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How to Book a Cheap RV Rental

RVs, also known as recreational vehicles, are a fabulous way to explore many stunning destinations in one trip. While RVs can be quite an investment, did you know you can experience an RV vacation without owning your own RV? RV rentals have become increasingly popular in recent years, and this popularity has allowed RV rental prices to become more affordable and attainable for the average American family.

While several RV rental companies are on the market today, one of our favorite RV rental companies here at ViaTravelers is RVshare. RVshare simplifies planning the perfect family vacation with the largest selection of cheap RV rentals.

It’s basically the Airbnb of RV rentals. Similar to normal car rental companies, you can filter your search by type of vehicle and location.

The rental company offers RV renters a worry-free rental guarantee, which includes payment protection and fraud checks. If you have any issues with your RV rental, the team at RVshare has a dedicated support team that will assist you with anything from rental replacements to re-booking.

Without further ado, let’s get into how to book cheap RV rentals and everything you need to know and consider before and during the RV rental process. We’ll also get into how to rent an RV on a budget using RVshare!

Factors to Consider Before Renting an RV

Two women sitting on the roof of their camper van enjoying the view of the lake
Abigail Marie / Adobe Stock

While you might be ready to get in the driver’s seat and head straight to the nearest national park, don’t book the first great-looking home on wheels you see. Before you rent an RV and begin your wonderful adventure, there are a few things you should consider before taking the dive into booking cheap RV rentals.

Budget

Holding and Counting Money
Alexander Grey / Unsplash

For me, budget is always one of the most important things to consider when booking any sort of vacation. I love to save money where possible while still having a fun and memorable time.

When you’re planning to rent an RV, there are additional costs to consider besides the rental cost. For example, you’ll pay more for gas if you drive long distances, and the price for a full tank will vary from state to state.

Unless you’re boondocking (parking without electric, water, and sewage hookups), you’ll also have to pay a nightly rate to park at a campsite. This usually isn’t expensive, but it can add up depending on how long your trip is.

If you’re wondering how much it costs to rent an RV, it can range from around $40 a night for a travel trailer to upwards of $300+ per night. If you’re looking for a long-term rental, the cost to rent an RV for a month or longer is quite budget-friendly; even top-of-the-line models usually won’t cost you more than $150 per night. This is more cost-efficient than paying for hotel rooms or vacation rentals for a month.

See Related: Best Cheap Places to Travel in the US

Trip Duration

Creating a Travel Plan
KAL VISUALS / Unsplash

Are you looking to spend a long weekend exploring your local state parks? Or perhaps your family wants to do a month-long road trip through some of America’s most scenic national parks?

The length of your trip (and where you’re going) could affect which RV rental options are right for you. If you’re planning a short trip, renting a travel trailer is the cheapest way to increase your space.

If you’re planning for a long-term RV rental, a Class C motorhome might be more comfortable. Flexibility with your travel dates can also allow you to find better deals on RV rentals.

Living Space

Spacious Camper Van
tefan Widua / Unspalsh

The amount of living space you expect to need is also something to consider before you rent an RV. A travel trailer could be a great option for you if you’re just a couple who doesn’t need much space. If you’re a family of four and you’re comfortable driving a larger vehicle, a Class C or Class A motorhome can offer you all the basics plus more.

Mileage

Vehicle Speedometer
MicroOne / Adobe Stock

How many miles you plan to drive also factors into the overall cost of renting an RV. If you’re planning a long trip with a ton of beautiful destinations in mind, you may want to consider a rental that allows unlimited mileage.

Cheap RV rentals with unlimited mileage can easily be found on RVshare. When searching for RVs on their website, you can filter results to only show rentals with unlimited mileage.

Determining the Perfect RV Rental for You

Mock-up of six different types of RVs
aiconslab / Adobe Stock

There are several varieties of recreational vehicles that are on the market today. They range from small travel trailers that basically act as a bedroom on wheels all the way up to luxury Class A motorhomes that can be decked out with full-size kitchens, bathrooms, and beds.

