Hired RV tour of national parks (1 Viewer)

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Apr 24, 2019
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We’ve got hired an RV in September this year to tour from Las Vegas. Does anyone have any advice? Do we book campsites in advance? Thank you
 
Feb 22, 2008
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On three RV hire trips the only site that we should have booked was a state campsite on North Rim Grand Canyon due to popularity but the rest of the time we just turned up on KOA sites .
If you have booked during a busy holiday period then booking might be wise.
 
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Slimalex
Apr 24, 2019
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Thank you Larry. That is really helpful. If you think of anything else, however trivial, the information will be most welcome. What did you do about mobile phones /sims. Presumably we will need these to book campsites in advance or to sort other problems.

On three RV hire trips the only site that we should have booked was a state campsite on North Rim Grand Canyon due to popularity but the rest of the time we just turned up on KOA sites .
If you have booked during a busy holiday period then booking might be wise.
 
Feb 22, 2008
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Norfolk
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Thank you Larry. That is really helpful. If you think of anything else, however trivial, the information will be most welcome. What did you do about mobile phones /sims. Presumably we will need these to book campsites in advance or to sort other problems.

We took our own mobiles for emergency but used site wi fi for most contact and browsing.
Careful if you have hired a coach built /c class RV, the mirrors are extremely wide as cab is narrower than the rear , very easy to misjudge.
 
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Apr 24, 2019
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We took our own mobiles for emergency but used site wi fi for most contact and browsing.
Careful if you have hired a coach built /c class RV, the mirrors are extremely wide as cab is narrower than the rear , very easy to misjudge.
Thank you again. What did you do about sat navs?
 

pappajohn

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thebriars

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Oct 20, 2018
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Been pretty well all over the US in hired motorhomes. Starting from Las Vegas, I'd suggest staying the first (and last) night at Sam's Town Casino. It is very close to most of the motorhome hire places, and you will need to sort everything out and buy food. Opposite Sam's Town is a large supermarket, so that part is easy. Food in the casino is cheap, plentiful and not bad. Its a fair way from Las Vegas to anywhere, and you might not get your motorhome until late afternoon, so a first night in Las Vegas is sensible.

Basically, commercial US campgrounds are very expensive and pretty poor quality. Far, far better is to stay in the National/State/ or Forest Campgrounds. These can all be booked on line and are very basic but far nicer. The website will tell you what facilities are available. Commercial sites start at around $30 a night and are often double that. National Park campgrounds have recently got more expensive and start at $15 per night. Depending on where you are going it is better to book. Yosemite books up for the season within 20 minutes of the website opening for bookings. Other places always need booking, north or south rim Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon etc. The website for the National Parks always includes a pitch map, and there is normally a photo of each pitch.

Again places like Arches NP are a must, but you have to drive 30 miles off the beaten track to get to the campground, so again booking is a must. A quick look on that site showed it already booked for the season.

You will also need to pay for passes to get into most of the parks, whether on not you camp in them.

Frankly I think you have left it a bit late. We usually started planning where we wanted to go in early October, and booked flights and the motorhome in December. We would then book the campgrounds in early January when the websites opened for bookings.

Most hire companies now provide sat navs, or have them available for a small fee.
 
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Slimalex
Apr 24, 2019
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Thank for that. We were informed that booking should not be a problem. We also don’t know how long distances take or a real time itinerary.
 

thebriars

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Oct 20, 2018
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Firstly you will need a hotel for your first night in Las Vegas, you cannot collect the motorhome the same day you land.

To see if there is an issue with booking, log onto the National Parks website and check dates. Probably find commercial sites are more likely to have spaces, as they are avoided by most Americans with smaller motorhomes. You will often find the humongous motorhome buses frequent them as they are too big for the NP campgrounds. However, these sites are almost never in the National Parks themselves. There is no wild camping in many National Parks, and they have plenty of rangers patrolling. Fines can be steep. If you do go on a suck it and see, then its first come first served and often full by early afternoon.

The US is BIG. You can drive hundreds of miles with very little scenery change. Thus stopping at campgrounds outside the National Parks often means a lot of travelling.

Basically you need to do a lot of Googling and use their maps to work out distances. You need to decide where you want to go, otherwise your hire time can disappear without ever seeing much. Personally I stay off the Interstates. Like our motorways, you see very little. The motorhomes themselves are not as pleasant to drive as ours. All will be automatic, but the steering wanders all over the road and you have to constantly correct. They generally do 10-15mpg (at 50-60mph) so even with cheaper petrol at just over £2 a gallon, travelling can work out expensive.

Mostly towns and cities are very boring. The few interesting ones are well worth searching out though. The likes of Las Vegas is certainly not my cup of tea! In one casino modelled on Venice, a guy next to me was in raptures about how good it was, until I gave him a withering look and said its nothing like the real place.

Again it depends what you want to do, belt as fast as you can with long hops or see the interesting things on the way. We generally tried to stay under 250 miles a day, however some areas are very busy. If you camp outside Yosemite and travel in for the day, the 30+ miles there and back will be very slow and tedious as the roads are winding and very busy, and you can spend ages trying to find a parking place.

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Apr 24, 2019
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Thank you again. We've booked the first and last night in an hotel. Making an itinerary is difficult because the USA and this area in particular is uncharted territory.
 

thebriars

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Oct 20, 2018
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You don't need the last night in a hotel. We usually gave ourselves an easy drive back on the return day (or at Las Vegas stayed at Sam's Town again) , and the motorhome hire company then takes you straight to the airport. We always booked flights back for the early evening to give us time for all this and arrived home next morning.

It was uncharted territory for us first time. Do some research, lots of it. Look at suggested routes on-line as a starter, otherwise it will be even more difficult when you get there. Basically from Las Vegas you are predominantly going to be looking at scenery and some of the native Indian historical sites, or maybe something to do with mining, such as the Silverton Railway in Durango. You also need to check the motorhome terms and conditions, some won't let you go into Death Valley with one, or go on unmetalled roads.
 
Feb 22, 2008
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We always stayed last night in a hotel in addition to first night to avoid the risk of any complications delaying reaching airport.
 
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Apr 24, 2019
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We want to stay the last because want to experience Las Vegas as may not have time on way out.

Any further info greatly appreciated. Thank you
 
Feb 22, 2008
12,278
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Norfolk
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Since 2004
We want to stay the last because want to experience Las Vegas as may not have time on way out.

Any further info greatly appreciated. Thank you

There is an RV park at Las Vegas, we overnighted at Circus Circus RV park there but I think it’s closed now but there is another one.

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Slimalex
Apr 24, 2019
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Following the advice on here, now returned from a month touring around central USA.

We only booked a three of sites before we left and we either stayed in campgrounds or wild camped. The whole trip was superb. We saw everything we wanted and more. Would recommend it to others.

If anyone is considering a similar trip, we’d gladly pass on lessons learnt.
 

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