Dipping my toes in

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IMZvonko

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Joined
Feb 26, 2021
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24
Location
Copley, OH
Hello,

My name is David and I'm recently retired. My wife and I have talked for years about doing some RVing and we finally are going to try.

Since I've never done this, I'm thinking about renting an RV for a weekend just to see how it feels to drive one and to live out of one for a few days. If we like it, we'll rent one for a month and travel in it. I'm sure most of you here own your RV, but does anyone have recommendations for where to rent them, what to look for, what to be leery of, etc?

I'm totally new to this, so I'm just trying to learn some basics right now. I've done some searching online and gotten LOTS of results. Kind of overwhelming so if anyone has some links to get someone like me started, I'd be very grateful.

Thanks in advance for any feedback

David
 

Ex-Calif

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May 15, 2020
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1,265
It might be useful to pick a location where you plan to rent and spend the time. It "seems" to me that it's really popular out west. It would be sort of a fly and drive thing (if you are ok with flying right now).

It's a good idea to rent BTW particularly if you plan to make a large investment in a new RV. I would consider renting each Class A, Class C and a trailer and see what suits you better.

Another thing to do if you haven't done so is to visit a dealer and "kick some tires" - just getting in and around the various types can give you a feel for them.

PS - Welcome aboard BTW - I am retiring this year and just moved into my RV full time last month.
 

jackiemac

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Scotland
Hi David and welcome to the forum.

If you enjoy it are you planning on using it often? If infrequently you might be cheaper renting. If you decide to buy then there is lots of info in our Library which you will find useful.

We have a truck and trailer as we like to do lots of exploring on the back roads. You might want to consider towing a vehicle behind your RV or doing what we do.

Floor plans are important so that you get what fits your lifestyle.

Once you have had your trial run let us know how you get on and we can help more. I can highly recommend travelling and exploring your beautiful country. It is so liberating being out on the road.

Cruise America and Roadbear are 2 rental companies we see a lot out west.

Good luck with your test run.
 

IMZvonko

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Posts
24
Location
Copley, OH
Another thing to do if you haven't done so is to visit a dealer and "kick some tires" - just getting in and around the various types can give you a feel for them.

PS - Welcome aboard BTW - I am retiring this year and just moved into my RV full time last month.
There is an RV dealership just down the road from us. I've been driving by that place for 20+ years and fantasizing. After I retired, I finally went in. Wow, talk about sticker shock!

Of course, I started out looking at the smaller ones, but quickly fell in love with the bigger ones. HA. Just like when I go to buy a TV. I go in thinking I'm buying a plain 32" TV and walk out with a 60" curved screen with picture-in-picture and having spent double what I planned to. :)
 

IMZvonko

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Posts
24
Location
Copley, OH
If you enjoy it are you planning on using it often? If infrequently you might be cheaper renting. If you decide to buy then there is lots of info in our Library which you will find useful.

We have a truck and trailer as we like to do lots of exploring on the back roads. You might want to consider towing a vehicle behind your RV or doing what we do.

Floor plans are important so that you get what fits your lifestyle.

Once you have had your trial run let us know how you get on and we can help more. I can highly recommend travelling and exploring your beautiful country. It is so liberating being out on the road.

Cruise America and Roadbear are 2 rental companies we see a lot out west.

Good luck with your test run.
I don't think we'll ever buy, but who knows! We probably wouldn't travel enough to justify buying.

We'll try it out a few times and see.

Thanks for the warm welcome everyone.
 

Old_Crow

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Nov 20, 2016
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2,300
Location
Mammoth Lakes, California
I don't think we'll ever buy, but who knows! We probably wouldn't travel enough to justify buying.

We'll try it out a few times and see.

Thanks for the warm welcome everyone.
Back in the 80's I was the guy at the Chevy dealership assigned to work on motor homes when they came in. Did this for about 6 1/2 years and swore every day that I'd never own one.
I'm now living full time in my 2nd Class A coach.
 

Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
Posts
4,278
Location
SW Louisiana
Welcome, perhaps if you tell us a bit more about what you are after, we could steer you a bit better, for example are you looking at an RV as an alternative to a tent vs an alternative to a motel room. If you are looking for a no frills motorhome experience then try a rental from Cruise America or El Monte as both companies subscribe to the philosophy of durable and simple, and the less features, the less there is for renters to break. Meaning their custom built RV's don't have things like retractable steps, awnings, leveling jacks, or even a TV. What they do offer are more durable fabrics, flooring, as many sleeping positions as possible, etc. If you are looking for something a bit nicer, I would suggest you consider renting from one of the many small companies that rent out more standard off the shelf motorhomes, such as bb-rv.com out of Denver.
 

