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  1. Default Yellowstone in May 2012

    First of all ---I am new to the forums and website and would appreciate any input.My wife is retiring in April and we are planning a road trip to celebrate. We have always wanted to see Yellowstone and other sites out west and I began researching about RV traveling.
    During research I came about info from Cruise America regarding one-way rentals at a very discounted price and the idea has caught my interest.I was wondering if anyone can offer any suggestions to help me decide on the trip.
    Basically I would need to pickup the RV in Indiana after Apr 21 and have it in Carson Ca by May 22 I was thinking about making the trip on May 7 and heading west to visit YNP and GTNP possibly the GCanyon and SLCity.These are all places I visited over 55 yrs ago with my parents as a small child.
    I would just need to get the Rv to Ca before May 22 and we could fly home from LAX using Skymiles.
    We could also just drive out to YNP and wherever we decide to visit and stay in motels and such.I suppose we could go at a later date in that event but we were really wanting to go early anyway to try and avaoid the crowds.
    In figuring up the expense I know fuel will be huge in an RV but I wonder if it will not be outweighed by having to eat all meals out and needing a motel each nite.I guess I need to research more into the difference an RV site costs compared to motel and meals.
    I am worried about the weather in May and driving conditions either way car or RV.
    Anybody want to share an opinin??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    Yellowstone may or may not be a good option that early in the season. Here is a list of road and facilities opening dates.

    Whether to use a RV or hotels is a lifestyle choice. On a 1 month trip, you would seldom save money with a RV when all related costs are added up, especially if you have your own car.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Yellowstone in May.

    The second half of May is a fantastic time to visit Yellowstone. On my last visit in May 2009 I was treated to a feast of nature....

    A moose suckling her calf, just hours old. Bison with their young abounded, as did other wildlife and their off-spring. It was a nature wonderland, and took many hours to travel just a short distance. Even in May there can be plenty of traffic and good sized crowds.

    If you are fortunate, and the weather obliges, you may be able to enter via the North East entrance, along the Beartooth Highway and over Beartooth Pass... though you will not be able to travel that in an RV. From memory, there are restrictions on this spectacular mountain road.

    The fact that not all facilities in Yellowstone are open is not liikely to distract from the many benefits of visiting Yellowstone in May.

    And I would have to agree, an RV is a lifestyle, not a budgetary choice. For two people it is rarely the cheaper option.

    Enjoy your trip.


  4. Default

    GLC and Lifey,
    Yeah I agree on the RV being a sort of lifestyle choice but @75% off it appears that I could save some money also.The rate is $32/day and .08 per mile.On a recent road trip to Wash Dc the motels were quite expensive and meals were sometimes outrageous.Along with the lifestyle option I was just wondering of it would be worth my while to deliver this RV on to CA. Or just take my car.Like I said earlier I guess I need to do more research.
    Thanks for the replies.

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

    Default cost

    While that is a good rate, that's still going to virtually assure that you pay more than if you travel by car. You're going to spend about $1000 on gas alone, twice as much as a car. If you are gone for a month, you're going to spend about $1200 on the rental plus extras to outfit the RV, and while your motels might have been expensive for your last trip, an RV doesn't mean you are going without lodging costs, as you'll still be paying for campgrounds, and a full hookup site is usually going to cost you $30-40 or more a night.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Kudos for noticing

    Costs are still going to be more expensive in the RV, as alluded to above, but kudos for you for noticing the Cruise America promotions. Cruise America has a huge need to move RVs every season and if you can really meet the drop-off conditions and trip duration issues, I'd recommend the RV option. You might even be able to negotiate a better rate with them.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Weighing it up.

    I'm a big fan of RV travel and because it's a lifestyle choice, do not mind paying extra to do so. I do agree that, especially when there are only 2 people travelling, it is usually more expensive than a car and Motels, but as you said in your first post, you need to do your own research based on your needs, to compare costs. Yes it's true that a cheap Motel room can be had for the same price as an expensive RV site. My point is that if I go to the Grand canyon or Yellowstone, I want to stay inside the park and get the most from the experience. In most park lodgings you can expect to pay $100 and upwards for a room, whereas an RV site can be had for around $18. Three nights in Yellowstone alone could pay dividends if like me, you want to stay in the park. Sometimes the gap in costs is not as wide when everything is considered

    I notice that others have mentioned a month long trip, if I am reading your post correctly, you are planning on 14-15 days. [?] Although it makes little difference to the average daily cost of each option, the overal rental cost will be much less.

    The major difference here to the normal RV v car debate is that you have your own vehicle and will not have to rent one. Meals do not have to be expensive either when using Motels, you could carry a cool box and find Motels that offer good breakfasts in the price. In short the RV will cost more, but if you fancy the RV option after 'crunching' the numbers and you are happy with the costs, and feeling adventurous, it can be great fun ! Figure on 9-12mpg return with the RV option.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 12-01-2011 at 01:54 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California

    Default Rv

    The one "pro" to the RV debate, that hasn't been mentioned specifically: you can cook your own meals and not have to go to a restaurant. These can be meals cooked on a stove or (if the RV is equipped with one) oven, rather than the microwave that the motel may/may not have. As a former RV'er who has done two trips via the motel/restaurant route in the past 2 years, I got SO tired of eating out all the time! Not only was it just plain expensive, it also started to taste the same even though we tried to avoid the chains as much as we could. So, where you must spend in gasoline, you can save on restaurant bills.

    Also, TIME. If you stop for a meal while on the road in the car, you will be lucky to get in and out of the restaurant in an hour. With an RV, you can stop in a truck stop, rest area, or even in a church parking lot, then prepare and eat a meal in 40 minutes or less.

    Also, BATHROOMS. You know when that RV bathroom has been cleaned last. If you stop at a gas station, rest area or restaurant, you have to be more careful in the bathroom. Ugh.

    You also shouldn't have to worry about the bedbug issue that can be a problem in hotels. Check the RV when you pick it up, and if it's clean, you have that nice clean room for your entire trip. This also makes getting up at night a little easier, as by the third night you will know where that RV bathroom is (rather than stumbling around a strange motel every night).

    Last edited by DonnaR57; 11-30-2011 at 06:47 PM. Reason: clarification

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default 6.5 years on a roll

    I spent nearly seven years on the road -- custom-built RV. In addition to a clean bathroom, is the convenience and easy access to a shower and the toilet. That and Megan could fix me a snack when I was driving...

    Here's a good checklist to use when you pick-up your RV.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Not recommended though!

    That and Megan could fix me a snack when I was driving...
    Although not advisable with the current seat belt laws ! ;-)

    We didn't really fully appreciate the convenience we had with the RV, until the day we were dropping it off. We drained all the tanks at the campground ready to return it as per the terms of contract and then had a 300 mile drive. Having to search for somewhere to go to the Loo or to get a hot drink, as opposed to pulling up in a lay-by seemed like a real inconvenience. Of course, I know it's not that much of a big deal, but when you had it all at hand and suddenly it isn't, it feels like one. Especially when the wife gets real cranky without her cup of tea, and to be honest, most of you Americans suck at making a good cup of 'Rosy Lee'. [Ask Lifey.] LOL

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