Travel trailers RVs etc

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4nursebee
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Travel trailers RVs etc

Post by 4nursebee » Tue May 15, 2018 6:34 am

We have been knocking on the door to retirement for a while, considering many options. One of those is travel. When we think of seeing the US, there is an appeal to the idea of a camper, 5th wheel trailer, slide in etc.... We always end up thinking that the cost outweighs the benefit, compared to staying in hotels, nevertheless the appeal remains. We are interested in hearing others perspectives and experiences.

We expect that travel could occupy several years of early retirement, especially in winter for months at a time, perhaps up to a month at a time otherwise. We enjoy using our foldable recumbent trikes (http://www.icetrikes.co/products/adventure-hd) so we consider room for these in some fashion as a benefit.

What is or was the benefit for you, especially compared to car and hotel travel? This is a key point for us.
What did you use?
Would you do it again? Any regrets?

Additionally on sizing, one of use is 5'2, the other is 6'6" so knowing your height if taller would be nice.

THank you in advance.
4nursebee

retiredjg
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Re: Travel trailers RVs etc

Post by retiredjg » Tue May 15, 2018 7:32 am

4nursebee wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 6:34 am
When we think of seeing the US, there is an appeal to the idea of a camper, 5th wheel trailer, slide in etc.... We always end up thinking that the cost outweighs the benefit, compared to staying in hotels, nevertheless the appeal remains.

I think if you have that feeling, then nothing else will do. You'll never be satisfied until you've had the experience, even if it turns out to not be "your thing".

To start out, I'd get something used and just go. It doesn't matter much what it is because you likely won't have it more than a year or two. As you go different places you will experience the pros and cons of whatever it is you buy. It will be too big for some experiences and too small for others. Other RV'ers will invite you into their rigs and you'll see what you like and don't like. Eventually, you'll get something that is "just right" for you and the experiences you want to have.

And you don't really have to give up hotel travel entirely. Right before retirement, I read a book by a couple who spent a year or so on the road in one of those very small high gas mileage campers. They would stay a night in a motel/hotel on a regular basis - real shower, convenient laundry, etc. Not saying they did this every week, but there are some places (think NYC) that you just cannot visit in an RV.

I was on the road a year in a 5th wheel. It was a grand experience. The southern border states are absolutely wonderful in the winter. I would do it again under the right circumstances. No regrets.

Townline Lake
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Re: Travel trailers RVs etc

Post by Townline Lake » Tue May 15, 2018 7:49 am

We intend to retire in the upper Midwest and plan to purchase an rv and use it to travel south during portions of winter each year.

We previously owned a 27 foot fifth wheel which we pulled with a Ford super duty crew cab diesel. We used it to travel over much of the US and I even lived out of it twice during job location change for up to 3 months at a time. We liked the fifth wheel and especially liked the freedom during travel to basically drive as long as we wanted and then find a campground to stay for the night. If you get a fifth wheel make sure to get a truck that can pull the fifth wheel easily as you will need this in the western states when traveling through mountains. We have since sold the fifth wheel when we bought our future retirement home on a lake.

We are leaning more toward a motor home and pulling a small tow vehicle or dinghy. Reasons are we have a dog and three cats and with a fifth wheel you need to have them travel in the truck with you versus having them more easily travel in a motor home. Also a motor home is cool during warmer temperatures already when you pull in a campground or a fuel stop and you want to use the rest room in the unit. Also a motor home is easy to set up with automatic levelers etc. I would also recommend getting an RV with a built in generator for dry camping such as stopping in a Walmart parking lot overnight or dry camping on public land.

One of the trips we want to do is to drive to Alaska the first summer after we retire which should hopefully be in the next 3-5 years.

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Watty
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Re: Travel trailers RVs etc

Post by Watty » Tue May 15, 2018 8:49 am

I know someone that bought a new medium size trailer and large pickup to pull it with last year. He was in his last year of work before he retired and he was expecting to only work part time but a big final project came up so they were only able to to use it a few times.

