Four Tips for Driving a RV in the United States


Traveling in a RV can be a great way to see many parts of the United States while on vacation. However, if you’re visiting from another country, you will need to make sure you have the necessary documentation to rent a vehicle. Here are four tips for driving in the US as a foreign national.

Driver’s Licenses

Depending on where you’re traveling, you need to have an International Driving Permit, IDP, and a valid driver’s license from your home country. The US government doesn’t issue IDPs, so you will need to contact your local motor vehicle department to get one. If you’re planning an RV rental in the USA, you will need to show the IDP and a valid driver’s license from your country.

Renting a RV

You don’t need a special license for driving a small RV, especially since many of them are no larger than a van. If you are traveling with your family, you will find several RV sizes to accommodate everyone so that they are comfortable. You can preview the available vehicles online to determine which size and amenities you’ll need during your trip. If you rent the right sized RV, you won’t need to worry about renting hotel rooms while traveling, as RVs contain all the comforts of home.

Along with ensuring everyone has a place to sleep in the RV, you will need to decide if you are going to stay in the RV, or rent a hotel room on occasion. Some smaller RVs may not come with a toilet or shower, but you can usually find those facilities when you stay overnight in a RV park. If you are visiting national or state parks, many of them will also have restroom and shower facilities you can use.

Stocking Up on Water

Most RVs, even small ones, will have water tanks for washing hands and drinking from. However, if you’re traveling in the summer, especially in the western states, you will want to stock up on water to ensure everyone stays hydrated. You can purchase bottled water at discount stores while you’re on the road so you don’t have to carry it in the vehicle with you.

Plan on needing up to two gallons per day, per person, if you’re driving through the desert in the summer. When the weather is cooler, or if you’re in another part of the country, you won’t need as much water. Instead of buying it, most state roadside parks provide water for drinking and using in your vehicle, but you will need to go elsewhere to fill up the RVs tanks.

Use GPS and Maps

While GPS is a good guide for driving, it won’t inform you of detours due to road construction, inclement weather, or motor vehicle accidents. Use a paper map to plan alternate routes in case you need, or want, to turn off the main roads.

Planning your routes can keep you from being lost for several hours in an unfamiliar area while you’re touring the US in an RV.

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