What is a Travel Trailer? And, are they right for you?

What is a Travel Trailer?

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Ever wonder what is a travel trailer? From advantages to disadvantages, here’s everything you need to know before deciding if a travel trailer is right for your family.

Travel trailer with sunset behind

If you’ve decided that you want to tow your recreational vehicle instead of driving it, you’ll end up looking at travel trailers or fifth wheels. Travel Trailers provide a wide array of options and can be towed by many vehicles.

You’ll typically see a Travel Trailer being towed by an SUV, a ½ Ton Pickup, or a ¾ Ton Pickup due to the lighter overall weight of a Travel Trailer and the smaller amount of weight that it transfers to the tow vehicle. Longer Travel Trailers may require a 1 Ton Pickup if their weight is on the heavier side. We’ve seen smaller crossover SUV’s towing too!

Travel Trailers are about 20-40 feet on average, but smaller versions can be as short as 11 feet. They can sleep anywhere from 2-10 people, and it varies greatly on the size of the TT that you purchase. Travel Trailers can start as low as $15,000 but have an average price of $32,000. 

Travel Trailer Advantages

The overall benefits are listed below, but you’ll find that individual models offer different things. So keep that in mind when you’re looking at options.

Cost

When it comes to price, travel trailers have tons of options. Trust us – you’ll find what fits your needs.

  • The absence of an engine will instantly make for a drastic price difference when comparing them to a driveable RV.
  • TT’s can also go from very short to very long which will change the combination of options available to you by an astronomical amount. While taking all of this into account, you will find that Travel Trailers are less expensive for the same options that you would find in other towables (like a Fifth Wheel).
  • When the overall price is lower, it will lead to lower payments and lower insurance payments.

Flexibility

The keyword here is options. A Travel Trailer will provide you with tons of options all the way around.

  • The variety in lengths ensures you likely won’t have restrictions on which campsite you choose. Most campgrounds don’t provide as many long campsites as they do shorter ones. Even if smaller campsites are taken, larger ones are still options.
  • Tow vehicles are another biggie. Your tow vehicle can be whatever you want it to be as long as it can tow the weight of your Travel Trailer.
Travel trailer parked overlooking a lake

Travel Trailer Disadvantages

While Travel Trailers do have many upsides, they do have downsides that make them not quite as nice as their counterparts.

Towing

  • One disadvantage is that a Travel Trailer needs a tow vehicle. If you don’t have one, that’s another expense that you would incur while buying a TT.
  • The overall towing experience when driving down the road can easily involve a fair amount of side to side movement, also known as sway. Some actions can be taken to minimize this (like sway bars), but it is still a factor to consider. Towing will also provide the need to check your connections at each to stop to ensure nothing has come loose or disconnected.

Comfort

  • Travel Trailers do often a good amount of storage space, but it is less than that of Fifth Wheel of comparable size or motorhome. Their exterior storage will be smaller, and with less headroom, there will also be shorter or even fewer cabinets. With less headroom, it can make it feel more cramped and can make the option of a ceiling fan almost non-existent. As size disappears, so do your available options as fewer things come standard in smaller units.

Lengthy Setup

  • Not all campsites allow you to pull your Travel Trailer straight through which will then require you to back it in. If the campsite isn’t level, then you will have to get out the leveling blocks and back up and pull forward enough times to adjust them to become level. Since most Travel Trailers don’t come with an auto-leveling system, this process can take more time to begin your camping experience. 
Parked Travel Trailer with sunset in background

TL;DR Bottom Line

Travel Trailers have so many options. If you walk through enough of them, you will more than likely find a make and model with which you could be happy. If you’re looking to tow and don’t have a truck or have a smaller pickup, then this will likely be your sweet spot.

Did we pick it?

Travel Trailers made a big push as contenders. It checked a lot of boxes that we had, such as being able to use our vehicle to tow it, the ease and flexibility, and that it wouldn’t break the bank.

Ultimately, poor towing characteristics and overall feel and space that they possessed took us in another direction.