Right Turns

By Kathy Anderson

February 6, 2009 5 min read


Picking the best motor home takes serious consideration

Kathy Anderson

Creators News Service

Whether you plan to cruise through the majestic canyons of America's West or park on the beach for a spectacular sunset view, choosing the right recreational vehicle takes some consideration. It will serve both as your transportation and your home away from home, so it should fit all your comfort and budget needs.

Traveling in a RV offers the freedom to journey on your own schedule with no check-ins, packing and unpacking or long airport security lines and a chance to experience life outdoors. It also gives you the opportunity to travel not only with your entire family but also with your pet (depending on campground regulations).

However, it's important to consider what you are looking for before you go ahead and make the purchase or even choose which one you'll rent. Here are some tips:

* Decide where you are going and how long you plan to stay.

* If you're heading down wide, open roads or to cities with smaller streets, size and maneuverability should be taken into consideration. Parking both on streets and in tight campsites can be a challenge for some who might have trouble with bigger vehicles. However, if you plan on staying a longer period of time in one place, you might be more comfortable in one.

* For help driving an RV, visit sites such as rvtravel.com and aarp.org.

* Ask yourself much time you will spend in your vehicle besides driving time. Determine how wiling you are to live in a small quarters. What amenities do you need? Is the bathroom and/or shower adequate? How often will you pull into a campground to plug into water and electricity and dump your waste?

There are many types of vehicles. Class A motor homes are self-contained luxury vehicles resembling big tour buses, run on diesel fuel, can be as long as 40 feet and weigh between 15,000 and 30,000 pounds. They are outfitted with every luxury, including a kitchen and bathroom with a shower and sometimes a tub.

According to Woodhall's RV Buying Guide, "bus-styled motor homes usually offer an aerodynamic, low profile design, resulting in greater fuel efficiency, better handling and additional storage." Often the driver will tow a smaller vehicle to drive while the motor home is parked a campground.

Cruise America, the largest RV rental company in the country, offers different types of vehicles depending on the need. Their motor homes include the Compact RV (22 to 24 feet in length, sleeps a family up to four), the Standard RV (23 to 25 feet in length, sleeps family of five) and the Large RV (28 to 30 feet, sleeps a family of seven). They all include queen-size cabover bed, a living room, couch, dinette, full kitchen and bath.

If you're planning lots of off-road activities like mountain biking or ATVs, the company also offers Fun Movers (28 to 31 feet in length, sleeps a family of four), which includes a "garage" in the back to store your equipment. For more information, go to CruiseAmerica.com.

For weekend or shorter trips, Airstream and Roadtrek offer a smaller, more maneuverable and fuel-efficient "camper/van" motor home. Airstream offers the Airstream Interstate Touring Coach, which sleeps two and includes a galley and a turbo-charged Mercedes diesel engine. Roadtrek offers several models including the RS-Adventurous, powered by a fuel-efficient CRD turbo diesel V6 engine, sleeps four and includes a home theater. For more information, go to airstream.com or roadtrek.com.

According to a representative from Cruise America, the average gas mileage for a Standard RV is between eight and 11 miles per gallon of unleaded gas. Only bus-style RVs run on diesel. However, upcoming technology suggests a lot of innovations in green technology for this special brand of vehicle.

Whether you're retired wanting to sport a license plate reading "Spending Our Kids Inheritance" or a family of five ready to hitch up the training wheel bikes to a rack on the back, traveling in a RV is an acquired lifestyle. There are many websites, such as rvtravel.com, where people share their tips and can give you insight before you make a decision about your purchase.

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