Various questions about an italian RV in the U.S.

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Francesca

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Nov 10, 2012
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14
Hello,
I'm here on behalf of my parents, who would like to travel through the U.S. for 9 months with their own italian RV (which type? maybe a class C motorhome, but I think it's too small to fit in any american category!)
My parents want to bring their own RV to the U.S. for various reasons and that makes it more difficult for me to plan their trip, so I'm seeking your help in order to arrange everything and finally be able to book the shipping.
1) What about vehicle insurances? I know that they will need CDW, LDW, PAI and LIS. Is that everything? I contacted AAA and they told me to contact Chartis Insurance. Are there other companies I should contact in order to be able to compare rates?
2) The RV doesn't have a gas (LPG) cylinder, but a tank. Is it possible to refuel it at normal fuel stations? What filler is needed? If I've understood correctly, you use the ACME filler, which should be the same as the one used in Germany. In that case my parents would only have to buy an adapter from italian DISH to ACME.
Thank you very much in advance for your help and greetings from Italy!
 

donn

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Nov 8, 2009
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4,508
Welcome,
We met a couple from Germany this summer who were traveling in the U.S. for a year.  But to make things easier ther bought  their RV here and traveled, intending to resell it when they left.  I think this would be a better choice.  Besides the gas valve adapters necessary you have forgot that their motor home is wired 220VAC and 12 VDC.  Meaning they will not be able to connect to campground power when they stop for the night.  We use 120VAC as our main power.  How about the possibility of finding parts here if they happen to break down?  What brand chassis do they have?  This alone could be a idea killer if their MH is not supported here.  While it could/can be done, it is a far more difficult task than your first look.  Now, trying to get a visa for more than six months could also be a big problem.  Again the couple ai visited with this summer said that I immigration was only going to give them a 6 months visa until they produced proof of purchase for their truck and trailer, then they were allowed in.
Good luck and keep us informed of how things progress,  we love to have visitors from other countries come here and explore our wonderful country.
 

Alfa38User

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The major problem  for a European made RV will be the power (electrity) hookup. In USA and Canada we use 120V, 60 cycles power and any RV sites will have that available in either 30 amp or 50 amp capacities (or both) but with different plugs and internal wiring in the RV compared to the 220V normally used overseas. The 12V DC + and Ground - is standard here. As Donn said, vehicle parts could become problematic should the chassis be a European exclusive one as well.

 

Bobtop46

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Mar 11, 2011
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Bronson FL
I have experience in doing this in reverse.  I brought my Class B from the USA to Italy.  When I got there I bought the biggest power converter that I could buy.  When I would go to a campground I would plug the converter into the campground and then the RV cord into the converter.  I bought 25 ft of 30 amp cord before going over and and a female 30 receptacle for one end.  The other end I would have to make a trip to the local hardware store to buy a male end to plug into the campground.  Did this in Italy, France, Spain, Slovenia, and Croatia. 

I did some research for you. Something like this should work:

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_SPM7470987411P?sid=IDx20110310x00001i&srccode=cii_184425893&cpncode=33-104202924-2

They would plug it into the campground then plug their RV into the converter.  The only thing that bothers me is that it has a three prong plug.  From my experience with Italian RV is that they don't draw allot of power, so might be OK.  I don't know if I have ever seen a 30 amp male on one end and a 15 amp female on the other. Usually it is the opposite.  It would not be difficult for some one to take a standard USA 30 amp RV cord and turn it into an extention cord for their use.  You would need to be careful about this whole setup getting wet in the rain.  I set my converter under the RV and up on short 2 x 4s to keep it out of the rain.  This can be done.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The fixed propane (LPG) tank can be filled at propane specialty shops but typically NOT at automotive fueling stations. That's because the USA has almost zero propane-powered vehicles on the road.

