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Old 12-23-2019, 09:57 AM   #21
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We took the RV on a few months trips and it cost 6k/month with me doing all the cooking. Then we took the car for same amount of time and distance and it cost 4K. We found it much easier to stay in motels. I planned the entire trip so we had reservations all the way. I also enjoyed not cooking.
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Old 12-23-2019, 10:26 AM   #22
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Our RV travel cost much less than car and hotels because we stayed in state and national parks which were very inexpensive, we cooked most of our meals, especially enjoying the opportunities to cook outside.

Most of the time we avoided commercial RV parks which were often much more expensive.
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Old 12-23-2019, 11:29 AM   #23
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I have traveled the US pretty extensively, but my spouse hasn't. So we'd like to travel around the country for, say, 6 months after we're both retired.

What do people who've done this think is the best mode of travel if you want to make your own itinerary, just sort of gambol around, and stop whenever/wherever/for however long you want?

I've gleaned from this forum that going by RV may not be the best way, and that just driving and staying in different hotels along the way turns out to be just about the same cost.
Well, there you go! Just drive and stay in different hotels or motels along the way. That should work out nicely for your purposes.

We didn't travel for fun after retirement because it was more important to us to stay home and adjust to retirement during the first year or two. We both traveled a lot for work so the novelty of travel just wasn't there for us.

A couple of years after retirement we did evacuate for Hurricane Isaac, but as you might guess that was not a whole lot of fun.
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Old 12-23-2019, 11:53 AM   #24
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some people are suited for RV travel, others not so much. we've been RVing since 1986 and while our style of RVing has changed it is still far, far more pleasureable than living out of suitcase in a hotel or motel.

we chose to travel by RV not so much to save $ but to relax. we travel at our own pace without having to go out to eat or stick to a schedule. there have been days where we've driven 400-500 miles in a day and days when we barely made 25-mi down the road. we are self-contained so on long travel days we might overnight in a truck stop or WalMart lot.

renting an RV for months would be hugely expensive. it might be less expensive to buy a smaller used Class A or Class C RV (28-32 ft) and then sell it at the end of the journey. but if the OP wants to do it at his own pace to see America then there's no better way than in an RV. RV parks, federal, state or local campgrounds, national forests, parks and boondocking spaces...all offer varied experiences.

the day after my retirement we took off on a 13-week RV trip through michigan, wisconsin, minnesota, iowa, and south dakota. muy bueno!
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Old 12-23-2019, 12:16 PM   #25
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I have a bucket list item that I am saving for our early years of retirement...traveling from NW Ohio, through the upper MidWest, and up the Alaska Highway to spend a month or two in Alaska exploring different areas, and sightseeing. I figured we would drive a full size conversion van, that could be camped out of in certain locations, but also parked in a hotel parking lot with ease. I would like to take our E-bikes, and Kayaks along with us for some exciting side trips into the wilderness.

I have camped all of my life, and have a big 32' travel trailer that I pull behind our diesel Excursion, but not something that I want to beat up on the stone roads in AK.
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Old 12-23-2019, 12:33 PM   #26
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So far, my only RV experience (with a camper van) was renting a Toyota HiAce campervan (Class B), modified by JUCY in New Zealand. It had a shower, two beds, cassette toilet, kitchen, fridge, stove, solar panels, and power converter. If we got tired of driving, we'd just pull over and take a nap. It was a bit on the small side for all of our gear, but it could easily be parked in any normal parking stall.

I'd highly recommend renting an RV before committing to buying one, so you can see how you like driving and staying in one.
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Old 12-23-2019, 01:10 PM   #27
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I had always thought I was going to do the big USA loop trip. I had a 9000 mile 45-60 days trip all laid out that hits all the major national parks and sites etc.

But, lately I am thinking of just doing targeted areas. For instance, I want to see the Badlands area, so I will fly to Rapid City, rent a car, and see all the stuff around there for maybe a week. Then, fly back. Repeat this for some of the Utah national parks I haven't got to yet, for another week. And another for Wisconsin etc.

It probably costs a bit more doing it like this, but you cut out a lot of boring driving time, and it paces you so that you are not cramming the whole country into one trip.

Just another way to look at it.
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Old 12-23-2019, 02:50 PM   #28
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My in-laws did a lot of bus trips through their senior group at church throughout the U.S. & to Canada for the first decade of their retirement.

I'd consider it with a Class B RV...staying in hotel/motel rooms most of the time.
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Old 12-23-2019, 04:01 PM   #29
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We travel extensively but DW does not like to be away from the house for more than 3 weeks, unless we can bring the dog, which we did once this year.
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Old 12-23-2019, 05:02 PM   #30
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We travel extensively but DW does not like to be away from the house for more than 3 weeks, unless we can bring the dog, which we did once this year.
I get the dog thing. Maggie the Wonder Beagle travels with us everywhere.
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Old 12-23-2019, 06:18 PM   #31
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I can't imagine being out on the road without the doggies
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Old 12-23-2019, 07:24 PM   #32
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Audrey, 4 years ago we paid 75/night for national Park in Yellowstone and 55 in Grand Tetons. State parks are cheap but dirt sites so my Maltese get filthy fast going outside since the dirt sticks to their hair. Plus they are usually quite a ways from the sights we want to see.
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Old 12-23-2019, 07:44 PM   #33
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Audrey, 4 years ago we paid 75/night for national Park in Yellowstone and 55 in Grand Tetons. State parks are cheap but dirt sites so my Maltese get filthy fast going outside since the dirt sticks to their hair. Plus they are usually quite a ways from the sights we want to see.
TX state park sites are usually paved. Often nice big sites. But since we didn’t travel with pets it was not an issue.

