A Word of Warning…

This site was written in 2014, when the Travato was still a brand new Winnebago model (and we actually lived in one). Since then we have completed our incredible year on the road, and – I assume – Winnebago have made a whole host of changes to the Travato. Unsurprisingly, our return to real life doesn’t allow much time for keeping up with Winnebago news, so please be aware that some of the content on this site will be out of date. Hopefully it is still of some use though.

Choosing between the Era and the Travato? Check out Mike’s Era blog here.

About this Site

We are first-time full-timers, who threw in the towel on long-hours and high stress jobs in London to live a ten-year dream: spending a year driving a motorhome around the United States. If you’re interested in our travels, stop reading this right now! This website is not about our travels, it’s about our home – our RV.

On arrival in the States we bought ourselves a Travato, Winnebago’s brand new touring coach model. It’s a new design for 2014 and given we bought it in January and immediately set off on a States-wide trip, there’s a pretty good chance we have more experience of this van than anybody else in the world! In six months we’d notched up 20,000 miles across 15 states – and we’re still going strong.

So we thought we’d dump all our experiences onto this website. That way, anyone thinking of purchasing a touring coach can get a good idea of what’s in store for you if you go with a Travato. If the reaction from people we’ve met on our travels is anything to go by, it should be a pretty popular RV. If you already own a Travato there might be some helpful tips here for you too.

If you have questions or comments, if you bought a Travato yourself and have your own feedback to add, please get in touch on the Q&A page (or post a comment at the bottom of any page). All feedback from other owners is invaluable, so please share!

Feedback from Winnebago

We’ve been really impressed by Winnebago’s response to this website. A few days after it went live the CEO came across it on one of the RV forums (in itself a good sign!). He sent it on to the marketing department and the Travato product manager, who have been extremely supportive and helpful. Russ Garfin, product manager, has sent over some comments to add to the wealth of information already included. I’ve integrated them in to the relevant sections – mainly the Design Flaws page and the 2015 page.

Overview of the Travato

For a full review of the Travato, read this, which is packed full of all the gritty detail with lots of links to photos. For “real” photos (from our travels) read this. And for those unfamiliar with the model, here’s a brief overview to get you started…

If you’re looking for a great combination of small and self-sufficient, the Travato is brilliant. But it has its fair share of issues too, many the the result of buying a new design brand new (you don’t have any of the niggles worked out yet). In the first six months we’ve had a few conversations with Winnie, been to a handful of dealers for fixes, and thrown a sizeable array of personal modifications at it. The details of which can all be found in the menus at the top of the page.

The Travato is from Winnie’s touring coach product range. They’ve had the Era – their only other touring coach – knocking about since 2009, I think, and it’s still going strong this year. The Era is based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, and has a nice big diesel engine – we’ve seen a number of these on the road. The Travato is a little less flashy (the 2014 tagline was “Say hello to value”!): it’s taken the Ram ProMaster chassis, with a gas engine.

With the Travato’s floor plan Winnebago have done something wonderful. They’ve taken a floor plan only found in the class C View 24J (aka Navion, if it’s an Itasca) or the small class A Via 25P (Itasca: Reyo), and ingeniously crammed it into a Ram ProMaster chassis (basically a transit van chassis). This floor plan has five vital characteristics that featured on our must-have list:

  1. Self-sufficient — We wanted to be able to go at least a few days without hooking up, and not by relying on campsite showers either
  2. Mobile and discreet (relatively!) — We didn’t want to look too much like an RV. Yes, partly this was a strong desire not to feel too middle-aged! But it’s also practical. Big white curvy lines scream “RV”, making discreet overnight parking a little tricky. And the extra width of a class C’s coach makes tight parking impossible .
  3. Permanent bed — We’re full-timing, so we couldn’t be doing with turning our table or sofa into a bed every time we wanted to sleep.
  4. Booth-style dinette — We’re not just travelling, we have things we want to do. Things that require laptops, or pen and paper. Tiny little removable tables perched uncomfortably far from leather sofas were not going to cut it. We wanted a permanent table, with the extra seating space afforded by the booth-style.
  5. Corner shower and corner bed — We’re young. We prioritise mobility and style over queen-size beds with a foot of space around it. Anything other than a corner bed with a corner shower room squeezed in beside it is a colossal waste of space by our reckoning.

There’s loads more good points – and loads of design flaws and issues too. If you want more information I suggest you start browsing the Full Review page, which is broken down by RV “section”.

Please get in touch if you have any questions or might be interested in buying our van when we have to sell at the end of 2014.

6 comments

    1. Hi Jim,

      We’ve recorded every tank of gas and over the last 28,000 miles we’ve averaged 15.5 MPG. Best tank ever was 19.9MPG, tail-gating trucks on the flat interstates of Louisiana. You can easily sit at 20MPG on flat highways, but obviously the hills and the stop-starts counter that. The tank gets us about 350 miles before we feel the pressure to pull over.

      1. Not one I can answer, I’m afraid. It was fine for us, but we only owned it for the first year (30,000 miles). Suggest you chase down some of the other users commenting on the site and see how they’re getting on 🙂

  1. The comment below was posted on the Feedback & Questions page by a (justifiably) disgruntled owner. I felt it was worth reposting here in the hope more people might benefit from its hard-won lessons.

    ……

    Brent Carson
    August 14, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Hi Folks, our Travato experience has not been pleasant. I decided to write this for those considering this model. Purchased brand new from Happy Trails RV in Grande Prairie, Alberta our frustrations started before we left the lot. Did not get quality walk-thru as promised because no one at the dealership was familiar with the product, despite two of them sitting on the lot for a long time. Giving them 10 days notice before pick-up, nobody could be bothered to learn, road test or prep the unit as promised (little propane, windshield fluid, etc). After waiting for a tech to figure out why door ajar light was on, we left being assured it was normal for the drivers air bag and tpms lights in the dash to be on. 2 hours into our 8 hour drive home, a horrific alarm noise came from the dash when we left the Gas Station. We had to stay overnight in the next town who had a Dodge/Chrysler dealership and hoped they could fix the problem. Next morning the wonderful people at Eagle River Dodge told us they weren’t licensed for Promaster but would have a look. Fixing a small plate under the passenger seat had something to do with the emergency brake and the alarm was fixed, diagnosed and fixed airbag & tpms dash light. Driving occasionally in the winter, we would hear an alarm from the coach. It was some time to determine it was the propane alarm sensor and when summer arrived I’m pretty sure it was responsible for killing the coach battery that will not take a charge. Flushing out the antifreeze from winter storage is when we discovered the fresh water tank won’t fill from the tank fill inlet, water pours from under the Van. Using the city fill inlet at least let us discover the leaking faucet in the bathroom which allowed the anti-freeze to pour over the sink. Going to the nearest Winnebago Authorized Dealership to book a service for these and other issues, would take 6 weeks and we’d have to pay them in full although covered under warranty and then get reimbursed from Winnebago. All of this is on top of the other issues this site has detailed and we reviewed before making the purchase. A short email to Happy Trails RV and Winnebago yielded zero response. I try calling Winnebago and have yet to get through or get email service. The quality control on this Travato is terrible, the service/support is dismal and this is not an inexpensive vehicle. I will somehow get through all these repairs and hopefully get some satisfaction out of this $85,000 burden.

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