If you're looking to finance the purchase of a new recreational vehicle (RV), our RV loan calculator will make simple work of finding what the best deal is for you. Thanks to our smart RV loan payment calculator you can not only asses the monthly and overall costs of the loan, but also choose the best RV loan available on the market.

RV financing doesn't need to be complicated, as long as you have our RV payment calculator helping you to plan your purchase.

Keep reading to find out:

  1. What is a recreational vehicle (RV)?
  2. How to approach RV financing?
  3. How to use our RV loan payment calculator?
  4. What are the most common types of recreational vehicles (RV)?
  5. What do you need to consider before you take your first RV loan?
  6. What are the hidden costs of having a recreational vehicle?

What is a recreational vehicle (RV)?

A recreational vehicle, commonly referred to as RV, is a common name for a vehicle which has a living space and some amenities usually found in a home. A typical recreational vehicle has a kitchen, a bathroom, and a few beds. This is why an RV is frequently referred to as a movable home.

Depending on their primary purpose (and the price…) recreational vehicles may have only a few basic facilities, such as places for sleeping that only roughly resemble cozy beds and a simple kitchenette with an ordinary gas stove. The luxurious (and incredibly expensive) recreational vehicles have conveniences usually found in best apartments: comfortable double-sized beds, automatic air conditioning, kitchen with a fridge and an oven, a bathroom with shower, and a TV and Hi-Fi set.

Recreational vehicles can either be self-motorized vehicles or trailers that are towed behind a motor vehicle. Usually, RVs only have a single-deck, but double-deck versions do exist. Some recreational vehicles also have expandable sides, called canopies, which makes them compact while in transport and spacious during camping.

Financing the RV purchase

Whether you're interested in purchasing a new recreational vehicle for road trips or long-term vagabonding adventures, smart financing makes it possible to take the leap much sooner.

Paying outright for an RV can be prohibitively expensive. You can use our dream come true calculator to answers the question: for how long do you have to save to afford your dreamed RV?

If it is too long, you can always take a loan. However, paying for a vehicle with a loan is not to be taken lightly. You'll need to know your numbers before you commit, and the RV loan calculator helps you do just that.

The main decision when it comes to financing is how long you want repayments to continue for.

  1. Longer financing plans mean you spend less now, but end up paying more for the vehicle in the end.
  2. Short-term RV financing means you pay less overall, but you'll need to fork over more now.

A nice side-benefit of RV financing is that your credit score will increase by a few points if you make all your payments on time. Within the calculator, make sure that the Payment field shows a figure you can very comfortably afford every month. The same principle applies when using the mortgage calculator.

And one more thing - remember that when planning to buy an RV, you can always consider other ways of financing like leasing.

How to use our RV payment calculator?

The recreational vehicle loan calculator contains the seven following fields:

  • RV Price – the purchasing price of the recreational vehicle
  • Down payment – the money you have and want to spend on purchasing an RV
  • Term – the period for which you want to take the RV loan
  • Interest – the interest rate of your RV loan
  • Loan amount – the actual amount of your RV loan (it is equal to RV price minus your Down payment and is computed automatically)
  • Payment – the monthly payment of the RV loan
  • Total paid – the total amount you need to repay during the loan term
  • *Cost of loan – the actual cost of taking a loan for purchasing the RV (it is equal to Total paid minus RV price.

So, how do you calculate your monthly RV loan payments, the total amount you'll eventually pay before the RV is entirely yours, and the cost of your loan? All you need to do is to enter the first four values. Then comes the magic of our calculator.

If you don't like the monthly Payment figure, the Total paid number or the cost of loan, you can adjust them and the calculator will automatically recalculate what the other figures need to be to achieve this. Say you need your monthly RV payment figure to be lower. Type in the value you can afford into that field, and the calculator will tell you how much you'll need to extend the Term of the loan to make that happen.

Now, thanks to our RV loan calculator you should be able to choose the RV loan that suits you best.

To make all of your financial decision smarter, don't forget to try our other calculators. In personal finance issues, our buy or rent calculator and personal loan calculator are especially interesting.

Types of RVs

There are many different types of recreational vehicles. They vary with size, construction, built-in facilities, and main purpose. And last but not least, different RVs have different prices…

  • Motorhome

A motorhome is the largest, the roomiest and the most comfortable type of recreational vehicle. It usually has separate bunks which guarantees comfortable sleep for 4-8 people.

The kitchenette in a motorhome contains cooking equipment which varies from model to model. The most basic motorhomes have an oven, a refrigerator, and a sink. In more comfortable models you can find a microwave and dishwasher. A standard bathroom in motorhomes contain a shower, toilet, and perhaps a sink. Moreover, motorhomes have a kind of dinette with a table, sofa and TV set. A motorhome also has a driver cab with two or three seats.

The price of brand new motorhome starts from $300,000. The ceiling is not defined. The most luxury models can even cost more than $2,000,000!

  • Campervan (camper)

Sometimes the term campervan is used interchangeably with motorhome. Campervans, however, are constructed differently and are smaller than motorhomes. A campervan is usually a van fitted out with a coach built body which is used as a living and sleeping area. Among the different types of campervans you can find the following: A-Class, overcab, low profile, hight top, rising roof and dismountable. Without going into detail, the rule of thumb says that in campervans, the most significant features are mobility and low cost. Motorhomes, on the other hand, emphasize comfort.

The cheapest campervans cost nearly $100,000. A larger and more comfortable model may set you back $200,000.

