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Renting an RV 101: What You Need to Know

These days, it seems that it’s possible to rent just about anything. Peer to peer networking has drastically changed the way people trade or share goods and services. Think about AirBnB, Task Rabbit, Turo, and so many others – they’re all about sharing what you have and cutting out the middleman. Perhaps the best thing about peer to peer networks is that they’re shifting the economy back to the “mom and pop” mindset; they’re turning individuals into small business owners.

RV rentals are one of the latest industries to join the sharing economy. Now, renting an RV is easier, less expensive, and more personalized than ever before. If you’ve been considering renting an RV, you may have some questions about how it works. We’ve put together this guide to help you get started.

Renting an RV – A Walkthrough

Before peer to peer networks, your only choice for renting a camper was through a service or dealership. You would choose from their selection of rentals (which usually wasn’t very diverse), fill out a bunch of paperwork, and be on your way. It’s not the most customer-oriented experience, and renters would often leave with a lot of questions. Peer to peer renting, on the other hand, is a lot more pleasant. Here’s how it works:

  • Enter the dates of your trip to browse available rentals in your area. You’ll sift through RVs of all classes, sizes, and ages. Whether you’re renting a pop-up trailer or Class A motorhome, you’ll see plenty of interesting rigs among the vast selection.
  • When you see one you like, you can look through the pictures and information the owner uploaded. The listing might include a floor plan and special information about the RV.
  • Read through the rules carefully! Many RV owners will list a mileage limit or a limit on generator usage. You’ll have to pay a fee if you go over.
  • Don’t forget to check if there’s a damage deposit and go over the insurance requirements. Some owners will let you use their insurance during your trip. Otherwise, you’ll want to get insurance through your carrier. Allstate has a good article on this topic.
  • Once you’ve found your RV soul mate, go ahead and make a reservation! The owner will get your request and your contact information. They’ll go over everything and do a background check. You’ll be able to message them directly with any questions or concerns.
  • When it’s time hit the road, you’ll meet with the owner personally. They’ll walk you through the RV and show you how everything works. Then, they’ll hand over the keys, and it’s off you go!
  • When the trip is over, you’ll return the RV and get your security deposit back (as long as the RV is clean and damage-free).

That’s it! It’s a super easy process for both parties. Best of all, it’s free for the owner to list the rental, which means reap the benefits in the form of lower rental rates.

How to Get the Best Deals When Renting an RV

So, you’re a deal-hunter, eh? You’re in the right place! Renting a trailer for camping directly from the owner will save you some cash, but there are ways to save even more money! Here’s how:

  • Rent during the off-season or other off-times. A winter rental will be a lot cheaper since the owner doesn’t want to deal with storing their RV. If you’re planning a holiday trip, rent the week before or after the holiday instead.
  • Rent for longer periods of time. Owners usually offer discounts for weekly or monthly rentals.
  • Check for RV relocation deals. Sometimes, dealerships need to move inventory to another location. It’s tedious and costly on their part, so they’ll rent out the rig for dirt cheap. It’s not very common on peer to peer rental sites, but it does happen occasionally.
  • Negotiate! The best thing about renting from the owner is that you can communicate with them directly. Feel free to haggle with them, especially if you’re renting for longer than the minimum.
  • Bring your own essentials. It might be tempting to go with the kitchen or bedding supply packages, but bringing everything yourself will save you a bunch of money.
  • You can save money while traveling, too. Use a gas app to find the cheapest gas stations along your route. To save at campgrounds, check out Passport America for discounts.

What to Expect When Renting an RV for a Week

Don’t just rent an RV for the weekend; why not rent one for a whole week? You’ll get a better sense of the RV lifestyle, and you’ll have plenty of time to explore! Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Get the RV that’s right for your family size. It’s not fun being stuck in a small RV for a week with a big family. If you’re traveling with more than two people, you might want to rent a larger Class A, travel trailer, or fifth wheel. This site has a good breakdown of the different RV types.
  • Don’t forget to look for discounts if you’re renting a camper trailer for a week or more. If there isn’t a discount in the listing, don’t be afraid to ask!
  • Make sure to plan your route ahead of time. You don’t want to go over the daily mileage limits, which is easy to do if you get lost.
  • You might want to make food ahead of time to save money and fuel. The less cooking you need to do, the less propane you’ll use. If you are going to cook, keep it simple. This blog has a great guide to eating on the road.

Closing Thoughts

Hopefully, this guide has taught you everything you need to know about renting a RV. RVing is easily the best way to travel. You get to save money while exploring the country and taking in the sights. Now that you’re an expert on renting an RV, get out there and find your dream rig!