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TS'ing vs RV'ing ... which is easier?

rhonda

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I'm quite comfortable in the TS-world working through various points/weeks accounts, exchange systems and rental options. I know how to evaluate destinations prior to travel, what to expect on arrival, what to pack and how to plan our activities. No problem-o ... life is good, offers flexibility and much variety.

So now I'm looking at RV'ing. Wow - lots to learn! Basic RV operation was one learning level (RV repair, I suspect, will require lifelong education??) and I've now moved on to "campgrounds and booking strategies." I have a very specific target in mind ... and am feeling slightly overwhelmed. Me'thinks finding campground availability isn't very different than TS availability. Search and book early!!

I have a specific trip I'm working on related to the 7th Annual Toyota Land Cruiser Surf'n'Turf event at the Oceano Dunes SVRA in early November. I have a TS reservation at WM Pismo Beach in hand ... but am considering making this an RV trip instead. As far as I know, most of the attendees plan to camp on the beach at the SVRA - with the risk of bogging their rig in soft sand. I've talked myself out of SVRA camping for many reasons and am considering a campsite with hookups at nearby Pismo SB. Fine, fine - Pismo SB has availability for the Nov dates ... but the reviews aren't so great and I'd like to book a 1-night recon sometime in September or early Oct. Not much lead time for the recon trip - and availability doesn't align well with my calendar. What to do, what to do!?!? Give up the "known" (WM Pismo Beach timeshare) for the "unknown" (camping at any level)?? I'm torn!

I know I'll figure things out ... just chuckling at the "newbie" feeling. It seems from recent threads that many Tuggers enjoy both TS and RV outings. What are your experiences learning the ropes of either?
 

cgeidl

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RV versus Timeshare

We make this decision several times a year as we have up to ten weeks timeshare and a 32 foot RV.We look at cost of running our RV. about 40 cents a mile for gas plus another 10 cents for insurance etc.This does not include the biggest cost of depreciation. We are considering buying a small second home in the Bay Area and selling the RV. we have had it 4 years and used it about 300 nights or so. Figuring a savings of about $100 per night we saved about $25000. Our depreciation over 4 years is probably about the amount we saved Camping. We probably spent $3000 on upgrades and maintenance.
We bought a low mileage 3 year old RV which I would recommend doing. We estimated our savings at about $30,000.
We recently went to the San Francisco area for two months and took our RV from AZ. About $750 in gas.As we were staying several places on an unknown schedule the RV was best. Campgrounds are very empty and ours was only 70% full on the 4th of July.
In most cases you don't need to book ahead except for special events.
We do timesharing a couple weeks a year in Scottsdale and a month or so in Hawaii.We lose several II bonus weeks as we just don't use them all and the kids seldom have time off.II has some great short term bonus week vacations and we hate to lose them but have little alternative.
We like our RV especially when going on one of our RV Club Trips that are about once a month.
We just got back from 5 nights in Flagstaff and rented a cabin which was a mistake as it was grubby. RV would have been much better.
Timeshares for us are very economical as we spent only $1250 per week buying in Waikiki .The units are okay but they trade liek A four Season and we trade half the time.
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
Missing Out On R. V. Fun While Timeshare Vacationing.

At our dinky 35-foot non-traveling travel trailer that just stays right there on its postage stamp size lot near Rehoboth Beach DE, we get to do lots of fun stuff that we never get to do at timeshare resorts . . .

-- Connect Sewer Pipes & Water Supply Lines.

-- Change LP Gas Tanks.

-- Scrub Down The Exterior.

-- Patch The Rubber Roof.

-- Adjust Tire Inflation.

-- Install Awning.

-- Set & Adjust Level Using Hydraulic Jack & Jack Stands & Concrete Blocks.

-- Poison The Ants.

-- Squirt Round Up On The Weeds.

-- Aim The Direct-TV Satellite Dish.

-- Mow Grass.

