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Top Tips to Rent an RV in the U.S.

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A line of RVsRenting an RV can be very confusing, especially if you are planning to road trip in a foreign country. Have no worries. We've done the hard work for you and contacted the RV rental experts! Here are their top tips to help you plan before you arrive, to prepare you to take your rental RV out on the road, and make the most of your trip.

Things You Need to Think About Before You Arrive

  • Book well in advance - You want to be sure that your desired RV is available for your trip. RVs can often be booked months to a year in advance, especially over the summer holidays. This includes Memorial to Labor Day period (late May to early September, which also overlaps with school summer holidays) and major public holidays like Martin Luther King Jr Day (mid Jan), Independence Day (4th July), Thanksgiving (mid to late November). These holidays can fall on different dates each year, and it is best to check online beforehand. Therefore you want to book as soon as possible, and increase your chances of getting the RV you want by scheduling your pick up dates before the start of key holidays.
  • Have a few destinations in mind - Part of the adventure is being able to go where the open road takes you, however you don't want to find yourself stuck because of inadequate planning. Have a destination in mind, consult your RV rental company and do a bit of research upfront to find out if there are RV size or height restrictions that will spoil your plans. For example if you are planning to do the Black Hills, SD, there are some bridge height restrictions that some RVs will not be able to accommodate. In addition, some RV rental companies also restrict travel to certain areas. Be sure to ask in advance. For example, some RV renters restrict travel to Death Valley in July and August. You are responsible for knowing this information.
  • Don't be afraid to go for the big one - Size does matter. Remember that your RV will be your living quarters for the duration of your trip. Especially if you are traveling during the Fall or Winter months, you may be spending unscheduled time indoors due to bad weather and you don't want to get claustrophobic after a week! RV models can vary significantly. The best guide is to book an RV big enough that has sleeping capacity for everyone. For fly-drives (where you fly into a destination and pick up your RV), you should also think about the number of bags that your group will bring. Most RV models have ample space to hold personal items like clothes, but you should try to minimize luggage bags you also have to store. If you plan on bringing bulky items like sporting equipment, and have a number of occupants, you may want to consider a larger RV

Preparing to Take Your RV on the Road

  • Familiarize yourself with using the vehicle - If you have not driven this particular model, or even driven an RV before, you should ask for a training session on driving the RV. With larger vehicles, taking corners and parking can be a little challenging for the first timer. You also want to ensure that you make the best of your RV. This includes learning how to hook up at campsites - electricity, water, sewerage - even simple things like using the awning. There is no shame in asking, and it saves a lot of hassle later on. If you find the information overwhelming, you can even use your camera to record a video of the instructions and play it back if and when you need
  • Familiarize yourself with the inside as well - Not all RVs are equipped with the same amenities. Again, you may want training on how to use the appliances - you don't want to find yourself 12 hours into your drive and discover that you can't figure out how to work the microwave! Ensure that you also ask for all the RV documentation and booklets. This is a handy reference point should you get stuck along the way.
  • Get reliable insurance - It goes without saying that fixing a flat tire on an RV is much different from fixing a flat tire on a regular car or van. You must have a reliable emergency road service plan. Most of these reputable RV rental companies can provide as part of the package. It is well worth taking.

Grizzly Falls in Kings Canyon, CaliforniaMaking the Most of Your Trip

  • Be realistic about your driving time - You'll want time to really enjoy everything that's been planned, so don't try to cover too many miles in a day! This is a classic "rookie" mistake. Your mantra should be "cover less ground, have more time for fun!" You can realistically estimate your daily traveling time by dividing the number of miles to be covered per day by 40. For example if you have to drive 120 miles for get from A to B, it will be roughly a three hour trip. This takes into account traffic, highway and local roads (you should try to take the more scenic routes) and also stops for gas and important stretch breaks. If you are planning to hit the road every day, you need to factor in "morning packing time" to get the RV ready, actual driving time, the RV set up time when you get to your campground. This can burn up to an hour more each day.
  • Give yourself time to have fun - Less is often more! Unless your aim is to have a whirlwind trip and get from A to B as fast as possible, you will want to give yourself enough time to explore and enjoy the great outdoors and attractions along the way. A good rule of thumb is to do one thing a day! Many people travel to national or state parks. By the time you drive there in your RV, frequent the visitors center, orientate yourself and have a look around, have lunch, do a hike or take some pictures, most of a day can easily pass! For example, set aside at minimum a full day or two (more if you can spare it!) to really explore Yosemite National Park in order to appreciate its natural beauty.
  • Leave room for spontaneity - Give yourself the freedom to allow for spur of the moment changes or additions to your outdoor adventure. So, after Yosemite National Park you may decide to also visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park and stop at the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway for a few more breathtaking views. The open road has a magnetic appeal, and you may find yourself going off plan and just parking up in a beautiful spot to appreciate the great outdoors!
According to the experts we consulted, here are more questions that you should ask the RV rental company:
  • Is there a cancellation policy?
  • What is the towing capacity? Is there an additional cost for towing?
  • Is the RV smoke free?
  • Is the year of the rental unit guaranteed?
  • Are pets allowed and if so, is there a fee?
  • How are necessary services such as oil changes handled?
  • What type of gas mileage can be expected?
  • Is there a shuttle service from the airport or hotel?
  • Is there a charge for cleaning?
  • What is the charge for linens and housekeeping packages?
  • Is the motorhome equipped with GPS?
  • How many miles are included in the plan and what are the fees for additional miles?
  • What is included with the vehicle - generators, awnings, TVs etc? What is the cost of each?
  • Do you offer one-way rentals?

Vacations should be a time to enjoy yourself and connect with your surroundings. Don't allow your trip to be spoiled by unexpected surprises or a race against the clock! Relax, take your time, and allow yourself to really take in all that nature has to offer.

Speak to the Experts who Shared Their Top Tips With You. They Can Also Help You Out with RV Rentals:

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