Plan a Road Trip
RV trips are becoming increasingly popular. One Parenting editor set out with her family to discover why
The bill for our four-day junket: $2,482, which included the rental and insurance fees for the RV, the campground fee of $30 a night, and $450 in gas. But you can save by bringing your own pots, pans, sheets, and towels (the "housekeeping" cost $325), and choosing a smaller RV that could be covered by your auto insurance. The model we picked didn't qualify, so we had to cough up $150. And it can be even cheaper if you're flexible: In spring and fall, RV companies need to move their inventory across the country, and they offer up to 50 percent off if you're willing to ferry a vehicle in an allotted amount of time.
The best moments were those that blended the everyday quality of being "at home" with the focus on each other of being on vacation. As the guys busied themselves at the grill, Jess and I caught up on each other's lives. Later, I was at the water pump, rinsing off our dinner dishes. I could see the lights on in the windows of vehicles around us, and the stars overhead. I was doing dishes, and utterly content.
Picking Your RV
Van campers: Also known as Type B motor homes, these are built on the frame of a van, with extra headroom so an adult can stand up inside, and sleep up to four people by converting seating into beds. They drive like a van, so you can park almost anywhere, and gas costs are lower than with other RVs. But quarters are tight, and pulling out the beds can be a pain. Best for: Short trips, small families.
Mini-motor homes: This is the type we went with. Typically 19 to 31 feet, the Type C's usually come with a bed over the cab and convertible sofas, and some have a separate bedroom (with a door!) in the back. They guzzle more gas than the Type B's, but there's no need to put away the beds every day. Best for: Longer trips, towing a car.
Motor homes: Type A's range from 22 feet to a palatial 45. Some of them are fully pimped out, with leather seats, flat-screen TVs, even pop-out outdoor kitchens with grills and sinks. Of course, they can be harder to maneuver (including being too big for some campgrounds), and while it's possible to tow a car, it's trickier. Best for: Bringing the grandparents, staying in one place.