For all the wrong reasons, the Spring, Summer & Fall of 2020 might be one the most memorable of our lives. Along with the lingering corona pandemic, completely senseless murders have sparked world-wide demonstrations. As we come to grips with it all & the economy sputters back to life, the idea of getaways might need to be reimagined. Renting an RV for a Road Trip?
At least in the short term, our love of touring big cities, cruise ships, theme parks, music festivals etc… don’t have their usual appeal. An RV Road Trip could be a great option!
Taking your rolling condo to picturesque locations around the US & Canada offers smaller crowds, natural beauty and much needed downtime with loved ones! I’ll be the first to admit… I’d never thought of us as RV people. But after looking into it, we’ll be taking a trip in July.
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag
Let’s dig into some RV details…
Renting an RV for a Road Trip
RV’s generally fall into 3 classes:
Class A: These are the big ones. Large bus-like vehicles. They typically sleep 6-10 people.
Class B: Sometimes called camper vans, these are the smallest RV’s (don’t know why B is smaller than C, but it is). Class B RVs are highly maneuverable and easy to park. While they can have full bathrooms, beds etc… they generally don’t have as many amenities as Class A & C
Class C: Are a hybrid between A’s & B’s. Not as large as the A’s and more amenities than the B’s. Wide range of sizes and still easier to drive than class A
Fifth Wheel or Travel Trailers – If you’re feeling saucy, you can also rent an RV that attaches to your car or truck bed. Towing offers a unique set of challenges. Backing up a boat or 5th wheel trailer can be extremely entertaining… if you’re observing someone else learning. It’s not as much fun when it’s your turn 🙁 If you go this route, JauntyLife recommends practicing in an empty parking lot before going live at an RV park.
Renting an RV is a fairly straightforward procedure. Choosing an RV revolves around how many fellow RV’ers you‘ll be traveling with, the amenities you can’t live without and your comfort level of driving a bigger vehicle.
If this is your first time driving an RV, a good rule of thumb is to rent the smallest RV that meets the amenities you need. Maybe hold off on the 45 foot luxury Rv until you’ve gotten your feet wet 🙂 For our trip, we chose a 25’ Class C that sleeps 4.
Do I need a special license?
Not unless you go really big. Some states require a special license if you’re driving an RV over 26,000 pounds. These are typically class A RV’s. Click here to check your state’s requirements
Do I need extra insurance?
Most RV rental companies offer supplemental insurance for your trip. As of this writing, prices hovered around $30 a day. You should get insurance. You can also check with your insurance professional to see if you have some level of coverage on your auto policy.
Renting an RV – Choosing the right company
When Choosing an RV Rental Company Check to See:
- The Variety of available RV’s & Amenities
- How does the company handle sanitizing the RV (To CDC standards or higher)?
- If the vehicle breaks down? Roadside assistance?
- Support number? After hours support?
- Do they offer delivery or drop off services?
- Can you rent an RV for a “one way” trip?
- How will the company educate you on the RV, before departure?
- Are features like bedding and kitchen packages included or an extra fee?
- What am I responsible for upon return (Tank filled, sewage pumped out, clean out etc…)
Here’s a few companies to explore. Also, Google “RV rentals, your home town” for more local rental companies.
JauntyLife doesn’t have a relationship with any RV company.
Cruise America – Big company security – US & Canada – 24 hour assistance lines, how to videos, one way drop off etc… standard RV offerings, limiting variety
Outdoorsy – peer to peer rentals, think VRBO/AirBNB. Wide variety of vehicles. Individual owners set price and any additional fees
RV Share – peer to peer rentals, think VRBO/AirBNB. Wide variety of vehicles. Individual owners set price and any additional fees.
I didn’t list any local area companies as they will vary by state.
Cost of Renting an RV
The true cost of an RV rental includes the base cost, insurance & any additional fees.
As of this writing, the base cost of an RV runs anywhere from $65 a night to several hundred dollars. Cost is typically based upon the age of the RV, the size and the amenities.
Once you’ve established which RV works for you, keep an eye out for the extra fees such as:
- Mileage fees – after 100 miles a day .35 cent per mile might apply
- Bedding packages (or, bring your own bedding if you’d like)
- Kitchen packages – knives, plates, pots etc…
- Generator fees – a certain number of hours is included, then you’re charged about $3.50 per hour for additional use.
- Black & Grey water drainage fee, unless you go to a pump station
- Cleaning fee
- The bigger the RV the less fuel efficient. Know what MPG’s to expect BEFORE renting, so you can factor in the cost of gas
Finding the Right RV Parks – Critical to your Adventure!
There are thousands of RV parks to choose from that reside in or nearby your chosen vacation destination. Choosing an RV park is really the point of your trip and requires a little research before you make your reservation.
The best RV parks are clean, within or very near to your targeted destination, compliment the type of RV you’ve rented and have the type of amenities to add to your experience. RV Park costs are tied directly to their proximity to your destination, amenities & services.
Also to Consider:
- Does the RV park offer electrical, water & sewage hookups for your RV?
- WiFi, satellite, cell service
- Proximity to destination – If I want to experience Yosemite National Park, you need to be in the park or so near the park that you could walk or bike in
- Setting a reasonable driving goal. Very long drives between RV parks could make the trip a lot of work.
- Clean bathrooms, restaurants, pools?
- How close are your RV neighbors to one another?
- Do a google satellite view of the park. The park picture might highlight a campsite on a beautiful stream. The other side of the park might be on a highway
- Contact your perspective site to know exactly where your spot will be
Here’s 3 RV Park Guides to check out potential sites.
Jaunty doesn’t have a relationship with any RV Park guides
On the day you pickup your RV be sure to:
Film your walk through. In the excitement of picking up your RV rental, you may forget the details of how to perform a task. Film each step of your introduction to the RV, so you can have to steps handy when it’s time to use a feature or setup your camp site.
Film or photograph the exterior and exterior of the vehicle before you depart. A record of the vehicle’s condition keeps everyone honest, when you return the RV.
For your RV adventure be sure to pack…
Check out our Travel Shop Page for more ideas…
Jaunty could make a commission on some of the items listed below. No harm in that! 🙂
Smart Phone/ Tablet
Stackable Mixing Bowls
Cups for coffee & drinks etc…
Knives, Cutting Board
Food, canned goods, Aluminum Foil
Dish Soap, scrubbers, towels
Finally, a few last thoughts on Renting an RV for a Road Trip:
Tight quarters – even a big RV is a tiny home. Would you enjoy quality time in a compact space, with 2-5 people?
Driving a big vehicle – Even though many RV’s are very maneuverable a 25’ vehicle is still truck sized.
Maybe a small trip first? Before you choose a cross country road trip, maybe try a weekend at a nearby RV park to see if you’re really an RV guy/gal 🙂
Pre-cook some meals – RV kitchens are not well stocked, gourmet kitchens. Making, then freezing your favorite meals in advance or packing easy prep meals will let you focus more on the fun. Taking advantage of eating in saves money. Just set reasonable culinary goals
Check out our Travel Shop Page for more ideas…