Travelling across the US in an RV - any advice?
Replies: 22 - Last Post: Apr 23, 2011 4:57 AM Last Post By: marksbeast
Dec 13, 2010 12:33 PM
Travelling across the US in an RV - any advice?Hey all
I'm travelling across USA in the summer of 2011, with my three friends. We've decided to start and finish in New York, as it is cheaper ticketwise, from Denmark. We're travelling from New York, all the way down the coast to Florida, then on to Texas, Las Vegas, San Fransisco and then all the way back across the US to Chicago and Ohio.
We decided to rent an RV. as we figure it is cheaper in the long run, as we don't have to pay for hotels and motels around the country. We want to start our travels on the 9th of July and end, back in New York, 17th of August.
We want to ask if any of you have any good tips for us, where to go and where to rent the RV.
I've been checking out some different rental pages, and the cheapest i can find so far is around 6000 dollars for the whole trip. Is that the average or do you think there are some places that are cheaper?
And do you think the amount of time we estimated is the proper amount for seeing some sights along the way and not stressing to much??
I appreciate any comments and advice that comes my way!!!
Dec 13, 2010 12:42 PM
1There are a lot of discussion on this topic on this forum if you run a search. The consensus is that it's NOT cheaper than using public transportation, staying in motels and hostels, and renting a car only where it's necessary. That is because renting an RV is already expensive, it's an expensive hassle to park it in cities and impossible to use it in cities to get around, gas costs are considerably more expensive than those for a small car, etc.
You don't need a car in cities when you're going from NY to Philly to Washinton DC anyway.
What are you doing between Florida and Texas? This is a longgggg drive, so you have to stop a few times regardless.
You don't need a car in NY, Philly, DC, South Beach part of Miami, Near Orleans, Chicago, SF, and Vegas.
Be aware of the heat in the desert areas during the summer (i.e. Vegas).
Also, overall, you're trying to fit in WAY too much in basically 5 weeks. This is a huge country and you're underestimating distances. Each worthy stop usually needs around 3 days, so that's roughly 11 major stops. Most people spend 3 weeks just in CA and NV, which is more than half of your trip already.
I think you need to reassess your trip. It would help if you told us what your interests are. Are you more of the outdoorsy camping types or you want to spend a considerable time seeing cities? That makes a difference.
If you're more into cities, history and culture, I would recommend spending 2 weeks in Boston-NY-Philly-DC areas via public transportation and the other 3 weeks in California and Nevada. If you're more of the outdoorsy types, then spend a week in NY and DC, then fly to Salt Lake City and work your way via national parks to Vegas for 2 weeks, then spend the rest of the time in California.
Dec 13, 2010 1:28 PM
2Well, renting the RV at $6,000 for your 40-day trip equals $150/night (without figuring galoline). I assume insurance on the RV is included in the $6,000 fee, but if not - you have to add that in too.
You'll travel at least 6,000 miles to complete the tour you describe and RV's are lucky to get 8 miles.gallon - better figure 5 since you are crossing mountains and such. Gas right now is approximately $3.75/gallon - so, at 5 mpg you'll burn 1,200 gallons of gas, so add another $4,500 in gasoline to the sub-total. Adding the RV rental and gasoline together comes out to $10.500 total ($262.50/night) to do the tour you describe in a RV (that's before you pay for food, entrance fees, or any other incidental expenses).
If that fits your budget, go for it.
Dec 13, 2010 4:06 PM
3No way this is cheaper, long run or short. There have been a ton of threads like this, do some research. The general consensus is that renting a car and staying in motels is much cheaper. As I have done both, I can say that is absolutely true. There may be other reasons to rent an RV, but economy is not one of them.
Dec 13, 2010 4:19 PM
Dec 13, 2010 7:31 PM
Dec 13, 2010 10:57 PM
Dec 13, 2010 11:44 PM
7We want to start our travels on the 9th of July and end, back in New York, 17th of August.
