Travel Trailer vs Class C Motorhome 17 Pros and Cons Comparison

Travel Trailer vs Class C Motorhome 17 Pros and Cons Comparison
travel trailer vs class c rv

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In this article, lets check out the differences between travel trailer vs class c RV.

Deciding between different rv’s can be confusing. Isnt it?

But, you can make it very much easy for you, If you compare the options in terms of all your priorities. Many people are stuck on a decision to make between a travel trailer or a class c rv or other motorhome.

Can it be simplified in terms of all the differences? Well, read on to understand the comparison between travel trailer and class c rv.

Here is a summary of all that you should know before choosing between the two.

ProsCons
Travel trailerTheir cost is less. One can even get a used travel trailer at price as less as $2000.
Lots of models and layouts to choose from.
Less maintenance.
Car or truck can be used for separate sight seeing.
Will not give you luxury.
More efforts in setting it up at campground.
Could be an extra stress of towing a trailer.
Class C RVCan be luxurious with more amenities and space.
Better insulated.
Better accessibility with class C motorhome.
High insurance cost.
Costly Storage requirements.
High depreciation.
Overall cost of living is high.

1. Cost Comparison – travel trailer are less costly

RVing in a travel trailer versus class c motorhome

Travel trailer or class c rv or any other motorhome generally comes at thousands of dollars. And, when you pay such a big amount, comparison between various peers is bound to happen.

Paying big amount upfront for your camper needs to be one of the main factor for you, unless you are a millionaire.

Travel trailer is seen to be cheaper, at least most of the travel trailer would normally come at a price that is lesser than class c rv. This is average price comparison as otherwise you would also find travel trailers that can be more costly also.

But, it totally depends on what kind of travel trailer you are buying.

A lot depends on the size of the trailer you are looking for, what kind of amenities you want, the layout and also the construction type.

If you start looking for travel trailers in market, you would see that mostly the prices start with as low as $7000 and go upto as high as $70000.

A travel trailer at $70000 would be a matter of much thought though. Anyways, overall average price of travel trailer is seen to be mostly between $15000 to $25000. By saying this, i mean the most popular travel trailers come at a price that lies in this range.

Class C RV upfront cost is on higher side and they normally start at $50,000, which is almost equivalent to the highest model travel trailer you would get in market.

Class c motorhomes are better in terms luxury, when you compare them with travel trailers and thus, obviously are priced higher. Also, you don’t pull them behind your car. On an average most popular class c rv prices remain in the range of $60,000 to $85,000.

These motorhomes are priced based on amenities, size, floor plans and also, the manufacturing brand  If you are looking to pack the recreation vehicle with things like dinner table, bed, refrigerator, sofa, bathroom then the prices would be higher and then, there is almost no comparison between the travel trailer and class c rv.

Thus, the price comparison between class c motorhome and travel trailer camper is clear and you should have a clear idea of what you are looking for.

With a budget of 20,000 or less will mean looking for a new class c rv is not a correct thing unless you are going for used one(that’s a completely different point).

2. Better Driving experience with Motorhome

couple of RVers speak on what they think about motorhome and travel trailer

Driving a camper or a motorhome is a experience that you wouldn’t get going around in car or big SUV. Going around in big rv definitely means you should be much more careful.

A big vehicle of a length of 30 feet not only demands for great care while driving, but also you should be comfortable driving it. Thus, it is a factor of lot of importance to not take into consideration.

Here are some top short Class C Motohormes.

Driving, when you have something towed behind using hitches can be tough in comparison to a big rv, but its totally subjective, some people find big rvs difficult to drive on road while some see a hitched travel trailer a total headache.

The best way to decide which one suits you will be taking a test ride, it could be a new one; if the dealer has such a facility or trying some one else’s travel trailer or class c rv.

If you have been driving any of these previously, then you yourself should be in a good position to understand your level of comfort driving them. Braking can be tough when you have travel trailer behind your car and will need learning as you continue to drive it.

