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imagardener
post Sep 25 2011, 08:30 AM
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What? Rent an RV? Why? (is that what you're thinking?)
Well before we bought our RV we wanted to rent one because we'd never driven one and didn't know anyone that owned one.

CruiseAmerica is where we rented and had our our first RV experience 5 years ago. It was horrible. The RV was old, not clean and the "check engine" light came on when we were far enough away from the rental company to be obnoxious, they wanted us to drive to get it repaired during our weekend rental, no thanks. Since CruiseAmerica is a nationwide franchise this is not a condemnation of all CAmerica locations but we rented in Estero FL just north of Naples and south of Ft. Myers.

The only good thing that came out of that horrible rental was while staying at a campground (Periwinkle Park in Sanibel FL) we met some people driving a Roadtrek van and they showed us their unit and we liked the size. We ended up buying a similar conversion van and have been happily RV'ing for the last 4 years.

BUT...we live in SW Florida and would love to skip the 4-5 days each way travel time to get to California or Utah. In short we'd love to find a great RV rental in California or Utah or Colorado, etc.
And even better would be if they rented conversion vans like ours.

Internet searches don't come with many trustworthy reviews. I was thrilled to find a conversion van rental in St. George Utah, yippee, and then my husband looked and they don't appear to have air-conditioning units other than in-dashboard. What? We're planning to be there in the height of summer. Please don't tell me we don't need A/C. We did a 7,000 mile trip to that area in 2010 (NE Utah, NE/NW New Mexico, N Arizona) and we sure did need A/C.

Any suggestions with personal recommendation is welcomed!
And bad reviews are also informative. I'm going to post second message right after this with my review of a rental RV we just did in Anchorage AK (didn't want to drive there from Florida either lol).

Thanks for any/all replies

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imagardener
post Sep 25 2011, 03:56 PM
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RV Rental August 2011
Anchorage Alaska
Great Alaskan Holidays

I'll use RV Park reviews rating system to give Great Alaskan Holidays a 9 out of 10 rating even though we came very close to leaving their office and canceling our contract after arriving in Anchorage.
I made the reservation several months in advance and over those months made date changes, added more days to our rental and changed the size of our rental. All these changes were met with universal good manners from their staff and prompt email confirmations. This is an exceptionally well-run business.

So why did we almost cancel? When you arrive on site you are led to a small TV room where you are asked to watch a 20 minute or less video. Now we are RV owners of 4 years although not Winnebago which the rentals are. The video is not designed to acquaint you with how to work the RV, it's sole purpose is to tell you all the things that can go wrong and that you will be financially responsible for even if you take out their CDW insurance. I didn't even have to look at my husband to know his thoughts. When the salesman returned he (husband) said calmly "We will not be doing this." It took about a half hour of discussion to come to terms with everything and long story short we rented it after all. To this day I am amazed that people who have never driven an RV before have the guts to take one out on the road. It's a nice vehicle but complicated and not easy-peasy to operate. For example, we by-passed more than one gas station because of the difficulty factor of vehicle vs. space available.

Their Winnebago rentals are new, absolutely clean and they are identical to about 100 other rental Winnebago's you see everywhere you go. At Denali National Park there were so many in the parking lot my husband almost got back in the wrong one, lol. Make sure you look at your license plate to remember which one is yours.

We returned our rental after 9 days of exploration with no physical mishaps at all and wondered how nit picky they would be on return. Not at all. Renters are required to remove all food before turn-in which we did but you aren't charged for gas or propane use (it's rented with a full tank) and you don't need to clean it.

I doubt if we will choose to rent a 28' RV again but it was necessary in order to have that many sleeping spaces. Alaska, from Denali north down to Homer is very RV friendly. Anchorage downtown is drivable also but their tourism office needs to publicize where RV parking is available.
We found a spot in the downtown lot (near the Hilton) that says vehicles over 20' prohibited but a lot employee told us that RV's can be parked on the north side nearest the train station. Backing in makes it work and $1/hr. is a bargain. See my review of the Gold Nugget RV park Anchorage for more info.

We didn't use this service but Great Alaskan will also pick-up renters at the airport and also allow them to stay on their lot in the rental RV until their return flight leaves. All in all one of the most customer friendly places I've ever used.


Now...please if you've ever rented an RV PLEASE leave a review here or tell me where I can find such reviews. We REALLY want to visit Utah and California and Colorado but the 4-5 day trip times 2 (both ways) makes us want to fly there and rent versus driving ours.

