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Road trips are a great way to spend time with family or friends while enjoying the picturesque landscape of the US. However, if you’re planning an RV adventure, you must know how to rent an RV for travel.
Recently, many travelers have been opting for scenic day trips rather than international travel. Besides the hotel fares spiking in the recent past, airline fares have also increased significantly.
Be sure to prepare your travel cooler for the road trip, though. Once you’ve decided to travel the country by road, you’re all set to learn about renting an RV.
- How to Rent an RV in Steps
- 1. Determine the Type of RV to Rent
- Class B RVs
- 2. Determent Your Budget
- 3. Double Check the RV Amenities
- 4. Ensure You Have RV Insurance
- 5. Check the Full Duration of Use
- 6. Maintenance Costs
- 7. Book In Advance
- 8. Check All the Fees
- Best Websites to Rent RVs
- Benefits of using RVShare
- Benefits of using Outdoorsy
- Benefits of using Cruise America
How to Rent an RV in Steps
Now that we’ve gone over the best places to rent a camper van let’s discuss what you should look for when renting an RV.
1. Determine the Type of RV to Rent
The first thing you need to consider is the size of the RV. RVs come in a variety of sizes, from small Class B RVs to large Class A RVs. You need to decide how many people will travel with you and how much space you’ll need.
Regardless of the renting site or dealership, choosing an RV among hundreds of models would be best. Admittedly, it gets daunting if you haven’t done your homework. Generally, RVs are divided into three classes; A, B, and C.
Class A RVs
Class A RVs are huge. They’re the largest motorhomes among the three classes and look similar to a bus. Most models are up to 30 to 40 feet long. Besides being big, these motorhomes are also luxurious. They have everything you need to stay comfortable on the road.
Class A motorhomes have all the amenities, like bathrooms, showers, kitchens, entertainment units, air conditioning, washing machines, dishwashers, dinette areas, and king-sized beds. The more you spend, the better option you get. In short, there’s no limit to how luxurious a Class A RV gets.
You should only rent this RV if you’re a retiree planning to sell your home and travel the country. Before you purchase an RV, rent one and see if you’re made for the on-the-go life.
Class B RVs
Class B RVs are smaller and often called van campers because of their construction. Despite being less spacious than Class A Motorhomes, these motorhomes have a kitchen area, a bed, a dinette, a fridge, and a small bathroom.
Class B Motorhomes are the most convenient option for traveling through narrower routes. Since these motorhomes are smaller, you can park them anywhere. Also, they’re easier to drive around smaller towns and cities.
However, Class B RVs aren’t for large groups. You should only rent this RV if you’re traveling with your spouse or a small group of three to four people.
Class C RVs
Lastly, Class C Motorhomes are smaller than Class A RVs but larger than Class B RVs. They can also be classified as Super C Motorhomes or Class C Diesel Motorhomes.
While most models are relatively smaller, the slide-out option in Class C RVs increases space, making room for more amenities, such as a stove, fridge, and storage compartments.
The modern Class C RVs are like Class A models, minus the high price point and towering size. On the other hand, if you already have an RV, you might be interested in our list of the best road trips in the US.
2. Determent Your Budget
The second thing you need to consider is your budget. RVs can be expensive, so you must ensure you can afford the rental fee. Additionally, you need to factor in other costs like gas and campsites.
Since a spacious motorhome has more amenities, it will be costlier than a trailer. Motorhome rentals often start from $50,000 and go as high as above a hundred thousand dollars.
Therefore, renting them will also cost you more. On the other hand, travel trailers are cheaper, around $30,000, and their rents are lesser too. So, if you want a full homey experience and can afford the cost, go for a motorhome.
A motorhome is also your best bet if you’re traveling with a group and the rent is split among four to six people. On the contrary, a trailer is right for you if you prefer camping out in the open.
Likewise, if you’re tight on budget, look for a cheap trailer on RVShare instead of swooning over the three-star-hotel-level interiors of motorhomes.
See Related: Rental Cars That You Can Take Out of State
3. Double Check the RV Amenities
The fourth thing you need to consider is the amenities you want in your RV. Some RVs come with kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms. Others are more basic and only have a bed and a bathroom. You need to decide what amenities you want and need.
When it comes to amenities, most camper vans have similar features. All RVs have beds and bathrooms, and many have kitchens as well. However, some are more luxurious, with added features like entertainment systems, washers, and dryers.
Before renting an RV, ensure you know what amenities are included. If I’m traveling with kids, I need an RV with a built-in entertainment system so they can watch movies on long road trips.
If I plan to travel with Grandma, then I can pick an RV that’s wheelchair accessible. Another option might be that you want an RV with solar panels so you can “boondock,” meaning camp without electrical hookups. These are just some examples, but there are many more amenities that RVs can have. Make a list of the must-haves and try to find an RV with them all.
4. Ensure You Have RV Insurance
The fifth thing you need to consider is insurance. Rental companies offer insurance, but it’s always a good idea to have your insurance as well. This way, if something happens, you’re covered.
