Deciding to take an RV Trip
For the longest time, we had talked about taking the kids on an RV trip. We both agreed it would be the ultimate (and coolest) way to experience the natural wonders of the U.S. So in January 2018, we started planning for our kiddos’ upcoming spring break in March. My husband began researching RV rentals in the southwestern part of the country. After doing a ton of research, we decided to fly out to Las Vegas and rent a 22 foot long motorhome from El Monte, with the plan to visit Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon (South Rim) in Utah and Arizona.
Picking out the Right RV
We found our RV to rent through Motorhome Republic, the world’s largest online Motorhome and RV rental agency. They’re basically like an online broker for the RV rental companies similar to how Priceline.com works.
We searched for options by entering where and when we wanted to pickup the RV. What we ended up renting is a Coachmen Leprechaun class C motorhome which fit the four of us comfortably, in retrospect. Before we rented, we had no idea if it would be too small or just right for our two week trip. Features of the RV include:
- bunk over the driver and front passenger seats,
- a dining area that converts into a bed,
- a full/queen size bed in the back of the RV,
- a small bathroom, with a separate shower stall and under sink and over sink cabinets for storage
- storage cabinets in the RV cabin for our clothing, toiletries, gadgets, supplies, etc.,
- a medium sized fridge with a freezer (size wise, in between a mini fridge and a french door fridge), and
- there was a lot of trunk space, outside the RV, for our luggage, the firewood we purchased for making fires at night, and our portable lawn chairs.
Picking Up the RV
Prior to the picking up the rental, my husband and daughter both watched the tutorial on how to operate the RV so we saved a bit of time by not having to do that on the spot at El Monte. After filling out the necessary paperwork and opting out of the additional insurance, we got a quick tutorial while we were doing the RV walk through.
While my husband was doing the walk through, I got a chance to rummage through the goodies that previous RV renters left behind, including a kettle, potholders, paper towel rolls, unopened 5 gallon water jugs, silverware, knives, etc. There are shelves full of goodies that are free for the taking. (We ended up leaving a whole bunch of goodies when we checked out a week later.) After about one and a half to two hours at El Monte (thank goodness they had a small play area to occupy the kids), we were finally off… only to head to the Walmart down the street to grab a few more essentials and some food for the road.
Food & Supplies
The RV came with a microwave, a gas stove/oven with three burners, and a sink. We rented plates, cups, and utensils from El Monte, along with sheets, covers, pillows, and towels. The only supplies we needed from Walmart was cleaning supplies (wipes, Lysol, trial size dish soap, sponge), a can opener, and a lighter wand. For food, we picked up canned veggies, fruits, fried chicken, cup noodles, Uncle Bens microwave rice, bread, cold cuts, cheese, chips, snacks, hot pockets, and lots of water. We forgot to buy coffee, tea, sugar and cream, but later picked those things up at another grocery store.
Driving the RV
Because we were driving an RV for the very first time, we took it very slowly. It helped that we were in vacation mode and not in much of a rush to get anywhere. After a couple of hundred miles, eventually we got used to driving a wider, longer, taller, and less zippy vehicle. It also helped that our RV wasn’t too long and we were able maneuver in and out of national parks, parking lots, etc. than if we rented a longer vehicle.
In our next blog post, we’ll share more about the activities and sites we saw on our first RV trip…
Is RVing for You?
The best way to find out is to try it yourself. You can rent an RV on your next vacation or you can pick one up locally through the websites below. It’s also a great way to try which RV work for your style of camping.