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  1. Default Aussie Family San Francisco to New York Oct-Nov RV style

    My husband and I with our 2 children of 5 & 4 years old are planning a trip mid Oct - mid Nov at the moment our plan is to fly to San Francisco, hire an RV and make our way to New York. I have been looking at RV hire companies and cannot work out what the requirement is for travelling with children ie are they required to be restrained in child safe seats if so how is this possible. Anyone else who has done something similar I would love your input and also who you hired from and what your experience was like. Of course we would like a one way booking (ie not to be charged a one way fee and in a perfect world unlimited miles).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Asking for a lot.

    Hi Rennie, and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip forum.

    Tall order you have there - one way across the country without a one way drop fee. Unfortunately, such fees are a given, as are limited miles with most companies. Driving across country in an RV is simply not an economical proposition. It is something you do to enjoy the lifestyle, but should certainly not be regarded as a budget option. Your best places to make enquiries for such a trip would be Cruise America and El Monte. They are the largest, and most likely to accommodate a cross country rental. Check out their specials and hot deals.

    Yes, children will need to be in restraints suitable for their age, at all times the vehicle is in motion. The companies are the best ones to advice which is the most practical way. They may differ somewhat in their approach.

    One thing you may need to consider is that by the time you plan to travel, most of the RV parks in the east and northeast will have closed for the season. On top of this, weather may be a factor with your RV, as temperatures drop the further east and north you go.

    Do you have a route planned?


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    You will still be required to follow child seat laws (which are a bit different from state to state) and I agree, contacting the RV company will be the best way to get accurate information about the specific seating situation in the RV you end up with.

    Having said that, being that your kids are 4 and 5 years old, I would think they would both be big enough to use booster seats, in which case they should be able to sit pretty much any place you've got an adult seat belt available.

  4. Default

    thanks Michael, here in Oz they are both in booster seats so thats good to know. Just looking at some of the RV configurations there is the 2 front seats for adults then the back end just seems to be lap belts but yes I will liaise directly with whatever RV Company we choose. Thanks again.

  5. Default

    thanks Lifey, yes I only found one company so far that has a special on for hire up until end of April I think it was they will cancel the one way fee. I had not even thought of the kms. We sort of figured if we had to hire and car and stay in motels the expenses would be higher than that of hiring an RV, we are mostly going to stick to the southen end either west to east or vice versa. Our route so far is CA, Nevada, down to Texas, accross to New Orleans, we have not decided on Florida as we are not fussed on Disneyland at this early stage of the kids ages but lego land looks pretty good, then we will make our way up to NY via Washington we will probably stay in a motel in NY as we would like to do a trip to Niagra while there. Still very open with details yet though. Its limitless what we can do and we do have around 4 weeks to play with. My husband defs wants to include a NASCAR race and perhaps include a Grid Iron game also. So should be an interesting trip for us. I just want to go to some amazing food places as seen on Man Vs Food, hahaha.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default RV vs car and hotel.

    Rennie, before you go a great deal further consider seriously if an RV is right for your trip. As already mentioned, rarely (if ever) is an RV cheaper than hotels/motels and a car. You might find this thread informative. By the time you take into account the very low mpg and the campground costs each night (some of which are as much as a budget hotel), you're already a long way behind the eight ball.

    RVs come into their own when visiting National Parks but can be a real disadvantage around cities, where they are typically difficult to park. City RV parks tend to be on the fringes, requiring public transport (where it is available) or a taxi to go in to see the sights.

    Be aware that in DC and NYC in particular a car (or RV) is more of a handicap than an assett. Parking in those places is hard to find and very expensive. Public transport, on the other hand, is very good.

    My daughter is off to Britain in a few weeks and taking the booster seats with her. For her youngest they will use it on the plane as well as in the RV they are planning to hire.


    p.s. My grandchildren loved Legoland.

  7. Default

    Thanks Lifey, now more confused than ever. Maybe we can incorporate both forms of travel, hire car and stay in motels in San Francisco/Nevada then hire the RV for our travel thru to Florida then car hire and motels back up to NY. Definetly a lot to think about and plan out, but I love ze planning!!! Better get some passports and flights organised first though hahahaha. Thanks for all your guidance I am sure I will be back to ask more questions along the way. Cheers Rennie

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Your family's must sees?

    Rennie, I well understand your confusion. Fortunately mine is well behind me. But I well recall my son's frustrations as he was trying to explain how to go about some of my travel plans... all those years ago. Then he told me to forget everything I knew, as nothing over there works the way it does at home. That was good advice.

    We do not know any of your plans, other than that you want to drive from SF to NYC, so it is difficult to suggest alternatives. It might be a good idea if you could post a list of your must sees, the places you really want to hit.

    None-the-less, I will make a suggestion or two. Number one is you could go across country with the car hotel option, though you would probably not be able to avoid the one way drop fee. The other is you could do two loops. The west coast, starting and ending in SF and taking in the great national parks of the southwest, could be done in an RV. Another loop from NYC or from DC could take in the east coast by car.

    But that of course, all depends on what is on your to-do list.

    While you are organising your passports and tickets, make sure you also arrange your VWP and ESTA.


  9. Default

    Hi Lifey
    have started preparing my itinerary and my first question I am sure of many is.
    We are looking at travelling from Washington DC to Tennessee however to Nashville its approx a 9 hour drive so we are wandering if there is anywhere of particular interest to stay at in between to break this leg up a bit. Just an overnight stay somewhere.
    Thanks - Rennie

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Not my ken.

    Rennie, this area is not an area in which I have spent much time. I am not familiar enough to answer your question.

    The beauty of the forum is that there are members from many parts of the country (and the world) who are all familiar with their own favourite or local areas. Someone will be along soon, I am sure, who will be able to answer you much better than any guess I may make.

    Have a great Anzac Day.


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