Tell us who NOT to rent from or which dealer was great to rent from.
Thanks in advance.
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chowhound
post Oct 2 2011, 09:18 PM
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I am sorry to hear you had a bad experience with CruiseAmerica, I have only rented an RV one time, several years ago. That is the RV rental company I used. I rented it to visit the giant redwoods in California. It was a fairly new class C that slept 8. We had 6 adults and two children. We picked it up in the San Fernando valley (outside Los Angeles). We were given a walking tour of the vehicle (how do you do this) type of tour, signed our papers and were on our way in about an hour and a half start to finish. It was stocked with everthing but food and clothing. We loaded suitcases stopped at walmart on the way out and were set. We had no problems with the vehicle for the week we used it. Return was easy, they simply checked gas and a walk through and credited the credit card for the deposit.

Shortly after this experience we purchased our first RV and haven't rented one since. I can understand your reluctance to drive to California (4 or 5 days, I believe you said) but I would tell you there is a lot to see between here and there no matter where you are coming from, and the amount you save on airline tickets and RV rental will buy alot of gas or diesel and pay for the Cgs along the way.

If you just can't take the time then perhaps fly and rental is the way to go, in which case I personally had no complaints with CruiseAmerica in Southern California.
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RFCN2
post Oct 3 2011, 07:43 PM
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We rented a number of times before buying about 7 years ago. We used cruise america twice and had good luck. The one 25' we got from them about 12 years ago to do the San Francisco - Crater Lake - and back loop was one of the best all around RVs we ever drove. It was brand new when we picked it up.

The last couple of RVs we rented were from Norm's RV rentals in Poway California. That is fairly close to San Diego. We got a very good 31' class C from them and a terrible 32' class A. They are on the internet.

You might consider looking through Craig's list for Utah or Las Vegas for RV rentals. Sometimes individuals have their own RVs for rent in them. Or you might consider giving CAmerica another try. The other big RV renter out west is El Monte RVs.

Bob


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Florida Native
post Oct 3 2011, 10:19 PM
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We rented from a local dealer before deciding to buy, It was great. When we were at the Winne factory last year, they had 1100 new coaches that were going to be delivered to Great Alaskan Holidays. We talked with some of the folks and they had done it several time. They got the RV at a small price and had 11 days to go the 3500 miles. Most actually rented and additional week. The supplied the gas. They had from 26 to 30 ft Class C. Very impressive to see them all out in a field. They stay one night at Winne as a checkout, get anything fixed and then leave on a staged basis with the customer choosing the route. We ran into one out at Teddy Roosevelt National Park South and talked with therm a bit. They don't own an RV yet, but do this every year until they retire. The units are all brand new and generally have the Mercedes engine. They come equipped with pots, pans, and most everything but linens.


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Fitzjohnfan
post Oct 3 2011, 10:55 PM
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You mentioned Colorado so I'll suggest you check out B&B RV Rental if you need one in the Denver area:
http://www.bb-rv.com/
My company has used them in the past when we needed coaches to travel to hurricane areas to do disaster restoration work. They have good customer service and a good variety of rigs to choose from with reasonable prices. I don't know if they have any conversion vans, but you can check.

We are currently using them to house a family who was displaced out of their home due to fire.

There is also a CruiseAmerica outlet in Denver, but I can't vouch good or bad for their service.



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imagardener
post Oct 5 2011, 10:33 AM
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Thanks all for your replies, very helpful.

I'm glad to hear that CruiseAmerica can be a good choice, I guess it depends on the local franchisee and we had a lousy one. Too bad, it gives the company a bad name.

fitzjohnfan-thanks so much, I'll be checking out that rental place for sure. Colorado is on our wish list, plus Wyoming Yellowstone and the other Utah parks we haven't seen yet (been to Arches and it was AWESOME).

I'll keep checking back here from time to time in case anyone else has recommendations.
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dementinator
post Oct 17 2011, 02:22 PM
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QUOTE(imagardener @ Oct 5 2011, 10:33 AM) *

Thanks all for your replies, very helpful.

I'm glad to hear that CruiseAmerica can be a good choice, I guess it depends on the local franchisee and we had a lousy one. Too bad, it gives the company a bad name.

fitzjohnfan-thanks so much, I'll be checking out that rental place for sure. Colorado is on our wish list, plus Wyoming Yellowstone and the other Utah parks we haven't seen yet (been to Arches and it was AWESOME).

I'll keep checking back here from time to time in case anyone else has recommendations.


I am from the UK and take a 3 to 4 week RV trip every year, have done since 1992 and of course have to rent an RV, I have used Cruise America twice but that was more than 12 years ago, these days they seem to be a giant advertising hoarding on wheels with stupid graphics all over the RV.

So, I now use Elmonte RV and have done since 1997, I currently rent their family sleeper AF34, its not cheap, but this year we had a 2011 36ft Fleetwood Fiesta 34B, less than 20,000 on the clock and in superb condition, last year we had a brand new Hurricane 36 footer, it didnt even have licence plates, just a reg slip in the winshield and under 2000 miles on the odometer.

