Thinking of taking a road trip in a motorhome (aka RV) but overwhelmed and don’t know where to start? We have done all the prep work for you so can confidently rent the best RV for your road trip with you and your family. Learn about dry docking, amps what to look for when booking a campsite, how to select the best RV for your trip, and more. It might seem overwhelming as a newbie, but once you dive in, you will quickly realize the world of RVing that is out there waiting for you to explore.
Various Types of Vehicles for your RV Road Trip: How to Pick the Best One
You are probably familiar with the terminology RV or motorhome, but do you know that there are more than 5 different types of recreational vehicles aka RV’s? One of the most important steps in planning your RV road trip is setting yourself up for success by getting the right RV for you and your family. Since there are so many variations it is imperative that you know know what you need so you are prepared along the way. So, how exactly do you pick the right vehicle for your RV road trip? First, you start by learning about the various types of RVs available to you and distinguish what you need for your RV road trip.
Travel trailer-A travel trailer is a trailer that hooks up to your vehicle and you tow the trailer behind you. This is a great option if you prefer the comforts of your own vehicle and want to keep your vehicle separate from your living space. Since this is a towing option there are variables to take into consideration, from the truck you will be using to tow, the route you will be taking, and your ability to maneuver the trailer during your trip depending on where you are going and your confidence level while towing something behind you.
Plus there are actually different variations of travel trailers to consider from 5th Wheel campers, toy haulers (don’t let the name confuse you as these are the big ones!), tiny/teardrop campers, and pop-up campers. The General RV Blog has a great, concise article on the different types of RV’s and more information on all the types of travel trailers.
Class A RVs are the biggest RVs available that have the living quarters and vehicle attached, these are the ones that look and drive similar to a bus. Definitely not recommended for first-time RVers’! As you get more comfortable with taking an RV road trip, Class A RV’s offer more options and the largest, most luxurious option you have in the RV world.
Class B RVs are RV’s that are vans with converted interiors made for sleeping, a galley kitchen, and a small bathroom. Class B RVs do not have slide-outs and are ideal for 1-2 people who don’t mind being in close quarters and will be spending most of the time outside during their RV road trip.
Class C RVs are the best option for first-time RV drivers as a Class C motorhome drives similar to a truck, as the front cabin is literally usually a truck. These RVs have everything you can need and want in a vehicle for your RV road trip from a bathroom to full mini kitchen, and can sleep from 4-8 people depending on the size.
Read More: Making A Family Tradition While Traveling
Key Terminology to Know When Planning Your RV Trip
Dry Docking-Simply put dry docking is when you camp and are not hooked up to any outlets (water, sewage, or electricity). So, you need to take into account how much water you have, what your sewage levels are at, and know how much your generator can handle. There are benefits of being able to dry dock on your RV road trip but definitely something you don’t want to rely on full-time and need to make sure you plan ahead for.
Helpful Hint-Most Walmart’s allow parking (aka dry docking) overnight in their parking lots. Just check out their website to confirm.
Hook Ups-As you are planning your RV road trip and booking campsites, you will want to make sure that you are looking for full-hook-ups. What this means is hookups for water, sewage, and electricity, basically the opposite of dry docking. This way once you get to your campsite you can just hook up and don’t have to worry about making sure you have enough water to take a shower.
Some campsites have partial hookups where you have to dump sewage at another spot elsewhere or other options. It is all doable, pending on how long you plan to stay at the campsite, and again most importantly you just need to make sure you plan ahead when planning your stops for your RV road trip.
Boondocking-All around the country you will find so many options for RV campsites and parks. However, there is a “secret” hidden RV family that you don’t know about till you become a part of it. Also all around the country, there are people who will let you dry dock on their land aka boondocking. There are websites dedicated to finding these spots, which can be super helpful when you are in the middle of nowhere and Boondockers Welcome are here to help. If you are looking to really experience the full RV experience on your RV road trip boondocking is a fun way to experience even more on your trip than just campsites.
Slide Outs-This is the magic of an RV that will give you more room when you park and camp on your RV road trip. In most of the bigger RV options, there are slide-outs, which literally push out sections of the motorhome to create more room inside. Typically there are 2-3 slide-outs, in the main living space and the master bedroom area.
Amp Electrical System-Typically, RVs come equipped with either a 30 or 50 amp electrical system, with most of them equipped with a 30 amp electrical system. This is important to note for your RV road trip when you use hookups at campsites or RV parks. It is important to make sure you have the correct hookups, if there is no other option then you will have to scale back your wattage usage and make sure you are being safe. This quick usage guide can be helpful if you come across this situation on your RV road trip.
Luckily, nowadays, you can rent an RV as simple as you can rent a car or home to stay in, Motorhomes basically just combine them both. If you are looking to rent from a private person (their personal RV, same as AirBNB), RVezy.com and Outdoorsy.com are popular sites. Or you can rent from a company who only rents out RVs similar to a car rental site such as CruiseAmerica.com or ElMonteRV.com. Take your time when renting an RV for your RV road trip. Not only do you want to make sure you are comfortable with your rental, but you also need to know everything you are getting and it is what you need for your RV road trip.
Picking Campsites for Your RV Road Trip
At the end of the day, your RV road trip is basically just glamping along the way during your trip. As you plan your RV road trip you will want to look into and most likely book campsites ahead of time. There is a lot to look into when you are booking campsites for your RV road trip. No need to be overwhelmed, you just want to make sure you know exactly what you are getting and are prepared.
Helpful Hint: Some campsites do allow day of rentals or only day of guests, however, the majority of campsites you need to book ahead of time, usually at least 6 months in advance to lock in your spot, and sometimes even more.
There are so many wonderful campsites around the country, with a lot of amenities such as pools, onsite restaurants, a small grocery store, kids playground, laundry facilities, bathrooms, bocce courts, etc. Which are super convenient and great with small kids. On the flip side, you can find campsites with limited amenities that are not only more remote but also offer the tranquility you might be searching for. As you look into various sites make sure you refer to the key terminology above and make sure you know exactly what you are getting as well as what you want and need for your RV road trip.
If this is your first RV road trip you are in for a treat and maybe a few surprises as well, so think of it as an adventure. At the end of the day, you and your family will be able to enjoy traveling in a completely different way than ever before and you never know you might just be looking to get yourself an RV for the family. Your first RV road trip will be one you will never forget plus you will learn more about what you want for future RV road trips.
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