RV Rentals: How to Rent an RV

December 31, 2019

More and more people are using RVs to travel in comfort, affordably. If you’re not ready to buy an RV or just want to try one out first, consider renting your recreational vehicle. There’s no better time than now to rent an RV and see the country, whether you’re traveling with your family, as a couple or in your retirement years.

RV Rentals

How Do You Rent an RV?

After investigating what you can expect from top RV manufacturers, follow the steps below to rent an RV.

Be sure you qualify to rent an RV. While every state sets different laws regarding minimum requirements, there are a few standard qualifications you’ll need to meet:

  • You have to be old enough to rent an RV. This is at least 21 years old, with some states requiring a minimum age of 25.
  • You need a current driver’s license, but no states require a CDL or special permit to drive an RV.
  • You must have full-coverage RV insurance.

Find an RV rental company. You can rent an RV from a local car dealership, fleet rental company or internet-based broker. Check the company’s customer ratings and rental insurance requirements to help make your decision.

Read the rental contract. When you choose a rental RV, be sure to read the fine print before signing the contract. Is there a set fee or minimum rental time? What about the disputes process if something goes wrong?

Sign an agreement. After you complete an application (including copies of your insurance and driver’s license), you’ll have to wait to hear back from the RV rental company. Once you’re approved, sign the contract, pay for the rental and then pick it up on the agreed-upon date.

What Type of RV Should You Rent?

A recreational vehicle is any type of trailer or automobile with a living space. RVs are usually classified by size:

  • Class A RVs are the largest.
  • Class B typically refers to campervans, which are the smallest option.
  • Class C is somewhere in between the two.

You can rent all types of RVs, including driveable models like motor homes and towable RVs like travel trailers, camper trailers, pop-up campers and fifth-wheel trailers.

If you don’t have a towing vehicle or just prefer to drive your RV rather than towing it and setting it up at each destination, you’ll want a motor home or campervan.

  • A motor home is a driveable RV with the most available living space. Class A motor homes typically have a long wheelbase and include a kitchen, bathroom, beds and seating. These RVs can be up to 45 feet in length. Class C motor homes are smaller and as short as 25 feet.
  • A campervan is the size of a van and quite a bit smaller than a motor home. Campervans are Class B RVs and may or may not have a bathroom or kitchen. These RVs are convenient and easy to park and drive. However, their small size is also a downfall if you want to travel for an extended time.

Trailers, sometimes called caravans, require towing. RV trailers are usually more affordable to rent than motor homes but offer far less convenient living conditions. Users set up the trailer at each campsite, which can require quite a bit of physical labor.

  • Pop-up campers are small, towable campers that have to be set up on-site.
  • Fifth-wheel and travel trailers are both larger, but fifth-wheel trailers stay closer to your towing vehicle so that they overlap with the bed of the truck.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent an RV?

RV rental companies typically charge per night, but you can also find weekly or monthly rates. The average cost to rent an RV is between $150 and $200 per night, although this could be quite a bit more or less depending on the type of RV you choose. The chart below illustrates the average rental prices for various types of RVs.

Type of RV Nightly Rental Average
Class A motor home $200 to $400
Class B campervan $150 – $275
Class C RV $150 – $300
Fifth-wheel trailer $100 – $200
Travel trailer $75 – $175
Pop-up camper $70 – $125

Keep in mind these prices fluctuate based on location, season and availability. If you’re looking to save money, older RV models are generally more affordable than newer models.

Additional RV Rental Costs

Before you rent an RV, consider additional costs involved with this method of travel.

  • Deposits: Many RV rental companies charge a deposit, which they refund if you return it in good condition. Be sure to read the fine print on the deposit notice to determine if you need to fill the gas tank before returning the RV.
  • Extra-mileage fees: In addition to your nightly rate, some renters also charge a fee if you exceed a specified number of hours per day or if you use the generator more than a standard daily amount.
  • Fuel cost: Most RVs get 7 to 20 miles per gallon. Be sure to budget for the appropriate fuel since diesel is more expensive than gasoline.
  • RV-park fees: Campgrounds and RV parks usually charge at least $30 per night, but you can sometimes find free places to park if you plan ahead. Unfortunately, free parking often does not include a water hookup. This is sometimes called boondocking or dry camping.

Conclusion

Renting an RV is a fairly straightforward process once you know the type of vehicle you want. Be sure to find a reputable broker and budget appropriately so you can enjoy your time on the open road.



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