Do's & Don'ts for our USA RV adventure!
Replies: 27 - Last Post: Aug 11, 2012 7:17 AM Last Post By: zeldasdad
Aug 7, 2012 10:40 AM
Do's & Don'ts for our USA RV adventure!After Me 'n him get married next year, we wanted to travel the West Coast US in an RV for our honeymoon. We want to do it under our own steam and go where we want. It all looks pretty simple but I wondered whether there were any tips and tricks from others who have travelled in this way?
Is there any thing/place to avoid? Good campsites or places to eat? Where have people rented their RV's from? How much in advance do we need to book?
Hoping for a packed out three weeks of fun and giant beefburgers and we're not particularly tied to a certain budget.
ANY advice would be gratefully received and considered!
K & O
Aug 7, 2012 11:47 AM
1First, a few more questions:
What time of year?
Is "the West Coast" from the Canadian border to the Mexican borer, or some lesser part? What city will you fly in and out of?
What are you interested in? Parks and nature? Big cities? Theme parks? Lying on the beach? Multi-day wilderness treks?
Campsites are primarily going to be out in nature, in parks and such, not in cities? Is that your primary interest?
Good places to eat--there are zillions. What kind of places do you think you want? Fine dining for $100 per person? Ethnic food? Nothing but giant beefburgers?
I suggest you add something to make sure everyone is talking about the same thing. Look at this picture Which one is the kind of RV you will be renting.? Most Americans think of an RV as Type A, the ones that look like a bus. Type B is a campervan. Type C is smaller than Type A and easier to drive.
Aug 7, 2012 3:11 PM
2Welcome to Thorn Tree.
First, listen to Nutraxfornerves. It's all good advice. Have you been to America before?
If this is what you want to do and you can afford it, I say go for it. I presume that you know this is not necessarily the cheapest way to travel around the U. S. You'll have to total up all of the costs, daily rental charge, mileage charge, one-way rental charge, insurance, campsite fees, charges for cleaning, bedding, and table service, park sentence fees, etc. Before you reserve an RV, be sure you have an ESTIMATED TOTAL COST in writing from the rental company.
Depending on where you go, even reserving a campsite may be a requirement in National Parks especially around major holidays.
Snow and seasonal roads (You haven't told us your travel dates.)
Avoid forgetting that we still use miles here when you calculate distances and drive times.
There are not that many RV rental companies. Google can find them. Synonyms for RVs are "campers," "truck campers," "fifth wheels," "camper vans," "travel trailers," and "motor homes." Two brand names that people sometimes treat as though they were trade names are "Airstream" and "Winnebago." There are numerous brands of these vehicles.
Three weeks of open road and no budget worries; that will be a dream come true. By giant beefburgers, I presume you mean "fast food." Contrary to common opinion on this site, you could subsist on fast food for three weeks without dying. It is convenient, ubiquitous, and, in my opinion, palatable. Others are sure to disagree.
I would encourage you to have a good idea where you want to visit. At $0.50 a mile or whatever the "excess mileage" charge is on the RV, you really don't want to get lost. You'll just burn money. You can try “spontaneity” while traveling between the major attractions you want to see. Just wandering around, you won't see anything and you will burn LOTS of money. The country is huge.
Aug 7, 2012 4:28 PM
3K & O, You've gotten some good advice here, but Thorn Tree isn't the best site for RV'ing. There are other, better organizations that might give you more up-to-date and specific information. Since you've got some time, go and check out sites like goodsamclub.com, rvadvice.com, rv.net, and campingforums.com. You didn't give any dates but the US West Coast can get awfully crowded, especially in the summer. And if you've never traveled in a RV, there is a bit of a learning curve. Just knowing where you're going to need an advance reservation will save you a lot of grief. Some National Parks will be booked solid. Good luck and I hope this helps.
Aug 7, 2012 7:16 PM
4All good advice indeed.
And I will add my two bobs worth* ... really consider a small-medium sedan, and using budget motel chains (that are essentially everywhere), hostel private rooms (in bigger cities, and some smaller ones), and cabins or lodges associated with national parks. And of course you can invest in a good tent and camp a great deal too, where the weather is kind to you.
It is hard to explain clearly, but the US is not set up the same as other countries where campervans are a major form of general transport for international tourists. The RV community in the US seems (from our experience) to overwhelmingly comprise Americans who own them, rather than overseas tourists who rent them (although there are some regions where renting RVs is popular).
The point about a sedan is firstly price, but also, you can take it into every environment with a bitumen road, including all the parks and highways, cities and towns, whereas an RV becomes a liability whenever you visit a city - and you should visit some of the great cities in the US. Sedan and fixed accomm is also good in all types of weather - whereas in very hot or cold weather, RVs are less fun.
And even with a sedan, you can still self-cater just about everywhere - and buying your food and alcohol at the local supermarket really saves you a lot - and it's more fun too, and all motel rooms have a microwave and a fridge (although finding nice Mexican restaurants in the West is a rewarding use of time). A sedan is better for an extensive road-trip - an RV can come more into its own if you are staying put for a longer period.
The possible downside of sedan + fixed accomm is having to pre-book in popular places in peak seasons (June to September, generally speaking). However almost all the chain motels allow late cancellations (sometimes on the day) at no charge at all - so your flexibility is retained even when you do pre-book places. And even with an RV, booking campsites can be a necessity in those same places, and they might have less liberal cancellation policies. Invest in a US national SIM card for your mobile phone - it's handy.
You can check rental vehicle prices at this UK-based broker we have happily used - carhire3000.com.
* Aus/Brit speak for two cents worth
Aug 8, 2012 1:47 AM
Aug 8, 2012 2:09 AM
Aug 8, 2012 6:49 AM
7Assuming that you are getting married in June and honeymooning in July, I say go for it! Get one of the smaller RV's, say a 25 foot from CruiseAmerica. It will cost between $1000 and $1500 per week plus gas and supplies. Then you will have camping fees etc. Things can be pretty crowded in July but you can find places or have reservations. The smaller RV's are easiest to maneuver in traffic and cities and you do want Air Conditioning for a large part of the state. I would head for the mountains myself and wide open spaces of the sierra and northern coastal mountains plus Oregon. It is not the best time to be on the central coast because they get so much fog and wind from the sea that time of year plus it is very busy. If you want to stay in Yosemite or any of the Many State Parks get reservations or give yourself the freedom to just wander and stay where you can. You can buy RV camping guides to help you find places. Have Fun & Good Luck
Aug 8, 2012 10:34 AM
Aug 8, 2012 4:54 PM
9You can see what parks have camping by just looking at Google Map, finding the name of the park, and then google the parks website by name. Your questions are way to general to get any decent answers, as you are not specific, why would someone list all the great camping in 9 states if you dont even know where or how you are going. Get real, the marriage does not have a chance at this rate...
Aug 8, 2012 5:30 PM
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Aug 8, 2012 7:21 PM
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