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voodooray
My wife and I are planning a three week trip starting in Miami on 08 February which will be our first (hopefully of many) RV trip. We are coming over from the UK and plan to hire a RV for the duration. We would like a one way rental picking up in Miami and dropping off in either New Orleans or somewhere in Texas. We would like to travel around a bit but not be on the road every day. I would think that three days is the most we'd like to spend at any one spot. I have only looked briefly into Florida and the three places that caught my eye were Key West, Kennedy Space Centre and, as we'll be nearby, Disney. From there we'd like to go on and experience a good taste of the south, visiting some small towns and whatever attractions there are. I'm thinking Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and if time Texas. I understand that it's winter and don't mind cool weather but would like it to be over and above 10 degrees C and some sunshine thrown in too.

I have several questions which I'd appreciate advice on:

1) Would we need reservations at sites this time of year? I quite like the idea of flexibility to stay an extra night or go early but don't want to be limited to the poor sites as all the good ones are full. Will the sites be busy with holiday makers or long term residents?

2) Any suggestions for reputable hire companies that do one way rentals? Do the hires come with everything you need or do you have to take kitchen stuff and bed linen etc. Would sat nav be a good idea?

3) I thought a standard RV of about 25 foot would be about right for me, the missus and the baby. I have never driven anything bigger than an SUV; are these standard size RVs the one for me?

4) Any ideas for a suggested itiniery? Is it reasonable to go from Miami to New Orleans or Dallas in the time we have without rushing along?

5) We have an 11 months old baby - any special considerations?

6) Whilst I accept the weather cannot be relied on, is it fair to assume it won't be too artic in the places we intend to go?

7) Is it worth getting a pass/membership that offers discounts at RV parks? Can you recommend a book or guide that covers RV ing in the areas we wish to go?

8) Once you park the RV up, do you then use it for local transport? If not, taxis?

9) Anything obvious I'm missing.

Sorry for the load of questions but I can see that this trip will require a lot of planning to make it go well.

Thanks in advance for your help
Steve
DXSMac
QUOTE(voodooray @ Jan 8 2009, 06:12 PM) *


I have several questions which I'd appreciate advice on:

1) Would we need reservations at sites this time of year? I quite like the idea of flexibility to stay an extra night or go early but don't want to be limited to the poor sites as all the good ones are full. Will the sites be busy with holiday makers or long term residents?


Florida, YES! All the snowbirds are there. Other states maybe not so much....

QUOTE(voodooray @ Jan 8 2009, 06:12 PM) *



3) I thought a standard RV of about 25 foot would be about right for me, the missus and the baby. I have never driven anything bigger than an SUV; are these standard size RVs the one for me?


If you are going to pull a trailer and the trailer is 25 feet, maybe.... but if this is a class C or A motorhome.... Um..... I'm a solo and I had a 24 foot and it was, well, just fine for short trips, but for long trips, not a lot of storage room. I'm thinking with three (couple and a baby), might need a smidge more room......

QUOTE(voodooray @ Jan 8 2009, 06:12 PM) *


5) We have an 11 months old baby - any special considerations?



Just the size, as mentioned earlier......

QUOTE(voodooray @ Jan 8 2009, 06:12 PM) *


7) Is it worth getting a pass/membership that offers discounts at RV parks? Can you recommend a book or guide that covers RV ing in the areas we wish to go?



For the 8 weeks or so, I don't think it would be worth it to get the Passport America and all those... On the other hand, maybe joining Good Sam would be helpful, you will recoup the cost of membership pretty quickly on daily rates....

QUOTE(voodooray @ Jan 8 2009, 06:12 PM) *


8) Once you park the RV up, do you then use it for local transport? If not, taxis?



Parks don't usually let you have "in and out" priviledges, at least not where I have stayed. ONE time I got "in and out" priviledges because my cat got sick and I don't pull a car. I asked the manager, they were ok with it. Now, if you park in an area that has an ENTERPRISE rental car, they will deliver the car to you. I have had good luck with ENTERPRISE when I needed a car. Other than that, I carry an electric bike (www.egovehicle.com to see what I have), powered by a battery. They are pretty heavy, 130 pounds, or you can get the EVT electric scooter, but those weigh a lot more. You can carry 1 on a carrier, but carrying TWO would be a bit much, unless you pulled them on a pull trailer instead of a carrier. Or, just get bicycles.

JJ
Texasrvers
Hi Voodooray,

Sounds like you have a great adventure ahead of you. I can't answer all your questions, but here goes on some of them.

Q#1: Many RVers never make reservations and do just fine. On the other hand I always do make reservations because the last thing I want at the end of a long day is to have to hunt for a place to stay. Many RV parks are flexible about changing reservations or leaving early (with refund). If you do make reservations just be sure to ask about those things. Since you are staying in southern states you can expect snowbirds--people who go to states with milder climates for the winter. There will be tons in Florida and Texas. I'm not sure about the other states you mentioned.

