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The Basics of Travel Trailers

The Basics of Travel Trailers

When it comes to travel trailers, they can come in all shapes and sizes. The range of amenities available varies greatly. From small 4-foot teardrops to 35-foot models with fully equipped kitchens and room for eight people, travel trailers are among the most versatile towable RVs.

Travel Trailers: What Are They Exactly?

A travel trailer is a towable motorhome that connects behind a vehicle via a standard ball hitch. To note, the vehicle doing the towing should have the appropriate towing capacity. With so many options available on the market, there’s a trailer for just about every car, truck, or SUV.

Inside a travel trailer, one will find accommodations that will suit the trailer’s size. Large models will have fully equipped kitchens, bathrooms, living and sleeping space, and storage space. As with any towable motorhome, it is generally illegal to ride in the trailer while towing. Some travel trailers will have expanding sides and outdoor amenities that can be accessed by exterior panels.

Maneuvering can be a little tricky the longer the trailer. Reversing with a trailer attached is challenging even for the most experienced. Consider spending some time practicing before you purchase to be sure it’s the right motorhome choice for you. Travel trailers are Class C RVs and combine the best of both a Class A and B motorhome. Travel trailers are great for those who feel more comfortable towing their rig rather than driving it.

Types of Travel Trailers

In the RV community, you will find many people playing hard and enjoying the great outdoors. Travel trailers offer a distinct motorhome option that can come in many sizes to fit your recreational needs. Below we have listed the types of travel trailers that exist. The length of each trailer is in parenthesis.

  • Classic (10 to 35ft)
  • Teardrop (4 to 6ft)
  • Stand-ups (8 to 10ft)
  • Popups (8 to 16ft)
  • Airstreams (16 to 33ft)
  • Toy haulers (18 to 40ft)

Classic Travel Trailers

Classic travel trailers (Airstreams fall into this category) will offer up essentially a home on wheels. They will be full amenities and average storage in a classic travel trailer.

Most will have sides that extend out to increase square footage, and furniture is often built into these trailers with multifunctional purposes. Pulling these types of trailers will require a vehicle capable of towing the weight, so be sure to check your vehicle’s towing capacity before you start shopping.

As for Airstreams, they are the original when it comes to classic travel trailers. Their shiny aluminum exterior is historical to movies and books. This specific travel trailer comes in a variety of sizes and offers up the same amenities as most motorhomes. Airstreams can only be purchased at particular dealers.

Stand-ups, popups, and teardrops

Stand-ups, popups, and teardrops are on the smaller size of travel trailers and can fit 2 to 4 people, depending on their size. These trailers are easy to hitch up and roll down the road. Backing up is a breeze, and their affordability makes them even more appealing.

Of this group, teardrop trailers weigh the less and are perfect for day trips and short adventures for one or two people. Stand-ups and popups are designed for you to stand up and move around inside. Popups are unique because they literally pop up when in use and collapse when towed. These trailers are easy to park, unhitch, and set up.

Below we have included our pros and cons of travel trailers. Consider renting or going to a showroom to experience the size and space each travel trailer has to offer.

Pros

  • Available in an array of sizes and floor plans
  • Towable with a variety of vehicles, even cars
  • Affordability (compared to similarly-sized motorhomes)
  • Easy to unhitch and set up (frees up towing vehicle for exploring)

Cons

  • Reversing and getting parked can be difficult
  • The tail swing of larger trailers can be an issue
  • Cannot be utilized while in motion, causing limited passenger space
  • The smaller the travel trailer, the amenities will be limited

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