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Trying an RV rental in the winter 

So we all go through various stages of decision-making when it comes to precious time off from work.  In our case we were weighing timing of a cruise, trip to the UK or possibly renting an RV.  A cruise out of Florida was the most reasonably priced option but we wanted to do a balcony having had not the best experience on our last cruise on an inside room so that increased the priced quite a bit.  And budget is always a consideration.

We looked into flights overseas and realized that we probably would bust the budget with that too.  Then I was doing some searching on RV rentals and it finally hit us when I came across a special offer from Cruise America.  They were looking for people to take brand new motor homes to Florida one-way from Chicago.

After a little math and a little bit of talking it over, this became the obvious option from the budget perspective.  At $19 per day with 200 miles and no drop off fee, the Cruise America deal was what we were going to go with.  It is called their Factory Delivery Specials.  While it probably isn’t for everyone, why would you NOT do this?

Here is the side of one of the units we saw at the Tampa location where we will drop off our RV.  This is the same as the one we will be renting on the one way special, except that ours will be new.

Here is the side of one of the units we saw at the Tampa location where we will drop off our RV. This is the same as the one we will be renting on the one way special, except that ours will be new.

We will be somewhat novices at this though I recall as a kid my Dad always packing us up in the motor home and going across country or to the Jersey Shore or a battlefield somewhere.  I even took my parent’s motor home to Virginia Beach on Spring Break from Penn State once so I’ve at least driven one and my partner has rented one many years ago.

The interior cab of the RV we'll be renting.  I'm sure it has some other name but this is the driver's seat.

The interior cab of the RV we’ll be renting. I’m sure it has some other name but this is the driver’s seat.

This works for us because we have two dogs and can rent a car one-way to Chicago and we live in the Tampa Bay area so we will drop it off here at home.  There are other cities to choose from including Phoenix, AZ plus Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and some other options.

We are now at the planning stage and working on our strategy.  Depending on weather (since it will be nearly winter) we have a few options mapped out though we are still planning various places to visit assembling everything on 3 x 5 cards and then creating a route based on weather.  We will also fill up various large carrier bags (like you can get at Ikea) and fill those with our own linens, pillows, blankets, clothes, and whatever we will need in the kitchen which won’t be much since there is just the two of us.

Plenty of room to play and eat in this RV while one of us drives through the country.  For families, this folds into a double bed and there is ample storage under each seat.

Plenty of room to play and eat in this RV while one of us drives through the country. For families, this folds into a double bed and there is ample storage under each seat.

I’ve downloaded the official visitors guides from most of the potential states that we are going through on my ipad and spend time going through them.  If you still prefer print, most of the states allow you to order these guides and they will mail them to you as well.  Like most people, we do all our research online.

So once I’ve gone through the apps and sites and prowled a few actual books we’ll take a look at them here.  In the meantime, we went to our first RV stores and actual camping stores.  The RV stores were really quite informative and while we only went to a total of three (LazyDays in Tampa, Camping World in Dover, Florida and La Mesa in Bradenton), we really have a much better idea of what we are in store for and what we would like in an RV should we ever go down that road which we may since we’ve caught ourselves looking on Craigslist too.

We will be live blogging from the trip and posting to Facebook and Twitter.  This should be a fun 17 day adventure with the RV and the dogs.

Try to make it an adventure every day!

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