-- Install Conventional Flush Toilet In Place Of RV-Boat Style Toilet.

-- Winterize In Fall & Un-Winterize In Spring.

. . . & I don't know what-all.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 

geekette

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I come from RV'ing people and have seen every state from an RV, except Maine, Alaska and Hawaii (might drive to Alaska next time I go).

RVing has a certain freedom and informality and I always thought I'd go the same way and have a Class C by now. Then we found timesharing, which I think we enjoy More. Maint fees ARE one thing, performing actual maintenance (or having it performed) is another. Storing while not using, etc., makes the numbers not work so great for us.

They are very different lifestyles, imo. To me, RVing is more of a free-spirit endeavor (let's hop in and drive that way and see what we find) vs making a reservation many months in advance and showing up at your destination.

I have an aunt and uncle that were full-timers for many years. Mom and Dad criss-crossed the nation repeatedly over 17 years of 80k miles plus annually.

I'm not sure that Woodall's is still The Source as it was back in the 70s, but it's a resource I would look into, also Good Sam Club and Family Motor Coach Association. My Aunt and Uncle loved to go to rally's and such.
 

cgeidl

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Ten Advantages of Rving

You can stay one day to one year.
You can have frying pans which do not stick and knives that are sharp.
If your next door neighbor bothers you just move.
If you do not like your view pick another one.
You can stay free at many Walmarts and other sites.
You can take much more with you and not any extra baggage.
No concierge annoyances( come to my timeshare update) at checkin.
Your room condition is known.
You can check in when you want.
You know where everything is located and what is there.
 

Timeshare Von

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Lifetime in Hawaii (floating 1-52 annual week)
You can stay one day to one year.
You can have frying pans which do not stick and knives that are sharp.
If your next door neighbor bothers you just move.
If you do not like your view pick another one.
You can stay free at many Walmarts and other sites.
You can take much more with you and not any extra baggage.
No concierge annoyances( come to my timeshare update) at checkin.
Your room condition is known.
You can check in when you want.
You know where everything is located and what is there.
You missed:

"It is your bed and you know who was sleeping in it last night!"
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
No Laughing Matter.

"It is your bed and you know who was sleeping in it last night!"
That's the No. 1 advantage of camping in the mind of The Chief Of Staff & some other members of the extended family around here.

It's not just who was sleeping in your bed, but also who was walking around on your carpets, who was showering down (etc.) in your bathroom, who was sitting on your upholstery, & all that sort of thing.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​

 

ownsmany

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I purchased a new RV a number of years ago. Since I got the timeshare bug - we rarely use it. For me - once I got the taste of the Marriott timeshare rooms, the thought of staying in a 32 ft RV and paying boo-coo
bucks for fuel makes me choice the timeshare vk every time.
 

rhonda

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Thanks all for your responses! This has been very fun to read -- I especially enjoyed cgeidl's list of "10 advantages" as gathered from much experience (300 nights over 4 years -- far more than I could ever match!). Thanks for sharing!

Alan - I've always enjoyed reading your Rehoboth Beach posts. Especially the annual switcha-switcha-switcha.

geekette - "free spirit" is what I'd hoped for ... but finding campsites along SoCAL coastal locations seems to be more competitive. Maybe I really should just try "showing up" and see what happens? I s'pose Walmart is a reasonable backup for a 1 night recon run.

ownsmany - Our 32ft'er is mainly used "as is, where is." For the past two years it has served as guest room, cool room (easy to run the A/C), emergency backup power (generator), etc. We recently added a 21' rig with better fuel economy (17-20mgp) for exploring the western states. I'm hoping owning RVs isn't like owning TS ... I can stop with just the two, right? (I'm not ready to sell the 32' yet ... soon maybe ... but not yet ...) Both were bought resale - not huge initial investments - but both expect maintenance and upkeep.

