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  1. Default Familly RV trip accross America

    Hello all,
    just wondering if there is anyone out there that can offer some advice on a trip of a lifetime.
    My wife, two young kids and I are planning a roadtrip for 6 weeks in America.
    Idealy we want to go around in an RV or a caravan as we call them in the UK!
    as this will offer us the best logistical solution.
    any advice will be greatly received like power points along the way and what should we do about the RV itself, buy? rent?
    many thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a shell

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Well, the one easy question is about how to obtain the RV. Renting is your only practical option for a trip like this. Buying a car as a non-resident of the US is virtually impossible logistically, and for a 6 week trip, its really not economically viable either.

    As far as the rest of your trip goes, I don't think you're far enough along for us to provide much help. You've told us nothing about what you're interested in or even where you're thinking of going, but regardless, with 6 weeks available your options are virtually endless. I'd remember that the beauty of a roadtrip is that it isn't a one sized fits all adventure. Spend some time looking around this site, looking at maps, and looking at books so you can get an idea of what your priorities are.

    Once you've got an idea of what you're looking for, we can then help you put all the pieces together.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default RV'ing

    As Michael pointed out, renting is your only option in reality. The RV's are fully equipped and you will have no problems finding campgrounds with hook up's [power points]. In places like National parks [great for staying in] where there are no hook up's there are usually shower blocks and dump stations to drain off and top up your water supplys. The RV will usually have it's own generator for you to run power from to save a drain on the battery. With no facilities you could operate for 2 or 3 days in one spot if you arrive with your fresh water full and black and grey water empty.

    If you are planning a one way trip across the country you will be facing one way drop off fee's and would have to use a National company such as Cruise America or El Monte.

    It is not the cheap option as we often associate camping with here in the UK, but it is a great lifestyle choice if that's "your thing". [I know it is mine]. When pricing keep in mind that as well as the extra rental charges to look out for such as extra mileage, one way drop off fee, bedding and kitchen kits, generator use and possible prep fees, you also have to consider campground fees [usually $18-$50] and the fact that you will be lucky to see a return of 10mpg on the fuel.

    Get the map out, search the forums and let us know when you have a clearer picture of what you want to do.

  4. #4

    Default RV etc

    Hi we live in England and we did a 3 week RV trip in California April 2009, with our 2 boys aged 3 and 5. It was much cheaper to hire RV in April than summer.I'd never even been on a caravan holiday in UK! It was brilliant and we hope to return next year. We concentrated on San Francisco (stayed in hotel) then collected RV (30ft) and slowly drove to Santa Cruz, Monterey, Big Sur, Yosemite, Sonora, Half moon Bay. This was just under 1000 miles and meant we didn't spend the holiday 'driving' we had plenty of restful days to explore and enjoy. We hired RV via motorhomebookers a UK broker and found them good and cheaper than going direct. We got RV with Road Bear but they don't have as many depots as some others. It was nice and luxury compared to UK caravans I think! We pre booked RV sites as we were visiting some popular areas and wanted to stay in the nicest RV parks where poss. Some have hook ups some don't, either way it was fine as facilities are good. I researched it all on internet and used and RVParkReviews sites as well as trip advisor, funnily enough I didn't find this one until now! We didn't miss a car except in Santa Cruz area where we were lucky to borrow one from friend. The RV is easy to park but perhaps more difficult in smaller towns.Also a Tom Stienstra book about RV parks although most of info on internet too. I am not sure what else you'd like to know but get in touch if you like.
    All the best and enjoy!

  5. Default

    When I was a kid, my family took a very similar trip. Ours was 5 weeks. We went from Boston to Chicago in a couple of days and that is really where the adventure started. We drove across the northern states, Minnesota, South Dakota (badlands, Mount Rushmore and, of course, Wall Drug).

    Up through the northwest corner of Wyoming to Custer National Monument. Through Billings, Montana up to Glacier National Park and then west again through northern Idaho and Washington State til we reached Mount Rainier and eventually Seattle.

    From there we headed south to Oregon, Mount Hood, Crater Lake, and Lassen National Forest and before heading into San Fransisco where we stayed for a few days. Then on to Yosemite and Sequoia NAtional PArks before heading into LA for some beach time and a trip to Disneyland (before there was a DisneyWorld).

    From there we headed southwest to the Grand Canyon, (where we hiked the Kaibab Trail down and back all in one day -- not recommended). After that, we were running out of time so we headed back to Boston pretty quickly on a more direct route.

    Last year, however, I took my family out west where we started at the Grand Canyon, went out through Monument Valley and up to Moab, Canyonlands and Arches NAtional Parks.

    Then north to Idaho and into Yellowstone from the Northwestern entrance. From Yellowstone we headed south to Grand Teton NAtional PArk and down to JAckson Hole where our trip ended.

    To the earlier points of previous posts, it's impossible to recommend what you should do if we don't know what you are interested in. That said, I can offer you two things. My favorites and my techniques for doing it.

    My technique is to make a choice about whether something can be worth seeing, but not exploring. The Grand Canyon is like that. I have hiked it to the bottom and back. And I have simply looked into it from the top a couple of times and both are very rewarding. What I wouldn't do is simply rush through everything so that you can see as many things as you can. Try to strike that balance where some things you just look at, and some things you really try to immerse yourself in the experience.

