Campervan Across America – RV Tips for Australians and New Zealanders Planning to Drive Across USA

Tip 1 – Free-Camping at Walmart:

Yes, you can overnight park (freecamp) in many Walmart carparks. Just look out for signs in the carpark to make sure there is not one that says “no overnight parking”. There is also a no park Walmart list, just Google it. A good sign whether you can park there is also whether there are other RV’s/Campervans in the parking lot.

Tip 2 – Free Camping at Flying J’s Truck Stop:

We preferred wherever possible to park overnight at Flying J’s truck stops. Never an issue and there were always other trucks and RV’s around to ensure safety in numbers. We had a laptop computer with internet access so would just Google map where the nearest Walmart or Flying J’s was.

Tip 3 – The best Prepaid Internet USB for Price and Coverage in the USA:

If you plan on taking a laptop computer with you then you can pick up a pre-paid wireless usb stick that works on the 3g network at Walmart, Verizon or AT&T. We chose Verizon having done the research and would highly recommend it. Verizon had excellent coverage and we found in driving across the USA we were never once without coverage. You will also find heaps of Verizon stores often close to the Walmarts whereas we never saw one AT&T outlet. This is important as its far easier for the traveler to be able to top up in store than to call up.

The cost was about $99 USD for the stick and then plans were $50 for 1 gig for one month, or $80 for 5 gigs for one month. We used Skype to call family and friends, used Google earth to research our route, and Googled top things to do in the place we were next visiting. Not to mention being able to update Facebook, check emails etc.

Tip 4 – Where to get the best Campervan / RV Deal:

We traveled over the Christmas holiday period as my wife is a teacher. Whilst the flights were expensive the hiring of the camper / RV was very cheap as this is Americas low season. Over this period there were plenty of good specials and we found this site to have some great deals. We took advantage of the buy 2 weeks get 2 weeks free. This ended up costing us half as much as what our travel agent had quoted. The name of the company is cheap rv rental s, its a NZ based company that almost acts like an agent for finding the best deals for motorhomes/campervans/rvs.

Tip 5 – Buy a GPS!

You can pick up a Tom Tom GPS from Walmart for $99 which includes USA and Canada maps (or buy one online before you leave). This is an absolute necessity as navigating through the cities by map is possible but you will take many wrong turns. Remembering that a wrong turn may take 10 minutes to correct, when driving a fuel guzzing RV, it would not take long before the GPS paid for itself in saved fuel. Not to mention less stress and a happy wife who no longer has to navigate.

Sell it on eBay when finished or keep it for your next trip!

Tip 6 – Driving in the USA:

Fuel in December 2010 was on average about $3 USD per gallon, a gallon being just under 4 litres. Our C19 RV would use about 10 miles per gallon.

As for road rules, safe for having to drive on the right side of the road, everything else is basically the same. 3 things we noticed that were different were the;

a) 4 way stop sign: There are many many intersections with 4 way stop signs. Unlike Australia where it is simply give way to the right, in the USA you give way to the person that was there first. In the event of a tie then you revert to the give way to right rule.

b) Turn right on red light at anytime with care: You can turn right at a red light in the USA providing of course you give way to all other traffic. The only time you can not turn right is if there is a sign stating “no right turn on red light”.

School bus: If a school bus is on the side of the road flashing lights with stop sign out, you need to stop even if you are on the other side of the road. The kids will get off the bus and cross the street in front of the school bus.

Any questions or comments to not hesitate to private message me.

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