For Road Trip to Mom's Birthday, Not All RVs Are Created Equal

Dear Car Talk:

My mom's 100th birthday is next month, and I'd love to be there for it. She lives in New York. I'm in Ohio. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, I'm still reluctant to fly or stay in a hotel.

Do you have any suggestions for a vehicle I might rent for travel and living, assuming that I can find a place to park, for four to five days? My 2010 Prius would be good for the former but not for the latter. Thanks. -- Tim

Absolutely, Tim. You need to rent an RV.

Now wait, I know what you're thinking. You're imagining something the size of a greyhound bus, with a Ford Expedition hanging off the back for "short jaunts." But not all RVs are humongous. There are van-sized RVs and even minivan-sized RVs. And you can rent one for a week.

Search online for RV rentals and have a look at some of the options. Winnebago and Cruise America are two of the big RV rental outfits, but you'll find others.

It'll cost you more in gas than your Prius would. But it'll save you money on hotels and plane fare. And think of the adventure; you'll see a thousand miles of asphalt you've never seen before.

You could do the drive in one long day and just get there. But if you want to break it up, just search online for RV campgrounds. You'll find places you can stop overnight, use the facilities, rest up and enjoy a $6 snack-sized bag of Sun Chips. Some are in peaceful, rural areas and some are right near major highways for convenience.

I don't know where to suggest you park the RV in New York. Does your mom live in New York City proper? If so, you could act like a native New Yorker and just double park it with the flashers on for four or five days.

Or pay a guy to drive it around the block for the week.

Actually, I'd use Google Maps and find some parking lots and garages near where your mom lives. Then call them and make an arrangement in advance with the manager to park the RV there. They'll probably want to know its dimensions to make sure it fits. And get them to agree on a price in advance.

Or you could park in a lot during the day and drive yourself to the outskirts of the city and spend your nights at an RV campground if you're worried about Mom.

Either way, have a safe trip, and wish Mom a very happy birthday for us, Tim.

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