Author Topic: Advice wanted! Cross-country RV trip on the cheap?  (Read 2903 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Advice wanted! Cross-country RV trip on the cheap?
« on: September 24, 2014, 03:05:05 PM »
Hey, all. J.D. here. Still moving from the GRS philosophy to the Mustachian lifestyle. Today I have an interesting question, one that I spoke about with Pete briefly last week in New Orleans. Here it is:

Kim and I are planning a cross-country trip. Next spring, we'll leave Portland and drive across the U.S. (and Canada) with little direction in mind. Along the way, we'll connect with folks I've only known online for the past few years. When possible, I'll film their stories and write about them. (I also plan to spend some time with the Mustache family, trying to film a bit of their lives.) The catch? I don't know the first thing about RV life.

We THINK we want to buy a used truck and a used travel trailer, but we're not sure. We don't need anything too fancy. Maybe 16 feet? 18? No larger than 22, that's for sure. And we don't need a fancy truck either. Our goal is to do this as cost-effectively as possible. And in keeping with Pete's agenda, we'd like to go lightly. (Or as lightly as one can when traveling across the country.)

Any tips would be appreciated. What sort of truck should we buy? What sort of trailer? What are the most important considerations? Where should we visit when? Help us!



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Re: Advice wanted! Cross-country RV trip on the cheap?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2014, 03:15:56 PM »
Hey J.D., good to see you here!

I'm sure people will be chiming in shortly, but in the meantime, reading through these previous threads may give you a few ideas, and/or contain links to other sites and resources to help you out:

Sounds like a fun trip!  :D
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  • Stubble
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Re: Advice wanted! Cross-country RV trip on the cheap?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2014, 03:33:42 PM »

I'm doing a similar 6-month trip this winter-spring-sumer when I leave my job.  I'm based out of San Diego and plan to do an extensive tour of the SW, Pac NW.  We're sticking to tent camping though, but could be persuaded otherwise.  Looking forward to responses here.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Advice wanted! Cross-country RV trip on the cheap?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2014, 04:15:37 PM »
We are retired in our 40's and fulltiming in an RV. It's awesome.

My perspective is from a couple that does things on the frugal (as opposed to on the cheap), plus who likes to park the rig in one place longer and do exploration day trips, thus saving gas money. We are set up to be comfortable wherever we are, whether we are parked in an RV park, in a federal/state/local campground, or in the middle of nowhere with no hookups (it's called boondocking in the RV world).

1. Solar power is the way to go. We have 750 watts of solar power on the roof of our motorhome. My husband put the entire system in himself after we bought it. We can go indefinitely without hookups in reasonably sunny weather, although we like to take on fresh water in our 80 gallon fresh water tank every week or two, plus dump the waste tanks. If you don't have any wish to boondock, you may not need this option.

2. We decided to purchase a Class A and a toad (towed vehicle), mainly because we just did not relish driving a massive tow truck around all the time.

3. Whatever class of vehicle you choose (Class A, Class B, Class C, fifth wheel, travel trailer), do your research on that particular setup, and then walk around inside a lot of units before you make your choice. Depreciation is such that buying a motorhome used makes even more sense than buying a passenger vehicle used.

4. The only way to learn all the tricks is to do it. I did hours and hours of research, yet I learned so much more by doing.

5. It takes a while to realize how flexible this lifestyle is. Even if you're in it for a short time, e.g one year, you can do/go/stay/backtrack/drive all day -  whatever or whenever you want. That is the true beauty of this lifestyle. If you don't like where you are, just pull in the slides, retract the jacks, and drive off. If you like where you are, stay another week.

One of my favorite fulltiming bloggers, Laurie Brown, did a good series on buying an RV:

Good luck!