There are quite a lot of factors to be vary of, when you have a hitched trailer behind the car. Backing a travel trailer also needs special attention, initially it may be the difficult part to deal with.

But, with practice you should be able to master it though. It would need proper use of mirrors, spotters to be able to do it like a pro. A class c rv backing may not be as difficult as travel trailer though. In comparison to a small car, it obviously will be fearful for new rvers. But, shouldn’t be an issue once you get good hands on.

A travel trailer can come good on narrow roads as compared to class c rv, which will be much wider.

Also, a class c motorhome can give you much better view, though windshields which may not be possible with travel trailer as you will be sitting in car; which will have lesser windshields.

You don’t get access to living area while you are driving in a travel trailer, where as class c motorhome makes it possible.

3. Towing efforts with travel trailer

how to tow a travel trailer for beginners

Remember a buying travel trailer means you consider lots of factor associated with the towing which is not the case with class c rv or any other motorhome.

That’s the main difference between the two. Can this itself can be factor with greater significance to decide between the 2 and go for a motorhome? Getting a new travel trailer needs you to be sure that the car you already have is capable to pulling the trailer with ease. A matching need to be developed between the car and the trailer.

Getting hitches connected to car, making sure that the connection is perfect every time you head out for camping can be lot for someone with less patience.

With class c rv or any other motorhome for instance its just about taking the RV on road and driving. The set up with trailer can be time consuming and sometimes pretty much a headache.

Safety can also be a concern while you tow the trailer, your car or other vehicle may not always be the perfect fit for towing and that’s when the safety can be a concern.

Although you will get the list of cars good for towing a travel trailer also your car manufacturer stating the same in manual may not always mean you are good to go.

A travel trailer when bought will have certain weight but when you start packing things in it, its weight may go out of limitation for your car. Thus towing a travel trailer not only needs special consideration but also a safety check needed.

Using brakes on travel trailer towed car is also a thing of special practice and you need to be a well trained if not pro.

Thus a fact itself that you need to tow behind car is a greater factor for many to chose for class c rv or any other motorhome in the range. However if you are okay with towing or if you had experience of doing it previously tat you should be better off.

4. Travel trailer Needs less Maintenance

Annual RV maintenance

Maintaining a car itself can be a task that many people find tedious. If you are of that nature than owning a rv or travel trailer can get tough for you.

A travel trailer when compared to class c RV for maintenance does not vary much and both need similar kind of schedule to follow. A class RV maintenance will be more costly as compared to a travel trailer, it will also need good storage in garage with a bigger space.

A travel trailer since smaller in size needs a smaller space and a maintenance can be easy as compared to class c rv or any other motorhome.

In case of class C rv you need to be careful about the appliances in it during winters, a class c rv comes at a high cost you cant afford to take things for granted. A travel trailer with minimum amenities will need less attention in comparison to a motorhome.

Read : How to keep travel trailer warm in winter

Having said that a motorhome is generally built heavily with a quality that can be much better that travel trailer and this means the RV or motorhome could be better off handling harsh conditions.

A travel trailer for instance can be protected by a cover which may not really be the case with a big RV. You would need a better garage, that is high in length and bigger n size.

5. Class C RV Has More Space

how is it inside a class c rv?

A motorhome when you compare the overall space you get for driving, living etc is larger as compared to a average travel trailer.

With a motorhome or class c rv you have a cabin that’s much above the road, it gives a perfect view while traveling. Which is not the case with travel trailer when you are sitting in your car.

With a modest price tag a trailer can give you space that will be compact, utilized in a manner to put it stuff as compact as possible as minimum as it gets.

A class C rv will give you a living area that’s larger, a bathroom with a shower that will good enough depending on the length you chose.

Overall with class C rv you have the luxury of space that is not possible with tow-able trailer. Having a bigger space in your camper or RV can be of much more importance when you are camping with kids.

