Long term and cost effective RV use

Travel Forums North America Long term and cost effective RV use

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31. Posted by Butterflyk15535 (Budding Member 11 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Again thank you everyone! Ive been opening tabs with all the links you've been giving me and slowly working through them.

A few people have brought up visas - I'm getting a J1 sponsorship for 3 months for work and then transferring to B2 (I think) for 6 month tourist.

I'm not rich and will definitely be on a budget but when I go next year I will have had 3 yrs of saving every cent working 6 days a week so thanks for the concern but I'm not worried about funds :)

In 6 months the goal is to not stop moving and attempt to hit as many of the 46 mainland usa national parks as I can.

6 months is a long time and that's why I'm happy to invest time and money into sorting out this rv situation as I don't want to be living out of a bag switching cars and wasting time in airports. I've been the dome that and it was amazing it's just not the style of trip that I want this time

Thank you again for the amazing info and discussion

32. Posted by Butterflyk15535 (Budding Member 11 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Quoting AndyF

What are the downsides to someone on this forum offering their address to use? Is that illegal or fraudulent? Is there any possible comeback on the householder ie claims history attached to the address?

My last resort will be to reach out to some people I know in the US and ask very nicely to put everything in their name. But I don't really want to have to do that to my friends haha

33. Posted by Butterflyk15535 (Budding Member 11 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Quoting road to roam

ButterflyK15535, have you looked into shipping your own vehicle? As I mentioned, we have seen loads of RV's from Europe here, being driven by folks young and old. We have spoken to families, couples, groups of couples, and solo travelers who've shipped their rigs for several thousand dollars. There is always a way....

Shipping from Europe to the US is a lot cheaper and simpler than from my land down under. For one bigger distance = bigger cost and then you have our insane quarantine policies. Also the confusion of the driver being on the wrong side of the car would just be way to much haha

34. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1832 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Butterflyk15535

In 6 months the goal is to not stop moving and attempt to hit as many of the 46 mainland usa national parks as I can.

Just a word of caution in terms of managing your expectations.

The US seem to set a lower threshold for declaring something a National Park than some other places. Compared to home (the UK) a lot of them weren't very big or exciting, and they didn't offer the same opportunities to immerse yourself in the landscape. When I went (14 parks across the Rockies) there were a lot of signs saying things like "it is a federal offense to step beyond the pathway." It was more "pull up at a lookout for a five minute stop" than "get your boots on and explore".

For instance we visited Wind Cave National Park. At home this wouldn't be a NP. Maybe it is significant in terms of conservation but as far as the visitor is concerned it's like any number of cave complexes in Derbyshire, Yorkshire or Somerset. Admission was by group tour only, all tours that day were full, we couldn't prebook for tomorrow but were advised to come and queue from 7am for the 9am tour. Meh.

And be aware that the parks charge for admission. At the time I visited they offered a National Parks Pass, which turned out not to include all the parks (including the one pictured on the front of the pass. )

I'm sure someone will be along to complain because I'm viewing their country in less than glowing terms, but this is the opinion I formed - I wouldn't thank you for a long trip doing their national parks. But we're all different!

35. Posted by Butterflyk15535 (Budding Member 11 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Thanks for the warning :) As I said its just a goal, more just something to form a giant road trip around. It's gonna be a pretty chill decide as I go trip. I honestly have no expectations of the USA or anything that I need to see before I die (unlike europe where I had to plan time carefully to for in everything I wanted to see) just want to make the most of my time :)

36. Posted by road to roam (Travel Guru 404 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

The J 1 visa is a game changer for you. South Dakota may just be an option then. It seems in getting your SD license you will need to give up the one you have, but that rule may just apply to residents presenting with another license from another state. Should you need to give up your national license, look into how much agro that will cause you once you return to Australia.

About the RV, or whatever the vehicle may be: Have a good knowledge of the basic systems, like cooling, ignition, suspension and electrical. Don't focus too much on the mileage of the vehicle - engines, sensors, transmissions and pumps go kaput on vehicles with 30,000 miles, too. Less likely, but it happens. We left Maine with 160,000 miles and just hit 190,000. The van is from 1999, which means it's from another millennium! I think we got lucky and maybe you will, too.

