Best A or C under 30' with 125 k budget

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New member
Nov 2, 2012
I'm looking into traveling with my wife up too 4 months a year , a couple months at a time. Given a budget  of 125k and limitation of 30' ,I would like to hear some opinions on what everyone would buy and why.Occasionally we may have another couple travel with us for a week at a time.We also don't want to tow anything so if we go with gas we will just rent a car if we are in one national park for an extended period of time.

        Thank you
I travel in 28 feet without a car.  I have a ton of fun!  I always thought I would rent a car when I wanted to, but so far in 3 years, I haven't rented a car. When I wanted to, I was too far away to get one sorted out, I guess because I choose small parks off the beaten paths in the heart of nature where car rental companies refuse to deliver. I can break camp pretty fast to go shopping and sightseeing. Matter of fact I love sightseeing in my RV as the dog goes along, the kitchen and bath go along and so on. For me it makes a sightseeing day loads of fun.

For those that scream and shout I should be towing a car to "save gas" it's just not true. What I spend on gas for my RV doing shopping, errands and sightseeing, is way cheaper than owning and maintaining a car. I am not one of those that has to be on the crowded roads each and every day to feel good about myself. I can happily park my rig all week or longer with a pantry and fridge full of food and do a lot of sightseeing right on foot with my dog.  I never lose a ton of time hooking and unhooking a tow vehicle.  For me this works beautifully.  If anything, not having a car, keeps me from frittering away money and time, I have to do a bit of planning not just hop in the car and drive 20 miles to spend $5 and come back home again.

But not towing a car means I can stop anywhere I want to, as all I need is 2 parking spaces or 1 parking spot in an out of the way place.  Naturally I shop and provision between campsites.  Because I am not towing, I am not terrified of reversing in and out of parking spots. It does mean you do not get front row parking, as I park further away so as to have 2 spots and not bother anybody.  I need the exercise anyhow, so recently when my friend asked me to drive them in their car to the store, they were dismayed when I parked far away, out of sheer habit. I had to unpark and get them as close to the front door as possible before they were happy. In the time it took us to hunt down a close spot that suited them, we could have parked and walked to and from the store 5 times, but hey, I didn't point that out to them. Some folks just gotta be right next to the door or they aren't happy.

As for the best RV, with your budget, you should get out and look at EVERYTHING that is 30 feet under $125,00 and settle for one that feels like home that you just love and can imagine yourself having many happy years in it. The layout inside varies widely, so find one that appeals to you and your lifestyle.  The more you LOOK the more you will come up with your list of "must haves" and list of "wishful haves".  You can't just take someone else's advice that a certain RV will be perfect for you. 

If I were in your shoes, I would spend LESS and save the extra for future upgrades. Once you get an RV there is more stuff to buy and the ongoing maintenance and so on. If you love the outdoors like I do, then you end up buying patio mats, chairs, table, umbrealla and so on. Plus the RV you buy may seem perfect then after you use it awhile you realize the kitchen faucet drives you insane so you upgrade to a nicer one.  Or maybe the carpet vacuuming drives you insane so you add a basement built-in vacuum cleaner. So, you may want to spend less up front and set the rest aside for "wait and see" money.

Your budget is generous so there are numerous new and used ones on the market that willeasily fit your budget. I would suggest you look at 50 or more new and used RV's  for starters. It will give you a great education as you discover  they come with great layouts or lousy ones, beautiful decor or an interior that makes you gag. 

For instance I like a nice kitchen because I cook at home rather than dine out. I like lots of big windows and willing to forego storage to have those big nice windows. But I don't care for TV, so whether it has small or large or no TV doesn't matter to me. But you might need or want a huge built-in TV and big recliners to watch it with and may not care whether it has big or small windows.

You really can't rely on us to tell you THIS is the exact RV you need to buy or this is the best RV to buy. You buy an RV to enjoy, it makes a lousy investment, rarely can you actually make money on one as in almost NEVER.

You buy an RV to ENJOY so pick one that appeals to your personal lifestyle.

Someone else might eat out all the time and therefore a cramped kitchen is fine with them where as someone else might want a kitchen with a workable layout for entertaining. My rear bed is a full size enclosed by walls or built-ins on 2.5 sides which suits me fine and leaves me room for my treasured compact washing machine. But someone else might prefer a walk around bigger  queen bed.

Most all RV's come with multiple bed conversions... the dinette often converts to a bed, the couch converts and so on. I preferred a Class C because it had a spare queen bunk over the cab for company. In 3 years, I have had one friend who has shown up maybe 2-3 times a year for trips of 1-2 weeks each time.  One other family spent a weekend at the beach with me, but mostly everyone else is "all talk" and no show. 

So having company travel with you can be over rated. Plenty of people say they want to go on a trip with me...  but when I start to nail them down with dates, they seem to back out or no-show other than my one friend who loves to travel in the RV with me and my silly dog.

