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Old 10-23-2020, 04:57 AM   #1
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THOR #11007
Q for Full-Timers - TOAD vs Rent?

I know any answers to this question are going to be dependent on everyone's personal circumstances and the way they like to travel - but I'm interested in those varying perspectives.

Wife and I have this fantasy that sometime in the next 2-4 years we may be able to retire, sell the house, upgrade the rig, and go on the road full-time. There are places she hasn't seen, places I haven't seen, and a lot we haven't seen together. Some of those places we won't be able to fully explore without a "car" of some sort.

Obviously, there are benefits of convenience to having a TOAD. Go where, when, and for as how long as you like while either parked in a camp or boondocking. For folks who are living on the road - have you done the "cost/benefit analysis" of buying and maintaining a TOAD versus using local transportation such as cab/Uber/Lyft or a short term car rental in the area?

I'm thinking along the lines of: When do we REALLY need that extra vehicle? Every day? A couple days a week? A week out of a month? How does the cost of an occasional rental or "for hire" compare to the cost of purchasing, maintaining, and insuring that "extra" TOAD vehicle?


As an additional thought - how does the cost of either of these options compare to the inconvenience of "breaking camp" every few days to drive the rig to the nearest Walmart to restock supplies?

I know that I WANT a TOAD - but looking for an RV economist to help keep us within our budget (which is still theoretical).

The can of worms is open.....

GO!
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Old 10-23-2020, 07:20 AM   #2
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Disclaimer.. Our coach [aka "the shack"] is a 40' tag axle private coach

We pull a toad, Use it for shopping,sight seeing,puttering around.
We do not like to break camp then worry if the space is still ours when we return..(especially when puckerbrush boondocking on BLM land )
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Old 10-23-2020, 12:16 PM   #3
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So the first question you need to answer for yourself is.....

Will you only be visiting mostly well-populated urban areas or do you plan to get out into the suburbs, national parks, remote areas, etc.?

If you will be only visiting and staying in urban areas, then you might be able to get by without a toad. But let me give you some personal real-time experience.....

I've got a 35' Magnitude Super C and we pull a vehicle (a Jeep or a Can-Am Spyder on a trailer). We don't full-time but will spend weeks on the road.

We are in the Smokey Mountains this week. Traffic and parking is unbelievable this time of year.... even mid-week.

I watched people in small Class C's and even larger Class C's (~30 - 32 Feet) trying to site see on narrow and winding roads as well as trying to find a place to park. Watching motorhomes going up to Clingman's Dome in bumper to bumper traffic and try to park in a small lot was actually comical.

In my book.... those people were insane. I could see doing it in a Class B or a very small Class C but anything larger is going to be difficult, frustrating and even dangerous.

We are staying in Townsend, TN, which has much less traffic than Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg. There is no Uber. There is no taxi. The nearest rental car place is 45 - 60 minutes away depending on traffic. Without a toad, we would be sitting in the campground for a week. Or I would have had to stop in a city with a rental car place and have my wife follow along until we got to our destination. Then we would have had to go back the same way to drop off the rental car.

Could you be full-time and not need a toad? Depending on where you want to go, what you want to see and where you want to stay.... it might be possible.

Personally, I can't see it. I think anything over a very small coach would be hard to use as your primary mode of transportation in a lot of places unless your plan is to park the coach only in urban areas, rent a car and then go out to remote areas or use a cab or Uber to get around town. Over the long haul, that will be more expensive than owning a toad over the long haul as a full-timer.

One last thing to consider.....

I travel all over the US and Canada for a living..... been doing it for 30 years. I can tell you that before COVID rental car and Uber prices were going up. That may change as a result of COVID but it is not cheap in many places. Even if you find a rental car for $25/day, the taxes and fees and can be half the cost of the rental charge in some places. If you plan to do a one-way rental and drop the car at another location if you're using a big chain like Hertz, you can pay a small fortune.
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Old 10-23-2020, 12:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judge View Post
I travel all over the US and Canada for a living..... been doing it for 30 years. I can tell you that before COVID rental car and Uber prices were going up. That may change as a result of COVID but it is not cheap in many places. Even if you find a rental car for $25/day, the taxes and fees and can be half the cost of the rental charge in some places. If you plan to do a one-way rental and drop the car at another location if you're using a big chain like Hertz, you can pay a small fortune.
Yeah we rented a car in Dallas and returned it in Houston once--they dinged us an extra $100 for that.

