A vacation in an RV rental seems like the perfect getaway. What could be better than an epic road trip to an amazing destination, enjoying nature that surrounds you without the need to set up a tent or stock a cabin?
That was exactly the thought that led my husband and I to plan our first RV vacation.
And what led us, after that memory-making RV trip, to purchase our own motorhome a year later!
Note: this article is specifically about motorhomes, not travel trailers, though some information may transfer between the two types of recreational vehicles (RVs),
What’s So Great About RVing?
Often the journey is the most overlooked part of an adventure, merely seen as a way to get to and from your destination. With an RV the journey becomes part of the adventure. You can stop at that quirky roadside attraction with no worries of being late to hotel check in.
If you travel with kids and they tend to bicker after being in a car for a few hours (or a few minutes!), you'll love the ability for them to spread out in the RV.
Safety note: Couches and bench seats are equipped with seat belts. I do not recommend letting kids roam freely about the RV while it is in motion.
And food! No need to stop and unpack everything to make lunch, then pack it again to get back on the road, as you would with car camping. And no more fast food or gas station meals!
You can think of your camper rental as a home on wheels. You really will have all the comforts of home- just smaller. Organization is key and planning a menu is helpful to avoid fast food stops along your route.
Are you sold on a motorhome rental for your vacation?
Choosing the Best RV Rental for Your Trip
When researching RV rentals you'll see 3 main types of motorhome: Class A, Class B, and Class C.
Class A motorhomes are built on a custom chassis and resemble a bus. Length ranges from 21-40 feet.
Class B motorhomes are built on a mini-bus or panel-truck shell. Smaller and very mobile these are terrific for couples. Length can be from 16-22 feet.
Class C motorhomes are built on a van frame with a wider body section attached to the front cab. These are most recognizable by the front over-cab sleeping area. Length ranges from 21-35 feet. (The RV pictured above is a Class C.)
As well as size of the motorhome, gas mileage is another factor to consider. Obviously, the larger the RV the more fuel it will take.
Class A and Class C RVs average 5-8 miles per gallon, while a Class B motorhome can average 18-23 miles per gallon.
Be sure to calculate mileage for your trip and figure it into your travel budget.
What does it cost to rent an RV for a week?
Rental prices will vary by size and type of the RV, as well as the location you are renting from.
Popular areas like Orlando, Phoenix, Nevada, and southern California will cost more due to demand.
You can expect to pay more for a Class A RV than a Class C RV, and a newer motorhome will always cost more than an older model.
Class A: $150-$250/night (10+ years or older); $350-$450/night (newer)
Class B: $100-$200/night (10+ years or older); $200-$350/night (newer)
Class C: $100-$200/night (10+ years or older); $225-$400/night (newer)
Many RV companies and private owners will offer a discount for long term rentals of 7 days or more.
Will an RV Rental Cost Less Than a Hotel?
This questions is not as easily answered as one might think as many factors come into play.
As you compare an RV rental to hotel costs be sure to look at the big picture of your entire trip- not just accommodations.
Key factors to keep in mind as you decide between an RV rental and hotel.
- Fuel costs An RV costs more to fuel than a car or SUV but will often cost less than flights.
- Rental costs Compare the cost per night of an RV rental vs your nightly hotel stay.
- Food and Meals Because you can make your own meals easily in an RV food savings are one of the most substantial ways to save money on vacation.
- Location Campgrounds may not be in or near cities so you will have added transportation costs, possibly including a rental car, with an RV rental.
How Do I Find an RV Near Me?
You might be surprised where you can rent an RV in the United States!
The one thing to keep in mind with this type of rental is that most people have only a single RV. So if something happens and the RV is damaged by a previous renter there will not be a replacement unit available.
You can also do a web search for ‘RV rentals in (your city/ state)'. This will return the suggestions listed above as well as RV dealers in your area that also rent RVs.
RV Rental Tips
When deciding on an RV rental you want to be comfortable, both driving the RV and sleeping in the RV. A smaller RV equates to smaller rental costs, but also less space.
Be realistic about what length RV you are comfortable driving.
Not sure? Contact the RV rentals you are interested in and inquire about a test drive. Ask if you can see the unit prior to renting. If the RV isn't out on another rental or in cold weather storage most owners will arrange it.
Ask if you can see the unit prior to renting. If the RV isn't out on another rental or in cold weather storage most owners will arrange it.
Read the RV listing thoroughly. It should tell you the daily rate, minimum rental term, minimum rental age, if the RV is pet friendly, how many people can comfortably sleep in it, and the amenities. It should also list security deposit, additional fees, and cancellation policy.
If your question isn't answered, ask. RV owners want you to have a great vacation and they will do everything they can to help you toward that goal!
Be sure to read up on RV safety tips. This vehicle is called a motor home for a reason- it is like driving around with a house attached to your vehicle. Motorhome safety includes both driving safety and home safety.
10 Questions You Should Ask Before Renting an RV
You shouldn't be uneasy about renting an RV. A quality RV rental company or private owner should be able to answer all these questions for you with no hesitation. If they can't you might want to look at a different rental unit.
- When was the RV serviced and when is it due for the next service? If your rental will be long or cover a lot of miles this is very important!
- When were the tires checked and when were they last replaced? The last thing you want is a tire to blow out as you are driving!
- What is the tire pressure? And is there a tire gauge to check with before driving?
- Does this RV need special fuel? Some RVs are diesel, and some gas RVs do not like high ethanol.
- Does this rental include roadside assistance? If this is not offered see if you can get it through your own insurance or roadside assistance coverage.
- How tall/ wide/ long is this RV? You need these dimensions for some roads and campgrounds. Some RV campgrounds can't accommodate large RVs. Use the CoPilot RV app to travel the safest route.
- Where is the proof of insurance? You will need this if you get pulled over or have an accident.
- Where is the owner's manual? Very helpful if you need a quick reminder of how things work.
- Who do I call in case of accident or emergency? Large rental companies will have a toll-free number, but when working with private owners you need the best number for any time of day.
- What do I need to do to get my security deposit back? Most RVs must be thoroughly cleaned and waste tanks dumped to receive a full return of deposit.
Before you roll out on your adventure you should receive a thorough lesson in how everything in the RV works. From how to dump the waste tanks to how to roll out the awning.
If you aren't clear about something ask to be shown before you drive away. Take pictures or record video for reference.
What You Need to Provide for RV Rental
- All licensed drivers will need to provide copies of their current drivers licenses.
- Completed contracts, payments, and security deposit.
- In most cases the renter is responsible for providing their own liability insurance coverage.
RV Packing List
- Bedding, towels, and pillows (sleeping bags are ideal for RVs with bunk beds!)
- Cookware – if cooking over fire
- Aluminium foil
- Storage containers for leftovers
- Paper towels
- Trash bags
- Camp chairs
- Camping gear you should always pack
- 5 things you must have if rain is in the forecast
- Plan your RV vacation using these Bullet Journal tips!
Note: special toilet paper is required for the RV. It is often provided but if you run out please visit the camp store or camping supplier to purchase the correct TP for the septic system!
Are you considering an RV vacation? What questions do you have?
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