Pros and Cons of Buying a Golf Cart Versus Renting from a Campground
While camping can be incredibly relaxing and there is nothing like sitting by a campfire without a care in the world, today’s campgrounds are getting bigger and more resort-like, so getting around them can be a challenge. It can be miles from one end to the other and parking for road vehicles can be very limited. So, when is it time to start thinking about buying a golf cart?
There are many pros and cons that need to be considered when thinking about purchasing a golf cart for camping.
PROS of Buying a Golf Cart
Save some money! We have witnessed rental fees ranging from $25/day to over $100/day for a standard 4-seat cart with no bells or whistles. This can add up very quickly and in no time you could have bought your own golf cart for the amount that you spent on rentals. However, if you would only rent a cart once a year, it might be a better option to just rent. The average new cart is $5,000, but a decent used cart can be had for $1,500-3,000.
Be on your own schedule. Having your own cart means it is ready as soon as you are. You don’t have to wait for one to be checked out or returned, and you will never have to worry about availability. Some rentals have to be returned at the end of the day, so you’ll have to fork out more money if you want to cruise the campground a little before checking out, or be forced to return it the evening before if you are planning to hit the road before the rental office opens in the morning. If you plan to camp at Disney, your only options for navigating the campground are golf carts or the internal bus. Having a golf cart gives you the best chance of staying on your schedule and hopping to parks, dining reservations, etc without a lot of wasted time.
Carry all of your personal items. Going to the pool, especially with kids, can be a chore. You need towels, sunblock, puddle jumpers, sometimes chairs or more. Then how often do you lug everything to the pool only to arrive and realize you forgot something back at the camper? A golf cart of your own makes going back so easy.
Get front row parking (or just get parking in general). Some bigger campgrounds do not have parking for regular vehicles within the campground. For instance Disney’s Fort Wilderness only has parking for golf carts at the marina and restaurants. The general stores are similar with ample cart parking at the store, but only one or two street vehicle spots across the way.
Decorate your cart. With your own cart you can display your love for almost anything from a favorite sports team, your business or just have a fun design. For campgrounds that have holiday decorating contests, you can glam up your cart as well and be really festive. Check out these fun ideas for 4th of July golf cart decorations.
Use it at home. If you have a larger property at home you can use it to assist in property maintenance such as landscaping, fixing fences, finding golf balls or just taking the trash down a long driveway. Lots of models offer rear seats that fold into a utility bed to haul stuff around. This is also great for campgrounds that require you to take trash to the dumpsters.
CONS of Buying a Golf Cart
Do you have enough space? Can you fit a golf cart in your truck bed? Golf carts average a little under 8′ long, so if you don’t have a long bed you will have to check to see that a cart will fit. If you’re running a fifth wheel, you need a toy hauler for obvious reasons.
Do you have enough weight capacity? Unless you have a small travel trailer or pop-up, most half ton trucks are already maxed out with the trailer and the truck’s occupants. Be sure that you are not overloaded. A good rule of thumb is to not exceed 80% of the GVWR when fully loaded up.
Are you comfortable loading, unloading and securing the golf cart in the vehicle? 8′ ramps up into a 3/4 ton truck are on a pretty steep angle. If you’re not good with a little nail biter, it might not be for you.
Are you okay with the cost of maintenance? Whether you go with a gas or an electric powered cart, you will have plenty of maintenance costs to go with the vehicle. Electric cart batteries need to be replaced every 2-5 years at about $500 to $1,200. Gas carts need to have the oil changed, tune ups, fuel system conditioning and other regular maintenance. Lack of maintenance can lead to engine failure and larger repair bills.
The majority of the decision to buy a golf cart or not will weigh on how much you would use the cart. Also, most campgrounds require proof of insurance for the use of a personal cart on their property. This can be obtained through your auto insurance provider for a small fee, but is another cost you may want to factor in to the overall purchase.
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