RVing across America?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by ranthony, May 24, 2008.

  1. ranthony

    ranthony DIS Veteran

    Mar 17, 2004
    Has anyone done this...either by renting an RV or using your own? Is this a budget way to travel?

    I've also considered driving across country and tent camping along the way with a hotel room thrown in here and there in case of bad weather.

    I've checked a site on-line that offers an RV for about a $1000 for a month in the summer but it only includes 2900 miles. We would be driving to Disneyland and back (of course) which would be at least 6,000 miles, not to mention any side trips to National Parks, etc. The charge is .32/per mile if you go over, so that would add another $1000 at least and we haven't even added gas in yet.

    What would be an optimal age for kids to take this type of trip?

    Any other ideas/opinions would be appreciated.

  2. yoopermom

    yoopermom Come join Bravo by the fire...

    Sep 27, 2000
    You might want to post this on the camping section of the disboards as well, since you might get more responses there.

    IMHO, as a motorhome owner, I wouldn't travel any other way. My "own bed" at night, make meals when I want to, nice clean/safe/fun campgrounds to stay at, etc. It is not necessarily cheaper than staying at Motel 6s or the like, what with gas prices, but so much nicer and more convenient not to have to "lug your stuff".

    I think rental would get quite expensive (usually a base fee plus mileage plus plus plus), but we do have friends who rented one and drove it to the Black Hills and back and really enjoyed themselves. If you have a large enough vehicle (full size truck or SUV), consider buying a popup or small trailer (a used one would hardly cost you more than a rental of a class A or C).

    This is our "dream trip" and will happen someday. Kids of all ages love to camp, so pack them up and go!

  3. Avatar


    to hide this advert.
  4. ceecee

    ceecee DIS Veteran

    Apr 6, 2001
    I wouldn't want to think about the cost for gas. Neighbors of ours had an RV and got 8 miles to a gallon!
  5. PrincessMom98

    PrincessMom98 Mouseketeer

    Aug 24, 2002
    ITA with yoopermom.
    We did this last summer in our 5th wheel. It was an awesome trip. We took 6 six weeks and hit a lot of National Parks. We were going to wait until our kids were the perfect age but we had the time and the camper so we just went for it, they were 20 months, 4 and 8. My budget stuff is on my other computer, but I remember that the fuel cost was around $2000. It sounds like a lot but we almost always ate our meals in the camper which really cut down on food costs. Also campgrounds are cheaper than hotels so I still think it was cheaper than staying in hotels. The part that you can't put a price on the convenience of having your own stuff in your own place. I think that the kids traveled much better because they had a familiar place to eat and sleep each night. We also took the dog which saved a huge dog sitter/kennel bill (I don't think I could have left him that long anyway). If you want some more info on our trip or our final budget just ask. I love reliving the details!
  6. OlyWaguy

    OlyWaguy Needs more leg room!!

    Aug 8, 2007
    We rented from Cruise America RV 2 years ago and drove from Washington State to DL and had a good time.

    It really depends on what your after in a vacation. We were looking for some family bonding time (mom was recovering from a heart attack) instead of hitting the Disney parks even tho that was our ultimate goal.

    If you want to see Disney and spend some time there then driving probably won't be the solution. We spent 2 days at DL on our 8 day vacation.

    Wow, I'd hate to think what it would cost us today with the price of gas, I definitely won't be doing that again anytime soon.

    This is how we decide things.
    Make a list of the pros and cons of each form of travel, prioritize them and even give them a value. If you really do some brainstorming, you'll see the answer staring at you. It's that easy. It works for us.

    Have a nice day!
  7. LeslieG

    LeslieG DIS Veteran

    Feb 22, 2005
    We have a motor home, and you really need to figure in the cost of gas/fuel, because it may shock you to find out how much it will cost.
  8. LisaNJ25

    LisaNJ25 DIS Veteran<br><font color=aqua>I paid $300 back i

    Jul 3, 2000
    which online site did you find for 1000 for a month? That sounds cheap. I looked into it before but it seemed really $$. Now with the cost of gas it would be nuts.

