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Old 01-19-2014, 04:27 PM   #1
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Renting vs Buying for One Month Trip to Alaska

I am planning a one month trip to Alaska from Chicago in a MH. I had only considered renting until I spoke with a dealer at an RV show. He suggested that due to the high cost of renting for such a long distance and long duration trip that we might be better off buying a used RV for the trip and then selling it again when we got back.

I'm looking for opinions and things to consider about buying vs renting. I can think of lots of positives and negatives, but I wonder what those of you with a lot of RV experience would recommend.

This trip is not only to see various national parks and on the way to Alaska, but is also a trial run for my wife and I who are considering full-time RVing when we retire in 8-10 years. This trip, all three of our kids (21, 19, 14) will come along with us.

One of my concerns is that I don't really don't want to own/store/maintain a MH until we're ready and able to utilize it after I retire. I'm not at all opposed to buying one for the trip as long as I won't find it difficult to sell it when we return.

What should I consider in making this decision?
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:42 PM   #2
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I think you will find many more class C RVs available for rent than class As. 5 full grown people in a class C will be less than comfortable.

Although on the upside to a class C, you can have 2 queen beds and the unlock one gets the sofa or dining fold down. The class A will most likely have just one real bed. More living space in a larger class A but less sleeping space. As I like to tell the in laws our class A Drinks 6, feeds 4, sleeps 2.

If you plan on renting look until you find a larger class A. This will give you a better test for your full timing experiment.

Think about showering in shifts. 10 gallon hot water for 5 is going to be difficult.

Depending on your stops in AK, the shorter class C will fit in some of the smaller spots better. I head down to Seward every year to the city CG on Resurrection Bay. My 30' class C fit like a champ, the 40' class hangs over on both ends.

If you want to avoid the drive up the Alcan and just see AK, fly into Anchorage and rent form Great Alaskan Holidays RV Sales and Service. Nice selection and decent pricing (for Alaska anyway).
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:47 PM   #3
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I think your biggest hazard will be not wanting to sell it when you are done. This lifestyle is very addictive.
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:10 PM   #4
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Are you sure one month is enough time?
What National parks are you including?

Chicago to Fairbanks the short way is 3500 miles. 7000 miles round trip @ 350 miles per day is 20 of your 30 day month.
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:30 PM   #5
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Fly to AK and rent one there? You deserve as much time as possible THERE.
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:03 PM   #6
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It's a gamble. It's possible you could buy a good used diesel pusher (if you have the capital available), use it on your trip and sell it for as much as you paid for it when you're through. But it's also possible you could buy a used DP and have some major expenses that could cost as much or more than renting a rig. Even a minor problem with a big diesel pusher can turn into a major expense. Also, you have to consider that purchasing such a big item = big tax dollars plus registration and insurance expenses that you won't get back.
But if you can buy one low and then sell it high, you might even make a buck.
If you rent, you already know you're out the entire expense.
I might take a chance and buy rather than rent, but do you feel lucky?
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:15 PM   #7
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How much family bonding do you want? If you want max bonding buy one. Have everyone involved in picking one out. Then make the drive. Think of the adventure.

I am thinking it will cost 10 to 12g's to rent. That is about the same the depreciation. (I think). Anyone have better numbers on cost?

Plus you might like it enough to keep it.

Also plan 6 weeks.
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Old 01-20-2014, 02:39 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by okgc View Post
Are you sure one month is enough time? What National parks are you including? Chicago to Fairbanks the short way is 3500 miles. 7000 miles round trip @ 350 miles per day is 20 of your 30 day month.
We want to stop along the way at Devils Tower, Glacier National Park, and Bamf f National Park on the way up. But we tend to do long stretches very well. For example, we have driven Chicago to the Florida Keys straight in 24 hrs. For this trip to get there we will likely have to drive long stretches too. We will miss the scenery as we drive at night. This trip and the itinerary are part of DW's major bucket list.
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Old 01-20-2014, 02:46 AM   #9
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It's a gamble. It's possible you could buy a good used diesel pusher (if you have the capital available), use it on your trip and sell it for as much as you paid for it when you're through. But it's also possible you could buy a used DP and have some major expenses that could cost as much or more than renting a rig. Even a minor problem with a big diesel pusher can turn into a major expense. Also, you have to consider that purchasing such a big item = big tax dollars plus registration and insurance expenses that you won't get back. But if you can buy one low and then sell it high, you might even make a buck. If you rent, you already know you're out the entire expense. I might take a chance and buy rather than rent, but do you feel lucky?
Yeah... Thats what it comes down to.... Luck. Is there any particular strategy to improve the odds? For example, 5 years old or less, diesel not gas, etc? Is there anything you would bet against?

I will have to roll up all the costs and figure out what makes sense. But I agree in the end one problem on the road can throw a monkey wrench into the whole thing.
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Old 01-20-2014, 02:48 AM   #10
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How much family bonding do you want? If you want max bonding buy one. Have everyone involved in picking one out. Then make the drive. Think of the adventure. I am thinking it will cost 10 to 12g's to rent. That is about the same the depreciation. (I think). Anyone have better numbers on cost? Plus you might like it enough to keep it. Also plan 6 weeks.
Wish 6 weeks was possible. I just can't take that much time off work. I have never done a 4 week vacation before, much less 6.
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:24 AM   #11
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Wish 6 weeks was possible. I just can't take that much time off work. I have never done a 4 week vacation before, much less 6.
I found that the biggest problem with taking a 4 week vacation was I didn't want to go back to work afterwards.
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Old 01-20-2014, 07:02 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by SteveUpp View Post
I am planning a one month trip to Alaska from Chicago in a MH. I had only considered renting until I spoke with a dealer at an RV show. He suggested that due to the high cost of renting for such a long distance and long duration trip that we might be better off buying a used RV for the trip and then selling it again when we got back. I'm looking for opinions and things to consider about buying vs renting. I can think of lots of positives and negatives, but I wonder what those of you with a lot of RV experience would recommend. This trip is not only to see various national parks and on the way to Alaska, but is also a trial run for my wife and I who are considering full-time RVing when we retire in 8-10 years. This trip, all three of our kids (21, 19, 14) will come along with us. One of my concerns is that I don't really don't want to own/store/maintain a MH until we're ready and able to utilize it after I retire. I'm not at all opposed to buying one for the trip as long as I won't find it difficult to sell it when we return. What should I consider in making this decision?
For this once-in-a-lifetime trip, and also to see if it's what you want to pursue in retirement, you should
actually travel in something close to what you WOULD own in retirement !!

You should consider renting a big class A luxury coach.
Here is one link to get you started. http://gossrv.com/


As an example, this country Coach model sleeps 6, and rents for $30,000. Per month.
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:00 AM   #13
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If you haven't seen the movie "RV" starring Robin Williams, then you simply must watch it before starting on your journey !
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:08 PM   #14
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Spoken like a true salesman. Get that RV dealer to put his paper and pencil where his mouth is and give you a GUARANTEED buy back price when you return. I bet then it will probably be real obvious that renting vs. all the costs of owning will be the better deal.
You will really be on a forced march with that much to see in so many places. Good Luck
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