G'day, I'm visiting from March to June 2015 and wish to buy a used small/class B RV to tour., largely by myself but with friends and family members joining me occasionally (I'm a semi-retired Uni teacher).
I've read posts on this and other sites that suggest its uneconomical and too difficult with regulations to buy and they recommend renting. I have a son in NY and a mate in Wyoming who are residents and whose addresses I can use. I've previously hired a car with my son and toured the South for a month and wish to avoid motels and meet more Americans and experience the US, so want to stay in parks. I expect to cover about 4,000 miles travelling up the West coast from LA, down through the middle visiting the parks then back again to the South, ie New Orleans and up to Nashville then back to LA to sell the vehicle and fly home. I'm restricted to 3 months due to the visa and I'm also attending a wedding in the Caribbean in late May.
Now the economics: it seems that renting a car (wouldn't hire a RV) and staying in cheaper motels would total about $170/day, so for 90 days that's about $15,000. I reckon the comparative mileage savings in a vehicle over an RV would be about $500 and food costs would be about the same either way. So, say $14,500.
Buying an RV for about $15,000 plus park fees of about $35/day would total about $18,000. I would sell the RV on return, so even if I got only $10,000, that would mean this is around $4,000 - $5,000 cheaper. I'm guessing most other costs would balance each other out, not counting bad luck eg vehicle breakdowns etc.
I'd appreciate comments and others' experiences and advice.