Even setting aside all the arguments above about whether a campervan is the best option, 40 days is terribly short for what you want to do. For what it's worth - with four of you, I think a campervan will be economical, and very convenient - but I think you need to look at an itinerary that has about 250km per day in it - that is about the maximum amount - to keep it enjoyable. But even at the most basic level, your planned trip is around 14,000 km rather than 10,000km, so maybe you have to re-think it. Maybe drop Miami.
But just to repeat - with four of you, I think a 6-berth campervan will be the most fun and most convenient (if not necessarily the cheapest) way to travel. I guess your alternative is a good-sized sedan - and a couple of tents - not bad either, if the weather is good.
Dec 14, 2010 1:29 AM
8Wow, you guys are quick to answer, and very straight forward! Thank you very much for your responses! We just figured, that in the long run alle the money we would save on motels would be enough to make it worth doing the RV thing.
But anyways, we've discussed it again, and we've dropped Miami completely. So instead our trip looks like this now:
New York --> Dallas, Texas --> Los Angeles, CA --> Las Vegas --> San Fransisco --> through Nevada -- > and all the way cross country back to New York.
If we say we drop the RV and instead do a good sized Sedan for example (:-), do you think it is cheaper to buy one when in New York, and then try to sell it when we get back? Or is a rental the way to go?? And has anyone tried to buy/rent from any good places?
Again, thank you guys so much for helping out! None of us have been in the States before, but travelled many other places in the world. So a cross country road trip for us is a very new thing!!
Dec 14, 2010 1:41 AM
Dec 14, 2010 4:14 AM
Dec 14, 2010 5:09 AM
11Thanks so much, for the input.
ianw6705: thank you for the rute! It is very helpful to us!
We're all very much into cultural events, me especially as i am a performance designer, so we really wanna go to some festivals. Does anyone know of some good festivals during the summer that we are not to miss?
I think we would be likely to plan our trip around the festivals instead of the other way around:-)
Ps: Bzookaj, thanks for the tip about renting.
Dec 14, 2010 6:00 AM
Dec 14, 2010 6:31 AM
13Thebuy versus rent a car discussion has occurred many, many times on this thread. use the search function above to locate some of the more recent discussions and maybe contact the people that have bought and then sold cars for touring the USA.
Basically, the argument revolves around how to legally buy a car without a U.S. address to register it to. Then, of course, there is selling it at the end ofthe trip for which you need a title for the vehicle which also requires a U.S. address.
If you canfigure a way past those, maybe buying a car would be so bad - a used late '90s Buick for example should run you about $4,000 and they get 20 - 25 miles per gallon. (I have a 1993 Oldsmoble - it gets 28 mpg - my friend has a 1999 buick and gets 25 mpg).
Dec 14, 2010 7:16 AM
- Generally, buying for 5 weeks is not worth it since you'll spend some of those 5 weeks doing it, then will have to drive around in a used car that may need servicing (more expenses), and in the end won't get much back for it because you need to sell it fast. Renting a car eliminates any time wasting doing all this and you'll be driving in a brand new car that will be covered or replaced if anything breaks.
- Renting out of NYC is very expensive. You also don't need a car in the city. So you may want to consider renting at your next destination. Look into some brokers in your home country that may provide better rates for long term rentals, which would also include mandatory insurance (doubles the cost usually if you purchase at the rental desk in the US as online rates directly from rental car companies don't include it automatically).
- Dallas is not usually on anyone's top 20 list. Are you visiting someone there or you just randomnly picked it from the map?
- Arguably, the most interesting way to do this is to drive along the southern border of the US via New Orleans and Austin (one of the few interesting places in Texas). You can get there via Nashville and Memphis from the east coast or via DC-Charleston-Savannah route. It depends on whether you want to make the most of your stops or if you just want to say you drove cross-country.
- The coastal route between LA and SF is one of the highlights in the US as you'll be able to tell by the number of questions about it on this forum. It shouldn't be missed. Most people do a loop Vegas-LA-coastal drive-SF-Yosemite-Death Valley.
- Another way to do this would to just do a one-way trip and fly back. You can go west via Chicago and Salt Lake City, then down to Vegas via national parks, over to LA, and up the coast to SF. Then fly back.
- You may want to map your itinerary with driving times included. I think you'll see that your trip becomes very rushed.
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