Renting an RV, like going camping, is a fun and affordable way to go on vacation. If you’ve never rented an RV before then, continue reading to find out all you need to know about renting an RV.
The Basics of Renting an RV
Before getting into the details of going on a road trip and tips about where to stay with an RV, let’s cover the basics first.
Book in advance:
The first most important thing you need to do for RV rental is booking it in advance. Your vacation plans may vanish if you try to find RVs at last minute and it doesn’t permit any availability in your desired time frame.
When we talk about RV rentals, the demands are always higher than supplies. Hence, the best advice is to plan your trip in advance and book RV at least a few months ago. This advice is more useful if you are planning your trip in the holiday season, summer season, or during winter school breaks. You can check various options online to ensure easy booking at a competitive price.
Know different types:
Before booking an RV for your vacation, you should collect enough information about the type of vehicles available in this category. They are available in different size and design ranges; few are suitable for families, and others may appear more comfortable for couple-outings. Generally, there are four popular types:
Class A RVs: These are all-in-one RVs that are designed with enough arrangements for kitchen, lounge area, shower, bathroom and separate bedroom. Many of these may also have slide-outs that can improve space. Such types of RVs are more suitable for large families and group of friends who need more space.
Class B RVs: They are also named as van conversion RVs. Class B RVs are basically extended or full-size vans with a raised roof. Many of these vehicles are equipped with bed/dinette combo, basic kitchen appliances and sometimes a bath or toilet as well. They are more recommended for singles and couples.
Class C RVs: They are developed on truck chassis with some additional cab arrangement on the driver’s compartment. This space is usually dedicated to bedding. The class C RVs can have a separate dining area, bathroom and kitchen. The dinette can also be converted into extra space for bedding arrangement.
Travel Trailer: Here is an RV that you can find in different size ranges; the small families may love to choose 10’ compact trailers; however, larger ones can find long trailers with 40’ dimension as well. The interior features of these RVs may vary depending upon their size. The mid-sized ones are more widely used as they have enough arrangements for separate bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dinette and lounge.
Ensure secure payment:
There is no doubt to say that depositing a large payment for RV rental via mail or phone-based conversation can always appear a little bit risky. You might have heard stories of many scammers that take deposits online and run away without any service delivery. You should always be careful about making payment and ask for proper receipts for booking your RV. The secure online payment methods can help you back up your booking with complete peace of mind.
Know about extra fees:
Some extra fee may be associated with an RV rental. It may also include a fee for extra items such as the use of the generator and carrying pets along with. You need to stay prepared for the extra fee while booking your RV and plan your budget accordingly.
When you plan your trip ahead of time, some uncertain things are always on the cards. Sometimes you may have to reschedule your vacation or cancel the plan. In these cases, some cancellation fee may be applied. Make sure you read the cancellation policy in detail before making RV rental so that you can avoid unpleasant surprises.
Other than this, if you are planning to take your pet outdoors, it is better to check the pet policy as well. Some RVs allow carrying a pet and others may not. Few of them may even charge an extra fee for pet and may pose a restriction on the total number. Also, it is important to mention that many tourist destinations, national parks and state parks don’t allow pets; hence, your furry companion may have to spend more time in the RV.
Know gas mileage expectations and power generation options:
The gas mileage of an RV usually depends upon the size and type of vehicle. The RV owner may give you more idea about how much mileage you should expect on your trip. Also, it is important to note that gas mileage may vary with speed and terrain type.
A second important aspect you need to check is power generation options with your RV. You may have to house extra batteries or plug it to an extra power source. Some RVs take power from generators, and for this, you may have to rent generator as well. Ask about power generation options ahead of time and learn how to use it.
Once you are ready with RV rental, the next important task is to pack all the essentials for your vacation tour. Make sure you carry all essential items for kitchen, bathroom and toiletry. Usually, packing for a short RV trip doesn’t require more efforts; rather, it is a fun experience. You will love to ease and comfort offered by an RV to carry all the essential stuff for the entire family.
RV Rental License Requirements
Which license you will need to rent an RV will depend on which state you are in. On top of that, there might be a difference between the state requirements and the requirements of the RV rental company, too.
Which type of driving license you will need will usually be determined by the weight of the RV. These size requirements do differ per state so make sure to check the local regulations on RV driving licenses.
In the United States, you are allowed to drive any vehicle weighing under 26,000 with a regular driver’s license. If you want to rent an RV that weighs more than 26,000 pounds then, check with your local DMV whether your basic driving license is sufficient.
One of the licenses that you may need to have (in certain states) is the Commercial Driving License or CDL. Even though an RV is not a commercial vehicle, some states will require you to have a CDL because of the weight of the RV.
So, in short, unless you have an RV that weighs more than 26,000 pounds, you won’t need a special driving license in the United States. Check with the local DMV which driving license you need if the RV is over 26,000 pounds.
Then, check with the rental company what their requirements are for renting an RV. Just give them a call, so they explain everything clearly.
Cost of Renting an RV
The cost of renting an RV can vary a lot. Several factors such as the RV model, what state you are in and whether it is low or peak season influence the price of renting an RV.
You will be able to rent an RV for $150 per day. However, this will probably be an older basic model RV.
For newer models, you can expect to pay around $300 per day. These are RV models that are less than ten years old.
If you are looking for a luxury RV, then the cost of daily rent goes up even further. Peak season will also increase the daily rental price.
Other Costs Associated with Renting an RV
Other costs you need to consider when renting an RV are the cost of fuel and staying at an RV park or campsite. For longer vacations in one place, you might also want to rent a car for short trips like grocery shopping in the nearest town.
How much you’ll be spending on fuel will depend on the miles per gallon of the RV model. There is great variance in these figures.
