RV Rental Pick-up
When you rent an RV in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc,
pick-up or return is typically not possible directly at airports,
city centers (i.e. downtowns) or rail stations; it usually must occur at the rental depot itself.
Chiefly for insurance reasons this constraint is more or less an industry standard.
The RV rental depot personnel must explain to you in detail how the RV and its equipment function.
The setting and facilities of the depot itself make such explanation possible.
The pick-up procedure takes nearly one hour and usually involves a video presentation.
Ask questions to resolve any doubts you might have about the rental and operation of the motorhome.
In continental Europe it's not standard for the rental companies to offer airport shuttles,
and if they do they typically charge for them. In Scandinavia the rental companies typically do offer free transport from and to
the airport but they charge for transport from or to city locations or very distant airports. When you rent a RV in the USA
or Canada it is quite standard for rental companies to offer free airport transport but only within a small, standard time window. If the rental you
are interested in does not include free shuttle transfer, take solace in the fact that if it did it's price would naturally
be higher to accommodate that cost, and it's easier to jump in one or another taxi than to track down a particular shuttle.
Most rental companies account for cost according to standard pick-up and return times
so that most vehicles can be prepared during regular business hours and delivered to a client on the same day that
the vehicle is returned by the previous client. Thus the rental company doesn't lose out on renting that vehicle
for that night. This accounting is analogous to that used by the hotel industry, where the standard is for afternoon
check-in (RV pick-up) and morning check-out (RV return). As such, many RV rental companies account by "nights" rather
than "days". A non-standard, morning pick-up would thus entail charge for the previous night. And a non-standard, afternoon
return would entail charge for that night. Similarly, if a rental depot is closed on Sundays,
a Monday morning pick-up might entail charge not only for the preceding Sunday night but also for the preceding Saturday night,
this because the vehicle must be prepped on Saturday morning and therefore cannot be rented out on the Saturday and Sunday night.
Carefully inspect the RV's surface. Point out any marks,
scratches, etc, to the RV rental depot staff. Take time-stamped photos of the vehicle
including the roof, or video tape the inspection, so nothing is missed. The rental depot
records any rental RV damage on a damage checklist that you will have to sign.
Examine the RV's interior to be sure it's clean, all appliances
function, all cabinets and windows close properly, etc.
Read the insurance documentation provided upon the pick-up occasion by the rental company.
The terms and conditions of the insurance are of course subject to change between the time you booked the
RV rental and the pick-up occasion. Insurance changes are outside the control of IdeaMerge.
Take special note of the geographic domain in which the insurance is effective.
Upon the RV rental pick-up occasion, you must place a security deposit with a valid credit card in
the name of a person who is at the rental depot and traveling in the vehicle. Many motorhome rental companies actually charge
that security deposit to the card, refunding it in part or whole within a week or so after the rental return. In contrast, many
rental companies simply authorize ("block") the security deposit amount on the card; they only charge the amount or part
of it in the event of actual damage. Those who merely authorize are taking more of a risk. Those that actually charge
the security deposit are taking less risk yet they do suffer the very considerable merchant credit card transaction fees for
both the charge and the (potential) credit. If your security deposit is actually charged and later refunded and if your currency
is different than the rental company's currency, you may of course either win or lose in terms of the exchange rate variation
between the date of charging and the date of crediting, and you may suffer a foreign transaction fee if your card company
does charge such fee (which many car companies pointedly do not charge).
Tip: If you are traveling abroad to a country that uses a different currency than yours,
use for the trip a credit card that does not charge a foreign transaction fee. Search the subject on the internet
to discover the top cards that charge no such fee. At 1–3%, such fees really add up.
At some RV rental depots parking is permitted. You must ask in advance. Space is typically not
guaranteed, and you park there at your own risk. Typically rental depot personnel can direct clients to optimal
parking solutions nearby the depot. Some RV rental depots
allow you to store personal items while you are traveling.
Test drive the motorhome or camper van at and near the rental depot. If you notice anything unusual,
especially regarding the clutch, or see any warning lights on the dashboard, notify the rental depot immediately.
Please do not expect to make changes to the RV rental booking when you pick up the RV or while
traveling. Such changes might be possible, but that depends on availability.
Make sure all of your requested
accessories are included. Check them at the depot to be sure they are in
satisfactory condition and tell the staff if you have questions or doubts.
Make sure all vehicle equipment is included and in satisfactory condition,
such as the hose, cleaning supplies, etc.
Ask how all features work, especially the
awning (if present). You will be charged for damage to a motorhome or camper van feature. Some features, such
as the awning and bike rack, are not guaranteed, because the vehicle might be
delivered directly from the factory with no time for installation.
Test the GPS unit (if present) to be sure it works correctly.
Note: it might be less expensive and more effective for you to
buy a GPS navigation device before your trip, load it with the appropriate software, and program it with points of
interest. Special navigation software for large vehicles (motorhomes, trucks) is now on the market,
from the likes of Magellan and Rand McNally.
Check whether the vehicle manual is in the vehicle and in a language you can understand.
Regarding LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) for heating and cooking (alias "camping gaz" or "propane"):
Ask the depot for appropriate LPG connectors/adapters for each country you plan to visit,
and make sure the motorhome's LPG heating/cooking cylinders are sufficiently full upon pick-up and upon crossing national borders.
Many European, Scandinavian, British and Irish rental motorhomes employ LPG cylinders (or bottles) which are meant to be exchanged by the customers
rather than refilled by customers or by retail operations, the customer paying only for the LPG.
The refilling of such cylinders by retail businesses is prohibited in the UK and in many other countries because it is a dangerous process and one which can easily be
performed improperly. Continental exchangeable cylinders are not typically available on the UK or Irish markets;
and there is no adapter on the general market which interfaces continental heating and cooking systems to the "Calor" gas
exchangeable cylinders standard in the UK and Ireland.
So, you might need to bring extra, full exchangeable cylinders if you are crossing to the UK or Ireland for an extended tour.
UK and Irish RV rental company's supply the standard Calor gas exchangeable cylinders for travel in the UK and Ireland.
When a client is traveling from the UK or Ireland to Europe, the rental company typically supplies the client with continental
"Camping Gaz" exchangeable cylinders and/or an adapter that interfaces the Camping Gaz exchangeable cylinders to
UK heating and cooking systems. Calor gas cylinders are not available outside the UK.
Rgardless of where you are picking up, it is indeed a good practice to ask the depot for appropriate LPG
connectors/adapters for each country you plan to visit.
The exchangeable cylinders tend to vary by country even within continental Europe. Therefore you might not be able to
exchange the cylinders provided by the motorhome rental company. Instead you might need to buy an exchangeable
cylinder locally (in which case you'd also have to place a deposit on the exchangeable cylinder, because it remains the
property of the gas company.) In such situation an adapter is usually needed to fit the exchangeable cylinder to the
vehicle's heating and cooking system. Moreover, you might need a different regulator as well, although this is now
typically the case only with pre-year-2004 vehicle models (which are rarely rented).
With respect to LPG cylinders that are meant to be refilled by customers or retail operations,
various connectors might be needed to re-fill the cylinders because the LPG dispenser nozzles at fuel stations
tend to vary from country to country.
Three different dispenser connectors used in Europe: the Dutch Bayonet, the Claw or Italian Dish, and the ACME thread.
See the following articles:
Getting LPG in Europe,
Camping Gaz, and