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Author Topic: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?  (Read 3099 times)

Steve44

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What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« on: May 11, 2015, 03:47:23 PM »
This is my first post here.  I want to ask for suggestions about the best setup for living in an RV.  I've been thinking about this lifestyle change for months and I've been reading some threads here.  I've been looking at threads about trailers vs. Class A, 5th wheel vs. trailer, new vs. used, all the normal questions.  I have a general idea of what I think would be the best choice, but before I post that I prefer to get your unbiased opinions (unbiased by my thoughts). 

I know that no one else can really make the best decision for us because they aren't really me (and my wife), but I'm thinking that the experienced members here can give us some suggestions about the pluses and minuses of the different RV setups based on the description of our situation that I have posted here.

I'm 58, married, and planning to work about 5 more years.  My children are out of school and out of our home.  I've lived in Dallas all of my life and I would like to see and live in other parts of the country while I still have time.  I've got enough money to buy a new or slightly used RV setup and sell them all back in a year and not be crushed financially (if we don't like living in an RV).

We're planning to live in the RV full-time.  We've been renting apartments so we are used to small quarters, but we know an RV will be much smaller.  We want some comforts like a washer/dryer and probably satellite TV.  My biggest concerns are finding good extended stay locations near major cities.  I'm a computer programmer and finding good paying jobs is easy right now.  Even easier if I can go anywhere in the country.

My apartment lease and car lease are up in December and I'm thinking of starting the "adventure" in January or shortly thereafter.  We will probably rent an RV for a 1-week vacation this fall as a trial run.  I hope that's enough to get this thread started and I will try to reply back quickly to any questions.

Thanks

Steve

PS: Do they really need to ask for me to enter 6 letters and then answer 4 questions to keep out the spambots?
« Last Edit: May 11, 2015, 04:23:19 PM by Steve44 »

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2015, 06:11:07 PM »
Used is more cost-effective, and reduces the initial depreciation impact.  Think of it as a house, not a car. You buy or rent used houses, right? Doesn't have to be new every time you choose another one.

A motorhome is convenient for travel, and the more often you move the more you will appreciate one. And you can tow a small, fuel efficient car for local travel. But you pay more up front, and pay more in insurance and maintenance cause you have two motorized vehicles.

Trailers, 5W or TT, are less expensive to own and operate, and if you tend to park for long periods you won't miss the MH convenience. You will need a truck or full-sized SUV for a tow vehicle, though, and some people find that daunting, not to mention expensive as a daily driver.

Many (most?) people who continue to work while fulltiming choose the trailer route.
Gary
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8Muddypaws

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2015, 06:27:57 PM »
In my humble opinion a fifth wheel makes a better home than a motorhome if you don't move every couple of weeks.  Even if you have to drive two vehicles when you move. 

Having been a software and database guy myself I know that projects can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to several years.  And if you do good on one project they'll probably offer you the next one as well.

No matter which way you go you're probably going to need two cars.  I have yet to see an RV park close enough to public transport to be useful.

If you're planning on working from your wheeled home be aware that not many RV parks have adequate network service for even picking up email, and your neighbors will be hogging most of the bandwidth watching Netflix.   ;)
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SargeW

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2015, 06:47:21 PM »
IMHO if you are going to stay at locations for a long period, say a month+ or so, a trailer makes more sense. If you get itchy feet and want to change the scenery outside your front door often, the Motorhome is easier.  And just because you move doesn't mean that you will move a long way.  Sometimes it may be <10 miles from where you were before. This has been my experience, you mileage may vary........
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Ernie n Tara

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2015, 08:04:08 PM »
I think Gary pesented it very well. That said, I elected the MH approach and have never regretted it. It's probably more expensive, but it just works! And, get a Jeep and visit Moab; its  truely an experience you should enjoy

Ernie.

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Steve44

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2015, 10:16:12 PM »
In my humble opinion a fifth wheel makes a better home than a motorhome if you don't move every couple of weeks.  Even if you have to drive two vehicles when you move. 

No matter which way you go you're probably going to need two cars.

If you're planning on working from your wheeled home be aware that not many RV parks have adequate network service for even picking up email, and your neighbors will be hogging most of the bandwidth watching Netflix.   ;)
8MuddyPaws

I'm leaning towards a trailer or 5er instead of a motorhome because, as you noted, we probably won't move very often.  We probably would take some weekend trips, but return to our home park during the work week.  If we have a trailer I don't think we would need two cars.  I would unhook and take the truck to work.

How could I get better internet in an RV park?  Dish network or some other satellite?  A cell phone plan?  Or will RV parks located in urban areas often include internet for an extra price?  I would probably work in an office, but still want good internet at home.

One question on my mind is SUV vs. truck.  I see most people talk about trucks for towing.  I'm leaning towards a truck because I think it would be much cheaper for the same towing power, right?  Of course, if we choose a 5er it has to be a truck.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2015, 07:13:32 AM by Steve44 »

Steve44

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2015, 10:23:44 PM »
Used is more cost-effective, and reduces the initial depreciation impact.  Think of it as a house, not a car. You buy or rent used houses, right? Doesn't have to be new every time you choose another one.

