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Old 03-28-2012, 10:10 AM   #1
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My family and I have had an interest in going on the road since I came across a few websites about full-timing with families. I found the lifestyle very interesting. Now a year later we are wanting to relocate to Florida with our family of five (three little ones). We've been scouting out different rig options and haven't found one setup that meets all of our needs. I appreciate all the help from this and other websites.

I may post this in a few locations but our family is in search of the perfect rig for our family of 5 (three small children). What would be most comfortable for traveling from Portland to Tampa Florida with three youngsters. A little bit of info about us. We are newbies and my husband has no experience towing anything but small utility trailers. We have a max of 20,000 to spend on any type of setup including a tow vehicle or a toad. We've looked at used TT & used motorhomes. We will most likely be living out of our vehicle until we get established and am unsure how much we would travel afterwards so resale is also something we are trying to factor in as we may need the money to get into housing etc. With small children I like the idea of having the room in the coach and it seems like it would be a fun experience for the kids vrs being jammed into the backseat of a ex-cab truck. But I'm concerned it would be difficult to sell and also the fear of getting a MH that ends up needing expensive repairs or breaks down on the way out there. We've been looking at 95 winnebago's 454's and my husband is also looking at class C's. I like the setup of the motorhome because it feels like we're traveling together vrs being seperated and I worry about keeping the kids cool we may be traveling in heat (southern route). So many decisions and prayers. Any suggestions?
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:07 AM   #2
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Good Luck in your search. Sorry to hear you're leaving the PNW. Born and raised here and lived in Portland for about 5 years.
1. I would set a budget on what you want to spend for an RV.
2. List the features that are must haves from wants
3. Decide on the type of RV (MH, TT, 5er). Any TT or 5er will need the approiate TV to handle it.
4. Go look at as many models as you can. Sit in them, picture yourself and family in it on a rainy day and is there room for all and be comfortable.
5. After your trip to Florida what will your use of the RV be. Weekend getaways, 2 to 3 week family vacations, or longterm FTing.

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Old 03-28-2012, 11:28 AM   #3
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Not sure what type of RV your looking for or how much driving you will be doing. Motor Home or some thing towed lots of driving or once in a while. If your traveling with 3 kids and two adults you most likely will want to go with the Motor home, Class A or Class C. You may not want to cram 5 into a truck while on the road for long periods at a time, unless you will only travel occasionally or for short distances. Next step is to check out the RV Dealers. most of what you will find on the lot in A Class MOHO and 5'vers will be for retirees’ in mind unless you check out the C Class MOHO or Travel Trailers which are designed more with families in mind. just because the may not have something on the lot however doesn’t mean that that a manufacturer doesn’t make a more family friendly model, pick up a few broachers and check out manufacturer web sites.

Welcome to the site and good luck in finding the rig for you.
I'm sure you will get lots of help from the folks here.
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:37 AM   #4
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I put some sugestions in your other post. It seems like an A or C Class might be the better choice for you at this time. I'm sure that you will be able to find a few good quality C Classes for sale.
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:41 AM   #5
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Howdy and Glad you joined us and hope you enjoy the site. Sounds like an interesting endeavor your taking on and wish you all the best. Hope you find the rv that works best for you. See you down the road.
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Old 03-28-2012, 12:07 PM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback. We will be making the long trek out to Florida (I've driven 1x w/o kids and staying in motels). After that I'm thinking we'll be making more shorter trips around the area as we do the tedious tasks of establishing residency etc. I don't envision us RV'ing for vacations etc seems too expensive of a hobby for our income level and family unless we full-time and don't have the expenses of a "home". To be honest it seems a class A or C would be great for the long traveling but a TT would be more comfortable for Full-timing and shorter trips with longer stays once we've made it to Florida. Thankfully our kids are small and don't take up much room.
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Old 03-28-2012, 12:22 PM   #7
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I don't envision us RV'ing for vacations etc seems too expensive of a hobby for our income level and family unless we full-time and don't have the expenses of a "home".

Not entirely true, DW and I go out on a regular basis, weekend trips make great little holidays and don't cost much besides camping fees and gas. Its easy to find a lot of places to go to within an hour or two drive from home that cost very little to stay. State parks are usaly pretty cheap and quite often have many free activities for kids. Once you get the bug it may be hard to get rid of.
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Old 03-28-2012, 12:40 PM   #8
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Hi fam5rving,
Welcome to iRV2. Forget the resale value. You're purchasing a depreciating asset. Resale will be what it will be. Based on your requirements, a class "A" coach would fit your needs. Which one and how much to spend is dependent on what is available in your area.

If I may suggest, consider another alternative. Because you have no experience with RVs, towing and or RVs in general, purchase the RV at your destination! Dad drives to Tampa with whatever positions you will keep. Mom and the kids fly to Tampa. Nothing beats living space than a 5th wheel. With the snow birds returning North, this is a good time to purchase a 5th wheel and have it towed to the camp ground you will stay at. CG rates should be dropping like a rock, for the summer months. There will be plenty of 5th wheels and camp grounds to choose from.

For the $s you want to spend, it will be dumb luck to get a coach and toad set up from Portland to Tampa without difficulties. Cheap air fares are always available. If you check the area you want to stay in, the CG staff will, most likely, know of several 5th wheels for sale in their CG. They may even come a pick you up at the airport. Rent a place at their CG for a couple of weeks while you determine what you will rent or buy.

