Renting An RV - The Most FAQs, Tips, and Hacks
Preparing to rent a recreational vehicle?
We love hearing stories of your successful RVing adventures and hate reading negative reviews from people who’ve felt they got burned by not knowing what they were doing or getting into before they made the commitment.
Before you make the choice to start shopping around for camper rentals for your next adventure, there’s a few things you need to keep in mind.
Successfully renting an RV and enjoying a smooth expedition doesn’t have to feel like you’re pushing a boulder up a hill. We’ve seen how easy the process can be when you’re armed with the information you need.
Before you rush out and plop down your security deposit on your rental, there’s a few things to consider… like where to rent an RV, how to rent one, the average costs you can expect to pay, where you can expect to stay, and tips for making your trip a memorable experience.
The first, and biggest question is…
Why rent an RV in the first place?
If you’re trying to travel unrestricted and explore new areas, RVing is, by far, one of the best ways to make your dreams come true.
With normal travel if you arrive to your destination and aren’t happy… you’re stuck! Try packing up and leaving without losing a ton of money!
In an RV, you can load your gear up and move onto the next spot without a care in the world.
If you compare “normal” travel costs with the costs of renting an RV and taking it wherever your journey has you ending up, the differences in costs are pretty dramatic.
Most RVs include the exact same amenities, and more — it isn’t uncommon to get put into a hotel room with nothing more than a microwave oven. RVs tend to come with fully-stocked kitchens you can prep large meals in and feed your entire crew.
And, finally… the biggest reason to rent an RV instead of pay for lodging and flights is… you get to actually enjoy nature and leave the hustle and bustle of regular life for a while. RVing lends perfectly to sightseeing, fishing, kayaking, exploring, spelunking, you name it!
It’s all possible once you leave the confines of the city limits and start exploring in your home away from home — the perfect rental RV.
Where To Rent A Camper RV
In 2019, there’s a few different ways to can find an RV or camper to rent.
- RV Dealerships: Even though most people wouldn’t think about an RV dealership when it comes time to take out a rental, the fact remains that many dealerships have overstock inventory that’s wasting away on their lot. They’re typically more-than-ready to lease them to you for short-term rentals in order to recoup some of the costs associated with the RVs losing value.
- RV Rental Agencies: Rental companies and agencies like El Monte RV, Cruising America, and others are always willing to rent a camper to you for both long-term and short-term durations. However, if you’ve spent any length of time searching through reviews you’ll figure out pretty quickly that rental agencies are falling to the wayside and are being replaced by our personal favorite way to rent a camper in 2019…
- Peer to Peer RV Rentals: This is, by far, one of the best ways to save money and find a camper that’s perfect for your expeditions. Over the last few years, P2P rental companies have taken the industry by storm, offering far-more competitive rates, better customer service, premium insurances, and coverages that you can’t get through dealerships and old-school rental agencies.
Something you’ll want to think about, if you are worried about pickup and deliver (many people get confused about how to pick up and drop off the RV!), peer-to-peer companies do offer owner-provided pickup and delivery services.
This is just another convenience that they offer over traditional rental companies and dealerships and can save you a ton of headache and frustration at the beginning and end of your trips.
RELATED: Top Rated RV Rental Companies USA
Typical RV Rental Costs & Fees
This is one of the biggest questions we see — how much does it cost to rent an RV in 2019?
Followed shortly behind by… “where do I even begin comparing them all???”.
It’s an understandable problem — the sheer amount of options, new words you’ll see, different terms used to describe different trim levels, options available, services available, and rates swinging more wildly than a circus performer on a trapeze makes it overwhelming to a lot of people.
Knowing what to expect before you begin searching can save you a ton of frustration with less-than-honest renters and owners who attempt to bait and switch or raise their rates hoping that people won’t research enough to realize they’re about to get ripped off.
- Campervans: $75 to $175 per day. (plus taxes and fees.)
- Pop Up Campers: $40 to $125 per day. (plus taxes and fees.)
- Travel Trailers: $50 to $150 per day. (plus taxes and fees.)
- Fifth Wheels: $100 to $250 per day. (plus taxes and fees.)
- Class A: $150 to $300 per day. (plus taxes and fees.)
- Class B: $100 to $200 per day. (plus taxes and fees.)
- Class C: $150 to $250 per day. (plus taxes and fees.)
- Toy Haulers: $100 to $200 per day. (plus taxes and fees.)
Something else to consider is your location, the location you’re traveling to, and the time of the year that you’re planning on renting.
These all play a major role in the rates you can expect to pay and renting during the off-season can sometimes save you more than 50% off your total costs.
Click here if you want to get the most accurate, updated listings and costs for each type.
How To Pick The Right Size & Type Of RV To Rent
Right now there’s more than a dozen different types of recreational vehicles you can rent — only making the choices that much more difficult.