I have often rendezvoused with friends in parks that had cabins, they got the cabin, I got the RV spot. Sometimes we day tripped in the RV by day but at night they went back to their cabin and I went to the RV campground.

So whatever you get, will have spare sleeping, I wouldn't worry too much about that, just get something you love the layout and can picture yourself having years of good times in it.

Buying an RV is easier than trying to sell one.... so it pays to look at LOTS of RV's before you make a decision. Trying to sell one 6 months later because you bought in haste... well that can be a financial disaster.

RV salesman will try to sell you anything on their lot and even bad mouth anything not on their lot, so don't rely on them for trusted info. They might be right they might be just trying to close a deal and will say anything to get you to part with your money.

Once you go out and look at 50 RV's without buying, you will start making that little list of "must haves" and feel more confident about ultimately choosing one.
Four adults in a 30 foot class A would be extremely cramped. In a class C it would be almost impossible. I live in a 32 foot class A and I am all alone. It is a bit small. If you are going to have two people spending 4 months a year with occasionally two more adults I would suggest a 36 foot class A at the minimum. Smaller RVs have much less storage room and much smaller holding tanks. Unless you have a really good reason for staying under 30 feet you should explore larger RVs.

The next issue is price. Almost no one gets it right the first time. You really don't know what you want in an RV until you have spent some time in one. I would suggest spending no more than $20k on your first RV. Almost all first time RV owners want to upgrade or change things about a year later. RVs depreciate like a rock. If you start off with a very expensive unit you will loose a lot of money at trade in time. If you buy a cheap one first, find out what you really want and then upgrade you will have saved many dollars.
When I got back into RVing in 1994, we bought a 34' class A for the 2 of  us.  Upon ocassion we had a guest or 2 and sometimes as many as 3 grandkids.  We found it to be quite confining for more than a few days.  After a couple of extended trips, greater than 2 months, we concluded that for the 2 of us the 34' MH was too small and started looking for a larger Class A.

Early on we did not tow and found renting cars to be both expensive and inconvenient.  We have towed  since 1995 and do not leave for even a weekend rally without a car.  In a couple of cases we have aided people without cars by taking them for immediate medical treatment and we were also the recipient in one case in 1994.  The combination of events caused us to reconsider our decision on  towing and we have towed ever since.

I would recommend looking at a few older Class A diesel pushers.  A good 2001 of the better brands, Monaco, Newmar, American, etc can be had in good shape well below your price probably less than $75,000 which would leave plenty of money to "make it yours" and also cover most issues that might pop up after the purchase.  Newer ones will cost more but will probably have a few more bells and whistles and still  be below your stated price.

If we were to buy another RV, I would buy a newer but used diesel pusher.  We are too old to  up grade and our 2001 is doing well and should serve us till we retire from RVing.

Just a few thoughts,
For Class A (assuming new, take ~25% off of the list price to hit your budget), you have some options. If you expand your want-list another 3 feet, or so you get a lot more options.

Take a peek at the Winnebago Vista  30T, which will be way under under your $125k budget, but will allow you to sleep your two guests on the pullout air-mattress on the couch. Will also give you a decent amount of exterior/interior storage for those 4 or so months.
Here's one:

(If you can expand another few feet, the Winnebago Sightseer 33C has some additional amenities and will also be under your budget). Similar floorplan, but a bit more room and more "stuff".
Here's one:

I just grabbed two links (2012 models). The 2013s have been out for several months as well.

The views expressed by Tom and Jim (that a 34 footer is cramped) will not apply to everybody. You might find it to be quite adequate.

DW and I used a 19' class B for 17 years. It had no slides and very limited storage. We found it to be great for weekend trips, and adequate for a two week vacation. Now that I am retired, we started taking six week trips and began to feel really cramped.

We bought a 27' 5er with one slide and a goodly amount of storage space. We just returned from our first trip that ran about seven weeks. Rather than ever feeling cramped, DW kept marveling at "how huge this thing is." We have empty cabinet space that we might never fill up.

You need to stop thinking about what other people need, and concentrate on determining what your needs are.

Great Horned Owl said:
The views expressed by Tom and Jim (that a 34 footer is cramped) will not apply to everybody. You might find it to be quite adequate.

DW and I used a 19' class B for 17 years. It had no slides and very limited storage. We found it to be great for weekend trips, and adequate for a two week vacation. Now that I am retired, we started taking six week trips and began to feel really cramped.
There is a huge difference between using an RV for weekend trips and living in an RV for months at a time. This is why Jim and I think a 30 footer is way too cramped for the OP.
I will say that for short trips up to a month  =/-, the 34' was adequate but when we added more time to the trip, 6 months feels like full time, and shorter trips up to 2 weeks=/-, with the grand kids, it becomes cramped and sometimes awkward due to the one bathroom even with 3 people and especially so with 3 women and 2 men.  There is very little privacy!!!