Gary

Your advice reflects what I have derived from my study so far, and I am leaning towards a trailer/tow vehicle because we probably won't move often.  I was thinking a used trailer, but not too old.  I don't want a lot of maintenance issues.  I didn't mention my price range.  I'd like to stay at $20,000, but I might go up to $30,000.  My first home was also about $30,000, but that was about 1978.  How old would you suggest for best value in a travel trailer?  That seems like a very good question.  I was thinking about 1 or 2 years old.  Would you go a little older?  Then again, if there's not much difference in price I would go new, but if I can save 5 or 10 thousand it would probably be worth going used.  Do you know if dealers lease trailers like the auto dealers lease cars?

Thanks

Steve

kdbgoat

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2015, 07:11:14 AM »
Another option is buy a 5'er or TT and have a transporter move it for you if you don't want the expense of a truck to move it yourself. That of course will not allow you to pull it out and move it on weekends away.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2015, 07:34:09 AM »
You can get a decent "light duty" travel trailer for that price range. Here are a couple examples:
http://www.rvt.com/Forest-River-Rockwood-Ultra-Lite-2715VS-2015-Mansfield-OH-IDs6094134-UX75034
http://www.rvt.com/Crossroads-CrossRoads-Z-1-ZT301BH-2012-Pontiac-IL-ID6294137-UX116774

Most fulltimers want something a bit more, though, and a 5W is somewhat better for the "hauling" aspect of RVing, plus it has a large storage area. Maybe something like this:
http://www.rvt.com/Keystone-Cougar-316QBS-2009-Pontiac-IL-ID6294136-UX116774

You need to get out and look a LOTS & LOTS of RVs to develop a feel for the space and features you will need to be comfortable. January isn't that far off, so you need to get started on the survey now.
Gary
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Great Horned Owl

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2015, 08:52:07 AM »
For full timing, you will find that the storage space in most TTs is severely limited. The 5th wheels then to be much better in that regard.

Joel
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Steve44

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2015, 09:40:49 AM »
Gary and Owl

I'm leaning towards a TT over a 5er because 5ers cost more, I would probably need a larger truck, and I would lose the truck bed.  That said, I was looking at one online and it was sweet.  It looked nicer than my apartment, and I've got a good apartment.  I will start visiting dealers soon, and when I start looking at both my preference may change.  But I may also see some nice regular TTs.  Storage concerns me, but I can buy a top for the truck bed and store a lot there.  A full-size truck bed would hold a lot of women's shoes - and my wife has a lot.    :-* 

Steve


SargeW

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2015, 10:14:26 AM »
One advantage of the TT over the 5ver is the TT has a level floor plan. No steps to navigate inside. My SIL prefers that too due to bad knees.  The truck topper is a good idea, just be sure to get one that can be secured well, and tint or obscure the window to keep looky loos from inspecting your stuff. 

You will also want a load stabilizing hitch for your truck to make the TT ride better, and a anti sway feature will help a lot too.
Marty--
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8Muddypaws

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2015, 10:31:02 AM »
Getting good internet in an RV park is a question that comes up frequently.  If you're going to be staying someplace for several months you may want to have a DSL line installed if it's available.  Cable would be even better.  Fiber would be awesome, but who's going to run fiber into an RV park?  From what I know of Satellite it's just barely adequate and expensive.

My observation that if a park has good wifi during the day it will be barely adequate in the evening and weekends when people are streaming Netflix and cat videos.  If it's just adequate during the day it will be useless at night & weekends.  We have Verizon LTE and it works just OK most of the time.  We've found plenty of places where it doesn't work either.

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vmyoung61

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2015, 10:42:53 AM »
We have been living in a 40' fifth-wheel for about 1 1/2 years and have never missed the 2200 square foot house we moved out of. We started with a 32' TT and traded it for a fifth-wheel after only 7 weeks. We loved the TT, but needed more storage and a washer/dryer, since we were full-timers. I hate laundromats.

Take your time looking and you can find a well cared for, high-end, used fiver in your price range. I would go that route vs. a new cheap unit.

Another suggestion - Look for long-term, mobile home/RV parks. They will be less expensive than campgrounds, and you get an actual address. For satellite/cable/internet - If you are going to be in place for a few months, have it set up just like a house. Providers do it all the time.
Steve and Gina
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2015, 11:10:05 AM »
I'm a constant internet user (spend way too much time on RVing sites!) and have to largely agree with Muddypaws re park wifi and even cellular (Verizon). I use a Verizon LTE modem for 24/7 access, but performance still varies all over the map, depending on local towers, interference, and how many neighbors are using the service and for what. Since you will likely be near urban areas, cell service may well be decent. It's still the best option for an RVer, though, short of getting the landline connection that Muddypaws suggests.

