Want to learn how to rent an RV? Today, I’m going to talk about the best way to rent an RV, if renting is cheaper than a hotel, what to know before renting an RV, and more.
While I no longer live full-time in an RV (we’re now living full-time and traveling via sailboat!), I lived in one for several years and still own one. When we’re not on the boat, we live full-time in the van.
RVing is something that I absolutely love, and I think that traveling or living in an RV will ALWAYS be a part of my life!
What I love so much about living in an RV or van is that you have your whole house with you while you visit beautiful places. You can park right next to hiking and biking trails, next to the mountains or beaches, and more.
When we first sold our house to live in an RV full time, people thought we were crazy. We got rid of more than half of our stuff and started driving across the country.
But, as I started sharing our experience with our friends and family, more and more people started to realize it wasn’t crazy at all – it was amazing!
RVing has become more popular over the past few years, and for good reason. If you’re wanting to know if renting an RV is a good idea, well, I think it is!
People like renting RVs for many reasons such as:
- It can be a great way to connect with the outdoors, visit national parks, go hiking, and more.
- Gives you the opportunity to test out RV living by renting one first.
- If you’re traveling with others, it can be a lot of fun to all travel with your RVs.
And so much more.
Because of that, I have been receiving a ton of questions about how to rent an RV.
We absolutely love RVing and it’s definitely one of my favorite ways to travel.
Related content to how to rent an RV:
- Common RV Questions – Yes, I Even Talk About What We Do With #2
- Becoming an RV Family – How We Travel Full-Time With 4 Kids and 2 Dogs
- 11 Reasons to Choose RV Life
Today, I am going to answer common questions I’ve heard about how to rent an RV, along with my best tips.
How to rent an RV.
What is the best way to rent an RV? How do I find RVs for rent near me?
There are many different ways to rent an RV.
You can rent from a big company, or find an RV for rent by owner. If you want to have a bigger selection when it comes to the RV choice, I recommend checking out RVshare.
RVshare is a company where RV owners list their RVs when they’re not using them. You can find RVs to rent near you or across the country.
With RVshare, it’s easy to rent an RV. You just need to:
- Head to RVshare’s website. You can search for the exact type of RV you want.
- After you find an RV that you want to rent, you are connected with the owner through the RVshare website so you can start talking about arranging the pickup.
- When you meet with the owner, they will give you a quick demo and then you’ll be on your way quickly!
- Once your RV rental is over, you will dump the tanks, fuel up, and return the RV.
If you head to RVshare’s website, you can see how much it’ll cost to rent an RV.
You can narrow it down to:
- Where you want to rent it from
- What kind of RV you want to rent
- Pet rules
- Type of bathroom
- Type of kitchen
- and more
How much does it cost to rent an RV for 1 week? Long term?
Some people are only interested in learning how to rent an RV for a short vacation, while others want to rent an RV for several months at a time.
RV rentals vary widely in price. You may be able to rent an RV for $50 a night, all the way to over $500 a night. The price varies based on what you’re renting and how long you’re renting it for.
Yes, that means that renting an RV may not be as cheap as you’d thought it would be.
It doesn’t end there either, as there are other costs that you may pay for as well.
If you want to know how to rent an RV, here are some owner common costs (other than the actual RV rental):
- Mileage on the RV (usually you get a predetermined amount of miles for each day, and you’re charged for anything beyond that)
- Campgrounds and RV parks
You can learn more at How Much Does It Cost To RV?
Is renting an RV cheaper than a hotel?
Just like with hotel stays, the cost of traveling via RV can vary widely as well. You can rent a more cost-effective RV, such as a popup camper for probably $50 a night, but then you may still have campground fees, fuel costs, and more.
You can also rent an RV that costs over $500 a night.
The same can be said for a hotel.
There are plenty of ways to save when traveling via RV, just like there are plenty of ways to cut costs when staying in a hotel.
For me, RV camping is more about the experience. You won’t get the same experience staying in a hotel as you would an RV, and vice versa.
They are simply two different kinds of vacations.
You can also think about what you will be doing when you RV versus staying in a hotel. You may do more free activities, like hiking or biking, when you are traveling in an RV. That may make it more affordable.
What are one-way RV rentals?
One-way RV rentals are usually more expensive as there is more work and planning required by the company or the person who is renting out the RV.
One way to save on one-way rentals is to do an RV rental relocation – which is basically a one-way rental! You are technically transporting the vehicle for the owner or company, but many times you can enjoy the RV rental and even get paid a travel allowance too. You can find relocation rentals on many of the large RV rental websites.
What kind of RVs can you rent?
There are many different types of RVs that you can rent. These may include:
- Class A motorhome
- Class C motorhome
- Class B motorhomes and vans
- Travel trailer
- Fifth wheel
- Toy hauler
- Pop-up trailer
- Truck camper
As you can see, there are many different options.
Deciding what kind of RV you want to rent is a big part of learning how to rent an RV. We went to RV shows before we ever bought one, and that gave us an idea of how much space we wanted.
You can also watch YouTube videos of RVers, do video walkthroughs, and look at lots of pictures online to decide what kind of space you want to rent.
Can you just park anywhere you want?
When we were living in our RV full time, hardly a week would pass without someone saying that we should visit them and that we can park in their driveway, some random lot next to their house, inside their garage, and so on and so on.
