Truth be told, I never thought I would go on vacation via RV. Working in the RV industry during one of its most successful years has been exciting! Wholesale Warranties recently gave me the opportunity to experience something that thousands of people love to do – RV camping in a beautiful National Park. I’ll be sharing some of my most memorable moments and what I learned as a newbie RVer—if you can even call me that. There were some mistakes, but mainly a lot of laughs, great company, and unforgettable moments.
RV Rental Tips
Just like any other vacation, there was a lot of planning and preparation involved. For this trip, we rented out a rig for our camping trip to Yosemite. There are plenty of RV online rentals such as RVshare and Outdoorsy. Ultimately, we decided to go with a local business, RV Fun Rental. What I learned from this experience is when looking for an RV rental, you want to make sure there is clear and constant communication between you and the owner. Going on an RV trip can be a bit nerve-racking, especially if it’s your first time. Having someone walk you through the whole motorhome and show you how everything works, will bring you ease and reassurance. Great communication with the RV’s owner is something you should look for before booking. Ask questions about the mileage allotted, pick-up/drop-off times, and if the holding tanks should be empty or full upon return. Ensure you thoroughly walk through and take pictures of wear and tear, scratches, and knicks that you could potentially be docked for.
The RV walkthrough is extremely important! Getting to know the rig and how it works will make your trip comfortable and you can rest assured you’re prepared for what the road brings. Make sure every single person in your party is present to hear the ins and outs of your temporary home-on-wheels. There are many buttons in a rig, memorize as many as you can. We took a video during the walkthrough to make sure we didn’t miss a beat!
Things to keep in mind if you’re a first-time RVer:
- The propane can be left on. Unless you are refilling the propane back up, then turn it off.
- Running the generator is expensive! Only turn it on if you absolutely need it.
- Turn the engine on once a day to charge up your battery.
- Don’t spray perfumes and aerosols as this can trigger the carbon monoxide detector.
- Always leave some windows open…. carbon monoxide detector beeping might drive you crazy.
Hitting the Road
Traveling in an RV is exceptionally different from a typical pick-up truck. Before hitting the road, make sure your storage compartments are closed and locked, or as my group liked to call it “the basement”—you don’t want anything falling out as you’re driving down the highway. While the RV is in motion, make sure all passengers are seated. To my (naively wrong) assumption, I thought we would be able to roam around the RV freely as if the rig weren’t in motion—wrong! This task is nearly impossible and extremely dangerous. Additionally, everything needs to be put away in a cabinet or drawer. Don’t leave items on the counters, beds, or seats, as they will most likely fall to the ground and possibly break.
Next, you’ll need to have a route plan in place. Figure out which route will allow your RVs weight and size. When you know where you’re going, there is less stress of possibly getting lost. Having an attentive co-pilot for the drive is a necessity. An extra pair of eyes on the road helped us avoid getting into accidents and hitting curbs. Don’t leave your driver hanging solo, the responsibility of driving shouldn’t rely solely on the driver, co-pilots can help too!
Arriving at our Destination
Before arriving at our destination, we made sure our fresh water tank was full, and the grey and black tanks were empty. Most National Parks do not have hookups or dump stations. To our surprise, Yosemite National Park had a dumping station and a freshwater hookup. If you’re dry camping and won’t have hookups, make sure you have your freshwater tanks full! On the last day of our camping trip, we ran out of water! Luckily the campsite had plenty of public bathrooms. If you’re dry camping with a group, try to conserve as much water as possible—every little drop counts!
Once you’ve arrived at your campground destination, it’s time to make it home! Set up your campsite while keeping the sun in mind. During the hottest time of the day, figure out where your shade will be. Because we were dry camping and Yosemite has strict generator hours, running the rig’s AC was not possible. When camping at a National Park, observe the generator hours and other park rules and guidelines.
Note: Before arriving at our campsite, we made sure our site was big enough to fit the length of our RV. When booking campsite reservations, keep this in mind! All campsites have different sizes and you must fit them accordingly in order to stay overnight in the park.
Drop Off Tips
Before arriving at our drop-off location, there was a couple of things we had to check off our list. Dropping off a rig comes with its own set of responsibilities. We had to return the motorhome in the same condition that we received it. Once we unpacked all of our belongings out, we had to clean it! Being the natural clean freak I am, this was a satisfying task. Here are the “chores” we completed after a successful delivery and return inspection walkthrough.
- Cleaning the inside of the RV.
- Return with a full tank of gas.
- Return with ¾ full of propane.
- Empty grey and black tank.
Some RV rentals will have their own set of rules and requirements. Communicate with the owner to make the pick-up/drop-off is a breeze!
A Personal Note
Camping is one of my favorite things to do! Especially when I’m accompanied by some of my favorite people. Yosemite, of course, did not disappoint and met all of my expectations. The vast beauty that our earth holds is indescribable. This RV camping trip was an experience I’ll never forget and grateful for the opportunity to experience this lifestyle, even for just a glimpse.
What was your first RV experience like? Share in the comments below!