Benefits of Renting an RV
When you rent an RV, you get the luxury of having the whole house with you. Unlike booking a hotel or taxiing to the airport, you can pack nearly anything you want. That includes liquids, electronic devices, and you don’t have to endure long lines at security checkpoints.
With an RV, you’ll be on vacation as soon as you pull out of the driveway.
Meet the locals
An RV allows you to really take your time and soak in the destinations. Instead of zipping past the flyover states you can stop and shop the local markets. You’ll get a better feel for lesser known areas. And there’s more opportunities to make a pit stop at anything the piques your interest.
If you’re planning a long-haul trip, an RV is going to have an on-board bathroom and room to move around. That’s going to let you cover more ground at a quicker pace. Plus you’ll have a more comfortable journey compared to your average car.
Bring your pets!
This is a HUGE advantage to joining the RV travel club. Pets are difficult (and sometimes impossible) to bring on airplane. Hotels charge you big extra fees, and cars rides are not always comfortable for your animal.
With an RV, you can bring your pet with you anywhere! They’ll love wandering around the campground. Plus, if your RV is climate controlled, you’ll get the chance to leave them inside if you go for a non-pet friendly hike.
Park close to the action
When you spend the night at a hotel, you have to get up extra early for some adventure. Wake up, pack your backpacks, eat breakfast, get in the car, and make the commute to a National Park or attraction.
An RV eliminates nearly all of those chores. You can get a nice parking spot walking or biking distance from nearby trailheads. You can fry up breakfast right at the campground or inside your camper kitchen. More importantly, you can skip the morning rush to get into the parks.
At night, you can rest at a campfire beneath the stars. Roast some marshmallows and be just a few feet away from your bed.
RVs come equipped with refrigerators, stovetops, full sized beds, toilets, showers and even televisions! If nature is not your thing or the temperature isn’t great you can still spend a comfortable evening inside.
Save money on activities
When you spend the night at a hotel you often get charged for every extra thing; breakfast, snacks, or outdoor equipment rentals. Plus, you’ll likely end up eating dinner at a restaurant because there is little to no space for food in the room.
In an RV you can bring most of those things along. Pack a few board games entertainment. Fill up an entire fridge that will take care of three meals per day + snacks. You can even attach a mountain bike to the back for an all-day adventure ride.
With an RV rental, your big costs are going to be the RV itself and an appropriate campsite. The entertainment value in travel should take care of the rest.
Try before you buy
Maybe you’re ready to go all-in an buy an RV of your own. Maybe it’s even your dream retirement plan? We highly encourage you to rent an RV first before jumping in. Renting an RV will quickly help you find out if you’re really ready to buy. Save yourself thousands of dollars and learn the answer to this question by renting first.
Disadvantages of Renting An RV
It wouldn’t be fair to only list the advantages of RV travel, so we’ll try to point out a few things you may not have considered.
Gas prices: The more you move, the more you’re going to be spending on gas. The best way to save money here is to shoot for longer stays at each location.
Less mobility: If you don’t bring a commuter car along you’re going to have a harder time hitting up a grocery store or drive-through in an RV. We recommend that you stock up on food and entertainment items before you go. Once you hit the road, just enjoy the vacation! Unless you’re renting an off-roading travel trailer, RVs are really meant to get you to your destination then allow you to have fun there.
Cleaning up after yourself: RV rental companies do not come with their own maid service. That means it’s your responsibility to change the sheets in the morning and potentially pack your own towels. If you’re going to take the RV out for weeks at a time, you’ll be responsible for re-filling water and emptying your blackwater tank.
What Type of RV Can You Rent?
Deciding to take an RV travel vacation is just the first step. Next is figuring out what type to get. There are two main categories: motorized and towable.
Motorized RVs (Motorhomes)
Motorhomes have their own engine; and the living area can be accessed from the front cab. These are easier to drive and allow you to tow a commuter vehicle on the back. They tend to have the most storage space.
With a motorhome you don’t have to worry about hitching and un-hitching at each destination. There is less set up overall. The main types of motorized RVs are:
- Class A: The largest and most spacious RVs. They have full amenities plus some. They are the most expensive and luxurious to rent.
- Class B: More compact camper van design. They come with all the essentials including a toilet, shower and kitchen.
- Class C: These are larger than Class B campers. They have a sleeping area built over the cab area and essential amenities like a toilet, shower and kitchen.
