How To Rent An RV

Whether you’re a veteran RVer or a total newbie, renting an RV can be an excellent way to get out and see more of the world. There are many reasons to rent an RV, and it can be especially beneficial if you are shopping for a new (or new to you) RV. 

Read on to learn what you need to know about renting an RV.

The Ins And Outs Of Renting An RV

First, let’s talk a bit about how to rent an RV and what you should know going in. Having this knowledge before you dive in could be extremely helpful, as it gives you an idea of things to watch out for, as well as the amount you should expect to spend on an RV rental. 

RV Rental Companies

Before you can choose an RV to rent, you need to decide where to rent an RV from. These days there are a number of RV rental companies and platforms to choose from. These include more traditional RV rental companies with enormous fleets, dealerships that rent a handful of RVs, and even peer-to-peer platforms that allow you to rent from individuals. 

There are pros and cons to each rental company out there. 

For instance, the big rental companies such as Cruise America and El Monte have RVs rentals down to a science, meaning you can be confident you will receive a unit that has been taken care of. Additionally, since there is a whole fleet of RVs available, if something does go wrong, you can always switch out for another.

The problem with these companies is that they tend to be pretty impersonal. On top of that, the RVs themselves are very simple and basic, and there are usually only a handful of floorplans available. 

Meanwhile, peer-to-peer platforms such as RVshare and Outdoorsy allow you to choose from an enormous variety of RVs, making it easy to find exactly what you want. Because you’ll be renting from an individual, you are more likely to have a real connection with the owner of any RV you take out on the road, and some of the owners will even offer trip suggestions!

The biggest problem with peer-to-peer rentals is that there is very little quality control, so you have to rely on reviews to let you know if a rig is lackluster. 

Choosing the Right RV

Once you decide where to rent from, you’ll need to decide what kind of RV you’re looking for. 

If you prefer renting from Cruise America, a Class C motorhome or a small trailer will be your only choices. If you pick the trailer, there is only one size to pick, but if you choose a Class C you’ll need to decide on a size and floorplan. Make sure you consider the number of people traveling with you and the places you’d like to park when deciding which size Class C is best. 

If you’re renting from El Monte, a dealership, or a peer-to-peer platform, the options are endless. You could choose a big coach (Class A), a traditional Class C with the cab-over bunk, or a campervan (Class B). There are also towable RVs listed on these sites, though we recommend having a towable rig delivered if possible, as hitching up and actually towing involves a lot of learning. 

Once you decide which RV type is best, take a look at floorplans and amenities to see which ones best suit your family’s needs. 

Related: What Type of Motorhome or Travel Trailer Should You Buy? 

The Cost of Renting an RV

With a rental company or platform and an RV type picked out, the next thing you’ll want to look into is the cost of renting an RV. This will vary wildly based on where you are located, the type of RV you’d like to rent, how far you plan to drive the RV, whether you need the RV delivered, and other factors.

Remember that in addition to the per-night cost included in any RV listing, you may also need to pay for insurance, roadside assistance, mileage, generator fees, and any add-ons such as linens or camp chairs. What is included and what costs extra is dependent upon the company or individual you’re renting from, so make sure you ask about extra fees before you book. 

Some examples of RV costs:

  • Cruise America standard Class C motorhome rental in Los Angeles, California, for 3 nights in February: $95 a night, plus mileage at 39 cents per mile, vehicle damage insurance at $19.95 a night (if desired), and extra rental items (if desired). 
  • El Monte 33 Foot Class A motorhome rental in Salt Lake City, Utah, for 4 nights: $249 a night plus $39 propane fee, insurance at $13.50 OR $29.50 a night (if needed), and vehicle damage insurance at $16 or $34 a night (if desired). 
  • Outdoorsy Class B motorhome rental in Dallas, Texas, for 6 nights in June: $219 a night plus $500 refundable deposit, $5 per mile delivery fee (if desired), at least $239 for insurance, and $110 trip protection (if desired). 
  • RVshare small travel trailer rental in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for 3 nights: $80 per night plus $800 refundable deposit, $100 round trip for delivery up to 40 miles away (if desired), $129 insurance, and $36 service fee. 
Couple loading rental RV
Image source: Unsplash

Why Rent an RV?

Wondering why you might want to rent an RV? There are actually several reasons this could be a good choice. 

Give RVing a Try

If you’ve never been RVing before, renting an RV is a great way to give the RV lifestyle a try and see if it’s for you without making an enormous commitment. In fact, with the upcoming solar eclipse on April 8th, renting an RV has become tremendously popular. Though a partial eclipse will be viewable in all 48 contiguous US states, a narrow ribbon extending northeast from Texas to Maine will be able to view a total solar eclipse. And, you guessed it, people are turning out in droves to rent an RV somewhere along the path of totality. If that’s your plan, you’d better act soon!

Experience Different RV Types

Maybe you’ve been RVing for years but have only ever owned trailers. Renting a motorhome will give you a chance to see if a Class C or Class A RV might better suit your camping style. 

Fly to Your Camping Destinations

Are you short on time? If so, an RV road trip may not be in the cards for you. Renting an RV means you can fly to your final destination but still experience the fun of camping while you’re there. 

Have a Trailer Delivered

Have you always wanted to stay in a travel trailer but never had the guts to tow one? Many rental trailers can be delivered, meaning you can get the trailer camping experience without ever even hitching up. 

Enjoy Camping without RV Ownership

RV ownership is great, but it is a lot of work and can be expensive. RV rentals give those who may not have the time or money to invest in RV ownership a chance to enjoy RVing from time to time. 

Should I Rent Before I Buy?

If you’re in the market to buy an RV, you may think renting an RV would be a waste of time and money. We couldn’t disagree more. Unless you know what kind of RV you’re looking for without a shadow of a doubt, renting a few different types of RVs will help you decide which RV type is best for you. It’ll also give you a feel for what works and what doesn’t work in terms of floor plans and amenities. Honestly, this can be helpful even if you’re a veteran RVer!

Hopefully this guide helps you better understand why you might rent an RV and how to go about it. Ready for an adventure? Book a rental RV today!

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