Why we’re not bringing our car on our RV trip

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For those of us who have owned a car their whole adult life, being car free can be a scary concept.

What if it rains? What if I break my leg? How about if I just don’t want to walk somewhere?

I know some people who would be dead-set against being without a car. They would be willing to spend any amount of money to keep their car (perhaps even if it meant they couldn’t travel or do something else they really wanted to do).

I wanted to address some of those objections and offer our own reasons why we are going “car-free” for the foreseeable future. Whether you travel or not, it could be something to think about. It might help save money, simplify or be healthier.

  1. It’s cheaper to get around by car. By selling our car, we will have money from the sale, We won’t have to pay for gas or maintenance. We can completely drop our car insurance because our full-timer’s RV insurance covers driving as well as living in our RV. Additionally, we have a Prius, which you cannot tow with 4 wheels down. We would have to buy a dolly, which costs an average of $1300. There is also an added fuel expense towing the car, because the RV’s gas consumption will be higher.
  2. It’s easier to have a car for transportation. Actually, having a car would make things more complicated for us. First of all, our motorhome can only tow 3500 pounds. Our Prius weights 2700 pounds. Most dollies weigh around 500 pounds. We would still have about 100 pounds’ worth of bicycles and a carrier that we would have figure out how to tow. The e-bikes have to be on a hitch-mounted bike rack, and the Prius can’t handle a hitch that is strong enough. And we love our bikes–there’s no way we’re giving them up. Additionally, we already have a 35-foot motorhome. Adding the tow dolly plus the Prius would add 15-20 feet to the back of rig. We’ve towed the Prius before. It made us much slower, heavier, and was very cumbersome going through a gas station. All these things would make our life harder, not easier.
  3. I won’t be able to get where I need to go without a car if I get hurt or sick. About a year ago, I severely sprained my ankle right before our trip to Las Vegas. We were really looking forward to it, so there was no way we were going to put our plans on hold. I was in a hard plastic brace, and had to use crutches. I was using a lot of Tylenol just to be somewhat comfortable. Yet I did my share of the driving to and from LV in the motorhome, as I usually do. We went on some bike rides using the e-bikes. Public transportation was plentiful. And regardless of whether you have a car or not, there is a lot of walking in Las Vegas. I didn’t let any of it stop me, and would have rented a wheelchair if I needed to in order to have my vacation.
  4. I can’t run errands or go to appointments without a car. We do it all the time. For the past 4 years, we have shared a single car. If one of us needs the car for something, we tried to work it out. For example, when Ryan had to travel longer distances to get to his job, I joined a carpool to get to mine. For awhile with my previous employer, it was actually faster for me to bike to and from work than to drive due to traffic, so that’s what I did. When Ryan got a job closer to home, he rode his bike or took the bus and I drove the car. We try to coordinate medical and other appointments so they don’t conflict with each other’s schedules. For awhile, we have often chosen to ride our bikes to do grocery shopping and go to the gym.
  5. I’m not healthy enough to walk or bike everywhere. I felt that way too for a long time. That’s part of why I got the e-bike. It allows me to get exercise without killing myself going up crazy inclines that my body isn’t able to handle on its own (yet). But there is also the option of renting a car for a day or two to get to places that are really out-of-the-way, or taking a bus, taxi, Uber, etc. Doing that every once in a while is still much more cost-effective than keeping and maintaining a car.
  6. I won’t have medical attention when I need it without a car. If it’s really bad, we’ll call 911! If it’s less urgent, as I mentioned in #5 there are alternative methods of transportation. Even in smaller towns we’ve lived in and visited, they still have taxis. Also, if there’s something really desperate like a pet emergency, we still have the vehicle we are living in. If need be we can unhook and drive away in as little as 5 minutes. We’re both trained for emergency medical situations. I’m confident we can handle what comes our way and get help when necessary.
  7. You can’t go out and enjoy yourself when the weather is bad without a car. During our trip last December, it rained practically the whole time we were on vacation (even though we traveled to 3 different places). When it rained really hard, we usually stayed in. I caught up on work, Ryan relaxed and watched TV or a movie. We cooked at home instead of eating out. But in just a light rain, we put on our rain gear and got on our bikes. Or walked to where we wanted to go. Luckily both our bikes and our skin are water-resistant. ;p With some warm clothing and stops at local places to eat warm food, everything was fine. Despite all the rain, we still didn’t want to come home when it was time.

While we are choosing to be without a car now, this may not always be the case in the future. We’re going to see how it goes. But this is what works best for us now, so we are bidding a fond farewell to our Prius. May the next owner enjoy her as much as we did.

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