Here is a list of problems to solve if I flew by airplane to the USA, got off the plane and tried to buy a van or motorhome for USA road trip.
I am Andy Lee Graham, a citizen of the USA, and I am presently in the Dominican Republic, it is March, the weather in Indiana my home state is cold. I will enter the USA soon, buy a van, then travel around the USA for 2-5 months sleeping in the van or with friends who invite me to their homes.
My Father has cancer, and my Mother is wanting me to delay the trip to Indiana for a couple of weeks until things settle down. And truthfully, they may never settle down, so I am trying to think of other plans.
"I vote to fly to Orlando, Fl buy a used camper similar to firstname.lastname@example.org for about $3k and be able to go home on a moments notice. I would travel around the US staying in Walmart, Kmart, and most any mall area parking lots for free. Use free or almost free camp grounds for a dump. Using MacDonalds, Whataburgers etc for the Internet access for free. You won't have to worry about the cold. At the end of your travels here sell the camper for as much or more than you paid for it."
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If I fly to Indiana, live with my parents, I can borrow a car, live for free, and buy a mini-van slowly. I will also have to do some changes to the van, and there are tools, etc.
List of Problems Whey Flying to USA to Buy a Van, RV, Motor Home for USA Road Trip.
1. I need cheap accommodation during the buying of a vehicle, or the indirect cost of buying could double. I could do the couch surfing, or stay with one of the people who has invited me to visit.
2. How am I to drive around in the USA looking for a motor home or van, I would need to enter a city with very good public transportation, or enter a place where I could walk the city to look at vehicles.
3. How long would it take to buy a good vehicle in the USA?
4. Cold, I need to be in a Southern USA state, so I do not freeze walking around.
5. Availability of cheap vans or motor homes, where in the USA would be cheaper?
6. Internet access, I would not have Internet access when I land to get on Craig list or any of the vehicle selling site. The Internet cafes in small villages does not exist, and even in the big cities it is a problem. There are Hostel in few locations around. I would need to find a room for 15 USD or less, or the cost would quadruple fast.
7. The length of my trip will expand, because I would need to solve all the problems above, and park, or live in one location until I am read.
8. If I bought a motor home, and not a van, things would be simpler, but the cost of gas would double the price of the trip compared to a mini-van.
9. Selling a vehicle is not a guaranteed thing, I must assume I am going to abandon the vehicle at the end of my trip, or leave it for my friends to sell.
10. What is more sell-able, a mini-van or a motorhome? When I am done with the trip, what can I do with the vehicle?
11. I would think, I have 2-3 day mercy to live with anyone on the list, none of them are my best friends, two are family, but living with people for free is not a simple as people think.
My gut says this, I could do this, if I could find a room in the USA to rent cheap, less than 400 per month, then I would have the time. To travel anywhere on the planet, and have something necessary to happen is foolish. I must always have a backup plan.
Therefore, if I could find a room for less than 300-400 USA, in a smaller manageable city, with cheaper vehicles in the South of the USA. Then I could live there until I solve all the problems listed above.
Andy Graham in Montellano, Dominican Republic
This problem above is the same as what a European, Japanese or Korean would anticipate for a USA road trip.
Andy, I'm traveling in my 5th wheeler RV now parked at a KOA north of Orlando. It's normally pretty nice here and I just wear cutoff's and flip flops. Planning on having shoulder surgery next week and pretty much staying here for the next couple of months. If you decide to come to florida and into orlando and If I can be of any assistance, airport pick up/couch surfing / ride, ect. let me know. It's the least I can do for all the great advice and support you have provided on your website for all these years. Let me know Terry
I'm not sure of your reasons or destinations in the US. In an attempt to answer some of your questions.
1. a. Weekly stay motels advertise rooms with most of the accommodations that you'll be looking for, seem to be in the price range of $139 to $189.00 per wk. with privately held motels in some of the smaller towns are to be had for less.
b. Cheaper maybe.
c.Looking on craigslist, some are quoting down to $70.00 per week with wearing clothes optional(He He).
d. Some people just get a tent and backpack because that is going to be most economical way to go. If you stay in the southern states in he winter and going northerly in the summer. I've lived in tents that were as comfortable as hotels with internet available in most major camp grounds in the US. Tent camping is free to $5.00 a night.
