Are You Looking for an RV Rental and want to make sure you get the perfect RV and the best possible price?
Do you have questions about who to rent from, how to rent, or what you need to bring when you rent an RV?
Well, you are in the right place!
The Ultimate Guide to Renting an RV covers everything you need to know about renting an RV!
Use the Quick Index below to pick and choose what you want to learn about or read on to learn everything!
Why Rent an RV?
Imagine choosing an amazing destination to explore and vacation without the expense of staying in a hotel every night, or paying for expensive meals in touristy restaurants. Imagine traveling wherever you want to go and getting off the beaten path to see amazing beautiful locations like Yellowstone or Zion National Parks in a very economical way!
Well, renting an RV is a great way to explore the country, and it’s much cheaper than staying in hotels every night! Plus, when you rent an RV, you don’t have to worry about maintenance costs, storage costs, or the monthly RV payments involved with owning an RV. You just rent and go!
RVing is a great way to enjoy getting in touch with nature while having all of the modern conveniences of home. You can sleep on a comfy bed, have a full bathroom, and travel whenever and wherever you want to go!
How Much Does It Cost to Rent an RV?
Many factors affect the rental price of an RV. Some of these include peak season vs. off-season, age of the RV, the type of RV, the location where you are renting an RV, and others. But here are some estimates that you can expect for average RV rental prices. You can also click here to browse rental listings to see realtime RV rental prices.
|Type of RV||RV Rental Cost per Day|
|Class A||$150 to $250 per night|
|Class B||$100 to $200 per night|
|Class C||$125 to $250 per night|
|5th Wheel||$60 to $150 per night|
|Travel Trailer||$50 to $125 per night|
|Truck Camper||$75 to $125 per night|
|Pop Up Camper||$50 to $125 per night|
Where To Rent an RV?
There are many places to rent RV’s, but you will probably find that a peer to peer rental option is best.
Read on to see why.
▶️ Craigslist Classifieds – I do not recommend renting an RV through Craigslist. First of all, how do you know what you are getting? Who will draw up the rental agreement? How will you handle the deposit and payments? What if you break down? There are too many ways for this type of rental experience to go wrong, so I do not recommend it at all.
▶️ Peer to Peer Online Rentals – I think that peer to peer rentals are the RV rental value for your money. Since the RV owner typically uses the RV themselves, the RVs are already stocked with everything you will need, which will save you time and money. And, you can negotiate with the RV owners to make your best deal. One peer to peer RV rental company called Outdoorsy has a wide variety of types and styles of RVs to choose from. So you can easily search for and find the perfect RV online. They are our favorite way to rent an RV, and we highly recommend their website.
▶️ RV Rental Company – We rented form one of the big national rental companies, and we had an ok experience. But we were limited to 3 types of RVs. And we had to pay for every extra like kitchen utensils, bedding, and camp chairs. They didn’t offer an option to rent a bike rack. So, even though we had an ok rental experience, we had to drive straight to Walmart and spend over $300 to stock the RV with everything we would need for our trip. We had to purchase things like a grill, coffee pot, toaster, and a soft mattress pad.
▶️ RV Dealerships – Some RV Dealerships rent RVs in addition to selling them. I never rented form an RV Dealership because they will nickel and dime you for extras or add ons like camping chairs and a table, bike rack, or a linen package for each bed. Plus – the salespeople are trained, professional negotiators. You will do much better finding your best deal on a peer to peer rental.
How to Choose the Type of RV to Rent?
There are several factors you should consider when deciding on the size and type of RV to rent:
- Passengers: Consider renting an RV that provides everyone a comfortable place to sleep that does not include the dinette if possible. It can be inconvenient and disruptive to turn the dinette into a bed every night and then back into a dinette in the morning.
- Drivability: Do you need an RV that you can drive yourself? Or do you have a truck that can tow a 5th wheel, travel trailer, pop up camper, or camper trailer?
- Budget: Can you afford to rent a big motorhome, or should you save money and rent a smaller drivable RV?
- Camping Style: Since you will be on vacation, do you want to treat yourself to a top of the line RV and have all of the conveniences of home? Or are you looking for a simple way to travel, camp, and connect with nature?
There are at least 9 different types and styles of RVs, but we will break them down into two main groups below – Drivable and Towable RVs.
