Topic Wiki

Trip Reports featuring an RV/motorhome/camper
PBaruch - Iceland
PBaruch - Utah and Arizona
PBaruch - Washington State
PBaruch - Alaska
PBaruch - Death Valley NP
PBaruch - Denver to Seattle
Something Fishy - Alaska
Something Fishy - Iceland
AJK - New Zealand
LookBeforeYouLive - RVing across the country

Shabbos in an RV
There are many potential issues.

- For starters you'll have to be hooked up to power - the batteries won't last all Shabbos and you can't/wouldn't want to run the generator instead. You'll probably also need 220v for the AC, so make sure the campground could supply that (many do).

- The water hookup often leaks, which could be an issue of watering on shabbos; AYLOR.

- You can't put the cabin lights on a timer, so that may be an issue since some beds are in the main living area.

- Going in and out of the RV could be an issue of maaras ayin (even if no Jews are around), so you may have to cover up your wheels to indicate that you're staying put (obviously AYLOR).

-Make sure to empty the black water tank and treat the toilet before Shabbos; that's not something you want to get stuck with.

- Carrying anything outside is obviously an issue to discuss.

- The fridge runs on propane, so the compressor going on may be more serious than a regular fridge (is it considered a fire???).

- As far as I remember all living-area lights are manual (unlike the cab or a regular car). Opening the door doesn't turn on anything. This may obviously vary by model (I had a stock Winnebago).

Winter concerns
You need to choose if you want the amenities or if you want to risk it.

I did a lot of research before my last trip and decided to risk it, BH it worked out great.

- It could take many hours for the tanks to freeze up, and we were expecting above-freezing temps every day. Theoretically it wouldn't have frozen up just overnight. I also emptied a couple gallons of RV antifreeze into the gray and black tanks on the coldest nights. Keeping the tanks half full instead of draining them all the way also helps (more water = slower freezing).
- The bigger issue are the connections, which can freeze up in minutes. So we didn't connect to shore water and sewer on cold nights.
- You can also open the cabinets and drawers near the plumbing so the furnace can heat them a bit better.
- Another tip is to keep a constant drip going, keeps it from freezing a bit longer.

That being said, this all could work if you're expecting to be above freezing most of the time. The desert is cold at night, so moving a few miles away from the park won't do you a whole lot of good.

And remember that this is all at your own risk, freezing damages could get really expensive really fast.

Minor mentions
General RV rentals and discussions
General RV rentals and discussions, thread 2
Tri-state area RV rentals
RV in Banff?
@yehuda's Iceland campervan discussions - begins here and continues on and off for a while
Campers and CC insurance


Pros and cons, from one of @PBaruch's trip reports
Motorhome Pros

1. You have your home wherever you go - easy to cook, shower, and use the restroom;
2. Most of the time you will not need to rent a car - the motorhome is your home and car;
3. If your kid needs to use the bathroom, just find a place to pull over - no hunting for restrooms and no accidents waiting to happen;
4. When you get to a location that has kosher food, you can stock up and keep it in the fridge and freezer;
5. If anyone gets hungry, easy enough to pull over and make some food;
6. No need to hunt for decent hotels each night and no need to unpack for each night and repack the following morning;
7. You have the ability to stay very close to your intended destination for each day instead of sometimes driving for an hour or two from the nearest
    gateway city where your hotel is located;
8. Some campgrounds are lots of fun to stay at - and most have a BBQ pit and picnic table at your campsite.

Motorhome Cons

1. You have your home with you wherever you go - depending on the vehicle length, you cannot take it everywhere and you might have to rent a car, as
    we did, when we visited Sequoia National Park;
2. Can be difficult to drive in urban locations;
3. Have to find campgrounds to stay at each night for an added cost or find a free location (usually without hookups);
4. Have to deal with emptying your waste tanks;
5. They are gas guzzlers - even with relatively cheap gas, it is an added expense;
6. Travel times are longer in a motorhome - you will not be able to drive as fast to your intended destination as you would with a car.