That is the thing: How often do you plan on doing this? Often enough and the rental car costs are greater than simply buying a good gently used toad.
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Old 10-23-2020, 05:18 PM   #5
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We rented cars several times during our first few years (not full timers) but it was expensive, time consuming and inconvenient. We found that we often missed a lot of the most interesting things along the way for want of easy access. We replaced our second car with an old Jeep Wrangler because itís super easy to set up and tow (and because Iíve always wanted one....). The deciding issue for us was a planned snowbird trip where we would be in a fixed location for over a month and renting didnít make sense. Since then weíve found that towing is easy and helpful. We now stay put for several days at a time and go sightseeing or shopping in the car. Weíve even taken multi-day road trips in the car from the RV base. We typically DONíT take the Jeep for local weekend trips to the beautiful state park nearby. On these occasions we often take a pair of mopeds. Unless you already have an easily towed car it can get expensive. Even if you decide to use a trailer or a dolly. It typically will cost $2000 - $4000 to set up a 4 down towed. But thereafter itís pretty much free going.
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Old 10-23-2020, 05:41 PM   #6
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This question is posed at least once a quarter on this and other (IRV2) forums. The answers are always the same.
Some people start with the fantasy they can use rentals or Uber/Lyft at the destination until they find that the rental company won't always pick you up, or takes hours to pick you up, or there isn't any rental agency or Uber/Lyft in the vicinity of your campsite. Or they find themselves stranded on the side of the road with a problem and no cell service.

Now if you don't "camp in the woods/boonies" and are always in an urban/suburban area it may work for you, but most people find the additional expense of having your own toad is far outweighed by the security, self-reliance and convenience of having that toad available within 5 minutes of stopping the RV.

You can minimize this additional expense by NOT having a dedicated toad (My Toads are my wife's and my daily drivers), installing the baseplate yourself (set-by-step instructions and videos are always available) and not buying the most expensive towbar on the market (under $100 works just as well for me as >$1000).
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Old 10-23-2020, 06:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
........

You can minimize this additional expense by NOT having a dedicated toad (My Toads are my wife's and my daily drivers), installing the baseplate yourself (set-by-step instructions and videos are always available) and not buying the most expensive towbar on the market (under $100 works just as well for me as >$1000).
we do the same.
purchased a city car (Chevy Spark manual tranny) and that's our Toad
then I DIY'd the $400 Blue-Ox baseplate, and purchased a $200 simple Blue-Ox tow bar and use $20 Harbor Freight magnetic lights for towing.
since my Toad is only 2,200#, I did not add a special (and expensive) brake package

I really like my set-up
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Old 10-23-2020, 06:54 PM   #8
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8Two examples.
When at the California meet last year we couldn't get an Uber near Tom's Farm.
So avialability will be weak.

When I was in salt lake dropping off our rv, we needed a rental to get back home.
We still had to take the rv to the rental place, deal with all of the downtown ish crap and it took two hours to get there, park, get the car, unpark, deliver the rv back to the campground and then proceed.
So, your side trip to the museum will entail two hours, a 'follow me' drive to take the rv back, go to museum, repeat.
3 hours will be rental car crap.
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Old 10-23-2020, 07:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by PictureTheSouth View Post
I know any answers to this question are going to be dependent on everyone's personal circumstances and the way they like to travel - but I'm interested in those varying perspectives.
GO!
We traveled for 17 year in a class A RV that could not tow (all aluminum with no frame). The best rental deal was at Jantzen Beach RVP near Portland, OR. Enterprise came, picked us up and explained the RV park had a drop off agreement with Enterprise, so we would be eligible for a 10% discount if we dropped of the car at the RV park office. With all discounts, the week rental of an economy car was $79 including tax. Of course that was 10 years ago.
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Old 10-26-2020, 10:22 PM   #10
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Thanks for the feedback everyone! Full-timing or retiring are still both pipe dreams for us. If we do pull it off, these are all good suggestions on how to approach the issue - based on how we intend to travel during that mythical time.