For a couple a travel trailer could be a good fit if you are ready to live with the shortcomings. It all depends from person to person and the priorities. A large travel trailer can also be good for space, but may come with a price tag that almost similar to a motorhome.

Storage space with motorhome is also more and that can e of much more priority for many, Camping is all about packing things for the stay, but imagine you had less space that could fit in all things.

If you are kind of person who just packs things without giving many thoughts or if you are big family that needs lots of packing then go for a storage that meets your requirements. its as simple as that.

6. Less Depreciation in Travel Trailer

RV Depreciation : New or Used?

Depreciation of RV is something that many people hate. A costly vehicle loosing its value over a period of time hurts a lot. The moment you buy a brand new motorhome it starts to loose its original value.

Depreciation comparison between travel trailer and class c rv or any other motorhome like class B or class A can be a significant factor that can make chose travel trailer. Specially if you are among those who believe in selling old stuff for a good return or renew your RV after certain usage.

A travel trailer find itself with a depreciation little lesser as compared to class c RV. Class A motorhome or class c RV depreciation is directly proportional to the year of manufacturing.

For example, a 2014 model class C rv will loose more on its value as compared to a 2016 model. A year of manufacturing makes a lot of difference and so does the miles on odometer. A travel trailer does not have a odometer and that can be an advantage for it. It solely depends on the year on manufacturing and its condition.

Read : Travel trailer essentials

Maintaining the RV is of great importance if you want to prevent the depreciation percentage to certain extend.

But, unfortunately even with best of best maintenance you cannot prevent the going down of worth of your RV.

If we were to compare solely based on numbers the depreciation of travel trailer and class c rv remains almost similar for 5-8 years (could be between 40-50%) but as you go beyond 10 years a class c rv losses its sheen more as compared to travel trailer.

Class C rv or even other motorhomes loose close to 85% of their value where as a good maintained travel trailer can still hold close to 30% of its value that is losses 10-15 % less than class C rv or class A RV.

Having a look at these average numbers it is upto you if you really care about these 10-20 % after 10 years.

I think most wouldn’t care and the decision on class C against travel trailer should be taken considering the resale value factor with minimum importance.

7. Class C RV has better longevity

When you pay thousands of dollars for a rv or a travel trailer you obviously expect it last for as long as possible. Average life of a rv depends on lots of factors and is not tied with it when you buy it.

You will get warranty for various parts, but to expect a definite life for the trailer or class c rv will be foolish.

A rv or a travel trailer needs scheduled maintenance a good care is needed to keep it going for you.

Imagine you very a very good care taker of your rv then you can expect a good built travel trailer to last as minimum as 12-15 years. The most important part of the travel that you need to be specially careful about is the trailer roof.

Travel trailer roofs are subjected to leakage if sufficient care is not taken. Motorhomes on the other hand can be live a little longer, they are built solid, more capable and thus can last for 20 years or more on an average. It also depends on how many miles the rv ran.

A class A or C may give you more than 200 thousands of miles which may take you around 20-22 years to do. Comparing life of a travel trailer and class c rv solely for the purpose of deciding between two could be a thought for future too ahead.

Also, the life of trailer or the class c rv is very much dependent of many factors which can be controlled by the owner. It depends on how you store the rv when not in use, scheduled maintenance, usage frequency and so on.

8. Travel trailer puts pressure on car mpg

Getting a rv for thousands of dollar is matter of significant investment. Once you get a rv its not only about paying for the upfront cost, with the rv comes other costs.

There are lots of other things you end up spending before you go on that first camping experience. One of the other costs that you have with a rv is the fuel cost.

In fact, it is one of the major spending that a rver has to do to goa around in it. Many a times full time rver complain about the money they have to put in fuel costs. Considering this its important to do sufficient study on how many miles you can get with your class c rv or a trailer.

Getting best fuel economy for rv can be a significant cost saving factor. GA mileage is a parameter that can depend on lots of factors like the age of motorhome, the condition of you rv or trailer, the weight you carry on with in also on where you are driving the rv.

