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A Beginner’s Guide to RVs

So many choices and so many places to visit: this is how it may look to you when you first approach looking at RVs. Renting an RV may seem like a daunting task. 


From choosing the right rig to picking your destination to packing, there’s a lot that goes on before you even get behind the wheel. RV beginners may not even know where to start!



There are a lot of places to start on this incredible journey but let’s begin with the basics.

  1. Picking the Right RV

  2. Planning Your Road Trip

  3. Packing Right

  4. Hitting the Road

First, let’s define what are the types of RVs available. Here are the three most popular type of RVs out there: Class A’s and Class C’s. In between is what is called a Class B which is also known as a camper van. 


Class A’s are usually the largest and most popular RVs out there; these are the ones that look like big busses and often have bunk beds for kids or teens, and lots of amenities and features like slide outs that make more space for dining or living in the RV. Some have flat screen TV’s, CD and DVD players and other things to make your life on the road very comfortable.


Class C’s are like large pickup trucks with campers attached to them – all in one and come in various sizes with room to sleep from 4 to 6 people. These usually have a large double cabin in the back of the RV and an additional cabover bed for two more, plus some of them are equipped with extra convertible sleeping spaces over the dinette.


All these RVs are usually available new or used for purchase, as well as for rentals. Renting first is always a good idea to get familiarized with the different models and sizes of RVs. You can “try before you buy,” making it easier to be certain that when you buy, you’ll be happy with your choice.


Here are some more tips for first-time RV’ers: 


  1. Decide Whether to Buy or Rent

This isn't always an easy decision, with pros and cons for both. However, when you consider a few key factors, the answer becomes clearer.

  • Buy: You plan to go RV camping often or full-time and you have storage for the times when you aren't traveling.

  • Rent: You plan to go on a single trip, or want to test the waters before making a purchase. This is always a good idea, as you want to know what type of RV best suits your family and your budget. Renting many types of RVs without the overhead of buying gives you a chance to get familiar with the various types first. 

  1. Get to Know Your RV

  • With little road experience, it's especially important for RV beginners to take time to learn how the motorhome works, even if it's just a rental. If something breaks, you should be able to assess the problem, and potentially fix it. This saves time and money spent at a mechanic.

  • When you get to know your RV, you're less likely to make operational errors. For example, if you don't know how many amps your main breaker can handle, there's a good chance you'll blow it. This is a potentially expensive error that can be avoided by getting to know your rig.

  1. Take a Practice Drive

  • Consider the roads you plan to drive on, and take a smaller trip on similar terrain. As an RV beginner you don't yet know what will move around in the living area or how hard it will be to switch lanes, ascend hills, and park.

  • Once you know the intricacies of driving an RV, you can make necessary adjustments. For example, if your drawers pop open, which they often do, you need to find a way to keep them shut.

  1. Bring Tools and Spare Parts: Packing Right

  • Pack a well-stocked tool kit, and add in the things that your RV might need, like extra fuses, light bulbs, jumper cables, nuts, bolts and connectors. 

  • In addition, be sure to bring parts that are unique to your rig. Without these, you risk having to wait for the part to be ordered and shipped.

  • Pack your clothing and toiletries too, but not everything you think you might ever need. Remember weight is a factor in an RV and you can usually buy some things on the road if you forgot something at home. Make a rule of packing light so you can fit things in but not be too crowded with “stuff.” 

  1. Don't Wing It: Make A Plan for your Road Trip

  • The urge to be spontaneous is tempting when your home is on wheels. You want to have fun and you should! Where do you want to go? There is a nifty rule you can use for planning an RV road adventure: the 2-2-2 or 3-3-3 rule. The first stands for 200 miles of driving a day, stop every 2 hours, and stay at your destination for a minimum of 2 days.


And the 3-3-3, stands for no more than 300 miles of driving a day, getting to your destination by 3:00 pm and stay at your destination for a minimum of 3 days.

You make up your mind what works best for you and your family but these are good tips to make your road trip stress-free.

  • There's a certain pleasure in going where you want, when you want. But all experts recommend you have a plan, especially if it's your first time planning an RV trip.

5a) When RVing, plan:

  • The budget: How much you can allocate for food, fun and overnight stays.

  • Your food supply: What to buy and how often to eat out.

  • The route: The one you plan to take and alternate options.

  • Stops: The places you want to see along the way.

  • Campgrounds: Where along the route you plan to call it a night.

  1.  Create a Campground Setup Checklist

As an RV beginner, you might not have a campground routine yet. Therefore, having a checklist will ensure everything is set up as it should be. Your checklist should include:

  • Check the site for low hanging branches or obstacles on the ground.

  • Locate the electrical, water and sewage hookups.

  • Pull your RV in, close to the hookups, and level it with blocks or stabilizing jacks, if necessary.

  • Secure your rig by chocking the wheels.

  • Connect to the electrical hookup, and switch your appliances to pull from this source of power, instead of the battery or propane.

  • Attach your sewer hose to the drain hook-up—be sure to wear gloves for this process.

  • Put out your awning and set up the campsite.

Finally, hit the road! With your plans all in place and everything you need to pack organized; the next step is to hit the road. Beginning RV’ers have a lot to look forward to: RVing is a great way to travel and explore the country and enjoy life outdoors. However, knowing the basics is important to having a stress-free trip.

Wherever go and whatever you decide to do for your next or first RV adventure, be sure to check with your nearest El Monte RV Rental location to see how to rent an RV to take you anywhere you wish to go in comfort and style!

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«September 2023»


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