Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory
The Ins and Outs of RV/Camping Rentals
What Do I Need To Know Before Making an RV Rental Choice?
Picture taking a home on wheels to the vacation dream of your choice. From the excitement of Disney World to the charm of New England through the majesty of the Grand Canyon, selections are endless. For those who want on-site rentals, RV parks and campgrounds throughout the United States and Canada rent everything from cabins to trailers and motel rooms. Rentals are just a phone call away! That simple phone call will allow you to travel to the dream location of your choice.
Why Should I Vacation By RV?
Since RVs contain all the comforts of home, you'll vacation in a lifestyle that's convenient, comfortable, and economical. You pack and unpack once. Lost luggage and lugging bulky suitcases are past history. The days of being tied to a tight schedule, bound by rental car reservations, worried about delayed or canceled flights, or learning a hotel is over booked are over. You decide where you want to go and how long you want to be there.
It's easy to prepare meals in an RV since they contain complete kitchens. You can eat what you like, when you like it. Fixing special diets is easy. If you crave a late night snack, just head for the refrigerator. Many rental RVs contain microwaves and generators so you can fix meals even if you're miles from civilization.
Activities in privately-owned parks range from swimming to fishing, paddle boats to miniature golf, and can keep family members of all ages content for hours. Many parks provide whirlpools, tennis courts, and horseback riding. Almost 700 parks across North America have full-time activity directors on staff, who will do their best to keep you and your family as involved as you want to be. Well over two thousand parks have some type of planned activities held on a regular weekly basis. Bingo, nightly movies, exercise classes, arts and crafts lessons, musical entertainment and more are offered at parks with group activities. Government campgrounds often provide trail walks, campfires, and junior naturalist programs.
RVing is fun for adults and children alike. Families who frequently vacation by RV report it fosters an increased sense of togetherness and helps improve family communication. Youngsters have more freedom and safety in campgrounds than in many residential neighborhoods. Parents worry less about letting them explore. If the kids get tired while traveling, they can nap on one of the RV's beds. Recent research by Louis Harris and Associates found 92% of parents who own an RV said RVs are the best way to travel with children.
RV vacations are one of the most economical ways to travel. They combine transportation, lodging and meals in one package. You control your trip's expenses with no major surprises. Study after study confirms traveling by RV saves money over any other kind of vacationing by 50 to 80%.
Why Should I Rent An RV?
Renting an RV helps prospective buyers determine what type of RV they like best. Some dealers let their renters apply the cost of their rental to a purchase. Check with the dealership you rent from to see if this may apply.
Many people consider renting the perfect option. Families who rent may not feel they have enough leisure time to realize full benefits from ownership. Others like to fly to another part of the country, rent an RV, and vacation at a favorite campground resort. Apartment and condo dwellers may not have the parking space to keep an RV. Some travelers want the joys of RVing without the concerns of upkeep and maintenance.
Where Can I Rent?
Currently, more than 400 national rental chain outlets and local RV dealerships nationwide offer state-of-the art, late model rental vehicles. The nation's largest rental company, Cruise America Rentals has more than 100 rental centers throughout the United States and Canada. American Safari is another large national chain with approximately 50 branches. Local dealers offer rental fleets of 5 to 50 vehicles, and a growing number of RV park and campground operators offer on-site rentals.
What Can I Rent From Dealers?
Motorhomes and mini motorhomes remain the most popular rental models accounting for most of the RVs rented. But travel trailers, fold-down camping trailers, truck campers and van campers are available at some local rental outlets. Cruise America specializes in renting mini motorhomes and truck campers.
What Are My Rental Choices?
The major advantage of renting a motorized vehicle is the access from the driver's compartment. You can prepare snacks, lie down on a bed, and use bathroom facilities whether the vehicle is stopped or moving. The disadvantage is you have to take your house on wheels with you if you leave the park for sightseeing or shopping excursions.
Driving an RV requires no special license and is easier than most newcomers think. Automatic transmission, power brakes and steering are standard equipment. With proper attention to the difference in vehicle size, height and weight, experienced car drivers will find it fun and easy to take the wheel of an RV.
Read a detailed explanation of RV rental terms.
What Costs Are Involved In Renting An RV?
In a survey of dealers nationwide, one point stands out - costs vary from dealer to dealer. Motorized RVs cost the most to rent. Truck campers and trailers are in the mid range, while fold down camping trailers cost the least. Besides the basic charge, count on a charge for mileage for motorized RVs. Some independent dealers charge for each mile you travel. Many include 500 to 1500 free miles for a week's rental but charge per mile after that.
All costs must be paid before renting. Expect a reservation charge ranging from $350 to $500 when you reserve your unit. Many dealers consider the reservation deposit as the security deposit. Others, including Cruise America, charge a separate security deposit ranging from $200 to $2500. Dealers will refund the security fee to you after inspecting the returned unit. Any charges for damage to the unit or special fees such as holding tank fees or cleaning fees are paid at that time.
Most independents do not charge for using generators or microwave units. Cruise America charges a $3 an hour fee for using the unit's generator. It's $5 a day if purchased at departure. For propane usage, most dealers only charge you to refill the amount of propane you use.
Insurance is another cost to consider. Many firms offer you the opportunity to purchase collision insurance at $12 to $15 a day to cover the deductible ranging from $500 to $2500. To save money, contact your insurance company and ask how they cover your leasing an RV. Both State Farm and Nationwide charge $1 a day with a $1 0 minimum to cover this deductible. If Allstate carries the insurance on your car, they provide coverage on the RV rental at no additional cost. When leasing from dealers, your own personal insurance acts as secondary insurance.