IMZvonko

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Posts
24
Location
Copley, OH
Welcome, perhaps if you tell us a bit more about what you are after, we could steer you a bit better, for example are you looking at an RV as an alternative to a tent vs an alternative to a motel room. If you are looking for a no frills motorhome experience then try a rental from Cruise America or El Monte as both companies subscribe to the philosophy of durable and simple, and the less features, the less there is for renters to break. Meaning their custom built RV's don't have things like retractable steps, awnings, leveling jacks, or even a TV. What they do offer are more durable fabrics, flooring, as many sleeping positions as possible, etc. If you are looking for something a bit nicer, I would suggest you consider renting from one of the many small companies that rent out more standard off the shelf motorhomes, such as bb-rv.com out of Denver.
Thanks,

We have wanted to travel the US ever since we married, but... well, work, kids, LIFE got in the way. Anyway, now that I'm retired and kids are on their own we want to see if we'll enjoy RVing.

To answer your question, I'd say it's to replace a hotel room. I grew up sleeping on straw beds and using outhouses so camping has never appealed to me. Traveling from hotel to hotel is a hassle. What does appeal is having your "room" travel with you. No need to constantly pack/unpack.

As for frills, we don't need much: comfortable bed (I'm 6'3" and my wife is almost 6'), shower we can at least stand up in (some of the ones I stepped into at dealership I had to bend over to not hit ceiling), oven/microwave, sink, etc. If TV doesn't come with it, no big deal. We can bring our own.

One thing we'd definitely want is access to the internet. We can create hot-spots with our phones but that doesn't seem like a great solution. What do you all do for internet?

Oh, we live in Akron, OH which is about 30 miles south of Cleveland in case there are some other NE Ohio RVers here that might be able to make local recommendations.
 

Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
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4,278
Location
SW Louisiana
Ok, that gives us a starting point, but let me also ask, what length trips are you considering, or are you thinking about full timing. Generally speaking the longer the trip,the larger the RV needs to be, and the more cargo capacity it needs. For example we have a sub 30 foot class A gas coach (2002 Safari Trek, model 2830), and it works great for the way we travel. I am semi retired, my wife still works full time, so our trips tend to be measured in weeks, with our longest being around a month long with me driving solo for part of the trip and my wife flying home due to work obligations. Generally we do well with togetherness, but after about 2 week or so not having a separate room, and always being in the same room together probably starts getting to us (our coach does not have a separate bed room). If we were to every do seasonal or full time travel we would need something with more space, and separate living spaces. Though as I said it works well for us now, and I like being able to fit into places where we can get to that a larger coach could not go, or at least could not go as easily, see my avatar photo of our coach backed into a standard size parking space overhanging the curb at the Blue Bell Ice Cream Creamery visitor center in Texas.

As to internet, there really is no perfect option, some commercial campgrounds provide WIFI, but service tends to be slow and spotty, far worse than what one expects to get in even a cheap motel, this may partly be due to RV parks tending to be located in more rural locations, and not having the corporate buying power with the telecom companies. For the most part we use 4G hotspots, we have the grandfathered , no longer available AT&T Mobley unlimited plan, as well as an unlimited T-Mobile hotspot my wife sometimes has through her work (T-Moble fleet plan not available to the general public) as she often has to do work (webinars, zoom meetings, etc.) while we travel. Sure there are times when we are traveling, particularly out west when there is no signal, but that seems to be in fewer places each year. It helps to have plans on multiple 4G networks if you really need to stay in contact, on our last big trip on October of 2019 a 3,000 mile loop from Louisiana to the Grand Canyon and back there were spots where either AT&T or T-Mobile had no signal, and a few where neither did, but not many.
 

jackiemac

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Feb 22, 2016
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5,697
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Scotland
Oh, meant to ask... Is RVers the right term?
Yes it is.

Even if you only decide to rent, there are lots of things we can help you with as I think even just renting could be daunting.

I suggest going to look at some of the rentals in a city near you to really see them. You can do a decent virtual tour on the websites though, here is one. The bed is over 1.82m long from what I can see so that might suit. There is a tool that lets you measure things...


If you can use a laptop or tablet to watch shows on you should be ok if you download in advance as it does not look like there is a TV in that RV. I guess you could take a small one but not sure where you could plug it in etc. You would need to check that out.

We tend to use Amazon Prime or Netflix and dowload shows or movies and then cast them to the TV we have via a Firestick. Wifi at campgrounds tends to be too slow for any kind of streaming.
 
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IMZvonko

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Posts
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Location
Copley, OH
Ok, that gives us a starting point, but let me also ask, what length trips are you considering, or are you thinking about full timing.

