Help with trip to the US

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.


Jun 4, 2005
Hi everyone

As complete new comers to the RV world I am hoping to get help and advice before I buy an RV to tour the USA/Canada.
I am currently planing a Year break from work in the UK. Part of this (about 4 months) will be spent  in the USA and Canada.
My plan is instead of hiring a car and paying Hotel/Motel bills, we would  buy a used, ready to drive  RV and then try to  re-sale the RV before leaving.
I have had a look on the Internet and found some excellent looking vehicles for (by UK standards) ridiculously cheap prices. From what I have seen I believe I can get a used  RV around 27' that can sleep 4 and last the 4 months that I need for under $16000.

Now the Questions...
1.  Has anyone any experience or knowledge of a non US citizen buying and registering a RV, what sort of time scales are involved?
2.  Is it easy to get insurance? Any suggestion for best places to go for insurance.
3.  Is there a Maximum size vehicle that I would be able to drive on a standard "UK" driving license?

Any general advice on RV choice?

Well that will do for a start, I look forward to hearing from you.

Hi Sparti

We have several members from the UK who have done what you're planning to do. Hopefully they'll jump in with some comments. Meanwhile, click on the Library button above, then click the Newcomers need to know category and look for the article entitled Foreigners buying a used RV to tour the USA. This article was written by a former RV Forum member living in the UK. It's a little out of date, but should be a good starting point.

Welcome to the RV Forum.  We have several members that have traveled from Europe to tour the U.S..  Hopefully some of them will jump in and give you some first hand information.  Please join in any of the ongoing discussions or start new discussions relating to the RVing lifestyle.  Ask questions and I'm sure you will get the answers you are looking for.
Welcome to Rv Forum and hope we can help with your trip.

I think your plan is workable except you should not plan on recouping much of your investment in the RV.  RVs are notiously difficult to re-sale on a private basis and you generally have to offer a substantial price to attract buyers.  I would guess that something like only 1 in 7 RVs re-sell quickly, i.e. in less than 3 months.  The rest often take a year or more to sell.  And dealers seldom buy used RVs form individuals - they already get all they can handle as trade-ins.  Sometimes they do handle them as consignment sales, but those who have tried that route have generally made unsatisfactory reports.

The price premium in the UK appears to be such that you might be able to ship the motorhome back to the UK and sell there, recovering your costs. We know of a UK couple who are doing that. In that case, you might want to buy a newer model, so that the cost of shipping was a smaller percentage of the overalll value and thus more easily recovered.
Hi Sparti

We are from the UK, I  am currently typing this from our RV in Texas. We did 23 states last year, went home for 8 months and are back for another year. It will probably take us 3 years to see the US & canada to feel like we have covered anything.
Me and my husband are in our early forties and have gone through most of the red tape here. If you need some advice we would be glad to help, give us a call, it's only 2p a minute from the Uk if you use we used them all the time whilst back in the UK. Our number is 001 941 323 8666, weekends would be better as we get loads of minutes then, we are 6 hours behind you at the moment. We don't get on the net much as things have changed in the last year here and internet is now $95 a month for good regular service.
Feel free to call us

Julie & Alan Field
Thanks every one for the welcome and advice, it really is appreciated. After spending the last week reading through the posts on this forum, I can?t wait to get started.
I must give my apologies for repeating old questions. I noticed that Tom has answered the same question at least half a dozen times before! Next time I will do a search before asking :).
As for RV Roamers suggestion of bringing the RV back to the UK, after comparing prices, it is very tempting. I have read a few posts on issues with VAT etc but would be interested to hear from anyone who has actually completed the transfer, on the real cost involved. 

Julea & Alan ? Many thanks for the phone number, I am sure I will be in touch when I have done a bit more research and know what questions to ask.

Once again thanks for the friendly welcome,

We don't get on the net much as things have changed in the last year here and internet is now $95 a month for good regular service.

Who charges $95.00 a month for internet service in the U.S.??? ??? ??? ???
Unless you are using Datastorm satelite that is way too high.  You can get on the interent here in the US using a cell phone for much much less.
Sparti said:
I must give my apologies for repeating old questions. I noticed that Tom has answered the same question at least half a dozen times before!

Steve, please don't apologize. Answering the same question more than once for different people isn't an issue, although a search may get you the answer sooner.

Glad you found some good reading material here. Did you check our library also? (Click the Library button in the toolbar above and select a category).