A recreational vehicle can be classified into two main categories: drivables and towables. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks. Let’s get into the various RV varieties to determine which RV rental option is best for you.

Drivables

Drivable RV
M.studio / Adobe Stock

Drivables, more commonly referred to as motorhomes, are the simplest form of RV rentals because you can basically just get in and go. Some people prefer motorhome rentals because they offer the most variety in terms of amenities, and it eliminates the need to hitch something onto your own personal car. There’s also no set-up required once you get to the campsite, so your motorhome is completely ready to become your home away from home.

There are three main types of drivables: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Class A motorhomes are the largest and often feature the swankiest finishes and amenities.

Class B motorhomes are often referred to as camper vans and are smaller RVs compared to Class A and Class C vehicles. Class C motorhomes vary in size and can often offer the same amenities as Class A motorhomes at a cheaper price.

In order to rent a Class A or Class C motorhome, you should be comfortable driving a large vehicle. Most states do not require a special license to operate a Class C motorhome unless it’s massive. Make sure to check your state’s requirements before continuing on your RV rental journey.

See Related: How to Rent an RV: Tips for Renting an RV for a Road Trip

Towables

Towable Mobile Home
Shkriabii / Adobe Stock

Towables are kind of the best of both worlds. They can offer a ton of living space while still having the ability to unhitch your personal vehicle to explore nearby areas without having to tow the entire RV.

Another benefit to choosing a towable over a drivable is that you are often better off in terms of gas mileage. The main downside of having a towable is that you must have the knowledge (and patience) to hitch and unhitch the trailer to your vehicle without damaging either one.

The two main types of towable RV rentals are travel trailers and fifth-wheel trailers. A travel trailer can come in various sizes and offer multiple amenities.

Some travel trailers only offer sleeping space, while others include small kitchens or even a shower. Fifth-wheel trailers are much larger (especially those with slide-outs) and can be compared to motorhomes in size but without the driving cab area.

Other smaller towables include toy haulers, which can carry a motorcycle or ATV, and pop-ups, which are basically smaller travel trailers that can be towed by almost any size vehicle.

How to Book an RV Online with RVshare

Screenshot of the RVshare website searching for RV rentals near Yellowstone National Park
RVshare / RVshare.com

Now that we’ve gone over all the basics when it comes to determining what kind of RV to rent, let’s get into the details of online booking. Renting an RV has come a long way in terms of simplicity and efficiency, and using RVshare is as easy as booking a hotel room on your favorite travel website.

1. Create an account on RVshare.com

Sign Up in RVshare
RVshare / RVshare.com

You can create an account on RVshare in seconds by connecting your Facebook, Google, or Apple account. Once you’ve signed up, you can go to your dashboard, where you’ll be able to see all of your upcoming trips, days until your next check-in, payments made, and any payments due. Don’t forget to verify your e-mail and create a password once you’ve made your account.

You also have an RVshare inbox where you can communicate with RV owners. It’s a very user-friendly and simple RV rental booking software that anyone can use with ease.

2. Search for rentals by location

RV Search in RVshare
RVshare / RVshare.com

Start your RV rental search by typing in your pickup location. You can choose your local area or a pickup location closer to where you want to go on your vacation. Some RV owners also offer the option of dropping off the RV at your location or destination.

You can also search with or without travel dates to allow the most flexibility. If you’re planning a spontaneous trip, you can even save money by last-minute booking an RV rental. That’s a win-win for you and the RV owner!

3. Filter results by RV type, price, and features

Type of RVs in RVshare
RVshare / RVshare.com

Next, filter your results by the type of RVs you’re interested in. You can select multiple RV types, allowing you to see rental options that best fit you and your trip. From here, you can also select certain features, such as if pets are allowed, the length of the rental, and whether or not the RV features full hookups.

