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Old 07-31-2010, 06:10 PM   #101
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I know it's futile, but this is how I justify the RV purchase to the wife:

No RV: at least $100 a night for the kind of hotels we would feel comfortable booking. RV: about $40 a night on average for a campground?

No RV: skip breakfast, eat 2 meals out per day, I figure $40 per day for 2 people (seems low for the kind of food we like to eat).
RV: cook our own meals, about $20 per day for 2 people (that's what we spend at home)

So assuming RV carrying costs of $5,000 per year, the break even point would be around 2 months on the road. Not bad at all. I dream of spending the summers up north (Maine, Vermont, Quebec...). Bama summers start getting to me.

The ability to sleep in your bed each night, travel with the pets, and eat homemade food while touring the continent on your own terms, priceless...
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Old 07-31-2010, 06:40 PM   #102
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The way I figure it is you would need to stay in it four to five months a year to break even vs. a $50 motel room.
It would take me four to five months just to get over staying in a $50 a night hotel room... possibly as long as a year.
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Old 07-31-2010, 06:42 PM   #103
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...So assuming RV carrying costs of $5,000 per year, the break even point would be around 2 months on the road. Not bad at all.
Stay on the road even longer. The more you travel, the more you save.
But if you are going to live in it for 3-4 months, wouldn't you need something larger? And a toad for even more convenient excursions?

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I dream of spending the summers up north (Maine, Vermont, Quebec...). Bama summers start getting to me.
Oh man, just think of it this way. A RV+toad is cheaper than a 2nd home.

PS. Of course when comparing RVs to a 2nd home, I mean a more modest RV and not one of those monstrous 45 footers. And yes, RVs sometimes leak, but dealing with these leaks is a lot easier than dealing with home roof leaks. Or having to stain the exterior, and the deck.
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Old 07-31-2010, 06:44 PM   #104
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...spending the summers up north (Maine, Vermont, Quebec...). Bama summers start getting to me.

The ability to sleep in your bed each night, travel with the pets, and eat homemade food while touring the continent on your own terms, priceless...
"Priceless" is the correct word... however, inadequate it may be.
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Old 07-31-2010, 07:51 PM   #105
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...RV: about $40 a night on average for a campground?
When we take to the road, I am thinking that we will want to stay in public parks and campgrounds as much as we can. There are all kinds of campgrounds run by the Fed, the States, and local governments such as counties and cities. These are the public amenities that I have overlooked for years because we never camped and only made day trips to the countryside from the hotel/motel in the cities. I have been studying the Web, and just this preparation is already fun for me.

We will do the reverse of how we traveled before. We will stay in the "wilderness" and take day trips to the cities.

And of course, there is nothing wrong with staying for one night in a cheap RV park along the road while in transit. We are still sleeping in our own bed, and cooking our own food, yes?

Regarding boondocking, here's an example I found on the Web. The writer did this boondocking trip in a fifth wheel. Imagine how much easier it would be with a smaller RV. I begin to wonder if my toad is going to be a liability. Nah! Just unhook it and have the wife drive it when the road gets narrow and the goin' gets tough.

RV Boondocking on the North Umpqua River, Oregon
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Old 07-31-2010, 07:56 PM   #106
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When we take to the road, I am thinking that we will want to stay in public parks and campgrounds as much as we can. There are all kinds of campgrounds run by the Fed, the States, and local governments such as counties and cities.
Good plan.

Don't forget to pick up one of these at your first opportunity - big savings at COE campgrounds and other Federal sites:

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America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Senior Pass. - Cost $10. America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Senior Pass This is a lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over. The pass provides access to, and use of, Federal recreation sites that charge an Entrance or Standard Amenity. The pass admits the pass holder and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas and pass holder + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, at per person fee areas (children under 16 are admitted free). The pass can only be obtained in person at the park. The Senior Pass provides a 50 percent discount on some Expanded Amenity Fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services. In some cases where Expanded Amenity Fees are charged, only the pass holder will be given the 50 percent price reduction. The pass is non-transferable and generally does NOT cover or reduce special recreation permit fees or fees charged by concessionaires.
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Old 07-31-2010, 08:03 PM   #107
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...This is a lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over...
Sadly, we still have a few years to go. No, I am not Bebel (Belmondo)
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Old 07-31-2010, 08:05 PM   #108
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Sadly, we still have a few years to go. No, I am not Bebel (Belmondo)
I said "at your first opportunity". Always nice to have something to look forward to...
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Old 07-31-2010, 09:19 PM   #109
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Audrey, off topic but...

Since you are now a resident of Mission, does that make you Missionaries?
I think there are more missions around San Antonio than around here! (but there is one).

