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Old 04-21-2017, 08:38 AM   #41
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I too have dreams of doing a lot of solo RV travel around the US when I quit working in a year or two. The assumption I am making is this will be cheaper than driving and staying in middle of the road 3 star hotels. For those who track their expenses closely have you confirmed the RV route does indeed save a lot of money vs the car and hotel option?
RVing is more of a lifestyle choice than a way to save money. When you factor in the cost of the RV and tow vehicle if needed, then add the extra gas, campground fees, maintenance, camping stuff and hassle factor of setting up and breaking down it is usually more costly to go with an RV for the average person. You have to use the RV a lot to make it work out cheaper than hotels etc. But you get to stay in some amazing places and enjoy the outdoors more with RV.
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:54 AM   #42
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I too have dreams of doing a lot of solo RV travel around the US when I quit working in a year or two. The assumption I am making is this will be cheaper than driving and staying in middle of the road 3 star hotels. For those who track their expenses closely have you confirmed the RV route does indeed save a lot of money vs the car and hotel option?
No. It's a lifestyle. It lets you stay places where there aren't motels. But, it doesn't save money.
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:22 AM   #43
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Buy used and as small as you think you will be able to enjoy.

If you get a good buy on a used rig you can always trade up once you start traveling and decide you want something different.

We bought WAY too big for our first rig. We went with a 39' 5th wheel. Way too big for us but thank goodness we got a steal so sold it one year later without losing any money.
That's our plan - start small. We actually looked at Pleasure Way before my DW left for am extended vacation. Our consensus was that we would be uncomfortable if we had to sit inside and ride out lousy weather for a couple days. So, we're going bigger, not not a whole lot. Thanks!
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:27 AM   #44
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Like with any hobby, Rv'ing is a commitment to a lifestyle change. These things are meant to be used--and not just left in the driveway drawing dust.

Fortunately, retirees have the time to use them. Since our campgrounds are so close, we could maintain our regular lifestyle including church and taking care of family commitments while staying in the RV. There's nothing wrong about going back and forth to the S&B (sticks and bricks) home to do laundry and cut grass if it's not too far.
That's what we did when we had our small pull behind and kids were young (and we were poor). Drug it to the lake 15 miles away for weeks at a time. DW would go home and do laundry (and enjoy a night away from the mob)
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:10 AM   #45
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If you do a lot of driving the gas really adds up. We took a month trip visiting many places but gas, campsites etc ended up costing 6k. I could have taken a 2 week cruise and been totally pampered for that amount of $. So this time we are taking a different approach and going for 18 days but only going to 2 places that are not that far apart and staying a week at each. Weekly rate is cheaper then daily.
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Old 04-21-2017, 01:10 PM   #46
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That's our plan - start small. We actually looked at Pleasure Way before my DW left for am extended vacation. Our consensus was that we would be uncomfortable if we had to sit inside and ride out lousy weather for a couple days. So, we're going bigger, not not a whole lot. Thanks!
Last year, we made an early RV trip in April, being lured by a couple of good timeshare rental deals in Montana and Colorado. We found out previously that breaking up a long RV trip with week-long timeshare stays really enhances the trip experience.

Anyway, the week in Montana worked out well with cooperating weather, but it turned nasty in Colorado. It turned nice again when we checked into the 2nd timeshare near Vail, but the week in between timeshares was shot. We were stuck inside the 25' class C, while it was snowing outside. It was not really cold, but it would be more miserable if we were not at a nice municipal campground with hookups.

Even in that miserable week, we were also able to sneak out for a few hours using the toad to visit the nearby town when the sky cleared a bit. I really like having the toad, which allows excursions into town, or driving to different sightseeing spots or trailheads. I am reluctant now to take an RV trek without the toad. In fact, I have made only two trips without the towed car: the first inaugural trip, and a later weekend trip to a spot 200 miles away.
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Old 04-21-2017, 01:26 PM   #47
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If you do a lot of driving the gas really adds up. We took a month trip visiting many places but gas, campsites etc ended up costing 6k.
I'm not sure your experience is typical.