Safe travels, all!
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Old 10-31-2020, 04:19 AM   #11
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We aren’t full timers but had an experience today that made us very glad to have a toad. Our dog had a seizure and we were able to get her to a vet pretty quickly, but I’d hate to have needed to take the time to unhook our motorhome (which we wouldn’t have been able to park at the vet’s) or wait for an Uber or Taxi to find us (if they would have been willing to take the dogs in the car). I think the ability to get yourself, your child, or your pet help quickly in an emergency is worth towing as well as the convenience of going to the store or driving through a national park in a smaller vehicle.
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Old 10-31-2020, 11:06 AM   #12
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That's a good point...... our dog got very sick back in April. We didn't have our Jeep with us but we had our Can-Am Spyder.

Fortunately our dog is only 13lbs. My wife put her inside her coat and we had to take her to the vet. Ended up back and forth 3 times and one time was in the rain, which was no fun.

I would have never got our motorhome in and out of the vet's parking lot and finding a taxi or Uber would have not been ideal.
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Old 11-22-2020, 04:28 AM   #13
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Try renting a car on the Oregon coast or driving a motor home through Yellowstone in the summer. That will answer some of your questions.
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Old 11-22-2020, 11:05 AM   #14
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Hi there Responders,
it appears that all previous to this post responders have toads, and there are no toad-less responses. nice to know, something to think about.

We are in the fantasy phase, approaching the point where we will embark on our full time new to rv'ing life, with thoughts that can do without, using techniques mentioned above. A belief that we might be able to do it solo, no toad. As we have been watching this forum for about a year now, and come to know / recognize the same familiar faces posted before my post here, and come to appreciate and respect your opinions, experience, I will start planning and preparing more seriously for plan-B.

our hope is to venture to Alaska someday. thus, a question about that journey - what might the pros and cons of traveling through Canada without and purchase toad in Alaska be?
What come to mind is that without, CONs : we WOULD miss out on some of the beauty of that travel. that in Alaska, the selection might be limited, and the cost to purchase be greater. PROs : easier travel, less costly?
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Old 11-22-2020, 11:38 AM   #15
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In the last 12 years we have pretty much done all aspects except trailer tow.

First a 28 foot Class C without a TOAD. We had issues finding parking spots along the route or once we got to where we were going. Constant connect and disconnect to sight see at various locations is a real pain in the butt after awhile. This alone caused more arguments over what we would do or what we would see.

Class C with dolly towed Ford Fusion or Ford Flex. Eliminated the constant connect disconnect issue and brought peace back into our lives. No longer had issues finding a large enough area to park at sight seeing locations. We did encounter 2 campgrounds that did not have pull throughs so we had to disconnect and store the dolly before backing into the site. One of these locations was Fort Wilderness at Disney World. The dolly also allowed us to select which of our front wheel drive cars we wanted to take on any given trip

Class A using Enterprise rental. Had to arrive and depart based on the schedule of the Enterprise rental location. Not all locations will pick you up or drop you off since it depends on the RV parks distance from the Enterprise office and how many people they have working at the time. Not all locations are open on the weekend and even fewer are open on Sunday. This is changing but it is still limited. We did get a family discount because our daughter works for Enterprise so a weekly rental for us was normally under 200.00 to include all insurance. In 4 years we returned 2 cars with busted windshields and there was no charge or personal insurance claim to us. Using the rental method we no longer had storage requirements or maintenance to perform on the tow dolly.

Super C flat towing a Jeep Grand Cherokee. We set our arrival and departure schedule and sight see as we choose. We are not trying to get accustomed to the controls and functions of different model cars with every trip. Hooking up and unhooking is accomplished in a few minutes. There is some minor maintenance that must be performed to moving components periodically but is done in minutes. Our setup includes a Sterling Towbar and InvisBrake so it was moderately, but not overly, expensive. Since October we have put over 7,000 miles on our rig and TOAD and stopped in about a dozen states. Many locations in which we stopped there were no rentals available because it would be considered the boondocks.

Of all of them the only one I would say we would never do again is the travel without a TOAD. I have no intentions of doing a complete disconnect and reconnect because we forgot to stop and buy burger buns or a six pack of beer.

That is my take on the TOAD vs No TOAD scenarios.

Disclaimer: On Friday we close on a Park Model RV setting on a private lake in South Carolina. That park model will become our winter home (4 months) and the Accolade rolling will become the summer home (8 months) after I retire on December 2. We have not yet sold the sticks and bricks and may not do so for a few months to make sure we are happy with the above situation.
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Old 11-22-2020, 12:16 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by EA37TS View Post
In the last 12 years we have pretty much done all aspects except trailer tow.

