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  1. Default RV or Car and hotel/camp

    Hi, I am beginning to plan our 4/5 week trip to the southwest for next summer and would love some advice on costs of RVs vs. cars and camping. We are coming over from the UK and have the option of hiring an RV for the trip or hiring a car and buying camping equipment then mixing and matching between camping and reasonable hotels. The challenge is that I will have my 3 boys (14, 11 and 9) so hotels (even the cheaper ones) are never cheap. Anyone have any experience of (a) RV or cars & camping and (b) travelling with kids. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There a a lot of pros and cons to each. I will say, if cost is your thinking for an RV, then it's probably not a good choice. RVs typically end up being far more expensive than car/hotel trips - as you'll have higher rental and fuel costs, and campgrounds with full hookups typically cost nearly as much as a cheaper hotel.

    That said, RV's can be a great lifestyle choice. If you are spending the vast majority of the time exploring natural wonders, there are a lot of advantages to being out in nature, and having everything contained in one vehicle.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    We love to RV in the US but first and foremost, it's a lifestyle choice and not a budget friendly one in a lot of cases. We travel as a group of 4 adults so we share the fuel costs and save on 2 motel rooms instead of just one so that helps, but buying camping equipment with the boys in mind would also be a good option, particularly if you leaned more towards the camping than motel stays. When you cost an RV you have to make sure you have a bottom line figure and not just the headline $xx per day figure. Extras include bedding and kitchen kits, mileage charges [usually $300-£350 per 1000 miles] plus small incidentals like generator use and you need to check that insurance and waivers are included. Cruise America is a good place to start as they have an easy to fill form and on line quote system, make sure you check out their 'Hot deals' link on the left of the page. Now once you have that sorted you need to allow for fuel costs [think 9.5mpg] and campground fees that vary from $18/20 in National parks etc and $60 upwards in an RV resort. So costs vary quite a bit depending on how many miles you cover [both fuel and mileage charges] and places you intend to stay.

    Another thing to consider is what your trip is made up of, an RV is great among the open spaces of nature [of which there are many] but in a city they are more clumsy and RV sites are limited and costly and that's another time that a car and tent could have an advantage in alternating. You can also consider cabin rentals in many places.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    It's an older thread, but it's still a good comparison discussion of RV's vs. Car/Motel.

    My husband and I used to be RV'ers. We still love the lifestyle -- it is a great way to know who slept in the bed last night (you did, if it's yours), when the last time the sheets were changed (you did it), and to be able to control your diet a lot more. However, as has been pointed out, it is not the cheapest option like it used to be. Rental itself (or for those who own, often times storage when it's not being used), extra fuel guzzled, the higher costs of campgrounds/RV parks these days, can make it less of a savings and more of a lifestyle choice.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default It is never all that simple

    [QUOTE=Lubylu;178043],,,, buying camping equipment then mixing and matching between camping and reasonable hotels. /QUOTE]

    Are the boys used to camping? Do you know what sort of equipment you want/need? If the answer is żes'to both those questions, i would get onto sites like Craigslist now, for the city where you will be flying into. See what you can find, and if you can negotiate arranging to pick it up when you arrive.

    Camping can be quite cheap, when camping on public lands - most of which have only basic facilities.

    National Parks where the facilities are better, are a little more expensive, but are much sought after and limited in number. Mostly you have to book in many months ahead.

    Then there are the commercial campgrounds which can often cost as much as a cheap motel, but have full facilities.

    In or near the most popular national parks you need to book campgrounds as soon as you have your dates fixed.


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