My records show last year we took two back-to-back trips: The first was for 20 days from S. Texas to CO and NM, then back to S Texas. Two weeks later we hit the road again for 11 days from S Texas to Arkansas and back. That's a total of 31 days, over 3,200 miles towing the trailer and we spent $960 in camp fees and just under $700 in fuel, less than a third what you spent on your trip.

We stayed only in commercial RV parks on the NM/CO trip, spending $800 ($40/night). On the Arkansas trip we stayed all but one night in COE or National Park campgrounds, spending $160 (less than $15/night). We try to take advantage of the Golden Age (AKA 'Geezer') Pass, which provides a 50% discount at COE and National Parks. That's a win-win since they are usually much nicer than commercial parks.
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Old 04-21-2017, 02:18 PM   #48
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I was finally old enough last year to get the cheap pass. The NP's were really expensive: YS at 55/night and GT at 75/night. We also had to rent a car for a week because we can't pull either of our cars. We didn't want to drive a 27 ft motorhome in the parks. 6 of the days we paid nothing as we stayed with friends or family. Your RV may get better gas mileage as ours only gets 9 mpg.
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Old 04-21-2017, 02:40 PM   #49
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I kind of felt that we saved a little, maybe broke even during the 2 years we owned the trailer. We spent 35k roughly on it, and got 20k when we traded it for the motorhome. Yes, it took more gas to pull the trailer, but we saved $70-90 per night off our typical 110-120 per night Marriott TownPlace or Fairview style hotels, didn't have to kennel the dogs, AND we ate a lot healthier and cheaper. We spent over 120 nights in the trailer during the 2 years we had it, and didn't have to spend anything on maintenance.

The big Motorhome, however, is a different story...that is costing a bunch. If we keep it long enough, and use it enough, maybe we'll eventually break even, but I sincerely doubt it. It is a lifestyle choice, but it made traveling so much more enjoyable than the trailer.

At some point, way down the road, we may go to a short bed F-250 and a nice mid-sized fifth wheel, if we decide to half-time RV/snowbird. The big F-350 with dual rear wheels was too much...too bouncy when it wasn't towing or carrying a load, and with all the parking lots having so many spaces for compact cars, I had to park at the furthest end of the parking lot (which we do anyway to add a few more daily steps) but it also took 4 parking spaces...too long and too wide to fit in compact spaces. Again, that will be a lifestyle choice, if we do it...not to save money. If we end up doing that, we'll most likely have a condo in Hawaii for November to March, and then go where the good weather takes us the rest of the year, and using South Dakota as a domicile...still a few years down the road, if ever.
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Old 04-21-2017, 02:57 PM   #50
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I'm not sure your experience is typical.

My records show last year we took two back-to-back trips: The first was for 20 days from S. Texas to CO and NM, then back to S Texas. Two weeks later we hit the road again for 11 days from S Texas to Arkansas and back. That's a total of 31 days, over 3,200 miles towing the trailer and we spent $960 in camp fees and just under $700 in fuel, less than a third what you spent on your trip...
$700 for 3,200 miles works out to 22c/mile. This made me look back my record for the longest RV trip that we made, back in 2014. I spent nearly $4000 for around 10,000 miles, so that was 40c/mile. However, gasoline was maybe $3.2/gal back then (my wife's record is in the RV and I am too lazy to go look), and we went up to Canada where it was even more expensive.

I've got to admit, it took a bit of time to get used to pumping $150 of gas a day into the motorhome. It no longer felt that bad when I reminded myself that I did not have to pay for airfare and paid much less for lodging, compared to fly-and-drive. And I do not drive like that every single day of the trip.

PS. Saw what Rambler said about food. Yes, we like to prepare our own food, and eating out for 2 months on the road would drive us nuts. No way I can do a 2-month road trip with a car.
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Old 04-21-2017, 03:08 PM   #51
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Gas was fairly expensive on the West Coast but we also eat most of our meals in the RV. We did save $ on food. Still unless gas gets much cheaper we won't be going on a long trip anymore.
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Old 04-21-2017, 03:12 PM   #52
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The big Motorhome, however, is a different story...that is costing a bunch. If we keep it long enough, and use it enough, maybe we'll eventually break even, but I sincerely doubt it. It is a lifestyle choice, but it made traveling so much more enjoyable than the trailer.