I have found Elmonte to be superb in all aspects if you are looking for late model and high quality RVs with TVs , DVDs multi slides etc, I used to use the Los Angeles depot but currently use the Las Vegas one, but have used others too.

As said, they are probably not the cheapest out there, I get a rate of around $6000 for 21nights with the large A class family sleeper including unlimited miles, ALL insurances, taxes and kits etc, but I cant recomend them enough, in 20 years never had a major fault with any of the vehicles I a have rented from them.

I also see a lot of Roadbear Rvs and Camping world rentals too...
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RFCN2
post Oct 17 2011, 07:39 PM
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I saw quite a few RVs for rent from private parties on Craig's list when I was shopping for a class A two years ago. You might look up the local area where you want to rent and check under RVs.


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imagardener
post Oct 18 2011, 11:39 AM
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Thanks for the craigslist suggestions but we prefer the reliability of a rental business with multiple vehicles available rather than a private rental. Too much worry about flying into a place and whoops they changed their mind or sold it or whatever and no backup plan.

dementinator
thanks for the thumbs-up for ElMonte. I've seen their name but also some bad reviews. Good to hear a good one also. 20 years is a good long relationship, longer than many marriages :-)
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dementinator
post Oct 19 2011, 12:56 PM
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QUOTE(imagardener @ Oct 18 2011, 11:39 AM) *

Thanks for the craigslist suggestions but we prefer the reliability of a rental business with multiple vehicles available rather than a private rental. Too much worry about flying into a place and whoops they changed their mind or sold it or whatever and no backup plan.

dementinator
thanks for the thumbs-up for ElMonte. I've seen their name but also some bad reviews. Good to hear a good one also. 20 years is a good long relationship, longer than many marriages :-)


Your welcome, I speak as I find and I have had few problems with them over the years, the only less than wonderful RV I had was one I rented in 2003 from the New Jersey depot in Linden, that was a 12 month old Hurricane that had been hammered and the levelling jacks didnt work, they gave me a discount and I drove it over 3000 miles without further incedent, it was a little tatty and that particular depot wasnt the best I have used of theres.

I think there are some depots better than others, the boys and girls in Vegas have been great and also the folks at the big depot in LA on Firestone Blvd too, try call that depot and speak to Simone or Stephen for more info.

You only get bad reviews on the net and very few good ones, if folks have had problems they are very quick to voice them, but not so much when nothing goes wrong.

I have have come to expect that rental RVs can lead a hard life in a short space of time, I myself treat them very carefully indeed, they are expensive vehicles, but not everyone does and some sort of wear or minor damage is to be expected, I once had, back in 1998 a brand new 36ft Bounder that had less than 3000mls on the clock and someone had stubbed a cigarette out on the toilet basin and melted it, it made me mad to think people can care so little.

Be very clear on pickup what damage is on the RV at that time and its good practice to take some pics if need be, it stops any arguments on return.

To give you some idea what happens when damage occurs, Elmone have a $1000 deductable and this september I sadly scraped the side on a well hidden camp ground ornament I couldnt see, the damage wasnt huge but the water heater door was scrap and some scratches on the side around that area, upon return I pointed out what happened and the manager (of the Las vegas depot) came out and looked, some time later he returned with a sheet itemised with the cost of repairs inc a new door at $50 (I checked online before return and they were around $45 plus tax) it cam to around $400 inc paint, labor etc and I thought that was more than fair, no extra charges just what I would of expected to pay had I taken it to a bodyshop myself, all proffessionally printed and no silly arguments, they felt guilty about the amount and waved the $30 airport shuttle fee for me.

So, I still remain a happy customer, I also realise things can go wrong, RVs can break down, even well maintained new ones and life is like that, I can also suffer brain farts and scrape me RV, it happens.

20 years and one heater door and one passenger mirror in Vancouver, not too bad me thinks in over 100,000 miles or so, look out for next year!!!
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movannernz
post Nov 1 2011, 02:24 AM
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QUOTE(imagardener @ Sep 26 2011, 03:30 AM) *

What? Rent an RV? Why? (is that what you're thinking?)
Well before we bought our RV we wanted to rent one because we'd never driven one and didn't know anyone that owned one.

CruiseAmerica is where we rented and had our our first RV experience 5 years ago. It was horrible. The RV was old, not clean and the "check engine" light came on when we were far enough away from the rental company to be obnoxious, they wanted us to drive to get it repaired during our weekend rental, no thanks. Since CruiseAmerica is a nationwide franchise this is not a condemnation of all CAmerica locations but we rented in Estero FL just north of Naples and south of Ft. Myers.

The only good thing that came out of that horrible rental was while staying at a campground (Periwinkle Park in Sanibel FL) we met some people driving a Roadtrek van and they showed us their unit and we liked the size. We ended up buying a similar conversion van and have been happily RV'ing for the last 4 years.

