I was speaking to someone with psychic abilities at the end of last year, and she told me I would not go on a vacation in 2020 but could see some weekend getaways. I was surprised, because all we had planned was the opposite – a one week road trip through California. Who knew 2020 would be the year we really started to embrace the joy of a weekend in Nowhere?
Markus and I have always been fascinated by schoolie bus RV conversions and tiny house living, so we booked an RV AirBnB-style, determined to make a spontaneous plan on where to take it. Other than one night i spent in one as a child, we had zero prior experience with one. I think what we agree on the most is that we are people of the road.
There’s so many things we loved about renting with Outdoorsy and so many things happened that we weren’t expecting. We ended up taking it to the Big Bend National Park/Terlingua area, which is so beautiful and completely empty at the end of August. If you’re thinking about taking one for a spin, here’s what we’d pass along!
WHAT WE LOVE
I think the thing I loved best about taking an RV on a road trip over our car is the freedom in planning the drive. I’ve planned thousands of miles of family road trips over the past few years and it can get tight trying to beat a check-in time for a hotel reservation when the drive takes a scenic detour. This trip had a unique start as we got news of a death in the family while we were leaving. After driving to our dinner stop, we opted to tuck in for the night and we had no trouble finding overnight parking.
It was also great to be able to stop and make lunch, eat and even shower all while parked without having to plan meals around what’s the best available in the area, etc. (my plans to picnic are always thwarted or overruled). I feel like we really started to let go of our grip on the itinerary and explore instead.
From the passenger perspective, the driving experience for kids is amazing. Our girl is a trooper on long roadtrips, but typically I can’t rotate and sit by her in the back for a while because our car is packed full. I had the best time drawing with her and folding our table area into a big sofa and reading. The driving felt a lot more like its own experience which made getting out of town for just the weekend that much more memorable.
YOUR OWN LITTLE CORNER
With COVID (but really in general), we love a good hotel but are not hotel people. Our family is just a leaning tower of creature comforts that require a space of our own. We like our coffee a certain way, our things put up in their place and dinner at home. While we love vacation rentals, it’s easy for us to end up with (and pay for) more space than the three of us need. This was a great balance for us.
WHAT TO KNOW
In fantasy, when browsing an RV rental website like Outdoorsy it feels like someone is going to just hand you the keys when you walk up and then immediately set you free on the road. For our weekend trip, we needed to factor in time for the pick up, 90 minute driving lesson and overview, return of our car home and packing the RV before we could head out. While it was all important and came in handy, we didn’t realize that would all be a part of it until pretty close to our trip since it was our first time.
SOMEONE CALL MAINTENANCE
One thing we didn’t consider at all was what happens if something goes wrong! At a hotel, of course, you call the front desk and most Airbnb-style rentals have local maintenance that comes out quickly. When we had some issues with our A/C (totally unsuspected by us and the owner, as it was a 2020 model), the troubleshooting by text and over the phone with the owners was workable in the end but not exactly a peak vacation experience for a while there. In the end, the owners were super understanding and easy to work with, but us being the leader of that operation instead of making a phone call before we went out for the day, like we could at a typical hotel or rental, was a new experience.
Overall? I think you gotta try it! It’s so fun to see each other get excited now when we’re driving around town and see an RV. We’ve lived that dream and loved it. I really can’t wait to do it again. If you decide to try Outdoorsy for your rental, you can use our referral for $50 off.
Do you have any crazy RV experiences or tips?