2. a. I've had good luck renting from Rent-A-Wreck advertising rental for less than $15.00 a day. They will pick you up at the airport.
b. Purchase of a small motor bike with the idea of loading it on the back of a camper is not a bad idea.for economical transportation in looking/finding a bargain. Also, its great to leave the camper setup to do local shopping or site-seeing..
c. Trying to hitch hike or walk in the USA is not a great idea(too slow now a days) but, it can be done. I've met a lot of nice people hitch hiking and also weirdos.
3. How long would it take to find a reliable vehicle is the question to ask. I would try to look at least five different vehicles being careful as to condition. Rust is big problem. Dirty and wear just lowers the price. Leaks big problem. Low mileage in not always a great buying point in a camper in that setting up can cause more problems. People want more ($) for one that has low mileage(like a car) but would make a good selling point. Remember that negotiation, age, wear, mileage and time of essence, is what determines price.
4. Flying into Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Jacksonville or Fort Myers are areas that are pleasant this time of year with pre-shopping for transportation on craigslist.
5. Ability to negotiate is probably your best resource. Florida, Arizona or Texas is where people go to to retire and get off the road and sell their vehicles.
6. Florida , south Texas, New Orleans are some places that come to mind.
7. Backpacking will shorten the off loading as compared to buying the camper that will give more comfort and ability to experience more areas.
8. The small Toyota camper averages around 16 to 17 MPG about the same as a van. Class A motor home get from 6 to 12 MPG.
9 You can go to just about any car lot or pawn shop and get something for a vehicle. It comes back to negotiation, age, wear, mileage and time of essence, is what determines price.
10. At the present time with gas prices going up, the smaller the vehicle the higher the price with less of an operating cost but, would have a larger seller's market. On the other hand buying a bigger vehicle is cheaper initially.
11. Mark Twain said that "Guest, like fish, they begin to smell after three days"
Rooms are available on craigslist for well under $400.00 a month in just about most smaller towns. The better the transportation the higher the price it seems. I was in Monterey Ca. and rooms could be had for $800 and above, but transportation was great.
Always have plan "A" Plus "B" and planning on "C". You seem to be able to feather your nest where ever you go.
I find that people are people no matter where they are from. My problem is being able to communicate.
Something like this might fit the bill:
This is a nice factory converted mini Rv. It's a 1991 Ford Econoline-150 which has been converted by Sierra conversions. The van has a sink, 1 burner stove, microwave, fridge, toilet, fresh water holding tank, gray/black water holding tanks, rollover sofa which will sleep two people, 3 captains chairs, tv/vcr, electric heater, 110v shore power, roof a/c, spare tire and carrier, ladder, luggage rack, cruise control, power windows, power door locks, power steering, mood, aircraft, reading, and done lights. The van has 50,510 1 owner miles (runs great). All manuals and some maintenance records available. With some minor TLC and cleaning, this would make a great family camping van or??? This is a steal at just $2,995. I'm open to trades but cash is always king. Call before it's gone: 847-596-1327. Thank you.
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
I am not affiliated with the above postings from Craigslist, just wanted to give an example of what might be available for your US trip.
I am lucky man, this USA Road Trip is going to be fun. I have not even left the USA and already many great opinions. I am going to have fun on this trip. I have only written about travel outside the USA, writing about something my reader understand is going to be enjoyable.
I hope we fixed the comment problem, thanks for feedback. Andy
Mike99, that is an interesting idea, the only problem I can find is the flight from STI to PHX is 400 USD. I can fly to Fort Lauderale for 160, and have another 260 to live. Maybe there is a Florida, Auction.
You have family in Indiana. It seems to me that it would make sense to take some time off with them, find , fix up, prepare, and stock up before you leave on your next adventure. A vehicle towing a travel trailer is not something I have heard you comment on. I do not know if you plan on driving alot and seeing many places, or staying in several places for an extended time. Using a travel trailer might make sense, as they give you more living space, are cheaper than a motorhome, and koa and other campgrounds have good monthly rates. Also you can unhook from them, and get good gas mileage for nearby exploration. Gas prices are really skyrocketing here.