Additional Q&A by @PBaruch
Even though we've been to most of the places in this TR, we've always wanted to try an RV but have found the logistics daunting (it also helps that we have tons of hotel points so almost never pay for lodging), so I'd love some pointers about how to feel secure enough to go ahead with it. Specifically:

Are there any websites or generally good strategies to use to find good deals on RVs, whether 1-way or just cheap rates?
Are there specific RV rental companies that are more reliable, and any to avoid?
Are there any that include unlimited miles as is standard with car rentals?
In hindsight, were there any red flags you missed or questions you wish you had asked to avoid getting an RV Poopypants? :)
Any tips about how to find good places to stay each night?
Did you have prior RV experience, and any advice about how to handle unique RV issues like emptying tanks, leveling, etc., to ensure a successful first experience?
1. I would check with each RV rental company to see if they have any specials.  Here is a partial list:

El Monte 1-way specials
https://www.elmonterv.com/rv-rental/cool-deal-detail/ONE-WAY-SPECIAL/

Great Alaskan Holidays
https://www.greatalaskanholidays.com/alaska-rv-rentals/specials/

Cruise America
https://www.cruiseamerica.com/

Apollo RV
https://www.apollorv.com/reloc.aspx

Road Bear RV
http://www.roadbearrv.com/en/rental-deals
http://www.roadbearrv.com/en/rental-deals/one-way-specials

https://www.imoova.com/

https://www.transfercarus.com/

2.  We have rented from El Monte, Apollo and Great Alaskan, as best as I can recall.  I do not know if there are any to avoid.  We have always had some issues with the rentals but I wouldn't characterize the issues we had as a reason to avoid that company in the future.  @Something Fishy once mentioned reading negative things about Apollo but we did not have any issues when renting from them and, at the time, they were one of the cheapest.

3. I think there are some that do include unlimited miles for an added fee, but you would have to check with each rental company.  Generally, it is not an option.

4. No red flags that I can specifically point out.  All I can say is that I have learned to check all of the major systems of the RV before you take off.  Make sure the AC, generator and refrigerator work.  Check to see that the outlets work.  Make sure the shower and sink work.  Turn on the stove and ovens.  It pays to spend a few extra minutes before you leave to make sure everything works rather than realizing later on and having to call the RV company and try to diagnose the problem.  With this particular 1 way rental, the RV was definitely beat up a lot more than any other rental we had in the past - but then again it was $75 a night.  Other 1-way rentals can be brand spanking new RVs that need to be relocated from the factory to the rental company - so you can really luck out there.

5. We like KOA campgrounds as they are a chain and are fairly consistent throughout.  We have also found other non chain campgrounds that we liked very much.  I'd suggest doing some research about the locations you want to visit.  National parks have some really nice campgrounds but those are often without any hookups.  You can also camp on BLM land for free but again, no hookups.  Info can be found here:  https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/camping.  Another option is to camp at farms, vineyards and breweries by purchasing a membership here:  https://harvesthosts.com/.  The cost is $79 or $119 per year.  Finally, if you are on the road and want a free place to stay for the night, most Walmarts allow you to stay overnight in the parking lot.  This list is by no means exhaustive. 

6.  We started renting RVs without any prior experience - just jumped right in.  The rental company will show you a video before you take off, which will contain a number of useful tips.  There are also many videos on YouTube that you can watch, to learn the basics.  Emptying tanks is not hard at all.  It's not a pleasant job but I don't understand why people make such a big fuss about it.  Likewise, leveling isn't a big deal.  Most RVs you rent do not have auto leveling.  The rental company provides you with one of those bubble levels.  Once you know which side needs to be adjusted, you drive the RV onto one of those small ramps that you are provided with.  I am sure it will be a little daunting your first time out, but once you get the hang of it everything will be fine and you will have a great time.

