Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Get your feet wet: Rent an RV

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

RVing can be a lot like checking out the swimming pool. Some folks are brazen enough to launch themselves out into the water like a cannon ball, others gingerly stick their toes in the water and make a gradual immersion. If you want to try out the RV lifestyle without major financial risk, consider renting a rig and trying it out.

Writing in a Huffpost blog, Chris Gray Faust offers up six things NOT to do when renting an RV. We’ve looked over Chris’ suggestions and pass them along to you with our own commentary.

DON’T rent the biggest RV you can find. Good thinking, particularly if your standard driving experience is in a smaller vehicle. Friends of ours jumped into RVing with the purchase of a 40′ motorhome mansion. They recently traded the rig in on a smaller trailer, and took a huge financial hit because of several “love bumps” that they made in trying to learn how to handle a big rig. Smaller rig equals easier to handle, goes into “off the beaten track” areas, and is better on fuel.

DON’T ignore vehicle briefings. Your rental agency folks would just as soon you have a good time on your trip – after all, you may come back and rent again. Briefings not only treat safety issues, but cover stuff like “how to dump sewage” – which can become a safety issue if you don’t dump it right.

DON’T pack too much stuff. Faust argues if you don’t put it away, it’ll take to flight on a tight curve. True enough, but we’ve found the more stuff you bring, the harder it is to unpack at journey’s end. If the clock is running on a rental return, you’ll want to get out quickly. But be sure to bring enough – that means layered clothing for changing temperatures, extra batteries for the digital camera (if you still use one), and easy-to-fix food.

DON’T fail to check your surroundings. Chris cites an RVer who pulled out without unplugging the electrical hookup. We add, USE YOUR MIRRORS particularly when jockeying around in tight spots like fuel islands. We’ve seen folks not familiar with how long a rig is wrap the rear end of their motorhomes around fuel pump protection posts. Watch the mirror (both sides) as you pull out.

DON’T annoy your neighbors. Observe “do unto others” rules in the campground. We can only say, “Amen!”

DON’T pack your itinerary. Chris uses an example of driving across Arizona in 72 hours – it can be done, but where’s the fun? We personally find doing a “hub and spokes” approach a great way to enjoy our trips. Park the rig at a campground and use it as the center, and use an accompanying car and make runs out in varying (and short) directions to explore the countryside and find attractions.


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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Jane (@guest_78393)
3 years ago

Dont forget to buy travel insurance that covers towing and tire repair
Dont forget to check for a spare tire, we forgot and when we had blowout it took 6 hours for repair because they had to find a tire
Dont forget (dont assume) everything is working. Take time to check out the air conditioner, wipers, fluids, lights and signals

Drew (@guest_78363)
3 years ago

Don’t rent something too small either. Being crammed inside a class b or small class c will negatively impact your experience.

Gman (@guest_78386)
3 years ago
Reply to  Drew

No, just means that you’ll want a bigger rig. B is perfect for couple on the go and C comes in various sizes for a family size group. Negative will come with hook ups, cost of fuel, CG’s, things that you’ll adapt to with time.

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