RV Rental 101

It’s here! Summer vacation. This year you plan to hit the open road and travel the U.S. with your family. To make the most of your time together you plan to rent an RV. Recreational vehicles combine the outdoor experience of tent camping with the indoor experience of a great hotel. Renting an RV is a great way to experience the benefits of RV travel without committing to buying.

But there are things you need to know when it comes to rental RVs. Things like where to find an RV, how to budget for gas, and where to park at night. 

Are you ready to join us for RV rental 101? Don’t forget to take notes! This article will provide you with everything you need to make the most of your RV travel adventure.

How To Rent An RV

There are lots and lots of companies that rent RVs. The two major types of RV rentals are peer to peer or nationwide RV rental companies.

Peer to Peer RV Rental:
This type of RV rental is when a private RV owner rents to an individual or family. Peer to peer RV rentals can be found through companies such as RVshare.com. This website allows renters to find RVs available for rent in all areas of the country. Want a large motorhome for the whole family, a trailer to pull behind your truck, or a small conversion van for the weekend? Chances are you can find it on RVshare.

Nationwide RV Rental Companies:
There are lots of different companies that rent own and rent out a fleet of RVs around the country. Three of the most popular are Cruise America, Road Bear RV, and El Monte RV. Keep in mind that not all of these companies have RVs available in all areas of the country.

In general, you will find that renting a large Class A Motorhome will cost more per day than renting a travel trailer of small Class C RVs. Prices range from under $100 a day to $400 plus per day depending on the size of the rig you want to rent. Remember, the bigger the unit the more people you can take with you. Rentals often include a bathroom with shower, kitchen with sink, stove, and fridge, and various sleeping arrangements. Some RVs include entertainment such as TVs and DVD players.  There is likely to be a deposit fee, and some rentals include free mileage while others charge per mile. Be sure to ask ahead of time about extra charges!

Check Your Insurance

Just because you have car insurance, doesn’t mean it will cover your rental RV. Call your agency to find out. In most cases, you will need to pay a small per day fee to cover each driver who will be driving the RV. Insurance for a rental RV is a must!

What to Pack

Most rental RVs come with basic items. Things like dishes, pots and pans and other kitchen items. You may or may not have to supply your own linens. You will need to bring your favorite foods though!  If you are traveling with children, bring the board games, and load up the bikes. If you are traveling as a couple, stock up on books. Fishing poles, knitting needles, cameras, and swim trunks are all great things to toss in the RV.

Plan For Fuel Costs

The average RV gets 7-13 miles per gallon. Yes…I said per gallon. Many bigger RVs have large fuel tanks and can cost several hundred dollars to fill up! Be sure to add fuel costs to your vacation budget. If you plan to travel through the mountains, assume it will take more fuel. Also, truck stops will become really important to your family. Plan ahead and know where to fuel up. You can’t always pull a motorhome or travel trailer into just any old gas station. Use gas and fuel trucking apps to help you locate your closest options.

How to find Campgrounds & RV Parks

Figure out where you plan to stay AHEAD OF TIME. Locating your next stop while on the road will create a lot of stress. Many national and state parks only accommodate RVs under a certain length. Always call ahead. If you are traveling in the busy summer season, reservations will be necessary. Don’t expect to just pull in and find something. Here are a few places that offer RV camping:

  • Town & City Parks
  • KOA
  • Independent RV Parks
  • State and National Parks
  • Fairgrounds

State parks will usually cost $20 -$30 per night. Independent RV parks can be anywhere from $25 to $50+ per night –  but you might also get a pool!

Need a quick overnight stay before you head back on the road? There are several locations you can park for free including many Walmart parking lots, Cabela’s stores, and Cracker Barrel Restaurants. Take a look at the Allstays website or app to find out what locations allow overnight parking (also, always call first). Remember this is overnight parking, NOT camping.  You can park and sleep, but you can’t put out the slides and lawn chairs.

Always Stop Before Dark

Four pm is a great time to pull over and get settled in your camping spot. That way you avoid traffic, you still have plenty of light, and you get the added bonus of space in the campground to maneuver. Check-in is usually 1-3 pm. Late check-ins can be stressful for both the camper and the manager. Avoid cruising into a campground after dark. Why add stress if you don’t have to?

Summing It Up

On average, a rental RV will probably cost $250+ per day for four people plus fuel. If you plan to pull a trailer your costs will be less. Want to save money? Find a spot close to home and park. You can explore a local lake or camping park without the cost of fuel. There are plenty of places close by that offer hiking, swimming, and general camping fun.

What do you think? What type of RV would you want to rent? What would you want to bring? Where would you like to go?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below, then share this article with a friend. RV vacations offer a romantic getaway or a family fun experience.

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