By on February 19, 2014
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We want to go on a road trip this summer.

There are four of us. Myself, my wife, a teen and a tween. The wife and kids are thin and I’m about average sized.

Why do I mention this?

We are looking at getting a normal-sized vehicle that can potentially sleep four.  A minivan, crossover, or even a large SUV would be perfectly fine for us. We think that there will be times when we can’t use a tent, and I would rather get away from the overpriced state parks if it’s at all possible.

Our budget is $10,000. We don’t want anything funky to maintain. For us that means no VW vans. We will consider most anything else.  All domestics and imports are on the radar so long as they allow us reasonable sleeping quarters for our family.

Any ideas?

Steve Says:

Yes, rent a trailer or RV first.

A lot of folks think that they can take a big swig of the great American road trip in one feel swoop. But the truth is that close quarters will turn even the slightest of irritable personalities into a smorgasbord of communal hate and vitriol.

A week’s worth of traveling will help you figure out your own family’s tolerances real fast.

Your kids are young? They will want some space. The adults will want some space. Trust me. Whether you chose to give them real space or imaginary space via video games and movies is your call. But if this were my call, I would take the big bite that is the rental of a trailer (if you have a vehicle that can already haul one), a pop-up,  or an RV, and make the most of your time.

Most normal sized vehicles can’t sleep four unless you are willing to do some serious customization.  There are built-in tents and conversion kits for Azteks that can sleep two. Astros with third seats that can be made into a bed… that sleep two. There are even full-sized vans that supposedly seat four. Although the sleeping space me be a bit claustrophobic for some.

Heck, if you were creative enough, you could probably pull off sleeping space four in a stretch limo. But the truth is the only real games in town for road trips that can house four living souls comfortably are the camper conversions, trailers and RV’s.

What’s the cheapest route? Not going cheap.

In the long run your best decision will likely be trying one of these options out and figuring out what would best suit your family’s needs. Long-term road trip vehicles may be the one area where renting first actually makes sense. So rent something you like. Live it up a bit. Then, when you find the right size, make your investment in mobile living.

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53 Comments on “New or Used? : A Road Trip… Geo Metro Style...”


  • avatar
    Feds

    There is almost no car to small to tow a pop up. Add a hitch, brake controller and tranny cooler to whatever you own, buy a pop-up, and go. You’ll have a very hard time spending $10,000 on a good popup and the mods/maintenance to your car.

    You’ll have more storage space for your stuff while driving, and more conveniences when set up (dry eating/card playing space, lights, cook top, etc.

    Plus, when your great American road trip is over, throw it under a tarp until spring, then re-sell it for what you paid.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      It really is a dramatic improvement over tent-camping — off the ground, indoor kitchen and fridge, etc. Plus you get to undo the hitch and you’ve got a normal car for daytrips from the campsite.

      You have to practice with the thing. Normal vehicles can handle a pop-up, but the towing dynamics are weird what with the trailer being a big square. SUVs may be unnecessary, but especially for extended towing over hills, I’d much prefer a truck to a car. Also, set-up and take-down can be a chore, especially in foul weather.

      Also take into account that it’s an hour’s work before and after every night. If you’re planning on staying a few days everywhere you go, fine, but pop-ups can get exhausting on back-to-back overnights.

      I think a truck camper on a crew cab is probably the ideal solution for this sort of trip, but I’d be impressed if he could make that happen for $10k.

      • 0 avatar
        Feds

        Practice being key. I can get my 12′ w/slideout popup up and down faster than a tent, since everything is stored logically, and I don’t have to futz with air mattresses, etc. an 8′ or 10′, minimal options box would be great for this kind of trip.

        And ultimately, any alternative that can sleep 4 is going to be dynamically weird. At least you can drop the popup at the camp site then run to the restaurant in town easily.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        With AC option too!

      • 0 avatar
        lmike51b

        Pop-ups have a lot of positive attributes, especially compared to tent camping or squeezing 4 in a smallish vehicle. But…”Also take into account that it’s an hour’s work before and after every night.” It is a chore that gets old real fast. Even more so if the pop-up has a slide. I’ve had both. Friend of mine tried to talk me out of getting one for this very reason, I should have listened. So we finally upgraded to a 27′ travel trailer. Of course a lot has to do with one’s age and energy level. We’re 50+, so just hooking up electricity and water, makes that cold beer after a long day on the road that much better.

    • 0 avatar
      salguod

      I just lived this for 6 years. We bought an older (1995) Jayco 1207 KB for $1000, put about $500 into it and camped in it for 6 years. We initially towed it with a Honda Odyssey but it seemed maxed.

