Traveling in a Towable RV or a Motorhome – What’s the Difference?

Many people dream about hitting the road and going where it follows. A road trip might be a great idea indeed. Needless to say, there’s no road trip without a vehicle, and if you’re reading this article, you’re about to make an important decision – a motorhome or a towable RV?

In this article, you’ll learn what distinguishes a motorhome from a towable RV, and you’ll be able to decide which vehicle reigns supreme. Both options have their pros and cons, so it’s up to you and your preferences. Without any further ado, let’s jump right into it!


Let’s start with the basics. An RV, or a recreational vehicle, is a blanket term used to describe vehicles for camping and traveling. That can be either a motorhome or a towable RV. Towable RV’s are unpowered, so they’ll require a tow vehicle or a pickup truck which can add to the cost. Nevertheless, they can be prepped for living and, depending on their size, feature sleeping, bathroom, and kitchen areas.

As for the motorhome, it’s usually a larger vehicle built on a long wheelbase. It’s self-propelled, can sleep from many people, and offers mobile living accommodations. A standard motorhome could feature some amenities of a traditional home, such as a fully-equipped kitchenette, a shower, a toilet, sleeping quarters, and a living area. Depending on their size, motorhomes can be divided into three classes: A, B, and C, with A being the biggest and most expensive one.


First, you need to get your vehicle. Simply put, the bigger your rig, usually the higher the price. That being said, comfort matters as well. As such, you can expect to pay more for a motorhome than for a towable RV. However, buying a second-hand vehicle can significantly lower your costs.

One thing to consider with a towable RV is the bigger the rig, the bigger truck you will need to purchase. This can add up and sometimes be just as expensive as a class A motorhome. However, you’ll have a vehicle you can roam around in versus moving your motorhome each time you want to go sight-seeing or purchasing a tow vehicle (also referred to as a toad). 

Travel Distance and Frequency of Use

Before you make your decision, you need to think about the purpose of your purchase. What kind of trips do you have in mind? If you don’t want to hit the road that often nor travel far and wide, then a towable RV might be best. However, if you’re into long-distance trips and don’t mind being on the road a lot, you may want to consider buying a motorhome. Keep in mind, motorhomes are meant to be driven and may not fair well if they are left sitting for long. So an option could be to rent your RV, it is a great source of passive income!

Comfort While Driving

Many RV enthusiasts agree that even traveling in a motorhome is a generally convenient experience. If you’re not a driver, you can get up, enjoy the view, and do whatever you want without having to ask for a break. It’s also convenient as you can see when drawers or cabinets open while on the road. Another convenience is if it’s raining, you don’t even have to get out of your rig to set up your RV for camp. 

Some towable RVs have all the amenities available in a motorhome. However, you won’t be able to use them while you’re traveling, because you’ll have to sit in your car while it’s going. You also won’t be able to check if your belongings stay in place at all times. Nevertheless, some people prefer traveling in a towable RV because they find motorhomes too bulky. Also, some people just love the idea of taking road trips in a truck versus a motorhome. 

The Bottom Line

As you can see, both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Some people prefer traveling in a towable RV regardless of the distance they plan to cover; others can’t imagine hitting the road in a vehicle other than their comfortable motorhome. Due to many different factors that affect each rig’s functionality, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach.

If you’re about to make a choice between a towable RV and a motorhome, consider different aspects of each vehicle. Also, think about your budget, your future travel plans, the distance you’d like to cover, and how often you would like to travel. Feel free to read reviews online or even rent different types of RVs before you make your final choice and commit financially to one option. Good luck and happy trails!

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  1. bobmoc
    22nd December, 2020

    Consider how much time you will be in the RV and how much you will be moving it. If you are planning on living in it full time and/or moving it more than just for vacation a motorhome will usually have a much stronger frame than a towable which may mean less wear and tear and maintenance on the RV over time.

    If you live in the US, consider the towing and registration laws in your state of residence. Some states charge different amounts for towables vs motorhomes. Some states don’t distinguish between commercial truck drivers and RV when your towable exceeds certain weights and they charge you extremely high registration costs because you are a combination vehicle.

    1. BWadmin
      22nd December, 2020

      These are all great tips! Thank you!

  2. stpenroute
    22nd December, 2020

    There’s no doubt, that a towable is the way to go. Besides a towable being a LOT less money, you can park it where ever you want and go explore local towns, trails or pick up groceries, hardware, or get your tow vehicle serviced. Try ANY of that with a motorhome! When you get the motorhome serviced or worked on, YOU are out of a home! As far as a ‘toad’ for motorhomes, now you have to register/insure/maintain and keep gas in the toad as well as drag it everywhere you go! NO WAY!!!!

    1. BWadmin
      22nd December, 2020

      Good points, thank you for sharing!