A Class A motorhome looks like a big commercial bus. These motorhomes are the most biggest and most luxurious of all the classes. They typically range in size from 25 to 45 feet. And some can sleep up to ten passengers. Since these motorhomes are so big and heavy, they are the least fuel-efficient with some getting as little as five or six miles a gallon.
Class B or Campervan
Class B motorhomes are also known as camper vans. Class B RVs are the smallest of the RV classes. They are easy to drive, and since they are smaller and lighter, they can go to many places that Class A and C motorhomes cannot reach. Although they are more mobile than the other classes, they have much less room inside.
Class B RVs have a small kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area, but everything about a Class B is designed to use as little space as possible. Since these RVs are smaller, they get better gas mileage than the other RV classes. Some are even 4 wheel drive so you can reach the beach, go off road and boondock or just trek to the best campsites.
Class C RVs are midsized RVs that range from 19 to 36 feet long. They are easily recognizable because of the bunk area that extends out over the top of the driving cab. Class C RVs have many of the same amenities as the Class A RVs but at a lower price point. They have a bathroom, an adequate kitchen, and plenty of places to sleep. Some of the larger models feature a master bedroom suite in the rear while most others have a queen-sized bed toward the rear of the RV. Couches and dinette tables convert into beds, and the overhead compartment above the cab can be used for storage or additional sleeping quarters.
Truck campers are loaded directly onto the bed of a pickup truck and then secured in place. They range in length from 18-21 feet and can sleep from 2 to 4 people. The great thing about truck campers is if your pickup truck is 4 wheel drive, you can go anywhere and boondock. For example, you can drive out onto the beach and camp or get to very remote destinations where other RVs just can’t go. Many truck campers come with bathrooms too.
A fifth wheel is a towable RV that connects to a hitch inside the bed of a pickup truck. For RVers looking to get the most bang for their buck, a 5th wheel is a great choice. 5th wheels are spacious inside, and the floor plans are the best of all the RVs.
Travel trailers, also known as travel campers or camper trailers, are RVs that are pulled by the bumper of another vehicle. Travel trailers range in size from the tiny teardrop trailers to massive trailers up to 40 feet with slide outs. They are constructed on top of a standard trailer frame and are equipped with many amenities. They can be pulled by any number of vehicles since they are pretty light for their size. These RVs connect with a standard ball hitch receiver. Also, sway bars can be installed for more stability. They can be pulled with any truck, van, or SUV that is rated to handle the weight capacity.
Pop Up Camper
The folding trailer is also known as a popup trailer, tent trailer, or tent camper. It is a small, light-weight towable trailer that folds or collapses into a smaller, more aerodynamic size. There are three types of folding trailers called hard side popup trailers, tent campers, and A-Frame Campers. It’s amazing how many designs there are. But the folding trailers small size, lightweight, and low cost make it a popular option for budget-conscious campers towing behind light vehicles such as cars, SUVs, and mini pickup trucks. Some of the smallest models can even be pulled behind large motorcycles.
Recommended Reading: For an in-depth look at the different types of RVs check out my article called: What Are RV Classes? – All Types and Styles Explained
What Features Should I Look For When Renting An RV?
Size Of The RV
There are quite a few features to consider when looking for an RV rental. First of all, if this is your first time renting and driving an RV, I would recommend renting the smallest, drivable, Class C RV you can. An RV that you drive is much easier to handle than a camper trailer that you tow behind you. I recommend a small drivable RV rental between 19′ and 24′ if it is your first time driving an RV.
The number of people sleeping in your RV may ultimately decide the size of the RV you rent. If there are only two to three of you, then you could go with a small RV. If you have a larger family, you may want to look for an RV with bunk beds to maximize the number of beds. Just be aware that using the dinette as a bed every night can be inconvenient, although it may be necessary.
RVs come with two types of bathrooms. The first type is called a dry bath. In a dry bath, the shower is separated from the rest of the bathroom by a shower curtain or glass door. This way the rest of the bathroom stays dry when you take a shower.,
The second type of shower is called a wet bath. This type of bathroom combines the shower and toilet in one room. So whenever you take a shower, the toilet and bathroom floor will be wet. So, every time you take a shower, you will need to dry the entire bathroom, or whenever you use the bathroom, the toilet and floor will be wet.
We had a wet bath in our first RV rental, and it helped us to realize that we would not want a wet bath when we finally purchased our RV.