Thanks for the insight ... please keep it coming! Desert camping season is coming up fast ... :)
 

Lisa P

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In some ways, RV camping in a nice unit is similar to timesharing. With a fully equipped RV, you still have the benefits of a housekeeping unit away from home, only needing to pack clothes & toiletries (not a lot of gear) & maybe food, choosing varying destination locations and having fun activities at many of the resorts. You also have room to keep dry and entertained in bad weather. These are all similar to timesharing.

However, where it used to be easy to find cheap campgrounds with full hook-ups, it seems that the costs of RV camping have risen a lot in recent years. For us, a timeshare vacation includes MFs and gas to drive a 30mpg car. A camping vacation includes a portion of the camping unit's purchase, insurance and maint expenses, campground fees and gas to drive a 10mpg RV or towing vehicle. It's not cheaper than timesharing, using good resales.

Most RV's don't include a washer/dryer - campgrounds may not have them or charge for their use.
Most timeshares don't have campfires, hiking trails & boat rentals within walking distance.
Most RV's don't have enough closet/dresser storage.
Timeshares are rarely near National Parks and none are inside the NPs.
RV's offer less comfort in very hot/cold/rainy/snowy weather.
Timeshares are less plentiful than the 12,000 campgrounds listed in "Camping USA!"
RV campgrounds may restrict you from bringing children.
Timeshares may restrict you from bringing pets.
Camping memberships can be very difficult to sell & RVs depreciate badly.
Timeshare ownerships can be very difficult to sell & they depreciate badly.

Oops. That was supposed to be a list comparing the trade-offs between the two. ;) Anyway, if you enjoy camping/RVing, you may like to trade into a timeshare with cabins, fireplaces, campfire sing-alongs, or on shared property with a campground. For example, several of the Disney resorts have campfire sing-alongs. Country Hideaway in Cleveland GA shares amenities with a very nice campground with a water slide, pools, horse stables, playgrounds, mini-golf, barn dances, etc. Hideaway Hills in Pigeon Forge TN is all individual log cabins with wraparound porches and fireplaces. :) We appreciate these kinds of fun places too - so relaxing.
 

rhonda

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Update: I've booked a 1 night recon run

Me'thinks finding campground availability isn't very different than TS availability. Search and book early!!
Update: I've booked a 1 night "recon run" at Pismo SB through ReserveAmerica. I've been checking the site periodically for availability -- and 2 two spots opened up today. Yeah! :)
 

talkamotta

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Do you think thats one of the reasons why points are such a big hit. Take Worldmark for example. You could go to one resort for a couple of days, then another and another. Weekly timeshares are hard to do road trips, unless you are retired or have lots of vacation. You can do that all the time in an RV.

We had a trailer for many years and still tent it. I enjoy both timeshares and tents.
 

rhonda

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Do you think thats one of the reasons why points are such a big hit. Take Worldmark for example. You could go to one resort for a couple of days, then another and another.
Sure! We use our WM account for exactly that purpose from time to time. Of course, moving from WM resort to WM resort using the RV is even better. Our summer roadtrip this year would have better skipping WM Bear Lake in favor of simply pulling over and "camping" when tired. Same for WM Estes Park on the return.
 

MOXJO7282

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In 2004 I invested $32.4K for a Marriott Oceanwatch July 4th OS unit, while my friend spent about the same on a really nice used RV. We really had a debate at the time as to what the better choice was. Since then he has used it 3 big trips and a few small ones. He had unfortunately a few repair issues resulting in $3-4k in repairs. Meanwhile I've rented successfully for a very "reasonable" rate for 3 years running. We spoke the other day and he admitted that he wishes he made the choice that I made back then. Now he has an aging RV that he couldn't give away now and I have a luxury Mariott Oceanfront Resort that I can use/rent for many years to come.

