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  1. Default 2 week out West RVing Trip

    My family is planning a two week out west RVing trip traveling to several different destinations from The badlands all the way down to the Grand Canyon with other places in between. Its a large extended family trip, so we will have 5 RVs in total, 1 for each family. I guess my question is, does it make sense to utilize the RV for all the trips, knowing there are a few times where we will be staying at the same campground for multiple nights, driving the RV back and forth each day, or does anyone have any advice on potential car rental ideas for day trips to minimize driving an RV everywhere. I don't have an issue driving an RV, just seems like a lot to do when a rental car that you pull behind the RV could be an option.

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,722

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I don't think there is a one size fits all answer here.

    Certainly, if you are going to be staying in one spot for a few days, then, yes, I could see where renting a car could be easier than setting up and tearing down camp every day, not to mention finding parking for 5 RVs. But the devil is also in the details.

    Are these RVs you own, or are they rental RVs? If they are you own RVs, have you considered using your own car as a toad that you could use for exploring?

    Small Class C RVs or Big Class As? If you're talking a big class A with slide outs, that's going to take more time to get on the road.

    Perhaps most importantly, what does your itinerary look like. 2 weeks to get from the Badlands to the Grand Canyon, especially in a caravan of 5 RVs that will take a lot more time for travel, sounds like a pretty rushed trip, but would depend upon exactly where you are going and how long you are staying in those places. Several National Parks do have shuttle services, which would be the easiest answer most of the the time, but again, that depends upon the specifics of each park.

    The one thing you mentioned that I don't think would work is pulling a rental car behind the RV. Unless you're pulling it on a full trailer, I'm reasonably confident that would violate the terms of most car rental agreements. Similarly, if you are renting the RVs, I don't think they will allow towing either. If you are looking to rent a car, I think you'd have to rent from a car rental location in the closest town to whereever you are staying for a few days.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,660

    Default Tell us more.

    The other question would be, how many people in total ? If there is 4 or 5 in each RV you will need to hire more than one vehicle !! If you are all couples you could look at the possibility of 2 families sharing an RV so that you take 4 RV's and also hire a 12 seater mini bus for the trip. We have rented 5 RV's on 5 different occasions and have never felt that going out in the RV has been a problem, although we are rarely in the same spot for more than 2 nights. If you give us more detail and more info on how your trip looks we may be able to help more. What I would say is that booking campgrounds should be a priority if you all want to stay together, it can be difficult enough finding one site in a NP campground.

  4. Default

    Got it, here is more info. we have 5 RVs because it is 5 families of different sizes (parents and kids ages ranging from 5-10). Right now we've considered visiting the following places, but we are a little over 2 years out from our trip, so its still being finalized: Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Devils Tower, Big Horn Forest, Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest.

    Every family will be renting an RV and we will be traveling together in a caravan. We figured we'd fly out (coming from Ohio) and rent the RVs somewhere out west (Denver maybe). The plan was for everyone to drive their RV to each destination everyday. While I think I've heard from people this is common on a trip like this, I also have spent my life camping locally with my family and know set-up and tear down every day can be a bit much. My thought was on days when we are staying at the same campground, it seems goofy to pack up the RV to drive to your destination to come back and set it up again at the same spot. The caveat here is that I'm unsure if there are actually places to rent cars close to where we will be staying, and I haven't looked into the idea of even seeing if you can tow a rental car behind a rental RV.

    Ultimately I'm trying to avoid unnecessary hassle of dealing with an RV everyday, when that time could be sent getting to the destinations quicker.




    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    The other question would be, how many people in total ? If there is 4 or 5 in each RV you will need to hire more than one vehicle !! If you are all couples you could look at the possibility of 2 families sharing an RV so that you take 4 RV's and also hire a 12 seater mini bus for the trip. We have rented 5 RV's on 5 different occasions and have never felt that going out in the RV has been a problem, although we are rarely in the same spot for more than 2 nights. If you give us more detail and more info on how your trip looks we may be able to help more. What I would say is that booking campgrounds should be a priority if you all want to stay together, it can be difficult enough finding one site in a NP campground.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,660

    Default Quicker overall? Not so sure.

