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Thread: RV or car?

  1. Default RV or car?

    I'm planning our 2nd cross country trip. In 2008 we bought an RV from e-bay and drove cross country and back over 7 weeks. I had a buyer lined up through Craigs List when we got home. When I bought the first RV it was the spring of '08, things were booming and I was confident I could sell the RV for as much as I paid for it. Well, by August I felt lucky to sell it at all.It worked out great, but the trip we are planning is going to be shorter. This trip will be only 4 weeks, from New England to California to see the inlaws, and with college tour stops in LA, St Paul, maybe St Louis and Ohio, too. I don't want to commit to buying an RV and selling again and can't afford to keep an RV. But the rental places charge so so much, since they charge a fortune for mileage over 100 per day [last time we budgeted about 300 miles a day to allow time for sightseeing].
    The RV alternative would, of course, be hotels. But we are all getting bigger and older. My 2 sons can still sleep in a queen size bed together, but I'm not sure they could do that every night for a month! And I have a bad back, so I need a decent bed.
    Any ideas for renting an inexpensive RV, or hotel planning that I can identify moderately priced hotels with 2 decent queen beds?

    Wish I had found this forum 4 years ago.


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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    When it comes to costs alone, going via car/motel will almost always be cheaper. When you factor in the increased cost to obtain and operate an RV, along with the cost of campsites, its usually not all that close. Here's a longer discussion on the topic. I will say I think you are right in feeling lucky that your last RV experience worked out as well as it did. It can happen like you've described, but far more often people have to wait quite a while before they find a buyer who is a match, in both what they are looking for and what they are willing to pay, and often end up practically giving them away for thousands less than they originally paid.

    I'm not entirely certain I follow your concerns about hotels. 2 queen beds is pretty much a standard set-up for nearly every hotel chain, and if you are going with mid-priced chains the quality/comfort factor should generally be fine.

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

    Default All I can think of.

    'Inexpensive' and 'RV' are two words you rarely find in the same sentence !! As Michael mentioned, a car and Motels almost always work out to be the least expensive option when you consider all costs associated with RV travel.

    You don't say when you are travelling, but one option is to check out the big RV Co's, who sometimes have cheap deals when their fleet need moving across the country. One company in particular, Cruise America, has a refurb depot in Phoenix and at certain times they have vehicles that need delivering there from the east coast and can offer huge savings.

    This could be an option if you are planning on a one way trip, they have something when you travel [normally out of peak season] and you then are prepared rent a car or RV to continue to California. This is a long shot and would really only be worth looking into if you really preferred to travel by RV and it's not just a budget option.

  4. Default

    Thanks for the advice - we are planning to travel in August. The article about the difference between the RC and car trips really outlined the differences. Something nice about having home with you (to say nothing of having a clean bathroom with you!). My heart is with the RV but my wallet is talking car.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I hear ya ... there is nothing quite like a clean bathroom, a bed anywhere you can park, and a good home-cooked meal on the road. But there IS a price to be paid. It hasn't always been that way, but in the past 20 years, RV'ing has really taken off and become a more expensive option. Camping (tent) is often cheaper, but there's only so much sleeping-on-the-ground that adult backs can take!


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