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How To Plan An RV Trip For The First Time

How To Plan An RV Trip For The First Time

As we explore new ways to travel the world during the pandemic, RV rentals are slowly, but steadily, becoming a viable option amongst holiday seekers. Due to their convenience, portability, and flexibility in every stay, it is little wonder why some travelers would prefer a road trip in an RV over staying in a hotel.

RV homes can range from ones that are decked out with expensive and fully-equipped indoor facilities, to cozy and budget-friendly amenities for beginners. First-time RV renters have to keep in mind that there are several factors to consider when driving around a mobile home. It is important to think about how well-equipped an RV is, depending on the destination and the activities you would like to add to your itinerary. For a complete guide of what to do and what not to do when planning an RV trip for the first time, check out this article below!

1. Choosing the right RV for your needs

RV travel
Source: Pexels

Depending on what kind of outdoor traveler you are, the RV you choose will play a huge role in your holiday experience. There are different types of RVs, two of which include a motorhome, or one that offers a simple travel trailer. The amenities may seem to meet the same purpose, but the design, functionality, and convenience could vastly differ. When you find yourself researching on how to plan an RV road trip, knowing the three different types and its unique features may come in handy when planning an itinerary.

Class A

Class A RV
Source: Photo by Flickr user dave_7 used under CC BY 2.0

Class A is the conventional type of motorhome that is similar to a coach bus and offers the biggest space, as well as the most luxurious amenities when traveling on the road. Ideal for a family or a group of friends, it is a great option for those who plan to travel with groups for a significantly long time. However, it is a must to note that Class A is not exactly the most practical option for first-time RV renters. This type of motorhome requires mid-level skills in driving large vehicles like buses, ambulances, or trucks, which may be tricky for a newcomer when it comes down to the steering wheel.

Class B

Class B RV
Source: Photo by Flickr user peterolthof used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Class B motorhomes, commonly known as camper or sprinter vans, tend to offer more room for design and structure over luxury. Ideal for those who like to conveniently travel light but in style, this type of motorhome offers more than just the basic amenities, especially with a proper bathroom. Modern-day camper vans are also designed with many sleek interior ideas in mind and frequently incorporate smart living in every aspect of the motorhome. However, camper vans are best for only two people, which are ideal for long weekend road trips, but not suitable for month-long excursions ion the countryside.

Class C

Class C RV
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Motorhomes used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This type of motorhome showcases features that are similar to that of a truck or van. Class C motorhomes are family-friendly and meet the needs of those traveling with children as well. It can be quite generous in terms of space and is usually able to fit in multiple single beds, a dining table, and even a fully functional bathroom. Modern class C camper vans also have models that are eco-friendly and also present options that are cost-effective in terms of its fuel intake.

Recommended RV rental companies to pick from

Now that you know the different types of RV rentals to pick from, it is time to pick a place to begin your browsing. Here are some preferred RV rental companies that you should definitely check out when deciding on an RV vehicle for yourself:

RVshare Rentals


Outdoorsy Rentals


2. Be aware of additional RV fees

RV travel insurance
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mike Mozart used under CC BY 2.0

When venturing off to see new sights in your RV rental, it is best to do thorough research on how costly it might come up to be. Traveling across the country in an RV can be exciting when you’re in the planning stages, but knowing the real cost of renting one, whether it is just for the weekend or a couple of months, is essential. There are many miscellaneous RV fees that renters do not often notice because it is not always shown in the fine print.

After paying the base rent for an RV, putting down an upfront deposit is another factor to consider. Selecting the right insurance depending on the RV you rent and the destination you’re headed to is the next important step. Those who plan to go state-hopping will also have to look out for the out-of-state fees that may possibly require accompanying paperwork in some cases.

In terms of amenities, it would depend on your level of comfort and how much you are willing to spend on extra fees for more comfortable options. Some common add-ons include propane, generators, spare linens, and kitchenware for long term rentals.