We’re covering some of the most common (with pictures included) so you know what you’re getting into and can narrow down your search results on .
- Class A: Next to a fifth wheel trailer, a Class A motorhome is the biggest type of RV you can get behind the wheel of. These require a unique driving style but they offer the largest interior space, storage space, and have the highest number of features. Most Class A motorhomes and RVs will have “popouts” you can extend in order to create even more living space. If you’re looking for luxury on the road and the ability to move around freely, Class A’s are hard to beat. However, they also come with the highest price so you can expect to “get what you pay for” in the Class A tier of RVs.
- Class B: There’s a bit of a misnomer in the RV world. You would think, based on the alphabet, that a Class B motorhome would be one size under a Class A. However, that isn’t the case. Class B motorhomes are substantially smaller — with most being as big as a van. For smaller groups and quick trips around your area, or for those times you want to get into places a bigger RV can’t go while still maintaining your (albeit limited) amenities, a Class B campervan is a great choice. They’re also easier to drive!
- Class C: Jumping back up in size, a Class C motorhome is where most RVers are going to find themselves. They’re in between a campervan and a Class A, are significantly easier to drive than a Class B but do require more attention to the road than a campervan. A campervan will feel more like driving a car and give you better gas mileage but a Class C is able to fit more people comfortably than a campervan and often include extra amenities, like a shower and a camode. You won’t find those in a van!
- Travel Trailers: Travel trailers are where things really get interesting. These range in length from a smaller popup tent camper that you can tow behind a small car, all the way up to 42’ long trailers that require a substantial tow rig. Luckily for you, a lot of RV rental companies and agencies offer delivery and pickup services if you don’t have access to a vehicle capable of towing them or you do not feel comfortable driving down the interstate with one behind you. For most people, travel trailers are more than enough to enjoy a weekend (or even a week) away from home. Longer-term living can be difficult!
- Fifth Wheels: Fifth wheels are the cream of the crop when it comes to RVs. They’re tow-behinds, like travel trailers, but they offer a lot more luxury and amenities than most others. These are, for all intents and purposes, a home away from home. You’ll find luxurious kitchen spaces, full bathrooms, multiple bedrooms, and enough storage to pack away the gear needed for a full month on the road — or longer, if you improvise. If you’re not comfortable towing a travel trailer, though, you’re definitely not going to be comfortable towing a fifth wheel. They require a specialized tow vehicle with equipment capable of holding the extra weight and length.
Depending on what your goals are, how many people you’re going to be traveling with, the types of amenities you need with you while you’re on the road, and how luxurious you want to go, you have quite a few different options — and quite a few different price ranges.
Frequently Asked RV Rental Questions
There’s quite a few questions we see people having. Enough, so, that we needed to get them out in order to keep emails down — and make it easier for you to pick the right RV for your adventures.
If your mind is racing and thoughts are wondering, here’s some of the most common questions we see people having when it comes time to finally rent an RV.
- Are carseats a requirement for kids in an RV?
Even though some states do not require you to use a carseat in an RV, we highly recommend keeping your children safe. Keeping them restrained in a carseat while the vehicle is underway is one of the best ways to guarantee their safety in the event of a crash.
While most accidents involving RVs are at low speeds, typically in parking lots, while moving around other vehicles, or when backing up, if you are on the highway or traveling at faster speeds you should disable the passenger airbags and keep your child in a carseat.
- How many passengers can ride in RVs?
There’s one rule of thumb when it comes to the number of passengers you can safely carry in your RV — the number of seatbelts dictates the number of people in those seatbelts.
Something else to keep in mind is that the seatbelts in the rear of the vehicle are not held to the same safety and crash standards as the seatbelts in the front of the vehicle.
This means that, even though the seatbelts exist, they may not necessarily mean you can carry more people with you. You’ll want to keep this in mind when you’re planning which RV to rent.
- What are the laws on riding in motorhomes?
In most states you are legally allowed to ride in the back of the motorhome, even while you’re underway. However, if you’re pulled over by law enforcement and your occupants aren’t belted in with a seatbelt or restraint device, you could be fined for each violation.
- Do you have to wear your seatbelt in an RV?
This is another grey area and depends entirely on the country and states that you’re traveling through — not the state or country that you’ve traveled from.
While you are required to wear a seatbelt in the front of an RV, at all times, you may not be required to wear them in the rear of the vehicle. If you’re traveling through multiple states you will want to bring yourself up to speed on the laws before you enter into the area.
Driving violation fines can quickly add up and take a “budget” trip into a very, very expensive life lesson faster than you realize. Always practice safety and care when you’re RVing!
- Can you move around a motorhome in motion?
