Things to know before you rent your first RV/Campervan? – Part 2
Hope you have had enough time to gather some information from the previous article about things to know before you rent your first RV/Campervan. I split the article into two parts so that you could give yourself time to
- Set your expectations.
- Know what to expect when renting an RV
- Know the generic charges
- Learn how an RV orientation works
5. Dump and water stations:
RVs have a limited water and waste storage capacity, obviously. Check with your rental company if they can provide you with a map of water and waste stations in the country or google up if there is an app which could help you with the same. For Australia and New Zealand, one could use an app named CAMPERMATE. It lists all RV parks, water and waste stations throughout the country and is colour-coded from free to pay for facilities. In Alaska, we had to use the app named ALASKA – CAMPGROUNDS & RV PARKS which was similar to Campermate.
In good practice, empty your waste tanks and fill fresh water every day, once you find a free of charge facility. It will cost you nothing but a few minutes of your time and leave you stress-free.
6. RV performance and fuel efficiency:
Most RVs are built on powerful engines, however, the gas and brake pedal may not feel as quick responsive as your car’s. Bear in mind, there is way more weight than you can determine just by looking at the appliances and facilities. There would be water pumps, massive water and waste tanks, and of course, a massive fuel tank etc., that is out of sight but is installed on to that RV. Expect, slow acceleration, braking and have an idea about your momentum while speeding. Gather only as much momentum that’s under your control.
So start off by driving easy and slow, allow yourself time to get used to the dimensions and then the engine power. The easier your foot is on the gas pedal, more will be the fuel efficiency. Anyways, why would you want to speed past the beautiful landscapes and not enjoy them?
7. Limitations with RV/Campervans:
Even though built on fairly powerful engines, sometimes even 4*4 trucks, it’s not worth trying RVs to off-road. Firstly, you wouldn’t want things to break inside your motorhome and secondly, it’s not worth damaging any of the RV components. So let’s stick to paved roads.
And also all of the 220V power sockets and all electrical appliances like coffee maker, microwave and TV would run only when you are plugged on to a power source at an RV park or when there is a generator installed on board.
Remember the mention about BOONDOCK in Part 1, under the topic of Generic Charges. This could save you loads of money otherwise spent at RV parks.
Boondocking or Dry Camping means, just pick up an isolated spot to park your RV, without any external power supply, water or waste stations. Planning and preparation will be of the essence. Stock up on groceries, fuel and any other necessities that you may need depending on how much time you intend to stay there.
Most countries allow people to boondock as they want to promote natural beauty. However, there may be restrictions inside city limits. In Alaska, we noticed that RV parks were available mostly around cities and there were free RV parking bays and water & waste stations somewhere around at a gas station. Outside the cities, there were numerous campgrounds open to use with a very nominal parking fee of around $5-$10 per night and parking at the freeway turnouts was absolutely fine as long as traffic flow was not compromised. Ankita and I boondocked pretty much every day in Alaska. The onboard generator was really helpful and we turned it on only when needed. This is an example of where we parked overnight in Alaska.
But in New Zealand, we ended up spending for RV parks for almost half of the holidays because we had to pull up to RV/Motorhome parks as the free designated RV parking, inside the city limits, would run out of space before sunset and we were left with no choice. Outside city limits, there wasn’t much option as their Highways were fairly narrow and shoulders and turnouts didn’t have much room either. Also, our RV here did not have an onboard generator installed.
So like I said, plan and prioritise, and you could save a lot on RV park bills.
9. Things to Carry with yourself:
This list could be neverending but not exhaustive. For example, Ankita and I choose to carry even groceries and toiletries, thanks to our airline job and a very generous baggage allowance. However, this might not be the case with everyone, hence, this decision will rest with you.
Here is a list of few things we strongly suggest you carry, from a Handyman’s perspective, before you start driving, or at least pick them up at your first supermarket stop.
- Duct Tape – RVs are built on the composite material, you never know when a crack develops and you have to tape it to stop spreading.
- Flashlight – always useful when boondocking or dry camping when there is literally no light source apart from the one from your RV.
- Multihead screwdriver/ Swiss Knife – RVs are built on chassis. You might have to tighten a few screws here and there that might get loose.
And of course, being resourceful never goes to vain.
Let’s run through a few myths and facts that could help you through with hiring an RV/Campervan.
1. Myth – RV toilets can be smelly.
Fact – Porta Potty. These are toilet chemical pouches and are super powerful in keeping toilets smell free for days, even if you have not emptied your waste. Make sure to use one after every waste dump.
2. Myth – RVs cannot be driven on car licenses.
Fact – Most rental RVs can be driven on car license as they are built on light truck chassis. Unless you choose to hire one built on a heavy truck chassis, then you will need to truck driver license
3. Myth – RVs can be parked anywhere.
Fact – Check local laws for RV/Campervan parking. Of course, never compromise on your safety.
4. Myth – All electrical appliances work on the RVs battery.
Fact – All household appliances will need a 220V supply. Be it plugged at an RV park or you’re on board generator. Gas stove, refrigerator, water and room heaters are designed to run on LPG/Propane, depending on the make of your RV/Campervan.
Did this information help? Let us know what your decision was. Like mentioned earlier I will be around to answer all your questions RV related as much as I can or will direct you to the right link if need be. Do follow us on any of the below social media & stay connected. Safe travels & do not forget to share your experience we love to be a part of your experience through pictures. #taletrips.