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  1. #1

    Default RVer's Advice, 50 days starting Phoenix for UK couple

    This is a very old thread but I thought I would add that I am close to agreeing a deal to buy an RV privately in the USA. The owner is an Aussie and has registered and insured the vehicle in Florida as a foreign resident. You need a US address to do this but they are easily acquired. He does say that his insurance is maybe double what it would be if he had a US drivers license. He also has a bank account, but I will be asking him about this, harder to get than the insurance.

    I hope if the deal goes through to register in Arizona, no annual test outside of Phoenix and Tucson and warm enough not to need winterising when away. Regarding the Visa Waiver program we plan to do our Road Trip in 2 month sections, gives us a little spare time for emergencies that may arise.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Sort everything else before purchase.

    Hi tourist and welcome to RTA ! I would make sure you are certain of everything else for you personally before going ahead and making a purchase and know exactly whats involved and the overall cost of getting it registered and legal for the road, its a bit of a minefield. I am not sure what you mean about doing your trips in 2 month sections but with an ESTA and as a visitor you can only spend 90 days a year in the US [I think] so it isnt a case of just flying in and out as you please. Good luck !!
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 03-11-2016 at 05:24 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Hope it will turn out as eas6y as you think.

    Hello Tourist and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    So I take it you are not a US citizen, and you are buying an RV from an Aussie who no longer needs it.

    If you plan on taking multiple trips of two months at a time, that would work. Will you be storing and insuring it in AZ, and if so where will you get your address? It would be good to hear what insurance company you will be using, as I found only one which would insure non-residents. However, the office with which I dealt has now closed, and trying to contact other offices of the same company has been a challenge.

    If you are going to store your RV in AZ have you enquired about the storage costs? My van is stored in a commercial storage in NC for $19/month - but most I looked at out west ran well into the hundreds per month.

    All these costs add up.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourist View Post
    The owner is an Aussie and has registered and insured the vehicle in Florida as a foreign resident. You need a US address to do this but they are easily acquired.
    Getting an address in the US is getting more difficult. At one point, you could essentially rent a mailbox and be good to go, but most states now require that you actually prove that you live at that address by providing some kind of rental agreement or utility bill.

    Additionally, most states require you to have a US Drivers License to register the car. Now, I don't know the requirements for Arizona, but do not just assume that because someone else was able to make things work in Florida that it will be easy for you to do something similar in another state.

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks for all the info and advice, some things I will follow up on. I have been in touch with the department of motor vehicles in AZ about registering and there didn't seem to be any issues I couldn't cross, had one about a Social Security Number but I received an email telling me the work-around. What I would have liked to find would be an agency that would do all that stuff for us but have not yet managed to find one, at least not one that replies to emails!

    I do have insurance company names from the current owner, though it's not automatic they would cover me too. However I haven't seen the RV yet, that's the next thing. If the worst comes to the worst we'll change the owner details in Florida and do exactly what he did. However as the vehicle is out west it would be nice to start there.

    Re storage. It won't be free but we should not be doing this is we could not afford storage. $100 a month covered I think is about the level. This will add up (hopefully) to a once in a lifetime trip and a great memory. We just sat down and decided we won't be here for ever and not everything can be done on a monthly income, some savings are going to have to be burned. I looked at rental and its just out of the question!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    So what are your long-term plans? You plan to be on the road for 2 months, but are you planning to come back again in the future?

    You talk about this as being once in a lifetime trip, which is why I'm a bit confused. Renting an RV can certainly be expensive, but people typically really underestimate just how much ownership really costs - especially since a lot of the costs are hidden. If you are going to be on the road for less than 3 months, typically it is actually cheaper to rent.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    So what are your long-term plans? You plan to be on the road for 2 months, but are you planning to come back again in the future?
    We planned to make several visits, the exact number we have not yet agreed. Due to other plans we cannot come in 2016 so we thought we'd do Jan Feb 2017, July Aug 2017, and by then we'll have some further forward planning. I doubt we'll want to do it beyond a third year, too many other fun things for the retired... so long as we live.