  • Caravan (travel trailer)

A caravan is a type of a recreational vehicle that is towed behind the car. The interior of a caravan is quite similar to motorhomes and campers, but caravans are usually smaller and less comfortable. The variety of amenities in a caravan is also lower. Similar to motorhomes and campervans, the range of caravans models is vast; they vary from small, modest trailers to a huge and luxurious houses on wheels.

In practice, the vast majority of travel trailer models are compact and lightweight. It is because they are designed to be towed by cars without powerful engines (e.g. SUVs). The equipment in the most popular trailers is also rather moderate and not too expensive as they are designed as an option for people looking for an inexpensive alternative for motorhomes and campers.

The average cost of a new caravan is around $20,000-$25,000. However, you can also find models from $15,000 to $50,000.  

  • Fifth-wheel trailer

A fifth-wheel trailer is another type of travel trailer. The main difference between a camper and a fifth-wheel trailer is that, while the former is attached to a hook of a towing vehicle, the latter is supported by a hitch situated in the center of a pickup trucks bed. In fact, the construction of the hitch used in the fifth-wheel trailer and the ones used in large 18-wheeler trucks are very similar.

The length of fifth-wheel trailers range from 25 ft (7.6 m) to 45 ft (13.7 m). The largest models offer more space than any other recreational vehicle. Can you imagine that sometimes this space is even divided into separate bedrooms? Fifth-wheel trailers are definitely the best solution for people who plan to travel the whole year. Fifth-wheel trailers are also very popular among recreational vehicle lovers, who spend a lot of time in one place and use their pickups for short distance one-day trips.

It's worth knowing that fifth-wheel trailers are most popular in North America (the US and Canada), due to the roads being broader and less curved than in other parts of the world. In Europe, you can barely find any fifth-wheel trailers on the roads.

Fifth-wheel trailers are generally less expensive than the comfortable motorhomes and caravans. They cost from $40,000 to $140,000.

  • Pop-up camper

A pop-up camper is a type of recreational vehicle that is towed by a car. Its characteristic feature is that it can be collapsed for easy storage and transport. A folded pop-up camper looks like a big box on a trailer frame. The top of the box is, in fact, a hard roof of a disassembled, tent-like structure. Beneath it, there are hidden ready to assemble walls made out of vinyl or canvas, pull-out bunks and some basic amenities like a toilet and a small kitchen.

The most significant advantage of pop-up campers is that they are the most compact and the cheapest recreational vehicles on the market. Drivers and travelers will also appreciate the other features of pop-up campers like easiness to tow and park, and quickness of the transformation into a comfortable shelter for a couple of people. On the other hand, pop-up campers usually have limited portal cid="195">volume, are not well-equipped, and you won't feel as comfortable inside them as in other recreational vehicles.

The prices of new pop-up campers are relatively low. For the most popular models, they vary between $5000 to $20,000.

  • Truck Camper

Truck camper (also TC, cab-cover) is a type of recreational vehicle that can be carried directly on the bed of a car (e.g. pickup truck, flatbed truck). Usually, truck campers are dismountable, so you can attach or detach them to your car whenever you need.

The truck camper is a perfect solution for a traveling couple that doesn't expect luxury and excess facilities when traveling. Standard amenities in truck campers are a simple cooking area and a basic toilet with shower.

Purchasing price of truck campers varies depending on their quality and equipment. The lowest starts from $10,000, while the more comfortable models cost around $40,000 – $50,000.

Things to consider before buying the recreational vehicle

When you consider the purchase of an RV, the cost of the RV loan is not the only thing you should take into account. First of all, you need to choose the type of RV that suits you best (see section Types of RVs). Then you should consider at least the following features of your future RV:

  • fuel economy
  • quality - materials, equipment and overall quality of mounting
  • drivability and controllability (how easy is the RV to park and drive?)
  • size and floor plan (e.g., number of bunks, toilet, kitchenette)
  • storage space for your equipment, food, and clothes
  • customization – it is especially important if you are keen on personalized solutions
  • built-in amenities and comfort

Hidden cost of having RV

When buying a new RV, remember not to focus solely on the purchasing price and costs of the loan. Having your own recreational vehicle results in a lot of additional, not so obvious costs. Sometimes these costs are referred to as a hidden cost of ownership. It is because you don't even know they exist - until you are an owner.

Among the hidden cost the most significant are:

  • fuel costs
  • maintenance (regular service)
  • towing (e.g., adding a car hook to your car)
  • insurance (motor insurance)
  • parking (when on holidays, and during the rest of the year)
  • taxes (especially the sales tax)

And last but not least, do not forget about the depreciation of your RV.

Other considerations

Owning an RV leaves you feeling as free as a bird. You can go anywhere, stay for any period of time, and never be away from your creature comforts. However, planning your trip is still essential.

For every trip, make the following steps a habit:

  1. Calculate how much gas you need for the trip using our gas calculator. Be sure to pack spare gas cans as well.
  2. Perform error-checks for all the RV's systems. Are the electrics working? Is the water topped up and flowing correctly? Is the engine well-oiled and are the tires pumped-up?
  3. Plan your adventures to intersect with places to re-stock supplies in case you need to.
Tomasz Jedynak, PhD, Mateusz Mucha and James Mathison

Get the widget!

RV Loan Calculator can be embedded on your website to enrich the content you wrote and make it easier for your visitors to understand your message.

It is free, awesome and will keep people coming back!

RV Loan Calculator