Snowbirds: How to Choose The Right RV for Your Lifestyle

Update: In November 2015, Winnebago decided to reintegrate its Itasca vehicles under the Winnebago name. These great models will continue, but under the Winnebago name instead of Itasca.

As crazy as it seems with the hot weather we’ve been having, August is the time to start thinking about winter RVing, especially if you’re getting ready to take up a more full-time RV lifestyle. Here at Guaranty RV, we know it can take a little time for people to find that perfect RV that feels like home, so we tell our customers to start looking at the end of summer when you’re planning for winter. You’ll notice as you check on our website that our inventory changes regularly, so even though you might not find your ideal RV today, it very well may roll into our lot tomorrow. But how do you choose the perfect motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer to make your home base for months at a time? There are a lot of factors to consider. In this blog, we’re going to break down some of the important considerations to explore as you investigate your RV options.

Renting Vs. Owning

Some snowbirds, particularly first timers, rent an RV for the winter. This is a good way to explore the lifestyle without making a long-term commitment to an RV until you’re ready. While renting every year might get unwieldy, there’s really no reason to rush into a purchase when you can take a couple years to snowbird in different kinds of RVs and decide which ones you like the most, what features are important to you, etc. You might be surprised that the thing you were sure you needed, actually isn’t that big of a deal, while the RV amenity you hadn’t even considered before is more important to your long-term happiness. Contact Guaranty RV Rentals to discuss the possibilities. We even have an ability equipped Class A motorhome with a wheelchair lift, so the open road can be accessible for everyone.

It’s not very common for people to rent an RV for snowbirding year after year because it’s truly possible to get into an RV of your own for a very budget-friendly price, particularly when you start looking at pre-owned models. We always have a large selection of very livable, like-new, pre-owned fifth wheels, travel trailers, Class C motorhomes and Class A motorhomes to choose from, ranging from budget conscious to luxuriously appointed. When you start thinking outside the box and take your time to find the perfect RV for you, the snowbird lifestyle can be very attainable.

Motorhome Vs. Towable

As we mentioned in our recent blog, “ Living the RV Lifestyle: Is a Fifth Wheel or Motorhome Better For You?,” longtime Guaranty customers who are snowbirders tell us that fifth wheels and Class A motorhomes are the RV of choice for RV living. Yes, you can successfully snowbird in a travel trailer or smaller motorhome, but fifth wheels and Class A motorhomes offer you the most interior space, ease of driving, and flexibility. In the world of towables, travel trailers aren’t a bad option, but with a fifth wheel, you get that extra upstairs space and you have significantly less sway on the open highway because the hitch point is over the rear axle of your tow vehicle. This can make all the difference in your long-term satisfaction with your RV purchase. You need both your life on the road and your life when parked to be as hassle-free as possible.

If you already own a good tow vehicle, that may make the decision for you. A well made fifth wheel from a reputable manufacturer like Heartland, Keystone, and Lifestyle Luxury is supremely livable over the long term, and these RVs can be counted on to hold up to all the miles you want to travel. For real affordability, be sure to look at Keystone’s Cougar and Montana models. For just a step up in price, Heartland’s Big Country and Bighorn will give you a more luxurious living experience with some key amenities like residential style furnishings and appliances. And if you really want to live a luxurious RV lifestyle, be sure to check out Lifestyle Luxury’s Luxury models and DRV’s Mobile Suites.

If you don’t already own a tow vehicle, then you should also consider Class A motorhomes. We believe that the best Class As on the road today are built by Newmar and Winebago/Itasca. They have award-winning safety features, quality construction, excellent drivability and amenities that make long-term RV living particularly wonderful. The Itasca Tribute won this year’s RV of the Year Award from RV Business Magazine, and Newmar has a long history at the top of the Class A RV manufacturers’ list, with models ranging from their very affordable Bay Star to their luxurious Canyon Star and Dutch Star models.

What about a Class C motorhome? If you and your travel partner don’t need as much room as a Class A motorhome or large fifth wheel gives you, then be sure to explore the much more gas-mileage-friendly Class C and B+ motorhomes. Again, Itasca is a leader in this field, but be sure to also look at RVs from Thor Motor Coach and peruse high-end models like Jayco’s Seneca.

Snowbirding with Disabilities

Snowbirding used to be a challenging lifestyle for people who were dependent on wheelchairs or walkers, but no longer. Check out our blog from September 2014 about “ Living the RV Lifestyle with Disabilities.” You may be able to “ability equip” the RV you already have (call our RV Service Center to learn more about how to do this), but if you’re in the market for a new-to-you RV for snowbirding, be sure to look at Class A motorhomes that are already ability equipped, or can easily be retrofitted to accommodate a wheelchair lift or roll-in shower. Newmar, Winnebago and Itasca are the manufacturers to consider here, with models like Newmar’s Canyon Star 3911 and Itasca’s Sunstar 30T (see our rental ability equipped Sunstar 30T here). These Class As will accommodate wheelchair lifts, have accessible roll-in bathrooms and showers, wheelchair height countertops, adjustable dinette tables, plenty of room throughout to maneuver a wheelchair or walker, and so much more. These manufacturers are known as some of the best in the industry because they think everything through and plan for every eventuality. If you want to see how easy it would be to head south in one of these sweet RVs, come on down to Guaranty and take a tour of an ability equipped Class A motorhome.

More and more retirees are taking up the snowbird lifestyle and heading to warmer climates for the colder months. If you’re ready to join their ranks, we applaud you; it’s a great way to see the country and enjoy the retirement you’ve spent your whole working life earning. Good luck in your search for your perfect RV and be sure to contact us if we can help in any way.

Photo: Faungg’s Photos

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