17 Comprehensive Tips for Renting an RV

Travel Inspiration

Renting an RV should be an exceptionally fun and rewarding experience. RV travel combines convenience and excitement like no other type of travel can. In order to make your RV rental a great success, there are a few things you should know and think about ahead of time. Things like what type of RV to rent, how to find a campground, and what kind of gas mileage to expect. Here are 18 if our top tips to help you prepare for the ultimate RV rental experience.

1. Book Well in Advance

We can’t stress this one enough. Nothing will put a damper on your vacation plans quicker than finding out there are no RVs to rent during your intended time frame. When it comes to rental RVs, there is more demand than there is supply. You may need to book months, or even up to a year in advance. Keep this in mind, especially if you are planning a trip during the summer, holiday season, or winter school breaks. RVshare’s streamlined messaging and payment systems make booking an RV rental easy to do quickly. Book as soon as possible to increase your chance of getting the RV you want, when you want it.

2. Make Sure Your Payment is Secure

Putting down a large deposit over the phone or through the mail can be nerve-racking, and rightfully so. We hear stories of scammers swindling renters out of deposits and payments by asking them to send in money through the mail, or give credit card information over the phone. Making sure that your payment is secure should be a top priority. When you pay online through RVshare you can be confident in the security of your payments, as they are backed by our $10,000 Peace of Mind Guarantee.

3. Look Into Roadside Assistance

At RVshare, we understand that emergencies like flat tires can happen. That’s why if you find yourself in need of a little help on the side of the road, we’ve got you covered. RVshare offers 24/7 roadside assistance with every rental that is booked through our platform, so you travel the open road with confidence.

4. Compare Pricing

It’s a good idea to make inquiries on at least five RVs that interest you in order to best compare prices. RV rental prices will vary by size and type of RV, location, duration and distance of your trip, and time of year. The more RVs that you inquire on, the more pricing options you will have to choose from.

5. Insure Your Rental RV

Proper insurance is a must-have when renting an RV, which is why RVshare Rental Insurance is offered to owners at no cost. RVshare offers the most trusted RV rental insurance in the world. Coverage extends through all 50 states and Canada for the RV renter, the RV owner, and the RV itself. With RVshare Rental Insurance, you’re covered not only for basic comprehensive and collision but for Acts of God as well.

6. Choose the Best Size & Type of RV for Your Needs

RVs come in all types and sizes. Some are perfect for a couple who want to explore winding country roads, while others are more suited to large families who will drive long distances on the interstate. Before you commit to a rental RV decide what size and type best fits your needs.

The four basic RV types are:

Class A: This all-in-one RV usually has a lounge and dining area, kitchen, bathroom with shower, and separate bedroom. Many have slide-outs that increase the inside space. Perfect for large families and other groups who need a lot of room.

Class B: Sometimes called a van conversion. A Class B is a full-size or extended van with a raised roof. Most are outfitted with basic kitchen appliances, a bed/dinette combo, and sometimes a toilet. Best for couples or singles.

Class C: This RV is built on a truck chassis with an extra cab over the driver’s compartment. In most models, this space houses the bed. Most Class Cs have a separate dining area, kitchen, and bathroom. Often the dinette converts into a bed for extra space. Great for families who may not want to commit to the larger size of Class A.

Travel Trailer: An RV that you pull with a truck. Travel trailers come in all sizes from tiny 10’ compact trailers all the way up to 40’ long trailers. Interior features vary widely depending on size. For a mid-size trailer (25-35’) you can expect a lounge, dinette, kitchen, bathroom, and separate bedroom. It is vital to make sure that you have a vehicle capable of towing the type of trailer you wish to rent.

7. Consider the Sleeping Arrangements

When deciding what type of RV to rent, sleeping arrangements should be a major consideration. RV rental listings will disclose how many people each RV sleeps. But don’t just rent an RV that sleeps four and leave it at that. Often RV beds are hidden or convertible and it’s good to know ahead of time how large each bed is, and exactly how to go about converting it. That way poor Uncle Al won’t get stuck sleeping on the five-foot converted dinette bed for a week.

8. Remember, RVs Can Be Fun and Easy to Drive!

Really, they can be! Many first-time RV drivers are surprised by just how easy it is to drive a rental RV. Here are a few tips that will help make driving yours even easier:

  • Practice: RVs are longer and wider than the average vehicle. Take a few practice loops around an empty parking lot to familiarize yourself with the size of the RV.
  • Turning: Make wider turns. Pull into the intersection before making a turn and use your mirrors to watch the sides and back end.
  • Backing Up: For the majority of new RV drivers this is the most difficult part. Always, always use a spotter when backing up, even if your RV has a backup camera.
  • Braking: Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. RVs are heavy and need extra time to stop.
  • Slow down! It’s a vacation, not a race. Most RV accidents are caused by excessive speed.

9. Plan your Trip

Once you’ve found the perfect rental RV, it’s time to plan your trip. Maybe you have a specific destination in mind, or maybe a general route where you want to make several stops along the way. In either case, having at least some sort of plan will make for a less stressful travel experience.

10. Be Aware of All Potential Fees

There may be extra fees associated with renting an RV. From fees for extra items, cancellations, pets, or use of the generator. Be sure to inquire about all possible extra fees ahead of time to avoid any unexpected costs, including the:

  • Cancellation Policy
    Unexpected things happen and sometimes you need to cancel or reschedule a vacation. Be sure you know the cancellation policy of your rental RV ahead of time to avoid potentially costly fees.
  • Pet Policy
    If you plan to bring a pet along for your vacation be sure to check the pet policy first. Some RV rentals allow pets, and some don’t. For those who do, there may be restrictions on the total number of pets, or an extra deposit or fee. It’s also a good idea to check the pet policies of the places where you will be traveling. Many national parks,
    and even some state parks, do not allow dogs on trails or beaches, which means your furry friend might be spending a lot of time alone in the RV.