This is another topic that varies from state to state and locale to locale. Some states will tell you that, yes, you can walk around a motorhome while you’re underway while specific cities that you’re going to pass through have laws against it.
It really comes down to what you’re comfortable with. While we recommend that you do not attempt to live an active life while you’re driving down the road, we know some people are going to want to prepare meals, care for their guests, or venture around.
Those are situations that could cause issues with some law enforcement agencies.
If all you’re attempting to do is use the restroom or grab something from storage there isn’t a lot to worry about. However, if a law enforcement officer sees your entire family moving around back and forth, treating the motorhome as if it’s standing still, you could find yourself facing the scrutiny of their local laws.
- Is driving an RV or motorhome difficult?
For the most part, it isn’t “hard” or “difficult” to drive an RV but it will require you to adjust your driving style. If you’re known for constantly changing lanes, getting impatient behind the wheel, or having “road rage”, you’re going to need to stay mindful of your thoughts and actions while you’re on the road.
Driving an RV will require you to practice in a large parking lot, in order to make sure you’ve prepared yourself before you have distractions onboard with you.
Attempting to learn how to reverse or make a K-turn while you’re loaded down with family and gear and make it significantly harder for you to learn those maneuvers. Performing them when it’s just you and a spotter will give you the confidence you need in order to perform them while you’re loaded down.
- Do you need a special license to drive an RV?
For the most part, no, you do not need a special license to drive a recreational vehicle. However, you do need to have an actual license.
This is another area you’ll need to check state and local laws on but simply asking the person or company you’re going to be renting the vehicle from is enough to let you know whether or not a special license is required.
Tips, Tricks, And Hacks For Renting An RV
Saving money and actually enjoying the trip you’re planning are a lot easier when you know what you’re getting into — and which hurdles you can expect to encounter along the way.
To help you out, here’s a few tips, tricks, and hacks for saving time, money, headache, and guaranteeing your expeditions go as smoothly as possible!
#1 – Never book in person!
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a first-time renter is to visit your local rental agency, dealership, or company and start looking through their inventory. This is going to set you up in a situation where you’re going to end up spending a lot more than you need to.
This doesn’t just go for actually renting the RV, either. Planning ahead of time and booking your itinerary online can save you a ton of headache once you finally get to where you’re going.
Not having a plan is, essentially, planning to be frustrated instead of being able to relax and confidently enjoy your trips. If you want to avoid the headaches of booking in person, we highly recommend as a way to save time and money.
#2 – Plan as far ahead as possible!
Being spontaneous is one of the great spices of life. However, when it comes to taking an RV trip, being spontaneous can be a great way to drain your wallet and leave you wishing you didn’t come up with the idea in the first place.
Between saving money, guaranteeing you get exactly what you want, and having the ability to visit the places you actually want to visit requires you to have a little bit of foresight and pre-planning the trip as far in advance as you can.
There’s times in life where just picking up and going can be a great way to create new memories. However, for RVing, it’s a proven way to create new nightmares and probably keep you from ever wanting to go RVing again.
From your campground, to the sights you want to see, the activities you want to enjoy, and the places around your destination that you want to visit, having a general idea ahead of time can help your trip and keep everyone on the same page.
It also creates excitement and anticipation as the days grow closer!
#3 – Use your smartphone for a smarter plan!
There’s quite a few different ways you can go about planning your trip and one of them happens to be within your reach most hours of the day — your smartphone.
With apps like RV Trip Wizard it’s easy to map out your destinations and places you want to stop along the way. You can find the best campgrounds, things to do while you’re there, places and things to see while you’re underway, where to get the best prices on fuel, and a lot more.
If your travels will take you on multi-day paths, flying by the seat of your pants (especially when apps like RV Trip Wizard exist) doesn’t usually end well.
The grumpiness and discontent increases exponentially when you leave without a solid plan in place and find yourselves trying to figure out what you’re doing as you’re doing it.
#4 – Create checklists… and then use them!
Have you sat back and thought about each of the activities you want to do and what gear you’re going to need to pack with you in order to do them? If you haven’t, you’re setting yourself up to spend a ton of money (or miss out on a lot of fun) once you arrive at your destination.
Creating checklists that you can stick to may seem boring and old-fashioned but they do wonders for your wallet and your family’s memories.
For instance, if you’re planning a trip to the beach have you thought about what all you’re going to want to take with you? Have you built a list and then gone back over it to take off the excess gear that you thought you might need… but don’t actually need at all?
Likewise, knowing what needs to be done when you arrive — so you can undo it when you leave — can shave precious hours off the setup and teardown of your RV. Those precious hours can be spent enjoying each other’s company and the world around you.
#5 – Plan on adjusting your driving habits!
It should go without saying that driving an RV is different than your everyday vehicle, so your driving habits need to adjust, too.