Once you check off all of the features that are important to you, you can filter by price as well. You might want to do this first if you’re sticking to a tight budget and don’t want to be wooed by rentals out of your range. However, if you have a bit of flexibility in your budget, it’s good to see what a few more dollars can get you in terms of space and amenities.

4. Read customer reviews

Smaple Review in RVshare RVs
RVshare / RVshare.com

While you’ll surely read the descriptions and list of amenities of the RVs you’re considering, it’s equally as important to read reviews from other customers. Reviews can give you a real-life and unbiased opinion of the RV before you decide to book. The insight provided by customer reviews usually paints an accurate picture of the RV experience that you may have with the same vehicle.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask the owner before you book. A reliable RV owner will be happy to answer your questions and provide any additional information to make you feel comfortable with booking.

5. Book your dream RV rental!

Booking RV in RVshare
RVshare / RVshare.com

Take note of any amenities that are and are not included. For example, some rentals offer a kitchen kit with pots, pans, utensils, and even condiments, while others do not.

Most will be equipped with linens and towels, but that’s not the case for all of them. It’s important to be prepared with everything you may need for your amazing RV road trip experience!

See Related: RVShare Review

Important Information to Know About Renting an RV

Couple in the back of a camper van with the back open
simona / Adobe Stock

RVshare Protection Plan

RVshare has a lot of protections in place to ensure that you have a worry-free experience when renting an RV through them. Firstly, they offer a secure payment platform to protect your information from scammers. They also verify accounts and have fraud checks in place so you can trust that your booking is legit.

You have 24/7 access to the RVshare support team during your booking if anything goes awry. If your rental is completely different from what you booked online or you cannot reach the RV owner at the start of your booking, reach out to RVshare and they will work to find you a new RV. Any disputes you may have can also be mediated by RVshare.

When going to book your RV rental, you’ll also be able to see the price for the basic RVshare protection plan. The basic insurance plan for renters includes the following:

  • Up to $300,000 in comprehensive and collision coverage
  • 24/7 free roadside assistance, towing, and tire service
  • State statutory limits or liability

This plan covers renters in all US states and Canada. You can also upgrade to a premium insurance plan during booking.

Rental Deals

Just like looking for flights, you’ll often find the best deals on cheap RV rentals when you book early. Also, pay attention to rentals that offer unlimited mileage versus paying per mile after a certain amount. If you’re planning to drive a long distance, you’ll most likely get a better deal by booking a rental with unlimited miles.

You’re also more likely to find better deals on towables compared to motorhomes. While you may not have all the luxurious amenities of a motorhome, a travel trailer will still be comfortable, and many are outfitted with modern amenities.

One big tip I have to save money is to always return your rental with a full tank. Most rentals will usually offer two options: return it with a full tank of gas or pay a refueling fee. The fee is higher than paying for a full tank in most cases, so it’s cheaper to fill the tank before returning.

Additional Costs

Once you find your perfect RV rental and select your dates, you’ll be able to see the additional fees associated with renting an RV before you click “book.” First, you’ll see the owner’s fees, which go to the owner and include things such as a cleaning fee, emptying tanks, propane, and set-up/breakdown.

The second set of fees is taxes and fees that go to the rental company. This can include basic insurance and service fees.

See Related: Epic Tips For Stress-Free Travel

Checklist for the Perfect RV Vacation

Three RVs in the desert camping with an outside camp setup
Oren / Adobe Stock

Here’s a short checklist of things you’ll need and want when embarking on an RV adventure. These are things that the RV owner may provide, but if not, you will want to bring with you.

Linens and Towels

Fast Drying Youphoria Microfiber Travel Towel
Youphoria Outdoors Store / Amazon

An RV trip wouldn’t be very comfortable without linens and towels. From my experience, most RV owners will at least provide linens and pillows for each bed.

Some do provide towels, but you may want to bring extra, especially if you plan on doing a ton of outdoor activities like swimming and kayaking. My favorite travel towel is this microfiber quick-drying towel.

