RV Rental Nightmares: How to Lose Money and Ruin Your Vacation
You’ve dreamed of a fantastic RV road trip. Then the reality hits. Your limited research left you in a lurch after renting an RV. There’s a lot more to taking a vacation in an RV than picking one and hitting the open road. Here are some things you need to know to avoid an RV rental nightmare.
Is It Easy to Rent an RV?
In addition to RV rental companies, you can also rent an RV from an individual. It’s almost like getting an AirBnB, but for RVs. Sites we recommend include Outdoorsy, RVShare, and RVezy. Search by location to find RV owners near you.
5 Ways to Keep Your RV Rental Security Deposit
Wherever you rent an RV from, there are rules. Be sure to know and follow them, or you’re subject to losing your security deposit. Check out these five ways to avoid RV rental nightmares that hurt your bank account.
#1. Don’t Smoke or Vape
Smoking or vaping in an RV rental is a big no-no. First of all, smoking can be hazardous in an RV. It could cause smoke damage, burn the furniture, or start a fire. Worse yet, it could cause an explosion if the propane is on. If any of these happen, your security deposit will be gone, at a minimum.
Both smoking and vaping create odors. Rental companies and individual owners frown upon lingering odors inside the RV. Unfortunately, this can result in the loss of your deposit.
#2. Don’t Cook with Strong Odors
Similar to smoke or vape smells, odors from cooking can linger. Avoid making meals inside that create strong odors. Instead, cook outside as much as possible.
#3. Stay Under the Speed Limit
Ask the person or company you rent an RV from what the maximum speed limit is for the unit. Stay below that speed limit. There may be more reasons than you know for that limit, including tires rated to specific speeds. If you blow a tire, it’ll throw a wrench in your vacation.
#4. Don’t Get Any Tickets
Know the rules of the road where you’re traveling. They may vary from state to state. If you get a ticket, the rental company will know. A ticket could cause you to lose your security deposit, depending on their policies.
#5. Clean Up After Yourself
RV rentals don’t come with cleaning services like hotel rooms. So even if you’re paying an extra cleaning fee for the rental, be sure to clean up after yourself. The cleaner the RV is when you return it, the greater chance you’ll have of getting your deposit back.
4 Ways to Ruin Your RV Vacation
Now that you’ve read the policies for the RV you’re renting, there’s just a little bit more you’ll want to know. Here are four things that could ruin your RV vacation and how to avoid them.
#1. Choosing the Wrong RV
The last thing you want is an RV that doesn’t meet your needs. Be sure to get an RV that has enough sleeping space, that you’re comfortable driving or towing, and that’s the right size for the campsites you want. For example, let’s say you rent a 40-foot long Class A motorhome. You don’t realize that the campground you booked allows RVs of up to 30 feet. You don’t want to pull up to your campsite only to find you don’t fit.
Let the company or individual you’re renting from know what some of your basic needs are. They should be able to help you find the right RV for your vacation.
#2. Not Packing Enough (Or Too Much)
Find out what the RV rental includes. Is it equipped with kitchen products, bedding, etc.? Think through everything you’ll need. You don’t want to waste time during your trip buying pots and pans because the rental didn’t have them.
At the same time, avoid overpacking. Taking too much along can lead to an uncomfortable RV trip. If you bring too much outdoor camping gear but have nowhere to go with it, it may put a cramp in your style.
#3. Not Learning How to Drive an RV
Motorhomes are one of the most popular types of RVs to rent. But if you’ve never driven one, you might be in trouble. You need to operate that RV safely for yourself and others.
Shorter motorhomes, under 25 feet, can be easier to drive and feel more like driving a big van. Practice driving it before you set off on your vacation. We recommend finding a large parking lot near the RV pickup spot. Church or school parking lots are good examples. Take a couple of hours in the parking lot to practice making turns and backing up. Remember to take your time and be alert whenever you’re driving an RV.
If you rent something longer than 25 feet and have never driven an RV, we highly recommend getting lessons before you get out on the open road.
#4. Not Making Campsite Reservations
RVing is increasingly popular across the U.S. Unfortunately, that means campgrounds are filling up quickly. Book your campsites before your vacation. If possible, make reservations six to 12 months in advance, particularly if you’re going to a popular area.
Is Renting an RV for Your Vacation Worth It?
Despite the potential hiccups, we still think renting an RV for a vacation is worth it. RVing allows you to get to places you might not go if you were flying to your destination. Plus, having a hotel room on wheels helps maximize your time spent exploring.
Renting an RV is also a great way to get a taste of RV life and determine if it’s something you want to pursue. If you’re considering purchasing an RV, we recommend renting one first to see if you enjoy it.
Now that you’ve learned more about the realities of RV rentals, are you ready to take your dream vacation? Do your research, read the fine print, and ask questions when you’re unsure. We think the things we’ve outlined here will help you find an RV rental that’s right for you.
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