Most RVs, even the compact models, come with a propane stovetop, refrigerator, oven, and even a microwave. Some RV refrigerators come with a separate freezer, and some have the freezer built into the fridge itself. We recommend trying to get a separate freezer if you can.
The amount of storage space can vary quite a bit, but the more, the better is our motto. You will want to store all types of items in there like a small grill, charcoal, lighter fluid, skewers, citronella candle, chairs, and on and on and on…
Where Can I Do RV Rental Comparison Shopping Online?
You can go online and shop for RVs on RV Rental Company websites, but the information isn’t always easy to understand or figure out. You choose your RV in one are of the website then go to another area to choose add ons and extras. And all of the included items are on yet another page of the website. And RV Dealerships can be very inconsistent with the information they supply about their RV rentals since they are more interested in sales.
The best place I have seen to conduct RV comparison shopping online is with the peer to peer rental companies like Outdoorsy or RVshare. Personally, we prefer Outdoorsy.
Their website is easy to search and browse for RVs. You can search by location, date, type of RV, review ratings, and any other filters you might want to add like, pet-friendly, Air Conditioning, or even Airstream. So, they make it incredibly easy to narrow down your search to find exactly what you are looking for.
How To Rent an RV
Renting an RV online has never been easier or more convenient.
Just follow these steps to get your best deal on an RV rental!
1. Go to an RV Rental Site
If you want to save time and money, rent an RV online.
Just go to Outdoorsy.com, or whichever RV Rental company you have decided to use and enter the location and dates for your trip.
2. Search For RVs Using the Search Filters
You can Search on Outdoorsy by Price, RV Type, People it Sleeps, or Delivery. Some owners will deliver the RV to your campground and set it up for you!
You can also use the More Filters button and search for more specific features like A/C or Pet-Friendly. And you can even enter your own keywords like Airstream or Mercedes.
You can narrow down your search to find the perfect RV for you and your family very quickly and easily.
3. Click on an RV of Interest for the Full Detailed Listing
Once you click on an RV you are interested in, you will see the full listing for the RV. This includes:
- Interior and Exterior Photos
- The Make, Model, Length, Number of People it Sleeps and the Review Star Ratings
- An Overview of the RV
- Amenities Included – And you will also see Amenities NOT Included so there no misunderstandings
- Rates and Charges
The great thing is that everything you need to know to rent the RV is on one page in a very easy to read format! It just couldn’t be any easier to rent an RV on Outdoorsy.
4. Contact the Owner
Once you have selected your RV, contact the owner to ask questions, negotiate your best deal, and RENT YOUR RV!
Tips For Renting an RV
1. Plan Your Trip Far in Advance
This may seem obvious, but planning your trip as early as possible is essential if you want to have the best vacation possible! Otherwise, you may be too late to book your RV and campgrounds. And it’s also necessary to plan what you want to do and see while on your vacation to maximize your time. So if you want the best possible RV on the best possible campsite in the best possible campground, then you should plan early. Otherwise, they will all be gone, and you will be settling for less.
One of the best tools that I have found for planning your vacation route, campground, campsite, activities, fuel stops, and more is RV Trip Wizard. This is a phenomenal trip planning tool that includes over 17,000 campgrounds and over 57,000 points of interest.
So if you want to plan an awesome vacation and maximize your vacation time, I can think of no better tool than RV Trip Wizard. It even has a google maps feature so you can zero in on your actual campsite with a satellite view to see if it’s secluded, wooded, and what it backs up to. Click below to check it out!
2. Book the RV and Campgrounds as Far in Advance as Possible
We can’t stress this enough. It is so disappointing to discover that there are no RVs to rent during your vacation dates. Rental RVs are in short supply because there is a huge demand for them. So you might need to book months or even up to a year in advance, especially if you plan to visit some of the more popular national parks. And this is also true no matter where you go during peak season. Outdoorsy makes booking an RV rental incredibly simple. So, book your RV as soon as possible to increase your chance of getting the RV you want, when you want it.
3. Compare Pricing and Included Items
It’s a good idea to narrow down your search to the 3-5 RVs that you like the best and then contact the owners to discuss the price. RV rental prices will vary by the age, size, and type of RV, as well as season, location, and length of your rental. The more RVs that you have to choose from, the better your chance of finding the perfect RV at the right price.
However, you should also look at standard features included with the RV rental and how much the add ons are when comparing RV prices. Remember, the rental price is just part of the cost of renting an RV. There are plenty of add ons to consider as well.