- Conversion van: Not all rental companies supply conversion vans. These can range from owners renting out their DIY Sprinter vans to budget rental companies that have converted full sized vehicles. These tend to be the cheapest rentals, but they may not come with any amenities.
When renting a towable RV you’ll likely be required to have a vehicle capable of towing large amounts of weight. Some rental companies will allow you to rent a tow vehicle along with the RV for an extra charge.
Towable RVs are more work to set up at your campsite because you’ll have too unhitch and level it. They are also more difficult to drive.
That said, there are some big advantages to renting a towable vehicle. For one, you can set it up at a campsite to claim your spot then drive around comfortably in a smaller car. They tend to be much cheaper to rent. And you won’t run into any engine troubles because there are less mechanics involved.
There are a lot of different towable RVs to choose from. They can range from a luxurious hotel-style living area to a small step up from camping. These are the main types to look out for:
- Travel Trailers: These are similar to a Class A motorhome. You can expect space for a big family, full-sized refrigerators, stoves and microwaves. They also come equipped with a full bathroom – toilet and shower included. They connect to your tow vehicle with a ball-hitch.
- 5th Wheels: Similar to a travel trailer, the biggest difference with a 5th wheel is that they attach to a truck bed with a jaw hitch rather than a ball and coupler. That means it’s easier to maneuver than a travel trailer and simpler to set up at the campsite. They also tend to be wider and have the most interior space.
- Destination Trailers: Another large, luxury travel home is the destination trailer. They are meant for long stays at an RV site and should be driven around infrequently. Destination trailers are built more like a typical home, with heavier construction and large patio doors. They are taller and have high ceilings. You may run into clearance issues when driving them around. They are not fuel efficient at all and are difficult to maneuver.
- Toy Haulers: A mix between living areas and storage space is the toy hauler. These have a wide base, full amenities. Most of the interior furniture is collapsible so you can fold it up and make room for storing ATVs and jet skis during the drive. They connect to your tow vehicle with a ball hitch and are meant to carry a lot of weight.
- Popup Campers: One of the cheapest RV rentals is the popup camper. They are low profile and lightweight making them easy to park. A popup camper collapses during the drive and must be set up at the campsite. It has softer sides and requires more time to put together. Popup campers typically come with a bed, seating area and kitchen. You may or may not find a restroom in these campers.
- Lightweight Trailers or Teardrop Trailers: Another cheap RV rental is the lightweight trailer. These are some of the easiest to drive around and the most fuel efficient. They have the least amount of storage but tend to come with full kitchens and sleeping areas. They may or may not come with restroom facilities.
The Cheapest RV Rentals
The smaller you go, the less expensive your RV rental is going to be. Towable RV rentals are cheaper than motorhomes but do require you to have a tow vehicle.
Rentals like teardrop trailers, popup campers and conversion vans are going to be the biggest bang for your buck but they also offer the least amount of space. These types also do not come with bathroom amenities for the most part so you’ll have to plan facilities into your campsite decision.
Do you need a special license?
In general, if your motorhome or RV is under 45 feet long and under 10,000 pounds you do not need a special license to drive it. The law varies a little state to state but whatever rental company you choose should be able to answer that for the specific RV you choose.
How To Rent an RV
One you’ve decided which type of RV you want to rent it’s time to find a rental company! There are hundreds across the US so you’ll have plenty to choose from. The two main ways to rent: with an RV marketplaces, and with a traditional vehicle rental company.
Largest RV Marketplace: Outdoorsy
One of our favorite RV marketplaces is Outdoorsy. This is the largest RV share in the world so they have experience dealing with first timers. Outdoorsy runs similarly to an Airbnb.
With this company you’re booking rentals from RV owners themselves. That means you get a lot of room for negotiation on extras and you get a discounted price compared to many other services. You also get to speak directly with seasoned travelers who can give you a lot of advice on how to set up their RV if you’re a first timer. Chances are, they’ve got some great tips on places to stop.
We like that with Outdoorsy you can find unique motorhomes that wouldn’t be available with a standard RV renal company. We’ve seen everything from converted mini vans, to toy haulers, and luxurious 5th wheels. The owners themselves get to deck out their RVs so you can filter out rentals with bike racks and satellite dishes included if that’s your thing.
When you rent an RV through Outdoorsy, you’re given a 1M insurance policy and 24hr roadside assistance baked right into the cost. That means when you look at the price tag, what you see is what you get. Many owners do allow pets and some are smoking and party friendly.
Rent with Outdoorsy