Family Fun in Tow: Trailers for Summer

Want to save on airfare, hotel and restaurant costs this summer? Hook a travel trailer up to your family vehicle and hit the road.

There’s plenty of options and opportunities, so long as you know what you need and what your vehicle’s capable of hauling.

“The first thing to check is your vehicle’s gross combined vehicle weight rating,” said Bob Gisi, technical advisor and towing expert at, an online retailer of customized towing accessories based in St. Louis. “That’s the maximum allowable weight for the car, trailer, and all contents. Exceeding that limit can cause problems be a safety concern.”

Lightweight, eco-friendly travel trailers are common sights in RV showrooms across the country and can be towed by sedans, SUVs, minivans, crossovers, and even some compact cars.

For years, travel trailers were constructed primarily of steel and wood. Now more and more manufacturers are using composites like resins and cross weaved fibers. These durable, lightweight materials can be molded into curved shapes to make a trailer more aerodynamic.

Designers can also throw in all the comforts of home.

“Increasingly, you’re seeing amenities that used to be available only in higher-end RVs filtering into all levels of RVs,” Broom said. “These amenities include air conditioning, refrigerators, stereo systems, flat screen TVs, and DVD players.” offers the following advice for finding the right trailer for your needs and your vehicle:

  • Size matters. Take into account your car’s towing capacity (gross trailer weight rating) and stay within that limit.
  • Do your homework. Always check the vehicle manufacturer recommendations for your year and model before buying a trailer.
  • Fill up prior to weigh-in. Fill the gas, propane and water tanks, and load all of the personal gear, equipment and food you will be traveling with prior to hitting the scales.