4. Negotiate the Price and Terms
It is very difficult to negotiate with the big RV rental companies or with RV Dealerships. Their prices and terms are usually pretty firm. But with a peer to peer RV rental, you have a much better chance to negotiate the price and terms directly with the RV owner. You probably can’t negotiate every single item below. But just be aware that all of these other items are available for negotiation and can lower your overall rental cost as well. Here are some of the costs of renting an RV that are available for negotiation:
- Price – The longer you rent the RV, the better the price you might get. And if you rent outside of peak season, you can negotiate a lower cost as well. But you can also check to see the supply of RVs available during your travel dates, and if the supply is high, use that info to get a better price. The owner probably won’t know how many RVs are for rent at any given time, so be prepared to educate them to help strengthen your argument.
- Miles per Day – There are two ways to negotiate Miles per Day that are included with an RV. First, you can ask for an increase in the number of free miles per day. Or, second, you can negotiate the price per mile once you exceed the allowed miles per day. We were able to successfully negotiate both of these factors to our advantage when we rented our RV.
- Generator Time – Generator time is typically charged by the day or by the hour. You can negotiate for lower prices or more time for free here.
- Kitchen Utensils and Cookware – If you rent from an RV Rental Company or an RV Dealership, you will most likely be charged for a kitchen utensil and cookware set. These companies do not fully stock their RVs so they can charge you for these add ons. The typical cost for a Kitchen Set is $100. You can try to negotiate with these companies, but it probably won’t work. However, these items are usually included in a peer-to-peer rental, and if not, you can negotiate the price.
- Bedding, Towels, and Blankets – The same is true here as it is for Kitchen Utensils and Cookware, and the cost is usually about $100. But these items are also typically included with a peer to peer rental. But if they are not included, you can negotiate the price.
- Add Ons – There are many other add ons that you can rent in addition to renting the RV itself, such as bike racks, camp table and chairs, car seat, BBQ Grill, Wifi Hotspot, and the list goes on. This is where the big RV Rental Companies and RV Dealerships pad their profits. With a peer to peer rental, some RV owners include all of this stuff, and others charge for it. But it is all negotiable, so in addition to comparing the price, you need to compare included features to make sure you get your best deal.
- Additional Fees – Many fees can get added to the back end of your RV Rentals like cleaning fees, full tank of gas fee, dump fee, and even a preparation fee. Consider negotiating these as well.
5. Consider Sleeping Arrangements
Sleeping arrangements are an important thing to consider when choosing an RV rental. The RV rental listings will show how many people each RV sleeps. But don’t just rent an RV that sleeps four and leave it at that. Often RV beds are hidden or convertible, and its good to know ahead of time how large each bed is and exactly how to go about converting it.
6. Newer is Better – But Not Always
A newer RV will have the latest features and technology to enhance your rental experience. So, when deciding between very similar RVs, you might want to choose the newer model. However, there is nothing like traveling in a restored Volkswagon Bus or Airstream for a really cool RV rental vacation. In this case – older is better!
7. Memorize the RV Dimensions!
While you are driving your RV, you are sure to encounter bridges that can only handle a specified width or weight and overpasses that are only a certain height.
8. Don’t Stop – Drive Slow
There are three big reasons that you will need to drive slower than you are used to in your RV Rental.
First, you can’t slam on the brakes in an RV! You won’t stop very fast because an RV weighs more than your car. And if you jamb the brakes, everything in the back of the RV will end up in the front of the RV and possibly hit someone along the way!
Second, RVs are top-heavy, so when you make a turn, you will need to be going slower than you are used to so you don’t risk tipping over.
Third, by driving slower, you will improve your gas mileage. RVs get terrible gas mileage to start, and the more you hit your brakes in an RV, the worse your gas mileage will be.RELATED READING: Check out my article called What Is the Average Gas Mileage for a Class C RV? It doesn’t matter what type of RV you are driving. This article will help you improve your driving and MPG.
9. Don’t Forget to Purchase Your National Park Pass or Passport
I can’t tell you how many stories I have heard of folks forgetting to buy their National Park Pass before a big trip to Yellowstone or some other National park. It takes 10 weeks to get your park pass through the mail, so order it early!
The same is true for passports. They take several months to receive them so if you are traveling across the border into Canada be sure you order your well in advance of your trip
FAQ’s About Renting an RV
❓ How Far In Advance Should I Rent My RV?
