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  1. Default Western US Roadtrip with 10 weeks to kill...starting the first week of June.

    Starting from Seattle, looking to hit lots of California, GrandCanyon, Utah, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. Lots of National Parks (for which we have no reservations because we're planning late!), fishing, swimming, hiking, national monuments etc. Family of 4 (10 and 7 year olds). My main question is, should I go with: 1) The RV/Sprinter Van with the intermittent motel. or 2) The minivan with camping gear and lots of motels. Anyone who can speak to the pros/cons here would be great. I'm mostly concerned with it getting hot as Hades during the night, and not being able to sleep. Secondary consideration for refrigeration (we have some dietary restrictions). Other big questions I should be asking?

    thanks,
    HappySisyphus

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,951

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Whether to do an RV or the car/motel is a matter of both preference and personal budget. Normally, an RV isn't necessarily a budget-friendly choice. Not only do you have to consider the rental of the vehicle and all of its "packages" (linen package, campfire package, etc) that add up the costs, you have to realize that the fuel and the mileage costs could put it way OVER the cost of a car and a motel room.

    You might want to look at this article here on RTA. It really speaks right on.

    Most RV's will come with air conditioning units (as long as you have an electrical hookup with which to run it). As far as the dietary restrictions, many motel rooms have refrigerators and microwave ovens, and you can carry a cooler. That's what my husband and I, ex-RV'ers, do.


    Donna

  3. Default

    Hot!

    Nighttime temperatures at Lower elevations will be quite hot while higher elevations could be downright freezing, depending on where youíre going.

    If you get an RV, there are some serious considerations regarding AC.

    While driving, you may do just fine with the factory AC coming out of the dashboard.

    Know that the AC unit on the roof of the RV runs on ac current. Thatís right, 120 volt just like your house!

    On hot nights, make sure your campground site has 120 volt ac to run your AC! Also check the minimum amperage your AC unit needs. Do you need 120 v 30 amp OR do you need 50 amp? Youíll likely have to pay extra.

    What if you donít have ac at your campsite? You must not run the engine to get AC from the dashboard!!!

    Or, what if youíre driving with the dash AC going full blast and itís still too hot? Well, the RV surely has a generator that can supply the 120v ac!

    Be aware that the RV company will likely charge you for using the generator; likely $3 per hour. Also be aware that the generator runs off gasoline that it pulls from the gas tank. Typically it uses one gallon per hour.

    So, with gas around $3 per gallon, it might cost you $6 per hour or $48 per night to keep cool! Over 10 weeks in hot weather that could run thousands!

    By the way, the generator will automatically be disabled when you run the gas down to about 1/4 tank, so you donít get stranded without gas in the morning.

    The RV will also come with a fridge that can run all 24 hours per day.

  4. Default

    Thank you for these comments and considerations. I had not thought about the details on things like the geni, and cost per hour. And thanks for the link DonnaR57. I'm starting to lean more toward the mini-Van option now. I also had a friend say that the RV is better for shorter (relatively) trips and longer stays. Given I'm looking to go 5000 miles over 45 days, with a lot of 1 or 2 night stays, I don't think this qualifies the RV. Thoughts on that?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,181

    Default

    An RV can be great with a family but with a trip of 5000 miles you could face charges of $1750 for the mileage and $1500 for fuel before you consider rental costs, campground fees, generator use etc. Cost aside, there are many advantages such as having a home on wheels that provide bathroom facilities and fully equipped kitchens. Personally I would start looking at lodging options/campgrounds around any 'Hot spots' you plan to visit as the less options available the more you may have to travel and often the only options left are the high end (expensive) or the flea pits that no one wants. Have you considered renting a car and looking for family cabins along with Motel rooms ? You can find cabins in some places that are located in campgrounds with fire pits etc to give you the outdoors experience without the hassle of setting up a tent for a night.

  6. Default

    Thanks Southwest Dave, that's good advice. It's those 'hot spots' really that will add the cost of lodging. I do like the idea of those family cabins/homes. I should add the air b&b checklist to this. Thanks all for the great advice, I needed these for my calculations on cost vs. convenience.

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