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RV Rental Overview
RVing represents more than just a mode of travel and portable accommodation for your next trip. RVing is – ultimately – transformative, and can serve as the core of the road trip experience in and of itself.
With an RV, you’ll not only be able to take your accommodations with you to your various destinations (saving you time and effort spent booking static accommodations, and ensuring a more consistent overnight experience), but you’ll be able to camp in personalized comfort. Depending on the model and feature-set of your rented RV, you may even be able to enjoy the luxury/glamor camping lifestyle, otherwise known as “glamping.”
Not convinced? Consider this.
Imagine that you are planning a multi-day family road trip for your spouse and children. You’d like to engage in a variety of outdoor activities: a bit of city exploration, camping, hiking, and some sporting activities along the way.
Without an RV, you might rent a standard vehicle and bring along some camping equipment for the trip. You’d have to set up camp and struggle to enjoy the bare minimum comfort. No private facilities. No bed. No internet. No television. RVing posits an entirely different, no-compromises approach. With an RV, you can enjoy both the thrill of the outdoors and the comfort of modern facilities.
If you rent an RV, you can return from an exhausting daylong hike, go for a private shower, use a private toilet, have some hot soup or cocoa made in the kitchen, and sit back and watch your favorite movies on the RV flatscreen.
Ready to rent an RV? Great! Just be wary of your options.
The Problem With Dealerships
Most RV rental companies operate on the traditional dealership model. When you’re ready to rent, you’re permitted to rent from the limited RV selection available at the local outlets managed by the parent company.
A well-managed dealership can ensure a reasonable RV rental experience, but fundamentally they are inferior to newer, online RV rental marketplaces like RVshare.
Generally speaking, the traditional dealership model fails to provide: a) adequate RV selection, and b) competitive pricing. There are not many dealerships in a given locale, thus leading to minimal competition. Prospective renters may have only two or three options for RV rentals in the area. As such, the dealerships are less incentivized to offer competitive pricing, as there is simply less competition. They often get away with charging an exorbitant price due to the pseudo-monopoly they enjoy.
Further, local dealerships do not have the resources necessary to purchase and maintain a large and diverse RV rental fleet, nor the business incentives to do so. If you’re looking for a very specific RV model or feature-set, you may find that local RV dealerships simply do not offer uncommon RV models and feature-sets. As dealerships are just businesses trying to stay afloat, they tend to provide the models and feature-sets that are most popular. This can be a serious issue for prospective RV renters with more specific tastes.
If you’re ready to rent an RV, try RVshare instead. RVshare is an online, peer-to-peer RV rental platform that changes the RV rental business model for the benefit of renters.
How does it work?
RVshare connects individual RV owners with prospective renters. The RV owners are not businesses – they are simply owners with an unused RV who are interested in renting out their vehicle. Owners post listings on the RVshare platform, which prospective renters are free to browse.
Owners on the platform are not always driven purely by a profit-motive. Some would simply prefer that their unused RV be put to good use by an excited newcomer to the RVing world. Others would like to earn enough money to cover RV maintenance, but otherwise, have little interest in making it a highly profitable endeavor. As owners have diverse needs, reasons, and requirements for renting their RVs, prospective renters are likely to find a wide variety of listings.
RVshare rental prices tend to be the lowest in the industry. The ease with which prospective renters can browse and compare listings puts pressure on owners to price their rentals more competitively. Renters can filter their searches by area, RV model, pricing, and more. Renters are therefore empowered by the platform to find the RV that meets all of their needs – no compromises needed.
RVshare is no slouch when it comes to supplementary services, either. If you rent through the RVshare platform, you get access to a free, 24/7 roadside assistance line. If you encounter any mechanical issues (or other issues!) during your trip, call in and you’ll be connected to an RVshare representative who will provide assistance and next steps.
Common RV Types and Pricing
You can find a huge variety of RV types for rent on the RVshare platform, and though rates are not standardized (remember, owners are free to list their RVs at whatever rate they please), you can expect the pricing for certain RV types to fall within a certain range.
Motorized RVs are fully autonomous. A motorized RV does not require a tow vehicle. This can save you time and effort trying to find a suitable tow vehicle to rent in addition to the RV itself.
Class A RVs are the largest motorized RV type available. They resemble buses more than vans, trucks, or campers. It is worth noting that Class A RVs are known not only for their size but also for their relative luxury. They tend to be well-equipped and often feature a suite of fancy amenities. In general, Class A RVs range anywhere from $150-$450+.
Class C RVs are average-sized, though some models are capable of sleeping up to 8 people. They tend to be quite customizable, and you’ll find a wide range of Class C RVs available on the RVshare platform – some more luxurious and full-featured than others. Class C RVs range anywhere from $125-$450+.
Class B RVs are the smallest of the motorized types. They resemble vans and are in fact constructed using a van chassis. They are only suitable for small groups. Like Class C RVs, they have a variety of interior options, with some Class B RVs featuring luxury amenities, and others featuring lower-end amenities (or lacking such amenities altogether). Class A RVs range anywhere from $80-$350+.
Non-motorized RVs (otherwise known as towable RVs) require a tow vehicle to pull the RV trailer. Despite this inconvenience, non-motorized RVs have many advantages when compared to motorized RVs. They tend to be more fuel-efficient on average, are cheaper, and come in several unique variations.
Travel trailers are extremely versatile RVs with immense variety. You can find medium-sized, large-sized, luxury, and low-end travel trailers. There are few rules when it comes to what to expect from a travel trailer, except that most travel trailers are at minimum medium-sized. Travel trailers range anywhere from $80-200+.
Fifth Wheel Trailer
Fifth wheel trailers are the largest non-motorized RVs available, well-equipped (and often fitted with luxury amenities), and come with a unique front “bump.” This bump ensures that only pickup trucks have the shape profile necessary to act as a tow vehicle, thus limiting your tow vehicle options quite a bit. Fifth wheel trailers range anywhere from $125-$250+.
Truck campers are some of the lowest cost non-motorized RVs. They are essentially modified pickup trucks with the bed of the truck used as the base for the “trailer” living area. They are best considered as mini RVs and are unsuitable for sleeping more than two or three people. Truck campers range anywhere from $50-$250+.
Hidden Fees to Look Out For
When you rent an RV – whether from a traditional dealership or on the RVshare platform – you may encounter certain hidden fees. If you are not careful, these fees can add up and chew into your trip budget, so be aware the potential costs (both obvious and hidden) associated with renting an RV.
Some RV owners will provide a baseline “free” amount of miles for your RV trip. If you travel more than the allotted free miles, then you may be subject to excess mileage fees. Fees vary substantially, with some owners charging up to $0.50 per excess mile. To avoid such fees, either rent an RV from an owner who provides unlimited miles on your rental, or plan your trip out carefully to avoid detours that push you into excess miles.
Some RV owners will provide a generator for free, while others will charge a per hour fee. These costs can really add up. To avoid the generator fee, simply avoid using the provided generator. Instead, hook up your RV to the campground generator.
Late fees can be a hidden cost if the owner is strict. Make sure to confirm with the RV owner what time they expect the RV rental to be returned. If they are adamant about the specific hour of return, then it’s important that you return the rental on or before such time to avoid a late fee. Some renters will return an RV late on their last rental day, thus incurring an unexpected late fee.