The recreational vehicle (RV) industry has experienced a record boom since the turn of the 21st Century as increased numbers of "baby boomers" have entered the "leisure time" industry. Most of these new 35-54 year old first-time RV enthusiasts can visit their local RV dealer and, in a matter of minutes, drive away with a motorhome or camper that will probably take care of their camping and travel needs quite adequately. But the chances of giving your family an enjoyable trip are greatly increased if you cover these five things to know for a successful RV rental. (There are certainly other suggestions and details, but the following five seem to be on the list for just about every experienced RV'er.)
Don't plan your next RV excursion or make a new RV purchase without a review of the following 5 simple considerations:
1. Consider the interests and needs of all family and friends - This will help eliminate many of the issues that can come up during the trip. Just about every experienced RV traveler (and most rental companies) urge the first-time renter to have a planning meeting with family and friends before attempting to rent an RV. Just an hour or two some evening or on a weekend well before going to the rental company or RV dealer will be time well spent. Encourage family members, including children, to write down what they would like to have in an RV that will be their vacation home. Make a list from these suggestions and ideas and take the list with you when you talk with the RV company.
2. Ask a lot of questions - This is great advice in every purchasing situation. The bottom line is this: a lot of information is better than too little information when it comes to spending money. When you are selecting a travel vehicle that will be your home for a week or two, you need to clear up any doubts about up-front costs, hidden costs, features of the RV, how to perform the basic set up and so on. Most experienced RV travelers will emphasize that reputable RV dealers and rental companies will be happy to answer any and all questions you have. Your contact with the company should allow all the time necessary to make sure you are comfortable with your rental before you drive away.
3. Know where you're heading and how long you will stay - This is important for several reasons. The most basic of these: you must make sure that the campgrounds and RV parks you plan to use have the facilities you need for your vehicle and for the members of your group. It may be best not to rely just on the brochures and Web sites for the parks and campgrounds. A phone call to ask two or three basic questions about facilities and activities may uncover some hidden problem or some lack of amenities that can change your plans. Tip: Confirm your reservations!!!
4. Understand the differences in recreational vehicles - Have a working knowledge of the basics of RV rentals. There are several different types of RV, including, campers that pull behind your car or truck or, if you decide to take your own vehicle, a towed camping trailer or "pop-up" camper. Your vehicle must be suitable for pulling a camper and you will need a safe, strong hitch (in addition to a stable wiring harness). There are three basic classes of RV: A, B, and C. These types are differentiated by size, the amount of interior room in each, and the different amenities offered. A few minutes of study should point you toward the type of RV that will best fit your family's travel vacation needs.
5. Include alternative transportation in your vacation/RV plans - Unless you are pulling a smaller camping trailer that you can disconnect from your car you may need to plan for another way of getting around when you finally arrive at your destination. While it may be possible to get along without another vehicle when you are driving a larger motorhome, experienced RV travelers routinely tow a small car, bring along a small motorized scooter or two, or even pack a couple of good bicycles. Enjoyment of your vacation can truly depend on how you handle the transportation needs that arise once you arrive at a final campground or RV park.
According to the RV Industry Association (RVIA) one out of every three first-time RV renters eventually decide to purchase an RV in the future. Remember, no matter which RV you decide to rent or own, some planning and brainstorming will make the experience go more smoothly. Making note of the five considerations above will go a long way in ensuring your first RV rental experience is the most satisfying it can be. And most importantly, your family will thank you!