Thinking About an RV Vacation? Here’s What You Need to Know Before You Hit the Road

Time for a family vacay—RV style!

By: Amanda Mushro
1262846600

1262846600

Happy family having fun while singing at picnic table by the camper trailer in nature. Man is playing a guitar.

Photo by: skynesher

skynesher

If you need a change of scenery, but you’re still looking to social distance, an RV trip could be the perfect escape for you and your family. RV rentals and purchases have skyrocketed since the beginning of the pandemic. That’s because hitting the open road in an RV allows you to have some freedom—without being stuck in a crowded airport or a hotel with questionable cleaning practices. Beyond Covid safety, an RV trip is one that can be full of adventure and sweet memories for you and your family. But before you hit the road, here are a few things you’ll need to know about an RV vacay.

Fun fact: You do not need a special license to drive most RVs. As long as it's under 26,000 pounds (in all 50 states), your driver's license is enough.

Where to Rent the RV

If you are renting an RV, there are plenty of websites that will do the searching for you. Check out RV Share, Cruise America, or Outdoorsey to find an RV that works with your family’s travel plans and needs. You can also find rentals in your area on social media. Try Facebook Marketplace, where owners can offer up their RVs for rentals.

Know the Types

There are two different types of RVs: drivable motorhomes and towable. There are different categories under each type. For drivable RV motorhomes there are three categories: A, B, and C.

  • Class A is the largest and looks like a bus. So, unless you are traveling with a band, there’s no need for Class A for a family vacation.
  • Class B is the camper van, which is great for one or two people. They are small, easy to drive, but not always the best option for families when traveling.
  • Class C is often recommended for first time RVers. You’ll have more room than you would in a Class B RV, but it’ll be much easier to drive and maneuver than a Class A one.

Pack Strategically

Yes, you’ll need to pack a suitcase, but for an RV trip, you’ll need a lot more than just clothes. So, before you hit the road, check to see what actually comes with your RV rental. There’s a good chance you’ll need to bring items like:

  • Utensils for cooking and eating, like pots, pans, measuring cups and spoons, plates, cups, mugs, and silverware.
  • Bedding items like sheets, blankets, pillows.
  • Towels, from bath towels to kitchen towels. You’ll need to bring enough for everyone.
  • Cleaning supplies like soap and a sponge for washing dishes, a broom or mop, and all-purpose cleaners for the other areas inside the RV.
  • RV safe toilet paper and toilet cleaner.
  • You may even need to bring your own curtains for privacy.

One thing to remember—if you forget something, you can always drive to a store and grab what you need!

Map Out Your Journey

While taking an RV on your next vacation offers plenty of flexibility, you will need to do some planning before you go. Some campsites fill up a year in advance, so you’ll want to make sure you have a place to park the RV each night. If a campsite is booked up, ask about getting on a cancellation list. You can also check out spots at National Parks for a scenic place to park. Check out sites like Campedium or Koa to get the scoop on sites, parking, and feedback from previous RVers.

Familiarize Yourself with the RV

Once you have the RV keys in your hand, don’t just hit the gas pedal and go. You’ll want to make sure you and anyone else who will be behind the wheel knows the ins and outs of driving an RV. Usually, the person you are renting from will give you the rundown when it comes to backing up, the antenna, the external stairs, and of course, how to clean out the sewer system without making a mess.

Once you're ready, grab your family and hit the road!

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