There is nothing more disappointing when planning your RV trip than having limited options. And since RV rentals are in short supply, the longer you wait to rent your rv, the fewer options you will have to choose from. So, rent your RV and your campground as early as possible. If you plan to visit some of the most popular RV destinations like National Parks or Beach Destinations, you may need to rent 6 months or a year in advance. So, plan ahead and don’t wait!
❓ What Do I Need to Bring When Renting an RV?
What you need to bring depends on what is included in your RV rental. Peer to peer RV rentals like on Outdoorsy usually have many items already included because the RV owner also uses the RV. So, most of what you need will be on board.
However, if you rent from an RV dealership or RV Rental Company, nothing is included. Most likely, you will need to pay for the add on packages and still stop at Walmart to buy things like a coffee pot, a toaster, a grill, etc.
But no matter where you rent, you are responsible for bringing groceries and your own camping supplies.
❓ Should I Buy RV Rental Insurance?
The first thing you should do is call your current auto insurance company and find out if they cover you when you rent an RV. In many cases, your car insurance covers you when you rent another vehicle. And if your current policy has roadside assistance, you should ask if that coverage will cover your RV too. This could save you a bunch of money.
BUT – you should be aware that your auto policy probably will not cover damage in an RV rental, not caused by an accident. So, if you break something inside the RV, you will be responsible for paying for the repair.
❓ Should I Buy RV Roadside Assistance?
Some companies offer roadside assistance, and others do not. If you rent from an RV Rental Company, it most likely will be included. If you rent from a Dealership, it could go either way. If you have a peer to peer rental, you have a few things to consider.
First, if you have roadside assistance with your auto policy, find out if it will cover you while you are renting the RV?
Second, when you speak to the owner, see if they have a roadside assistance policy on the RV, and if it covers you while you are renting it.
Third, if neither option above will work, you should probably buy the roadside insurance. No sense taking a huge chance on your vacation. Remember, you will be looking at gorgeous landscapes and scenery while driving your RV and, therefore, at risk for driving off the road. Don’t take the chance, just get the roadside assistance.
❓ What Do You Need to Know to Operate an RV Rental?
You will need to know how to hook up the water line, sewer line, and electrical line when you rent an RV. In addition, you will need to understand how the liquid propane system works, how to turn the generator on and off, how the refrigerator works (it’s not like your fridge at home) how the water heater works, how to level your RV and a bunch of other stuff to make your trip enjoyable. One of the best things you can do is show up for your RV vacation prepared.
Before I rented my first RV, I had no idea how to do any of this stuff. So, I invested a few bucks and bought an outstanding video course on how to operate everything on an RV rental. I watched it every morning while on my elliptical machine for weeks before my RV vacation. My kids made fun of me for it, but I’m glad I did it. My trip was so much more enjoyable since I didn’t have to figure everything out on the fly. And one day, the water heater wasn’t firing up, and I knew exactly what to do!
I highly recommend you consider the RV Rental Video Course at RV Education 101. I bought it, and it is fantastic. And if you are a first-time RVer, you should click below and check it out too.
❓ Do I Need a Special License to Rent an RV?
If the RV is 45-feet long or less, and you are towing less than 10,000 pounds, then you usually don’t need a special license. But every state has its own requirements. If you’re looking to rent a luxury 45-foot luxury RV that is the size of a huge bus, you should talk to the RV owner to make sure you’re both comfortable with your ability to drive the RV. Sometimes, these types of vehicles require a commercial license or commercial driving experience.
❓ Can I Travel to Canada or Mexico in My RV Rental?
You should see if your insurance will cover you if you travel to Mexico or Canada. However, most RV Rentals are permitted to travel to Canada but not to Mexico.
❓ Are International Travelers Allowed to Rent RVs?
Yes! Outdoorsy and other Rental companies definitely allow international travelers to rent their RVs and travel the US and Canada!
Where is the Best Place to Rent an RV?
The best place to rent an RV is where you will get the largest selection of RVs with the most included features at the best prices!
Outdoorsy has a huge selection of RVs for rent all over the country. And the RVs for rent have the most included features. And Outdoorsy rentals are priced very competitively.
Also, Outdoorsy makes the rental process safe and easy. And they offer the best insurance and roadside assistance coverages in the industry.
So, the best place to rent your RV is with Outdoorsy!
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