It also depends on the speed with which you drive the rv. On an average a class c RV can give you a gas mileage of around 10-12 miles per gallon (mpg).

It also depends on the wind conditions like a windy day will reduce the mileage may be by 1-2 miles depending on how the construction of the rv is to facilitate the wind resistance.

The wind condition is in fact more of a factor that affects the mileage that the weight of the RV. Pulling a travel trailer on an average also should give a mpg of around 10 miles per gallon.

Read : Truck Camper Or Travel Trailer

Here again, it depends on the frontal area of the trailer being towed. A good wind resistance handling by trailer will increase the mileage by 2-3 miles per gallon.

Also, the speed with which the trailer is being pulled matters. Imagine a speed of around 60 miles per hour, a weight of around 9000 pounds, length of travel trailer around 25 feet gives a mileage of around 8-9 miles per Jagiellon.

9. Travel trailers are available in abundance

choosing a better floor plan

Travel trailer are available in plenty in market as compared to class c RV or other motorhomes and thus there is a great chance that you will find a one that best suits your needs.

It is not that you wont get a class c rv as per your needs but you may have to hunt longer to get the one that best suits your needs. Buying second hand is also a option and when you compare the second hand selling market of travel trailer with class c motorhomes you will have lots of options with travel trailers.

In the year 2017 more than 5 lac RV’s were sold in united states which was less than 3 lacs in 2013, that means a growth of more that 100%.

With so many RV’s selling each year the availability of second hand has also increased and because there is so much growth the manufacturers have also spun into action.

Most of the RV’s sold include travel trailers and this number is also greater than the class c rv types. Travel trailer being less in cost are more popular and thus their selling is also larger.

Some of the travel trailer brands that sell most include keystone rv, jayco, rockwood, dutchmen, Airstream. Class C RV manufacturing brands that sell highest includes Winnebago, coachmen, tioga, four winds, jayco, gulf stream, itasca and many more.

10. Class C RV is much bigger

ideal RV length for nation park

Rv’ or motorhomes have lengths that can intimidating. A length of more that 15 feet itself can be a tough one for a new driver who haven’t had the opportunity to drive such vehicles previously.

When you compare travel trailer length with a class c motorhome both have big lengths but class c motorhome are on an average about 50% more in lengths as compare to travel trailers.

Travel trailers are seen to be having average Lengths of around 20 feet where as class c motorhomes are seen having a average length of 28 feet. You will find variety of lengths but the most popular are seen with these lengths. A class c rv have lengths that start from anywhere from 22-25 feet.

Their counterparts class B rv are seen having average lengths of around 20 feet. Where as class A motorhome are among the lengthiest and they can be as lengthy as 45 feet or even more sometimes.

Understanding the length of RV or a travel trailer is important because you should be comfortable with their length, also you will have to think about the garage for storage at home.

Also, campsites or national parks have length restriction and you may want to have a length that fits in your favorite or close-by nation park of campsite.

Having a lengthy travel trailer can be a hard one to tow and you should check on the length so as to make sure you are not buying a one that will be too much to tow. Also a large length for a travel trailer would also mean more weight which should be within limits for your car to handle during towing.

11. Class C RV are heavier than travel trailers

understand rv weight

Rvs of any kind are heaviest that run on roads. They weigh thousands of pounds. A more weight obviously means a reduced mileage.

With advances in manufacturing technology there has been reduction in with over the years. Yet the pounds haven’t come down to that level. Thus its important for you to compare the weight of rv that you intend to buy.

A class C rv is among the heaviest ones only to lag behind class A motrhomes that are heaviest of them all.

A class C RVs weight on an average is seen in between 10000 to 15000 pounds. Travel trailer on the other hand have weight that is much less in comparison to class c rv’s, a 18-20 feet travel trailer can be around 2000 pounds heavy.

