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Strategy to buy a camper/RV/trailer + motorbike for retirement travel?

Strategy to buy a camper/RV/trailer + motorbike for retirement travel?

Old Oct 15th, 2018, 09:32 PM
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Strategy to buy a camper/RV/trailer + motorbike for retirement travel?

Hi, I'm retired and living in Thailand, wishing to spend a few months per year back home in the good old USA traveling, visiting friends and family, etc. My idea is to buy a camper/RV/trailer for this purpose, along with a motorbike for quick trips and easy parking.
I realize this is a bit broad and vague but that reflects the fact that I don't know much about this. My plan is to go to America either this Winter or Spring and buy what I need, park it at my brother's house in Idaho, and use it each year for travel and accomodation.
My questions:
First, is this all doable for less than $50k? Second, is there a best season for buying such equipment? And third, a best location (e.g. Idaho as opposed to California seems obvious).
I would most like to hear from people who are actually doing this or know someone who is doing it.
Thanks for your wisdom, oh Great Travel Crowd!
wealthychef is offline  
Old Oct 16th, 2018, 12:44 AM
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It depends on whether you already have experience driving a camper/RV/trailer and if you are able to do any repairs. Our son and his friends buy and sell campers on Craigslist. You might check what's available in what price ranges and compare with dealer prices. Frequent complaint is sales people who over estimate the weight your can tow (if looking at tow behind campers). Another complaint is people who don't know how to hitch up a camper properly. You should also look into town/city regulations about storing a camper on your brother's property. There might not be any or the town might be fussy about things like that. If buying used, private sale, you need the experience/know how to give it a good cleaning since mouse nests are a frequent problem. You should expect a dealer would have a used camper in top shape.
We preferred a tow behind camper because we usually settled into a place for a week. Keep in mind any camper has a limited range depending on access to a dump station for gray water and to refill water tanks and recharge batteries. If you plan to roam around a lot, you might want to consider how much time it takes to set up camp and get ready to move on. Also, how long can you boondoggle (camp without electricity and dumping). DS and his friends chose truck campers for lengthy cross country trips. They could do overnights in WalMart parking lots (where allowed) but also spend time in one place at national parks. Current choice is a toy hauler which requires a heavy duty PU truck. Camper in front, covered trailer for hauling ATVs and similar.
DH decided we weren't using our camper enough to justify insurance and registration costs so we now do mostly air b&b. DS and his friends probably spend less than $50,00 total for used trucks and campers but they are also capable of doing repairs on the road when they happen and usually at least one of them has an issue of some kind.
You will probably get more responses on an RV/Camper forum.
dfrostnh is offline  
Old Oct 16th, 2018, 12:54 AM
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Agee that you really need an RV forum. However, the early posts on this blog might be helpful, even though it's dated:

thursdaysd is offline  
Old Oct 16th, 2018, 06:15 AM
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This might also be helpful:


We sold our 28' Class C because the insurance and registration costs far outweighed the benefits of our RV travel....but our situation was different than yours. We did not tow a car...but you can tow a bike or buy an RV with an onboard storage area (toy hauler)(but not for 50K). You will be far more flexible.

RV Toy Haulers | Dutchmen Dutchmen is only one of many RV manufacturers that sell toy haulers.
Bobmrg is offline  
Old Oct 18th, 2018, 05:21 AM
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You'll also need to see if this is even possible. You'll need insurance, and since you aren't a US resident, you may not be able to get a policy.
doug_stallings is offline  
Old Oct 18th, 2018, 07:48 AM
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Could you rent for the time you want it for the price of maintaining it.
And your brother's neighborhood may or may not like the idea of a camper parked for 9 months a year.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Oct 18th, 2018, 06:20 PM
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First, how long is “a few months”? The answer will help determine in buying or doing a short term rental is the better option.

If buying, you’ll need insurance on both the R/V and motorcycle. Annual rates will depend on where the vehicles are garaged and what types and amounts of coverage you purchase. As others have mentioned you’ll have to check the insurance regulations in the state where your vehicle is registered. You’ll also have annual registration fees and have to get the vehicles inspected every year.

Do check local ordinances where your brother lives to be sure long term storage is allowed. Some communities limit what can be stored outdoors for long periods. Also, in most communities you will not be able to park your R/V on the street for extended periods.

Set aside a good amount for service, maintenance and upkeep of your vehicles. I have a friend who bought a brand new R/V a few years ago and he is constantly fixing things. Something breaks on almost every trip. If this happens with a new R/V you can imagine the number of repairs a used R/V will have. Another thing to consider - Winters can be harsh in Idaho and vehicles stored outdoors will deteriorate faster than ones stored indoors.

As for using a motorcycle for short travel - that sounds like a good idea but have you thought about what you will do when it rains???
RoamsAround is offline  
Old Oct 19th, 2018, 10:54 PM
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Best array of RV is displayed at

Truck pulling a RV trailer pulling a motorcycle trailer. Only a few states allow a 3-tanden pull.
You could haul the M/C on the back of the trailer - depending on its weight
Of course a class A solves that problem.

Have you considered a Jucy RV rental
Recommend the option with a Penthouse
Never heard anyone complaining about their use


rvvagbond is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2018, 08:42 AM
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I'm sorry we're going to miss that show (we'll be out of the country from mid-January on)! I wonder how many RV models are shown at the Quartzite show? We've been to the show in Pleasanton, CA -- it seemed huge to us, but it was the first one we'd ever been to. We're seriously considering a Class C for summer USA and Canada road trips starting in the summer of 2019.
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Old Oct 20th, 2018, 09:28 AM
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My in-laws were full-timers for several years and we would join them on occasion. Then they became snowbirds and finally they have sold it.

Agree with the advice you have gotten here. A few more points:

If you are storing it in Idaho, think about your route. On the West Coast, I-5 in Southern Oregon/Northern California can be really hazardous in snow and even heavy rain. Ideally you would travel before/after the snows in the Rockies.

RVs are easier to drive. But it's easier to fix a truck at any mechanic, than an RV.

My FIL was great at backing his up. He had the knack. But not all people do. We watched some near misses.

​​​​Agree not to buy new for the RV or trailer. There is a huge depreciation on this stuff. I'd consider new or certified pre-owned on the truck w/ a full warranty that you can service anywhere.

Also if you buy a parks membership, those can also be bought used. I don't know details but we met people who did it... Thousand Trails was the one they bought. And it is worth considering because it can be hard to get reservations in state parks for every single night.

Think about your age and health. It can get old hooking up the electrical, water, sewage hoses, emptying the tanks etc. Do you want to do this for 5 years? 10?


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Old Oct 22nd, 2018, 12:21 PM
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Thank you for a very enlightening discussion! I am not in the market but I've learned a lot just reading people's responses.
2016adventurer is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2018, 02:36 PM
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There is a form of RV trailer with a large door at the back that folds down over the rear bumper. The back compartment is for motorcycles or ATV's. It is called a "toy hauler" The front section is a typical camping trailer.
When you purchase in Oregon there is no sales tax. Storing in eastern Oregon (Ontario?) may be a little cheaper.
tomfuller is offline  
Old Oct 25th, 2018, 12:35 AM
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Great point about the sales tax. I think he's storing at a family's house in Idaho for free though.
5alive is offline  
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