At some point, way down the road, we may go to a short bed F-250 and a nice mid-sized fifth wheel,...
That's the route we took.

A couple of years after I retired we bought a six year old 40' diesel pusher from the original owner. The wife enjoyed it far more than I did during the four years we owned it. I never got all that comfortable driving that huge bus and cringed at spending $400 for oil changes and $3,000 for new tires. As you know, those things are outrageously expensive to maintain and we were fortunate we didn't have any major repairs prior to selling it.

We then bought a four year old mid-sized FW and new 3/4 ton diesel truck. The 35' FW and single rear wheel truck combination worked well for us - although the FW was right at the pin weight limit for our truck. We've traveled an average of two months a year over the past six years and really enjoyed the truck/FW set up. For us, it is the right combination of size, maneuverability, convenience and cost to maintain. We just splurged on a brand new FW, downsizing from 35' to 31' and the new FW pin weight is comfortably under the truck weight limit requirements.

Looking forward to a big road trip in September and taking a few shorter jaunts in the meanwhile.
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Old 04-21-2017, 04:13 PM   #53
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Gas was fairly expensive on the West Coast but we also eat most of our meals in the RV. We did save $ on food. Still unless gas gets much cheaper we won't be going on a long trip anymore.
I dunno if gas will get much cheaper than it is right now.

When we take the RV, I like to go for longer trips. It's not only to make the trip worthwhile because of the gas cost, but also because of all the driving.
Longer trips in turn require a bit more research in order to cover some more interesting places.

Right now, I have no RV'ing plan for 2017. I have to survive the 6-week Europe trek coming soon, before I can think of more travel. It is possible I may take the motorhome out for a year end trip. Will see.
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Old 04-21-2017, 06:01 PM   #54
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We went 'round and 'round in our minds about 5th wheel, Class A, or Class C. Finally came back around to the 5th wheeler as we already had a truck.

Studied many floor plans. We wanted something where essential areas are still usable when the slide-outs are not extended - in case we ever park at Walmart!

Best RV accessory purchase so far: a 2-inch eggshell latex mattress topper.

Have fun!
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Old 04-23-2017, 12:11 PM   #55
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Yesterday we met with 3 other couples that we go RVing with us to plan trips. One downsized from a 27 ft motorhome to a 13 ft trailer with truck. When I asked what their gas mileage was it was only 3 mpg better then ours. so there is no point in downsizing to save $.
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Old 04-23-2017, 08:16 PM   #56
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See the sister site to this one: iRV2 Forum | – RV Forum Community and RV News and you can learn a lot there.

I have a big motorhome, a class 8 truck conversion. Yes it is very big 44 ft length, has a big 15 liter engine and uses a lot of fuel at 7.5-8 mpg. Mine is easy to drive, 72-73 mph and 400-600 miles in a day is not too bad. It also has enough room that it does not feel so cramped once set up. I boondock a lot so the size does not affect my campground choices. The RV is a lifestyle choice as stated. I plan to take longer trips once retired, part of the reason for the big motorhome. Always take a towed car to drive around once at my location. I cook my own food, have my own bathroom and shower, my own bed, my own frig with all the required food and beverages, and can set up right in the middle of locations that have no hotels close. Take my dogs with and they love going camping.

As to your idea to buy used, that is a good way to get one. Save a lot on depreciation, RVs in general depreciate a lot in first few years. I recommend a class C, the extra room will be nice. Almost all class C are gas, you need to step up to Super C to get diesel. Super C is bigger and built on a truck chassis, rather than a heavy duty van chassis as most class C are.

