Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Wednesday, June 16, 2010 RV Ready? VR Not, After All
I know just last week I was all up on how we were going to "Go RVing," as the words emblazoned on the sides of the rental campers phrase it. If you're like us, you've spotted those vehicles on your own road trips and wondered, "Why haven't we ever done that?" And then, if you continue to be like us, you realize, "Because it's really exorbitantly expensive, that's why."
Part of the problem is that we're going for twelve days. Lots of RV places rent at weekly rates, which are expensive but a bit cheaper than the equivalent of seven times the daily rate. We got to pay both! Awesome!
And then over the weekend, we took a closer look at our contract, like we should have done before. The figure I'd been initially quoted over the phone was there, but it wasn't the bottom line. There were any number of taxes and fees and deposits added on, which we expected, but not that much.
And then there was the matter of mileage. Different RV rentals have different rates, but almost all of them limit you to a certain number of miles a day. In this case, it was a hundred. I ask you, if you're only driving a hundred miles in a day, what's the point of an RV in the first place? If you can live, eat, and pee in your vehicle on a road trip, you should be able to take advantage of the reduced need for stops to cover more distance. Instead you're not allowed to travel any further in a day than a few ambitious bike rides without paying through the nose.
It didn't help that I'd vastly underestimated the number of miles we'd be traveling on our itinerary. Even driving the shortest, most direct route from city to city and then walking everywhere once we got there was going to result in extra mileage fees that were tantamount to being skull-fucked with your glasses on.
And that's on top of the fact that this beast is almost certainly going to get roughly the same gas mileage as my snowblower, or about 35 yards per gallon.
Now, we knew we'd be paying a premium for the chance to travel this nation's freeways in relative luxury, but when we crunched the numbers, the premium wasn't worth it. We realized we were better off renting an SUV or a pick-up truck, bringing along the camping equipment we'd been planning to bring anyway, and stay in camping cabins. It would certainly be cheaper. But then, so would the cost of all of us flying to Australia. We're only doing one of those things, but we could almost afford to do both.
And yes, a mobile bathroom would be nice, but rest areas are free. Whereas dumping your RV's poo tank, in most circumstances, is not.
This is not to say we'll never rent an RV. I'm sure we will someday. We'll just plan ahead a little better. And we'll rent it for dates that make sense. And we'll stay in our neighborhood. In the winter.
What better way to see the country? posted by M. Giant 8:45 PM 1 comments