So here is a summary of our latest RV trip from the UK, (a journey of 3500 miles from Los Angeles to Olympic NP in the Pacific Northwest and back again) including costs. You can see the full trip report here.
Having repeatedly checked costs on line over a few weeks to familiarise myself with average flight costs, I recognised a good deal when it came up, it was just a case of whether or not it was genuine. Having chased a few false leads that advertised cheap flights, only to follow a link to say they were no longer available, I noticed that Travelbag , a company we had booked flights with before and found to be good and reliable had a special offer. I clicked on the link and after a phone call to our travel companions, we were booked on a direct flight to LA that offered the best deal available at that time by far. The booking and ticket system was very simple and straight forward. We flew out with Delta and back with Virgin. Even though we had a 2 hour delay on departure both flights were comfortable as could be expected with pleasant staff and the Virgin plane was very good.
Flight cost. £560 per person/ $ $873. Total for 4 £2240 / $3492.
Mercure Hotel, Heathrow. The Mercure hotel was 5 minutes away from our terminal. Although an added expense we find that it is a far more relaxed travel day with the long journey ahead and is worth it. All the last minute 'panics' were all taken care of when we left the night before, we didn't have to face the notorious M25 traffic in the morning traffic and allow plenty of time for the journey. Instead we had a relaxing breakfast and a quick cab ride to the airport.
Cost. £152 / $236 for 2 double rooms.
Hotel, Venice beach suites. Lovely location on Venice beach and an easy drive from the airport on arrival.
£248 / $387 for 2 double rooms.
Total. £400 / $624
Car rentals .
As we had to pick up and drop off the RV at Carson City it was actually cheaper to rent a car either end of our trip then to use cabs and it was far more convenient. Rentalcars.com always offer good rates for overseas visitors and after comparing prices we used them again. Good straightforward service and the cars we chose were from National. We found them to be friendly and efficient and the vehicles were very good. On arrival the Grand caravan was spacious and comfortable for 4 people and all their luggage. The Suburban [a free upgrade] was excellent.
Total. £80 / $ 127
After research we chose Cruise America at the Carson City branch having had a successful experience with the Denver branch. After working out all the charges we still fund them to be the most competitive. After much consideration we went with the 'Intermediate' 27ft RV having done 2 previous trips in a 30ft. The body was more streamlined offering a quieter ride and supposedly better mpg, although we didn't witness any real change here. It was also slightly narrower which was handy on the narrow mountain roads, the type of roads we spend a majority of time. It was slightly smaller inside but didn't make a noticeable difference. The vehicle we were given was not great in the fact that it had been well used. With 100,000 miles on the clock and scrapes and bumps all around it, it didn't fill me with joy when I clapped eyes on it. In side we inspected it only to find there were a couple of broken hinges and the doors were about to fall off so we waited an extra 20 mins while they bodged it with bigger screws. Once on the road it was mechanically sound and clean inside so it wasn't a big deal to us, but others may have had a different opinion. The one bonus was that I could of scraped it just about anywhere and it would have been over a scrape already accounted for !! The LA branch were OK but their customer service skills were not a patch on the Denver crew, other than the guy who done the orientation with us that is.
OK for first time RV renters, take note it is not something to do as a budget friendly option !
Initial rental. $944
kitchen kit. $100
Personal kits. $220
mileage charges. $1205 [34c per mile]
State tax. $222
Total RV cost £1740 / $2694.5 or $168 per night for 4.
Wait though, there is more ! We have to pay campground fees and fuel costs are higher than a car, so do your homework as we did.
£26 / $40 per night average. [One night free]
Cheapest: Manzanita lake. Lassen @ £11.50 / $18 Dearest: Malibu beach @ £52:50 / $82.
16 nights total = £416 / $651
374 gallons at an average of $2.97 per gallon. Total. £720 / $1110
Fuel consumption was around 9.5mpg.
National parks pass. £50 / $80
Food/entertainment. £1500 / $2350 [Estimate]
Total trip cost for 4 adults. £7,146 / $11,128