Gearing up for a summer getaway? Think about the mighty RV.
by James Hills, for Club LT
The call of the open road is something that has been a big part of the American spirit since well … forever. While the early settlers loaded up their wagons and headed westward facing uncertain danger, today we can load up an RV or campervan and set off for new adventures and memories…with air conditioning, GPS, roominess, and HDTV.
With Spring Break around the corner, maybe this is the year you try an RV instead of the over-stuffed car or plane and chain motels with powdered-egg breakfasts.
Blogger James Hills hit the open road in an RV this spring.
Things to Consider When Renting an RV
The RV market has changed a lot in recent years. While it was once something snowbirds used as they migrated from northern states to escape the cold winters, the average RV owner today is only 48 years old.
1) Understand what kind of RV best suits your family and style of driving. If you have a large truck, renting a trailer might be an option. Otherwise the Class C Cabover is typically the best choice for families. It is also the most common style available from nationwide RV rental companies like KOA and RV USA.
2) Consider the total cost of the rental and not just the daily rate. Look at all the fees and create an estimate for the cost of gas, RV park fees, as well as any extra miles. Along with this, make sure to balance things out by taking into consideration cost savings from cooking meals and savings on hotels.
3) Before you head out too far from the lot, practice stopping, starting, and turning. Driving an RV is a lot different than a car or even a large truck. Despite the controls being similar you must be extra careful and allow for extra time and room when making any maneuver.
4) RV vacations mean you’ll have to rough it a bit. Not only camping and putting blocks down to stabilize the vehicle, but you’ll probably need to empty the toilets at some point. The pioneer spirit, right?!
5) Look for deals and if you have flexibility, there might even be one-way promotions if you don’t mind driving to a specific destination and then flying back.
6) Make sure to plan in advance since summer is a popular time for all types of travel. Don’t just assume that you will get an RV spot – reserve it in advance.
Is the experience all about the journey or the destination?
Once you’ve picked out your RV, it’s time to make sure your family is on board with what type of vacation this will be. In the world of RV travel, there are two main types of trips – road trips and destination trips.
Both types of RV trips can be a great experience but if you are looking to be on the road in a different spot for 5 out of 7 days of your week vacation, then that’s going to be a different experience than simply parking in the woods for a few days and selecting a spot by the lake where you can relax with a beer by the campfire.
Blogger James Hills and his wife, Heather, snap a quick selfie on their RV road trip from earlier this year.
My picks for the top 6 summer vacation RV destinations
Assategue State Park, Maryland – This oceanfront park offers secluded coves and marshes as well as the famous wild horses that you can see from road and hiking trails.
Joshua Tree National Park, California – While the days might be hot here, the majestic Joshua Trees provide a perfect backdrop for creating memories. Make sure to drink plenty of water while hiking and don’t venture off the marked trails and you will have a great time in the parts of the park at higher elevation where it is cooler.
Florida Keys – Each part of the Florida Keys is unique and you can explore by choosing two or three different spots to stay in such as Isla Morada, Key West, or Key Largo.
Gulf Shores, Alabama – Really, any spot along the Gulf of Mexico is going to be a great spot to park your RV and enjoy fishing, white sand beaches, and plenty of sunshine. Gulf Shores has been on my “to visit” list but other communities along the Florida Gulf Coast including Destin, Gulf County, and Punta Gorda. It really just depends on what your vacation priorities are. All of these destinations have good fishing, food, beaches, and opportunity to relax and explore nature.
Flagstaff, Arizona – The Grand Canyon is going to be a nightmare this time of year since everyone wants to visit. However, Flagstaff is a perfect “base camp” for exploring the area and is only a short drive from sites including the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater, Route 66, and plenty of trails to explore the natural beauty.
Cruise National and State Parks in Utah – Southern Utah is home to some of the most amazing natural areas in the world and they even refer to the parks collectively as the “Mighty 5”. With your RV, you could tour most of them on a one-week trip. This includes Bryce Canyon, Zion, Capitol Reef, Arches & Canyonlands. While not part of the “Mighty 5”, you should also visit Coral Pink Sand Dunes where the sand actually has a pink hue instead of the normal sand color.
Pick the ones that are a best fit for your family or if you rent a toy hauler then maybe just pick one and explore the rocks, dunes, and wide open spaces in an RV.
About James Hills
James writes the ManTripping blog and lives in southern California. For more than a decade, ManTripping has been a leading male lifestyle blog covering food, fashion, travel, toys, action and adventure – you know, man-things. James shares his wisdom regularly on Club LT and is often featured in the Club LT podcast.