Traveling by a motorhome in Southern Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico

RV Rentals: Planning Your Next Road Trip

September 23rd, 2020
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If you’re looking to hit the road for your next vacation, an RV rental is a great way to explore the outdoors without the hassles of camping. When you rent an RV, it is essentially like having your own personal hotel on wheels. With a rental, you can go see the sights and experience the places on your bucket list without committing to the responsibilities and maintenance that comes with RV ownership. It takes a little bit of research and preparation, but renting an RV is well worth it to enjoy nature comfortably.

The Rising Trend of RV Rentals

The RV rental industry has experienced growth over the past five years. With more online platforms offering rentals and increased awareness through social media, it has become a popular way to travel. From luxury camping trips to elevated festival outings, people are renting RVs to enhance their travel experience. According to a recent industry report, almost two-thirds of RV rental operators in North America expanded their fleets to accommodate the rising trend.

Now fast forward to 2020. The global pandemic of COVID-19 has created an even bigger surge in RV rentals. People are going stir crazy being isolated at home. They are looking for ways to travel safely as they rethink their vacation plans or realize they finally have the freedom to work from wherever they want (with an internet connection). Enter renting an RV, the perfect getaway to find a secluded spot to enjoy the outdoors with only family or close friends during these uncertain times.

What to Expect When You Rent an RV

If you have never traveled in an RV, you may not be sure what to expect. The first thing you’ll want to mentally prepare for is that RVs generally get poor gas mileage. You will need to take several stops to fill up on gas and factor this cost into your budget. Another task that most people don’t want to think about is emptying the toilet tank. It may be worth watching a few YouTube videos on how to dump the RV waste tanks properly so that you’re prepared or paying extra to have these services done for you. If you’re up for the task, use the Sanidumps app to find dump stations along your route.

Although renting an RV requires some work, you are rewarded with a unique travel experience that you can reminisce on for years to come. When you bring up the idea of taking a road trip with the family, it no longer has to mean cramming everyone into a tiny car without any space to relax. The comforts included when you rent an RV allow you to enjoy each other’s company as you travel. RV rentals can also be less expensive than hotels, and you can easily cook your own meals. Expect to have a fun time exploring new places while staying in a place that feels more like home.

Tips for Renting an RV

1. Pick the Right Type of RV

The first thing you want to research is the type of RV you should rent. Some are great for couples, while others are best for families or groups of friends. Think carefully about sleeping accommodations. Make sure to look at the amenities included and rental policies, such as pet-friendliness. Here’s an overview of the different types of RVs to help you decide which one is right for your next trip.

  • Class A: The largest motorized RV, the Class A is 21 to 45 feet long and can typically sleep up to eight people. You can expect to have a lounging and dining area, kitchen, bathroom with shower, and separate bedroom. Because it is the most luxurious and spacious motorized RV, it is also the most expensive. These are the most difficult to drive given their size. The Class A is perfect for families and large groups that are planning a longer trip or want to have the true “home on wheels” ambiance.
  • Class B: Also known as the campervan, the Class B is 17 to 19 feet long and can typically sleep up to four people. You can expect to have a small kitchen, folding beds, limited dining space, and sometimes a toilet. Because it is the smallest motorized RV, it is great for those that are seeking a more mobile-friendly experience or a lower rental price. These drive like a van or truck, which is ideal for first time renters. The Class B is perfect for couples or friends that are planning a road trip or weekend getaway.
  • Class C: The middle-sized RV, the Class C is 20 to 31 feet long and can typically sleep up to six people. You can expect to have most of the same amenities as a Class A, just in a smaller space, with an overhead cab area that provides extra sleeping accommodations. Because it offers a similar experience to the Class A but in a smaller size, it is valued for its versatility. These drive like a moving truck because the rearview window looks back into the motorhome interior, minimizing visibility. The Class C is perfect for families, couples or friends that want some extra amenities but don’t feel ready to commit to the beastly Class A.
  • Travel Trailer: Requiring a truck, van or SUV to pull it, the travel trailer comes in varying sizes, from 10 to 40 feet long. Some trailers offer the same amenities as the motorized Class A, B, or C, but it really depends on the size and setup. Make sure you have a capable vehicle and special hitch to haul this type of trailer before renting.
  • Folding Trailer: Also known as a pop-up camper, the folding trailer is typically 8 to 16 feet long and can be pulled by a regular car or SUV with the proper tow. Again, amenities vary in this type of trailer, but you can often expect a set of beds and a small kitchen and dining area. Folding trailers are great for people that are interested in the new trend of glamping and are ready to enhance their typical camping experience.
  • Fifth Wheel: With an extension on the front that extends over the tow vehicle, the fifth wheel is 22 to 40 feet long and attaches with a plate that looks like another wheel. These are typically very spacious with a lounging area, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. Some even have slide-outs that extend the living space while parked. Fifth wheels are great for families and larger groups that plan to stay in a single spot for an extended period of time.

