Originally Posted by pearlbalt
Thanks to all for the input, but I just found a parked fifth wheel for vacation rental online through air bnb.
There are RV's on sites available all around the country it seems, with people using them as guest houses to make a bit of extra income. We found one a few hours from home within reach of Colonial Williamsburgh and Virginia Beach. So although we won't be driving one, we will see what it's like to spend time together in the space.
I have a little different take on your situation. We thought about doing the "rent before buying" approach, but realized that we would only be setting ourselves up for a negative and not accurate overall experience.
1. When you rent an RV that has already been hooked up, you are not going through the hardest part of traveling with an RV....The Hookup and tear down portion of the trip. Probably the most important part of owning a TT is knowing the ins and outs (and sometimes the struggle) of setting it up and taking everything down.
2. You aren't building any experience traveling with a large trailer over the road and parking it. The only way you can build real knowledge on how to tow and maneuver a RV is to actually do it. It's not nearly as hard as people make it out, but it does take getting use to. Such as managing Sway, Blind Spots, and Turns. None of it is hard, but the experience of actually doing it is invaluable.
3. You don't know who rented it before you. Unlike a used car or truck or rental car/truck, RVs are a place that someone lived in for a period of time. You don't know what they did in it, brought in it, or left in it. It's very possible to pickup Bedbugs, ticks, spiders, and fleas unknowingly. Rental units are used to turn a quick profit by the companies who rent them. Especially the ones that are already setup at a site. Last thing you want your family to experience is a horrible experience from a heavy rented (and used) RV unit.
4. Kind of like buying a new house, there is a better feeling that goes along with owning a new (or slightly use) RV. Knowing that YOUR stuff is in YOUR RV and YOU got to select how it looks and is equipped can mean all the difference in an enjoyable trip vs a horrible trip.
Let me explain that last point. We looked at renting some RVs and noticed that all the rental units were pretty much in horrible condition, heavily used, or base model units that came with none of the features we expected in a new unit. One of the great features we use all the time is the outside kitchen. We love to be out there cooking and it allows us to cook outside instead of heating up the trailer by using the stove when it's really hard to keep the inside cool. We love that we have a nice sized tub/shower and get good water pressure because we were able to modify (for free) our units faucets. We love the floorplan and layout vs whatever the rental company has available. We love that it is OURS and the process of moving your items into and our of the trailer is minimal because we leave everything except food and clothes in ours. We even keep a spare baby playard and highchair in ours. These are the little things that you don't think about when renting, but that extra labor or that extra bad experience from a rental will easily sway you against buying one. Buying one is the way to go.