Then I added my toys, computers, radios, etc. and even the 38' gets a little confining.  We will not up grade to either a newer or longer MH simply because we do not see the need for the time remaining that we will be able to RV, my guess is less than 10 years since we both are effectively 80 +/- a few months.
I like the old 38 footer we bought.  The newer 27 foot was nice with 2 slides but I like the heavier old Eagle.  Also like the W/
D I just hated the laundromats, very few seemed to be nice.  And I love the icemaker and the roomy bays for storage.
We also like the full self contained bathroom with tub.  DD or I either one are able to sit in the tub, they do have one corner curved, wish it were square but its still ok.

I don't get to go often as I like, seems like I'm always busy.  It doesn't have any slides but its ok.  DD and I go togethre and usually take the cat, but now we are going to have to take the dog too so I'm wondering if it will be a bit more crowded.  One of us sleeps in the living room it would be nice to have some type of bunk bed somewhere instead of making up the couch.  It's very comfortable sleeping just a pain to make up each day. This one will likely do us for here on out.  I look at the newer beauties out there but they are just so expensive I doubt we ever buy one. Just have to wait and see how it goes, hubby may have a different idea but for now Sue Anne and I are enjoying this one when we can.
Bigger is not always better.

I've been able to visit oodles of gorgeous campgrounds that were built long before the mega rigs became the norm. Had I been in a larger rig, I would not have fit into many of these campgrounds at all. Not all campgrounds  have "upgraded" to accommodate big rigs or some only have a token few spots for big rigs which are often reserved far in advance.

The original post says they just plan to use their  rig 4 months of the year, not live in it fulltime year round with all their worldly goods inside.  When I had 5 people and 2 dogs staying in my 28 foot Class C (no slides) for a week, I worried we might kill each other because it would be too cozy.

But we chose to do this during temperate weather at a state park that had generous campsites.  We weren't packed in like sardines. This meant the windows and door to the RV could remain open once we got up in the morning. The stereo could be heard outdoors, so we enjoyed music when we were on the campsite and did all our visiting and entertaining outdoors.

It was only cramped at night when we all piled inside to make the beds and go sleep.  When morning arrived, we threw open the door, moving outdoors with our dogs,  coffee and breakfast. We spent the rest of the day outside because we had the big picnic table that came with the site, plus assorted chairs, a folding card table, the overhead awning for shade, a grill and fire pit. We were busy during the day hiking and hanging out at the beach, swimming, playing Frisbee, flying a kite, building sandcastles, walking the dogs and so on.  We didn't sit inside the RV  all day staring at each other or staring at computers or TV. Had the weather turned super  ugly, we might have been forced inside for a movie, but luckily that didn't happen.

We took turns cooking, sometimes inside, sometimes outside. But with only one person inside cooking, everyone else was outside, cleaning, setting up the table for dining, making drinks out of a cooler we kept outside.  We had great conversations, played games. built fires at night, enjoyed loads of wonderful foods and great conversation. We treated ourselves to the proverbial moonlight walks on the beach.

Our focus was enjoying the outdoors and each other, not sitting around inside the rig complaining it was too cramped.

Sure there are numerous valid reasons for owning a big rig, but plenty of fun can be had in a small rig too without suffering at all. We sure had a blast and plan to do another trip together.
That much budget gives you a wide choice of 30 footers, but I sure wouldn't want to spend much time with another couple in that size rig - unless one of them planned to sleep in a tent alongside. 250 sq ft of space isn't much for 4 adults! Just sharing a tiny bathroom can put a strain on the friendship.

I would be looking at the Winnebago/Itasca line in that size, but take a look at the Tiffin Allegro Breeze 28 ft diesel as well.  Winnebago Industries focuses more on smaller RVs and I think they do a class job with them.
We have 8 in 31' it gets a little crowded BUT thats what you are suppose to do get CLOSE to each other. I would have to suggest get a slide it will make a HUGE differance. Ours with it in would drive me nuts out you can play wii and actually not hit anything. My slide goes out 31" then the couch can pull out to fullsize bed with a real mattress. Under storage is a lot less than an A but you learn to adjust what you bring. We still have enough room to bring chairs and all the outside furniture.  My favorite feature is double doors on the bathroom they open up to close off the front and bedroom as well to give access to the 6 drawers and 3 doors of the closet makes the PERFECT dressing area when camping. Also gives bedroom a little sound muffling with the kids up front its actually gets very quite.
The wife and I just purchased a Thor 28Z. It works out to slightly less than 30 feet.

It has everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, we had on out long list of requirments, and we could not be happier. Listed for 89K, but found a really sweet deal here in Houston for a whole lot less, brand-new from the dealer.
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