Park wifi is usually crappy, but again a big urban park sometimes has a high speed connection good enough for dozens of users, and  enough antennas on the property for decent access from your site. Just don't count on it. Consider it a bonus when you have it - you can always suspend service to your cell modem if you don't need it.
Gary
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Steve44

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2015, 11:39:29 AM »
Gary

I was looking at the first trailer link you posted and it brings up a question I wanted to ask.  I've read some threads here where the poster (one may have been you) said that dealers will normally take 20% to 30% off the MSRP.  That first link, for a new UltraLite (which looks nice) has already been marked down.  I took out the calculator and it has been marked down almost exactly 30%.  It's as if the dealer (or the manufacturer) is reading the forum here and said "I'll mark up my MSRP another 5% and then when I mark it down 30% the buyer will think he's getting a great deal."  If I see a deal like that, and I like it, should I say "I'll take it." or should I expect to get another 5% off?  It looks like a lot of value new for $25K, but I haven't compared much yet.  Considering that trailer, what do you think I should pay if it was 2 years old?

Steve

Steve44

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2015, 05:16:53 PM »
I want to thank everyone for their helpful replies here.  I have learned some important points about the process of living in an RV full-time.  However, with what I have learned I think we will have to postpone our transition for a few more years.  As I have researched this further it looks like I would not save any money over living in an apartment and I would be sacrificing some valuable benefits.  The biggest negatives are the loss of living area and probably an increase in my work commute time.

I did some searching on the Internet today and there appear to be very few RV parks near the areas where I would be working in the Dallas area.  I haven't checked other cities, but I would expect the situation would not be much better, and maybe worse in the Eastern cities.  Texas tends to have more space, but still there aren't many RV parks close to the areas where IT work opportunities are plentiful.

I could accept that trade off if I was saving a lot of money each month, but that doesn't appear to be the case.  I am currently leasing a nice 2-bedroom apartment in the city for $1,200 per month.  I thought I could save at least $500 per month living in an RV.  My original monthly projections were:

300 RV Park rental
200 Additional car lease
200 Trailer depreciation

700 Total differential costs vs. 1,200 apartment rent = $500 savings.

But the RV park rentals closest to my work are about $500 per month.  If I want to be comfortable in a fifth wheel the additional car lease for the tow vehicle will be closer to $400 per month, and the trailer depreciation also will be closer to $400 per month.  I could go with older models but then you have more cost in repairs so you don't end up saving much.  That makes the monthly costs closer to:

500 RV Park rental
400 Additional car lease
400 Trailer depreciation

1,300 Total differential costs vs. 1,200 apartment rent = $100 loss.

If I were going to earn an extra $5 or $10 per hour by taking jobs around the country that would begin to shift the equation, but I'm not convinced that's the case - not enough to take the financial risk.  I still want to spend time touring the country when I am retired or semi-retired, but it may have to wait 3 to 5 years.  Still I've learned a lot here.  If anyone sees something that I'm missing in my forecasts please comment.

Thanks

Steve


« Last Edit: May 12, 2015, 05:32:03 PM by Steve44 »

ArdraF

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2015, 10:25:26 PM »
No one has mentioned weather and geographic locations of where you might work.  You've mentioned Dallas but also other nonspecific parts of the U.S.  You're also thinking about light trailers.  Not many light trailers are designed for temperature extremes.  If you get a job in South Dakota or New York, trailer living is not all that wonderful in the winter.  Even if you can find an open campground (many close for the winter) the propane costs of heating a trailer will be a lot.  If you get a job in a desert area, light trailers aren't designed for very hot living and trying to keep one cool uses a lot of electricity.  I think you should plan on apartment living until you can afford to buy a better quality RV that is more conducive to all-weather living.

ArdraF
ArdraF
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8Muddypaws

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2015, 10:39:13 PM »
Utilities.

Most of the RV parks I've seen do not include utilities as part of the monthly rent.  This may be different in other areas but that's the way it is around Silicon Valley.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2015, 07:45:10 AM »
Your analysis is spot-on. RV parks are not typically close to larger cities and are expensive when they are. People RV to get away from the city and  land is expensive (& scarce) close into urban areas.

Nor is comfortable RVing an inexpensive way to live. You gain mobility and access to a different life style, but you rarely save money. You can, of course, RV on the cheap, but you can also rent apartments or buy homes on the cheap. It all depends on the standards you want to maintain for yourself.
Gary
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Steve44

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Re: What RV Setup Would You Suggest For Me?
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2015, 08:57:23 AM »
I think you should plan on apartment living until you can afford to buy a better quality RV that is more conducive to all-weather living.

ArdraF

I can afford to do it, I just don't think it makes sense to do it until we are going to be travelling more.  Initially I thought it would be a lot cheaper than living in an apartment, but now it doesn't look like it will save much money or none.  Plus the lack of RV parks near the major cities where I would be working makes it problematic.  I've gotten used to short commutes and I don't want to go back to driving 30 minutes or an hour each way.  Still, we will probably look at some $20K trailers that an F150 could pull and decide if we would enjoy living there or not.  If not, then we will wait a few more years until we are going to be touring the country more.

 

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