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  1. #1

    Default 1 Month Trip: RV or Car Questions

    Hey all,

    I am extremely new to this site so go easy please! :-)

    My wife and I are planning a road trip in about 20ish months so am planning way ahead. We plan to travel from California, probably LA, to NYC, taking in various sights along the way. The duration will be 1 month in 2014, I know it's a way off but it's our first road trip and want to prepare properly!.

    One of the biggest quandries we are in is whether a) to rent an RV/Motorhome on an one way ticket b) try and find a deal whereby we return a vehicle to it's rightful location after some one else has done a one way journey in it or c) go for a car rental/motel/hotel stays across the way.

    I have read through this thread and all have valid points, it's just a big decision to make for such a big journey and would appreciate any thoughts form the more experienced community.

    We are from England, would this be an issue getting a rental? Having never done this before it's a step into the unknown and would really like to get a handle on all the options that may or may not be available to us.

    I was recommended to this sight by Mark Sedenquist and I hope to hear back from some of you with any useful advice possible.

    Thank you
    Scott

    Moderator Note: I've moved your post to its own thread for easier discussion of your specific trip.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default lots of time

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Planning far in advance of a trip is a great thing, the planning can be almost as much fun as the travel itself!

    Since you've got a full month, I'd at least think about doing a loop of the entire country. There are pros/cons of doing so, but if budget is a concern, returning the vehicle in a different location, no matter if you choose an RV or a car, will likely add severe hundred dollars or more to your bill. It would also make it easy to see two distinctly different parts of the country as you head across.

    You mention this trip is 20 months away, so I'm assuming this would be a spring trip, and if so, that could work to your advantage to find a deal on a one way rental. Many times there are one way specials for car rental for people who take cars out of Arizona and Florida. For RV rentals, Cruise America is one of the largest rental companies and they have a depot in Phoenix, where you might have good look finding a special rate for a one way rental.

    Being from the UK should have no impact on your ability to find a rental, and in fact, sometimes foreign tourists can find better rates for car rentals by going through a consolidator based in the UK/Europe.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Invercargill, New Zealand
    Posts
    6

    Default Car or RV

    Hi Scott, My wife and I head to the airport in about 3 hours for a five week holiday in the States, we have previously done two other road trips over there and each time after looking at the economics and ease of it we opted for a full size car each time and have again this time.

    With the cost of fuel and the diffence in hire and the advantage of being able to go in a car any an RV could go and the disadvantage of not being able to take an Rv to many shopping car parks or other places in towns in made sense for us.

    We have each time and will again this time stay at motels like the Days Inn or Super 8 both from the same chain you can end up with an extra nights accomdation for free nearly every 7-8 days with their free card that the first motel can issue you. Virtually all of these two motels offer a complimentary continental breakfast albeit fairly light some times. All but one were of a reasonable standard and we were quite satisfied and we have owned and run our own motel here in New Zealand and we are quite particul about where we stay. they are only 2.5 - 3 star but usually cleean and have laundry facilities.

    We left most of our gear in the boot at night and only carried a small over night bag into the motel so no great drama with luggage each day.

    If you would like any further information on a personal note, drop us a PM. We will be in the air from lunch time today until midnight New yrok time tomorrow. The is also our old website that we have not been into ourselves now for a few years but is still up by the same name as our email without the . in the middle and a .com atthe end. I am not sure ifI am allowed to refer you to this but it is apersonal site and is not a comercial site.

    All the best

    Rob and Jan Smith
    invercargill
    New Zealand
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 10-16-2012 at 02:30 PM. Reason: in-line quote not really needed here

  4. #4

    Default

    Thank you both for your advice, the more I talk about it the more real it becomes, which is amazing!