Q#4: You can easily drive this distance in three weeks. It just depends on how much you want to see in between.

Q#6: In a typical year the weather will be very mild, especially toward the southern ends of these states. Most days will be in the 60-70's or even 80's. Nights can get a little cooler. If the Canadians leave their door open you might have a cold snap or a light freeze, but it doesn't usually last more than 2-3 days.

Q#7: I am not going to take the time to look up the exact numbers here, but I think I'll be close. The 2 biggest clubs--Good Sam and KOA--each give a 10% discount (I think). If the average cost of an RV site is around $30 a night for 21 nights you will be spending around $630. With a 10% discount you would save $63. Either club's membership is around $25. So do the math. Going by this scenario you would save about $38. I did this off the top of my head so actual costs and savings could be different. You have to decide if your savings is worth the cost of the membership.

Q#8: Some places have very good public transportation, some don't. You might have a little trouble finding parking for a 25' motorhome, but many tourist attractions provide RV parking. If you do drive the RV around remember that this means unhooking the utilities each time. If you are going to be in a place for several days and public transportation isn't good, you might consider renting a car. It just really depends on what kind of sightseeing/activities you will be doing. I wouldn't rent a car to drive to an amusement park; let it sit in the parking lot all day; and then drive back to the RV. But if you are going to explore a city where there is minimal parking and narrow streets I would definitely take a car, not the RV.


The places you've mentioned are great, but I hear Key West is packed this time of year. I've never been there then so someone else can correct me. Kennedy Space Center is neat. Check their website to see if a shuttle will be launching while you're there. That is a spectacular event. Your 11 month old baby is probably a little too young to really enjoy Disneyworld, but it should still be fun. Since you'll be in the Miami area you might consider seeing the Everglades. No other place is like it.

To get a real taste of Georgia and the South go to Savannah. It still has the old southern charm. In Mississippi and Alabama I'd stay down around the coast, but someone else may be able to tell you places to visit in the northern part. If you are in the northern part of MS you will be very near Memphis, Tennessee, and a visit to Graceland--Elvis Presley's home--is very interesting.

New Orleans has lots to see and do, but areas of it can be dirty, dangerous and scary. Just be sure to stay in the tourist areas. They used to have a really neat zoo. I think it survived Hurricane Katrina, but you might check before going. And don't go there during Mardi Gras unless you like huge drunken crowds. But if you do you'll fit right in.

If you make it to Texas I have to throw in a plug for San Antonio--it's much nicer than Dallas--but I'm prejudiced. Besides the Alamo it has several other missions and a beautiful river walk. The Hispanic flavor can't be beat.

Hope this gets you started, and have a safe trip.
DXSMac
What Texas said about Savannah, GA, yeah, she's right.. BUT....

If you are traveling around March 17 (St. Patty's Day), don't go near Savannah. They are BIG BIG BIG on St. Patty's Day and you can't get reservations anywhere. If you want to be in Savannah on St. Patty's Day, you need reservations a year in advance.

JJ
John Blue
Voodooray,

I think TX has covered most items very well. I will cover couple more items. Key West is a long road down to the end and very high dollar place to travel to. Remember same road down is the same road back out again. It will eat up a lot of your time.

On rental units, they may have a Good Sam's directory in unit to help you find camping sites. I do not think you will find the GPS in RV rental unit. You can buy GPS hand units that have North American & Europe loaded in for around $400 USD or less.

At Titusville, FL you have The Great Outdoors RV Park at I-95 & Hwy 50. Kennedy Space Center is only short drive and you have a Wal-Mart for supply's. Some parks close to the cape are not good ones.

On Savannah great place to tour and drive on up to Charleston for very old city. Remember to stop off at St Augustine, FL oldest city (south of Jacksonville, FL) in American and Charleston is second oldest city. Rent a car in the two cities Savannah and Charleston, road and street are very small. The RV will not work at all.

You can stay at state parks or Army Core parks if you like the woods and lots of land. State parks here in FL are great but remember not all have RV camping. You can find more information on this here on this website and under Google. Tons of information on web for RV people.

As you lay out your trip and need more information feel free to ask. The number of people who look at this web site and travel around the USA can answer any problems you may have. Lots off members on this web site have been to about all places in USA, Canada, and Mexico.



Trentheim
I've not travelled much in an RV, since my family is fairly new to it as well. But we do have a 2 yr old who opened our eyes to a couple of considerations for the very young.

