Everything to Know Before Renting an RV on Your Next Road-Trip Adventure

by Kayla Zadel

Traveling has looked different for some of us, especially this year thanks to the pandemic. If you’re ready for a change of scenery, but don’t want to get on an airplane, train, or bus, renting an RV might just be for you.

There are many upsides to renting an RV. The headache of owning an RV is eliminated, it’s the perfect way to get around, plus packing extra necessities won’t send you over budget like it does when your suitcase weighs too much. Additionally, renting an RV lets you be the captain of your own adventure, plus the fees of renting a recreational vehicle are comparable to renting a hotel room or beach house.

Here’s what you need to consider before you put the pedal to the metal and get out in nature.

Research RV Size and Type

Size matters when it comes to booking your home away from home. There are several types of RVs and each one has different features. These are some common RV classes:

  • Class C Cabover – This RV has a van cab with an attached motorhome. These typically have a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen with convertible sleeping quarters. While the Class C Cabover isn’t the biggest class out there, it can comfortably accommodate five people. Additionally, it’s easy to manage.
  • Class B Vans – This is a van that’s been converted for sleeping spaces. Class B vans offer the basic necessities for camping, plus are easier to drive. These are perfect for one or two campers.
  • Class A Motorhome – This type is the largest of the motorhome family. If you’re wanting to travel in luxury and camp as you’ve never left home, then this is the class for you. Motorhomes are typically what people choose to live in once they retire and want to travel. But remember, a bigger rig can be more difficult to drive and park.
  • Fifth Wheel Camper – This requires a truck and a fifth wheel hitch that’s mounted in the bed of the truck. Typically, fifth-wheel campers have one to two full-size beds or bunks, plus a kitchen, bathroom, and dinette that converts to a bed.
  • Towable Travel Trailer – Camper trailers that are towed behind a vehicle via hitch are another option. These trailers, and sometimes airstreams, have kitchens, bathrooms, and sleeping areas that fit four to five people.

Not only does the outside size matter, but the inside is equally as important. If you’re traveling with your family, then make sure there’s enough room for everyone to live and sleep comfortably.

Where to Rent an RV

Bookings for motorhomes have tripled since last summer according to RVshare. However, there are plenty of places to rent an RV. A simple search will point you in the right direction. Moreover, KOA offers an RV Services Directory. This will help you find the top RV rentals in every state in the U.S.

Keep in mind when renting your camper to look for hidden fees. Some rental places tack on cleaning fees, generator rental fees, mileage charges, and more. Be ready to make a deposit when you rent your RV and additional insurance charges. Always check the fine print before signing the contract.

Also, don’t be afraid to negotiate the price. Some rental places might give you a deal if you rent the RV for a longer period of time.

Determine Your Destinations

The next step is mapping out your adventure. If RV parks and campgrounds are in your future, then doing some initial research about power, water and sewer will prove helpful. If the destination doesn’t have a power source, then consider bringing along a generator for electricity.

Additionally some campgrounds require a reservation, so booking ahead will help save the headache later on down the road.

Practice Parking and Driving

Driving a recreational vehicle isn’t like cruising down main street in a sedan. RVs drive differently can make wider turns. Plus, allow plenty of time to get from one place to the next because these big rigs weren’t made for speed.

Don’t be afraid to hang onto the wheel a bit tighter than you do with your truck or car. These high-profile vehicles tend to move around a bit more when driving down the road, especially when you pass a semi-truck or if it’s windy.

Parking can also be challenging. Practice backing up and pulling into various, level-ground parking spaces. This will help you prepare for different destinations and stops along the way.

Map Out Gas Mileage

The gas mileage isn’t great in an RV. Budgeting for fuel is an important part of planning your trip. Gas mileage depends on what type of RV you’re renting. Some clock in at 8 and 10 miles per gallon, and others at 4 to 6 miles per gallon.

Caring for Your RV on the Road

Prepare to get a little dirty when it comes to taking care of your RV on the trip. At some point, you will have to empty the sewage, just like in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when cousin Eddie yells, “sh-tters full!”

There’s really no way around it but going into the task with some knowledge can prove helpful. Pay attention to the sewage level. There’s typically a sensor that will let you know when the tank is full. Make sure to wear gloves at all times and hold your breath. Good luck!

Renting an RV is a great way to decide if you’re ready to purchase one. Now that you’re ready to hit the open road, pack your meals, clothes and say hello to adventure.