Fixed propane and LPG tanks in  the USA are governed by standards set by the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers).  The fill valve on the ASME-spec tank is an ACME thread of 1.75 inches in diameter.  The ACME thread is also used on portable LP tanks, which conform to US DOT (US Department of Transportation) specs rather than ASME, but the thread is a smaller size (I think it is 1 5/16 inch diameter - the spec for it is called CGA791 or Type 1 QCC)).  Any propane filling station will have both types, as well as the older POL spec type)
 

Francesca

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Joined
Nov 10, 2012
Posts
14
Thank you very much to all of you for your suggestions.
Quick replies:
- Visas: my parents have already obtained them. In fact they asked for 9 months and they obtained 10 years!
- Shipping italian RV vs buying one in the U.S.: we are aware that the first option is much more difficult for many reasons, but there are other reasons why my parents would really prefer it, so we're considering both options. Could you please tell me where I can find useful informations about RVs to buy?
- We know that the power hookup is another problem and we were thinking about either a converter or a small generator to buy here in Italy (the RV is very small and they're going to need very little power in comparison to american RVs). Obviously the second option would be risky in case it breaks up. Anyway thank you very much Bobtop46 for your suggestions. Personally I don't understand anything about electricity, but I will translate what you wrote to my father and some of his friends and I'm sure they'll understand and find it very useful.
- Brand: they have a FIAT ducato. Again, we know this is another problem. Nevertheless I'm already in contact with someone at Chrysler in Orlando who is responsible for helping customers with FIAT vehicles in the U.S. He told me that every year 4 to 5 europeans travel through the U.S. with a FIAT RV and that if something happens it is possible to obtain parts from Italy to be sent to the nearest Chrysler shop in about 2 weeks.

The worst part of it all is that I'm the one who is working the most to plan this trip but I won't enjoy it as I'm staying in Europe! Anyway thanks again and I'll give you our news. This is my parents' dream and I really hope I can make it work.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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They won't be allowed to run a generator in most RV parks - because of the noise factor. Since nearly all US RV park have electric power at every site, there is no reason to put up with the noise of a generator.

Buying an RV: check with dealers in whatever area they want to start from. For example, Lazydays RV in Tampa, FL, has a lot of experience helping visitors to the USA obtain Rvs, insurance, etc.  To get some idea of prices, check online RV sale sites such as rvt.com and rvclassified.com, but remember those are "asking" prices and not necessarily what they will eventually sell for.
 

Francesca

Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2012
Posts
14
Bobtop46 said:
I did some research for you. Something like this should work:
http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_SPM7470987411P?sid=IDx20110310x00001i&srccode=cii_184425893&cpncode=33-104202924-2

Dear Bob,
I'm sorry I can't see this page anymore. Could you please tell me how to find the converter you suggested me again?
Thank you very much,
Francesca
 

donn

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Francesca said:
Dear Bob,
I'm sorry I can't see this page anymore. Could you please tell me how to find the converter you suggested me again?
Thank you very much,
Francesca

You might try typing the link in as you see it.  It does work for me, so it might be something to do with your internet browser.  It is a link to sears.com and shows a two to one step transformer listed for around 280 dollars US.  that might work for your parents motor home so they can run it on our 120VAC power.
 

soolaimon

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Jun 21, 2011
Posts
13
Hi Francessca, We are from New Zealand and have 10 year visas, but we are only given 6 months at a time, so you should check this out. Cheers.
 

Tom

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[quote author=Francesca]Visas: my parents have already obtained them. In fact they asked for 9 months and they obtained 10 years![/quote]

Being granted a "multiple entry" visa good for 10 years is normal. However, the duration allowed for any single visit will be determined by the Border Patrol officer at the port of arrival. The officer is not allowed to grant a stay of more than 6 months. There are legal ways to extend a stay once already here, one of which is file a Form I-539 (see here).

We've read one, and only one, report of someone asking for longer than 6 months on a single stay by talking to a Border Patrol supervisor at the airport; They were granted 8 months.
 

Tom

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[quote author=Tom]We've read one, and only one, report of someone asking for longer than 6 months on a single stay by talking to a Border Patrol supervisor at the airport; They were granted 8 months.[/quote]

For future reference, here's a link to that report
 

Francesca

Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2012
Posts
14
Dear RV friends,
the more I work to plan my parents' trip, the more I'm concerned about putting them in trouble if I don't do everything right, particularly with the custom.
Do you know exactly what limitations are there for importing goods? I'm particularly concerned about prescribed drugs. My parents both take several pills every day and they would like to bring them with them from Italy. Is it possible if they bring everything in the proper package, they make a list of everything to declare and show the prescriptions made by their doctor in Italy? Should I write to the Custom and Border Protection and ask them what to do?
I'm also concerned about the plane and ship return tickets. Do they have to show them at the custom when they arrive? If they manage to stay in the U.S. for 9 months, it will be difficult to buy the return tickets ahead. Should we  buy open tickets?
I'm sorry if I asked you questions you have already answered to somewhere. I tried to read as much as possible here on the forum and elsewhere, but it's pretty complicated and I don't always understand as I obviously also have language difficulties.
 

