By Catherine Powell
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Summer is right around the corner. Soon the school year will be over and now that the Covid pandemic has wound down for the time being, many of you are itching to go on vacation. While jetting off to some exotic destination is always a possibility, if you're sick and tired of being treated like a felon every time you board a plane, perhaps you're looking to rent an RV to hit the road. RV's have certainly gotten popular and with good reason. RV's not only come in many shapes and sizes, they allow you to choose where you go and how long you stay at any given destination. Instead of having to go through the time and trouble of booking a hotel and renting a car when you take a trip, an RV combines the best of both worlds in one package. However, before you run down to your local RV rental agency there are a few things you need to know.
1: Your auto insurance doesn't cover RVs. - While you may be able to avoid purchasing additional insurance coverage when you rent a car at the airport, don't think you can get away with the same thing if you rent an RV. RVs are more like rolling homes than vehicles. Some of them cost as much as houses. Not to mention that they come equipped with a lot more gear than the family sedan. Before you entertain renting a rolling summer home, you need to find out if the RV rental agency offers insurance. Even then, it wouldn't be a bad idea to touch base with your own insurance agent to discuss coverage, liability issues, and deductibles.
2: Not all RVs are created equal. - Do you drive a bus for a living? If not, you probably should avoid renting a Class A RV. While they are some of the most spacious RVs on the road, they're also notoriously difficult to drive and park. Class B RVs handle more like a full-sized van than their bigger brethren. That's because they're based on a van chassis. That being said, camper vans aren't really made to accommodate a family of five. Class C RVs fall between Class A and Class B. Like Class B RVs, they're based on a van chassis. Unlike Class B, many Class C motorhomes offer sleeping quarters above the driver's cab and can sleep from 4-8 people.
3: Think twice before hitching your car to a travel trailer. - Towable travel trailers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some boast as much space as a Class A RV, while others are little more than pop-up tents on wheels. Regardless of the kind of travel trailer that catches your fancy, if you don't fancy replacing your current vehicle's transmission, it would behoove you to find out how much weight your car can safely tow. You can find this in your vehicle's owner's manual.
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4: What's the best way to book an RV rental? - There are currently three options when it comes to booking an RV Rental:
* Contact an RV rental company like Cruise America whose business is built around this concept. They also have more than 120 locations around the US from which to choose.
* Auto rental agencies including Avis and Enterprise Rent-a-Car can help hook you up with an RV rental.
* Peer-to-peer rental sites such as Outdoorsy and RV Share can put you in touch with RV owners looking to rent theirs to the public.
5: How much does it cost? - The bare bones cost to rent an RV is fairly standard. You'll find a list of average day rates below. What isn't included is the cost of fuel which can set you back a pretty penny. (Class A RVs average less than 10 MPG.) This also doesn't factor in the additional cost of campsite rentals along the way.
* Class A - $175-$275
* Class B - $100-$200
* Class C - $150-$250
* Pop-up Trailer - $50-$100
* Travel Trailer - $50-$125
* Fifth Wheel - $60-$150
6: What should you take on board? - While the room is provided, the board is most definitely up to you. Aside from bringing food & drink, you'll also need to provide everything from cleaning supplies and trash bags to toothbrush and toilet paper. Remember, space is at a premium. That means when it comes to clothing, bedding and other necessities, less is more. If you try to cram everything you have in your home into an RV it will make for cramped quarters to say the least.
7: What happens if your rental breaks down? - The first thing to do if your rental RV breaks down is to call the agency or individual from whom you rented it. Most rental agencies cover roadside assistance 24/7. That being said, you'll be required to wait for the RV to be repaired before you can continue on your way. Should this force you to seek alternative accommodations overnight, not to mentioning taking a hit for failing to arrive at a campsite you booked in advance, this expense will in all likelihood come out of your pocket unless otherwise stipulated in your insurance coverage.
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8: Where can you stay? - You can't just park your rolling home away from home anywhere. When it comes to stopping for the night there are two choices: campsites and boondocking. Campsites offer the most amenities, although you'll need to book these well in advance. Typical prices for campsites range from $35-$100 a night, depending on the amenities. Boondocking offers precious little in the way of amenities, but the price is right, since it won't cost you a penny to park, provided you obtain permission. There are websites such as boondockerswelcome.com that post places to park an RV from coast to coast. (They currently list more than 3,900 free locations.) Other sites that list boondocking locations in your area can be found with a simple web search.
9: An RV bathroom isn't the same as the one at home. - Not unless you're used to pumping out your commode every week or so. RVs that have bathrooms store the waste in what's known as a black tank. You'll know your RVs black tank is full when the gauge say so or the toilet refuses to flush. Then you'll need to find someplace to pump out the black tank. You can dump the black water at campsites, RV parks, or other approved dumping stations. The best way to find one near you is to do a web search. RVshare.com offers a site specifically for this purpose. How to pump it out is another matter altogether. Before you drive off with any rental RV, have the agency or owner show you how to pump out both the black and gray water tanks. You'll be glad you did.
10: What should you do before you return a rented RV? - Just as you would with a rental car, if you don't want to wind up paying extra, you'll need to clean out the rental and fill up the tank. Leave this task to the agency and you'll be surprised to find that your final bill wasn't as final as you thought it was. The same thing goes for any deposit you made before hitting the road. If the RV sports any scratches, dings, or dents, your deposit will be used to make the camper as good as new. That's also a reason to take pictures of all four sides of any rental RV before you drive off with one. While a picture is worth a thousand words, ironclad proof of any damage that occurred before you hit the road could be worth a thousand dollars.
Catherine Powell is the owner of A Plus All Florida, Insurance in Orange Park, Florida. To find out more about saving money on all your insurance needs, check out her website at http://aplusallfloridainsuranceinc.com/
Remember that driving an RV is more like steering a jumbo jet than a car. They both require WIDE turns.ReplyDelete
This article provides great information for anyone planning to Rent their RV or even if you're planing to rent an RV to go camping.ReplyDelete