3. Having the right licenses for your RV

RV licenses
Source: Photo by Flickr user NCDOTcommunications used under CC BY 2.0

When creating your itinerary, and finding the best way to map a road trip, the most important factor to consider is if you have the right licenses for traveling around in an RV, Some parts of the US are quite strict in terms of updated licenses and valid paperwork when it comes to driving an RV around their territories. In most states, a special license is not required when your RV weighs more than 26,000 pounds (11,793 kg).

Class A RVs, on the other hand, may tend to weigh more than the said weight which would require a special operational license. The best way to approach this is to double-check the licensure rules and driving requirements with each state or country before finalizing any RV rentals.

4. Planning your route for your RV trip

Plan your RV route
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Famartin used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Another step to take when planning an RV trip for the first time is to be mindful of the routes you would be taking. RV travel is not like driving a car, as much as many tend to think. It is necessary to remember that RV travel is a slow, leisurely travel, which will require you to choose certain overnight stops that are accessible four hours apart for ample rest time.

First-timers should remember to map out which truck stops and gas stations that are able to fill up a quarter tank of fuel while on your route, in order to avoid any last-minute complications. Another tip is to also mark out rest stops that allow you to refuel your propane, as well as offering other useful services such as refreshments, coffee, and showers that will keep you refreshed for the rest of the journey.

5. Knowing what to pack for your RV trip

Backpacking gear
Source: Photo by Flickr user Marc Levin used under CC BY 2.0

One of the worse things to happen during a long RV trip is forgetting something essential. When you’re off to the wilderness, the basic necessities like food, water, and shelter are simply not enough. Essentials for RV camping trips may also include backpacking gear, first-aid kids, weather-resistant gear, torchlights, and a tool kit.

For sustenance, pre-packed meals are more advisable that stopping by restaurants or eateries. Not only is it going to save you money, but it will also help you manage your routes better. Those who must stay connected can bring a Wi-Fi hotspot or a pocket Wi-Fi to ensure that they are online at all times. Another option that luxury travelers could consider is to rent an RV that has a built-in hotspot for the Internet.

6. Booking and exploring campgrounds in your RV trip

Grand Canyon National Park Trailer Village (South Rim) 2784
Source: Photo by Flickr user Grand Canyon Nati... used under CC BY 2.0

When making booking arrangements at a popular campground, best to spare yourself from disappointment and be wise enough to make a reservation during peak seasons like summer and spring, where other campers will be coming in droves.

First-timers should also find out if their RV comes equipped with a 30 or 50 amp, in order to park and plug themselves the right spot. The ideal situation is to have an easily accessible adaptor to fully hook and charge up your RV, a dump station to process out your waste from your vehicle, and on-site staff to assist you and your many needs. Keep in mind that the most challenging part about setting up camp would be tearing it down once more, as it will be tricky to recall every step and approach that you took in getting everything ready for the first time!

7. Other useful tips to know for your RV trip

RV sunsets
Source: Needpix

A little extra research will not only help first-time RV travelers have a smoother journey, but it will also prepare you in making your RV trip better. For example, knowing the height of your RV is very helpful, especially when your route includes a lot of tunnels and bridges. This is most especially important for first-time RV drivers, as we tend to overlook such details until it is too late.

Sightseeing is also one of the great experiences not to miss out on when engaging in RV travel. When you’re headed towards the national park, make sure to factor in proper sleep and waking up early to maximize the views for your camera.

Like any other holiday trip, ensuring you’re within a budget is ideal. When it comes to RV travel, fuel usage can be the most expensive, so best to stick within the itinerary and the route you planned to take for a thrifty journey.

A green light for RV travel

RV travel has always been around, even before the pandemic. Air or sea travel may be suspended for a while, but good old-fashioned road trips are always a possibility. An RV trip with your loved ones is a great experience to embark on, especially if it is your first time. For seasoned travelers, why not change the perspective of going on a holiday by taking a road trip, rather than a plane or cruise? See the best that the great outdoors still has to offer, from the comfort of a stylish and functional RV of your choice.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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