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  1. Default Ending in Seattle

    We are on the east coast and heading to Seattle next summer for a family wedding. We want to take advantage of being together with our 21 year old and 15 year old, with much needed down time. We would like to fly out to somewhere in southwest/ northwest and take a family RV trip approximately 10 days one way And ending in Seattle. Things we like : amazing views, activities, not all day driving. Would love to hear about possible routes. Maybe starting south, or possibly even Grand Canyon. We are all over the board. Appreciate any advice!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default All Over the Board, Indeed

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    With little more than a destination and a time frame, it really is tough to offer much specific advice. I would say one of the larger determinants in figuring out where to start and what you can do would be to figure out where you can get a one-way RV rental at a reasonable cost. Notice I said 'reasonable' and not inexpensive. One way rentals on any RV large enough to keep four adults from each others' throats over a week and a half are going to be considerable. And don't be fooled by the base rental price. You also have to pay extra for 'equipment' - kitchen supplies, bedding, eating utensils, etc. Then there's typically a mileage charge as well (unlike the unlimited mileage you might be used to on car rentals), and the cost of a spot to park it each night. So that's really your first order of business. Start checking out some of the larger rental companies such as Cruise America, El Monte RV, Apollo RV and others to see what one-way RV rental deals they may have on offer in the western US. I would suggest that you go to their websites, get a phone number, and talk to a real human agent who can help guide you to the best deal that they may have to fit your needs.

    But even before you do that, I would strongly urge you to cut back on your expectations. RVs are ungainly on the road, and despite what you may think take a fair bit of time to get parked, set-up and ready for a night's 'camping', and then more time the next morning to get everything stowed away for travel, get from you secluded campground to the nearest actual highway and back making ground towards Seattle. I would be very surprised if you could, say, fly to Phoenix, rent an RV, get familiar with it, and then get to Seattle via the Grand Canyon, a red rock park or two in Utah, some of the Cascades and finally some of the northern Pacific coast all in ten days, especially if those ten days include your two flying days. Bear in mind as well that the 'estimated drive times' that you will get from computer-based mapping programs are a total fantasy even when you're driving the family sedan at a steady 75 mph on the Interstates. In an RV on the two-lane roads of the magnificent inter-mountain west, I'd double the times they give you. I'd probably try for a 'start' to this trip in either Salt Lake City or San Francisco, so as to leave yourselves time to actually get out and enjoy the places you can get to between those cities and Seattle.

    But again, your first order of business is to start contacting RV rental companies and see what kind of a deal you can get on a one way rental, and whether that fits into your plans and budget.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I'm largely in agreement with Buck. Certainly you could rent and RV in Vegas or Phoenix, go to the Grand Canyon, and make your way up to Seattle in 10 days, but I also think it will be far more expensive than you might expect and you'll end up being more rushed than you're thinking.

    If it was me, I'd think about sticking to the Pacific Northwest for this trip. Going from Seattle out to Olympic National Park, down the coast into Oregon a way, then head back inland and swing past Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier on the way back to Seattle. That would be more than enough to fill 10 days, and would be a lot cheaper and more relaxed than trying to squeeze in all of the west into that relatively short period of time, especially when you talked about needing some down time as part of your initial question.

  4. Default

    My Phoenix to Seattle RV trip.

    My first ever RV trip was a Cruise America one-way special. If I recall, it was $29 per day, insurance included, 2000 free miles, and no one-way fee. An absolute bargain.

    It was their smaller RV of about 25 feet and felt like driving my minivan. Since then I've rented longer RVs but found them to be much less fun to drive because they seem to wander all over the road. Stick to a shorter one if possible.

    I used their Rolling Out Of Arizona special. These are freshly refurbished RVs being relocated to be sold. They are repainted and look like new.

    They give you a limited number of "nights" at the low price. I believe it was 7. You would think that gives you 8 days. This just isn't enough! You MUST add several more days at the full price. You must arrange this when making the reservation. Realize that 7 nights/ 8 days is really 6 full days! The first day is the afternoon when you pick up the RV. It will take several HOURS especially if you didn't bother to review the orientation videos online ahead of time. You'll be looking for a campsite before you get very far. The last day is the morning you return the RV. Be forewarned that there is an extreme penalty for a late return!

    Our trip including some National Parks was 2400 miles and even adding several days it seemed rushed.

    Also take into account the time it will take to pick up/drop off the rental car at each end of the trip, unless you're using a taxi. Cruise America doesn't offer airport transportation.

    They also offer One Way relocation specials at a % discount off their normal rates. It could be anywhere from 10% off to 95% off! I lucked out and paid $4 per day several years ago and drove from San Francisco to Phoenix via the PCW. You get 200 free miles per day, insurance included, no drop off fee. This is a better option if you can find it because they offer a lot more days.

    These specials come and go; some sell out the day they are posted. They are usually short notice, perhaps a month or two ahead of time.

    You'll likely need reservations for the National Parks, especially Zion. By the way, if you visit ZIon be sure to do the Narrows Walk up the virgin river.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by travelingman; 09-22-2018 at 05:55 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default There is an advantage in using an RV Outfitter

    Given the constraints of your trip -- I would suggest you look at using a RV outfitter. The huge advantage is that they can take care of most of the logistical details of your trip -- pre-checking the RV, outfitting it, booking campsites, arranging for supplies and your only tasks are then limited to driving from point A to point B and so forth.

    Plus, since they do this every day of the year, they have a firm grasp on how long it takes to drive an RV from one place to another and their routing suggestions can make a huge difference when someone, like yourselves, is trying to fit a large trip into a small time window.

    Without doubt, the best RV outfitter in the business is Tracks and Trails Even if you elect not to use them, I recommend checking out their website. It is chock-full of ideas and gorgeous photography. The site has lots of useful information, but to save you time, here is how they do their pricing. One thing you'll realize is that their company is based on similar philosophies that you will find here and a part of that is that you will need to give them as much information about what kind of vacation RV trip you want to do. They can plan just about any scale trip you can dream of -- what they can't do is bend the rules of space and time. Like Midwest Michael mentioned above -- driving an RV takes more time than you might expect and there are no "Real" shortcuts. I lived and worked in a RV for 6.5 years continuously so I have an appreciation for the pluses and minuses of what you are envisioning. Some of our moderators have driven thousands of miles in RV's as part of their road trips -- it can be a fantastic way to travel -- but you have to allow 3+ "extra hours" every day for set-up/striking from camp sites.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-22-2018 at 08:18 AM. Reason: more detail

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    I would agree that doing a loop trip in and out of Seattle would be better suited to your time frame and would be much more budget friendly. Michaels suggestion is a good one where you could also drive through the Historic Columbia river Gorge and admire the waterfalls making a very relaxed trip with time to enjoy the areas you visit.

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