      Keep in mind your camper is likely rated empty with no options. Our Jayco said it weighed something like 1800 lbs, but add in the optional equipment (LP tank, spare tire, awning, stove, fridge, etc.) and it was probably like 2200 or more. Then you’ve got to add everything you’re bringing and your passengers and that all has to fit inside your tow rating. For us, that meant the 3 kids, the dog, 4 bikes, all our food, lawn chairs, clothing, games, electronics, BBQ grill, etc. I figure after all that was accounted for, our 1800 lb popup was really over 3000 lbs and the Odyssey was rated to pull 3500.

      We traded the Ody for a Lambda crossover (Saturn Outlook) that was rated to tow 5200 and it was much happier doing it. After a couple years of that, we realized that the work of popup camping and the expense of driving a 17 MPG average CUV all the time meant that we weren’t really saving anything and working real hard on vacation. We sold the camper and traded the Outlook on a Prius this past fall.

      The good thing is, because of the work I put into it, I sold my $1000 popup for $1500 after 6 years of use. However, don’t go cheap unless you are willing to work on it. A $1000 popup is like owning a project car – it always needs something. For someone who doesn’t want to DIY much, a $4000-$5000 popup is likely better.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Overpriced state parks??

    The dog doesn’t come with us, her kennel fee has always been more than what the state or national parks have charged us to camp.

    If you’re in an area where it’s commonly found, you can often camp on National Forest Service land or in some State Forests for little or nothing but you give up the modern bathroom.

    Of course, sleeping in the vehicle, you also give up the modern bathroom.

    I just took a quick look; rentals of tent trailers can easily be $500/week. That’s $70/night and it doesn’t exactly have all the comforts of home (you’ll still need water, electric and sewage arrangements if it has a potty). I would imagine that you could hunt around for deals or brokers who place personal equipment and get the price down to $30-40/night. That’s still quite a bit.

    Take your tents and spend the $22/night to get access to the bathrooms.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes!

      And before you buy some vehicle that you might otherwise not need, do the math! How much will it cost you extra to stay in motels when you can’t camp, vs how much will you spend on a used vehicle that might or might not cause you trouble on the trip?

      Always do the math!

      On the matter of getting along on road trips, from my experience on road trips with my family of origin, it was no big deal. Maybe that’s because we always took them–Seattle to LA and back in the old Studebaker when I was 3 and my brother was almost six; Seattle to Menlo Park, and then Menlo Park to Boston a year later, and two more trips across the country, when I was 7 and 8 respectively, and assorted shorter trips interspersed, and then loads of road trips the year we lived in Paris, when I was 12, my brother was 15, and my sister was 2 1/2 to 3 1/2, in a small Peugeot 404 wagon. Then, the following summer, two months all over Europe.

      My best memories of childhood were the road trips, and I loved watching the countryside go by.

  • avatar

    Buy a large tent, cook stove and some decent air mattresses. An 8 man tent will easily accommodate four people on a queen air mattress and two twins, with room to spread out. And it all packs down to the size of a couple of small carry-on suitcases. Much more comfortable than sleeping in captain’s chairs or a fold out bench.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Maybe, if they’re the hardy sort. My experience with extended tent-camping is that the car becomes a base of operations. A minivan would be helpful.

      • 0 avatar
        OldandSlow

        Tents rated for 8 can feel claustrophobic with 4 people. I’ve done it. Also, the vehicle is pretty well packed both inside and on top when car camping with four people. I’ve done that, too.

        To go the tent route at my age, I really appreciate having one tall enough to stand in and have room couple of folding cots, plus a chair. So, I’m talking about large 8 by 10 footprint – just for two people.

        I still do it – but an a pick up with a slide in camper sure would be nice.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    For the car, Honda Element or one a minivan. SUVs are small inside for sleeping.

    As to Steve’s point, to me the biggest danger of a modern USA road trip is that you will find yourself in rural hellholes where you can’t really park anywhere comfortable and can’t hang outside. That’s when the reality starts catching up on you and you start hating it. This country is the land of the free but the real estate has been by and larged parsed up and acquired.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    I am with Steve here.

    Its the same as if the guy asked, “I want to buy a nice boat that sleeps four to go on a several week cruise.”

    To use for one long trip, renting is a wise choice. To use even a handful of times a year, rent. Far cheaper. Much easier to acquire and dispose, just sign twice.

    Yes some rentals have seen better days.

