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Old 12-21-2012, 07:35 AM   #1
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Car Rental vs Towing

DH and I are debating the issue of renting a car after we arrive at our destination vs towing. We are not sure if it is worth the expense of outfitting our RV and car for only 2 or 3 trips each year. We'd appreciate some feedback from those of you that tow vs those that rent.
For those that rent, where do you usually find rental companies? I know they are usually found close airports, but how hard is it to get in and out with the RV?
Paula
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:52 AM   #2
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We tried both and like having car with us much better. But - only couple trips a year? Will current vehicle tow four down? If not I would lean twords renting for a couple trips as a test. At least one rental co. will pick you up. If renting dosn't work out you can always start towing.
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:53 AM   #3
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We debated that question and decided that a towed vehicle made the most sense. We enjoy dry camping in National and State Parks where there are few if any rental agencies. When we travel, we would use the "toad" at each night's stop for grocery, and other shopping without having to find a rental agency in small towns. Again, while were traveling we like to stop at out of the way places so that renting a car is unfeasible in most cases.

I am trading in my FJ for something (leaning towards a Jeep Wrangler) so that my daily driver will be the Toad...of course being retired means I don't have to commute each day in a Jeep Wrangler.
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:56 AM   #4
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We have been using enterprize, and they have picked us up at the camp ground, 53.00 with full insurance(thats here in canada) I have seen cheaper deals, when we went to wisconsen dells, there was a bus stop right by the rv park, 20 mins we where in all the action. no parking problems, at different times we used public transport, you see more things to use its just part of the adventer. This year Im building a rack to hold our honda scooter and our honda trail 90, this will give us more options, But I know at some piont we will end up towing some sort of car when just go and spend the winters in one place, but for now I dont wont to be bothered with the extra cost of towing some thing.

just my 2 cents
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:02 AM   #5
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[QUOTE=ctpres;1406129]We tried both and like having car with us much better. But - only couple trips a year? Will current vehicle tow four down? If not I would lean twords renting for a couple trips as a test. At least one rental co. will pick you up. If renting dosn't work out you can always start towing.[/QUOTE

We have a Chev. Equinox than can be towed 4 down. No added expense there. I can see where having your own car is a plus over the hassle of finding a rental co.
Paula
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:45 AM   #6
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Taking the car with you is a great convenience. We rented a little and it worked out okay but now that we are towing the car it is a lot easier.

The upfront cost is really the only deterrent to taking your own car. It is likely to cost between $2000 and $3000 to start towing. You need to get a towbar, cables, wiring harness for the motorhome side. You will need to get a baseplate for the Equinox, then wiring for tailights. It will all need to be properly installed (or you can do it yourself if you are handy). Then you need to buy a supplemental braking system for the towed vehicle.
It's a big chunk of money up front but once it's done you should be all set until you decide to buy a new car.
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:46 AM   #7
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For me, the bigger issue is a breakdown or accident. I like having a secondary backup form of transportation. I do NOT want to be broken down and stranded on the side of the highway while waiting for a tow when it could be something I could easily repair myself.
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:11 AM   #8
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We rent from Enterprise. They are always pretty local to ourfinal destination and have never had a problem. When we are local the wife will follow in the car, I mean local getaway campground weekends.
I feel I don't need the hassel of towing something on the tailend of my 38' motorhome, sometimes I have enough trouble getting in and out of fueling stations let alone having something additional on my tail.
Can't see thr additional wear and tear on a towed vehicle either.
If your fulltiming I may go along with it but with a week / two week vacation I'll rent. Call up Enterprise and they pick you up, when you return they take you back,,, that simple.
Hope this helps............
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:52 AM   #9
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The upfront cost of outfitting a car for towing is quite steep, and offset only by the substantial convenience you gain. For use only a few times a year, the economics are pretty clear. What is not clear is how much you are willing to pay for the convenience of having your own car available to you at all times. Only you can answer that.

Note that your choice of campground is a factor as well. There may not always be a car rental office handy.
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:55 AM   #10
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We tried renting cars instead of towing. That worked fine as long as the destination had an Enterprize rental agency nearby and cars were available. However, after reaching 2 places that had only one local agency and another where none of the major agencies had cars available, we made the decision to tow. We spend more than we expected to get set up, but the convenience of having a car available 20 minutes after we arrive made the costs well worth it.
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:07 AM   #11
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You might check out a good used Demco tow dolly with surge brakes -use it on any car-we choose to go tow dolly because we have 3 different older cars that we use-Demco tow dolly is a little expensive but lets us have a vehicle with us all the time-I've learned from other RVers how to tighten the straps so they never loosen up so we are happy going this route-It may be worth looking into
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbstewart View Post
We have been using enterprize, and they have picked us up at the camp ground, 53.00 with full insurance(thats here in canada) I have seen cheaper deals, when we went to wisconsen dells, there was a bus stop right by the rv park, 20 mins we where in all the action. no parking problems, at different times we used public transport, you see more things to use its just part of the adventer. This year Im building a rack to hold our honda scooter and our honda trail 90, this will give us more options, But I know at some piont we will end up towing some sort of car when just go and spend the winters in one place, but for now I dont wont to be bothered with the extra cost of towing some thing.

just my 2 cents
gbstewart
We used a honda during a 4 year boat trip. I would swing it from aboard using the Davit and away we would go. There are States that will not allow Two people to ride on them. We also found them to be scary as many drivers do not see them and there are those that get frustrated because of the slower than they want to travel speeds. We have been passed on the shoulder as well as forcing us to the shoulder while they pass with oncoming traffic.
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:09 AM   #13
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Hi progers,
The previous posts have summed up the different considerations. I can add that those who stay at the resort I stay at rent a car about 10% of the time. This was higher than I expected. Enterprise is the company of choice. The guests would call Enterprise when close to the resort and provide a time of arrival. Enterprise was usually there before the guest arrived.

Consider giving renting a try. As long as it fits your needs, it can be a viable solution.

I rented, many years ago. It was the same situation as mentioned in the OP. Never had any problem and it worked well for me. As we started to spend many nights in the coach, towing became an economic necessity.
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:00 AM   #14
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Thanks to everyone for all the good feedback. Trial renting sounds like the way for us to go for now. As mentioned, a tow hitch can be added later if we decide we want to take our own car. Merry Christmas and safe travels to everyone!
Paula
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