There are certain damages regarded as negligence by the RV insurance company. For these, you may be responsible for the total amount unless you take collision insurance covering, for example, anything above the windshield or on the undercarriage. Again check with your automobile insurance company to check your current coverage.
Dealers will charge you for tasks they have to perform. Treat the RV as if it were your home, and return it in clean condition. If the RV rental dealership has to clean your rental unit, expect a charge from $75 to $125. Some have sanitation charges of approximately $25 for putting in new chemicals.
Empty the holding tanks just before returning the RV. Dealers commonly charge $20 to $100 if they have to do this job for you. If you've rented a motorized RV, refill the gas tanks before returning it. Some dealers asses a hefty surcharge per gallon. Others require as much as a $25 labor fee if they take the unit to a gas station.
While some dealers provide a free airport pick up, others charge for this service. Ask them what their charge is since it may be cheaper to take a taxi. Many independents don't provide one way rentals. Cruise America and American Safari offer one way drop offs for a fee between many rental locations by request. Always bring the unit back on time to prevent late fees ranging from $25 to $50 an hour.
Some dealers provide livability packages. These are divided into personal kits such as linens and eating utensils and vehicle kits containing pots and pans and cooking utensils. Costs vary ranging from $25 to $95. Save on these fees. Bring from home what you need, buy at a local discount store, or borrow from friends and family if you're visiting them.
To save money, comparison shop. Consider renting an RV in the off season. Many independents offer a discount at this time. Cruise America has low, mid, and shoulder season rates. Since prices vary depending on the size and amenities of the RV, don't rent more RV than you need. Always read the contract carefully and understand all terms before signing. Costs should be fully explained if you have any questions.
What Can I Rent At RV Parks; Campgrounds?
Many campgrounds nationwide are finding new ways to attract campers. Take your pick. You can rent a teepee, cabin tent, luxurious lodge room, motels with kitchenettes, and primitive to deluxe cabins. Think of the fun you and the family will have enjoying all the great park activities and facilities that come with your rental.
Read a detailed explanation of on-site rental terms.
Imagine camping in an authentic teepee. Some have floors lined with indoor-outdoor carpet, while some are bare concrete. Others are covered with painted animal and bird designs and have carpeted wood floors with a large deck.
Several hundred RV parks/campgrounds rent cabin tents. These are best for families who want to get back to nature, and experience tent camping without the expense of buying the tent and equipment. On-site tent rentals are also convenient for families with small cars, that can't fit the tent and the children, too! Often you'll find grills, fire rings, and patios on the tent site. Tent sites are usually close to central restrooms and most have electrical hookups. With tents and teepees, you'll likely need to bring your camping equipment such as sleeping bags, coolers, and stoves. Check with the park's management when making your reservation to make sure.
A few campgrounds in both Canada and the United States offer bed and breakfast rooms in their homes. Breakfasts range from continental to full meals. Bath facilities vary from private to shared. Almost all B&B's provide linens and housekeeping. A couple have kitchenettes.
You can rent lodge rooms at many state parks throughout the country. These often have deluxe rooms, quality restaurants, swimming pools and other recreational amenities such as golf or horseback riding. Campgrounds are also adding lodges to their facilities. Check these out for private baths and housekeeping. Outside, you'll find patios and grills. Inside, your room may come equipped with a stove and refrigerator.
Even more common are well equipped motel rooms at many RV parks and campgrounds. Most rooms have televisions, air conditioning and heat, private baths, and housekeeping. Many have fully equipped kitchens so you can prepare your own meals. Want a grill or patio? They have that too. Just bring your clothes and you're set for your deluxe RV camping experience.
An increasing number of campgrounds throughout Canada and North America are adding rental trailers to some of their campground sites. These vary concerning what you will need to bring. A few have linens; many don't. Most stock their kitchens with all type of cooking gear. All, except some fold downs, have complete bathroom facilities with showers and toilets. Some have televisions and clock radios. For an extra fee, a few offer housekeeping services. Grills, fire rings, and patios are almost standard.
Ohio state parks have a Rent-a-RV program at East Fork State Park near Cincinnati and Alum Creek State Park near Columbus. Campers can rent a 29-foot travel trailer complete with microwave, air conditioner, and color television. The trailer sleeps six and has complete bathroom and kitchen facilities. Campers must provide bed linens and pillows, bath and dish towels, personal toiletries, pots and pans, cooking utensils, and place settings.
Kampgrounds of America (KOA), North America's largest system of privately-owned, full-service campgrounds, had 2,666 Kamping Kabins available as of May, 1995 with the number growing monthly. They're cozy log structures equipped with wood-frame beds with mattresses, a lockable door and, in most areas, electric light; in some areas, heat and/or air conditioning is added for camper comfort. The one-room cabins sleep up to four adults, and the two-room cabins sleep up to six adults. Campers bring their own sleeping bags or bed linens, cooking and eating utensils, and personal items. The Kabins are conveniently located near rest rooms, individual hot showers, a coin laundry, and the campground convenience store. Rates range in the United States from $21 to $45 for a one-bedroom cabin; $26.25 to $57.95 for a two-bedroom cabin. In Canada, it's $25- $40 for a one-bedroom and $30-$39.50 for a two-bedroom. These are so popular that reservations are necessary.
Cabins at several private campgrounds as well as those at the Yogi Bear Jellystone Campgrounds are similar to the KOA'S. You can also find deluxe cabins at many state parks and other privately operated, non-franchised campgrounds. These cabins provide everything from linens to housekeeping, television, microwaves, and completely equipped kitchens, all designed to easily accommodate your family. It's a no hassle way to enjoy the pleasures of the RV and camping lifestyle.