2. Determine Your Budget

To avoid any surprises, determine your budget to rent an RV. There is a daily rental fee, similar to a rental car, and this varies depending on the time of year. According to RVshare, the average RV rental costs $200 per night. Some companies also charge you for each mile incurred while renting the RV, so make sure to account for the cost per mile in your budget. In addition, most rental companies require a security deposit upfront, which you get back as long as you return the RV undamaged. Lastly, you will need insurance, which you can get either through the rental company or your own car insurance provider.

3. Figure Out Where to Rent From

There are several platforms to choose from when searching for your RV rental online. With Kampground of America’s (KOA) Service Directory, you can find the best RV rentals in every state. Another staple in the RV industry is Cruise America, which offers a standardized, hotel-like experience that is great for first time renters. Other sites to check out include Outdoorsy and RVShare. Known as the Airbnbs of RV rentals, these sites connect RV owners with renters and thus provide more variety in terms of RV types, rates and amenities.

4. Do a Walk Through & Ask Questions

If it’s your first time renting an RV, walk through the RV in person before committing and read the manual. This gives you an opportunity to confirm that the sleeping and living space is what you expect and to ask the owner or rental company any questions you have before hitting the road. Make sure you understand how to hook up to water, electric, and sewer as this will be essential to enjoy the comforts the RV provides. Also, check what amenities the RV rental comes with so that you pack appropriately. For example, do you need to bring your own linens and kitchenware or are these items included? Lastly, if you plan on bringing your furry friend along for the ride, ask about the pet policy and whether a deposit is required.

5. Practice Driving the RV

Since RVs do not require a special driver’s license, practice driving it before getting onto a busy highway or winding mountain road. Familiarize yourself with the size of the RV by driving it around an empty parking lot. Make wider turns and use your mirrors to help guide you. If backing up makes you anxious, have someone stand behind the RV and direct you. Maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you because RVs are heavy and need extra time to stop. There’s no such thing as “slamming” on the brakes! The best thing you can do is to take it slow and arrive early to your destination so that you can find the campground and park while there’s still daylight.

6. Map Out Your Trip

Now that you have decided on an RV and determined your budget, it’s time to map out your trip. Finding RV-friendly campgrounds is easier than ever with sites like Campendium, Allstays, and Hipcamp. Whether you’re looking to visit the national parks in southern Utah, explore near the beach in San Diego or relax at a luxury RV resort in the mountains, renting an RV is a fun and convenient way to travel. If a national park is your destination, be sure to make reservations far in advance as these campgrounds tend to fill up quickly. If there are no vacancies for the time of your trip, don’t fret. Nearby state parks and campgrounds often have less crowds and views that are just as scenic.

Final Thoughts

Renting an RV is about both the journey and the destination! You really can’t do that with other forms of transportation. RV rentals provide more flexibility to check out different sights and attractions on your trip without sacrificing basic comforts. Whether you’re driving a gigantic Class A or towing a small travel trailer, renting an RV is an adventure that you’re bound to enjoy with your loved ones. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your RV road trip today.