The USA is an ideal country for camping trips. Camping is not an end goal but a means and style of travel. The most important thing is where you are going, what you want to see, and what emotions you get.
If you dream of spending a summer holiday or weekends on wheels, this guide will help you get prepared for your first trip.
Camper – Buy or Rent?
Buying is cheaper than renting if you are planning a long trip. And buying a cargo van and customizing it for camping is even more beneficial.
The average motorhome renting cost is $ 150 – $ 250 per day. For a month of travel, it will be possible to bargain up to $ 2,500. If you do not want to return to the same place where you rented the house, the one-way fee will be a few hundred more dollars.
If you have your own camper van, then with a good deal, you can sell it for the same money you bought it. Or even more expensive after conversion.
If you rent a motorhome, it will most likely be with a large gasoline engine. According to the Indy Auto Man used car dealership experts, one of the most economical campers is the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van. The average consumption can be about 30 liters per 60 miles. Fuel prices vary by state, but the current average is $3.5. In total, you will have to pay around $350 – $ 500 for 1000 miles of travel.
A camper is practically a truck – it is harder to drive and slower than a car. Experts recommend counting no more than 100 miles per day so that the road is a pleasure. In 10-14 days of travel, you will overcome 1000-1500 miles. You will be on the road for approximately 2-3 hours a day. If you are traveling without children, you can slightly increase the daily mileage.
The rental price usually includes basic car insurance. Often, for an additional $20-$50 per day, the basic package can be upgraded. The insurance deposit ($500-$1500 for campers) is returned either at the end of the trip or 7-14 days after the return of the camper if you have not been fined and the vehicle requires no repairs.
Travelers in motorhomes usually spend the night in campsites, where they can connect to electricity, water, and sewerage. It takes about 20 minutes to set up the awnings, set up camping kits, and connect everything you need. In the morning, travelers spend around 20 minutes cleaning and turning everything off. At the beginning of the journey, it seems exciting and requires some time to get used to, but then becomes routine. Therefore, on a route longer than seven days, it is worth making stops in the most beautiful places for 2-3 nights. The best option is to plan five overnight stays every seven days of travel. That is, you may stay for two nights in two places or one place for three nights. This is especially true for national parks, which are impossible to be explored in a day.
Where to Sleep
- Camping. You can book a place for a camper or tent and a car. They cost about $60 per day, and prices may range from $20 for parking in a state park to $150 at popular tourist destinations. For example, in Indiana Dunes National Park, the parking fee is only $12 for out-of-state plates.
- Parking. You won’t be able to spend the night in the parking lots. Even if there is no ban, then there may be problems with the police or crime – both in large cities like Indianapolis and in the provinces. The exception is overnight parking at some casinos and at the Walmart Supercenter hypermarket chain (not to be confused with small Walmart supermarkets). You can usually spend a quiet night there. However, some cities even ban overnight parking.
- Rest areas. They are located along the tracks and offer snack bars, free toilets, vending machines, and parking. There are no hostels and hotels, and auto tourists sleep in cars. Some states have a limit on the number of hours at such a stop.
Plan at least a couple of weeks before your trip. Think every day in as much detail as possible. Google Maps will help you calculate travel times and distances between stops.
When planning your itinerary, it is best to avoid large cities along the way. You can dilute the trip with a visit to some city places of interest. For example, stop to visit the Indianapolis auto race or the Art Festival in Carmel. Keep in mind, in many cities, campsites are far from the center, and you will have to look for transfer options.
With careful planning and a comfortable camper equipped to your needs, holiday on wheels will become the best memories for the whole family.