Skip to main content

See also:

Tiny house or RV

Traveling through the mountains in an RV
Traveling through the mountains in an RVJim Parkin

Choosing between a tiny house on wheels or an RV is more than just personal choice. There are many reasons to choose one over the other. Tiny homes built on a trailer chassis are structurally different than a travel trailer or motor home. Before you make a final decision take a good look at how often you plan to travel.

RV

There are a lot of good reasons to choose an RV as your tiny house. All you need to do is add your belongings and find a place to park. As a self-contained unit, it might make a lot of sense to make one your permanent home. However, many municipalities do not allow full-time living in a travel trailer or motor home. These are considered temporary residences.

However, if you travel frequently, an RV is a better choice than a tiny house on wheels. The RV is designed to be on the road. You can easily take it to where ever you need to go. Travel trailers offer you the ability to park the RV and take your vehicle out for work or play. A motor home can tow a smaller vehicle.

Cost is another factor. While you can build a tiny house for as little as $2,000; the project will take a year or more to finish. It is not common to build a tiny house for such a small amount, but it can be done. A used travel trailer can be purchased for around $15,000. This is complete—all you need is a vehicle to tow it. If you need to save up cash in order to purchase land, the RV allows you to live inexpensively at campsites. If you go the motor home route; you could need a mortgage.

Tiny house

If you own or can rent land, a tiny house on wheels could be a better choice than an RV. The biggest part of the decision should be how often you plan to travel. If your idea of a tiny house on wheels means hitting the road on a monthly or weekly basis, you are better off with an RV. Tiny houses on wheels are built for infrequent travel. These are very similar to park model RVs.

A tiny home is usually less expensive than an RV if you build it yourself. If you have more time than money, starting with a used car hauler and building from scratch is a great way to save. You can refurbish the trailer while you save money for the rest of the home. This can give you the time you need to find land.

Some municipalities will allow a tiny house on wheels to be considered a residence. It takes quite a bit of haggling with zoning, but it can be done. RV parks and campgrounds are another story. Some will not allow tiny houses. Call in advance and ask specifically about the facility’s regulations. If they do not understand what a tiny house is, ask them if they allow park model RVs.

RV or tiny house on wheels? Examining your lifestyle will help you choose which one is right for you.