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RVing with Alice and Jaimie

Book Review
RV Rentals: A Vacationer's Guide
, reviewed by Alice Zyetz

RV Rentals

With RV Rentals: A Vacationer's Guide, anybody can rent an RV successfully just by following each chapter in this easy-to-use resource. No prior experience is necessary. Authors Dave and Kay Corby expand upon the general overview of RV rentals I described in a previous column to prepare the RV novice for the complete experience. A practical book, the authors talk directly to the reader and explain the entire process literally from start to finish in a clear, well-organized format. An added bonus is a series of checklists to use for each step. They have also sprinkled forty money-saving suggestions throughout the book.

The authors begin with the reasons for participating in the RV lifestyle: exploring our beautiful country, ease of taking the family and pets along, going to a special event, and testing out whether you might like to purchase an RV. Right from the beginning, the Corbys clearly present all sides of each question. Although the press releases from the RVIA (RV Industry Association) compare the cost savings of RV vacations to other types of vacations, the authors point out that the people who might rent an RV might not be the ones sunning themselves in Monte Carlo at the most expensive resort.

The Corbys display a sense of humor throughout the book. A section titled "You might be an RVer if you prefer being outside watching a sunset to watching an inside floor show." On the other hand, "You might Not be an RVer if your idea of roughing it is when room service fails to answer on the first ring."

The following chapters deal with the RV itself. Do you want to rent a vehicle where you live and drive to your destination? Do you want to drive one way, drop off the RV and fly home? Do you want to fly first and then drive? At all the issues are examined, including, of course, the costs involved. There may be a $500 drop-off charge, for example, and one-way tickets may cost more than round-trip tickets. A test outing is recommended: rent an RV for a weekend near home.

Another section describes the types of vehicles available for rent and their relative costs. Generally, motorhome have advantages over trailers. The book presents a variety of considerations to help you decide which motorhome is appropriate: availability, number in party, cost, living space, and ease of driving.

Chapter Five is critical. In great detail, the authors present the costs included in rental contracts, especially the hidden costs. What does the base fee include? What is the mileage arrangement? What about insurance? These and other money issues are addressed. With the advice in this book, you will know what questions to ask dealers so you can evaluate who will give you the best deal. They also give money-savings tips like suggesting that you check for "specials" or ask about costs savings if you are flexible in your choice of time periods or model of RV. Should you choose a large chain or go with smaller independent dealers? Two excellent worksheets are provided to help you make a rational decision.

The next chapter reminds readers about the two aspects of RV traveling that are different from their previous experiences-finding campgrounds and adapting driving techniques to handle an RV. The two fine annually-updated directories that provide excellent information about campgrounds and RV parks are Trailer Life and Woodalls. Click here for more information. A good overall site for finding information about public and private campgrounds is Rvnetlinx.com. Some of the common mistakes RV renters make are driving too fast, driving for too long, and forgetting about the extra width, length, height and weight of the vehicle.

In Chapter Seven, the Corbys unlock the mysteries of RV systems: sanitation, water, propane and electrical, including the generator. In the book, the authors provide resources and advice that will enable you to be a competent RVer in no time.

The critical chapter in this part of the book is the pre-trip orientation from the dealer with a complete checklist to remind you of all the details involved. Advice is given on how to park at the campground where "your unit seems to grow by a factor of at least 2 X . . . while the campsites seem to shrink by a factor of 2X when approached by an RV." For more on these kinds of issues, check out Mark Hemlinger's column about operating a rental vehicle safely.

RV Rentals ends with segments on returning the rig to the dealer, traveling with pets and people with special needs. Finally, the appendix provides thirty pages of worksheets and checklists to assist the reader.

Dave and Kay Corby must have had their own incredible checklist for writing this book because they didn't omit ANYTHING. If you've been wondering about the RV lifestyle, don't hesitate any longer! Read this book, rent an RV, and hit the road. You won't regret it.

Alice Zyetz
7/1/07

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