    If he really wants to own one, well that is different. The guy drew up tough specs.

  • avatar
    Redshift

    Chevrolet Avalanche has a tent option as well, similar to the Aztec. But, no way are you fitting 4 people in any kind of comfort.
    Having camped in a vehicle before the thing everybody overlooks is your luggage. Unless you put all your clothes and food outside you need enough interior room for 4 to sleep plus your stuff.
    Best option if you don’t want to hate each other is rent a trailer or TV as has been said.
    Another option my parents have done is get a minivan and a large tent designed to go around the van extending it into one space.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I’d just cancel the vacation all together if you are trying to cheap out to this extent. If you go into a vacation pinching pennies this much, you’re bound to have a bad time. It costs what it costs and if you aren’t willing to spend that, don’t do it rather than trying to buy (and surely immediately sell) some vehicle of dubious quality to save a couple hundred bucks on hotel rooms or “overpriced” state parks. Save up for next year and do it properly.

    Also, wouldn’t the fees and taxes likely amount to what it would cost to stay in hotels for the nights you can’t tent camp? Here in WV, a $10k car will cost me $550 in taxes and registration even if I were able to sell the car for exactly what I paid afterward. That is 4 nights in a hotel. When I went to glacier national park a few years ago, the hotel room we had every 3rd or 4th night was a welcome change from all the nights we spent in the backcountry. I love the outdoors, but there is a limit. Staying in a hotel every 3rd night might prevent your kids and wife from plotting your murder, too.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      My wife would murder me before this trip even started.

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      Everyone’s mileage may vary – but staying in a hotel every 2nd or 3rd night is how I prefer to do a road trip usually in a van or minivan.

      FWIW, I’d be the one plotting, if I had to set up camp every night – mainly because with a “wife, a teen and a tween” – I usually wind up doing a lions share of the camping chores.

      With that said, – if the “teen and tween” are still able to enjoy a s’mores experience around a camp fire, I’ll gladly do it. In other words, it’s worth doing it now before they leave home. The teen will be gone soon enough.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    State parks aren’t THAT expensive, yeah they can get you with all the fees for showers at some of them, but still that’s chump change compared to spending $10k on a new car!

    Just add some hotel stays in the mix for when you tire of camping out.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      I agree that he could get some great camping gear for $10k, but I imagine he is planning on immediately selling this vehicle after the trip… so it isn’t really a budget. It is basically what he is willing to part with for a short period of time.

  • avatar
    probert

    I camp and drive through the west /south west every year for a month – here’s a couple of thoughts:

    rental really is a great way to go. Mileage is unlimited and after abut 4k miles you hand them the keys at the airport and go home – no repairs – that troublesome squeak, tires a little worn,radio broke – it’s not your problem.

    Rentals vary from airport to airport – Denver seems best for both flight costs and rental fees.

    For camping: I use the national parks for stop overs to revel in mod cons : laundry, showers, wifi. maybe once or twice a trip. Otherwise I avoid them, though some are better than others.

    Air mattresses; as the other poster said , they’re great – make things as cozy as you can.
    tent: get a size bigger than the rating: a 3 man tent for 2 etc.
    Maps: get paper and the best you can..gps can get you somewhere but it can’t tell you where you’ve been or the myriad possibilities ahead. A good map will make the journey that much more exciting .
    Stay away from the highways as much as you can.
    Go to Idaho

    Have fun and remember once you’re on the road- you’re not going anywhere, you’re already there, so relax and enjoy.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      There are also places that rent RVs. Cruise America has Class C Motorhomes that will sleep 5 for $625 a week plus $0.30 a mile. I have no idea if thats a good deal or if it can be had cheaper. It seems like a better plan than sleeping in a car though.

      • 0 avatar
        sitting@home

        I did an RV road trip through Arizona with my parents a few years back. You also have to factor in an average of 8mpg; we were burning over $100 of gas a day. When you added RV park costs (camping on the side of the road isn’t always possible) it would have been less expensive to rent a full sized car and stayed in motels.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I agree. My wife and I lived in Arizona for awhile, and we visited as many National Parks as possible. We actually lived just a few miles from Saguaro National Park.

          I’ve visited most of the National Parks in Arizona, Utah, and California, and I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $150/night. Best Western, Comfort Inn, and others tend to have pretty nice hotels outside of parks. At the bigger parks, its fun to hang out with the European or Asian tourists at the bar.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      There seems to be a lot of posts about motels and parking lots.

      You won’t be able to get a deal on motels – depending on the season you’re out $150-$300 a night and you’re in a small room. Parking lots – WTF?

