travel trailers make ingenious use of space in their interior designs, but they’re always limited in capacity. Larger units have closets for your clothes, drawers, under-counter storage, and stow-away boxes under beds and tables.

You’ll need a lot of this space for storing things like camping equipment, outdoor lights, and other RV necessities. Keep this in mind so you know how much space you have for groceries and clothing.

Over-packing your trailer will make it unbalanced and difficult to tow.

Think About Your Lifestyle

A tiny pop-up trailer is fun for two people enjoying the occasional weekend jaunt, but it’s unsuited to RV life.

If you’re considering hitting the road full time it’s worth investing in the largest trailer you can afford, especially if you’re taking pets along.

Try Before You Buy

When you’ve narrowed down your choices regarding the different types of travel trailers, there’s an easy way to try them all out before you decide.

Get in touch with your nearest RV rental agency and rent a travel trailer for a weekend trip. It’s by far the best way to get a feel for the trailer before you commit.

Know Your Prices

Look up the costs associated with buying the types of RVs you like, both new and used. This helps you budget and ensures you don’t get ripped off when buying your RV.

Although many honest folks are selling their RVs via classified advertisements and other websites, it’s always best to visit a dealer when buying your travel trailer.

These professionals usually only stock pre-approved RVs and can assist you to make the best decision according to your budget. Some bigger dealers can offer you finance options, too.

While you’re researching prices look for reviews from people who own the types of trailers you’re interested in. They may indicate any performance and maintenance issues that could cost you money down the line.

New vs Used

Like all vehicles, RVs devalue once you’ve driven them off the lot. From an investment point of view, it makes more sense to buy a used trailer, since you can always sell it for almost as much as you paid for it.

New RVs of all types are expensive, due to all the labor and effort that goes into designing and manufacturing them. You can find very many well-cared for RVs on the used market, so it’s always a good idea to consider them, too.

When inspecting a used RV, it’s important to check all the vital components first. These include:

  • Water and gas supplies
  • The drain system
  • Floorboards
  • Trim and screws
  • The towing apparatus

Make sure you check for any signs of mold, it indicates leaks and poor ventilation, and check the roof for sagging, rust, and obvious leaks.

You should ask to see the service history of the RV and check whether it has been in an accident before. If you want to cover all your bases, ask for an inspection before agreeing to buy the vehicle.

Are You Ready to Hit the Road?

Travel trailers are your portal to the open road and endless discoveries across the country. They’re the safest way to vacation in these times and open the door to a budget-friendly lifestyle and getaways.

Would you like to discover more ways to enhance your life and maximize your leisure time? Keep browsing our website. 

A Beginner’s Guide to Travel Trailers was last modified: by

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