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  1. Default Advice for a Newbie!

    I'm a 69 year old retiree contemplating selling my condo, buying a small RV or travel trailer, and taking off across America solo. I'm a wildlife photographer, so the destinations that interest me are state and national parks, wildlife refuges, etc. I've never had a camper before (usually I just rent a local cabin when I travel), or done anything so ambitious and open ended. I would welcome any advice (and cautions) you may have for a complete novice road tripper.

    Thank you!

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

    Default That does sound like a heavenly trip to me.

    That does sound like a heavenly trip to me.

    The thing about RV's is that living in one, if you are going to be traveling quite a bit, is going to likely cost you about 30-40% more than you currently are spending for lodging . For most people the increase in costs is easily offset by by being "out-there."

    You will have all of the expenses of a normal stick house (or condo) plus things break on a regular basis. I lived in a custom-built 4-WD Class C motorhome for six years.

    Have you looked at some of the Class B "Vans?" They have the advantage of being able to park in more places than RV's or travel trailers. Here is a general overview of the various classes of RV's

    Thor is a good builder of Class B RV

    I personally really like the RoadTrek chassis.

    We are updating the RV Advice sections on RTA -- this is a long-term project, but here are some tips for solo RV'ers.

    Here's an article I write a few years back -- about solo travel -- but most of the advice still applies.

    Here are some more articles for a general introduction to this world.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Ft. Collins, CO.


    2020 saw record RV sales as people bought RVs so they could go social distance in campgrounds with everyone else.

    So you may encounter surprisingly large crowds compared to several years ago. (if you had any sense of crowding)

    Other than that, I don't have any advice as I motorcycle or jeep-camp when I camp.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    Mark speaks frankly when he states about RV's costing a little more to live in, overall. Yes, they do need repairs because your stick-house doesn't get bounced all over the roads. I am a former RV'er and my parents owned an RV park (a major franchise property), so I've had many breakdown stories and heard many others as well. Still, the lifestyle has a lot of positives: if you don't like your neighbor, change sites or campgrounds; if you get somewhere and the campsites are full up, go ask a truck stop if it's okay for you to park overnight to catch some zz's (just don't put out the awning or the grill); move on when you're ready; sit by your tires and watch the world go by. RV'ers are far more friendly than folks in an ordinary hotel. In a hotel, you'll be lucky to get a "hi" or a nod as you pass someone in the hall. In an RV park, folks will stop and talk.

    As for crowds -- the popular national parks will always be crowded. As a nature photographer, you may want to stick to the lesser known national parks, wildlife conservation areas, which are generally less popular. Some state parks are more popular than others.

    We have an entire forum with lists of public campgrounds along many of the US interstates, US highways, and scenic highways. These are lists of national and state parks, national and state forests, county and city parks that include camping facilities. You'll find that these vary widely in their amenities. You may find some with electrical and water hookups, and maybe a dump. Some will have just electrical. Others are so primitive that you have to bring in everything and pack it all out -- no trash service or porta-potties available. (I've tent camped in a few of those.)

    When you're shopping for a rig, and you want to know how well it is built, shut a cabinet door rather hard. When we were shopping for a rig, back in the 90s, we ruled out one brand in particular with that test.

    formerly: tents, pop up tent camper, and 5th wheel, plus travel trailer when still a kid

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