RV Essentials


Renting an RV is a good intro to recreational vehicles, and there are sizes and styles to fit nearly every budget and vacation plan. Here’s what you need to know.

Recreational vehicles have always been attractive for the independence they bring to road-tripping. And since the arrival of COVID-19, that appeal has only grown. But before you rush out and make a big purchase, do your research, especially if you have never traveled in an RV before.

Renting an RV before you make a purchase is one way to see whether an RV is a good fit for you and which kind you prefer. When you rent, treat it as an educational experience: Book early so you can get the RV you want, understand the insurance coverage, acquaint yourself with the vehicle’s electrical and sewage lines, consider roadside assistance, etc.

Renting an RV: The Experience

RVs offer a level of comfort unmatched by cars, and because RVs double as your accommodations, you only have to unpack once. You can save on hotel and restaurant expenses—which helps compensate for your higher fuel costs.

When you travel in a motor home, you’ll find that its large windows make it easy to enjoy the scenery while driving to your destination. If you’re renting an RV that’s a larger motor home, you’ll need to arrange for alternative transportation if you want to explore beyond your campsite, and remember that braking, turning and parking are very different in a large RV compared to a sedan. Be sure to make arrangements before you go so you’ll have access to campgrounds and RV accommodations when you need them.

Tips for a First Trip

Samantha Brown, host of PBS’s Samantha Brown’s Places to Love and monthly guest on the Well-Traveled with AAA podcast, offers these tips for newbie RV campers:

  • Take your RV for a test drive before hitting the open road.
  • Keep a close eye on the gas gauge.
  • Bring along paper maps (or your AAA TripTik!) as a backup for the GPS.
  • Inspect the interior and exterior of your RV before leaving a campsite to make sure everything is ready for the road.
  • Pack extra gear sparingly. Even an RV can feel cramped with too much stuff.
  • Make campground reservations ahead of time, especially during summer.
  • Use the RV’s leveling system to allow appliances to work properly.

The Kinds of RVs

Online platforms for renting an RV, such as Outdoorsy, have made it easier to find the vehicle that best suits your needs and budget. The rental fee is likely to be your biggest expense, but there are other costs to budget for, including RV campsite rates and fees, higher fuel costs, park and attraction entrance fees, rental insurance, cleaning fees, and taxes.

  • Class A motor homes offer luxurious accommodations and are great for long family trips.
  • Class B motor homes, also known as camper vans, are perfect for camping getaways.
  • Class C RVs are built on a truck chassis and often have space over the cab for a bed.
  • Travel trailers, which are towed behind a vehicle, come in a wide variety of sizes.


Already own an RV?

Make sure you’re protected before your next road trip with AAA Insurance. For a free RV Insurance quote, visit AAA.com/RV