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Roadtrip in motorhome with kids in carseats

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Perth, Australia
posts: 400
reviews: 37
Roadtrip in motorhome with kids in carseats

Im really interested in doing a few states in the USA via a road trip in a camper van or a motorhome starting from LA. We will be 2 adults and 2 kids both in carseats. I'm wondering if anyone has done this as I'm having trouble finding a motor home that could suit us - would My husband drive and would me and the 2 kids have to sit in the back? I'm not quite sure of how it works. Any companies you can suggest ?

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 14,651
reviews: 58
1. Re: Roadtrip in motorhome with kids in carseats

Here's a previous thread about RV's a car seats:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28926-i29-k416018…

Santa Monica, CA
Destination Expert
for Santa Monica
posts: 9,034
reviews: 178
2. Re: Roadtrip in motorhome with kids in carseats

I would suggest you find an RV website. There are many boards that deal specifically with RV-ing, where to stay, etc. I am sure they will be of great help to you. My parents have traveled the country this way and found clubs and message boards to be valuable.

I will suggest that you do not undertake this during our winter months, about now through March, even April. You can get in some difficulty driving in snow, including parts of California. I remember visiting Yosemite one April and driving into a terrible snowstorm. A coyote trotted past our car along the road because it could not climb the steep snowbanks on either side of us. It was a hair-raising drive. It was also the last time I let my husband plan our spring break trips.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
posts: 38,280
reviews: 823
3. Re: Roadtrip in motorhome with kids in carseats

And there are some RVers on this website too, ddffpp ;-)

I'm not quite sure of what type of motorhome you're interested in, Elisa_B? Are you thinking of a basic tiny campervan or a larger Class C with overhead bunk? I don't know of any where two adults and two children can sit in the "front", as there are only two seats in front.

How old are your children? I believe young children are required to sit in the back in any vehicle in Calif, and probably some other states as well.

Here is some basic information about the law:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c183583/Califo…

Perth, Australia
posts: 400
reviews: 37
4. Re: Roadtrip in motorhome with kids in carseats

Thanks guys - I actually did a bit more research and think hiring like a f250 and a fifth wheeler would be better seeing if we need to quickly go do a bit of shopping or some town sight seeing.

The kids will be 3.5years and 8 months.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
posts: 38,280
reviews: 823
5. Re: Roadtrip in motorhome with kids in carseats

Hmmm, do you have information about renting a pickup and 5th wheel?

The reason I ask is that I have never seen a 5th wheel rental place, ever. They are large and take a fair amount of specific knowledge to hook up, set up and so on. They are completely different from a small motorhome. I know - we've owned one for several years!

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Borrego Springs, San Francisco, Solana Beach
posts: 30,535
reviews: 26
6. Re: Roadtrip in motorhome with kids in carseats

<<if we need to quickly go do a bit of shopping>>

I admit I know nothing about these things but just watching (a bit of) the YouTube video makes me think this isn't something done "quickly."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JErTSua7-Nw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vi1a-zLERs

Roseville...
posts: 1,102
reviews: 15
7. Re: Roadtrip in motorhome with kids in carseats

Scratch the RV and go SUV plus motels. More flexibility & ease of driving; RV will not save you money.

SoCal
posts: 4,663
reviews: 8
8. Re: Roadtrip in motorhome with kids in carseats

An RV is expensive to rent and run. There are mileage charges, lots of gas and there can be other fees. Look into a minivan or SUV and staying in motels.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
posts: 38,280
reviews: 823
9. Re: Roadtrip in motorhome with kids in carseats

With young children, a motorhome *may* mean less stressful traveling - no strange bed every night , no trying to find restaurants that the kids like, and so on.

For you non-RVers above, I realize you don't "get it" sometimes ;-) Which usually makes for a good mix when people are asking advice, as some simply do not realize the points about greater fuel costs, extra fees etc. It sounds like fun on paper, but may not be for everyone!

As a long time RVer, I'm having trouble with the concept of a company renting out a truck and 5th wheel. Sal, I spent just a few minutes looking at those videos and yes they are right on the money! It's fussy. And there are safety issues to understand. Plus there are slides to worry about, setting the jacks manually, and the whole concept of hauling a large trailer around and backing and maneuvering. Trust me, driving a 30' motorhome is a walk in the park compared to towing a 30' 5th wheel . . .

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 299
reviews: 101
10. Re: Roadtrip in motorhome with kids in carseats

We did an RV rental once with carseats. It's possible in class As and class Cs, as there are belts in the dining area. Be warned though, that the fit isn't great, and the seatbelts are just bolted into plywood - which means that if you get into an accident, that sucker ain't holding your carseat in place. Using a carseat there would essentially be to keep the baby/toddler comfortable and prevent them from roaming around in the RV. We had to take the table-top off to make my daughter's rear facing seat fit. I have photos if you want to see. It looks rather ridiculous, but it works.

Renting a truck and trailer is a safer option for babies with carseats, but be warned that even if you can find a rental company that rents a truck and trailer (they are rare), most rental agreements stipulate that you cannot detach the truck from the trailer. That makes it EXTREMELY inconvenient for visiting the sites around town. Not to mention, have you ever tried to back one of those things up? Not easy!!!

As an experienced road-tripper that has dragged kids around in every known form of transportation, I must say that renting a large vehicle, and staying in hotels/motels is the way to go. If you want to stay at RV parks/campsites, a lot of them have cabins you can rent that will give you that fun experience. Renting RVs are expensive, inconvenient, a lot of work and a tad risky - esp. if you're not experienced with them.

Whatever you decide, have fun!