I always laugh – you really can’t just park anywhere in your RV. RVing isn’t that easy!
There may be rules and laws against RV parking in some cities on public streets, there may not be enough space, it may be too slanted, low hanging trees, or there may be a 9 foot bridge to drive under.
There are plenty of places to stay, though, so for the most part you won’t have a problem. We have stayed in people’s driveways (Google Satellite and Street views are your friend in these cases), free public land, RV parks, RV resorts, state parks, national parks, and everything in between.
However, we always make sure to research where we are going so that there are no difficulties. Researching where you are going is a big part of learning how to rent an RV – you want to make sure you can safely park without doing any damage to the RV or the parking space.
How do you connect to the internet?
Internet at RV parks is notoriously bad.
If you’re just going to RV for a short period of time, you probably won’t care.
But, if you’re planning to work while you travel and want to learn how to rent an RV, I highly recommend having some sort of internet connection of your own.
We’ve done various things such as:
- Using an AT&T hotspot for our phones as well as for our internet connection.
- A Verizon Mifi device that I only used for an internet connection.
- Google FI for our phones and as a hotspot (this is what we have now).
There are many options, so it’s all about doing your research and seeing what cell carrier has service where you want to go, pricing, and ease of use.
How do you use the bathroom when in an RV?
Most RVs have bathrooms, including a toilet, sink, and a shower.
You’ll want to look at the listing and the pictures to see exactly what the bathroom situation will be like, as they can vary a little bit.
Some can be extremely nice, and others can be questionable, haha.
How much does it cost to dump RV tanks?
This is probably everyone’s least favorite thing about RVing, which is understandable, haha!
But if you’re wondering how to rent an RV, you need to know about dumping the tanks. It honestly seems much worse than it is.
Depending on how big your tanks are (and how often you use your RV bathroom), you may have to dump your tank every few days, once a week, or you may be able to go longer.
If you’re at an RV park, you can usually dump your tanks for free. If you are free camping or find that you need to pay to dump your tanks, it usually costs anywhere from around $5 to $25.
I have also seen plenty of free dumps as well, such as at rest areas and visitor centers.
Questions to ask about the RV rental.
So that you are clear on what you are renting and what goes along with it, here are some questions that you may want to ask the RV rental company so that you have a good idea of your trip:
- Are pets allowed in the RV?
- Is there air conditioning?
- Is there roadside assistance?
- How many miles can I drive for the duration of the trip before I am charged?
- What is the RV rental cancellation policy?
- Is there an RV rental insurance policy? How does it work?
- What is the fuel mileage? How far should I be able to go on a tank of fuel?
- Are blankets, sheets, pillows, plates, utensils, pots, and pans included in the RV rental?
What do I need to know before renting an RV?
I’m so happy that you’re thinking about renting an RV for your next trip. I think you will love it, just as I have over the years!
There are things to think about, so that your next RV trip goes as smoothly as possible.
Here are some tips on how to rent an RV:
- Don’t try to drive hundreds of miles a day. For first time RVers, this is a common mistake. They tend to spend too much time on the road, and not enough time enjoying where they are traveling to.
- Know how tall and wide your RV is. You will want to be careful with bridges and overpasses, specifically.
- Always arrive at your campsite during daylight hours. I recommend giving yourself plenty of time to find your next campsite and to get situated. Mistakes can easily happen in the dark, especially in unfamiliar areas when you are tired.
- The easiest RVs to drive when you are brand new are usually the Class Bs and Class Cs. If you are nervous, I’d go on the smaller size so that it’s not too different from driving a large van.
- Lastly, please make sure you put your awning away before you leave your campsite! I have actually seen someone who was renting an RV drive through a campground and hit a bunch of things, while people were yelling at them trying to get their attention.
If you are forgetful, making a simple departing checklist can save you a lot of headache and money.
Should I rent out my RV?
Are you looking for a way to make extra income, maybe by providing an RV rental? According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, over 8.9 million households own an RV, and this number only continues to increase.
Many RVs sit unused in storage lots, driveways, and backyards, so why not try to make a little money while you’re not using your RV?
And, who doesn’t want to earn a little extra money?
RVshare is helping travelers save money by cutting out the middleman through renting RVs directly from owners.
Think of it as Airbnb for RVs (RV Airbnb!). My sister actually has experience doing an RV share by renting two travel trailers, and she loved it! It seems like a great side hustle to do if you already have an RV.
By listing your RV rental online with RVshare, you can earn between $5,000 and $30,000 a year in extra income. RVshare also securely handles all payments and releases funds to your bank account one business day after the start of each rental.
Related: Have an RV that you want to rent out? Check out How To Make Extra Money By Renting Out Your RV.
How to rent an RV conclusion.
Living and traveling in an RV is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I remember being so nervous about it when we first moved into the RV. People said we would regret it, that we would wish we had never sold our normal home, and more.
But, the exact opposite happened – I loved it!
Learning how to rent an RV can open up the possibilities for the way you travel and allow you to see so much more. You can travel at your own pace, get to visit amazing places, and more.
When you are ready to rent, I highly recommend making a travel plan that includes where you plan on staying, but be flexible if you can. It’s more fun when you aren’t stressed out.
Just make sure you get your RV rental back on time!
If you’re interested in renting an RV for your next trip, I recommend clicking here to find your next RV rental on RVshare.
Are you interested in learning how to rent an RV? Have you stayed in an RV before?