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  1. Default West Coast Family summer holiday in an RV

    I have only just joined this site and I have looked through similar threads about family summer road trips although i haven't found a match for me yet! I am only at the very begining of the planning stage and only have an idea of the places I definitely want to visit. I am looking for campsite recommendations that will keep two teenagers entertained along with a 6 year old! I would like to visit Yosemite, Monteray, Malibu, Santa Monica, Hearst Castle, Pismo Beach, San Diego. Where to start.....Help! Also, do you have to pay per mile for the RV?? Is an RV more cost effective for a family of 5 than a hotel/motel? Thank you so much....

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

    Default More a 'Lifestyle' choice.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    An RV really is a 'Lifestyle' choice firstly and then you should consider the cost. If you are looking at the RV to be the cheaper option, it rarely is. As well as the high rental costs you have to consider the campground fees and high fuel consumption as well as other items you might need , bedroom and kitchen kits for example. These can be brought from home but not so easy if you are flying in from elsewhere. It's more than likely that if you found Hotels with a family room, or were prepared to put a folding bed into the one room, the hotel and car would be cheaper. It's when you require two rooms the RV makes a comeback in the budget friendly stakes.

    Some rentals you have to pay for each mile covered and others for 'extra miles' where they may give you 100 "free" miles per day for example. Rarely are they free though, just built into the price so it's important to price compare carefully. The Cruise America site will let you select dates and RV etc prior to the final booking so you could use them to get a 'ball park' figure to compare with.

    RV's are also not best suited to City life where they can be hard to park and expensive to find an RV park, whereas in places such as Yosemite they can be amazing and you can set up camp for around $20 per night.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Keeping two teenagers and a 6 year old entertained...make sure that they have some choices about activities! Get them involved in the planning. Perhaps the older ones can do some of the research online for you, and may find things that they'd enjoy doing. Or collect tour books and check out library books, and leave them around for the older ones to find. My daughters used to look at ours and would come up with things to do.

    Your 6 year old may enjoy some of the Junior Ranger activities at Yosemite and other national parks. The teens are probably a bit past that, though if they are particularly good siblings they might "help" the little one with some of the activities.

    As ours got older, they were permitted to have their Walkmans in the car with them --- these days, that would translate to iPods/iPads/SmartPhones/small video games. We always got a game of "I Spy" or "ABC" or "License Plate Bingo" going, sometime during the day. We also encouraged them to take a nap in the car if they wanted to.

    Donna (expecting Grandbaby #2 any time now, as both of our kids are grown and gone)

  4. Default

    Thanks Soutwest Dave!
    It is as I thought, we would want two rooms in a hotel as not much of a holiday if all in one room!! So I will definitely look at the RV option. I thought we would park in the campsites presumably out of town and cab it into the cities.

    The miles charging is a pain though I must admit..but will just have to go into the already expanding budget.

    What do you think would be the best route for us? Fly into San Fran and out of Las Vegas? or fly into Vegas and fly from Vegas to San Fran and then pick up the RV??

    Thanks again for your input

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A loop ?

    You don't say how long you have for the trip ? If you are starting the RV trip from SF it would make sense to fly into there. I would actually close the loop and finish in SF as well, with time permitting, heading south down the coast, inland to Vegas and then back to SF via Yosemite. By the time you have gone from the coast to Yosemite and back and then out to Vegas it won't actually add many miles or much time.

    In fact doing a loop means you could search for the cheapest flight and RV combination and start from any of the Citys within it.

  6. Default

    I think we are aiming for 3 weeks so should give us plenty of time to drive the loop. Are there companies that do the flights and RV hire as a package then?? I am flying from UK.

  7. Default

    Hi Donna

    Thank you so much for your advice. We will definitely have the ipods at the ready although I do hope they will look out the window for some of the journeys!

    I am so looking forward to Yosemite and I'm sure the older two will be only to happy to help their sister with the younger activities.

    Good luck with the Grandbaby!

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


    Quote Originally Posted by Labelda View Post
    I think we are aiming for 3 weeks so should give us plenty of time to drive the loop. Are there companies that do the flights and RV hire as a package then?? I am flying from UK.
    Not that I know of. What I meant to say was that by doing a loop you can check air fares to each city in the loop, get prices for an RV rental from the same citys and add up which [if any] will work out cheaper when combined. It's possible to save quite a bit by hunting around. For some reason San Fran often has the cheaper fares from the UK and getting a round ticket is often cheaper than booking two flights out of different citys.

    It doesn't include the coast but you can see our RV trip out of San Francisco [some years ago] that included Yosemite, Las Vegas, Grand canyon and some of southern Utahs finest NP's.

    With 3 weeks you have a lot of options but you can't do everything, so it's a case of keep researching and see what appeals. Feel free to keep asking any questions that come up !

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