Renting an RV – Part 1 – Initial Research

Karen and I have been wanting to take a trip to Michigan to visit her family.  We have been thinking about taking the dogs with us which will require a hotel room or better yet – renting an RV.

I’ve decided to write about this topic in several blog posts. Hopefully this will prevent missing any important details. If anyone sees any concerns in our planning you might warn us.

Our trip would cover about 1600 miles. We first looked at a 12 day journey but now are leaning towards seven days to keep the costs down.  This could change.  So it was off to the internet to research where to rent an RV. Right off we noticed a national rental company called Cruise America. They allow pets and had three sizes of Class C motorhomes to rent.

None Have Slides

None Have Slides (Click to Enlarge)

We located another local vendor who handles renting privately owned rigs. This would be a good way to find a class A or fifth wheel which we have not found offered by national brands.  I’ll provide this link so you can see what they offer.  I assume the same is offered by other vendors in major cities.

Karen called a local RV dealership for recommendations as well.  We found a local provider which also had another location out of state. They keep a fleet of 15 Class Cs and travel trailers. Karen sent a request for a price quotation based on their 25′ motorhome, 12 days of travel covering 1600 miles.  The price came in at a whooping $2,800.  The local vendor is called Unlimited Fun Rentals. They have two Class C rental sizes, both included slide rooms. An added bonus is they are located about 10 miles from our home.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

We briefly considered driving to Michigan and renting the RV there. We ruled it out because we want the full experience to include staying at camp grounds as we travel. It would also be a major hassle, taking the fun out of the vacation, if we had to pack all the belongings and rush through the renting process.

I had learned a few things by this point in our research. Class Cs appear to be what most companies rent.  We found a vendor who handles renting private owner rigs as well.  Considering this would be the first motorhome I’ve driven I wanted to make sure it was easy to handle.  We are not taking a toad (tow behind second car) so we want to make sure the RV can fit in parking lots at the store.  We wanted the slide room because the floor plan would better demonstrate what we might own later when going fulltime and allows better space for the dogs.  I’d been reading up on Class Cs and know the Ford F450 V10 engine was something I wanted to try out because it will allow for a towed vehicle if we ever wanted to use one.  There are a lot of hidden costs such as prep fees, added cost if you exceed a certain number of miles each day and insurance.  With Cruise America we have to provide our own bedding and kitchen items or pay extra.  Unlimited Fun provides all that and offers 50 more miles per day without an increased cost.  Renting from them is as easy as loading our food and clothes then hitting the road.  We could park our car on their lot while we are gone if necessary. They do charge a $75 fee for pets which allows for a good cleaning after we return the unit. The fee seems fair.

I’ll have more to write about as we go through the process.

I’m sure there might be a benefit in a side by side comparison of what each company offers. I doubt we will do that. I did call Fun Unlimited and found out all 15 rigs are on the road. They do offer national roadside service and their units are all new.  The business owner said their busy time is when school is out. He asked if we could wait to rent until after school starts, if so, he will give us a discount.  He wants us to come by and take a look at the rigs once they are in.  He was not pushy at all. He is proud of the rigs they rent which include amenities others don’t have which might be important to us.

Of course this got me thinking about what we might do the next four years or so before we go fulltime. I own two more automobiles than we don’t regularly use and those have to eventually be sold. I found myself wondering if we should buy a decent Class C after we downsize a bit.  One that can tow our remaining car (I also have a company vehicle). Maybe it would work in the budget to buy an RV in two years for shorter trips. I also got to thinking about buying what will eventually become our permanent truck for a fifth wheel in two years. Then a starter fifth wheel similar to a Keystone Cougar or other. The truck might be new but the rig could be used and traded in later.  Just thinking…

Shannon from Wandering With Us referred me to this video from Technomadia regarding rental ideas.

More to come as we work through the process of renting an RV and eventual details about our trip.

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9 thoughts on “Renting an RV – Part 1 – Initial Research

  1. We have friends who are concerned about our plans who keep encouraging us to rent a class A for a while so we know what we’re getting into. The only place I have found them is RV Share and the closest one is in Colorado Springs, about 300 miles away. Also, they want around $250/day. Shannon’s folks have a Winnebago class c which we used for a trip to the South Dakota Badlands and Mount Rushmore. It was fun, but I wouldn’t want to live in it.

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    • I would have not rented just to see if I could live in one having owned a 30′ travel trailer in the past. We are renting to have some fun and test the lifestyle. Hopefully you guys can meet up with a few fulltimers eventually and check out their rigs under “live” conditions. Wish I could find one to borrow or at least pay a family member for the rental. The rental would have made a good down payment towards a reasonable old unit.

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      • We had a 28′ 5th wheel for a couple of years. At the time we said “we could live in this!” I’m looking forward to meeting in the flesh some of the folks we’ve met on line. Hope you two have a great time out there.

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  2. Pingback: Renting an RV – Part 2 – Itinerary | Our Future in an RV

  3. Pingback: Renting an RV – Part 3 – Costs and Justification | Our Future in an RV

  4. Pingback: Renting an RV – What we Learned | Our Future in an RV

  5. Pingback: RV Construction Methods – Tires and Wheels | Our Future in an RV

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