    Midwest Michael - you say a full loop of the country? Is this possible in such a small space of time? I have been to the States a couple of times, both times California, and going by that State it is a massive country! Coast to coast to coast would be in the region of 7000 - 8000 miles. Trying to complete this in 4 weeks would mean ~2000 miles a week which doesn't allow for time to be a tourist. Does it? I am hoping we will be able to do the entire trip during the period of May-July 2014, we're not entirely sure which weeks we can both get off work yet so am leaving a 3 month window we can work towards.

    roamingKiwis - Thank you for your input as well, you make a valid point of which I have thought about a lot, a full size car make effortless driving and you can get to places you otherwise wouldn't be able to in an RV or motorhome. Just out of curiosty what vehicle is your chosen steed for the trip you are currently embarking on? Also the cost of the accomodation over a 4 week period, is this comparable to the increased price of an RV/motorhome for 4 weeks? I understand the fuel would add to the price for the RV, but the saving of motel/hotel costs is also in the balance!

    This is a world full of choices and all of your input is invaluable at this stage,
    Thank you again
    Scott + Cheryl Mace

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    My husband and I are currently on a long vacation, car+motel rather than RV. We've been RV'ers in the past and hope to return to it soon. As far as the costs are concerned, if you are renting an RV over a car, it's 2x the price and they don't often throw in "unlimited mileage" on an RV like they just might do with a car. The car will get better fuel mileage than the RV, that's for sure! Campgrounds will run $30-50 a night in most areas, where you can get a motel from $45 to $70 by being picky and using places like mom-and-pop motels, Motel 6, etc. Where you save money with an RV is by being able to cook in the rig, vs. eating out in restaurants all the time! Yes, you can throw a cooler in the rental car and some picnic goods, but even that gets old too.

    My husband and I are trying out a hybrid vacation this summer. We don't mind staying in a hotel, but we do like to stop and see family and friends along the way, so we stay with them. For food, we sometimes eat out and sometimes cook dinner in our room, using an electric frying pan. (We toted along camping stove and pots for that, but so far we haven't touched them!) Fuel is hard to work around, but we fill up when we see a lower price than we've seen in awhile, and are careful not to fuel up in states that are known to be high in fuel costs (if we can help it; NY, CA and IL are three of those states).


    Donna

  6. #6

    Default 4 weeks to travel from LA to NYC in June 2014

    Hello,

    2nd posting and I feel a bit more comfortable this time!

    I would really appreciate some of your expert advice on the route I have been planning for my wife and I to travel the width of the States in June of 2014, it's a while off I know, but planning is my thing and it's probably as much fun as it's going to be driving 4000ish miles!!

    So I have a route which looks like the following:

    LA > Sequoia NP > Furnace Creek > Vegas > Monument Valley > Los Alamos/Santa Fe > Albuqueque > Roswell > Fort Worth > Memphis > Nashville > Louisville > Indianapolis > Fort Wayne > Detroit > Toronto > Buffalo > Allentown > NYC

    This is over 4000 miles, which I am sure won't be too much (or am I wrong?) as I used to be a delivery driver in the UK and used to drive 200+ miles a day. Hopefully my naivity in driving in the States won't be my downfall, hence the request from some experts in this field.

    We will be doing a one way rental, I have spoken to a couple of companies and they seem happy enough to let the vehicle travel the width of the country, obviously at my expense (and what an expense it is!) which I was already aware of.

    A loop has been mentioned, in my previous posting, to reduce this cost but I am conscious that this will approximately double the miles and we might miss out on some of the things in this route. Are there some experienced road-trippers that could offer up any advice on whether this would be the case or are there short cuts that can be taken on a return trip??

    The finer detail of what we will see will come next, are there any suggestions on what can be seen and done on this route? It is an ever evolving route and by no means set in stone, are there any suggestion of things not too miss on this route that any members could advise on??

    Thank in advance for any suggestions forthcoming!

    Scott

    Moderator Note: We prefer to keep all questions about the same trip together in the same thread.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 10-09-2012 at 03:04 PM. Reason: Merged Threads

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default A loop can work, but ........

    but planning is my thing and it's probably as much fun as it's going to be driving 4000ish miles!!
    The whole process is a lot of fun, enjoy !!