In general, Class A RVs will guzzle the most fuel, Class C RVs the least and Class B RVs will land somewhere in the middle. You can expect a range of 8 – 10 miles per gallon for Class A RVs to 10 – 13 or even more miles per gallon for a Class C RV.
Aside from the cost of fuel, you might also want to consider the cost of renting a car. Having a small car can be useful if you’ve already found your favorite spot and don’t want to move your RV for activities like sightseeing or going into town.
Of course, there are other options to get around. Instead of a car you can rent bikes or find an RV campsite that is close to public transportation.
Why Traveling with an RV Is Cheaper
Going on an RV vacation is generally cheaper than going on a vacation where you have to pay for separate accommodation. Depending on how far you will drive and the MPG of your RV model, it might also be cheaper than buying airline tickets.
You will be able to save the most with an RV if you are planning to go travel with a group. It is no wonder that lots of families choose to take an RV on vacation.
Parking at an RV park or campsite is generally cheaper than staying at a hotel. You can get an RV that is big enough for all passengers to sleep in or bring a tent for extra sleeping space.
When planning a trip, compare the costs of taking an RV, camping with a regular car and other travel options. Often, you will find that driving an RV or going camping are the more economical options.
What to Remember When Planning an RV Trip
Planning for an RV trip is somewhat similar to going camping. You will need to plan out the road trip and find appropriate places to stay along the way.
A common question asked by RV newbies is how long to drive per day. Though this is mostly up to you, many seasoned RV users will choose to drive around six hours a day or about 300 miles.
Driving for six hours per day or 300 miles lets you cover significant distance without completely tiring yourself out. Of course, it is perfectly fine to do less because the great part about going on vacation with an RV is that you get to take the time to take in all the sights.
If you’ve never driven an RV before, then you should practice for a few miles before renting one. The size and weight of an RV are very different from driving a normal car and takes some getting used to.
Whenever possible, ask a friend if you can borrow their RV for practice. This way, your friend can also give you driving tips.
Where to Stay with an RV
Traveling with an RV gives you a lot of freedom on where to spend the night. You can stay at RV parks, certain camping grounds and even some parking spaces in the city.
RV parks are usually the most expensive option of these three. This is because RV parks tend to have more amenities and more electrical outlets for you to hook up your RV.
On the other hand, many RV parks are more crowded and have less natural space because priority is given to RV parking spaces. If you are looking for atmosphere and nature, an RV park might not meet your expectations.
If you do want to park somewhere with all the amenities and don’t mind paying extra for them, then look for RV resorts. These are luxury RV parks, the RV version of going glamping.
The budget option for traveling with an RV is campsites, boondocking and Walmart parking spaces. These options will cost you less or are even free.
Many campsites will have a few spaces reserved for RVs and other cars. Campsites tend to charge less per night so you can save a few bucks.
Do check with the staff if you are allowed to sleep inside your RV, though. Some campsites regulations only allow you to spend the night if you are sleeping in a tent.
You can park somewhere for free when you are okay with boondocking.
Boondocking is parking your RV somewhere without any amenities such as electricity or a sewer connection.
Walmart is one of the businesses that allow you to park overnight in their parking lot for free. However, the decision is up to the manager so always go in and ask for the manager’s permission before you settle yourself in for the night.
You can also Google which state parks allow overnight parking. Some let you do so free of charge while others request a small fee.
In short, there are lots of different kind of places you can spend the night with your RV. You have the choice between going simple in nature or choosing more luxury locations like RV resorts.
Plan your trip beforehand so you won’t be scrambling for a parking space late at night. This is how you find yourself spending more than you were planning to.
Find a good place for boondocking
Do not boondock anywhere you feel like. If in a town make sure that you park your RV in a place that allows parking. If you are boondocking along the highway then make sure that your boondock in place that provides comfort to you. Do not boondock anywhere. Sometimes it may cause trouble for you.
Pre-plan your meals
The first thing you should keep in mind is to pre-plan your meals. Most of the people boondocking travel in RV and thus they have an inbuilt kitchen. People using RV need to prepare their meals ahead time as it will; save their time and energy. Preparing meals and freezing them, preparing a salad, etc will help you to save time and will also prevent farther kitchen mess. You can prepare your meals ahead and then you can warm the food without any problem while you are boondocking. This will help you to eat healthy food whenever you like without any hassle
Use gas for cooking
Boondocking is done when you want some rest and peace. While boondocking you should use a product that does not generate much noise and we help you to stay at peace. One of the common things that people use on RV is BBQ. We suggest you use Gas for cooking rather than BBQ. It will help you to stay in peace as gas does not cause much noise during cooking. Also, it will help you to cook food much quicker than BBQ.
Keep tissue paper with you because water is scarce
While boondocking you might not have enough water so you need to conserve water, it is good if you take come tissue or towel with you while boondocking. It will help you to do some work without the need for water and thus will help you to conserve water easily. This is one of the most important things that you should remember while boondocking. Many times, you might not have enough water so you should keep some tissue for other uses.
Water and food are the most necessities of a person while traveling and you should make sure that you have enough water, to begin with. Keep a note of the water level and see that you have enough water with you. If you are not having enough water, then recharge your water source before you start boondocking. This will prevent you from getting thirsty or not having enough water for other needs.
Camping with a Car vs. Traveling with an RV
Is traveling with an RV as much fun as going camping? Well, that depends on what kind of trip you are looking for.
Technically, you could do both. You can drive with an RV and still go camping in a tent along the way.
If you do decide to rent an RV, we recommend keeping camping gear handy in the RV. This gives you a few more options during your trip.
Do your research, read through this post again and then plan your trip. The wide open roads are waiting for you.