RVs have been all over the roads this past year. And it makes sense. What’s a surefire way to be able to do as you please and feel safe in your own sanitary bubble? Riding along the country in fully functioning accommodations on wheels!
2021 is poised to be another top year for RV rentals. Here’s eight tips for how to rent yours.
1. Know the costs
It’s hard to know if you’re getting a good deal if you don’t know how much something is supposed to cost. According to Outdoorsy, a respected RV rental service, it costs about $150/night to rent an RV. This price varies greatly depending on what kind of RV you are wanting to rent, which we’ll talk about later.
It’s also important to know that there are sometimes RV parking fees. Campgrounds usually cost around $30/night for a parking spot, while resorts can charge you upwards of $100/night to let you park at their facilities.
And when you’re budgeting your trip, don’t forget to factor in gas and food! The bigger the RV, the less fuel-efficiency you get. For instance, a Class A RV, the largest kind of RV, gets about 6-8 mpg. But Class B vehicles, travel trailers and camper vans, get anywhere from 15-18 mpg. Some RV rentals also charge a mileage fee, just like the fee on many rental cars.
2. Preliminary planning
Your RV needs will change drastically depending on a number of factors. How many people are you taking on your trip? How far are you planning to go? What features do you want? Are you planning to cook over a campfire or in the van?
Before you go to rent your RV, make sure you know how many people you want to bring with you, the kinds of places you want to stop (resorts or campsites?), how you want to prepare your meals, and about how far you want to take it.
In most states, you are not required to hold any special license to drive an RV, but it’s a good idea to check up on the rules in the states you’ll be traveling to.
3. Choose the right RV for you
Class A RVs are the largest and most luxurious models. These models typically feature full-size kitchens with appliances, closets, beds and other furniture, showers, and sometimes even a bathtub! They often can accommodate 6 to 8 people.
Class B RVs are also known as sleeper vans or camper vans. Most of these have basic kitchenettes but leave out the ovens and showers of their larger counterparts in order to provide more living space. They’re easy to just pick up and go, especially if you are traveling solo or with just one companion. Class B vehicles typically accommodate 3 people but can travel with up to 5 passengers.
Class C RVs sit right in between Class A and Class B vehicles – they are medium in both size and luxury. They usually feature the same amenities as Class A vehicles but at a fraction of the price and with much better fuel efficiency. They usually feature an “attic” space that can be used for storage or for an extra sleeping space. Class C vehicles can accommodate anywhere from 4 to 8 people.
And last but not least, let’s not forget the classic travel trailer! These towable RVs require a vehicle to move them, which means that they typically have the most livable space on the inside. Travel trailers, of all of these types of RVs, vary the most in size, shape, and list of amenities. Travel trailers can typically accommodate up to 10 people!
4. Where to rent from
There are several national companies that you can rent your RV from. Outdoorsy, for instance, is a company that consistently ends up at the top of the RV rental charts. These companies come with a wide array of reviews and a history of customer satisfaction. But there are also plenty of local places in each state to rent from. You can even use the KOA’s RV services directory to find a rental location (or roadside RV services) near you!
It’s also worth it to get RV insurance. You can do this by calling your car insurance company to find out if your plan covers RV rentals. You can also often add RV insurance at your place of rental just like with a rental car. RVshare, another top-rated nationwide RV rental service, has a great guide to RV insurance. When you rent with Outdoorsy, you automatically get coverage up to $1 million. Be sure to check out the policy of whatever company you decide to rent from.
5. Planning your trip
Now that you’ve picked out the kind of RV you’re wanting to rent and figured out some basics about your trip, it’s time to hammer down the details. If you’ve picked a Class A RV, it might be time to plan out your meals, so you’re ready to cook in your RV! If you’ve chosen a Class B vehicle or a travel trailer, then it might be good to check out the restaurants along your route.
Speaking of routes, there are dozens of popular road trip routes in the U.S. If you already have a specific destination in mind, you can use popular planning apps like iOverlander, FreeRoam, roadtrippers.com, or AAA’s TripTik app. These apps are the next step up from a map app, letting you set specific stops and plan out specific restaurants!
6. What to pack
Some oft-forgotten items that are absolute necessities when taking a trip in an RV range from surge protectors to the less glamorous toilet chemicals. It’s a good idea to bring extra motor oil (the right kind for your vehicle of course) and transmission fluids. You’ll be on the road a while, so make sure you have basic maintenance items, like a flashlight and jumper cables.
It’s important to bring wheel chocks and extension cords for your trip. You also might want to grab a surge protector, as the electricity in campers can sometimes surge. Bringing RV-safe toilet paper is extremely important if you want to avoid an…eventful…trip. You’ll also want to make sure that you bring enough food, snacks, and cooking utensils!
7. How to stop
Stopping along the road when you’re driving an RV can seem daunting. The first step is making sure you know what kind of fuel your vehicle needs – diesel or regular? You’ll want to pick gas stations with some nice open spaces. It’ll be much easier to pull your RV into the station if it’s not cramped!
Also, remember that some gas stations will automatically stop fueling your vehicle at a certain limit, so before you leave the station, make sure your tank is actually full!
8. Driving will feel different
Saying that RVs are tall is an understatement. They can be tricky to get used to. Any gust of wind or disruption from large vehicles passing you will feel very strong. Going slow is not only very smart and much safer, it also helps your fuel efficiency significantly! The optimum speed for an RV is anything under 65 mph – impatient drivers behind you can be ignored in favor of your safety.
Make sure you practice driving before you go! Parking can be a bit tricky and remember that you are in what is probably the heaviest vehicle you’ve ever driven. Go ahead and start slowing down way before you think you need to stop.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories