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  1. Default Question of places to avoid and must sees

    Hi everyone. We are an Australian family of 4 (2 very small children) who are going to purchase an RV and travel the States for a year. Can anyone advise us on places to avoid due to safety/danger and places that are must sees? We are just in the very early stages of planning so this info will help us choose our route. Thank you all in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default How are you solving the Visa issue?

    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! A year-long trip sounds heavenly to those of us working in offices in the USA!

    How are you going to do this -- when the longest VISA you can obtain is the standard 90-day visitor visa? There is an 180-day Visa available (in theory) but we've never heard of anyone actually getting one.

    It is very expensive to purchase, license and insure a vehicle in the USA when you don't actually live here.

    There are very few places that are "dangerous" in the USA. We'd need some more parameters of the kind of trip you are hoping to experience to offer many tips. For instance, do you prefer isolated camping locations or places with wi-fi and plenty of conveniences? Do you prefer good shopping or rustic stores? etc.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default First a few questions.

    As Mark asked, what visa do you have? or are you getting? There are specific visas available, but you need to be eligible for them. So my question is, have you already arranged your visa? If not, I would get onto the US embassy website a.s.a.p. and read the eligibility requirements for each of the visas, to see where you stand.

    If like most folk, you are restricted to the VWP, the maximum stay you will have is 90 days. You can of course re enter for another 90 days, but not without having left the North American continent.

    What information have you been able to gather to purchase an RV? Are you aware of the legal implications of having the vehicle in another's name or at a family or friend's address? And which insurance company were you planning on using.

    All these questions may not be complex matters for visitors to Australia, but they become huge hurdles trying to do the same in the US.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default I have one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    There is an 180-day Visa available (in theory) but we've never heard of anyone actually getting one.
    Mark, that is the very visa, the B1/B2, which I was granted, to be able to spend time with my family.


  5. Default

    I have the B1/B2 Visa already in our passports. Getting the extension shouldn't be an issue but if so, we still have 6 months. My husband lived in the states and has a US drivers licence. Our camping preference is between rustic and glamorous :). Our interests are more small town USA. My issurance queries will start at the AAA but insurance specific to RVs would be appreciated. Just really looking forward to knowing which towns or areas to avoid and which ones are must see. Thank you

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Check your email.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlissaMunst View Post
    My issurance queries will start at the AAA but insurance specific to RVs would be appreciated.
    AAA do not handle insurance for non residents.

    (You have mail.)


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    If your husband is already a resident, complete with a US Drivers License, then getting insurance should not be difficult at all. You should start by going to the insurance agent he is already using, and/or other agencies that are located near where he is living.

    Just really looking forward to knowing which towns or areas to avoid and which ones are must see.
    As Mark already alluded to, There are zero towns and areas that need to be avoided. Every one of those places is someone's hometown.

    The flip side of that, nearly every single town/area has something that could be considered "must see." Quite literally, the potential for must sees on a trip that covers the entire US is in the billions. Which of those billion are must sees for you, is a question we simply can't answer at this point.

    As has already been stated, without some kind of direction from you, and really some more specific questions, it really is going to be impossible for anyone to provide you with helpful information about where to go and what to see.

  8. Default

    @ Lifey, cant see any mail but would be greatly interested in your help.
    My Husband isn't a resident now but holds a drivers license. Starting in December we are thinking of crossing the south of America first, getting to Florida and then Georgia. Coming back through the centre to Colorado then up to Seattle by June/July. Then all going well head across the top of the country, through Minnesota and Chicago and over to New England. Hoping to stay in Free RV parks or Walmarts some of the time.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default So much to discover.

    As has been said, there really are no single 'best' or 'avoidable' places in the USA. Of course there will be 'undesirable' neighbourhoods in most major City's, but they are generally not around the tourist areas and do not make the city a place to avoid. To stay safe you just need to use your instinct as you do wherever you go, if some place doesn't feel right it usually isn't right, move on. Attraction options are unlimited and it would be meaningless at this point to just start throwing ideas out at this time. What you really need to do is do some research and study a good map of the USA and get some places marked on it. Once you have done that, you can see the various ways to join the dots and then as ideas and questions come up you can ask more specific questions.

    For example you could spend a month in the Four corners region [CO, NM, UT, AZ] and only scratch the surface. There are numerous National parks in the area including Great sand dunes, Rocky mountain, Black canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Capital Reef, Bryce canyon, Zion and of course, the Grand canyon. So instead of heading "up through the centre" you might want to track west, into California perhaps before going north to Seattle and check out more natural wonders, Big Sur, Sequoia, Yosemite, Crater Lake, Columbia river gorge etc. Your main concern here would be whether you want to book RV sites in advance or just 'wing it'. The NP's are great for camping in and quite reasonable, but they are also very popular and book up early. Quite often the 'free' RV spots are quite a way from the main attractions and could end up costing you more in fuel finding it. Walmarts and Truck stops are options [with permission] and are OK for transit days where you just want somewhere to sleep the night, but you can't just set up camp anywhere in the US. There is so much more than just the National parks, including State parks, Forests, scenic byways, small towns and the City's, you just have to do a little digging. Search the forums for more info, you can get some great ideas by checking out the 'Roadtrip field reports' and seeing what other travellers got up to. In the tool bars above there many route and attraction lists and you will also find the RTA mapping programs where you can create routes and/or find attractions throughout the USA. You will also find several pages on RV travel.

    As you move further forward with your planning keep asking questions, enjoy !

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Hoping to stay in Free RV parks or Walmarts some of the time.
    There are no free RV parks per se. Somehow that is a myth. Walmart, Target, and other big box stores MIGHT let you stay overnight - it will depend on their municipal code. (The ones in my town cannot let anyone stay overnight in normal circumstances.) If they do, it's best that you ask permission first, and be sure to buy something at the store as a thank you. Many truck stops will also allow you to stay -- once again, get permission first and park where they suggest so that you don't get a rude awakening and asked to move. Then purchase your fuel or a meal there. Don't park in someone's neighborhood, as you could get a rude awakening there. (We had a guy sleeping in our neighborhood in his car. Unfortunately, he chose to park his vehicle right in front of a local policeman's house. Oops! He was asked to "move on".)

    The next step up, close to free, are BLM, city and county parks, state and national forest campgrounds. They will vary on what they offer, but they are generally very low cost. Most will not offer you electric-water-sewer hookups, or maybe they'll just offer 15A electrical and access to water and a dump station.

    The next step up from there are state and national park campgrounds. Once again, they will vary on what they offer. Some will offer electric and water service and a dump station.

    Finally, the "top step" are commercial campgrounds. Some will be independent, some will say they are a "Good Sam Park", meaning they have some credibility from a membership club (similar to AAA). KOA is the most commonly known campground chain, and about the most expensive. Yet you know you'll get access to full hookups, decent shower and restroom building, and the sites will be decent as well. (They have standards to meet.)


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