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Finding Campgrounds With RV Rentals
If you’re about to set off on a road trip, you may actually find that you’re unprepared for flexibility in terms of activities, finances, and scheduling over the course of the trip. Renting an RV onsite from a campground is a great way to gain access to facilities and activities that you might not otherwise have planned for at the beginning – or that you might not otherwise have been able to afford.
Finding a campground is relatively simple. Most RVers use a combination of regional visitor guides, RV association campground recommendations, national park brochures, and online searches to find the campground that best suits their needs.
If you are a member of an RV association, you may receive significant discounts for both overnight stays and onsite RV rentals at in-network campgrounds, so keep these discounts in mind when making a decision about where to stay.
Campgrounds With Onsite RV Rentals
How do onsite RV rentals work?
Currently, industry observers estimate that about one-third to one-half of all campgrounds – both public and private – provide onsite RV rentals to visitors. When you arrive at the campground, assuming that there are still available vehicles for rent, you will be given the opportunity to rent out one of the RVs for an additional cost. Nightly rental rates can vary significantly depending on the campground, seasonal demand, and the available RV models, but rates generally range from $50 at the low end, to $200 at the high end.
So, why bother with an onsite RV rental in the first place? Surely it would be simpler and more efficient to rent an RV earlier, so you can enjoy it for the duration of the trip – right?
Onsite RV rentals at campgrounds actually fill a particular rental niche that is underserved by the traditional RV rental industry. To demonstrate the RV rental problem that onsite rentals help alleviate, let’s explore a quick example.
Suppose that you set off on a one-month road trip across the United States with three friends in a standard consumer sedan. As for camping equipment, you’ve only packed one tent, and it is medium-sized. It can barely fit your group of four.
Your road trip is not necessarily oriented around campgrounds or camping. Throughout the trip, you mostly stay in cheap hostels and motels. Occasionally, however, you’ll stop off at a campground to enjoy outdoor activities and a more intimate view of nature.
Once you arrive at the campground, you can either stay uncomfortably overnight with all four squeezed into the tent, or – assuming the campground rents out onsite RVs – you can rent an RV to sleep in for the night. Though the additional cost cuts into your budget a bit, you don’t frequent campgrounds and so you and your friends believe the cost to be justified. The campground staff sets up the RV for you and it is a rather luxurious experience. Inside the RV you can enjoy an electricity hookup (i.e., appliance use, television, internet, etc.), heating, water, and private toilet and shower facilities.
Not all road trippers “need” the use of an RV for the entire length of their trip. In fact, making use of an existing vehicle and simply renting the RV onsite (when desired) can keep expenditures low.
Advantages and Limitations of Onsite RV Rentals
Onsite RV rentals are not a panacea for the various RV rental issues regularly suffered by budget renters. Onsite campground rentals are both advantageous and disadvantageous in many ways. Whether an onsite rental is the right choice for you and your group depends largely on the circumstances.
Renting an RV can be expensive over the course of a long trip, especially when you rent from a traditional dealership. Renting onsite at a campground can minimize your costs while enabling you to make use of an RV when you need it the most.
Renters can enjoy the use of a more maneuverable vehicle for the majority of their trip, and the use of a more comfortable overnight vehicle (e.g. the RV) for campground nights.
Campground staff almost always sets up onsite RV rentals. As a renter, you do not have to expend valuable time or energy in setting up the RV yourself.
Onsite RVs are typically equipped with amenities like a television and entertainment system, toilet/shower facilities, and more.
The onsite RVs available for rent are usually limited to non-motorized trailers. As such, the RVs are not meant to be driven around outside of the campground – in essence, the onsite RV trailer functions as a mini-hotel room.
RV choice may be quite limited. Thus, even though you’re spending quite a bit of additional money on renting the RV for use at the campground, you may not end up with your “ideal” model, size, or selection of various amenities.
Renting an RV from a campground can be quite expensive, if seasonal demand is high or if the campground simply charges a premium rate for the rental. As all onsite RVs are owned by the campground, you have minimal negotiating leverage and few alternatives for renting out an RV.
Consider Renting from RVshare
Onsite RV rentals are a great way to enjoy the comfort of an overnight RV stay at a campground for a one-time fee, but the fundamental problem with onsite RV rentals is that they are usually not “portable.” If you are interested in renting an RV – and enjoying its full mobile capabilities – for a limited duration and/or at a low price, consider renting through the RVshare platform instead.
RVshare is an online, peer-to-peer RV rental platform that connects owners directly with prospective renters. On RVshare, owners post their RV model for rent, and prospective renters are free to browse through thousands of owner-posted listings to find their ideal rental.
As prices are easy to compare and negotiate, rental rates tend to be much lower on the RVshare platform than traditional RV dealerships or onsite rentals at campgrounds.
When you rent an RV through the RVshare platform, you gain the benefit of a diverse selection of vehicles, access to the lowest rental rates in the industry, and the ability to rent locally anywhere in the world. For example, instead of renting an RV onsite at a campground, you could simply use the RVshare platform to locate a cheaper, better-equipped RV nearby, posted by an individual owner.
Good luck, and happy RVing!