      Camping is wonderful – Buy some firewood and bring an axe – set up your stuff, light a fire – have a beer or drink of your choice – cook something nice – and watch the stars come out. If you’re in the right place it will be a show you won’t forget.

      Get a tent with a mesh top and it will feel like you’re in a spaceship as you fall asleep staring at the sky.

      And when you have to pee it’s you and the great outdoors.

      where to camp?

      State parks are the best – inexpensive, less crowded than national parks and well kept.

      National forrest: can be great but because of the economy they can become a place of last refuge so people start living there. A drive though will let you know if this is the case.

      National Parks: crowded. People treat them like a motel so no peace no quiet no “you and nature”. There is a great site just outside Grand Teton though.

      Motels/hotels: The chains have pretty much taken over. Saturday night – it might not be a bad idea though because state parks can become noisy.

      RV parks: Some can be good in a funny way – others are subdivisions that really suck. KOA is hell.

      Where ever you go, leave it looking better than when you got there.

      Go to Idaho.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Yes, come to Idaho as it’s fantastic for camping. I pay $10/yr for unlimited access to state parks including park n’ ski areas. That’s a killer deal!

    • 0 avatar
      friedclams

      Go to Idaho! Great advice. I blundered upon Idaho on a cross-country trip and it was a highlight, in all its varying terrain. Friendly people too.

  • avatar
    RS

    Minivan and a Pop-up camper. That style of trailer pulls easy and you have all sorts of room in the Van for People/luggage/food/etc. Room = Comfort.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    Many good suggestions above. Have you thought carefully about family dynamics? A teen and a tween: same gender? compatible personalities? Are you experienced at camping? And so on. A short-term rental and test run for a week might help answer all your questions, vehicular and family non-stop togetherness.

  • avatar
    Feds

    OK, I’m reading into this too much but:

    To totally avoid state parks, and paying much at all: Isuzu NPR or similar. Cut in some high windows and/or a skylight, bolt some seats in it for the daughters, and go. At night you can drive to the warehouse district and park for free and totally invisibly. Not sure the abundance of crew cab models, but that way you could drive with the kids in the same space as you.

    To be absolutely minimalist about it: Land barge station wagon with a roof-top tent. Should still have room for roof top luggage, you can fold the tent out for 2 people and have 2 people sleep in the car.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    Sleep in the van?

    Growing up my dad always had some kind of converted full size van. First it was the stripper 79′ Econoline done up with shag carpet interior, later he got a 89 Dodge conversion van, and finally, a 98 Ford Conversion van.

    For the two of us, when I was pretty young, it worked out ok. But for four, and a smaller van that isn’t really set up with a bed, cooler, etc?

    I did a brief stint of working on RV’s when I got out of college, I can tell you anything you need to know about them. I’m not a huge fan of pop-up’s, but they are light and easier to tow then a full-on trailer. If you’re patient and keep your antenna up you can find nice used ones for $2k-$3k. The older coleman ones and Jayco are the better ones, a lot of the others are complete garbage. The smaller, the better, trust me on this. In the end though, it’s still a glorified tent, but it sure beats sleeping in a minivan.

    Or, you know, Motel rooms really aren’t that expensive either. Usually a decent hotel room ca be had for less then $70 if you show up at the last minute, look desperate, and haggle with the desk some.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Camping = Comfort Inn

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      My wife tried to tell me that…

      But, seriously, I’ve had a few Comfort Inn stays that were way less comfortable that camping.

      We’ve finally settled on the idea that neither a tent nor a hotel room is a destination, but that we can pick the right tool for the destination.

      She came around after the Great Sand Dunes in Southwest Colorado. The campsite is a better way to experience that particular to that wonder than any hotel. So, she’ll stay at the campsite there. But we’ll stay at decent motels along the way. Sounds good to me!

  • avatar
    badcoffee

    Class C Motorhome — something based on an E-Series Ford or G-Series Chevy Van Chassis, Gives you a tiny tiny bathroom suitible for no-one but better than nothing, something that poses as a kitchen, and usually enough beds for what you need.

    No hassle with trailers, not much bigger than a regular van, park it at walmart and be self-contained for the night. Get one thats a few years old and it’ll probably have stupidly low miles for the year, hang on to it for a couple summers, and sell it close to what you paid

  • avatar
    radimus

    Places to sleep on a road trip generally fall into a list like this, roughly in order of cost:

    1. Walmart parking lots for free overnight stops where allowed by local law and approved by the store manager. Your rig generally must be self contained, and slide-outs must stay slid in, and no pop-up campers.