This year he decided that it was not big enough so he traded the trailer in for an even bigger one and he also needed to get an even bigger pickup truck to pull it with.

To me one takeaway from this is that renting a trailer or RV at first might not be a bad idea even though it seems expensive to help you know what works for you before your buy something. RV rentals are popular in Alaska and New Zealand so you might be able to something like that to try out RV'ing. An advantage of that would be that you would not be renting an RV somewhere that you could eventually go with a trailer or RV that you might buy some day.
4nursebee wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 6:34 am
We always end up thinking that the cost outweighs the benefit, compared to staying in hotels, nevertheless the appeal remains.
When I looked at the numbers for a nice, but not fancy, setup buying something did look like it would be a lot more expensive than staying in modest hotels so that is probably right. If you are on a tight budget though I can see how a frugal setup might be more affordable and allow you to do things you could not otherwise do.

It is easy to over analyze this though since if you can afford it is more of a lifestyle choice than a financial decision.

One pitfall is if you have some sort of trailer or RV then going out for a month long trip is pretty much a given and you will likely do that for at least the first few years. If you would be staying in hotels for a month you are much less likely to actually take multiple month long trips during a year so even though it might be less expensive you might not actually do it.

One reason that we have not bought a trailer or RV is that we enjoy international travel and we don't have a large enough budget to do both so you might consider if that is a factor for you.

When I looked into buying something one thing I did figure out is that for buying a trailer you need to be very careful that you really have a big enough truck or SUV to pull it with. The problem is that while the numbers might be good enough that you technically can pull something with the smallest vehicle possible that is likely not really a good idea so you would want to get something that can easily pull the trailer that you have.
4nursebee wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 6:34 am
We expect that travel could occupy several years of early retirement, especially in winter for months at a time, perhaps up to a month at a time otherwise. We enjoy using our foldable recumbent trikes (http://www.icetrikes.co/products/adventure-hd) so we consider room for these in some fashion as a benefit.
Traveling with a small utility trailer would also be an option and I have seen people do this.

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lthenderson
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Re: Travel trailers RVs etc

Post by lthenderson » Tue May 15, 2018 8:58 am

4nursebee wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 6:34 am
What is or was the benefit for you, especially compared to car and hotel travel? This is a key point for us.
What did you use?
Would you do it again? Any regrets?
With an RV, you can take with you a small hibachi grill and you have a kitchenette in the trailer so you can so quite a bit of cooking and eat out not as often. You have a lot more storage for such things such as bicycles, lawn chairs, etc that come in handy for extended trips. It really is just a different culture spending evenings in campgrounds versus in a motel room. Often times campgrounds have activities going on in the evenings to join in on.

Some cons are having to dump/fill the tanks regularly. Another one is if you want to go somewhere where an RV doesn't fit real well such as downtown urban centers or tight roads, going shopping, etc. Then you have to look at towing a smaller vehicle behind which is doable but a bit more work involved.

sciencenerd
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Re: Travel trailers RVs etc

Post by sciencenerd » Tue May 15, 2018 9:16 am

4nursebee wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 6:34 am
We have been knocking on the door to retirement for a while, considering many options. One of those is travel. When we think of seeing the US, there is an appeal to the idea of a camper, 5th wheel trailer, slide in etc.... We always end up thinking that the cost outweighs the benefit, compared to staying in hotels, nevertheless the appeal remains. We are interested in hearing others perspectives and experiences.

We expect that travel could occupy several years of early retirement, especially in winter for months at a time, perhaps up to a month at a time otherwise. We enjoy using our foldable recumbent trikes (http://www.icetrikes.co/products/adventure-hd) so we consider room for these in some fashion as a benefit.

What is or was the benefit for you, especially compared to car and hotel travel? This is a key point for us.
What did you use?
Would you do it again? Any regrets?

Additionally on sizing, one of use is 5'2, the other is 6'6" so knowing your height if taller would be nice.