Audrey
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Old 07-31-2010, 11:26 PM   #110
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We will do the reverse of how we traveled before. We will stay in the "wilderness" and take day trips to the cities.

And of course, there is nothing wrong with staying for one night in a cheap RV park along the road while in transit. We are still sleeping in our own bed, and cooking our own food, yes?
This is sounds so good to me. I'd do a combination of boondocking on Federal and state lands (and there is an abundance of it in the NW), State and National campgrounds, Walmart type of overnight stays and hotels. I would also do the occasional short visit to family and good friends who are scattered around the country.

I like the idea of a 19 - 21 foot van. We'd put one of these on the back of the van:

http://www.etrailer.com/tv-demo_thule_terapin_cargo_carrier_TH684.aspx

to store our backpacks, tent and blow up boats. Then park for days at a time and do over night backpacking trips or day hikes while spending the night in the van. After that we would move on to a campground with electrical hook up (for the luxury of laptops, AC, TV), then move on to a city and rent a hotel for a few nights. We would just wing it and go where ever sounds good.

I'm thinking we could start out cheap with a queen size air mattress, Coleman propane cooking stove, large cooler with a block of ice, and wag bag plus 5 gallon bucket or port-a-potty. If we enjoy this type of travel we could go to sportsmobile and have it upgraded.

We like to backpack, but it is getting more difficult to carry the backpacks for longer trips. A van would enable us to still get out and enjoy the wilderness in a way that accommodates our physical capabilities.

At the moment a Dodge or Chevy van sounds good for the stealth factor. I'd go with a forest green to blend with the forest. One thing I don't want to do is make it look like we have a lot of wealth. Some conversion vans look like regular vans and not like small RVs, I'd just like to blend and go unnoticed.

In addition to this, in the winter Id like to rent a house/condo/apartment for a month or two in various locations. We could use the van to travel there but live in the rented accomodations.

This just sounds so heavenly to me. I have been on call every other week for seven years now and I can't wait to have freedom to go when and where I want to go.

I have less than 3 years to RE; I can not wait.
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:40 AM   #111
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It would take me four to five months just to get over staying in a $50 a night hotel room... possibly as long as a year.
I am not knocking RV'ing God Bless you all I hope you have a good time. But on the pen and paper side I don't think it comes out on top money wise.
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:16 AM   #112
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RV costs can vary significantly. My experience was as follows :
- New / Highly Discounted Class A Gas Coach
- 1st couple of years we did 5,000 miles per yr
- Next couple of years we did 3,000 miles per yr
- The last year of ownership we did maybe 1,500 miles
- The kids loved it at 1st , as they aged they grew to hate it
- Nothing better for going to NASCAR / IRL / SCCA races !
- Nothing better for going to the beach and festivals !
- My maintenance cost were not that bad , but I was under warrantee when the chassis had expensive problems ... I did all my own routine R&M ... But to be quite honest , having a big R&M issue was always in the back of my mind.
- Don't forget storage cost if your primary residence is deed restricted
- Don't forget about insurance costs , not bad when you are using your coach alot , but huge when it's just sitting
- DO NOT finance your RV ... It's also a certainty that you will be upside down when you want to sell / trade
- You've got to have another towed vehicle ... you always forget / run out of something and need a quick run to the store or just do an exploring day
- Big class A's are NOT fun to drive.
- Depending on where you live and what your expectations are , finding good campgrounds can be a real problem

OK , here's the real deal about expenses ... forget about the cost of R&M , insurance , storage , fuel , ect. ... It's about DEPRECIATION ... That's the big number ... To get an idea of what the real cost are , check out actual selling prices @ PPL Motorhomes in Houston , then go check out what these coaches sold for when new ( MSRP less 25-30% ) ... Don't forget that today's depreciation trends are in the age of $ 2.75 fuel , when it's goes to $ 5.00 hold on tight .

I love many aspects of RV'ing , but I decided I wanted to keep as much as possible in appreciating assets.
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Old 08-01-2010, 03:51 PM   #113
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...
OK , here's the real deal about expenses ... forget about the cost of R&M , insurance , storage , fuel , ect. ... It's about DEPRECIATION ... That's the big number ...
Yes, you've hit on the nail head. If you can't handle depreciation, GET OUT OF THE RV!!!

OK, OK, I can't handle the big D either. So, I bought a gently used one. With that purchase, I am really at ease with my frugal conscience.

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...I'm thinking we could start out cheap with a queen size air mattress, Coleman propane cooking stove, large cooler with a block of ice, and wag bag plus 5 gallon bucket or port-a-potty. If we enjoy this type of travel we could go to sportsmobile and have it upgraded....
...At the moment a Dodge or Chevy van sounds good for the stealth factor...
Back when I was first looking into RV'ing and having had no experience in camping, I researched a lot on the Web to see what would work for us. Though I have found that a small class C RV is best for us (for travel, as I have no intention to full-timing), I remember running across a blog of a young couple in their 30s who quit their jobs, sold their house and lived in a van that they converted themselves. Though we like more creature comforts than that, I thought I would share their link so you can see what they have done. Now, these people are mountain climbers, so they are certainly more active and daring than we ever were, back when we were that young.