    2. Truck stops, but it’s going to be noisey and safety can be a concern. Not sure on the costs for this.

    3. Someone might mention national forest campgrounds. These can be very cheap or free, but are often going to be well inside the national forest and the roads to get there may be not the greatest. Unless you actually plan to be spending time in said national forest these probably won’t be practical.

    4. State and national park campgrounds. These are not generally overpriced as you state, and in my opinion about the best value. You get a decent place to park, room to set up a camp kitchen or have a fire, usually decent facilities, and places to be that are not the inside of your vehicle. Far more restful than the first two.

    5. Private campgrounds. Generally cost more that state or national parks, but often come with some better amenities.

    As for towing campers, you can generally get by with a minivan if you watch your weights and stick with a pop-up camper that has a 10 ft box or smaller. Anything bigger should really by towed with an SUV or pickup, preferably something V8 powered. If you want to keep this simple just skip the minivan and go straight to a decent used Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon, or Ford Expedition. Your fuel mileage while towing will be close to what a minivan would get doing the same, you have a much stronger vehicle for the job, and it’s not hard to find one that already has the factory towing package.

    • 0 avatar
      Jellodyne

      When we take the RV from Minnesota to New Orleans we always spend one night in a Mississippi rest area. It’s the only state I’ve seen where the rest areas have a 24 hour security detail. Safe, free, good bathrooms, relatively quiet. Not sure I’d suggest it elsewhere, and some states explicitly prohibit overnight camping at rest areas.

  • avatar
    MoDo

    Easy. Used class C RV and then sell it for what you paid for it after the trip.

  • avatar
    boomhauer

    The used RV is the way to go assuming you intend to sell it afterwards and don’t pay huge ad valorum taxes in your state, you can recoup most of your $10k.

    If your $10k is ‘blow money’, I’d go the hotel route instead, it has a much higher wife approval factor than cleaning out turds yourself. Check out http://www.biddingtraveler.com; shows you what others are winning bids for in areas. I’ve scored some insane deals such as $50 for a 5* in ABQ.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    The one word answer was developed by hundreds during the era known as the great depression. No need to set up or take down. A Teardrop can be towed by whatever you want. Size to fit YMMV.

    The basis is a $4-500 trailer from Harbor Freight or Northern Tool. Thin wood and fiberglass. Need to buy the door and windows if you want. A $100 AC from walmart if you are making the trip during the summer. You can buy plans from ebay to make them from any junked car.

    I have a trailer that is the back half of a Ford Courier that I intend to take this route. It has rotted the third bed off. If you have some skills you can get your kids off the computer games and learning something practical.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Good advice to rent first and see if it fits with the family. As a kid my parents tried the travel-trailer thing. It was nice, 20ft long, fully self-contained, all the comforts of home, except it wasn’t a three bedroom house. That trailer lasted one summer, we were all glad to see that thing go

  • avatar
    1954 Chevy

    Our family actually did this kind of trip back in 1993. Me, wife, & 2 boys 16 & 13. We drove our car, an 88 Pontiac 6000 SE. It had 113K on it at start, and nearly 121K at end of 2 week tour. The car averaged 30mpg. We stayed in motels the whole time. Camping isn’t as cheap as you might think. Gas mileage goes way down even pulling a small popup or travel trailer. We always ate breakfast and supper in restaurants, and had a picnic lunch usually. It makes a big difference for everybody sleeping in a real bed, and having a real bathroom/shower. Every day was a new adventure for us & the boys. This also cut way down on the normal sibling bickering. All told, it was a trip of a lifetime.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I’m an old Idaho denizen, and current Oregonian from Winton elementary school in Couer d’Alene. I even had the Butler clan for neighbors in Hayden Lake in the early 80′s. Lived through it all. You cannot go wrong when camping here, even if this is referred to as the Mississippi of the northwest. A four person sleeping vehicle for $10k is unrealistic unless you are a competent mechanic and willing to haul 400# of tools. The various opinions all have merit, but your premise is flawed and should be altered. My personal favorites would start at Viento in the Columbia gorge. $12. Then the park at Kennewick where they host the unlimited Hydo’s in July. Day 3 would be spent somewhere on Flathead – many good campgrounds there. Glacier Park’s lower areas would be next, then Waterton for at least 3 days. Camp right in the center of town and walk to everything – or bike. Even great golfing. You haven’t golfed until you’ve hit a solid drive in 5000 foot thin air – while watching out for Grizzly scat. Plus, on No.1, the power lines are in play! Progress to Banff or Canmore or Kananaskis for more fabulous camping with all amenities – and these days the Loonie is weakening, so add 10-15% to your Benjies. Loop south next to Radium Hot Springs and finish the exploration looking for Okapango, or whatever Nessie like monster is in Lake Okanagan. Figure 14 days at $25 or $300, buy four sets of quality camping gear with two tents (for sanity and alone time), good tools – hatchet, folding saw, good knife (tell Customs if you want to keep it) and a Coleman stove with several cans of fuel, and you’re golden. Keep the $7500 change for a good SCCA track car. That trip will be next year for the Runoffs and you’ll already have all your gear. You’re welcome.