THank you in advance.
We bought a small travel trailer last year after 5 years camping with a popup. I realize that it may not be cost effective, but the camping lifestyle has a certain appeal. I absolutely LOVE camping, nothing like sitting by the campfire with a cold beverage, enjoying the outdoors. Plus, when we camp the kids are active all day, instead of being couch potatoes at home.

The downside, of course, is the work. Hitching and unhitching the trailer and setting up the campsite is work. You'll have less work with a motorhome, but then you lose the flexibility of going places once you are at the campsite. We tend to stay at places for 2-3 days, get set up, and then explore while using the campsite as home base. This year, we'll do a 4 weeks trip from the east coast to Yellowstone and back. Campsites in National Parks and state parks often run between $20-35. We can afford this trip, but it would be more difficult with staying in hotels with $100+ bills a night.

Lastly, there is the work associated with upkeep of the trailer. All RVs WILL leak, if you don't do regular maintenance. I enjoy that kind of work, so I don't mind.

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Sasquatch
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Re: Travel trailers RVs etc

Post by Sasquatch » Tue May 15, 2018 9:26 am

6’8” tall here. You will find the “king” bed in the modest coaches is very short and narrow. I don’t even know If they make a cal king for RVs. I think you will find that 5th wheels have more headroom than most trailers. I find 5th wheels are easier to back into tight places vs. our 32’ bumper pull.

If you are doing long distance travels I would recommend a diesel pickup. Just feels less “dicey” when I need to accelerate or maintain the flow of traffic. I have a older Chevrolet Duramax and I am glad I got it over a gas engine.

Definitely buy a used one 2 years or so old. They depreciate terribly.

Nate79
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Re: Travel trailers RVs etc

Post by Nate79 » Tue May 15, 2018 10:01 am

We own a travel trailer but if done over again I would buy a slightly used RV. They depreciate like crazy and I would not buy new. Honestly pulling a trailer is a little bit of a pain and I would much rather "drive" the trailer and pull a little car behind.

curmudgeon
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Re: Travel trailers RVs etc

Post by curmudgeon » Tue May 15, 2018 10:44 am

There are a lot of compromises involved in RVs, so it's important to understand those will work for you with your particular preferences. At 6'6", bed size, ceiling heights, toilets, and showers can be pretty limiting in actual use. I see lots of people who shift around (at substantial cost) to different types trying to find the right rig. I watched one co-worker start with a big diesel motorhome (and tow-behind car), which he found too big to get into Oregon state parks. Then he went for a smaller motorhome, still towing a car. That lasted a couple of years, but I think he found the 200hp Mercedes diesel was a little weak pulling the rig and car over the mountains here in the west. Latest iteration was a F350 and mid-size 5th wheel. Even here, that crew-cab big pickup needs two parking spaces, so I'm not sure he'll be happy with that.

We are actually just starting on this round ourselves, so we'll see how it goes. We've kicked it around for years, and have decided to give it a shot. We are starting with a used rig, which is within the towing specs of my existing pickup. I figure if we decide it's not for us, I can sell the trailer without too much loss, but there is still one-time expense which I just need to regard as spent (adding 5th wheel hitch, transfer tax, storage). I chose a 29' 5th wheel for better towing behavior, but the downside is that you lose much of the storage in the truck bed.

frugalmama
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Re: Travel trailers RVs etc

Post by frugalmama » Tue May 15, 2018 11:02 am

Until you do it, I think it will still continue to nag at you.

We aren't anywhere near retired, but we go on extended monthly trips and I think you've received some great advice on here. We have a 29 foot trailer (we have a large family so if it was just DH and I, we'd do something smaller). However, RVing has saved us a quite a bit of $ and increased our comfort compared to hotel rooms as we have refrigeration, have a place to go in the middle of the day when we need to take a quick nap, can cook in an instant (so less cost in eating out) and we are able to do more actual activities (ones at the camp site, canoeing, cycling, etc. etc.) as we have storage space and don't feel like we are living out of our car and have to pack up each night (saving us time). We also can stop wherever we want (stay overnight in a Wal-Mart parking lot) or boon-dock which is completely free so economically we have come out much better RVing. To deal with the issue of visiting a large city in our RV we stay in a park nearby and then just leave the trailer while we visit the city during the day as it can be difficult to navigate in crowded areas.