Please stay in touch with the folks here, both up to and during your adventure. You'll receive lots of encouragement and tips, and you'll find that folks will be more than willing to let you join them if you happen to be somewhere close to where they're planning to be camped. (If you prefer to camp alone, just say so and nobody will be offended.) Many of us will also be eager to learn from your experiences which can be shared with others who follow you.

As Ron suggests, many folks here get online for little, if anything, more than the cost of their mobile phone service. Additionally, one of the advantages of meeting up with others is that a number of folks have satellite internet and willingly share their connection via a WiFi access point.

Where in the UK do you live? I'm originally a Taff. We have several other Brits here on the forum, although the ones from England are hiding from me since their world class rugby team won the wooden spoon last season.
Additionally, one of the advantages of meeting up with others is that a number of folks have satellite internet and willingly share their connection via a WiFi access point.

agood example is at Moab this year.  We only had nine Direcway dishes in our group.  Most everybody was able to get a very good wifi signal to get on the internet.
internet is now $95 a month for good regular service.


If you are paying that much for internet service I would suggest you check out an alternative provider.? A discussion on the topic appears HERE on the Forum.

Alternatively, a Google search for "cheap ISP" will yield many choices.  Look for an ISP that provides local numbers in all parts of U.S. and Canada.  Not all ISP's have that capability but many do.  Many of us would NOT recommend AOL because dropped connections, advertising, front end software, advertising.....
Hi Sparti
our motorhome is being shipped to the uk from brunswick Georgia 21st july ,the cost of shipping is $5000 plus insurance,as soon as it gets to Southampton and deal with customs i will be able to give you an idea of the total cost
Hi Ron,

Internet is that expensive, for GOOD REGULAR serivce. We used our cell phone last year, which is now not available this year for new customers signing up. If you want service most places you go, your only choice is an air card ( $200) and all the networks charge $80 a month, which we all now isn't actually $80 a month due to all the taxes on top. Our phone plan last year was $50 a month but ended up $60 with the extra charges, so $80 a month will be at least $95. We have gone with dial up at $1 for the first 3 months then $10 a month after that. We can not dial via our phone as Cingular now charges 3cents a kilobyte for downloading, you can't  use your minutes anymore and the same goes for Verizon with new customers. I am sure if we still had our old contract from last year with Cingular we could continue to use the phone but we cancalled it due to going home for 8 months. Our back ground is Telecoms we both worked for AT&T in the UK and if i thought there was a cheaper way we would have been there. Perhaps you could recommend something for us for the year that we missed in our research . Thanks Ron

Julea & Alan Field
Julea and Alan,

Your air card must have been with Verizon. My air card is with t-Mobile and, with unlimited internet service, is much cheaper than Verizon, although it's a little slower. We travelled 10,000 miles on one trip a year ago, covering much of the U.S. and eastern Canada and the air card had service most, but not all, places we went. However, service in Canada is charged by the Mb.

I and a number of others currently have satellite internet service through Direcway and it's comparable in price to t-Mobile, although the initial equipment cost is higher..

Folks on this forum have been getting online via cell (mobile) phone service for many years and many know all the tricks of getting the optimum compromise of coverage and price. A number of these folks also worked in Telecomms. So don't write us old fogies off just yet - we might be able to teach you young folks a thing or two  ;D
Like Tom mentioned several of us in the framily have satellite internet dishes.  This works very good for us and cost is reasonable to us at $60 dollars per month for regular service and $100 a month for business.  We have the lower cost service. 

Many of the framily have success using the cell phone for internet connection.  I am not sure but the figures you mentioned seem excessive but then we haven't use our cell phone to connect since we got the satellite about 4 years ago.  I.m sure some of those using the cell phone to connect will jump in with some good suggestions as Tom has already done.

Ron said:
$60 dollars per month for regular service

Thanks for reminding me Ron. That makes my t-Mobile air card service $10/month cheaper than Direcway (I'd previously said they were comparable, although I couldn't remember exactly how much each was).

This stuff isn't rocket science, although some might have us think so. I've been getting online from wherever I am in the world for over 20 years, although I must admit I prefer being online from the comfort of my RV than from a hotel in some far away country using a set of tools and alligator clips. Heck, acoustic couplers seemed like hi-tech when they came along. Having to lug the PC and a set of tools onto an aircraft is also something I don't miss.
We have come a long way.  When in Tokyo I used a wooping 300 baud modem to connect to the Source then Compuserve.  Really went big time when I upgraded to a 1200 baud modem. ;D ;D
Top Bottom