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Old 06-20-2012, 02:40 PM   #1
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Towing a dinghy

Has anyone done the math on the pros and cons of towing a dinghy, vs. getting to where you are going and renting a car? It seems to me that by the time you pull, insure, pay for tires, extra fuel for towing the extra weight, agravation and extra stress it may be better to rent a car when you get to your destination. Just curious.

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Old 06-20-2012, 02:55 PM   #2
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Part of the math involves time considerations. Having to have a rental car delivered/go pick one up counts as "money" in my humble opinion. Having transportation available as soon as you stop beats having to search one down. Cost considerations in this equation involve how long you're staying at one place, how many days you will rent, and all the rest of those intangibles/variables.

If you own a car that you could tow, then tires/insurance/wear and tear are something that will be paid as an expense anyway.

As for doing the math for additional weight, coefficient of drag, and those other engineering-type equations; tossing in how much it costs for a hitch/braking system; and other esoteric aspects of dinghy towing, well, there's a bunch of considerations leaning toward what you prefer, rather than just cranking the handle on an equation and spitting out an answer...

Bottom line - personal choice.

Joe and Debbie, Emma the Aussie Cattle Dog who adopted us
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Old 06-20-2012, 02:57 PM   #3
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While I was still working we never towed and did as you say, rented cars at our destinations. With our rig I don't believe that towing would be a major hit on the gas mileage, but setting up a car to tow is not inexpensive.

The only downside is that you may be in an area where rentals are not available. Granted most popular tourist areas will have rentals, but you may find very limited availability. Best to reserve in advance to be assured of a car. It's also much more difficult to find any bargains in major tourist areas.

Now that I am retired and we hope to travel more frequently and for longer periods, it makes sense to consider towing. We already own a towable car (2007 Saturn Aura)so only need to set it up properly. For this summer we already have our schedule and will continue to rent, maybe next year.
Tom and Barb
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:00 PM   #4
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Ditto. For us, it isn't about math because convenience can't fit in a math formula. We want to have our toad available whenever we want to use it so we tow.

I'm sure renting a car will fit the needs of some... just like renting an RV will fit for some. But, I think you'll find that full time or frequent long range travelers most often tow.

Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

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Old 06-20-2012, 03:00 PM   #5
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No, I haven't done the math but the thought about renting vs tow has crossed my mind. The problem, I think, is that a tow is just more convenient. Rental cars may not be readily available or close by. There's the issue of the return of the car. How do you get the car or take it back? Return locations are not usually RV friendly. There are some areas that cater some to RV travelers. I know a couple of years ago we rented a car down in Key West. The rental car was delivered to the RV park we were at and we just needed to return the keys to the RV office when we were done. Nice.
I'm not aware of many rental agencies that provide this kind of service. Am I wrong?
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:07 PM   #6
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I just like the feeling of knowing I have extra transportation behind me in case I needed it for emergecies or beer!!!
2004 Horizon 40AD/ISC 350/2012 SILVERADO or 2008 Chevy HHR/Demco/Vmspc/FMCA-F394912/SKP-115085/2004 Can-Am Outlander/2013 Polaris RZR
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:14 PM   #7
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When we traveled with the RV club we belong to, we would have to see if someone would take us along to play tourist. We decided that we wanted to go about on our own and had our 94 Honda Accord (manual trans) rigged for towing. This week we towed it about 230 miles from home for the club camp-out. Today we went for a ride in our car and found two California State parks that we wanted to see and both were closed. Bummer. We did manage to stop at a fruit stand and buy some fresh peaches though. Yum. We appreciated the independence.
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:14 PM   #8
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I guess I think of the stress of having a toad with 4 wheels on the ground is difficult to back up, turn around, I once saw a guy at a flying j in georgia that had I not stopped him would have taken the pumps out with a brand new mercedes dinghy. He could not back up so he had to disconnect etc. The other thought was that you can get a car that fits your needs depending on where you are going, ie. jeep, truck, dune buggy:-)
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:20 PM   #9
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If we did the math and based our RVing on it we'd own a pop-up.
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Cousin Ed
If we did the math and based our RVing on it we'd own a pop-up.
Well said. Your post made me chuckle!
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:26 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Cousin Ed View Post
If we did the math and based our RVing on it we'd own a pop-up.
If you really did the math then you probably wouldn't own an RV!
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:26 PM   #12
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Towing does not significantly reduce my mileage, but if you want to do a strict mathematical computation you need to factor in cost of setting up a car for towing. Tow bar, base plate and supplemental brake system cost me around 2 grand, which would pay for a lot of rentals. Still the convenience makes the expense well worth it to me.
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:59 PM   #13
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Towing a dinghy works for me, my Jeep Cherokee is my every day driver, We were stuck in a spring snow storm in Dalhart TX for 2 days , we shoveled the jeep out and went to town, food and Beer, it was nice to have it.
2001 Monaco Diplomat 8.3 40ft, 1999 Jeep Cherokee
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:40 PM   #14
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pros and cons of towing a dinghy
Two years ago we were driving in the Rocky Mountains and had a mechanical issue with the motorhome. We have three different cell carriers (Sprint, Verizon, and ATT) and had no service from any of them. DW just took the towd down the road until she found cell coverage and called Coach Net. We were on our way about an hour later. During the time she was gone no other cars or trucks passed the motorhome. One very big pro for towing.

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