More and more people are using RVs to travel comfortably, without the hassle of airport security lines or steep nightly hotel fees. If the thought of traveling the U.S. excites you but buying one is not feasible (yet), consider renting your recreational vehicle and trying out the lifestyle first. There’s no better time than now to rent an RV, whether you’re traveling with your family, as a couple, or paving the way for an adventure during retirement.
How Do You Rent an RV?
After investigating what you can expect from top RV manufacturers, follow the steps below to rent an RV.
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? Do you need to buy insurance? 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.
RV Rental Qualifications and Requirements
While every state sets different laws regarding minimum requirements, there are a few standard qualifications you’ll need to meet to rent an RV:
- A minimum age of 21 years old, though some states require a minimum age of 25. Other companies that impose age restrictions may charge younger drivers a daily fee.
- A current driver’s license. No states require a CDL or special permit.
- Valid full-coverage RV insurance.
What Type of RV Should You Rent?
A recreational vehicle is any type of trailer or automobile with a living space. You can rent all types of RVs, including driveable models like motorhomes 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 motorhome 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.
Driveable RVs are usually classified by size:
- Class A RVs are the largest rigs, akin to driving a large bus.
- Class B RVs are like midsized campervans, which are the smallest option.
- Class C RVs are most common for beginner drivers and are comparable to driving a truck.
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 must be set up on-site.
- Fifth-wheel and travel trailers are larger rigs, 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.
|RV Type||Nightly Rental Average|
|Class A motorhome||$200 to $400|
|Class B motorhome||$150 – $275|
|Class C motorhome||$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.
- Mileage fees: In addition to your nightly rate, some renters also charge a fee if you exceed a specified number of miles per day or if you use the generator more than a standard daily amount.
- Fuel costs: Most RVs get seven to 20 miles per gallon. Be sure to budget a few hundred bucks to fill up your motorhome with the appropriate fuel. Remember, diesel is more expensive than gasoline.
- RV campsite fees: Campgrounds and RV parks usually charge $30 to $100 or more per night to park your rig. You can also find free places to park if you plan ahead, though free parking rarely includes a water hookup. This is sometimes called boondocking or dry camping.
Do You Need Insurance to Rent an RV?
It’s custom for RV rental marketplaces to require a full-coverage RV insurance option. Each rental company offers its own coverage ranging from basic to premium. Check with your current auto insurance carrier to see if your coverage extends to a rental RV. If not, you’ll need to purchase coverage through the rental dealer. Insurance costs will depend on the type of vehicle you rent, your curry auto coverage, and your risk tolerance.
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.