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  1. Default New Zealand Roadtripper Invasion (2007)

    Hi there,
    I am an avid roadtripper from New Zealand who has allways wanted to roadtrip in the US. Two friends and I are heading your way in August 2007 for a five month roadtrip and have decided to start planning now. We basically want to do a sight seeing tour because we don't have huge money and were wondering if you guys could answer a few questions for us.

    We want to get a class B camper for the tour and we have about $3000 for vehicle and insurance. Should buy off the internet before we arrive or would we have better luck looking at vehicles when we get to LA? Secondly what are insurance costs on that sort of vehicle? We have a friend who is american who can buy the insurance for us under her name. We will have all our gear covered by travel insurance so we don't need contents we just need to know that we won't get sued if we dent a ferarri.

    When it comes to the trip itself what are the costs involved? We have budgeted $6000 for fuel to take us about 20,000 miles and have $50 a day for food and other expenses (i know thats not alot but we are there to travel, not to eat). Our main concern is how much it costs to stay places overnight? In New Zealand you can park on the side of the road for free if you need to sleep. Can we do that there? How about camping in parks and reserves? Also when it comes to the east coast will we have to pay for a camp ground every night?

    I know that there are lots of questions here but any help would be much appreciated. Cant wait to experience those american roads.


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

    Default A Five month odyssey

    Quote Originally Posted by arohaotearoa
    I am an avid roadtripper from New Zealand who has allways wanted to roadtrip in the US.
    Sounds like you and your friends are in for an epic adventure. Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    We want to get a class B camper for the tour and we have about $3000 for vehicle and insurance. Should buy off the internet before we arrive or would we have better luck looking at vehicles when we get to LA?
    I am not sure you can find a Class B van that will hold up to the rigors of a five-month roadtrip in the Fall and Winter months for that sum of money. I wouldn't suggest purchasing from the internet unless you purchase from a broker who will offer a guaranteed buy-back service. Do you have a Class B now? If so, a RV-swap might work too.

    [More later.]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Sounds like a great trip

    But I hope you can save more money. $3000 won't buy much of a van. At least not one that you'd want to drive cross-country in. You'd have better luck buying a regular sedan at that price that would run OK but it would still be iffy. Sorry that this isn't the best news. I agree that you should only buy from a broker with a great warranty or, preferably, the buy-back plan.

    Insurance costs vary greatly. If you get a high deductible, liability only, on an older vehicle, you will save some money. But the driving record of your friend who will carry the insurance coverage for you will also make a difference, as will his/her residence. People in cities and other areas with higher crime and vandalism rates pay more. I live in a small town and I pay about half as much for my insurance as a friend with the same car who lives in the middle of a busy city area.

    And insurance doesn't keep you from getting sued. It would provide you coverage up to policy limits in case you are sued. Oh, yeah, the amount of insurance you get will also determine the premium. Too many variables to answer.

    As for your fuel budget, if you got a vehicle that averaged 15 miles per gallon, and gas was at $3.50 per gallon, you would need about $7,000 for fuel. Hopefully you can get a vehicle with better mileage than that but I think your $6,000 will come close to covering those expenses.

    However, what about other incidental costs of vehicle operations like oil changes, repairs, etc.? An older vehicle will likely need new tires and you would want to get it serviced by a good mechanic before leaving on your trip. All these costs can really add up.

    $50 per day is quite slim for all your other expenses. Free camping is much harder to find in the US. Oh, if you have a vehicle that you can hide in, you can take your chances parking somewhere and sleeping but don't be surprised if you get a knock on your window in the middle of the night by a friendly cop. I suppose there are areas that might give you some kind of ticket for this. I really don't know. There are other websites that claim to give you good advice on finding free camping. You might google them but I don't know if I can recommend their suggestions. Some of them sound kinda goofy to me.

    One of our regular contributors does often sleep in her car at truck stations, meaning fuel stations that cater to long-haul truckers. She does buy something in their store/restaurant and let them know that she's sleeping in her car. You might try this. But you will need to shower eventually and the price of doing this can either be a shower fee at one of these truck stations or a campground fee or a hotel. YMCA's sometimes have day-use fees where you can use their facilities including the showers.

    Anyway, since you will likely have to pay for camping and showers periodically, and buy food, and have money for other incidentals, $50 per day for all three of you really seems way too tight of a budget to me. And I'm a cheap traveler, too. I could do it for a few days straight but, eventualy, I'd want to have a nice meal in a restaurant, or go into something that charges an entry fee, or have a drink or two, etc. It wouldn't take much to blow your budget for days.

    Well, your plans aren't impossible but you would have to be so very strict that I wonder what fun you could possibly have along the way. There's so much you won't be able to do and see on that tight of a budget.

    Just my 2 cents.

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