Just about everyone is familiar with those RVs we see on our highways. To those who have never been in an RV, they can seem like very strange vehicles. While a new RV can cost as little as $4000 (for a folding camping trailer) to $400,000 for one of those huge, bus-like motor homes, they can also be rented for weekends or longer vacations.
A recent study by a major consulting firm determined that a family of four can spend between 25 to 75% less when vacationing in an RV than going by plane. And there’s no hauling the kids through airports or trying to pacify them during a long boring flight. You eat good, nourishing, home-cooked meals (okay, maybe an occasional TV dinner?), stop when and where you choose and sleep in beds that you know are clean and free of bed bugs. And if you have younger children, it is a simple matter to put them down for afternoon naps.
While ‘camping’ is usually associated with RVing, there are many very luxurious resorts that cater to the RV crowd. Their costs are far less than those resorts with the big, fancy (and very expensive) hotels. There are RV parks at nearly all the great beaches, Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. If you would like a quiet, lake-side stay, there are many public campgrounds offering full utility hook-ups for RVs and at costs under $25 a night.
We have driven coast to coast spending less, total, for our overnight stays than the cost of one discounted motel night. So how about the cost of gasoline (or diesel) at $4 a gallon?
While those big, bus-like Class A motor homes only get 6 to 12 miles per gallon, a Class C mini-motor home typically achieves 15 to 18 mpg. A class C can be rented for $100 to $120 per day for a two week period. Completely self-contained, they typically sleep a family of five, are 23 to 25 feet long and very easy to drive.
Ah, yes, the cost of fuel at $4 per gallon could seem to be a problem. True, it was much better when the fuel was 40 cents a gallon but fuel has gone up for everyone. The airlines are boosting their fares and cutting back on services because of fuel costs. Your family car could cost anywhere from $60 to $100 to fill its tank. If you’re going anywhere it is going to cost more. But there are ways to reduce those costs. Driving at slower speeds (it seems easier to go 55 mph in an RV than in a car) can save a bunch. Properly inflated tires, avoiding start-stop routes (as in a city), even maintaining a constant speed on the freeway all help to significantly reduce the fuel consumption. Read the rest of this entry »