    There is cruise america location right by me but its approx 2000 for 1 week in august with 700 miles
  9. pammypooh

    pammypooh DIS Veteran

    Apr 14, 2003
    We did this trip from Philly in 2004. We have a motorhome that we bought specifically with this trip in mind. Best investment ever, btw. Before the motorhome, we had a pop-up - I would not advise this type of a trip with a pop-up - reason being you drive alot of miles in a day, and the last thing we wanted to do was to spend another hour setting up camp. With the motorhome, you pull in, level it, plug it in, connect hoses and you are done.
    We began by making a list of all the destinations that we hoped to be able to visit. Then we started planning the route. We had 5 weeks, we spent about 2 days in each major destination and could have used a little more time. Our highlights included: Colorado Springs (DH rode Bike tour down Pikes Peak!), Mesa Verde - Huge National Park, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, DL (where we stayed at the GC - complete splurge and worth every penny!), Yosemite, Giant Sequoia, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, Corn Palace, Wall Drug, Sister Bay Wisc. (Family), crossed Lake MI in Ferry (kind of cool way to go), Pittsburgh (more Family) and back to Philly.
    We really had a great time. We planned on eating no more than one meal a day out of MH. Mixed it up - sometimes breakfast, others lunch/dinner. Our MH got about 12 Miles per gallon. (Diesel)
    Consider buying a used motorhome instead of renting, then selling when done the trip. Good luck in planning, we hope to do this again in another year or so.
  10. blackforest

    blackforest Mouseketeer

    Jan 31, 2000
    I see that you are from New Jersey. Would you be driving from there also? If so, check into flying into a closer area then only getting the motor home locally. Savings all around and more days of "vacation", plus you won't have the expense of driving cross-country.
  11. mom2twinz3

    mom2twinz3 <marquee behavior=alternate><font color=deeppink>t

    Jan 21, 2003
    This is my "someday dream" vacation also. I wish you luck. I know it's pricey with gas right now, but if you can afford it, it has to be a wonderful way to see some of our beautiful country.

  12. luv2nascar

    luv2nascar <font color=purple>You're a wizard Harry. And a th

    May 17, 2000
    They had a piece on the news yesterday about how fuel pricing is adversely affecting rving at nascar races. They showed a guy fill his RV for $516 :scared1: :eek: :scared1:
    They said the average price to fill an RV is over $500 now. I have no idea how far that would go but I have to fill my van 3 times to get to Florida. You want to go to CA $5000 in fuel would not be worth it to me at current costs.
  13. minkydog

    minkydog DIS Cast Member

    Dec 8, 2004
    We did a cross country RV trip last summer, when gas costs ran about $3.25 out west (and my Dh thought that was highway robbery!) 6000 miles pulling a travel trailer. It was the trip of a lifetime, but it was expensive. We spent about $200 a day on gas alone. As someone else pointed out, you only get about 8 mpg when you're towing. Less than that going over the Rockies. Staying in campgrounds is a lot cheaper than staying in hotels, but it still averaged us $25 a night or more (we need electricity to run medical equipment). Of course, we were able to cook our meals and we didn't eat out much, so there were savings there. But we spent that on sightseeing.

    I wouldn't consider this kind of a vacation a money-saving vacation. You take this kind of trip because you want to , you planned it well, and you find value in this kind of vacation. I think we probably spent close to $10,000 (not including the cost of buying the RV and the tow vehicle.)

    I have to say, we had a blast! It was the most expensive, most wonderful vacation we've ever had. We hit 14 National Parks and 22 states. I don't regret one dollar spent.
  14. BellePrincessBelle

    BellePrincessBelle <font color=green>Nothing says Thanksgiving like s

    Nov 19, 2006
    I'd also like to know what dealer the OP is renting from the best quotes I could get was around 2,500 a week with 700 mi. inc. anything above extra. We've looked at all the major dealers and local mom & pop rv dealers and the quotes are with in a few bucks of each other for a 30ft no slide class c.
  15. MrsPete

    MrsPete DIS Veteran

    Feb 24, 2002
    DH and I have long-discussed taking our daughters on a cross-country driving trip, and our original plan was to rent an RV and do just what you're proposing. However, as they grew older and nearer to the ages we've chosen as "perfect", we picked out the summer of 2009 and started putting together numbers for this dream trip . . . and we quickly nixed the RV idea. When we looked at all the numbers, we decided that our trip'll be a hotel trip.