    This is over 4000 miles, which I am sure won't be too much (or am I wrong?) as I used to be a delivery driver in the UK and used to drive 200+ miles a day. Hopefully my naivity in driving in the States won't be my downfall, hence the request from some experts in this field
    You won't have any problems covering the ground and as an experienced driver you should adjust to driving in the US quickly and without problem. Generally speaking it's a whole lot more open and enjoyable experience than here in the UK.

    A loop has been mentioned, in my previous posting, to reduce this cost but I am conscious that this will approximately double the miles and we might miss out on some of the things in this route.
    You would have time to do a loop but it depends on how much time you want to spend where and how your itinerary starts to take shape. The mileage difference between taking a fairly direct route and going up and down the country to see certain spots can be immense. Some people want to "save" miles by going one way, where in fact by the time they have gone up to Yellowstone, down to the GC, up to Colorado, down New Orleans and back up to Chicago, it could all be captured in a loop without adding that many more miles. Not only will that save you one way drop fees, but you could start and end in New York which could save a significant amount in air fares. That's something for you to consider as you move forward with your planning.

    As for the vehicle, we travel by RV in the States and as 4 adults sharing the cost, it barely breaks even with renting a car and having 2 hotel rooms, so with 2 of you it will be more expensive. Cruise America do sometimes do cheap one way rentals to get their fleet moved, this seems more popular going from east to west so you could think about starting from the east coast. They have a depot in Phoenix where their vehicles go for refurb so you could go to their site and click on the 'Hot deals' link, that's if it's the RV 'Lifestyle' choice you were after and not just for budget reasons.

    You will find a 'million and one' things between each location to see and much will come down to your interests. I am into the natural wonders myself, and there are no finer collections than those in the Southwest in my book. Yosemite and Grand canyon NP's being two amazing places near your route, if it's what you are looking for, I would check out Southern Utah and Colorado a little further north, that have many great National parks, amazing scenery, great driving roads and small towns that will leave you in awe !

    Enjoy the planning !

  8. #8

    Default

    Thanks for the input, it's invaluable at the moment

    You mentioned the RV vs rental and hotel room cost below:

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    As for the vehicle, we travel by RV in the States and as 4 adults sharing the cost, it barely breaks even with renting a car and having 2 hotel rooms, so with 2 of you it will be more expensive. !
    Did you mean that for 2 of us the hotel + rental will be more expensive than an RV, or the other way round? Some prices I have been getting would suggest there isn't that much difference between the 2 options, perhaps the rental + hotel across the country is a little bit more pricey, but not by a considerable amount.

    The NP's do interest us both a lot and would like to see as much/many of them as possible, it's just knowing how long it takes to get between them and how long we would have to spend in them. We've seen the GC NP so would be able to forgo that one (this time!), Sequoia, Death Valley and Monument Valley NP's are pretty high on the agenda.

    Would there be any weather concerns around the June time of year, travelling the full width of the conuntry as per the route I have mentioned? It would be nice to predict the weather but we can't have everything...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default There is a whole thread devoted to this.

    Quote Originally Posted by scomac View Post
    Did you mean that for 2 of us the hotel + rental will be more expensive than an RV, or the other way round?

    Have you checked out this thread?


    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default T'other way round

    Did you mean that for 2 of us the hotel + rental will be more expensive than an RV, or the other way round?
    The RV will be quite a bit more expensive. There is little difference in cost of renting a large RV or a small one, so with 4 people sharing the cost of an RV, fuel etc, it helps a lot. It's not just the rental cost, there are extra mileage charges, bedding kits, kitchen kits, campground fees and probably the most significant difference, the fuel costs. You will only see a return of somewhere between 9- 12 mpg with an RV which adds up on a trip of this size.

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