RVs are hot again, which means you can see America without leaving your living room (sort of). "You get all the comforts of home," says Linda Brown, president of RVing Women, a network of female road warriors. "You can shop locally, cook your own food, bring along your dogs or even just stay in and watch movies." Her advice for taking the wheel:

Check out your options. Rental fees vary by vehicle, location, and time of year. GoRVing.com lists dealers.

Don't fear the big caboose. If you can drive a minivan, you can handle this. Most motorized RVs have power steering and power brakes, and some models are as small as 16 feet. Still, it's smart to get behind the wheel before you commit.

Know your limits. Brown avoids driving more than 300 miles per day and stays off the road at night and during storms. Big-box stores or hospitals will typically let you stay in their lots if there's an emergency. (Just ask first.)

Consider an urban getaway. An RV trip doesn't have to be only outdoorsy. Brown has driven to San Francisco and New Orleans: She parks outside the city or at a nearby campsite and takes a train or a car downtown. "With the money you save on hotels," says Brown, "you can treat yourself to a nice dinner."


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