We never did end up staying in the major national parks in our big RV. Probably because we had already visited most, and had stayed at their even more expensive hotels and lodges/cabins.

But we still stayed at plenty of federal as well as state parks. We also found plenty of non-resort RV parks that quite nice but weren’t very expensive, although we would rarely stay for more than a night or two. For us our RV traveling costs were quite low as long as you didn’t count the up front cost of the RV, LOL.

Regardless, buying an RV is not worth it for just a few months continual travel.
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Old 12-23-2019, 09:23 PM   #34
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Audrey, 4 years ago we paid 75/night for national Park in Yellowstone and 55 in Grand Tetons. State parks are cheap but dirt sites so my Maltese get filthy fast going outside since the dirt sticks to their hair. Plus they are usually quite a ways from the sights we want to see.
Yellowstone NP is so large I had to drive around to see all the sites anyway. Even people who get to stay at Old Faithful Lodge have to drive around if they want to see more than just the geysers around the lodge. And having to stay outside the park and to drive in every day for a multi-day visit is just terrible.

Similarly, with some NPs like Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Olympic, etc... staying at a campground inside the park is the way to go. I cannot see staying in a motel outside the park and to drive in every day of your multi-day visit.

PS. Many NPs do not allow large class A's or 5th-wheels. My 24' class C motorhome is barely permissible in many.
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Old 12-24-2019, 12:41 AM   #35
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While I've thought of a trailer or RV, one problem for us is we would have to pay to store it when not using it, as city does not allow us to park it on the driveway.
I'm guessing it would cost $100/mo in storage for 8 months/yr.

This thread is interesting, as I've often thought the van and hotels was expensive, but it may not be that bad after all.
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Old 12-24-2019, 04:01 AM   #36
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For the first few years after retiring we traveled for up to 7 months at a time, 3 of those years in the USA and Canada. Our method was to book stays in rented houses for at least a week at a time but often 2 weeks and always had a month in one location. On route we would stop in hotels or motels for a night or 2.

On our last USA/Canada trip (2015) we set off driving from Houston and our main stops were a week in Santa Monica with our daughter, 2 weeks on the Oregon Coast, a week in the Columbia river gorge, an Alaska cruise and land trip to Denali NP and SP, a few days in Anchorage, 3 weeks in Vancouver, 2 weeks in Sidney (Victoria Island), 2 weeks in Whistler, 4 weeks in Canmore, a week in Glacier NP, a week in Yellowstone, then worked our way home. 8.5k miles driving and loved it all.

The year before we did similar in Australia starting in Queensland and moving south over a 5 month period. We started with a month staying in my brother’s house in McKay, then 2 weeks with friends in Brisbane then rented houses in Melbourne for 2 weeks and 4 weeks in Hobart, Tasmania and a week in Sydney. We ended that trip with a 2 week cruise of New Zealand.

These days we do lots of shorter trips from our house in England although we did have a 30 day trip in March this year, plus 3 other 2 week trips, mostly in rented houses.
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Old 12-24-2019, 07:02 AM   #37
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We've done it both ways and much prefer our motorhome. Renting cabins for a week to a month is nice but limits you to that area. In our motorhome we typically don't make reservations but prefer to just head out and find areas along our route to stay for a while whether it's for a couple days or a month. But we prefer non crowded areas. And sleeping in our own bed every night is priceless.
We did stop in Yellowstone for a couple days on our way back from Alaska this summer. Stayed about 15 miles from the west entrance. Had no problem parking but we headed into the park around daybreak. On our way out in the early afternoon there was NO parking at any of the sites! So the earlier you can get into the park the better. And this was in September.
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Old 12-24-2019, 10:24 AM   #38
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I left one job and headed out on a trip from NC to Cleveland (my sister's law school graduation) then headed east. 6 weeks living out of my Datsun hatchback (a few nights at a friends and a weekend in Boston with a friend at a hotel). Saw much of Pennsylvania (already knew Philly and Pittsburgh so I skipped those), RI, upstate NY, southern NH, and a lot of Mass. Then decided to visit a friend in Madison Wisconsin. Spent a few days in Madison (a great college town) then to Door County Wisc to visit relatives. Decided to go home and start looking for a j*b. Last leg, 1024 miles in 25 hours!

After I retired DW and I spent the month of July driving from NC through VA, WV, PA, MD, NY (stayed with a cousin for 3 days in the Adirondacks), Across Ontario to the UP of Mich, then to Wisc for a family reunion, then to IL, MO, TN and finally home in the Piedmont region of NC.

We now have a 24 ft camper, and are planning on making several shorter trips in the southeast, followed by a longer 6-8 week trip with friends along the Mississippi River and Ohio River. The costs are not high except for the initial camper cost and whatever "fun" expenses you choose to incur.
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Old 12-24-2019, 10:52 AM   #39
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It sounds like everyone likes to drive. I don't enjoy driving, and I may drive about 2 hours at a time, but I don't even enjoy that. (My back becomes stiff/very uncomfortable.) DH is the same way. Everyone's stories sound quite interesting, but I guess I will just have to enjoy other people's adventures...
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Old 12-24-2019, 11:03 AM   #40
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Ours is 27 ft and we fit in the National parks. It was nice to stay in the park. We went to Yosemite before we owned it and had to stay in a motel outside the park. It was a pain to drive through the park every day. We only get 10mpg so gas costs a fortune on a long trip. Luckily we bought it used so not a big loss financially. We are selling it this spring. We can park it at our house.
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