It really helps to be able to do some repairs and maintenance yourself. RVs will always have something that needs to be fixed or attention. If you have to take into the shop all the time, it will cost money and time; which quickly takes the fun out of it.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:12 AM   #57
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Ours has a bedroom with an accordion door so 1 person can be at the booth and one sleeping. Our friends that just downsized have to choose from either the bed or table. 1 person can't sleep with the other up so I would think those would be big draw backs on a trip.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:31 AM   #58
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Our fifth wheel has 3 televisions and two bedrooms. My wife and I keep separate hours and watch different television shows so having different rooms is great for our lifestyle.

I ordered it without a dinette and instead have a 12 foot wallhugger leather couch/recliners.
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Old 04-24-2017, 01:24 PM   #59
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See the sister site to this one: iRV2 Forum | RV Forum Community and RV News and you can learn a lot there.

I have a big motorhome, a class 8 truck conversion. Yes it is very big 44 ft length, has a big 15 liter engine and uses a lot of fuel at 7.5-8 mpg. Mine is easy to drive, 72-73 mph and 400-600 miles in a day is not too bad. It also has enough room that it does not feel so cramped once set up. I boondock a lot so the size does not affect my campground choices. The RV is a lifestyle choice as stated. I plan to take longer trips once retired, part of the reason for the big motorhome. Always take a towed car to drive around once at my location. I cook my own food, have my own bathroom and shower, my own bed, my own frig with all the required food and beverages, and can set up right in the middle of locations that have no hotels close. Take my dogs with and they love going camping.

As to your idea to buy used, that is a good way to get one. Save a lot on depreciation, RVs in general depreciate a lot in first few years. I recommend a class C, the extra room will be nice. Almost all class C are gas, you need to step up to Super C to get diesel. Super C is bigger and built on a truck chassis, rather than a heavy duty van chassis as most class C are.

It really helps to be able to do some repairs and maintenance yourself. RVs will always have something that needs to be fixed or attention. If you have to take into the shop all the time, it will cost money and time; which quickly takes the fun out of it.
Definitely will do a lot of maintenance and minor repairs myself. I'm also fairly good at knowing when not to DIY.

Thanks!
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Old 04-25-2017, 07:09 AM   #60
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No. It's a lifestyle. It lets you stay places where there aren't motels. But, it doesn't save money.
Very true.

It probably wont save anyone "lots of money". The initial investment is much larger....and unless you stick with it for a long time, its probably going to be more expensive. But I think in the some cases, it can be less expensive. A lot depends on what you buy and how you use it.

EXAMPLE
We retired - bought our truck and 34' fifth wheel in late 2012. We live in NH, but have spent 4 winters in Florida, 3 summers in Virginia, taken 2 trips out west and one 2 month trip "east of the Mississippi". Our current "nightly" cost is at $134/night.


Total expenses I included:
- cost of truck
- cost of fifth wheel
- all camping fees
- all supplies purchased for RV (outside mats, sun shade, generators, etc, etc)
- all maintenance done on RV (new tires, repairs for self-inflicted damages, annual roof inspections, winterizing, etc, etc)
- upgrades (second air, upgraded battery bank, satellite dish)
- propane, electric, cable (when we have to purchase)
- storage fees (when not being used)

DIVIDED BY

Total nights - which includes the 90 free nights every summer we spend in it in VA (where we "work camp" so we can visit grandchild).


Notes
- My calculation includes the free nights, which is not something a lot of people would do. So, if we PAID for those nights, our nightly cost would be more.
- Yet, I didn't subtract out the current value of the truck and fifth wheel, which would bring down the nightly cost more. (Quick estimate is it would reduce current nightly cost to about $92/night)
- I didnt include gas costs in my calculations. I figure we would have to drive or fly and rent a car for all of those locations which would likely cost as much or more....


Anyway, I expect our "nightly cost" to continue to go down for us over the next few years.

Additionally - what the RV gives us is:
1) we make our own meals
2) we sleep in our own bed
3) I don't worry if the dog can come and stay with us

It really depends on the family and the usage. The more usage, the cheaper it will be. But if it sits home a lot, it will likely never save you money.
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