It’s important enough that we need to continue reiterating it to you in order to make sure you truly grasp the gravity of the situation — driving an RV requires your undivided attention and towing a trailer behind your vehicle requires even more.
The best rule to follow is to do 5 under the speed limit wherever you go. Not only does this increase the amount of time you have to react, it makes reacting a lot easier, in general. It’s a lot easier to slow an RV down when you’re not trying to push the limits.
On top of that, it saves fuel. Who doesn’t want to save money? (By reducing your speed you could save as much as 25% on your total fuel costs — more for longer trips!)
#6 – Rental cars can be a lifesaver!
Once you’ve gotten to your campground or parking spot the last thing you’re going to want to do is load everything back up so you can go sightseeing. Calling for an Uber or Lyft all the time is incredibly expensive, too.
Instead of being at the whims of how far you can take your RV, consider renting a car when you get to your destination.
Most places will have economy cars for $20 to $40 per day, which can save you a huge amount of headaches trying to find places to park, making quick trips to the grocery store, or running and grabbing gear that you knew you packed… until you realized it didn’t get packed, after all.
#7 – Arm yourself with the right questions!
If you’re renting an RV through a peer-to-peer network or a private owner there’s questions you’re going to need to make sure you ask. This goes into preparing for anything that can come your way and making sure you’re getting exactly what you need.
- Do I have to supply my own GPS?
- Does the RV include bedding and kitchen supplies?
- What is the average fuel economy and size of the tank?
- What’s the easiest way to fill the tanks on the road?
- Will the size of my group feel cramped?
- Is there an air conditioner and generator onboard?
Many times, you may not realize how important these questions are until it’s too late, you’ve already plopped down your security deposit and gotten underway. By then, it’s too late to ask and you’re at the mercy of the big rig you rented.
Likewise, there’s questions you’ll need to ask the RV rental agency if you’re going through an agency instead of renting on your own.
- What does your insurance policies cover, in-depth?
- Are pets allowed inside of the vehicle?
- What does roadside cover use and how do I use it?
- Are there extra charges for going over in mileage?
- What happens if I need to cancel my reservation?
- Are there any hidden fees or charges through your company?
Knowing what you’re getting into and uncovering the areas where many renters find themselves facing roadblocks and hurdles is easy when you’re asking the right questions — the types of questions many first-timers don’t know to ask!
#8 – Know where you can dump the tanks.
When you’re RVing with modern luxuries and amenities, there’s going to be times you find yourself having to take care of those amenities. Namely, dumping your “blackwater” tanks.
If you’ve never heard the term before, “blackwater” refers to waste water that’s generated by using the toilet, sink, shower, and other water sources. All of this water collects into a tank that will need to be dumped from time, to time.
Figuring out where you can dump the tanks — and how to dump the tanks — can keep you from having lasting memories that turn into nightmares because you’ve stumbled and fumbled your way through the learning process.
Practicing draining the blackwater tanks before you leave.
#9 – Call ahead of time! Long before you leave!
Just calling your campground and asking if they can accommodate an RV isn’t enough.
Some campgrounds do allow RVs but won’t allow vehicles built before a certain year — due to manufacturing processes and materials that are harmful for the environment. Other campgrounds will limit the length of vehicle they’ll accommodate.
Even though a campground or sight says that they are RV-friendly, you could show up and realize that they’re not exactly friend to -YOUR- RV.
If you’re able to, we recommend contacting the campgrounds long before you ever rent the RV in the first place, to make sure you’re not getting yourself into a situation that requires thinking on your feet when you thought you’d be able to show up and start relaxing.
#10 – Pack the essentials and check them twice!
If this is your first RV trip, there’s a few ‘necessities’ you may not think of, at first, but you will once you arrive to your campground and begin setting up.
It’s times like those you’re going to need to run to town or figure out how much you’re going to be spending to buy the gear from the campground you ended up at.
Gear like kindling and firewood, extra clothes, bug spray or candles, extra clothes and blankets, games and entertainment, and more, are all added luxuries that you’ll quickly learn to appreciate. Not having them with you because you forgot about them is no excuse!
Spending time thinking about all the fun stuff you’re going to be getting into on your expedition not only builds up the anticipation, but lets you work through potential problem areas long before they become a problem.
Planning On Renting An RV Near You?
Now that you’ve gotten the hard part out of the way, it’s time to start renting your RV!
has made it easier than ever to find the perfect size, with the right trim level, luxuries, and amenities needed to make your trip a truly memorable experience.
If it’s your first time, spend a few hours searching through the different options available, applying filters based on your needs, and reaching out to contact owners about what they offer that other owners do not.
Then, come back and re-read through this article to make sure you aren’t missing anything!
Here’s to your adventures!