To add to what AndyF said about the parks, beware of the the legendary crowds. I realize this may be unavoidable depending on how the stars align for you, but aim for shoulder season if you can. Simply put,the crowds can zap the life and the patience out of you. Just be warned...

[ Edit: Edited on 28-Feb-2019, at 03:36 by road to roam ]

37. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 1037 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Butterflyk15535

6 months is a long time

When I was 21 I also considered 6 months as 'a long time', but that was in the mid-80s and now I don't consider it as an especially long time.
Now I think of it as quite a short time to see so many national parks...

38. Posted by goodfish (Full Member 177 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

National Parks...OOF. That subject promises to involve more than a few new threads!

Just for openers, yes, there is an annual park pass ($80 U.S. $) and you should definitely get it. It doesn't have to be purchased in advance; just buy it at the first park you visit where it's sold. The very cool thing, since you say you have mates joining you along the way, is that a single pass will cover entry for all of you in the vehicle, assuming there's not more than 4 of you in total.


FAQs about this pass:

It doesn't just cover just National PARKS but National Monuments, Seashores, Recreation Areas, Forests....all FEDERAL lands on the list included in the link. It doesn't cover STATE parks, campsite fees, backcountry permit fees, parking at some of the historic sites, and some other little odds and ends, such as tours at Wind Cave.

Not all Federal lands in the system will have entry fees, and their formal designations can be a little confusing. For instance, a National Monument might be a single building or cover a vast outdoor area, such as Grand Staircase-Escalante (side note: current President has messed with the boundaries of this one but do NOT get me started on THAT).

Some State Parks can be well worth exploring too and provide some nice campgrounds. Just a couple that come to mind are Goblin Valley, Kodachrome Basin and Dead Horse Point in Southern Utah. As with Federal lands, their sizes and services can vary widely.

Climate/Seasons: you're going to want to plan around this. Summer temps can be very hot in the South during summer, and very cold in the upper elevations in late fall, winter and spring. You're probably not going to want to be driving an RV around in snow! You're also not going to want to take it on some unpaved, especially challenging backroads, especially if they're wet.

Additionally, summer (June/July/August) is vacation season here in the U.S. and the parks - both Federal and State - will be packed. Shoot, some will be packed in spring and fall as well. We hike the Southwest parks in the fall and the most-visited are VERY busy. Campsites at the biggies - Yosemite, for instance - can book up as much as a year in advance. Just rocking into a park and trying to find a spot at a designated campground - and you can't camp in your RV just anywhere - can be an exercise in futility. Just something to be aware of: do your homework there!

Some National Forest and BLM lands have permit-free rough camping availability. They usually have no services and campfires are often not permitted but they're an option. Some of the parks also have first-come, first-served designated campgrounds: snagging a spot means getting to them in the mornings when campers are likely to be packing up to move on.

Anyway, just a start....We belong to the National Park Conservatory so are passionate supporters of our most valuable natural and archeological treasures. There are many!

[ Edit: Edited on 28-Feb-2019, at 04:40 by goodfish ]

39. Posted by road to roam (Travel Guru 404 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Good advice from goodfish - that pass is a real money saver. Most folks don't scratch the surface of other national lands, preferring to hit the big boys instead. With enough time and a sense of adventure, hit some other places you never heard of - always a plus when traveling.

About Grand Staircase-Escalante, should that be on your list Butterflyk15535:

It certainly gets bandied around, likely due to it's relative location to so many other heavy-hitters in the area. While that part of the country is beautiful, Grand Staircase-Escalante requires A TON of planning. Prep. up for it.

Although the total area has been reduced recently, it is still a very large, yet fragmented space. Hiking the best parts requires a constant knowledge of the current road conditions (and the weather forecast) relative your vehicle and what it can handle.

There is a real do-it-yourself feel here, although many come thinking it is one of the places you simply "do." Staircase requires time and study - perfect if have the time and the pluck. In short: Plan twice, visit once, be prepared to add an extra day.

[ Edit: Edited on 28-Feb-2019, at 08:13 by road to roam ]

40. Posted by goodfish (Full Member 177 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

More good stuff from kindred park lover Jerry.
I've only hiked some of the edges of G.S/Escalante but it's a beaut.

But at this point we haven't even talked about what you want to DO when not behind the wheel. That's probably a new conversation once you get transport sorted but we're sort of assuming you have interest in lacing up the boots? Best way to experience the parks, IMHO.