July 3, 2013
Have you ever dreamed of hitting the open road and traveling the country with your family in an RV? Our family is heading out on an RV trip this upcoming summer, traveling from Chicago to Bozeman, Montana, and we can’t wait! Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way about renting and traveling with your family via RV.
RV Cost Savings
First you’ll need to decide if RV travel works budget-wise for your family. If you’re traveling with 2 or more kids for a period over two weeks, RVs are a great money-saving option. You’ll save money on hotels, and though the RV might seem smaller than a standard hotel room, your kids can always easily run around in the campground while you sit back on a chaise and enjoy the view. Here are some ways to save even more money:
- RV rental rates vary by the size of the RV and the season, length and distance of your trip. That said, many rental companies offer money-saving deals, so be sure to ask before you book. We saved money by renting an RV before the peak summer travel season.
- Shop around. Rental rates varied greatly from company to company. As you compare rates, check to make sure what exactly is included in daily, weekly and monthly prices – some rental companies do not include mileage and tack your miles on to the cost when you return the vehicle.
- Book early. RV travel is increasing and it’s often difficult to secure last-minute rentals. You’ll also save money by booking in advance.
Renting Your RV
Here are some other things I’ve learned in terms of insurance and driver’s licenses.
- The most popular class of RV rental is the Class C Cabover Style. It’s easiest to get in and out of, easier to navigate in windy conditions, and can sleep a family of up to seven people.
- Talk with your current insurance provider before you decide to go with extra insurance through the RV rental company. It may be a wise idea or a waste of money depending on your current coverage.
- You don’t need a special driver’s license to rent an RV. Upon rental, you’ll need to learn how to hook up your RV for water and electricity and how to empty your sewage tank. It’s easy enough to learn via a short video orientation clip.
- Give your RV a test drive before you hit the highway. You’ll want to acquaint yourself with your new wheels before you hop on the open road.
Save Even More
Once you’re on the road you can save even more money!
- Sign up for travel rewards programs. RV campsites can cost anywhere from $20 – $50. We booked most of our campsites through KOA, which has over 485 locations across the US. By purchasing the KOA Value Kard we saved 10%.
- Save money on dining. Cozying up to the campfire for dinner every evening will save you money and gather memories. It’s also easy to prep breakfast and lunc, from the comfort of your RV: think cereal, bagels and cream cheese and OJ for breakfast; sandwiches and salads for lunch. You can also keep fresh fruit and sandwiches easily on hand to avoid overspending on snacks. Most RVs have mini-sinks, mini-refrigerators, simple oven ranges and microwaves. For dinner, make use of the campsite barbecue grill. Have disinfectant wipes handy for cleaning up after meals.
- Stock your RV with kitchen supplies and conveniences. Buy in bulk before you go and avoid expensive roadside convenience stores. Don’t forget to bring plenty of paper towels for easy clean up.
- Don’t forget to pack pillows, blankets, sheets, and towels. You need to supply your own in an RV rental.
- Don’t overload your RV. Distribute the weight load of your carry-ons evenly. This will help with wind resistance and save you a bit of gas money.
Have you traveled with your family on an RV? Share your tips in the comments section below.