I hope I answered all of your questions.  If I missed anything, please let me know.

« Last edited by whYME on March 15, 2021, 11:30:31 PM »

Author Topic: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread  (Read 29800 times)

Offline PBaruch

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #60 on: July 31, 2018, 03:46:44 AM »
Iím thinking of taking an RV for a week with wife and 2kids (2 year old and 9month) from NJ. Does anyone have ideas where to go? Also would need a place to be for Shabbos. (I would leave on a Thursday noon)
The week would be a round trip.

Perhaps consider New Hampshire. Check out the New Hampshire thread.
What do you do after your dreams come true?

Offline jose34

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #61 on: July 31, 2018, 06:20:29 AM »
Much better idea would be to fly west (e.g. LA, Vegas, Phoenix, Denver), rent an RV there, and go see the National Parks ;) :D .
Infinitely better than renting from NJ.

+1.

This website has good deals on one way RV's, its seems like its mainly in the west.
http://www.imoova.com/

Offline Therebbesbocher

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #62 on: May 19, 2020, 10:16:49 PM »
is it wishful thinking to try to get a good rate for a one-way rental during august? Does anyone have experience?

Offline Galitzyaner

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #63 on: May 19, 2020, 10:28:53 PM »
is it wishful thinking to try to get a good rate for a one-way rental during august?
Not at all. Though it does depend what region you're thinking of, and from where to where.

I don't know though if/how the pandemic affects this.
Does anyone have experience?
I did it and am hoping to do it again.

Offline Therebbesbocher

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #64 on: May 19, 2020, 10:34:40 PM »
Not at all. Though it does depend what region you're thinking of, and from where to where.

I don't know though if/how the pandemic affects this.I did it and am hoping to do it again.
thanks that's great to hear, i was worried that they don't do it during peak season

I'm pretty flexible, so I'll wait to see what's available during my dates, but hopefully ill be able to get to a few national parks etc. 

Offline Galitzyaner

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #65 on: May 19, 2020, 10:47:50 PM »
but hopefully ill be able to get to a few national parks etc.
Let's just hope that the ones that are open will stay open, and the ones that are currently closed will open very soon.
...and that those states that are still asking arrivals to quarantine (of interest to me for now: Florida, Nevada, Montana, and Idaho) open up ASAP.

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #66 on: May 19, 2020, 11:38:37 PM »
Let's just hope that the ones that are open will stay open, and the ones that are currently closed will open very soon.
...and that those states that are still asking arrivals to quarantine (of interest to me for now: Florida, Nevada, Montana, and Idaho) open up ASAP.

Montana is likely opening up June 1st. I imagine Idaho will follow.
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Offline SSLPhD

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #67 on: May 20, 2020, 04:45:14 AM »
is it wishful thinking to try to get a good rate for a one-way rental during august? Does anyone have experience?
How far is the one-way? Do you plan to do a route that many people do in both directions?  You may get a good rate on the rental itself, but one-way fees could be quite expensive.  Also, are you prepared to disinfect all surfaces?
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Offline Jellybelly

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #68 on: May 20, 2020, 07:38:17 AM »
Can Anyone recommend a specific RV, im looking to drive long distance (round trip)without needing to stop in a hotel. Donít want anything fancy or too big. Has to fit 5 people and have a bathroom on board
Would anyone know how much such a rental would cost? Would hope to rent for 3-5 days

Offline SSLPhD

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #69 on: May 20, 2020, 07:59:25 AM »
Can Anyone recommend a specific RV, im looking to drive long distance (round trip)without needing to stop in a hotel. Donít want anything fancy or too big. Has to fit 5 people and have a bathroom on board
Would anyone know how much such a rental would cost? Would hope to rent for 3-5 days
How big is "too big?" How old are these people?  Kids? You can get something about 25" long, which can work, but might feel cramped. Where are you leaving from? See what big RV renters are in that area and check what their options are. Make sure to check the floor plan, see that there are enough seat belts and beds for your needs.

