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Save money, share an RV

Millions of people would like to join the RVing community because they readily recognize the pleasures and values of RVing. The beauty of natural scenic views, visits to man-made and natural historic sites and the sense of freedom that is a hallmark of RVing are very appealing and motivating to potential RVers.

However, the majority of people believe that it is necessary to purchase a new or slightly used RV. Of course, RV manufacturing companies, dealers and aftermarket vendors all endorse the idea of buying a new RV.

Most RVs are used only a few weeks each year. Studies have shown that the majority of RVs are used less than one month per year. If this is the average use then millions of RVs are parked in storage for many months each year. This lack of use causes degradation and depreciation of the unit plus the cost of storage.

One answer may be sharing an RV.

Sharing an RV rather than buying one may be a feasible approach to entering the RV lifestyle for many aspiring RVers. When one person or family purchases an RV for their own use, the quality, size and use may be restricted by their available funds. They may be forced to settle for a smaller, older or less expensive RV than they would prefer to have.

There are several options available for those people with limited funds who would like a larger or nicer RV for their use.

  1. RV rentals — People may rent an RV for a limited time. Once the vacation is done, simply return the RV and allow someone else to cover the maintenance and storage.
  2. RV timeshare — Much like resorts, there are companies that allow people to use a selected RV for a few weeks or months each year, with the costs spread out over several years.
  3. Fractional ownership — With a certified company, people may be able to actually own a portion of a high quality RV in conjunction with a few other owners.
  4. Limited ownership — A few friends or relatives may purchase the desired RV together and share the use and costs.

Prospective buyers may wish to consider one of the options described above. Which option you choose might be based on economy or a series of other factors. The success of any of these methods of sharing may depend upon the type of people who are sharing the RV with you.

Scenarios described here are given for your general consideration and are not designed to discourage or eliminate you from the RVing sharing process.

  1. RV rental — This is especially designed for those using an RV for a first time or to gain information about the lifestyle. Renters are usually not concerned about the purchase cost of the RV, but want something to meet their needs for a short time.
  2. RV timeshare — This is a process for people who wish to travel and are not concerned if they are unable to use the same RV each year. These RVers are willing to take their chances that the RV is in good condition and that it is above-average in quality and amenities for the selected model or type of RV. They will not be able to use the same RV each and every time they want to use the timeshare. They may be competing with a large group of timeshare owners for access to the RV for a given time each year.
  3. Fractional ownership — You and a limited number of other owners will actually own a specific RV which is controlled by a company. You will each use that same RV each year. You will only compete with the other owners for a time period for use, which may be determined by agreement or by a lottery system. Fractional owners are dependent upon the type and quality of people in the company. If one or more of the owners are negligent or lazy and don’t do their fair share of caring for the RV, then both tolerance and determined negotiation may be necessary. The advantage for fractional owners is that they can own a percentage of a much more expensive RV than they could afford to own alone. Each person must make the choice.
  4. Limited ownership — With this ownership arrangement a few trusted friends share together in a loosely structured purchase, maintenance and decision-making process. If all works well and proper care is given by those involved this can be an advantageous method of owning, using and eventually selling an RV.

In the final analysis, the decision-making must be based on the needs, wants, desires, funds and tolerance level of all those involved in the purchase process. Briefly, what type of RVing experience do you wish to have and are you willing to pay for?

Much more detailed information is available at Or, Google “RV timeshares” to gain more detailed information on this topic.

About Dr. Bob Gorden

Dr. Bob Gorden is an RVer, hiker and writer. He has a PhD in microbial ecology from the University of Georgia in Athens. He is a retired research scientist from the University of Illinois Natural History Survey. He has owned and operated more than 55 RVs of various types, and has visited every state, except Hawaii, in his RV. He also traveled by RV in New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. He currently owns and travels in a 1978 GMC 26-foot Class A and 2013 Thor ACE 30.1 Class A motorhome. He has a compelling desire to be “On the Road Again!”

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