BUT...we live in SW Florida and would love to skip the 4-5 days each way travel time to get to California or Utah. In short we'd love to find a great RV rental in California or Utah or Colorado, etc.
And even better would be if they rented conversion vans like ours.

Internet searches don't come with many trustworthy reviews. I was thrilled to find a conversion van rental in St. George Utah, yippee, and then my husband looked and they don't appear to have air-conditioning units other than in-dashboard. What? We're planning to be there in the height of summer. Please don't tell me we don't need A/C. We did a 7,000 mile trip to that area in 2010 (NE Utah, NE/NW New Mexico, N Arizona) and we sure did need A/C.

Any suggestions with personal recommendation is welcomed!
And bad reviews are also informative. I'm going to post second message right after this with my review of a rental RV we just did in Anchorage AK (didn't want to drive there from Florida either lol).

Thanks for any/all replies

Hi imagardener, i2amagardener

We live in New Zealand and have a Roadbear booked out of Las Vegas in May for 64days, I found very good reviews on www.ideamerge.com we did not use this company for our booking though. We are using USandCanadatravel.com Hope this helps.


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imagardener
post Nov 1 2011, 08:34 AM
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Hi movannernz

Thanks for your reply, I read your other thread and did indeed look up roadbear.rv since they offer one-way rentals and we could pick up in Las Vegas/Denver and drop-off at Las Vegas/Denver depending on which way we drove. The quoted price wasn't too bad per week with early discounts but they don't include any miles in their quote (unlike other RV rentals) which adds on some $$$.

We are still undecided about flying/renting rather than driving our RV there which will take us about 6 days to get there (and 6 back). Leaning towards our own RV because of how much we hate flying (just had a miserable flight from Florida-Vancouver and Anchorage to Florida, sardines in a can).

We love living in Florida but it is a long way from the rest of the US.

Hope you have a WONDERFUL trip. We love RV travel, nothing else comes close to pure enjoyment in travel.
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Alessandro
post Sep 12 2012, 03:57 AM
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It's touching to read how MH owners are devoted to their RV. I can imagine their feelings that they are reluctant renting their precious motorhome out. I am Dutch and have made 4 long RV trips; the latter trip in May, June and July this year. We have always rented A-Class Winnebago 32' from RoadBear in LA and SF. This year for the first time through private motorhome rental.

We traveled in a 38' dieselpusher Countryman from 2006, rented from a private owner We started in Newhall, CA and made a trip of 6,500 miles to Bisbee, AZ and all the way up north to South Dakota and we crossed 11 states. We had to see the Cummins workshop close to Denver, CO as the inline filter was clogged! They told me, that this filter should have been replaced long ago! So, this can happen to a renter, too! They repaired it and the owner payed this with the creditcard on the phone. In Salt Lake City the roof AC of the living broke down. No way of finding the right model, but the owner found a new one and came all the way from California to SLC! He fixed it and we could proceed with our trip. What a customer service!

Further we had a wonderful trip and the owner sent us later an email, that no renter had ever returned the MH so clean as we had done! Why? Because we lived in this rig for almost 8 weeks and treated this as if it was our own. We even put wax on the outside to make it look as new!

The insurance was through BlueSky, but we could have done this through MBA, too. Easy to do and the cost is between $35 and $45 per day.

If I would have been an owner, I would feel rather uncomfortable someone with the experience of a private car or maybe a C-Class RV renting my motorhome. And what about the difference in behaviour on the roads in Europe and the USA. Easy does it on the US roads. I drive 45' coaches weekly in The Netherlands and that surely helps.

It is still strange that anyone with a "standard" drivers licence can drive a huge motorhome in the USA.

Having said all this, we will definitely rent another dieselpusher again to explore another part of the continent, probably the east coast. But we will study very well the reviews and recommendations the owner can provide us. He is taking some risk with renting out his MH, but we are taking some risks, too. A bad rental will totally spoil our vacation!
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DXSMac
post Sep 12 2012, 08:57 AM
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I just know about this, don't have any experience with it. In Washington State, there is a business called "Trailers 2 Go." I saw them when I was camphosting at a State Park. Neat little service. You rent the trailer, tell them where you want to camp, they deliver it, they set it up, you just show up in your car. They also take it down and take it back. The only issue I had with them is that someone rented the trailer as "Smith" and then rented the campsite as "Jones" and when Trailers 2 Go showed up to deliver the trailer, we had a bit of a mix up. But we managed to get it settled before the people who rented the trailers showed up. I suggested to the Trailers 2 Go people that they suggest that the same name be used on the campground and trailer reservation, but the owner acted like, "not my problem."

But other than that, seemed like a neat little service. You can google it.


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JJ from Pacific Northwest

Check out my blog on TOADLESS RVing!
http://rvingtoadless.blogspot.com/

Feel free to leave me some suggestions.
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