On the road
Sleeping space: The length of an RV has nothing to do with how many people it will sleep. Some “family units” have one or two sets of bunk beds, which are most comfortable for kids and short adults. Ditto for convertible dinettes.
Buckle up: Laws differ from state to state on whether you’re required to wear a seat belt while traveling in an RV, so be sure to ask.
Mileage: Ask if mileage is included in the price of your rental. Brambillas of Shakopee required a weeklong rental, which cost $2,945 with 700 free miles. Each additional mile was 25 cents. We drove 2,803 miles, so paid an additional $525.75 for 2,103 miles that weren’t included. Our rig had several problems, including a loose wire on the main TV/DVD player and exterior cargo compartments that kept popping up while underway, so we received a $250 credit. I didn’t keep track of our fuel mileage, but with the generator also sipping off the tank, we estimate that gas cost about $1,000.
Generators: Most rigs have a generator that provides power when the vehicle isn’t running and you don’t have access to power. We used our generator for 52.4 hours, which resulted in a $105 upcharge, not including gas.
Gas or diesel? If you’re traveling through particularly steep terrain, try to rent a rig with a diesel engine. You’ll have more power and it’ll be a much more enjoyable ride.
Class A or C? If you’re traveling with a group through scenery worth seeing, rent a Class A, which looks like a bus and has a much larger front window. Class C vehicles are smaller and drive more like a van, but they usually have a sleeping bunk above the cab that makes it more difficult for anyone other than one passenger to see what’s ahead.
On the river
Fisher Towers overnight Colorado River trips cost $275 for adults and $250 for youths. My experience with Splore, which collaborates with the Salt Lake City-based National Ability Center, was perfect in every way. Both are nonprofits that offer a range of adventures from stand-up paddleboarding to snowshoeing. More information at splore.org and 1-801-484-4128.