It is important that your trailer is as light as possible, since you will be towing it with your car or SUV. And a car or mini truck will have its own capacity to pull and thus checking on the weight of trailer should be your first priority.

Its not only trailer weight but also the overall weight that you should check. A packing for camping can quickly get heavy exceed the limits of your towing vehicle.

Its also necessary that you are aware of overall weight with full gas tank. Having long trailer can give you good space but the pulling vehicle will be under pressure. There are also laws that prevent from pulling certain weight (you need to check that with the states towing laws).

12. Better Construction in Class C RV

Class C rv or any other motorhome are generally better made as compared to towable travel trailers. Their Construction quality is good and is more durable.

Saying these it does not mean all the class C rv construction will be of better quality. It depends on the brand, manufacturing year model. Obviously when you pay 2 to 3 times more you are bound to get it for a better quality.

Inexpensive travel trailer are made up of corrugated aluminium where as class C rv are costly made up of fiberglass or smooth aluminium.

Many a times understating the construction material of rv becomes a tough because all of them almost similar. But it is essential to understand the material type and their pros and cons.

13. More Set up at campground needed for travel trailers

With class C rv or any other sophisticated motorhome you get automatic leveling and thus the manual setup at campground efforts are reduced. This however may not be true with all models though.

Old models may not have automatic leveling. Travel trailer need little more efforts when it comes to doing the basic setup at campgrounds.

On-boarding the generator and doing other stabilization, disconnecting the travel trailer from the towing car are needed in travel trailer where as with class c motorhomes you may sit within without doing much of setup and start the camping. That’s the difference. No matter what RV you own but do not make these setup mistakes at the campground.

14. With travel trailer you get less Amenities

check out class c rv amenities

With class C motorhome you get amenities that are just the kind of luxury you would expect in a hotel.

Many thins fitted in so well and compact that may not be the case with travel trailer. A motorhome gives you the luxury of dinning within. Cooking inside, having air conditioner may not be possible with all travel trailers.

Most of the class C rv will have shower, toilet within. Where as travel trailer mostly may or may not have shower and toilet.

15. Additional Cost is more with travel trailers

A travel trailer need to hitched behind a car and for that you will have to spent anything from around $50-$800 also a regular maintenance may be needed for the hitched connection and even replacement of equipment.

This additional cost is not involved in case of motorhomes. Both the travel trailer and class c rv incur almost similar overnight parking costs which could be around $10-$50 per night.

Indoor or outdoor storage costs are also similar for both. An indoor storage costs around $50-$500 where as outdoor storage cost of renting could be anything between $40-$100 on an average.

16. Need of Car at camping

A big class C rv can be a good thing to have but imagine you need a car at the campsite may to go to a near by place where taking the big RV is difficult.

Read : Read Before towing behind a class C RV

When you go with travel trailer you already have car that come very handy. With big rv you then end up renting a car or tow a car behind your motorhome (which again will be differentiating factor), that’s the difference and advantage you have with travel trailer.

17. Insurance Cost

The bigger your RV larger is the amount you pay for the insurance. A travel trailer costs much less for insurance as compared to a class C or class A motorhome.

Insuring a travel trailer can be confusing as there are lots of factor that come into picture. A trailer can be insured right from $200 that can be as high as 8000.

Where as class C rv insurance can cost you anything between $800 to 10000. The more luxury you have the more you pay per year for the insurance.

Want to try before you finalize on travel trailer or class c? You can rent a RV on outdoorsy or rvshare and then decide.

In Conclusion

Travel trailer is less expensive but you also need a car or truck to tow them. You will have to deal with all the things related to towing but you get a separate car to drive, if needed.

Class C motorhome on the other hand is costly but it will give you better living space and facilities to enjoy. Choosing between the two comes down to your budget, weather you are comfortable in towing and also, the style of life you desire in an RV.

G. Yoganand

A RV enthusiast who spends countless hours researching and learning various things related to RV camping. He believes in spending time doing Outdoor activities.
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