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Nervous About RVing in a Pandemic? Read This.

How I went from hailing taxis to exploring the country in a Winnebago—and how you can, too.

Let me preface this entire article by telling you that I am NOT a camper. Even though I grew up in Colorado camping, hiking fourteeners, and spending every weekend in the mountains, it did not rub off. I’ll take a five-star hotel in some far-flung country over any other accommodation any day of the week—and won’t think twice.

With that said, in a pandemic, your five-star hotel options are quite limited, as are your flying options to foreign countries. And, as a travel writer, cabin fever is a very real thing, and the need to go somewhere, anywhere (just to get away!), was of the utmost importance.

With that in mind, I turned to the idea of renting a recreational vehicle–yes, an RV–and venturing off into the wild. So, this is the comprehensive guide for any city slicker like me on how to rent an RV, what to bring, what not to do, and how to survive traveling in a pandemic in a hotel on wheels.

Can you rent RVs? What do they cost? What kind do I get? What the hell is a slide? These are all very important questions.

First, renting the actual RV was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I turned to Outdoorsy, which is like an Airbnb that moves. Outdoorsy gives you a million options for the type of vehicle you want like motorhomes, travel trailers, campervans, and more. They match you up with someone in your area, you chat, they bring you the trailer and show you how it works, and you’re off!

My requirements were mainly that I didn’t want to have contact with any other human during the duration of my trip, so I would need a full bathroom, full bedroom, and full kitchen. Judge all you want, but there is a pandemic going on.

With that said, Outdoorsy connected me with a 2020, 25-foot Mercedes Benz Thor Motor Coach Freedom Elite. This baby came loaded with two TVs, water and electric hookups, a queen-size bed, a full slide, toilet and shower, and a kitchen with a microwave, fridge, and stovetops. The cost was around $250 or so a night and, depending on add-ons, can be more (add-ons include not having to handle the sewage—I highly recommend this add-on).

You might think, “Oh, of course, he rented a Mercedes RV.” But, let me disabuse you of the idea that this Mercedes was some ultra-lux RV with spinning hubs and gold-plated toilets. It was not. Just look at the photo at the top of the article. It was just the engine. The rest was the same as the Ford Thor Motor Coach (though I was hoping for more Mercedes amenities).

Find Paul Feinstein's full article filled with tips and tricks for RVing here.


May 7, 2022

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Fodors Travel

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My only complaint is that eventually, backflushing won’t be enough. These can clog up after some time and no amount of back flushing will fix its low flow. I went through 2 on the AT. However, it will attach to Smart Water Bottles and most bladders!

Anna Hamrick


Built for backcountry reliability and portability, the Sawyer Squeeze filter is our pick for the best portable water purifier.

Pete Ortiz


The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
Media Mentions from Halfway Anywhere