If you’re looking for a way to travel around and explore the world then you might have considered buying an RV. But when people think of these vehicles, they often confuse them with the motorhome or campervan. It may therefore come as a surprise that these are three completely different forms of mobile accommodation. 

Before choosing to buy an RV, it’s important to make sure that it will meet your needs. In this guide, we will be giving you a clear definition of an RV and comparing it to other similar types of vehicle.

What Is An RV?

RV stands for recreational vehicle and this is a term that is more commonly used in America. However, these huge homes on wheels are becoming more and more popular in the UK. Of course, you should keep in mind that they are enormous!

Pros Of An RV

Owning a RV is like having a home away from home, you can hit the road whenever you please and have an adventure. If you’ve got an RV then you’re much more likely to travel regularly and while it is possible to rent one, there’s nothing quite like having that option as soon as you wake up in the morning. 

When you do decide to head off, you’ll have everything you need and all of your creature comforts. If you don’t like slumming it in a tent then this is a choice well worth considering; provided you’re going to get the use out of it because, as we will find out later, it’s not cheap. 

RV’ing can become a very enjoyable lifestyle. While some people think they are pretentious and showy, many others would agree that an RV is a wonderful way of life. You’ll be able to meet other people who have similar interests and since you’ll be spending a lot of time on the road, your life will feel that much more laid back. 

Cons Of An RV

There are some models that are as big as a large coach and for these, you will need a special driving licence. Moreover, they’re not very fuel efficient and because of their large size, some of the UK roads might not be suitable for them, especially if you’re exploring off the beaten track. 

An RV is not a cheap investment. If you’re going to buy one, you’ll need to be mega serious about it. The initial cost can be as much as £200,000 although this is for a top of the range model. But even if you go for something cheaper, the running costs are sky high. 

As we mentioned, they’re not very fuel efficient and there are some that only do around ten miles to the gallon. Maintenance costs are more since these are more complex and larger vehicles and when you’re not using it, you may have to rent storage as most people won’t have room on their property to keep an RV. 

What’s The Difference Between An RV, A Motorhome And A Campervan?

Motorhomes and campervans are similar to the RV in that they are a type of accommodation on wheels, but this is largely where the similarities end. Keep in mind that an RV is much larger than other types of similar vehicle. Some people may find that they are too big for their needs and may choose a motorhome or campervan instead. Let’s get better acquainted with these vehicles. 

The Motorhome

Motorhomes come in a variety of different types. Some might class all motorised accommodation as a motorhome including RVs and campers but this is not correct. 

A motorhome is partway between a campervan and an RV in terms of size and you’ll generally have pretty much all you need where accessories and facilities are concerned. 

Low profile coach motorhomes feature a cab and chassis of a regular van with add ons to create a motorhome. This type of motorhome would normally be suitable for two or more people and you’ll have the luxury of a bathroom with a toilet and shower.

There are also similar motorhomes with an over-cab bed which are generally the same as the previous type but have, as the name suggests, a bed or sometimes storage over the cab.

Finally, there is the large motorhome which is normally imported from Europe and beyond as there aren’t any manufacturers in the UK. These are much larger and do not have a separate cab; they’re the most similar to an RV out of each of these types. What’s great about them is that they’re more of a home away from home and are designed to give you a more luxurious adventure. 

The Campervan

When you think of a campervan, you’ll almost certainly think of the VW campervan and rightly so as this is the original, and many consider to be, the best. These mobile homes have been around for more than 50 years and are popular with people who are looking for a weekend van or something for fewer people. 

You don’t have as many luxuries in a campervan although you may have a small cooking area and portable toilet. You might also choose a converted van which is a different brand and model that has been converted for travel and accommodation. Again, these don’t have all the mod cons of the RV or larger motorhomes but they are ideal for a more simple getaway.

That said, there are some bigger van conversions that are pretty impressive with people installing larger bathrooms and decent cooking areas as well as ample sleeping space. The beauty of having a van conversion is that you can pretty much kit it out in a way that suits you. 


If you have been looking for a way to explore the country in style and comfort then you might have considered an RV. These huge recreational vehicles are ideal for luxury travel but you must keep in mind that they involve quite a serious investment and high running costs. 

Furthermore, an RV may struggle to get down narrow country lanes so you’ll have to think about where you want to explore. But on the plus side, they offer the height of luxury so it’s just like being at home with the added benefit of being able to explore the UK and beyond.