First a 28 foot Class C without a TOAD. We had issues finding parking spots along the route or once we got to where we were going. Constant connect and disconnect to sight see at various locations is a real pain in the butt after awhile. This alone caused more arguments over what we would do or what we would see.

Class C with dolly towed Ford Fusion or Ford Flex. Eliminated the constant connect disconnect issue and brought peace back into our lives. No longer had issues finding a large enough area to park at sight seeing locations. We did encounter 2 campgrounds that did not have pull throughs so we had to disconnect and store the dolly before backing into the site. One of these locations was Fort Wilderness at Disney World. The dolly also allowed us to select which of our front wheel drive cars we wanted to take on any given trip

Class A using Enterprise rental. Had to arrive and depart based on the schedule of the Enterprise rental location. Not all locations will pick you up or drop you off since it depends on the RV parks distance from the Enterprise office and how many people they have working at the time. Not all locations are open on the weekend and even fewer are open on Sunday. This is changing but it is still limited. We did get a family discount because our daughter works for Enterprise so a weekly rental for us was normally under 200.00 to include all insurance. In 4 years we returned 2 cars with busted windshields and there was no charge or personal insurance claim to us. Using the rental method we no longer had storage requirements or maintenance to perform on the tow dolly.

Super C flat towing a Jeep Grand Cherokee. We set our arrival and departure schedule and sight see as we choose. We are not trying to get accustomed to the controls and functions of different model cars with every trip. Hooking up and unhooking is accomplished in a few minutes. There is some minor maintenance that must be performed to moving components periodically but is done in minutes. Our setup includes a Sterling Towbar and InvisBrake so it was moderately, but not overly, expensive. Since October we have put over 7,000 miles on our rig and TOAD and stopped in about a dozen states. Many locations in which we stopped there were no rentals available because it would be considered the boondocks.

Of all of them the only one I would say we would never do again is the travel without a TOAD. I have no intentions of doing a complete disconnect and reconnect because we forgot to stop and buy burger buns or a six pack of beer.

That is my take on the TOAD vs No TOAD scenarios.

Disclaimer: On Friday we close on a Park Model RV setting on a private lake in South Carolina. That park model will become our winter home (4 months) and the Accolade rolling will become the summer home (8 months) after I retire on December 2. We have not yet sold the sticks and bricks and may not do so for a few months to make sure we are happy with the above situation.

Congrats Dave.... all the way around!

We will be spending more of the summer months on the road in the northern US and we spend part of the spring, fall and winter months at our place in FL. We will eventually sell the place in PA but for now we keep it because we tend to go north to snowmobile in January and February and see family around the holidays and other times.

I can see us getting to the point where the coach will be our part-time home as well.
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Old 11-22-2020, 01:05 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by taylorbob1 View Post
we do the same.
purchased a city car (Chevy Spark manual tranny) and that's our Toad
then I DIY'd the $400 Blue-Ox baseplate, and purchased a $200 simple Blue-Ox tow bar and use $20 Harbor Freight magnetic lights for towing.
since my Toad is only 2,200#, I did not add a special (and expensive) brake package

I really like my set-up
I have almost the exact same set-up as you. Spark is a little older, bought used with a Demco diy tow pkg. I use the external lights also and no additional braking. Knife switch on battery to disconnect for towing and unlocking steering wheel. Tows well and hardly know it is back there.
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Old 11-22-2020, 02:21 PM   #18
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We traveled in our class C and class A RVs for several years without a toad. Renting worked occasionally but more often than not we just didnít do the things we would have if weíd had a car with us. Eventually we decided to just go ahead and tow. When it was time to replace our second car we bought an old Wrangler and set it up to tow. Cost was high at about $2500 but it was a one time expense. We take the Jeep on some trips and not on others. Iím glad we have the option.
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Old 11-22-2020, 02:26 PM   #19
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... We take the Jeep on some trips and not on others. Iím glad we have the option.
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Old 11-22-2020, 03:59 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Judge View Post
Congrats Dave.... all the way around!

We will be spending more of the summer months on the road in the northern US and we spend part of the spring, fall and winter months at our place in FL. We will eventually sell the place in PA but for now we keep it because we tend to go north to snowmobile in January and February and see family around the holidays and other times.

I can see us getting to the point where the coach will be our part-time home as well.
Chris, thanks. Hopefully our paths will once again cross and unlike Wilmington we'll be able to sit back have a brew or two and shoot the breeze.
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