Kitchen Essentials

28 pcs NiftyEco Wheat Straw Dinnerware Sets
NIFTYECO Store / Amazon

A kitchen kit is another thing that is usually provided, but not always. Having the proper equipment is essential if you’re planning to cook in your RV. Most RV rentals will come with the basics, including pots and pans, cooking utensils, and tableware.

If the RV you’re renting doesn’t come with tableware, this NiftyEco set comes with four sets of cups, bowls, plates, and eating utensils. It’s lightweight and perfect for RV life and camping.

Games and Entertainment

6.8" Kindle Paperwhite
Amazon / Amazon

Whether on the road or at your campsite, you’ll want several entertainment options available for your family during your vacation. For me, one thing I can’t live without while on vacation is my Kindle Paperwhite.

I like to download at least three or four books before going on vacation, just because you never really know what the Wi-Fi situation will be like. Another thing I like to do is download a few episodes of my favorite shows on my laptop or phone.

If you want to go a more classic route, you can bring your family’s favorite DVDs if your rental is equipped with TVs. Some rentals even come with board games so you can spend some fun, quality time with the whole family.

See Related: Best Road Trip Games For Couples

Toiletries

Asom Toiletry Kit
asom corp / Amazon

Not every RV rental comes with basics like soap and shampoo that you’re probably used to having at a hotel. And while you get to enjoy the benefits of not worrying about liquid sizes and baggage limits since you’re traveling on the road, you also don’t want to be lugging around heavy stuff.

You can easily find kits that contain everything you should need on the road, like the Asom Toiletry Kit. Besides the handy travel pack to keep it all together, you’ll remember to bring toothpaste, lotion, shampoo, mouthwash, shaving stuff, and even some basic medications. If there is any air travel during your trip, everything inside is TSA-sized, too.

Camping Equipment

Camping Equipment Set
Pixel-Shot / Adobe Stock

While some owners will be happy to provide these items for free, some may charge an additional fee. Weigh out the benefits of bringing your own versus paying for it to be provided. Renting these items may be more convenient if you’re picking up the RV far from home.

Even if you don’t plan to spend a night or two under the stars, you’ll definitely want to spend some time enjoying the outdoors of your campsite. Don’t forget things like folding chairs, blankets, flashlights, and maybe even campfire supplies!

Insurance

Signing a Travel Insurance
REDPIXEL / Adobe Stock

It’s essential to be prepared for the unexpected; unfortunately, many travelers don’t learn this until they experience it. Use a search engine like TravelInsurance.com to get multiple quotes on coverage for things like flight issues if you’re flying and medical emergencies that your usual insurance may not cover. We usually find that WorldNomads offers the best level of coverage for the best price.

While standard rental car insurance often doesn’t include RVs or trailers, the RVshare Protection Plan comes with your rental, meaning you are covered. Basic coverage is already included in your quote, and you can add upgrades if you want to be safer. Coverage is valid in all 50 US states and Canada.

FAQ

Do I need a special license to rent RVs?

In most states, you do not need a special license to rent an RV. Most RVs are not big enough to warrant an additional license. However, make sure to check your state’s laws and the size of the RV before booking if you are unsure.

What’s the difference between camper vans and motorhomes?

Class B motorhomes are usually referred to as camper vans. While they’re technically considered motorhomes, they’re much smaller than Class A and Class C motorhomes.

How can I find cheap RV rentals near me?

The easiest way to find cheap RV rentals near you is by searching on RVshare. RVshare is like Airbnb: you can filter your results by location, RV type, and amenities.

Are one-way RV rentals possible?

Yes, one-way RV rentals are possible. The RVshare website has a list of available city-to-city one-way RV rentals. This is a great way to maximize your actual travel time, as it eliminates the return drive.

How old do I have to be to rent an RV with RVshare?

RVshare requires all renters to be at least 25 years old. You will have to submit a copy of your driver’s license when booking a rental.

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