11. Secure Items Inside the RV

When an RV is rumbling down the road the items inside have a tendency to shift and occasionally jump around. Prevent accidents and potential breakage by securing everything firmly in place. Clear off counters and tables, latch cabinets, and make sure any loose items (shoes, books, the dog’s water bowl) are safely stowed.

12. Determine What Kind of Gas Mileage to Expect

The gas mileage of an RV varies greatly depending on the type and size. The RV owner will be able to give you an idea of the gas mileage you can expect. Keep in mind that gas mileage can vary depending on terrain and speed.

13. Know How to Generate Power in the RV

RVs are powered in two ways – either by plugging into a power source or through the house batteries. When an RV is not plugged in, it will by default draw power from the batteries. Power that will eventually need to be replenished. This is where a generator comes into play. Some rental RVs have a generator, and some don’t. Ask ahead of time if the RV you are renting includes a generator. If it does, learn the basics including the location, how to start it, and what kind of fuel it uses.

14. Don’t Forget to Pack the Essentials

Extra items such as linens, kitchen items, towels, and an outdoor grill may or may not be included in the RV rental. Always be sure to inquire ahead of time exactly what is included and what you will need to bring.

Packing for an RV trip does not need to be complicated. After you have determined what the RV includes (such as kitchen items, linens, etc.), make yourself a list and stick to it. Here is a basic list to get you started.
– Bed linens & pillows
– Towels
– Toiletries
– Cleaning supplies: sponges, dish towels, trash bags, etc.
– Toilet paper and paper towels
– Broom & dustpan
– Clothing for a variety of weather
– Extra socks and underwear
– Laundry basket
– Basic first aid kit
– Paper plates, bowls & cups (useful even if the RV comes outfitted with dishes)
– Can opener
– Cooking utensils
– Cutlery
– Plastic wrap, tin foil, & zip lock bags
– Folding chairs
– Portable grill
– Bikes or other outdoor recreation items
– Lantern & flashlight
– Sunscreen & insect repellant
– Cards & travel sized board games
– Camera and battery charger

15. Download Some RV Apps to Enhance Your Trip

Use your mobile devices to make your RV trip easier and more enjoyable. Here are a few apps that are sure to enhance your vacation.

  • Gas Buddy: A simple app that compares fuel prices to help you find the cheapest place to fill up. Free to download.
  • Yelp: An app that most people probably already know and use, but it’s worth a mention as a handy RV travel tool. With a giant database of restaurants, campgrounds, services, and entertainment venues – along with extensive user reviews – this app is a must-have for navigating a new area. Free to download.
  • AllStays: A massive, all-in-one RV guide for finding not only campgrounds but other RV services and overnight stops. Allstays has a database of RV-friendly Walmarts, truck stops with propane fills and dump stations, and so much more. $10 to download.
  • RV Checklist: Did you remember to put the TV antenna down, crank up the stabilizers, and latch all the cabinets? Never forget these things again with the RV Checklist app. With a fully customizable list and user-intuitive features for checking items off and viewing progress, this app is a game changer. Free from the Google Play store / $0.99 from the Apple store.
  • National Parks: If you are like the thousands of RVers who plan to visit a national park while on vacation, then this app is a must-have. Featuring recommendations, photo tips, park secrets, points of interest with GPS coordinates, interactive maps, and much more. Free to download.
  • Weather Underground: Keep track of the weather on the go. View the weather in your location, including hazardous weather alerts and hourly forecasts. Add your next location and track the weather before you arrive. Free to download.

16. Know How and Where To Dump the Tanks

The task of dumping RV waste tanks can be intimidating. It doesn’t need to be. Here are 8 simple steps to follow.

  1. Pull up to the dump station with the dump valve as close to the drain as possible.
  2. Put on latex gloves and get out your sewer hose.
  3. Securely clamp the hose to the holding tank drain outlet and insert the other end in the dump station hole.
  4. When you are sure everything is secure, pull open the black water tank first. You will hear an initial rush through the hose, then it will slow to a trickle. Close the valve. Open the grey tank valve and allow it to drain.
  5. Close the valve. Double-check that both valves are closed before disconnecting the hose from the RV dump valve.
  6. Hold the hose above the dump station hole and let it drain. If there is a non-potable water hose available, run water through the hose to rinse it out.
  7. Remove the sewer hose from the hole and rinse the outside and the area around the hole.
  8. Don’t forget to replace the cap on the holding tank drain.

Finding a place to dump your tanks is simple. Most campgrounds have an on-site dump station. If they don’t, go to sanidumps.com (or download their mobile app) and search your area for the nearest dump station. Both free and paid dump stations are listed.

17. Find the Perfect Campground

You’ve got your rental RV, you planned a route, and you made a packing list. All that’s left now is to find a campground. Fortunately, the Internet is full of helpful websites to help you with this task.

Before you start looking and get overwhelmed by all the options, decide what kind of campground you prefer. Do you value amenities such as full hook-ups (power/sewer/water/cable) and a heated swimming pool? Then you should stick to private RV Parks. Or do you crave a great view, some privacy, and access to hiking trails? Then public campgrounds are more your style.

Here are some of the best websites offering a comprehensive list of campgrounds around the U.S. Be sure to narrow your search results by filtering for items such as location, price, and amenities.

  • Allstays: Offers a massive database of campgrounds
  • Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Resorts: A franchise network of campgrounds focused on providing great family vacations
  • Campendium: A large database of campgrounds plus user reviews
  • US Campgrounds: All public campgrounds

We hope these tips help make your next RV trip a fun and stress-free adventure. Head on over to RVshare and book your RV today. Happy camping!