Road trips are a common thing in my family, as we tend to prefer the convenience of being able to jump in the car without being tethered to a specific schedule based on previously booked flights. Also, the cost of hitting the road tends to be considerably cheaper than booking airfare.

When you’re taking a road trip, you obviously need to find a place to stay. And in that regard, our options have ranged from putting up tents at campsites to booking hotel rooms or vacation rentals.

But recently, my husband and I started talking about investing in an RV. Given the number of road trips we tend to take, the idea of being able to sleep in our vehicle sounds like a huge source of convenience.

But before we make that purchase official, we have a lot of saving up to do, and a lot of research — not just in terms of which specific RV to get but also whether an RV makes sense for us in the first place. If you’re contemplating an RV purchase, here are some key questions to tackle.

1. How much will it cost to insure it?

The average Class A RV insurance policy costs between $1,000 and $1,300 per year based on 140 days of usage, according to data from the National Automobile Dealers Association. A Class B or C RV might cost you less to insure.

Now, because I’ve had auto insurance for years, I know there are numerous factors that will go into calculating the cost of RV insurance, and it’s important not to get hung up on a single number or average. These factors include:

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  • How often you use your RV
  • Your location
  • Your driving history
  • Your RV’s cost — and there’s a really big range in that regard

Also, if you’re planning to live out of your RV, you may need to purchase additional coverage that’s comparable to homeowners insurance.

Shopping around for insurance is important if you’re serious about buying an RV. While we’re not there yet, it’s something we intend to do once we’re closer to having saved enough money to make an RV purchase possible.

2. Where will I put it?

In my neighborhood, you’re allowed to park an RV in your driveway. But in many cities, you can’t park an RV on the street overnight.

It pays to read up on the rules in your area before buying an RV. You don’t want to get caught off-guard if it turns out you’ll be paying extra to find your RV an overnight home.

It also pays to see what it costs to park an RV overnight at various destinations. For example, at some national parks, an overnight stay at an RV campground could cost you upward of $100. So it may not be a low-cost way to vacation by any means.

3. Will I actually be comfortable driving it?

When I went from driving a smaller vehicle to a minivan, it took some time to adjust to maneuvering and parking a larger car. And to this day, I am not allowed to park my minivan in my garage because the last time I did, I didn’t clear the side, smashed my mirror, and wound up with a very expensive repair.

Now imagine going from a regular car to an RV. While I can see myself being reasonably comfortable driving one, the idea of parking one in a crowded area is downright terrifying. So think about how you feel about driving and parking an oversized vehicle before making that purchase, keeping in mind that you won’t always be privy to wide-open spaces.

I’m still not sure whether an RV purchase makes sense for my family and whether I want to spend a chunk of my savings account balance on one. Clearly, it’s a big decision either way, so I intend to really take the time to think it through. Do the same so you can approach that purchase with more confidence — or make the right call by passing on an RV if the costs and logistics don’t actually work out.

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