There are different types of RV insurance you should look out for, ranging from basic to comprehensive and collision coverage. The first is liability insurance, which covers damages to other people and their property. This type of insurance is mandatory in most states.
The second type of RV insurance is collision insurance. This covers damages to the RV if it gets in an accident. Since RVs are expensive, the deductibles for collision insurance can be high.
That’s why it’s a good idea to have your insurance. This way, if something happens, you won’t have to pay as much out of pocket. The last type of RV insurance is comprehensive insurance.
This covers damages to the RV that are not caused by an accident, such as theft, vandalism, or weather damage. Comprehensive insurance is not required in all states, but it’s a good idea if you can afford it.
5. Check the Full Duration of Use
How long is your vacation? Are you planning an RV rental for a cross-country trip? Or do you wish to take a week-long road trip? Before renting an RV, ensure you’ve planned the itinerary and route appropriately.
If you’ll be on the road for months, it’s better to be in a motorhome than a trailer. Since a motorhome provides sleeping and living space, you won’t have to spend money on guest houses or hotels.
Also, motorhomes are more comfortable since they’re almost like mini-homes. However, a travel trailer will do if you’re taking a short trip to Two Harbors, Minnesota, or a national park in your state.
See Related: Best Travel Cooler for Road Trips
6. Maintenance Costs
Like the overall cost, the maintenance of a motorhome is also pricier than a trailer’s. If you’re planning an RV trip across America, you’ll have to rent the vehicle for a considerable period.
During this time, you’re responsible for maintaining it too. But here’s another way to look at it: In a trailer, you only pay the cost of maintaining the RV section since the car portion is separate.
On the other hand, in a motorhome, the maintenance is higher because you’re paying for the RV part and the living space. That seems like a fairer comparison because even if you take a trailer across the country, you’ll also have to pay for your car’s repairs and maintenance. However, in most situations, a motorhome will cost you more maintenance.
7. Book In Advance
Booking in advance will relieve the stress of renting and ensure you get the best deal. Especially if you’re traveling during the peak season or the summer vacation, you should book an RV well in advance.
Thanks to the online booking options, renting an RV isn’t hard anymore. You need to stop procrastinating and book your motorhome as soon as possible.
Since there’s a higher demand for RVs than the supply, the best ones will be gone if you’re too late. If you book close to the holiday season, you’ll pay more for a not-so-great travel trailer.
See Related: Best Travel French Presses for the Road
8. Check All the Fees
Once you’ve made a list of the best road trip destinations in the country, it’s time to book an RV. Make sure you check all the extra fees before finalizing the transaction. For instance, some sites have a cancellation fee you must pay if you cancel your booking.
It’s better to be aware of the amount beforehand rather than being shocked by the costly fee while dealing with the emergency that made you cancel the trip.
Secondly, some RV rentals also have a Pet Policy. Read it thoroughly to check if there’s a fee for taking pets along. If you want to take your little buddy on the road trip, add these fees to the RV trip cost.
Renting an appropriate RV for a road trip is possibly the most integral part of planning. An RV should be as comfortable as possible for your lifestyle and requirements since it will be your home for the next few days, weeks, or months.
See Related: Road Trips in the US
Best Websites to Rent RVs
First, let’s discuss the best places to rent an RV, also called a recreational vehicle. Among all options, I’ve found three to be the most reliable and traveler-friendly.
RVShare is the world’s largest peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace, with over 100,000 motorhome rentals available. You can search for RV rentals by location, type of RV, dates, and price.
The best thing about RVShare is that you can directly contact RV owners and ask them any questions about their RV or the rental process. This way, you can better understand what it’s like to rent an RV before committing to anything.
RVShare also offers a comprehensive insurance plan that covers both the RV and the renter. So, if you’re worried about damages or accidents, you can rest assured knowing you’re covered.
See Related: RVShare Review: Is It Worth It?
Benefits of using Outdoorsy
Outdoorsy is another great option for renting RVs from owners. With over 80,000 RVs available for rent, there are plenty of RVs to choose from. You can filter your search by location, type of RV, dates, and price.
Outdoorsy also offers a comprehensive insurance plan that covers both the RV and the renter. So, if you’re worried about damages or accidents, you can rest assured knowing you’re covered.
One of the best things about Outdoorsy is its 24/7 customer support. So, if you have any questions or problems, you can always call them; someone will help you. Read our full Outdoorsy review to learn more about how the platform works.
Benefits of using Cruise America
Cruise America is one of the most popular RV rental companies out there. They have over 125 locations across the US, so you can easily find a pick-up and drop-off location that’s convenient for you. The company offers various RVs, including Class A, B, and C. You can also filter your search by price, dates, and location.
One of the best things about Cruise America is its comprehensive insurance. Additionally, you can opt for a one-way rental. This is convenient if you want to fly home rather than take the road.
RVShare and Outdoorsy offer the best RV rental prices compared to other RV rental companies. Both options have the RV delivered to the campsite.
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- About the Author
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Blake is a highly experienced travel writer working for a number of publications providing insights about his experiences around the world.