ETA: you will most likely want a class C.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 08:03:37 AM by SSLPhD »
44/50, 46/63

Offline Jellybelly

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #70 on: May 20, 2020, 09:16:50 AM »
How big is "too big?" How old are these people?  Kids? You can get something about 25" long, which can work, but might feel cramped. Where are you leaving from? See what big RV renters are in that area and check what their options are. Make sure to check the floor plan, see that there are enough seat belts and beds for your needs.

ETA: you will most likely want a class C.
I wouldnít want bigger than sprinter/ mini bus size. Donít think Iíd be comfortable driving anything bigger. Would that be too small for my needs? Would be for for me my wife  and kids under 10

Offline moko

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #71 on: May 20, 2020, 09:32:33 AM »
Looking at doing a trip mid June for 3 weeks. BOS-ORD RT.
The only company available is cruisamerica and it's $200+ per night ($4000+/ 3 weeks).
I can do better through rvshare or outdoorsy but I have some concerns regarding roadside assistance. I don't think I'm comfortable driving half way across the country for 3 weeks without covered roadside assistance.
Anyone have experience using these rvshare type sites?

Offline JudahMcB

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #72 on: May 20, 2020, 09:46:26 AM »
Looking at doing a trip mid June for 3 weeks. BOS-ORD RT.
The only company available is cruisamerica and it's $200+ per night ($4000+/ 3 weeks).
I can do better through rvshare or outdoorsy but I have some concerns regarding roadside assistance. I don't think I'm comfortable driving half way across the country for 3 weeks without covered roadside assistance.
Anyone have experience using these rvshare type sites?

I rented from Outdoorsy last summer for a trip to Watkins Glenn, NY. It was great - much cheaper than Cruise America and a much higher class RV. Plus I was able to pick up the RV much closer to our destination which saved a ton of $$ on mileage and gas. Outdoorsy has different levels of insurance that include roadside assistance if you want. Luckily we didn't need to use it. RV share sites vs. established RV rental sites is the same argument as Airbnb vs. hotels: there is definite value to be had but it can also go horribly wrong. You are taking a risk.  The biggest downside to RV share sites IMHO is they don't do one-ways.

Offline SSLPhD

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #73 on: May 20, 2020, 10:31:59 AM »
I wouldnít want bigger than sprinter/ mini bus size. Donít think Iíd be comfortable driving anything bigger. Would that be too small for my needs? Would be for for me my wife  and kids under 10
A Sprinter wouldn't have room for your family, and would have at most a wet bath.  Look up a Winnebago Outlook 22R.  Something like that is about 25" long.  Shorter will likely not have enough seating/sleeping positions.  Also, are any kids in car seats/boosters?  IME, these 25" class C's have only one forward-facing position that can be used for car seat/booster.
44/50, 46/63

Offline Therebbesbocher

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #74 on: May 20, 2020, 12:26:13 PM »
You may get a good rate on the rental itself, but one-way fees could be quite expensive.
I hope to take advantage of a cruise America one way special, or even better, a Phoenix deal.

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #75 on: May 20, 2020, 01:14:45 PM »
Check out my site for epic kosher adventures: Kosher Horizons

Offline Jellybelly

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #76 on: May 20, 2020, 04:10:26 PM »
One place I just called isnít renting out due to the virus

Offline moish

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #77 on: May 20, 2020, 04:33:29 PM »
Sorry, but it's making me nervous.
" = inches, ' = feet

Offline SSLPhD

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #78 on: May 20, 2020, 04:35:36 PM »
Sorry, but it's making me nervous.
" = inches, ' = feet
Yeah, I meant '.

ETA, I know the difference, and yet I've done it twice.  Now, can someone fix it, please?
44/50, 46/63

Offline Help

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #79 on: May 20, 2020, 11:11:55 PM »
Anyone ever used https://imoova.com/ ?