2020 saw a 650% rise in RV rentals as many people chose this avenue for extended vacations and weekend getaways. There are numerous advantages to traveling in an RV, including affordability, amenities, and taking pets along for the ride. If you’re planning to embark on a vacation this summer, here are some tips to prepare for your mobile adventure!
Choosing the Right RV
There are numerous makes, models, styles, and sizes of recreational vehicles from which to choose. When planning a trip, the first order of business is to decide which RV best suits your getaway needs.
There are three classes of motor homes: A, B, and C.
Class A RVs are the largest and most spacious, sleeping six to eight people comfortably. Averaging 33 feet in length, these recreational vehicles may include such luxuries as a full kitchen and “pop-out” extension that expand livable space. Their size can make them more challenging to drive and park.
Class B motor homes are the most compact, ranging in length from 18 to 22 feet. For first-timer RVers, these vehicles are the easiest to acclimate to, as they drive and handle much like large vans. Sleeping up to two people, they are also ideal for a quick, cozy weekend excursion. More affordable, fuel-efficient, and easier to park, they can navigate narrow roads, allowing for more impromptu exploration.
Class C RVs are the typical “sweet spot” for many vacationers. Comfortably sleeping a family of four, they run between 30 and 33 feet long and have features that maximize interior space, like fold-down tables that convert into beds.
For those who desire the RV experience without driving it, Outdoorsy offers pick-up and delivery. The RV owner will deliver and set up the RV at your chosen location, then pick it up at the end of your stay.
AutoCamp is another option, offering overnight lodging and accommodations in modern Airstream suites in Cape Cod, Yosemite National Park, the Russian River Valley, and (in Fall 2021) to Joshua Tree National Park.
Choosing the Right Amenities
When deciding on the amenities and conveniences you’ll need in an RV, consider how you plan to use the vehicle on your vacation. Do you want all the comforts of home, such as kitchen appliances, a full bathroom, and entertainment options? If you plan to BBQ and cook outdoors, you can forego the full kitchen and get a motor home with only the kitchen basics. And, if you’re looking forward to disconnecting from technology, there’s no need for an RV with a TV.
Suppose you want to rough it and do some boondocking (also called dry camping) or off-the-grid adventuring where there are no external sources of water or electricity. In that case, you may want to consider an RV with a deep-cycle battery, which provides limited power for lights, fans, and charging phones or laptops.
Deciding on Insurance
Just like with renting a car, you’ll want to make sure you have ample auto coverage for the motor home you rent. Most rental companies offer liability and vehicle damage coverage for an additional fee. You can also work with your insurance agent directly to obtain supplemental coverage. The cost varies depending upon the size, age, and amenities of the RV, the length of time you’ll be using it, where you’ll be traveling, and the add-ons and deductibles you choose.
How to Operate the RV
Before you drive off the rental lot with your hotel on wheels, be sure to request a walk-through to get educated on how things work. Learn how to hook up to external water and electricity sources, dump the black water tank, and fill the freshwater tank. Your vacation will be more enjoyable and less frustrating when you understand how to adjust side mirrors, flushing the toilet, and using the living space “slideouts.”
Getting a quick “behind the wheel” overview is also beneficial, especially if this is the first time you’ve ever driven such a large vehicle. Understanding the effects of wind, speed, braking, blind spots, height limitations, and parking will make the journey safer and more enjoyable.
Deciding What to Pack
Packing is always a chore. Campanda Magazine has compiled separate lists covering all the bases, from kitchens and camping essentials, bed and bath items, and even a grocery list.
Deciding Where to Go
From beaches to mountains, badlands to forests, state parks to dedicated RV parks, vacationing in a recreational vehicle is all about outdoor options. Numerous resources are available to help design your ideal outdoor adventure.
Reserve America is an excellent source for securing advanced reservations at many RV sites and state parks. With over 3,600 facilities and 103,000 individual sites across the United States, check out Recreation.gov.
Doing some online research on top RV parks or vacation sites can help direct and define your destinations, as can your vacation requirements. There are numerous blogs, podcasts, and user review websites like Campendium that provide first-hand accounts of the best RVing adventures nationwide.