So, you’re planning your next vacation and the idea of travelling in an RV appeals to you. What are some of the things you need to know when booking your RV rental and once you’ve set off?
How RV rentals differ from car hire and hotel stays...
1. Like airlines, car hire and hotels, many companies who rent an RV
base their pricing on what is known as a ‘flex’ model. Pricing fluctuates by supply and demand. Generally this means that the earlier you book, the lower the nightly rate will be. Some companies offer good incentives, including bonus offers, if you book well in advance of your travel dates.
Booking your vacation online is an easy, streamlined process.
2. Cancellation policies vary by RV rental company. Unlike car rental companies, hotels and airlines, it is difficult for RV rental companies to rent out an RV at short notice, so your cancellation will most likely mean that the vehicle originally assigned to you will sit on their lot. It is advisable to take out insurance against cancellation. Check the RV company’s cancellation policy carefully before booking and make sure you are aware of all conditions.
Make sure you have a valid driver's license at time of pick-up.
3. Like hotels, RV rentals are often charged on a nightly rate, not on a 24-hour basis. This means that check-in (pick-up) times are generally after 1.00pm and check-out (drop-off) times are no later than 10.00am. Some companies will ask you to phone to book in your pick-up time so you won’t have to wait a long time before picking up your RV.
4. Plan to spend at least an hour (sometimes more) at the RV rental company when you pick up your RV. Even with social distancing measures in place, there's still a lot you need to understand about the operation of your RV, particularly if you are a first-time camper.
Allow extra time for check-in: to going through the contract, reading the terms and conditions, and doing your self-guided orientation of the RV before you set off.
5. If you decide once you’re on your RV vacation to drop off your vehicle early, it’s unlikely you will receive reimbursement or a credit for the days not used. Where hotels will charge you for only one unused night, car hire companies and RV Rental companies have policies of no refund if you decide to return early.
6. If you experience any issues with the RV once you begin your vacation, it’s important that you let the RV company know as soon as you can. If, when you drop off your RV, you complain about something the company wasn’t aware of or ask for a discount because of it, it’s unlikely you will receive a positive outcome. It’s unreasonable to expect compensation for an issue the company hasn’t been given an opportunity to rectify. Most companies will provide you with a toll-free 24-hour help line number when you pick up your RV.
7. Many RVs do not come with kitchen equipment and bedding included in the cost of the RV rental. These are usually offered at an additional cost. Check with the company to find out what is and isn’t included.
8. Unlike car rentals, RV rentals
don’t normally include unlimited kilometres. Some companies include a small number of kilometres in their nightly rates while others don’t offer any. Most companies offer kilometer packages prior to pick up but do not provide a refund for unused kilometres. It is recommended that you calculate as close as possible to the number of kilometres you believe you will use, then pay the per kilometre rate for any additional km.
With the many kilometres that you will be driving, it's worth looking into pre-purchasing some KM packages.
9. Most RV companies have restrictions on roads you can travel on. Some don’t permit any gravel roads unless they lead to a recognized campground while others may restrict roads at certain times of the year. If you are planning to travel to a specific destination, check with the rental company to make sure the road you intend to travel is permitted. If you travel on a non-permitted road and incur damage to your RV, your insurance may not be valid.
10. If you rent an RV from a company that has multiple locations
across the country, it will most likely be possible to travel one way between their locations. There will normally be a fee for this but that fee is likely less than the cost you would incur by returning the vehicle back to the location you picked up from. Check with the RV company to find out if they offer one way rentals and how much they cost.
An RV vacation gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace, often to places not permitted with a car rental. There’s nothing more liberating than being able to move into your “home on wheels” on day one of your vacation and unpack, knowing you won’t have to repack until the last day of your vacation. You get to sleep in the same bed every night and make your own decisions as to whether to eat out or eat meals in your RV. You get to camp out surrounded by nature, enveloped by trees and a sky full of stars.
We are happy to welcome our "CanaDream Kidz" with fun badges and colouring travel journals.
As with any vacation, it’s important to do your research about your destination
. Is there cell service where you are travelling? Can you drive wherever you want or are there restrictions? Do you need to book campgrounds ahead of time? What are the road conditions like? Can you take your dog with you? The RV company will be able to provide answers to many of your questions but, ultimately, the end responsibility is yours.
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