During Renting an RV – Part One I wrote about initial research. After we located a local RV rental company we asked for a price quotation based on a 12 day trip. They handled quotations online which was nice, however, as we are completely new to the rental side I had plenty of questions after receiving the quotation. We decided to go with an eight day trip to keep the cost down. The costs are about $200 to $250 rental per day as a rough estimate. At this point in planning we had not booked the RV rental dates.
Karen and I sat down and looked at a possible itinerary for the trip. That way when we booked the trip we knew exactly what days we wanted the class C motorhome and how many miles we would be driving. Because the company is local I was able to drive out and look at their 25 and 32 foot rigs. We decided on the 25 footer because we knew we would not be taking a toad and would need to go to the store in it. Besides 25 foot is plenty of space for a short trip with two people and two dogs. I’ll write about the rig later during part four of the series of posts.
Knowing we would be spending seven nights on the road we decided to drive halfway to our destination in Michigan on the first day. It’s about seven hours to Terre Houte Indiana which would be our first stop. We decided to avoid Interstate 80 near Chicago until our trip home because I’m new to driving larger rigs. We have an extra unscheduled day on the first leg of our trip so we can stay an additional night before our final destination if needed. From there we plan to drive another six hours on the second day, arriving near Howell Michigan where we will spend two or three nights. Karen says not to publish our travel dates because she does not want the world knowing when we are gone from home. Good thing the guy that sits next to me at work carries a gun and the other hundred and something co-workers also do. Besides, the local Police Department can check the house and the neighbor is taking care of the cats. So, if someone is reading this and is thinking about getting in our house – ask yourself – do ya feel lucky? Of course there is no need to worry about our blog followers! Anyway, I’ll honor her request and leave the dates out.
Along the way we have narrowed down the RV parks we want to stay at. The first night we selected one near the highway. In Howell Michigan we found one with full hookups because we will be there for at least two nights. From there we are heading to Lake Michigan. A family member will be staying in a cabin one night in the same park next to the lake. We already booked this park which is a county park at Covert Michigan. Good thing we did because they were about full because of the weekend. We have not booked the other parks yet as I just received conformation on the availability of the rig we are renting.
From Covert Michigan we are going to be staying in Amana Iowa which is about four hours from our return trip home.
We can pick the rig up the night before we leave (at no charge) and have to return it on our final day later in the evening.
The reason we had to come up with a preliminary itinerary was to first confirm the rig was available on those dates and to get the time off approved at work. Also, there is a cost per mile charge if we exceed the total mileage we are paying for. With the itinerary in place I was comfortable booking the RV rental.
We learned a lot just in planning our itinerary. First, there was no single place we could go to for trip planning. We don’t subscribe to any clubs which have trip planning. By the way, we briefly considered Passport America ($44 dollars a year membership) but there was only one park in the system where we wanted to stay so the savings was only $17. I’ll spare you all the details of what we used to check for RV parks and trip planning in general. I did learn I’m going to have to come up with a better system for keeping notes other than pieces of paper. If you have a favorite format or method for trip planning please let me know.
The folks at the RV rental were great. I sent at least five emails back and forth asking questions along with as many phone calls. This is because I’m so new to the process. We had two opportunities to be flexible which is something I’m getting used to because it’s a requirement when we go fulltime. If we waited until after the kids go back to school (their busy season) the rental rates were more reasonable. We found out a family member scheduled their cabin rental in Covert Michigan before the RV rental was confirmed. They got the last cabin. This caused us to book our RV spot before we were ready. This worked out because I found out we could cancel with five days notice if needed. Having a 25 foot rig sure came in handy because this county park had very few spots that took larger rigs. I guess there was a third chance to be flexible. That was while each of us were on our computers coming up with places to stop and stay. We each had our own ideas. This part of planning turned out to be enjoyable and exciting.
I’ll post part three which should include the RV rental conformation and our additional planning steps. Or I might just wait until after we pick the rig up and get it all in one post.
We started a list of what we need to take on the trip. The rig comes furnished with bedding, kitchen stuff and more. Karen suggested we start a list so she can get everything out and ready to move into the rig when we pick it up. We plan to get the rig the night before we leave, park it at home and move our stuff in. I’ll be leaving our truck at the RV rental company location which is a benefit they offer. That way when we drop off the RV we can move our property to the truck and drive home.
If you have any advice please let us know.
(update #1) Decided to keep the itinerary in a Microsoft Word document
(update #2) Because we had an extra unscheduled night, we decided to reduce our drive time on the way to Michigan by staying an extra night on the way. This allows us the option to reduce total drive time between stops to no more than 4.5 hours (not counting breaks and such). Campgrounds have check-in times between 1:00 and 3:00, with check-out around 1:00pm. We decided not to book overnight (weekday) stays prior to departure for flexibility.