Rethinking travel amid pandemic? Here’s a beginner’s guide to RVs

Consumer Reports breaks down what you need to know before you buy a motorhome

Fears about the coronavirus are forcing many people to rethink traditional air travel and hotel stays and look into recreational vehicles as a safer alternative. Some RV and camper dealerships have seen an increase in sales of up to 170%, and many customers are first-time buyers.

Consumer Reports gives us a beginner’s guide to motorhomes.

A motorhome allows you and your family to get out of the house while maintaining social distancing. It even allows you to avoid places you might feel uncomfortable being in, like a hotel or restaurant. With an RV, you bring everything with you.

There are two types of RVs to consider: a motorhome that combines the living quarters and vehicle in one package, and a travel trailer. Be aware that some motorhomes may not have to meet all of the same safety standards as passenger cars and are not generally crash-tested.

Motorhomes can provide comfort, but they can be a big hit to your wallet. A travel trailer is a more affordable option. You'll need a vehicle to tow it, but you may already own one.

Larger fifth-wheel-style trailers require a heavy-duty pickup to tow. Smaller travel trailers, like traditional pop-up and lightweight travel trailers, can be towed by most SUVs or even cars with a tow hitch.

These trailers are also more fuel-efficient to haul around, and you can get in one starting around $10,000.

Whichever style of RV fits your budget, Consumer Reports recommends buying one with as many safety features, like backup cameras and electronic stability control, as you can afford.