RV vs Travel Trailer vs Tiny House – How to Decide What’s Best for You

By Tico+Tina

Last updated October 17, 2018


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This entry is part 6 of 10 in the series Embracing Small to Live BIG

We already talked about why you shouldn’t live in a tiny house or RV, but if you’re still interested in the lifestyle, something you need to figure out is which option is best for you – RV vs travel trailer vs tiny house.

We made a comparison table for quick evaluation, but we’ll break it down a bit more first.

Some of the main things to compare are:

  • cost
  • maintenance
  • space
  • storage
  • mobility
  • flexibility
  • weather
  • insurance
  • comfort

It’s helpful to keep in mind that you can do a lot by thinking outside the box for ways you might adapt what’s already available, but some options are easier to customize to your needs than others.

Which option is best for tiny living, especially with a family? Here's a comparison table breakdown of RV vs travel trailer vs tiny house

Quick Breakdown

Tiny House

  • can be built less expensively if you DIY, but that can make it more complicated to insure
  • is much more like living in a regular home and can be built much more customized, but it all comes at a premium
  • usually made with more quality materials and built to need less maintenance, but not as suited for travel
  • heavier and harder to pull
  • generally better climate-controlled

RV/Motor Home

  • nice that it’s easier to move, but potentially more complicated with the added component of of vehicle maintenance (attached to your house)
  • generally less flexible with living space/not as accommodating to families
  • able to travel more comfortably on the road
  • lower resale value due to added mileage
  • much easier setup and teardown to travel

Travel Trailer/Bumper Pull

  • easy to find very inexpensive options
  • wide variety of weights
  • generally lots of built-in storage
  • frequent upkeep to protect from leaks
  • cheaper insurance rates
  • lower ceilings

Because there are many of both types available on the pre-owned market, one additional thing to consider with travel trailers is which type of siding is better for you.

Aluminum:

  • less expensive
  • generally warmer (because of the way it needs to be constructed)
  • easier/less expensive to fix

Fiberglass:

  • easier to maintain
  • better resale value
  • generally more streamlined and lighter weight
  • stays cleaner

Comparison Table

There are certainly many variations and exceptions to the norm, so this is somewhat subjective, but we ranked by what we consider to be the most common/easy-to-find least-expensive or used options.

RV/
Motor Home

Travel Trailer/
Bumper Pull

Tiny House

expense

2

1

3

weather

2

3

1

space

3

1

2

storage

3

1

2

mobility

1

2

3

insurance

2

1

3

flexibility

1

2

3

maintenance

3

2

1

comfort

2

3

1

“Embracing Small” Takeaway: Many people start with one solution and decide to change later. Sometimes you just have to try it out to know. Renting or borrowing for a trip could help you make a much more confident decision.  Which option would you choose if money wasn't an issue?

LIVE BIG & BOLD!

Explore what "embracing small" could mean for you and your family...

More In Embracing Small to Live BIGPrevious Post in the Series
14 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Live in a Tiny House or RV (especially with a family)


Next Post in the Series
What we knew before participating in questionable behavior on Craigslist

We're well-acquainted with being stuck in soul-sucking survival mode, and the intense internal friction of not living in alignment with your potential. We're all about discovering, creating, and sharing adulting cheat codes™ so you can level up faster! -David (Tico) & Chris(tina)

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