If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to see amazing things, that is.
Editor’s note: This post originally published in 2019. In the wake of social distancing some of the points in this story may not be as applicable as they are in normal times. RVing has recently become an incredibly popular way to travel and the cost of rentals has skyrocketed, but we expect that since there are usually more RVs for sale than there are buyers that demand will be fulfilled.
We recently went on our first RV trip exploring a few of the best National Parks in America. As a novice to the RV scene, I was a bit unsure if my family of 4 would take to this method of travel or want to kill each other by the end of the trip.
I’m happy to report that we are still alive and we still like each other. And we learned a few things along the way, including great reasons we will again consider an RV rental for our next family adventure.
Why an RV Rental Is Great for Your Next Family Adventure
1. You like to save money
Who doesn’t love saving money, right? We initially mapped out our road trip with a plan of renting a car and staying in hotels and vacation rentals. The cost of the trip kept climbing so we decided to explore the idea of an RV rental instead. We quickly realized that taking an RV vacation would save us quite a bit of money.
How does an RV Rental Save Money?
The cost of renting an RV can range from $100 a day to $300 or more; you’ll need to consider campground fees, gas and other expenses, but still, it can be much more affordable than airfare, rental car and hotel nights, not to mention, restaurant meals!
- Your transportation and accommodations are all-in-one
- You can store groceries and cook your own meals
- Campgrounds much cheaper than most hotels/vacation rentals
2. You enjoy your freedom
Taking a road tip in an RV gives you the freedom to drive wherever you want and stay practically anywhere. If you travel during the busy season, which we did in the National Parks, it’s a good idea to book campgrounds in advance. Other times of the year, you can take your RV rental wherever your mood takes you. Regardless of where you spend the night, the freedom of driving and RV means you can stop anywhere without the concerns finding food or a bathroom nearby.
3. Tent camping is too rustic for you
Our entire family agreed that tent camping is NOT our thing. We love the outdoors for hiking and exploring, but sleeping on the ground is just a bit too primitive for us. An RV rental is the perfect alternative because you get to experience the best parts about camping while still having many of the comforts of home.
4. You enjoy meeting new people
RV travel offers many special moments that many travelers never get to experience. Kids from destinations far and wide play together. Fellow travelers sit around campfires for a drink or cup of coffee. No one from housekeeping knocks at your door disturbing whatever you’re doing. The folks who run RV campgrounds are truly some of the nicest you’ll meet as well. RVers often travel with their pets too. We met quite a few adorable dogs, two cats, and even a parrot.
5. You strive for family togetherness
Yes, some RV parks have Wifi, but taking to the open road helps you connect with your family connect rather than your devices. We played card games, dice games, roasted marshmallows, and retold stories from the day. On the road, we played 20 questions, the License Plate game, Eye Spy and more. While my teens grumbled from time to time, they admit that they had a great time.
6. You like to control the climate
While you can’t control the weather outside, you have full control of the climate inside your RV. We had some chilly evenings in Montana and Wyoming. I can’t imagine being in a tent without heat. On the flip side, having air conditioning kept everyone chill during the hot days and nights in southern Idaho and Utah.
7. You value quality sleep
Without enough quality sleep, everyone in our family is grumpy. With tent camping, unless you are completely secluded, you hear every noise in the campground. Sure, the tweeting birds might be nice, but not the guy snoring in the next tent or the RV folks playing loud music. Inside our RV rental, we slept soundly and were refreshed to face our adventures each day. Nothing beats having beds that travel with you. The kids can take naps on the road too.
8. Repacking annoys you
Road trips in a car can be fun, but the hassle of having to unpack and repack at every stop can be quite annoying. The luxury of being able to unpack once really comes in handy giving you more time to enjoy your trip rather than reorganizing your stuff at every stop.
9. You hate public toilets
The benefit of having a bathroom on board quickly became apparent during our road trip. It’s nearly impossible to coordinate the bathroom needs for 4 people. Some bathroom lines in the national parks were HUGE. We got to skip those crowds and hit the hiking trails instead. Not to mention some of the public bathrooms were quite unsanitary.
10. You like your gadgets
While we didn’t spend a ton of time on our devices, they can in handy on a few 6+ hour drives. We also used phones and cameras at each destination so it was super convenient to have them charged and ready to go. Our rental RV had plenty of outlets for everyone.
An RV Rental Might NOT Be Right For You If:
- You don’t like to clean
There are some “dirty jobs” involved with RV rentals. The easy part is keeping the inside of the RV clean. The icky part is having to clean out the “black water.” You can probably imagine what this is. While I did not partake in this job, my husband says it’s really not that bad. I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
- Community is not your thing
Campgrounds come with a sense of community that may not be to everyone’s liking. Campsites can be quite close together and not every neighbor will be your cup of tea. RVers often travel with pets too. So if animals are not your thing, hotels are probably the way to go.
- Shared showers make you squirm
RV showers simply cannot keep up with the demand for water pressure or hot water. Not to mention that it feels like you’re showering in a tight phone booth. So, you’ll want to take advantage of campground facilities. Nearly all RV campgrounds we used had spotless shower stalls with changing rooms. Some even had full bathrooms.
- You are afraid to drive a larger vehicle
We had a 24-foot motorhome and it was really quite easy to drive. That said, a large vehicle like this is not for everyone and you can’t pull into just any parking space. Luckily, most parks have separate spaces for RV parking.
Out of My Comfort Zone Into An RV Rental… And I’d Do it Again!
What I really wanted from this vacation was to see America and to experience those last National Parks on our bucket list. And, I wanted precious family time with my growing teens–they’ll be out of the house before we know it. It was something I wanted to try at least once, and I’m glad we did.
RVing might not be for everyone, but even for skeptics, it’s hard to see so much our our country, and have great off the grid time with your family. And, in the end, you might find you want to do it again for your next family adventure!