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Driving an RV in the United States

Travelling with an RV in the US banner

If you are new to driving an RV in the United States, you may be unsure about the process. Many customers also have concerns about whether the vehicles are difficult to drive. We have put together a quick guide to help you prepare for your first RV holiday in the US.

Where can I camp with my RV?

RV rentals parked at the campground in the US

The good news is, you will have plenty of options for camping in the United States. For those driving smaller vehicles without kitchen and bathroom facilities, it is a good idea to stay at an RV park, where all these amenities will be provided. There are generally RV parks at most major tourist sites, as well as surrounding cities and towns across the country. 

If you are planning on visiting any national parks, you will find they also offer campgrounds. However, these are generally not powered sites. Many still offer bathroom facilities however. You'll find campgrounds at popular national parks such as the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Yosemite in California and Denali in Alaska. 

Read more about US RV parks and campgrounds.

Winterizing the RV

When temperatures are forecast to be below 35 degrees, the RV rental company will winterize the vehicle before you collect it. This is a process that involves draining all the water from the vehicle and pumping the system with anti-freeze. This is a precautionary measure to protect the vehicle's plumbing system against freezing conditions.

  • If you encounter unexpected freezing conditions, you should keep the water heater running at all times to try and minimize the damage caused to the plumbing system.

Read more about winterizing your RV.

How do I empty waste water from the vehicle?

If you are unsure, make sure you ask a representative from the motorhome rental company about how you empty waste water from the vehicle. You'll need to find a designated dump station, where you will also be able to refill the water tank.

The process of emptying waste water from the vehicle is simple enough. Simply plug one side of the waste water hose into the side of the rv, and the other into the drain.

Read more about how to empty waste water from your RV.

Travel restrictions

It is important that you check the terms and conditions of your rental agreement, and ask counter staff if there are any travel restrictions that apply to your rental. You are not permitted to take your RV off paved roads at any time, and restrictions may apply to international travel into Canada and Mexico.

If you are planning to visit Death Valley, Manhattan, Alaska, Mexico or Northern Canada, other restrictions may also apply.

Read more about travel restrictions. 

Driving Tips

For people who are new to driving RVs, it can be a bit challenging. With a little patience, caution and practice you should have no trouble traveling by RV. We've put together a few basic driving tips to help you prepare for your journey:

  • When turning, you will need to do so more slowly and allow more space alongside the curb than you would in a car. Remember that larger vehicles do not turn as easily. 
  • Make sure you know the height of your RV. There may be some low-clearance bridges that you are unable to pass underneath.
  • When you're just starting out with driving your RV, it is safer to maintain slower speeds. As you may not be used to driving larger vehicles, it will take some time to adjust.
  • You'll need to keep the vehicle in a lower gear while going up hills. Keep to the right hand lane and allow other vehicles to pass you.
  • Heavy vehicles pick up speed more easily when traveling downhill. You will need to be careful with accelerating. 
 Important:

While driving your RV

Most importantly, keep a slower speed and take extra caution when turning corners, parking and traveling on hills. If you are unsure of any of the features of your RV, make sure you ask a representative at the rental depot before you leave. There are a few processes you will need to be aware of, such as emptying waste water from the vehicle.
 
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