First: Get something like a "Diaper Genie" (easy to get in the US w/o transporting across the big pond, look in Wal-Mart or Target and low price). This device will help to reduce the "used" diaper odor w/o you having to always run to an outdoor receptacle. simply store the unit in the coaches' bathroom and empty when full/too smelly.

second: sleeping for the little one. This is tough. I ended up sleeping on the couch while my wife and my girl slept in the main bed. If you can get a small, portable basinette, you'll probably do much better. (once she went beyond 1.5 yrs, we couldn't keep her in anything like that.)

Third: have a travel seat-- most (all?) states require them now. Each state is slightly different on the requirements. Use one that is multifunctional and that you feel very comfortable with.

Fourth: small toys. big ones will get in your way (small ones will too, but not as bad).

Good luck on the trip, it'll be a lot of fun.

J
Jerry S.
Steve,

You're right - you have a lot of questions, but understandable considering your virgin status. You will get a variety of answers here depending on the respondent's experience. Even if some answers seem contradictory, there may not be a right or wrong answer. That said, here is my take on your queries.

1) Texasrvers said it well. Personally, I like to plan (reserve or at least call) a day or two ahead. This is probably more important for weekends. There are quite a few "snowbirds" who stay near the Gulf of Mexico coastal areas of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi but I don't think it is to the point of "overnighters" not being able to get in for a night.

2) I have never rented, but I would guess that in order to get a "one way" rental you will need to go with one of the national rental outfits such as CruiseAmerica. Since these places do a lot of business with European travelers, the would have to include minimal kitchen and linens for their customers.

3. A 25' Class C should be fine for your trip. Storage is not an issue in your situation.

4. As Texasrvers said, 3 weeks should be plenty of time depending on what you want to see enroute. I would allow 2-3 days for each place you want to visit. This includes travel time to and from and a day or so to enjoy the destination. Just for the Florida sites (Key West, the Everglades, the Kennedy Space Center, and Disney World) mentioned, you have just used up half of your 3 weeks.

5. While I have never RVed with anyone under 3, the needs of an 11 month old will consume an extra hour or 2 a day while traveling.

6 and 7) Texasrvers cover these well.

8. I am unfamiliar with the no "in and out priveleges" mentioned by another poster. I have never been in any park where you couldn't leave during the day and come back after your day out touring. As long as you have registered and paid for a site for that night, I don't see why a park would not allow you to leave during the day. I usually let the park know that I am just leaving for the day to make sure they don't think I have left for good.

Have a great trip.
voodooray
Thanks to you all for the really useful information thus far.

We will spend the weekend doing some research and write another post next week on a suggested itiniery and probably ask for more advice on other queries that get thrown up.

So thanks for now. Anyone who has any other wisdom to impart is welcome to add to this post....

Steve
Bud in Florida
If you want to stay near the Space Center, I would suggest Jetty Park-- see reviews here. Nice place. Close to Center and you have the beach right there. Easy to get to and sites are generally easy to get in. You can stay at Disney at Fort Wilderness. It is Value season until the end of Feb. Have fun and good luck
Tom
Many people get reservations for Fort Wilderness Campground in Disney World a year in advance... you may be able to get in without a reservation, but have a "backup plan" just in case.

Have fun!

RLM
It's 1400 miles from Miami to Dallas. Considering stops and off interstate driving, I doubt you'll average more than 50 mph. Anything more than 300 miles/day for extended period will not be fun. Especially if you are doing all the driving.

One way rental, even if you can find a company to do it, will be more expensive than round trip.
The basic linen and utensils are included. Basic is the key work.

A Class C may be a better option. It will drive more like a SUV. Suggest that you try to do the tourist places before you actually park for the evening. It will be less hassle.

The law requires a car seat for your infant. Check with the rental company on the issue of seat belts to secure it in the back of the rig.

You will need a cell phone that works here. First for emergencies and second for calling campgrounds when necessary. If you don't have one you can get a Trac Phone with prepaid minutes for the period.

Weather isn't usually an issue if you stay in the southern parts of the states mentioned. Check the Weather Channel when in a C/G that has cable. Many RVer's don't do reservations when flexibility is an issue. You can make a call the day of travel to check for openings. Week-ends and holidays are the exception to the no reservations.

Passport America discount card will pay for itself in 2-3 uses. Be advised that a good number of the C/Gs that honor it may not be first class. Suggest getting one or the two campground directories available to check prices and amenities of any campground.

Many gas pumps now require a credit card purchaser to enter a zip code associated with the billing address of that card. If your card is not US based, then that may be an issue for you.

Go online and get travel and tourist guides from each state you wish to visit. From the Departments of Tourism. They will be free.

Add do nothing down days in the plan. Vacations tend not to be as relaxing as one plans. smile.gif


firedud01
i have read that walmart lets u stay in their parking lots for overnite stays also if u get in a bind it could be an option have a good trip
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