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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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