    Our reasoning:
    -- We were amazed at the cost of renting an RV. We have no interest in owning one, nor do we know anyone from whom we could borrow/barter.
    -- The gas mileage was horrible, and it wasn't going to be the only cost: an RV rental in a campsite runs $25-75, which would add up to a good bit of money during a month-long trip!
    -- Our trip plans involve some city travel, and we don't like the idea of driving a big RV through downtown Chicago or Philadelphia.
    -- We don't really want to tow a vehicle behind the RV (and I assume that would lower the gas mileage even further), nor do we want to be without run-around-town transportation.

    We also compared the cost of using a pop-up or tent camping, but it just seemed too labor-intensive to keep up for a whole month, especially after long days of driving. Plus we didn't look forward to the idea of having no air conditioning in July. And tent camping (family-sized tent plus sleeping bags, pillows, and sleeping mats for four people) would've meant driving our small SUV instead of our Honda -- that would've been a huge problem for our gas budget.

    Though it initially didn't look like the best choice, we decided to go with hotels. DH has "points" from work travel that'll add up to a large number of free rooms, and I'm very good at getting Priceline hotels for pennies on the dollar. This option means we'll have less luggage, and we'll be able to travel lightly enough to be comfortable in the Honda. Even with a few "splurge" hotels inside the national parks, the accomodations portion of our trip will cost less than gas or food.
  16. ilovejack02

    ilovejack02 <font color=peach>what do you all think?<br><font

    Aug 8, 2006
    I love love love love camping in any form! We have done the luxury huge Rv , to pop ups, to travel trailers and lastly 10 days tent camping at Fort Wilderness last Oct.

    I find our camping experiences some of the best times we have had together as a family.

    With that being said there is NOTHING budget about camping with the crazy gas prices and I just hate it!

    We thought about bringing our new travel trailer to Disney in Sept, but it would cost us a small fortune and we will be flying instead and staying at one of the Pop resorts. I am so disappointed.. there is nothing like staying at Fort Wilderness!
  17. nessz79

    nessz79 DIS Veteran

    Feb 13, 2007
    We bought a used motorhome for $5500. It's a Class C - not very big, but big enough for our family of 4 and it has everything we need. A full kitchen, bathroom, 2 beds, etc. plus the necessities of a/c (we live in Florida).

    It's a pretty old motorhome (1985) but is in excellent condition. We had to invest some initial money in new tires, belts, and a little tune-up, but it's still an incredible value. We figure it will pay for itself within a few years.

    Since it's a smaller motorhome at 24 feet, it is pretty easy to drive around town compared to a full-size RV. It's not great gas mileage at 7-10 mpg, but we're saving with staying at campgrounds and cooking at least 1-2 meals per day instead of eating out. Think about it this way: whether you're traveling or not, you have to buy groceries to eat every week so there's no additional cost of eating unless you choose to eat out once or twice a day. That's a personal choice. If you compare eating at the RV/motorhome every meal with eating out every meal (like you would need to do w/o one), you could be saving $100/day or more, depending on your family.

    You are also saving money on motels, unless you're staying at the cheapest hotels possible. Let's stay you want to stay at an average motel/hotel of about $80/night...nothing fancy. You could be saving anywhere from $0-60/night, depending on where you stay. A stay at Fort Wilderness in the peak season won't save you any money compared to an off-site hotel, for example (of course you get sooooo much more at FW). However, if you're going to stay at a National Park, you could be paying only $20-30/night, or even less for no hookups.

    Sorry this is so long. I could write more if you have any questions!
  18. disneyfan55

    disneyfan55 DIS Veteran

    Aug 27, 2007
    We have driven cross country in a car 6 times in the past. Three years ago we were going to rent an RV (cruise america) and its cost for a month in down season was over 6000 just to rent with 6000 miles factored in. The price you received is really inexpensive and I hope you check to see what really is included and what is not. We decided to purchase a small trailer that was brand new for 10,000. We did already own a truck that could tow it which helped make our decision. Although we haven't done the cross country with the trailer yet, we do plan to. Visting the National Parks was the major focus on the other 6 trips and would be on any future ones.

    Forgot to mention. For the first 3 trips my children were 6 and 8, 7 and 9 and 9 and 11 in the later 1980s. The last 3 were just with my husband in 2003, 2004 and 2005. The kids had the trips of their lives and talk still of all the places, National parks and sites they saw. We, too, are from NJ and have driven to WDW and not camped at least 25 times, the children were from 0 to 30!

Share This Page