The kids will long remember the flying trip they took.
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fam5rving View Post
Thanks for the feedback. We will be making the long trek out to Florida (I've driven 1x w/o kids and staying in motels). After that I'm thinking we'll be making more shorter trips around the area as we do the tedious tasks of establishing residency etc. I don't envision us RV'ing for vacations etc seems too expensive of a hobby for our income level and family unless we full-time and don't have the expenses of a "home". To be honest it seems a class A or C would be great for the long traveling but a TT would be more comfortable for Full-timing and shorter trips with longer stays once we've made it to Florida. Thankfully our kids are small and don't take up much room.
Howdy and welcome to the forum. I'll just throw in that while your kids may be small now, they have a way of growing fast! Be sure you have enough space to accomodate them and all the "stuff" that goes along with them! Living full time in an RV with kids will be challenging. Good luck to you.
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:25 PM   #10
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I don't mean to sound discouraging, but please think carefully about all the options before buying. Any RV is a money pit, and in the $20,000 price range your choices will be fairly limited. It might be a good idea to rent an RV and take the family on a weekend trip to see how it goes.

A class C coach will typically have more sleeping area and less living area; a class A coach will typically be the opposite (less sleeping area, more living area.) I have no experience with trailers or 5ers, but if you'll be parked for extended times a trailer might be the best and most economical choice.
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:35 PM   #11
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There are Motor Homes as well as 5th wheels that are equipped with bunk beds as well as the larger bed meant to be the master. Some of them can sleep as many as 8. What you give up is space that would otherwise be used for inside living while awake.
Therefore you would end up spending more time outside sitting around the campfire or under the awning. This is fine if camping or just a quick stop overnight while traveling is what you are wanting to accomplish but if you decide to use the RV as a full time resident, I have little doubt that any of them would soon become like attempting to live in a fish bowl. We spend the winter in a 40ft MH with 4 slides sitting in one spot as Winter Texans. There are two of us and we have been a couple for nearly 50 years. Even then we are at times feeling mighty cramped. I can just imagine what it would be like crammed in there with 3 little ones!
Motorhomes will generally burn more fuel than other means of travel. Maybe as bad as 6 to 8 MPG. When you go to replace the tires you will spend more. The oil changes will use more quarts of oil at each change. The daily camping fees can be as much as $50 per night (about the same as a cheap motel) and you will be charged more for extra people beyond two. If you stay in one place beyond a couple of weeks you fall into a different catagory and are charged electric usage etc. Buying an older RV requires a bit of dillengece to be sure that you are not buying one that has had leaks and moisture damage, as well as the typical wear and tear that may happen to any vehicle with some miles on it. Is the, water heater still working, and does the stool flush without needing to replace the seals. Will the furnace heat enough to keep us warm all winter( it gets cold in Florida too) or is the airconditioner big enough to keep us cool in the hot summers in Florida.
You have a lot of questions that may need answers and asking the right questions may be difficult without a bit of past experience. Finding yourself trapped in an RV with 3 small kids after what you thought sounded like a wonderful experience may be one that will cost you more than you anticipated at the beginning.
good luck in your choices, i hope they become everything that you imagined!
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:56 PM   #12
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Thanks for the feedback

Thanks for all the feedback it is very much appreciated! I think I'll mill around on that for a bit with my husband!
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Old 03-28-2012, 03:02 PM   #13
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Luckiest Dre brought up some excellent points. I'd like to add that if the RV will be your "mode of travel" when you get to Florida (no car or other towed vehicle), you will have to unhook your home (wastewater, fresh water, electric) each time you need to run an errand. Also, it will be extremely helpful if you and hubby are "handy" with tools and basic electrical and plumbing maintenance.
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:02 PM   #14
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A reality check is in order. Take a few months looking around at the various types of RVs available. Personally, I would recommend a Class "A" at least 35' with 2-3 slides. (It would help to know the actual ages of your kids).

Read all you can about RV travel. RV.NET, IRV2 for web sites that offer tons of useful, albeit often erroneous, information.

Learn auto electronics as best you can along with household appliance repair. If you are limited to $20,000, you will be spending some time repairing various parts of your moving mansion. Remember, your RV is made of components that were made to be attached to a non-moving support. An RV is, from the day you buy it, trying its darnedest to shake itself apart.

Then, rent something you think will suffice and go on a short (50-200 miles) campout. Spend one or more nights in a campground and at least one night dry camping.

After all those items are accomplished, rethink your plans and do a PRO-CON analysis.

Anywhere along the line that you have a question, ASK for and FIND an answer.

Good luck and I hope you can enjoy the lifestyle. We have been camping with our kids and alone for 50 years. It can be fun and horrible, sometimes both at the same time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fam5rving View Post
My family and I have had an interest in going on the road since I came across a few websites about full-timing with families. I found the lifestyle very interesting. Now a year later we are wanting to relocate to Florida with our family of five (three little ones). We've been scouting out different rig options and haven't found one setup that meets all of our needs. I appreciate all the help from this and other websites.

I may post this in a few locations but our family is in search of the perfect rig for our family of 5 (three small children). What would be most comfortable for traveling from Portland to Tampa Florida with three youngsters. A little bit of info about us. We are newbies and my husband has no experience towing anything but small utility trailers. We have a max of 20,000 to spend on any type of setup including a tow vehicle or a toad. We've looked at used TT & used motorhomes. We will most likely be living out of our vehicle until we get established and am unsure how much we would travel afterwards so resale is also something we are trying to factor in as we may need the money to get into housing etc. With small children I like the idea of having the room in the coach and it seems like it would be a fun experience for the kids vrs being jammed into the backseat of a ex-cab truck. But I'm concerned it would be difficult to sell and also the fear of getting a MH that ends up needing expensive repairs or breaks down on the way out there. We've been looking at 95 winnebago's 454's and my husband is also looking at class C's. I like the setup of the motorhome because it feels like we're traveling together vrs being seperated and I worry about keeping the kids cool we may be traveling in heat (southern route). So many decisions and prayers. Any suggestions?
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