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  1. Default dream or nightmare

    Like most people , i often dream of driving around America, but there's so much to see a few weeks does not seem enough time. At the risk of being niave, my plan is to buy a RV and take a year to do it then sell it on completion. There are a few very basic questions i hope someone out there can help me with.

    1) A or C class motor home ?
    2) petrol consumption and price
    3) chances of a year long visa (i'm in the UK)
    4) is a year to long


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A big step.

    Hello and welcome to the R.T.A forums.

    Would you be a lone traveller, or a group? If you are going alone or a couple I think you would be better of with a car and camping as an option.

    Your main problem with trying to purchase a vehicle will be if you do not have a U.S.A address to register it and insurance e.t.c.

    1] A 'c' class is the more popular choice as it's more like a van to drive rather than a coach. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

    2] I wouldn't expect to get more than 10m.p.g. Prices vary dramatically but for a year long trip you would be looking at something reliable that's not going to cost you a fortune in repairs, so it won't be cheap. There are company's that sell with a buy back clause.

    3] If you don't have a criminal record and can prove you have the means to fund your trip and something to return to the U.k for, a visa should be possible.

    4] Not if that's how long you want to go for.

    Personally if this was my first trip I would be looking at up to the max 90 days without visa worries, and renting a car and buying camping equipment which is very cheap over there. That will give you plenty of time to explore and see plenty, and there's always another time. :-)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default All or Nothing?

    It seems to me you've really set yourself up as dealing with only extremes. Even the title of your thread as dream or nightmare, kind of sums up things - there's no middle ground.

    While certainly just doing a trip lasting a few weeks would be far more limiting than spending a year on the road, no matter how much time you have, you'll never be able to see everything.

    Spending a year old the road would be a dream for many people, but we're not talking about many people here, we're talking about you. If you aren't 100% sure this would be a dream trip, then I wouldn't invest in the tremendous committment of spending a full year and purchasing an RV. There's nothing wrong by any means of spending a full year on the road, but you might also consider doing a smaller trip first like Dave suggested. That could give you a better perspective on what you like/dislike and have you better prepared for a major year long adventure.

  4. Default


    the title of the thread was not so much indecision Mike, the trip would be the dream part, the planning is the nightmare. I was hoping i could just turn up buy a RV and ride off into the sunset.

    Now i need to get a visa, hope that when i arrive on US soil that the POE guy is in a good enough mood to give me a 12 month stamp, and then buy, register and insure a RV , plus have an address in the state i buy it in to register it at.

    The reason i wanted to do a year was because i wanted to be able to drift along rather than follow a tight schedule, which i feel i would have to do on a 90 day trip, particularly if i take a couple of weeks sorting out the stuff i mentioned earlier. Also i think i might need to pass a US driving test?. I don't understand that bit, i thought i could drive on my english licence for a year in the states?

    Another point you could help me with is overnight parking in Walmart, is that an urban or is it true that you can stay overnight in Walmart car parks free of charge?


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default but that is part of it

    Well the length of the trip seems to be a big part of the potential "nightmare," thus a possible suggestion of starting with a shorter trip. With a shorter trip, it would make more sense just to rent an RV, thus eliminating many of the potential problems. With your current plan, you are right that you won't be able to just get off the plane and ride into the sunset.

    Now i need to get a visa, hope that when i arrive on US soil that the POE guy is in a good enough mood to give me a 12 month stamp,
    I will openly admit, I am not well versed in all the requirements for obtaining a visa, but I know that you certainly won't be allowed to get on a plane and hope that they let you stay for a year once you arrive. You need to have that taken care of well in advance. I believe its a rather lengthy process, and you will have to go to the US Embassy/Consulate to be interviewed prior to your approval. I would start by contacting US officials in the UK ASAP to get more information about the process.

    Also i think i might need to pass a US driving test?.
    Your UK license will be legal to drive in the US, however, you may find that it difficult to insure or even register the RV without a US license. Getting one might not be required, but it may make things a bit easier. This is something where you'll have to start contacting insurance companies, and probably the DMV of the state where you hope to buy, register, and insure the RV.
    is it true that you can stay overnight in Walmart car parks free of charge?
    Sometimes. You need to check with store management first, however. Some cities have outlawed the practice. Generally, its prefered if you don't push out the sliders and/or make it look like you're planning to stay awhile. Truckstops are another good place to boondock.

  6. Default i beg to differ mike

    the year of travelling around at our liesure is the main draw, leave the kids at home(although they should all have flown the nest by then) buy myself a davey crockett hat and wagons ho!

    i have the visa bit in process

    your second point is helpful about maybe not needing a US licence, i sent a letter to the PA dmv on that very subject

    the walmart and truckstop idea is great as well. Although we would obviously want to see the scenery, but bearing in mind the finance side of things, they could be handy.

    we still can't decide on the bigger "A" class or the "C".
    The A would give us the extra comfort but i assume that the "C" is more economical??????


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default If you can, great

    If you can take a full year to make the trip happen, great. I by no means am saying you shouldn't do it. It just will require considerable more time planning than taking a shorter trip, and that sounded like it was a potential "nightmare" for you. If you're willing to do the work involved leading up to the trip, then you should have a great time.

    Our planning section has a ton of articles about planning an RV trip. Some ones that should help answer your questions include Pros and Cons of Types of RVs and Boondocking Etiquette.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    Hi there,
    I think you will find the A class to be a bigger outlay to start with but perhaps that will square itself up at the end when you come to sell it. I am not sure but I would imagine they would be dearer to service or repair if needed ,replacement tyres e.t.c.
    Our 'C' class returned 9.5 m.p.g and I would think an 'A' class would return somewhere close.
    One thought that maybe worth you considering is that if you are going to go to the lengths of registering an R.V, is whether it would be worthwhile getting a small tow vehicle [Toad] at the same time. When you are set down in certain places it would be far more economical to use this for sightseeing and easier for trips into town and over a year could pay for itself.

    The National parks are great for stopping in, right in the heart of it for around $20 a night.

  9. Default fuel

    thanks for the comments and i will take them all on board. I reckoned on about 50,000 miles in a full year which might seem a bit high but thought it better to exaggerate it rather than under estimate it.

    Looking around various sights i think if i'm lucky could pick up a RV for under $20,000 mind you i don't know what it will be like after a year on the road?

    A toad sounds good if we can afford it

    i have to say that this site is really helpful as are the people on it, and wether we go the whole hog and take a year for our trip or have to go with the 90 day's you guy's have been a big help.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Things to consider with RV

    With the price of fuel in the US right now, there are a lot of RVs for sale. It might be a good time to get a good price. Although that could change rapidly if the price of fuel falls. And then, when it comes time to sell at the end of your trip, this could factor into what you get for it.

    You might want to consider a Class B for just a year on the road. Yeah, it's smaller but they are really laid out great. You will use far less fuel. And they eliminate the need for a toad. And you can always purchase a "screen house" for those times when you are spending a few days in a campground and want a bit more space to stretch out in.

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