If you really wanted to see if you were the RVing type, you could rent one. Our first dip into RVing was in Europe. We RVed Europe for 14 days 18 years ago and knew it was for us after that experience.

2BAMS
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Re: Travel trailers RVs etc

Post by 2BAMS » Tue May 15, 2018 11:06 am

There are advantages and disadvantages to all different types for RV's. A motor-home is different than a travel trailer which is different than a 5th wheel. I've grown up camping in RV's and most of my favorite memories come from those trips. I would ALWAYS buy used, the cost drop off after 3 years old is huge.

I would highly recommend renting a motor-home one weekend and a travel trailer another weekend and do a local weekend trip to experience the differences. With rentals on Craigslist and many share-my-coach websites available I would rent each type to get a feel for them.

If you currently have a heavy duty truck or are interested in one i would recommend the 5th wheel. We currently have a 28 foot trailer that fits in most camp grounds and is easy to tow. You can also get a toy hauler if you want to put those bikes on the inside but you lose some of the comforts and luxuries that the non-toy-hauler versions have.

Is towing important?
Is fitting into smaller campgrounds important?
Is storage a problem for when it's not in use?
Do you need an extra vehicle for when you're already set up and camping?

It comes down to how much stuff you need to travel in comfort while you're out and about.

tibbitts
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Re: Travel trailers RVs etc

Post by tibbitts » Tue May 15, 2018 7:05 pm

You can't justify an RV based on cost unless you use it almost constantly. It's a lifestyle preference - a different travel experience than using just hotels and motels.

Being as tall as you are is problematic unless you don't mind not standing up in the RV. Many have roof air that you'll bang your head into even if you don't hit the ceiling everywhere else.

Don't underestimate the difficulty of driving an RV. Many of us have a u-turn style of travel that is difficult to accomplish in most RVs.

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Nestegg_User
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Re: Travel trailers RVs etc

Post by Nestegg_User » Tue May 15, 2018 10:23 pm

While we haven’t pulled the plug on getting a trailer, we did get a F-250 crew cab with trailer brake controller, etc for the (eventuality) that we will get one.
for just a small family, it probably isn’t justified cost wise- - but we’ve also seen that even when a motel is “pet friendly” it may limit size or number (sometimes just one) and way too many places have “cleaning fees” for pets...that AREN’T per use but rather per day!. Those fees can add up! and can make the calculus more favorable to RV’s. If you also consider going to state campgrounds and “boondocking” if you have the portable generator, the numbers may help to even out...at least in the western US where there’s even a possibility (out east...fauggitaboutit)

(for larger families, if the RV can fit them, it may make more sense in that too many motels/resorts charge for each individual above a certain age in the room... not so with RV’s. The problem will likely be storage space and space for eating inside when conditions aren’t optimal)

dominque
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Re: Travel trailers RVs etc

Post by dominque » Wed May 16, 2018 5:57 am

I've been RVing/Glamping since 1999 and have owned a Class C and Class A (current one) motorhome. I could offer advice, but you'd be better off lurking on the IRV2 forum here. http://www.irv2.com/forums

Point
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Re: Travel trailers RVs etc

Post by Point » Wed May 16, 2018 8:00 am

We are eating breakfast right now, sitting in our Airstream trailer, in an RV park in Salt Lake City. We are making a 17 night tour of several states, visiting historical sites and family. There
Is nothing like sleeping in your own bed, and having your own bathroom wherever you are. No bedbugs, no service station bathrooms, no smokers... it’s great! We travel with our dogs and it works out great. We make our own meals most of the time too.

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