carson

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Sep 1, 2006
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Location
Florida, USA
Francesca said:
Dear RV friends,
the more I work to plan my parents' trip, the more I'm concerned about putting them in trouble if I don't do everything right, particularly with the custom.
Do you know exactly what limitations are there for importing goods? I'm particularly concerned about prescribed drugs. My parents both take several pills every day and they would like to bring them with them from Italy. Is it possible if they bring everything in the proper package, they make a list of everything to declare and show the prescriptions made by their doctor in Italy? Should I write to the Custom and Border Protection and ask them what to do?
I'm also concerned about the plane and ship return tickets. Do they have to show them at the custom when they arrive? If they manage to stay in the U.S. for 9 months, it will be difficult to buy the return tickets ahead. Should we  buy open tickets?
I'm sorry if I asked you questions you have already answered to somewhere. I tried to read as much as possible here on the forum and elsewhere, but it's pretty complicated and I don't always understand as I obviously also have language difficulties.

Francesca, I understand what you are trying to do. You are asking so many questions that few people on this forum are qualified to answer with any certainty.

  If I were you,I would think about contacting the U.S. Embassy in your area, if possible, and get some official answers.

  Bad or inaccurate advice from people, not in the know, could create major problems for you.

  You are dealing with International Laws and you cannot afford to make any blunders.

This is just personal advise.
 

Jim Godward

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Carson's advice is good.  There are safety concerns related  to the vehicle itself that need to be understood as our laws are probably different from those in Italy regarding lighting, brakes and others.  The embassy should be your first stop where most of your questions should be answered.  You may not like the answers but they will be the correct answer, well usually.

Also check with the shipping companies as well a Italian customs as to what can be shipped and received back into Italy.

Don't give up, it is a long circuitous road but you should get to a pleasant solution in time for the trip. 
 

Tom

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Do you know exactly what limitations are there for importing goods?

This information will be on the US Customs and Border Protection web site.

You can browse or run a search on the site (e.g. search on 'medications'). This will likely give you a more comprhensive and relevant answer than contacting a US embassy.

I'm particularly concerned about prescribed drugs. My parents both take several pills every day and they would like to bring them with them from Italy. Is it possible if they bring everything in the proper package, they make a list of everything to declare and show the prescriptions made by their doctor in Italy?

Original packaging and prescriptions are the key. That's the advice I've given to our numerous friends and relatives visiting from the UK. However, USCBP normally expects to see a maximum of 90 days supply being brought in. They have a comprehensive answer on how to deal with greater quantities on their web site here.

I'm also concerned about the plane and ship return tickets. Do they have to show them at the custom when they arrive?

That's a big maybe. Check the USCBP web site I linked to. (I'm running out the door, and can't research it until later tonight.)
 

Francesca

Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2012
Posts
14
Hi everyone,
since I "disappeared" from the forum we have had several problems, but we have found solutions to make it possible for my parents to travel as they wanted. So, provided CBM, FDA etc. won't stop them, they're arriving in Miami next week!
Unfortunately we had to refrain from shipping my parent's RV from Italy, but they have already reserved one by Cruise America to buy. I just have some more questions for you.
1) What about the Florida law forbidding motorhomes to stay in rest areas more than 3 hours? Is it normally possible to park for a longer time in other locations not to far from the city center so my parents could, for example, visit a city during the day and then go elsewhere to sleep?
2) I read that PAI, LIS, LDW and CDW are the most important insurances/coverages to make. Would you suggest us to make only these or also something else?
3) Could you suggest us something about mobile phoning? My parents are arriving with their own quad-band cell phone and need a U.S. number they are simply going to use for reserving campsites etc., send me SMS and eventually calling me if there are offers for international calls.
Thank you very much for your help. Even when I wasn't writing, I have been reading many useful information on this forum and your support helped me not losing hope that my parents could make it to the U.S.!
 
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