RV Travel Guide: Everything You Need to Know

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The popularity of RV travel is not slowing down. The travel trend that started to take off prior to the pandemic soared to new heights during lockdowns.

RV travel continues to gain steam, and there are now more options than ever for travelers, including camper vans, travel trailers and campers available to rent or buy. There are also new campgrounds and new gear to make camping even more enjoyable.


For those hitting the road in an RV, here are some tips to ensure the trip is seamless and enjoyable.

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Where to Rent or Buy

You are ready to hit the road for an adventure, and you have decided an RV is the best means of travel for your trip. So should you rent an RV or is it time for a major purchase?

If you know you love to camp and are planning to take several trips, purchasing could be the way to go.

However, there are many options when it comes to renting an RV, camper or travel trailer. RV rental companies such as El Monte RV and Cruise America are located throughout the U.S. and Canada and offer rentals of RVs and travel trailers.

Peer-to-peer rentals are also a great way to experience RV travel. Sites such as RVShare connect renters and owners for an Airbnb-type experience but for campers, travelers and recreational vehicles.

Travelers can pick up an RV from a specific location or have an RV delivered to a campsite.

Just like with a car rental, there will be fees for mileage and fuel tanks should be full upon return. There are other things to consider when returning rentals, including dumping the gray and black tanks as well as filling up water tanks and charges for generator use. Make sure to consider these charges when you calculate the cost of your rental.

Young couple looking out the window of their RV.
Young couple looking out the window of their RV. (Photo via iStock/Getty Images/valentinrussanov)

Where to Go

Once the RV has been secured, it’s time to plan where to go. Just because you are traveling in a camper or a trailer doesn’t mean you have to go out into the middle of nowhere. U.S. National Parks are ideal spots to explore on an RV trip.

Camping by lakes and beaches are also popular destinations for RV travelers.

There are also a number of campgrounds that are destinations in themselves with waterparks, organized activities, campfires, shops and more that create a fun vacation spot for those traveling by RVs.

Where to Stay

Finding and booking campgrounds in advance is recommended, especially during the busy summer months. Locations around popular national parks and beaches often fill up as many as six months out, so planning as far ahead as possible will ensure that there is a place to park.

When booking campgrounds, travelers will need to know the type of RV they are renting, the length of the RV and the number of amps the vehicle uses. Make sure to take note of these when renting the vehicle.

RV travelers can also boondock, which is staying out in the wilderness with no hookups for power, sewer or water. There are several sites such as TheDyrt.com and Compendium that can help RV travelers find out-of-the-way spots in remote locations.

What Is the 3/3/3 Rule?

When planning an RV trip, many travelers wonder how much ground they can travel or should travel in a day.

Many people swear by the 3/3/3 rule, which is a great tool for planning. The rule advises limiting travel to no more than 300 miles per day, arriving in your destinations around 3 p.m. and staying in each destination for at least three days.

A camper overlooking Grand Canyon National Park, camping
A camper overlooking Grand Canyon National Park. (photo via MichaelJust/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

What to Bring

Should you pack differently when traveling by RV? There are a few things to consider. Make sure you have bedding or sleeping bags if you are renting an RV. While you may have access to water and power in your vehicle, if you are planning on camping in any remote destinations, travelers should have flashlights, headlamps and lanterns.

Consider what you will want for your campsite. If you want to cook over a campfire, ensure you have appropriate cookware. Pack a portable barbecue or fire pit if you won’t have access to one. Bring tools for s’mores and extra blankets for the campfire.

If you have enough storage, bring outdoor gear like fishing poles, stand-up paddleboards or kayaks.

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