Since my retirement, I’ve spent most of my days on the road. I love seeing the countryside from my tow vehicle while pulling behind me a trailer with all the comforts of home. The cost of a nice travel trailer can vary greatly depending on your specific needs, but you can expect to spend between $15,000 and $60,000 for a brand new one. Mine is a 24-foot model with one slide, and I was able to drive it off the lot for under $30,000 – a lot of money by anyone’s standards, but the peace of mind of owning a new trailer with a full warranty outweighed any cost savings I could have realized by buying a used RV.
What Are the Differences in Travel Trailer Type Prices?
When I first started looking for a travel trailer, I was almost overwhelmed by the number of makes and models that were available. Did I want a large unit with all the bells and whistles, or would a small pop-up camper meet my needs just as well? Your first order of business is to understand the design and purpose of each trailer type.
- Basic Travel Trailer: Many towable RV owners choose a basic travel trailer because it’s so versatile. The average price is $35,000, and you can choose your favorite floor plan. Whether you pick a small model or a large one, you don’t usually need a permit for pulling it on the highway. Travel trailers come in lightweight versions that can be towed by six-cylinder vehicles.
- Fifth Wheel: If you need a lot of space, then a fifth wheel may be your best bet. It comes with a special hitch that works with only pick-up trucks; it averages about $45,000 in price. Its bi-level design puts the bedroom directly over the truck bed while many fifth wheel models have a picture window in the back. This type of trailer can have multiple slides.
- Toy Hauler: This trailer type is made for the traveler who wants to bring along an ATV, snowmobile, dirt bike, or dune buggy. The furniture usually folds up against the inside wall to make room for your toy. Once you arrive at your destination, you can unload your off-road vehicle by opening the rear door that swings down and forms a ramp. A toy hauler is a great investment for an average of $35,000.
- Tent Trailer: Some folks call them pop-up trailers; others refer to them as fold-down campers. You might even use the word “
expandable“. With the average cost being only $15,000, this trailer type is the most affordable on the market. Part of it is made of canvas so that it can be collapsed when necessary.
- Hybrid Trailer: The word “hybrid” tells you all that you need to know about this travel trailer type. It’s a mix between a basic travel trailer and a tent trailer. With hard sides and collapsible ends, it has a solid construction and plenty of sleeping space. You can get one for an average of $30,000.
- Truck Camper: This trailer type fits on the back of a pick-up truck while allowing you to also pull a boat or horse trailer. It can sleep up to four people and costs an average of $25,000. Although a truck camper is compact, it can still be equipped with an air conditioner, a kitchen, and bathroom facilities. It can be detached and set up on jacks.
What Is the Benefit of Owning a Travel Trailer?
Travel trailers, as opposed to motorhomes, are made to be pulled behind your personal car or truck. The benefit of a towable RV is the ability to unhitch it once you’re parked. I like to be able to pull into a space, set up camp, and then leave my trailer and belongings at the campground while I explore the area.
I prefer driving down narrow, unpaved roads or along steep mountain passes without pulling a trailer. Nevertheless, I’m ready to sit by a campfire, watch a movie, and then snuggle into my comfy bed after the sun goes down. A towable trailer gives me the freedom to roam during the day and the convenience of comfortable accommodations at night.
Why Are Some Travel Trailers so Much More Expensive Than Others?
The cost of a travel vehicle does not depend solely on its type, size, weight, nor amenities. Sometimes a 22-foot pop-up camper is priced higher than a 27-foot fifth wheel with slides. A lightweight Airstream is usually a high-end product even when its interior space is limited. Check out this 38-foot Keystone Outback 332F that’s twice the size of some models but often sells for less than $40,000.
The factors that determine a trailer’s price are many. Here are some examples.