Regards.
Joe
 

lprstn

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I definately vote TSing! Less hands on work needed, and less overall cost. As long as you purchase somewhere you want to go and USE it as most people don't its well worth it. However the one thing they both have in common is that they are both very hard to get rid of.
 

pammex

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My parents were full time RV'ers. I just could never understand the liking it, but they loved it.....for me it is timeshare all the way.....different strokes for different folks I guess.
 

klisow

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Both have great benefits

We owned a motorhome and traveled in it for years. It was awesome when we had young children who would sleep while we drove to our destinations, but the expense of gas and the upkeep was much greater than timesharing. As many people posted, there are trade-offs for both.

The cost to stay at many full hook up sites is much higher than making a trade with RCI. In addition, the luxury of staying at a timeshare, far outweighs the luxury of the class C that we owned.

My children, love TS'ing, but still talk about camping. The one thing we missed most was sitting around the family campfire at night, roasting marshmallows, and being together as a family. To make up for this loss, we purchased a 20X10 tent, and take it along with us. Two summers ago, we drove to Yellowstone and camped, and had an awesome time, but then we drove to Avon, CO and stayed in a beautiful resort for a week. The family ended up getting the best of both experiences. We could never have experienced Yellowstone the way we did if we had been in a TS. In addition, we take small weekend trips and let our teens get their camping "needs" out of their system.

All in all, they are both super experiences that I wouldn't want to give up.
 

rhonda

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I'm in perfect happiness today at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park! My hubby is exploring the desert floor with his Toyota FJ/Land Cruiser buddies ... and I'm relaxing in/by our MoHo enjoying stunning mountain views just beyond the awning.

One very cool advantage of RV'ing over TS: the pets are welcome! We brought the parrots with us this time ... responding to notification from SDG&E of a planned power outage at our home. Gladly both birds are well adjusted to long drives and don't mind living from various cages (one at the condo, a different one at the house and now "whatever would fit" in the RV). So far, things are good and quite I'm sure they like having me at their beck and call all day. (I won't leave them unattended, I promise.)

We are finding success booking reservations through ReserveAmerica having completed two reservations since my original post and having two more lined up for November. Each trip gets just a bit easier ... ;)
 

lprstn

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Rent the RV for when you need it...its a more flexible option..

Hey, me and DH talked about this. DH wanted to do the RVing thing, and I went onsite and found places you can rent them from...which means, I don't have to pay ANY upkeep cost.

Heck, I am sure when you do the math, having the best of both worlds would be great, by renting the RV when you want it (instead of buying one).
 
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Makai Guy

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When I retired 6 years ago (hard to believe it's been that long already) we bought an entry-level 5th wheel and an pick-em-up to pull it. We really enjoyed it and took a number of wonderful trips in it (see link to our Yellowstone journal in sig block below) for the first two years.

But then we moved to our retirement location in Aiken, SC. When I'd visit our RV in storage to fix or maintain something it would get me all fired up about taking the next trip. When the Makai Gal came with me, it would just remind her about how much work was necessary to prepare for the trip. So the upshot is, we weren't taking it anywhere. And in truth, after finding Aiken, there just doesn't seem to be as much to get away FROM now. In our first two years in Aiken, we used the trailer one time -- and that was just because campground was cheaper than hotel when we went down to Hilton head for Heritage Tournament week. So we sold both 5th wheel and truck, taking less of a bath on either one than expected. Sure glad we got out before the gas prices started through the roof - I expect it would have been lots harder to sell either one then.
 

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We had a small travel trailer when the kids were little and camping was our primary form of vacationing. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. Every time we wanted to use the trailer it would need a thorough cleaning inside and out, after sitting several months. Then we'd have to check the refrigerator, stove, shower, toilet, etc. to make sure everything was working and fill the water and propane tanks. Then we had to stock it with food, camping equipment, clothing, etc. It could easily take a week of evenings after work to get everything done, and that's if there were no problems. After the trip, we had to do it all over in reverse. Frankly, I vastly prefer timesharing now, although we did have fun camping back then.
 
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