    I should add we own an RV in UK, of course it's 2/3rds the size and 1/3rd the engine capacity, but we have some clue on costs.
    Last edited by Tourist; 03-11-2016 at 12:29 PM. Reason: more info

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default There are agents out there, but be sure it is what you want.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourist View Post
    What I would have liked to find would be an agency that would do all that stuff for us but have not yet managed to find one, at least not one that replies to emails!
    That is what I did. It was not particularly cheap, but so worthwhile. Did everything, other than the insurance. Even though I did most by email, I did do a lot by phone. I ring the freecall number using Skype, and costs nothing at this end.

    I do have insurance company names from the current owner, though it's not automatic they would cover me too. However I haven't seen the RV yet, that's the next thing. If the worst comes to the worst we'll change the owner details in Florida and do exactly what he did. However as the vehicle is out west it would be nice to start there.
    At the end of each trip I cancel my insurance and get refunded the balance. So each time I have to re insure, which I am in the middle of doing right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    I am not sure what you mean about doing your trips in 2 month sections but with an ESTA and as a visitor you can only spend 90 days a year in the US ........
    Dave, I think that is not quite right. Even though I have the visa, I am able to travel in and out without questions being asked, so long as I have left North America. I think they would ask questions if you were flying in and out every fourteen weeks during a full year.

    But I agree with Michael, for two 2 month stints it would just not be worth it. I was looking for a thread on here from travellers from Canada, who bought an RV second hand and had a nightmare of a trip. which ended by leaving the RV and could not even take all their possessions home. And they were much closer than you are.

    [I bought my van in 2011, used it for 6 months in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and will be going back soon for another 5 months. That makes it worthwhile.]

    Lifey

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    But I agree with Michael, for two 2 month stints it would just not be worth it. I was looking for a thread on here from travellers from Canada, who bought an RV second hand and had a nightmare of a trip. which ended by leaving the RV and could not even take all their possessions home. And they were much closer than you are.

    [I bought my van in 2011, used it for 6 months in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and will be going back soon for another 5 months. That makes it worthwhile.]
    Lifey
    Thanks for all the info. Actually the idea is four months each year for two or three years, we'll just be breaking up the times so we can enjoy other stuff, if it was just one year I'd be tempted to agree with you. Now the questions -

    In which state did you register? Would your agent be of use to me? I could Skype the agent I sent an email to, but promises that they can achieve stuff are better if they're on paper in the first instance.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default It takes a lot of work, but hope it is worth it for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourist View Post
    In which state did you register? Would your agent be of use to me? I could Skype the agent I sent an email to, but promises that they can achieve stuff are better if they're on paper in the first instance.
    It is irrelevant where the vehicle is located, so long as it is in a State which will allow the vehicle to be registered in MT. I know CA is one of the States which does not allow it for local reasons. If you make contact ask for Duncan and be sure to tell him Lifemagician sent you. Not that I get anything out of it, but it is nice to keep in contact. There is a fee for their services and then an annual fee to keep the vehicle registered. From what I gather Duncan is the one who does all these registrations for non-residents. Most of what we discussed was confirmed in emails. It was just lovely to be able to explain what I do and why I do it the way I do. He's a great guy. So is his boss.

    I have met folk on the road who had used the same firm and person. they were from Sydney. I recognised them by the flag in their rear window - which is something I always do, have the flag in the rear window of your vehicle.

    [Duncan loved it when I sent him the Youtube video of Slim Dusty singing Gotta Have a Drink With Duncan.]

    I will probably call in in July to pay my fees for next year. Can be done in other ways, but since I am likely to be up there, may as well do it in person.

    Now, before buying, I would contact the local dealership of the brand to give it a thorough check over. I organised that by phone as well. I looked up the Ford Dealer in the town where the vehicle was for sale, and spoke to the service manager. They collected it, checked it out and took it back. I had given a list of things by those who know these things, to have checked. Because doing this long distance they usually want payment up front, or at least a credit card, and will send the invoice, comments and receipt by email.

    You may be interested in checking out this thread..... with all its woes along the way. lol

    Lifey

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