- Materials and Construction
- Floor Plan
- Grade of Appliances
- Body Design
- Quality of Trim
- Amount of Storage Space
Some of the Grand Design trailers include skylights over the showers and cabinet doors made of hand-rubbed maple. Other manufacturers add surround sound speakers and wood-grain accent paneling. These features are ideal for the traveler who wants to live in luxury, but they come at a cost.
What Are Some Examples of Average-Priced Trailers That Are Available?
Let’s look at a few popular models and compare their approximate prices. Remember that you can negotiate with your sales representative and hopefully get a good deal.
Travel Trailer Prices: 17 Examples
- $15,000 – Coachmen Viking V-Trec V3 (a 12-foot tent trailer with one slide)
- $16,500 – Palomino Backpack HRHS6601 (a 15-foot hard-side truck camper with a microwave and outdoor shower)
- $18,000 – Coleman Lite 1805RB (a 23-foot travel trailer with stainless steel kitchen appliances)
- $20,000 – Forest River Salem 27RKSS (a 33-foot travel trailer that sleeps six and has a skylight)
- $23,000 – Jayco Jay Feather X23B (a 24.5-foot hybrid travel trailer with front and rear tents and a 13-foot awning)
- $23,000 – Heartland Pioneer QB300 (a 33-foot travel trailer with a Bunkhouse floor plan and one slide)
- $25,000 – Forest River Rockwood Roo 24WS (a 24-foot expandable trailer with an aluminum frame)
- $26,000 – Gulf Stream GEO 293RK (a 34-foot travel trailer with a skylight and rocker recliner)
- $28,000 – Winnebago Minnie Plus 27REOK (a 29.5-foot fifth wheel with two slides and a fully-equipped kitchen)
- $30,000 – Grand Design Transcend 26RLS (a 32-foot travel trailer with two doors and a center kitchen)
- $32,000 – Highland Ridge Open Range Ultra Lite 2502RE (a 29-foot fifth wheel with two slides)
- $35,000 – Starcraft Mossy Oak Lite 31BHS (a 36-foot travel trailer with a shower surround)
- $38,000 – Eclipse Attitude 25FS (a 31.5-foot toy hauler with a cargo area length of 13 feet)
- $41,000 – Genesis Supreme Vortex 2715VS (a 33-inch toy hauler with 15 feet of cargo space)
- $46,000 – Keystone Cougar 315RLS (a 31-foot travel trailer with three slides and a rear living area)
- $55,000 – Airstream
Sport22FB (a 22-foot travel trailer that sleeps four and has a rear bathroom)
- $60,000 – Vanleigh Pine Crest 305RLP (a 33-foot fifth wheel with a pantry, kitchen island, and fireplace
What Are the Unexpected Costs for a Travel Trailer Owner?
After you’ve taken care of the initial costs which include sales tax and dealer documentation fees, you might still have a few extra expenses. You’ll need to make some additional purchases if your trailer doesn’t include things like a generator, a dump hose, chemicals for the toilet, and an adequate trailer ball.
Don’t forget to insure your trailer. Many dealerships offer insurance policies and have agents to help you make the arrangements. If you’re not a full-time RVer, then you may need to pay for vehicle storage as well. Owners who live in cold climates usually pay to have their trailers winterized once a year.
Perhaps the greatest RV owner expense is the fuel that keeps him on the road. Your sales associate should talk to you about the efficiency of your particular vehicle. Some of the streamlined trailers on the market are expensive in price but eventually save you money in gas. By keeping your trailer maintained properly, you can save yourself a lot of money in repairs.
Before you take your first trip, think about the little things that you may need along the way. Here is a list of items that I’ve found to be necessary during my adventures.
- Leveling blocks in case you stay at a campground with uneven sites
- Water pressure regulator for the times when the campground’s water pressure is too high
- Heating pad and first-aid kit
- Walkie talkies for the times when you have no cell phone service
- Cleaning supplies and kitchen utensils
- Garden hose for the dump station
- Water tank filler valve so that you can fill your fresh water tank without being slowed down by “bubble back”
- Fresh linens