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  1. Default Would love ideas!!! Renting an RV for the 1st time from Chicago for 6 days with kids.


    My husband and I are renting an RV next Tuesday until Sunday (6 days) with kids ages 15, 11 and 8. We have no idea where to start and where to end. Would love some suggestions. We would like to make stops along that way of things we have not seen (we do not take road trips often so I am sure anything you suggest we have not seen) and have an ending point maybe 10/12 hours away.

    Has anyone ever done something like this and can share their interary? Or, can someone send us suggestions?

    Thank you so much!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Noting that you only have 6 days, and this will be your first time renting an RV, I'd recommend staying closer to home than you probably think. It will take you longer to get on the road than you think after picking up the RV, travel will be slower than you think, it will take you longer than you think to set up, etc. The point being, what google says is 10-12 hours away is really probably 2 days on the road.

    Being that the best use of an RV is for nature, I'd be looking for good places for nature more like 6-8 hours away from Chicago tops.

    One spot that would be worth taking a look at would be Michigan. Sleeping Bear Dunes, Traverse City, maybe a daytrip to Mackinaw Island (no cars allowed), or Sault Ste Marie. There would be plenty to do for 3-4 days, and still manageable drives.There are also plenty of things you could do in West Michigan on your way there and back.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kmrubin View Post

    My husband and I are renting an RV next Tuesday until Sunday (6 days)
    NOPE. FOUR days!

    You’re likely scheduled for an afternoon pick up. It’s not like renting a car. As a newbie, orientation and vehicle inspection should take a couple hours. If they have orientation videos available online, I strongly suggest you watch them. During orientation, TEST everything they show you to make sure it works and that you understand it all. Look carefully outside for and dents and damage that you might be blamed for later. Take photos and make sure they write it ALL down on both copies of the paperwork! You’ll probably get on the road around 4pm and find a campground around 8pm. There goes Tuesday.

    Most likely, the RV will have to be returned Sunday before noon. So, there goes Sunday. Also, you’ll probably be camping within 100 miles of your return location so some of Saturday will be driving.

    So, in reality, your 6 day vacation is 4 full days.

  4. Default

    Take a screwdriver if they don’t supply one. EVERY time I rented an RV, something has come loose, especially cabinet hinges. Cheap construction is the name of the game!

    Take disposable gloves to make dumping less unpleasant. Watch the movie RV for Robin Williams in the hilarious Dumping scene.

    Take along a handheld GPS or download the free geocaching app and search for one of the millions of geocaches hidden all over the earth. Just search for that word.

    Bring a broom if one doesn’t come with the RV!

    When inspecting the RV, make sure all of the outer storage door latches actually work. Sometimes they’ve rattled loose or even fallen apart.

    Problems I’ve experienced:
    Broken cargo latches
    Cabinet doors falling off
    Faucets falling apart!
    Fans not working
    Lights not working
    Missing/torn curtains
    Fridge Complete failure
    Fridge Inside thermostat fell off
    Rattles everywhere!!!
    Folding bed falling apart
    Dinette table falling apart
    Missing tire air gauge
    Bath door falling off hinges

    Like I said, look over everything!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Some quick tips when pick-up the RV

    Quote Originally Posted by kmrubin View Post
    Or, can someone send us suggestions?
    Thank you so much!!!
    In addition to these great suggestions, I suggest you take five minutes and read Mark H.'s overview of things to think about when picking up a Rental RV.

    Operating Your Rental RV Safely,
    by Mark Helmlinger

  6. Default

    You have received some really good information here so far. I'm not that familiar with the east as I am with the west so I can't make any destination recommendations.

    I would however recommend you make camping reservations once you decide where you want to go. This might also determine where you can go! RV'ing during the pandemic has greatly increased because it's seen as a safer way to travel. I know here in the west you need to make reservations well in advance so you might be limited to where you can go at this late date.

    Another thing to consider is what kind of campground you want. If you want to be able to use all the creature comforts of the RV like the air conditioner, microwave, TV, etc, you will either want a campground with full hook ups or check the generator hours at places that don't have full hook ups. One of our favorite campgrounds in Utah is what is known as dry camping, while they have paved spots, tables, fire rings, rest rooms and a dump station there are no hook ups and they have generator hours that are strictly enforced. They only allow 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening. Every place is different so if you want to dry camp, please make sure you know the generator hours.

    I have know idea what the weather is going to be like in your area but if it's going to be hot in the evening you will probably want a spot with at leasts electrical hook ups so you can run the air conditioner. Most places, even dry camping, have quiet hours that usually start at 10 PM so no generators after that.

    We loved camping/RVing with our boys when they were young. Have FUN!


  7. Default

    Wisconsin Dells is a relatively short drive away. I haven’t been there in years but I remember a lot of fun tourist traps. Our family thoroughly enjoyed camping at Jellystone Park. I remember tons of activities for kids, it as I said, I haven’t been there in years.

    The “Duck Boat Rides” were a lot of fun.

    And yes. Get reservations! Don’t leave home without them.

    Also be aware that driving around and trying to park an RV in a congested city is not fun, or at times even possible! Check if your campground offers shuttle service. Of course, there’s always taxis or ride share services.

    Here is a link to Jellystone. It is a gigantic campground.
    Last edited by travelingman; 06-24-2020 at 08:36 AM. Reason: Multiple copies

  8. Default

    Looks like they are still taking reservations for your time period. They have activities from 9am to 9pm daily and your campsite seems to include admission to their waterpark.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I enjoy the Dells, but there's no way in hell I would go there this year. Lets just say it's a germ factory when there isn't a pandemic, and I would be shocked if even 25% of the people there are doing just the basic, common sense things like social distancing and wearing masks. Some of the worst examples of "the court lifted the restrictions so the disease must be gone" have been seen there.

    Jellystone isn't really my thing either - the one in the Dells is right next to the Interstate. I suppose if you wanted the RV to go to a resort campground it would work, but if that's what you're going for, I'd skip renting the RV and just book rooms at any of the resorts with their own waterparks. There are several very nice state parks near the dells, like Mirror Lake, that do have nice campgrounds, that would allow you easy access to the dells, but still keep you in a peaceful environment at the end of the day.

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