When we lived on the west coast we did a fair amount of tent camping. We relocated back to Illinois and between our jobs and our boy's activities, camping got put on the back burner and we sold our camping equipment. For the last several years I have wanted to purchase a travel trailer and get back into camping, but my husband hasn't been totally on board. Now we have two little girls at home, I no longer work and will begin homeschooling the girls soon. I would love to include trips across the U.S. into our homeschooling acitivites and my husband is beginning to come on board with the idea of getting a travel trailer now. This of course is going to require that we purchase a vehicle to tow a travel trailer in addition to the travel trailer. Since we have the two girls and two dogs, I'm leaning toward a full size van that would be used as our family vehicle as well. Where do I begin? Should we first pick out the travel trailer we would like to purchase and then purchase a van that will be able to pull it? Or is it better to purchase the vehicle first and then purchase the travel trailer? Suggestions? Opinions?
For a starter, visit the local dealers and tell them you are considering RVing and pick their brains. Just don't believe everything they say, remember they are trying to sell you something. It is very common for salesmen to understate the truck you will need to tow a given trailer. This forum is a great source of info. Ask specific questions and you will get answers. Just remember that all replies are opinions and are not always correct.
Welcome to RVing, its a great pastime.
Class C, 2004/5 Four Winds Dutchman Express 28A, Chevy chassis
2010 Subaru Impreza Sedan
Camped in 45 states, 7 Provinces and 1 Territory
As you need to purchase a tow vehicle and a trailer, Consider a gently used motor home. You can probably pick one up for about what a new tow truck would cost. with two kids, and the two of you, the built-in bath and kitchen that are available o the road would be a BIG asset. The addition of a toad provides local transportation for sightseeing. Besides, the motor home doesn't use any gas when it is parked and you are not in travel mode.
Noel and Betty Johnson 2005 GulfStream Ultra Supreme, 1 wife, 1 Poodle
find the trailer floorplan that works for you and your family. then find the companies that make a similar floorplan. go and look through all those different brands, to determine which brand you feel makes the best one.
once you decide on the brand and model trailer, THEN find the tow vehicle that will tow it comfortably.
learn the pros and cons of Motorhomes, 5th wheels and travel trailers.
each has advantages and disavantages, such as a motorhome may require to pull a "toad" or a 5th wheel will offer more living space and tow easier than a travel trailer.
Dan- Firefighter, Shawn- Musician/Entrepreneur, Zoe- Faithful Golden Retriever, 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche LS, 2007 Rockwood Roo 23SS w/Equalizer and Prodigy, and 5 Mtn. bikes and 2 Road bikes
The main thing is to use the trailers maximum weight rating and leave yourself additional room with the TV's capabilities. If there are any dealerships that sell both RV's and TV's like I happen to have bought mine from, they will be more knowledgable about both TT's and TV's than someone that just sells one or the other. That would be a good place to start to identify the capabilities of the TV's and what size TT you are looking for.
2011 Silverado Crewcab 4x4
2012 Passport 238ML
Hope your travels are safe and the friendships made camping are lasting.
Here is how we did it on our first and only purchase:
First and foremost is money. How much are you willing/able to spend on an RV? RV meaning a TT/TV or MH. Budget exactly this and no more. The bling can be blinding while you are looking and it is easy to get pushed into a more expensive model if you are too eager.
Got the budget? Good.
Now, what kind of traveling will you be doing? Will you want to speed across the country to get to the otherside and back within 2 weeks or will you live on the road? How long will your intended trips be mile-wise and time-wise? If you can only take short trips close to home once in a while the best RV set-up may be different than if you are going to travel for 6 months at a time.
I have not seen a van pulling a trailer yet, so I can not comment on whether that is even an option. However, there are some quirky numbers you need to know in order to be able to tow anything properly and you may need a super special hitch. I am not saavy on all the terms for hitches.
Do not under any circumstance let the RV dealer convince you that your tow vehicle "can pull it, no problem". Do your own homework here by asking the mechanically talented people. Too many times the result is that the new vehicle will NOT pull the new RV and something ends up sold/or traded in to get the right combo, usually at a loss. Ask and ye shall receive.
There is a consignment dealer - ppl motorhomes in houston, tx. The website is great and you can "see" a lot of floorplans, specs., details, etc of all sorts of RVs. You will get a feel for what is out there, albeit used.
After you have browsed RVs for a while, make a list of the "must haves" and the "would likes". They are different for everyone. For instance, I rarely use the washer/dryer and could function well without it but having 2 soafas was a "must". I gave up a king bed to get the most of our "musts" in one rig.
Since your girls are small, you should look to an RV that will grow with them. At a certain age, the fold down dinette beds are too small for the kids. Buy for the long run as the kids will grow. And do you want to make the dinette into a bed and back into a dinette everyday? If not, look at bunkhouse models which have a seperate bedroom for parents and bunkbeds for the kids.
You will travel with 2 adults, 2 kids and 2 dogs. Give serious consideration to a living room slide model. It will be a little slice of heaven on rainy/cold days when everyone is inside. But this could be my age and claustrophobia talking. It is up to each family. Without a slide it can be cramped or cozy, depending on perception. My friends have traveled all over the country with 3 kids in a 24' trailer and love the coziness even though the kids are teens and adults now. And they manage to travel in a quad cab pickup truck without anyone being "bored to death".
MHs are great for many reasons, two being there is a bathroom and a kitchen on board and you don't have to leave the RV or unpack it to get to them. Class C's have large overcab beds which are handy for 2 kids.
As for Class A', there is a saying: "six for cocktails, 4 for dinner, 2 for sleeping" as the most manufactured floor plans require kids to sleep in the living area on sofas. There are some with bunkbeds. There are even some with a bath and 1/2.
Budget, style of travel, style of camping, type of RV, features/amenities. In that order.
Thanks for the responses. It's been several years now, but we did attend an RV show and I know and understand the difference between the different types of RV's. I have been leaning toward a travel trailer for a few reasons.
1. It doesn't require a truck to pull it like a 5th-wheel would.
2. We can purchase a van or SUV to pull the travel trailer and use the same vehicle as our family vehicle when the trailer is not in use.
3. We can park the travel trailer and use our tow vehicle for sight-seeing around the area.
One of the big reasons I was leaning toward a travel trailer though is insurance. I have been under the impression that insuring a Class A or C would be a separate policy costing more in premium. If insuring a travel tailer, it is an add-on to the existing tow vehicle policy which is less expensive. Am I understanding this incorrectly?