    Ultimately I'm trying to avoid unnecessary hassle of dealing with an RV everyday, when that time could be sent getting to the destinations quicker.
    To be honest I have never felt it that much of a big deal. Sure you got to travel smart, but just putting things in cupboards securely etc isn't that time consuming if you are organised. And would you actually save any time having to travel to car rental counters and back and do the paperwork, how would you get to the rental location ? Or if it's even possible, how would it compare to towing cars behind you that would slow you more and it could make visiting some destinations between camp locations tricky to get to. And that's before you consider the cost of how many vehicles you would need to carry you all. There's no right or wrong answer, it's what suits you but it's not as clear cut as you may think. At least you have time to figure things out as a group and thats what you really need to do for a smooth argument free trip ! I would have a lot of meetings with everyone having there say on what their goals and aspirations are. This could be a good place to start light hearted discussions, the RTA Roadtrip compatibility test.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,095

    Default The 'Toad' Concept

    While I'm not an RV enthusiast myself, my son-in-law's parents are. Every winter/spring they come out to Arizona from the Midwest in their RV and spend a fair amount of time here. When they do, they get a trailer hitch and tow their sedan behind their RV. That's a towed vehicle or 'toad' in RV lingo. It works very well for them, as they can leave their RV in the park, fully hooked up and without having to secure everything inside before taking short drives. I don't know if that will work for you, but it seems as though you're already into this trip for a considerable amount of money. So I would suggest that you contact whomever you're going to be renting the RVs from and ask them if they offer cars and hitches. They should be familiar with the concept, even if they don't offer the service. And I don't think you'd need 5 toads. Typically on car rentals you can specify a second driver for no increase in rental fees, so if you got two such rentals that would take care of four families and you could probably add the fifth to one of the rentals for relatively little additional cost. And in the end, everything gets returned to the same town, if not the same rental location, getting rid of any one-way drop off fees.

    AZBuck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,104

    Default

    How many people total, adults and kids? How many can drive?

  8. Default

    Forget the car.

    Two weeks is a very short time to visit all your destinations. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and your caravan will be as fast as its slowest driver. I’ve rented several
    Class C RVs and they drive like the trucks that they are, especially at highway speeds. My longest trip was 2400 miles and I was happy to finish each day’s drive!

    How many days do you really have? Let’s see. Two weeks is 16 days. You fly in on Saturday and somehow get to the RV rental place. If you all rent from the same place, they might have one or two people available to process you and go over the RV with you. Five RVs could take up hours! So, your first day is shot! Now, you’ve really got 15 days.

    But! You probably have to turn in your RVs before noon on Sunday. So now you’re down to 14 days on the road. But if your rental place is like Cruise America, they’ll be closed on Sunday. You’ll have to turn them in on Saturday! So now you’re down to 13 days.

    You mention flying into Denver? That’s a full day’s drive to the Badlands, your first destination.

    Most of your destinations deserve a full day, two night stay. Bryce for sure. Zion deserves two. You MUST spend a day doing the NARROWS WALK up the Virgin River. It could be the highlight of your trip. Both parks have shuttle services. Yellowstone deserves two or three full days. It is an ENORMOUS place and having an RV can be a convenience. You’re taking your restroom and kitchen with you!

    I think I’d forget about the car, or at least focus more on getting reservations in the National Parks as soon as they are available. That will have the greatest impact in your vacation.

    If you’re still worried about hauling an RV around, then think smaller! A 25 foot class C feels like driving a minivan and is relatively nimble to get around. Even a 32 foot class C takes up much less space than a 40 foot class A, although the ride will be great.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    11,660

    Default Loving the drive !

    posted by travelingman. Let’s see. Two weeks is 16 days.
    We only get 7 days a week here in the UK ! Now I feel really robbed. Haha. (Its OK I get the weekend thing if it's applicable in this case)

    My longest trip was 2400 miles and I was happy to finish each day’s drive!
    Over how many days was this ? Our last RV trip we covered around 3700 miles in 16 days. We all have different travel styles and tolerances but I didn't find it a chore at all and I'm always happy behind the wheel of anything, especially an RV. It is important to balance your time though, getting out and seeing the sites, down time etc (which we do) and with 5 families in 5 vehicles it's going to be time consuming and important not to feel rushed.

    Dave.

  10. Default

    That 2400 miles included three Consecutive 600 mile days. We stayed too long in my beloved Zion again, and the one way rental had to be at its destination on time to avoid severe penalties. Since then, I’ve planned my RV trips much better.

    I DID get a full day in walking The Narrows though!

    In my experience with RVs from Cruise America and Camping World, the ride is rough and the RV is pushed around by the wind a lot. They also tend to “wander” due to the short wheelbase. This is especially true above 65 mph. That’s why you’ll usually find me in the “slow” lane.

    But I do love RV vacations!

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