Watch CBS News

How To Take an RV Roadtrip


I have many fond memories of the family vacations that we used to take. I remember wishing that my parents would purchase an RV - the Urban Assault Vehicle that Bill Murray drove in Stripes - so that we wouldn't be forced to make seventeen thousand pit stops at gas station bathrooms along the way.

Alas, I never did get my own RV, but now that I'm the adult, I can certainly rent one.

The RV is not unlike the utility player on a baseball team. You know, the player who can hit from both sides of the plate and play any position you need him to fill. It can transport you to your vacation spot, serve as your lodging, and also meet your dining needs. If you are among those who are interested in an RV getaway but are unsure how to do it, here's your quick guide.


Plan Ahead

Go RVing Coalition

More Info

One of the best resources is the Go RVing Coalition. The coalition was formed in 1994 by representatives of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), and the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).

Their site provides a wealth of information about RV life and travel. According to Go RVing there are more than 460 national chain outlets as well as independent dealers and campgrounds that provide RV rental services.


Rent Before You Buy

Cruise America

(800) 671-8042
More Info

El Monte RV

1256 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(888) 337-2214
More Info

Adventure Touring

(866) 457-7997
More Info

Expedition Motor Homes

(888) 977-8400
More Info

Since purchasing an RV requires a significant financial investment, renting serves as an excellent introduction to this type of adventure. Not unlike other motor vehicles, RVs come in a variety of sizes and styles. One could almost say that there are too many choices.

A reputable provider can help you successfully navigate through the many choices and determine what you need from your RV and what you need to know about driving/parking/using one. They'll ask you to tell them where you want to go, what you want to do along the way, how many people are in your party and help you focus on key areas of concern. They'll also be able to help provide you with information and resources that you can use to more effectively plan and prepare for your trip.

With a family of four you are looking at a standard size RV, which is between 23-25' long and sleeps five people. Rental costs are not unlike what you would find for a car. The size of the RV and any additional accessories (pots and pans) is taken into account as is the mileage. A three night, four day rental of a standard size RV for a trip from Los Angeles to San Diego will cost about $350.00.

You don't need a special license to rent/drive one of these units. Many providers include insurance as part of the rental agreement, but you will want to confirm with whomever you use to be certain. As mentioned it is not unlike renting a car - you will need to return your RV with the tank mirroring whatever it was when you picked it up.


Where To Go

San Diego RV Parks

More Info

San Diego RV Resort

7407 Alvarado Road
La Mesa, CA 91942
(877) 717-6667
More Info

For the purposes of this example we are going to say that you have a family of four, with two adults and two children. We'll pick San Diego as the destination of choice. It is a solid choice because it meets several requirements. It offers a broad selection of things to do and it is far enough away to give you a taste of what an RV getaway can offer.

One tank of gas in the standard size should give you a range of about 500 miles. A standard size RV has a 55 gallon gas tank so if we figure that you'll use one tank of gas you are looking at approximately $160.00 in gas, depending of course on gas prices.

Since your RV also serves as your lodging we are going to say that parking costs refer to where you will be parked for the night. The rates for parking overnight vary from $25-60 per night. The range in prices is based upon a number factors such as location, time of year and facilities. For example the San Diego RV Resort offers a swimming pool, fitness center, meeting rooms and more.

So figure for that 3 night four day long trip that you are looking at approximately $600 something plus food and expenses for whichever activities that you choose to engage in. While it is not recommended, there are people who find a quiet neighborhood to park their RV in. It is an easy was to save a few bucks.

Josh Wilner is a writer and father of two in Los Angeles.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.