Van Construction - Off the grid and on the map
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:22 PM   #114
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I love many aspects of RV'ing , but I decided I wanted to keep as much as possible in appreciating assets.
Well, I hope you don't stay awake at night thinking about all that STUFF you have filled your house and yard with that is busy depreciating.

With rare exceptions, no one expects their car to appreciate either. People expected real estate to appreciate too - but that rug got pulled out from under a lot of people 5 years ago. And how many people really get money back for all the home remodeling they "invest" in? Probably very few.

Basically, IMO this last point is a red herring. Mainly because you don't buy an RV as an investment or even to achieve some kind of magic savings - you buy it because you want to enjoy using it - you expect it to enhance your lifestyle - the same reason you might buy a lot of other things.

But the rest of your points are very well taken. If you aren't using the RV heavily each year, it really is a waste.

Audrey
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:45 AM   #115
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- The kids loved it at 1st , as they aged they grew to hate it
I don't think a Class A or other 'expensive' RV is a good idea if you still have the kids at home with you (homeschooled may be an exception). Too many other priorities and opinions (see above) get in the way of utilizing it the way it was intended. Get a pop-up or a travel trailer and save the big motorhome dollars until you are FIRED and can really enjoy it.

(This message posted from our MH, parked a few feet from the lake. )
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:52 AM   #116
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But on the pen and paper side I don't think it comes out on top money wise.
Once again, if you search on other RV threads posted here you'll find those of us who choose to RV as a hobby/lifestyle totally agree. We aren't trying to convince anyone that it is about saving money.*

*With the exception of NW-bound's efforts to his DW
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Old 08-02-2010, 10:17 AM   #117
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Well, I hope you don't stay awake at night thinking about all that STUFF you have filled your house and yard with that is busy depreciating.

With rare exceptions, no one expects their car to appreciate either. People expected real estate to appreciate too - but that rug got pulled out from under a lot of people 5 years ago. And how many people really get money back for all the home remodeling they "invest" in? Probably very few.

Basically, IMO this last point is a red herring. Mainly because you don't buy an RV as an investment or even to achieve some kind of magic savings - you buy it because you want to enjoy using it - you expect it to enhance your lifestyle - the same reason you might buy a lot of other things.

But the rest of your points are very well taken. If you aren't using the RV heavily each year, it really is a waste.

Audrey
Good points. I never RVd before I bought one. I discovered the lifestyle fits me - even if I only do it for 3-4 months a year.
The question is not if an RV is a depreciating asset. The question is what is the cost benefit breaking point for it. Meaning - what level of use justifies the cost to the owner.

Another way to analyze the cost of an RV is versus an equally rewarding endeavor to the owner. We are taking about travel here so an example would be the total cost of 3 months of traveling in an RV versus traveling via another method - analyze the costs and qualitative differences between the two.
And don't forget the admonition about 'knowing the cost of everything but not knowing the value of anything'

A final thought, who thinks a airline flight to England and hotel costs should be an appreciating asset?
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Old 08-02-2010, 10:32 AM   #118
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Another way to analyze the cost of an RV is versus an equally rewarding endeavor to the owner. We are taking about travel here so an example would be the total cost of 3 months of traveling in an RV versus traveling via another method - analyze the costs and qualitative differences between the two.
I started a thread a couple months ago that gave an example of the "cost" of RV travel that may provide some direction to this thread:

Cost of RVing
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Old 08-02-2010, 02:44 PM   #119
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Another way to analyze the cost of an RV is versus an equally rewarding endeavor to the owner.

There ya go.

Travel by any means is generally considered discretionary spending. So
if RV travel appeals to you and fits within your discretionary spending budget, do it. If you'd rather take theater tours to NYC and that fits within your discretionary spending budget, do that. Prefer to rent a cabin on the lake "Up Nort" for a couple of months? Hey, go for it!

Dex makes an excellent point concerning "value." It's unique to each of us. Trying to value an activity funded with discretionary dollars and partaken for personal pleasure by different individuals is futile.
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Old 08-02-2010, 04:13 PM   #120
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fireDreamer, you might consider trying to get the RV up the driveway when the time comes. Our driveway is quite steep and was a problem until we discovered that a couple of 5 foot long 2X8s gave us just enough lift over the problem area to get the trailer up the sharp slope. Easy peasy now. And I do not have to pay for storage...
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