By Russ and Tiña De Maris
RVing can be a lot like checking out the swimming pool. Some folks are brazen enough to launch themselves out into the water like a cannonball, others gingerly stick their toes in the water and make a gradual immersion. If you want to try out the RV lifestyle without major financial risk, consider renting a rig and trying it out (go with the slower method).
Writing in a HuffPost blog, Chris Gray Faust offers up six things NOT to do when renting an RV. We’ve looked over Chris’ suggestions and are passing them along to you with our own commentary.
DON’T rent the biggest RV you can find. Good thinking, particularly if your standard driving experience is in a smaller vehicle. Friends of ours jumped into RVing with the purchase of a 40-foot motorhome mansion. They recently traded the rig in on a smaller trailer and took a huge financial hit because of several “love bumps” that they made in trying to learn how to handle a big rig. Smaller rig = easier to handle, goes into “off the beaten track” areas, and is better on fuel.
DON’T ignore vehicle briefings. Your rental agency folks would just as soon you have a good time on your trip – after all, you may come back and rent again. Briefings not only cover safety issues but stuff like “how to dump sewage,” which can become a safety issue if you don’t dump it right. Ask us: We got the T-shirt, but you wouldn’t want it for the smell!
DON’T pack too much stuff. Faust argues if you don’t put it away, it’ll take to flight on a tight curve. True enough, but we’ve found the more stuff you bring, the harder it is to unpack at journey’s end. If the clock is running on a rental return, you’ll want to get out quickly. But be sure to bring enough – that means layered clothing for changing temperatures, extra batteries for the digital camera (and flash cards), and easy-to-fix food.
DON’T fail to check your surroundings. Chris cites an RVer who pulled out – without unplugging the electrical hookup. We add, use your mirrors, particularly when jockeying around in tight spots like fuel islands. We’ve seen folks not familiar with how long a rig is, wrap the rear-end of their motorhomes around fuel pump protection posts. Watch the mirror (both sides) as you pull out.
DON’T annoy your neighbors. Observe “do unto others” rules in the campground. We can only say, “Amen!”
DON’T pack your itinerary. Chris uses an example of driving across Arizona in 72 hours – it can be done, but where’s the fun? We personally find doing a “hub-and-spokes” approach a great way to enjoy our trips. Park the rig at a campground and use it as the center, then use an accompanying car and make runs out in varying (and short) directions to explore the countryside and find attractions.