    As for favorite scenic places, (i will leave out cities to visit) here's my list of must-sees that I have actually been to in the continental US (in no particular order):

    Grand Canyon NP
    Yellowstone NP
    Glacier NP
    Monument Valley
    The Tetons
    Yosemite NP
    Acadia NP
    The Oregon Coast
    Mount Rainier
    Route 128 along the Colorado River NE of Moab Utah
    The Beachcomber, Wellfleet MA
    Death Valley
    Santa Fe/Taos New Mexico
    Badlands of South Dakota
    Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah (if you are a skier)

    I hear Zion is fantastic but have never been there. Same with Sedona which I am heading to in May.

    I know, I know..nothing in the east (except Acadia), southeast or midwest. YEs, some great stuff to see there, but nothing that I have seen personally that trumps these places. Good luck planning your trip.


  6. #6


    It is a good idea to find one area and explore it in depth. My husband and I spend about six months each year in our RV (traveling about 14,000 miles average) and have seen too many people come to the US and think they can do everything. Please don't even try. This is a huge country! Even people who live here don't understand how big we are.

    From what I've seen on this site, you will be able to get lots of good advice and guidance when you have been able to focus on things like time and location. When you are ready to look for campgrounds, I would recommend state parks and national forest campgrounds. They tend to be a little less expensive and less crowded.

    A couple of suggestions concerning your children. Take a lot of photographs goes without saying but I recommend taking photos in front of signs, park signs, trail signs, town signs as well as of the scenery. It will help, trust me. Also, have your children send themselves postcards. You could buy picture postcards at various locations or buy blank cards at the post office and have the child draw on it. My last suggestion is to remember take take time for yourselves. Put the children to bed and enjoy some quiet time with each other around the campfire.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 01-26-2010 at 09:16 PM. Reason: Sorry, new members are not allowed to post off-site links

  7. Default

    Thanks for all your responses they are very much appreciated. We have finally decided on our road trip, and the flights and RV are booked!! 8 weeks in California! We fly to San francisco end of April 2010 and home from LA end of June. We have our first night booked at San Fran airport to re-charge the batteries, and then...who knows?! This is where your help would be much appreciated!
    We like the idea of a few nights in Yosemite (stopping somewhere on route), then up north and back down south. We though this would be best as Yosemite gets booked up quickly so we could reserve a site beforehand. We really would like to be in San Diego during our last week to spend our eldest son's 4th Birthday at seaword!
    We just want to enjoy time with our two young boys away from the stresses of everyday life in the UK! Lots of nice (but not too lengthy walks as boys are only 2 and 3), old style towns and splashing in the sea/rivers! Obviously night-life is not one of our top priorities (unfortunatlely!!)
    Also does anyone know about military camps? I am an ex-serving british Royal Marine, so would we qualify to stay at a military campsite?

    Many thanks for all your time

    Adam and Leah

  8. Default

    Hi Jukes,
    thanks for your reply. We just wanted to know, how did the children get on in the RV? We hope to limit travelling time to 1.5-2 hours a day, but possibly more at nightime. Did you go to any national parks and what areas did you cover? We would like to see as much as possible but obviously also do not want to be so stressed out trying to get to the next area. Sorry so many questions, we just want to make sure our trip is as rewarding as possible for the whole family.
    Adam and Leah

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Enjoy the planning.

    Hi Adam and Leah,

    At this point I think that sitting down with a good map of the US and searching the forums will be the way to get started as there are literally thousands upon thousands of options. Once you have some dots on the map we can help you to join them up and refine your trip. The NPS interactive map is a great tool, you can locate every NP and get all the info on everyone you could possibly want. Be warned that many of the major parks can get booked up in advance and the later you travel into the main season the more chance of doing so. Maybe our trip from SF here will give you a couple of ideas to work from.

    The kids will love the parks, lots of wildlife and open space and most have a free shuttle bus service that will take you to points of interest so when you have put the RV on site it can stay there while you explore the area and have a break from driving.

    Personally I would rethink your strategy of driving for only a couple of hours a day and more at night. The kids can not settle down in an RV while moving and must be strapped in so I would recommend being settled in for the night by tea time and enjoying some good family time instead of driving in the dark and missing all the great scenery. You can certainly keep your miles down during the day but breaking the trip up during the day from time to time isn't so bad where you could get a couple of hours of driving and stop for lunch, have a run around for a while and then get another 2 or 3 hours with more stops completed. No need to stress and one of the great things about the RV is finding a great spot in quiet surroundings and just being able to pull over put the kettle on and have "lunch with a view". The journey will be as rewarding as the destinations and a very big part of the adventure as the wide open spaces and beautiful landscapes keep changing and take your breath away.

    When you have got some ideas underway let us know and we can make more meaningful suggestions.

  10. Default Military Campsites?

    I am hoping someone somewhere can help me?! Does anyone out there knows about Military campsites? I am an ex-serving British Royal Marine and am going on an Californian road trip with my family soon. Do I qualify to stay at military campsites? Obviously I no longer have my military I.D, so if so what would I need to supply to prove my service history?
    Many thanks for your time


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