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There is no better feeling than hitting the open road for a cross country road trip! Road tripping in an RV is different than traveling in a passenger vehicle, and in this post, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of renting an RV for a cross country road trip.
Pros of an RV Rental for Your Cross Country Road Trip
First, let’s take a look at the positives:
You’ll have your own space.
With an RV rental, you won’t have to unpack every night at a different hotel or set up and break down a tent on a daily basis. RVs allow you to simply park and immediately transition to your next activity, whether that’s making dinner, going to bed, or going for a hike. Additionally, you will have your own toilet and shower facilities on board, so once you’ve parked for the night, you don’t even have to leave the RV if you don’t want to.
You can prepare your own food.
Most RV rentals have refrigerators, small freezers, and propane stovetops, and some even have microwaves, ovens, toasters, and so forth. Preparing your own food will save you tons of money over the course of a cross country road trip. It also allows you to eat healthier and on your own schedule as opposed to stopping at whatever restaurant you come across, which may or may not serve healthy (or even good) food. RVs also have sinks in them, which makes washing up much easier than when you are tent camping and have to schlep all of your dishes to the nearest spigot.
You can still check out almost any attraction you want to.
Many tourist attractions and points of interest across the country have designated extra-large RV parking spaces, so you can still stop at all the best destinations and you won’t have to worry about stressful parking situations. This includes most national parks and state parks, as well as museums, nature preserves, and so forth. If you are concerned about getting somewhere in your rental RV, just call ahead and ask whether the road and parking lot can accommodate large vehicles.
You can easily visit friends and family along the way.
Even if your friends or family members have very small apartments or just not enough room to accommodate your traveling party, you can simply park in their driveway or on the street nearby. That way, you can spend time with them during the day and then retreat to your own space at night, which lightens the burden of hosting and allows everyone to have some privacy.
An RV gives you flexibility with your plans.
When you travel in an RV, you have everything you need with you at all times, which means that if your plans change suddenly, you don’t have to scramble to pack up a campsite or hotel room and make different reservations. Since many RVs are equipped to go off the grid for at least a couple of days at a time, you can always plan to boondock along the way, which will save you money as well as give you the freedom to explore areas that may not have organized campgrounds nearby. Additionally, if you had planned to stay somewhere only to discover upon arrival that it is not what you expected, you can easily just keep driving and find another place to explore or sleep.
Cons of a Road Tripping Cross Country in a Rented RV
Now, let’s check out some of the drawbacks and potential solutions:
It can get expensive.
With RV rentals, there are many expenses to factor in beyond just the nightly rental rate. You may also be charged per mile for some or all of your miles, which will add up quickly on a cross country road trip. Additionally, you will need to pay for fuel, and depending on the size of the RV you rent, it may get anywhere from about 6-20 miles per gallon. Also keep in mind that you may have to pay for insurance, gear rentals (like kitchen and linen kits or recreational gear), campsite and dump station fees, cleaning fees, sales tax, pet charges, and owners’ fees.
However, you can shop around for sales and deals, or if it’s a peer to peer rental, you may be able to negotiate on the mileage costs. You can also look into relocation rentals, where the rental company needs to move RVs from one place to another so they offer a one-way rental for a deep discount.
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It can be hard to navigate cities in a big rig.
Especially if you aren’t used to driving a large vehicle, it can be intimidating to drive an RV through a busy city with narrow streets and lots of traffic. It’s also hard to find parking, especially if your rig can’t fit into a single parking space. Either way, you will probably have to pay for parking and then remember to feed the meter or move your RV around throughout the day to avoid a ticket. This can make it difficult to explore urban areas on your cross country road trip, but there are certainly still ways to make it work.
Most big cities have decent public transportation, so you can park your rig on the outskirts of the city and then take a city bus or train into the downtown area to explore for the day. Some cities that are very popular with tourists may have conveniently located parking lots that sometimes have designated RV spaces, but you will most likely still have to pay to park there.
The Bottom Line
Overall, taking a cross country road trip in a rental RV is an amazing way to explore. It gives you flexibility and comfort, as well as privacy and the ability to prepare your own meals. Especially if you plan to explore more wilderness areas and natural wonders than urban environments, traveling by RV allows you to more easily immerse yourself in the experience.
Tell me, which of these pros and cons resonate with you? And whether you’re planning to rent an RV for you cross country road trip?
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