Though as I said it works well for us now, and I like being able to fit into places where we can get to that a larger coach could not go, or at least could not go as easily, see my avatar photo of our coach backed into a standard size parking space overhanging the curb at the Blue Bell Ice Cream Creamery visitor center in Texas.
Over the years we've talked about doing cross-country trips but never considered doing it full-time. I doubt that will change.

We'll take it slow. Rent something for a weekend. If we like it, rent something for a week and go from there.

I hear 'ya about sharing small space 24x7. We haven't run into issues since I've retired, but we both have our interests and spend a big chunk of the day separately. Another thing we'll need to test out.

I'd probably tend toward something "smaller" like yours instead of one of those Greyhound bus-sized ones. Seems like it would be hard to get around with those. Especially for someone like me who has never driven a bus. :)

As to internet, there really is no perfect option, ...
Kinda figured that'd be the answer. Oh well, maybe it would be a good thing to disconnect for awhile. How, oh how did we get by without cell phones?
 

IMZvonko

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Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Posts
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Location
Copley, OH
I suggest going to look at some of the rentals in a city near you to really see them. You can do a decent virtual tour on the websites though, here is one. The bed is over 1.82m long from what I can see so that might suit. There is a tool that lets you measure things...

That's a great way to check them out. Thanks for the link.

We tend to use Amazon Prime or Netflix and dowload shows or movies and then cast them to the TV we have via a Firestick. Wifi at campgrounds tends to be too slow for any kind of streaming.
D'uh. I didn't even think of that even though I've done that before. We could probably do with some time away from internet, but we do like to watch some Netflix, Prime, etc in the evenings
 

IMZvonko

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Feb 26, 2021
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Location
Copley, OH
I have to say this is one of the nicest welcomes I've received on an online forum. I've belonged to many, many technical forums (30+ years in IT) and this is definitely something I saw in any of those.

Thank you. I already feel at home.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
I think that finding a decent size shower is going to push you toward a larger RV. You may also find that the toilet area in smaller RVs is often cramped and the commode low, such that taller people find it awkward for their longer legs & arms. RV designers are amazingly inventive when packing sink, commode & shower into a few square feet, but usability suffers. It's ok for a weekend, but after several days a micro-bathroom becomes a real irritation. You will also find that small RVs often lack work (countertop) space in the kitchen. Tiny fridges too. Seldom a problem on a weekend trip because most RVers are tossing burgers on an outdoor grill or whatever, but on longer trips you may want to prepare meals inside.

None of the above means you need a 40 footer, but you are probably looking at 30-32 ft. That may be intimidating for some, but it's mostly just a matter of acclimatization. The difference in the driver's seat position in a Class A involves a learning curve, but size is only a small part of that.

Most motorhome owners end up towing a car for local travel. That may seem intimidating as well, but it's actually trivial once you get over the learning stage.

The major national RV renters are El Monte, Cruise America, and Camping World. They do mostly Class C's. There are numerous regional and local renters as well. Some specialize in Class A coaches and some are agents for rentals from private owners who are seeking some income when they aren't using their RV themselves. You might check rvshare.com or outdoorsy.com.
 
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Ex-Calif

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2 feet-itis is a disease boat and RV buyers seem susceptible to - LOL...

There are certain outfits that actually have RVs set up full time on their campground and they rent out the RVs. Don't know if there are any near you but there is one nearby here. One of those could be ideal for a first test. Show up, move in and stay 5 days just to see if "living" in an RV feels OK.

One thing for sure you can rent a lot of hotel rooms for the price of a newer RV.
 

Isaac-1

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SW Louisiana
I agree, small bathrooms in typical small motorhomes can be miserable on longer trips, that is part of the reason we bought the coach we did, as it has one of the largest bathrooms, if not the largest bathroom of any sub-30 ft motorhome. Sorry I could not get the whole thing in the photo.
 

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IMZvonko

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Posts
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Location
Copley, OH
2 feet-itis is a disease boat and RV buyers seem susceptible to - LOL...
Hmm, I'm not sure what 2 feet-itis refers to. You know the audience isn't great when you have to explain the joke to them, huh?;)

One thing for sure you can rent a lot of hotel rooms for the price of a newer RV.
Yea, I've thought about that. Even with the little research I've done, I can see how this could become a very expensive way of life. I started looking into rentals and they seem to run at minimum of $200/day and then there are daily mileage allowances and restrictions on how long the generator can be hooked up, etc.

My car gets 30+/mpg and we can usually find a decent place to spend the night for around $100. So just using this example, I'd save at least $100/day in lodging and spend half as much on gas.

On the other hand, I can see the convenience of driving your "home" with you. Less packing/unpacking, less $ for eating out, comfort of having your own place that remains the same no matter where you go.

For those of you who have been doing this a while... what other advantages are there to RVing as opposed to traveling by car or plane (ugh! for us tall people)?
 
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