  • avatar

    With several months to plan and $10k budget, I’d look into one of the many small RVs based on Toyota pickup chassis. Much more room to keep tempers from fraying, without the brutal fuel consumption of a large RV. Find one for $8500 or so in April, work on it during May, do the summer trip, and if it doesn’t match your lifestyle well enough to be a “keeper” you could probably sell it to an aspiring snowbird in the fall for close to what you paid.

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    $1200 short bus:
    https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/ank/cto/4334473153.html

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    How about an old schoolbus? Pull the seats, put in some beds, find a used rooftop AC unit or open all the windows for some awesome cross-flow ventilation on the highway. Kind of like a giant sized VW van.

    But honestly… I wouldn’t take this trip if your family isn’t already experienced campers. Its too stressful and no fun. If you shop around you should be able to rent a cabin (or more likely a mobile home) for $3-400/week at one of the many small mom-and-pop “resorts” dotting the country. Drive in, everyone gets a bed, you have heat/AC and a kitchen and bathroom. Enjoy the local attractions, commune with nature, reconnect as a family… think “The Great Outdoors” but without such an amazing log cabin. We did this last summer with our teens, went to Kentucky to Land Between the Lakes. It took 2 days to drive there, we stayed in a motel once each direction, and the “cabin” the 7 days in the middle. The drive sucked and there were a couple fights (bringing teenagers to an area completely devoid of all cell phone signal will do that) but overall we had a good time. And there were those little resorts literally all over the place.

  • avatar
    1967mgb

    Think. Rent something; anything. If you take your own vehicle and have a problem, lets say the transmission, where are you going to get it fixed? What are you going to do in the meantime? What if you get in wreck? What, fly home and have to fly back later and hope it’s fixed right and then drive home? “Hey Hertz! It’s busted. Come get it and gimme another….” Just me thinking…

  • avatar
    mic

    Here is a novel idea. Cartop tents! Google them and you will see a good solution for the kids. You sleep in the van with the wife and put the kids on top.

  • avatar
    Atum

    Oh my gosh, why did I just think of this?

    Rent an Express 3500 from Enterprise, and make sure you get one with under 5K (to make sure it runs cleanly). Throw a couple mattresses on the ground, and bring a lot of blankets for 1. Sleeping and 2. Hiding in case the police pull you over for not having seat belts. Guaranteed to be the best trip ever. Also, smack a Bill Heard badge on the back. Just kidding.

    Also, get one of the cargo vans with windows the whole way through. Scenic view forever! But remember to put the blankets over the windows when the police come by. ;)

  • avatar
    cr189

    Go over to 3 Way camper on 41 and rent one for a weekend. If you want to keep your family intact, I suggest you try Stone Mountain first.

    Teenagers, especially females, do not like to be out of touch with their associates for more than two hours. It will be held against you if they miss some news because you made a side trip in the Smokies with no wi fi.

    I have been in a broken down camping vehicle and it is no fun, so I’d forget about buying some piece of crap and taking some tools. It gets really hot fast on the side of the road and chances are your family members did not know the engine was that hard to get to either.

    Always get set up before sun down. Even if you rent, always have a spare wheel and tire for each rig that touches the ground. Replacements can be hard to find.

    Never assume you can buy beer anywhere. Unless you are on an Indian reservation, always carry what you might consume in 2 days worth. It makes the set up easier. I generally went around reservations.

    If you get a pop up, make it a team effort to set it up. Makes it easier on Dad and takes the kids’ minds off what they might be missing out on at home. 4 people over the age of 10 can set up a Jayco popup in about 5 minutes if it is daylight and not raining.

    When the infighting reaches Tet Offensive level, find the nearest motel with a pool no matter how early in the afternoon it is. I also suggest separate rooms for adults and kids.


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