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What to Know Before You Rent an RV

5 minutes read Oct 08,2013
What to Know Before You Rent an RV
Renting enables you to try various types of RVs and learn from actual experience which one best suits your particular needs. Or, perhaps you already know and enjoy the RV lifestyle but aren't ready to own. Of course, many people rent RVs simply for the fun, freedom and flexibility of taking an RV camping trip without the large investment.

What type of RV should I rent?

Motor coaches are the most popular RV rental model. Motor coaches can sleep and contain four or more people.  If want a more robust experience you can find a dealer that rents larger Class A models.  It really comes down to the type of experience you want, where you're traveling and how many people you're traveling with.

RV's are broken down into 5 classes:

Class A Vehicles - Class A motorhomes usually have a body similar to a bus in shape and design. These spacious RV's are built on a specially designed motorhome chassis and can have either gas or diesel engines. Some class A's are equipped with anywhere from 1-4 slide out sections for extra room and comfort. The list of features, options and amenities are almost unlimited, but generally they have kitchens, bathrooms, entertainment centers and centrally controlled heating and air conditioning

Class B Vehicles - Class B motorhomes have kitchens, washrooms with showers and can sleep up to four people depending on the model. These van campers are self contained and have a slightly stretched full-size van appearance with the addition of a raised roof. Class Bs are easy to drive, typically fit in a normal parking space, are easy on fuel, and are often used as a second vehicle

Class C Vehicles - The Class C motorhome has a distinctive cab-over bunk that makes this RV easy to recognize. Built on a commercial cut-away van chassis Class Cs have evolved tremendously over the years. With all the amenities of any motorhome, they are available in various lengths, many with slide-out rooms and packed with extras.

Conventional Trailers - This is the most common RV. A travel trailer is towed by a car, a van, SUV or pick-up and the sizes, features and prices are seemingly endless. Towable trailers now come with garages (often called a "toy hauler") , roof top patios, bay windows, fireplaces, offices, hideaway beds, expanding sides, lowering roofs. If you can dream it, chances are someone has already built it.

5th Wheel Trailers - Although this style of travel trailer needs to be towed by pick-up trucks with a special "fifth wheel" hitch, they are delightfully easy to handle. 5th wheels generally have taller ceilings and more slide-out rooms than conventional towable travel trailers, with as many as four in some models. They are the most spacious RVs available and are loaded with luxury features.  

Do I need a special driver's license in order to drive an RV?

No. You DO NOT need any special endorsement. However, each dealer has different requirements that you must meet in order to rent.  Some may require one or more of the following
  • Be a certain age
  • Have a major credit card
  • Carry full coverage insurance
  • Provide a copy of your motor vehicle record
  • Have a clean motor vehicle record

Check with your local dealer or outlet for their specific requirements and restrictions.

Is it hard to drive a motor home?

Driving a motorhome or hauling a trailer isn't hard.  Like anything, it's just "different" and takes some practice.  Because each class and trailer has its own unique feel and handling, you should test drive a few models you're interested in to see what kind of RV you're comfortable with.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of wide body RVs?

The advantage to a wide body RV (up to 102 inches wide) is livability - there is more room inside these spacious units. The disadvantage is that there are places (rural highways, bridges, and even occasional campgrounds) where a wide body RV is not permitted. Generally, however, RVers in wide body units who travel major federal and state highways will have no problems. Travelers who plan to spend a lot of time on the secondary highways and two-lane back roads might want to stick to a standard width RV (up to 96 inches wide).

What kitchen appliances come in RVs?

In most modern RV's you can find just about every appliance that you can get at home.  Amenities can vary widely but the more expensive units have everything right down to microwaves and coffee makers.

How many people can fit comfortably in an RV for a camping trip?

This really depends on the size of the trailer or RV.  Most mid-size and larger units will sleep four to six people on average.  Smaller trailers and RV's may be limited to just two to four people.

Can I take my pet in the RV?

A lot of families want to travel with pets, especially dogs.  Many dealers don't allow pets in rental RV's, others may require an additional deposit.  Talk to your local dealers to find one that is pet friendly if traveling with your family pet(s) is a must.

What kind of costs should I anticipate for renting an RV?

You'll have to put a deposit down when you rent an RV or trailer.  In addition, the dealer may have other costs or fees associated with the rental unit.  If you opt to have the dealer stock the RV with linens or kitchen items you'll have to pay an additional fee.

Additional costs may also include cleaning and emptying of your fresh water and gray water tanks on return of the unit.  A dealer may also charge a per-mile fee on rented units