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How to Rent an RV

When it’s time for your next vacation, you may be thinking about switching things up and renting an RV. Wondering how you can rent an RV? It’s really pretty simple and, in some ways, it works much the same as renting a car. You’ll first fill out an application, either online or at an RV dealer, and they’ll probably need a credit card for a deposit to secure your reservation.

And much like a car rental, you’ll probably need to meet the minimum age requirement to qualify. But because RVs are more complicated and much larger than a car, you may want to find an RV rental group that offers RV training to new customers before you drive off the lot. Try googling “where to rent an RV” — you’ll likely find a long list of options and rental groups — then, reach out to those that best meet your needs.

Not only can renting an RV save you money, but it offers a whole new perspective on vacation travel. Not sure how to get started? That’s why we’re here! Check out our tips on how to rent an RV, so your first RV adventure goes off without a hitch!


Table of Contents:

Recreational Vehicle Renting Tips

How Much to Rent an RV?

How to Prepare for Your RV Trip

Do You Need a Special License to Rent an RV?

What Do You Need to Rent an RV?

Do I Need Insurance to Rent an RV?

Recreational Vehicle Renting Tips

RV trekking has become very popular lately, with the industry as a whole contributing over $114 billion dollars to the US economy in 2019. If you’re new to RV-ing, renting before you buy is a great idea — you’ll get a feel for what size rig works for you before your road trip. Here are a few things to consider before you rent an RV:

RV Motorhomes

The term “RV” typically refers to two types of recreational vehicles: motorhomes and campers. Motorhomes are motorized vehicles that can have bathrooms, kitchens, beds and living spaces.

Class A motorhomes: 

The largest models that are usually a motorcoach built on a commercial bus chassis

Class B motorhomes: 

A camper van or a van that has built-in sleeping and eating facilities 

Class C motorhomes:

Often called a “mini motorhome” because they resemble a compact version of class A’s with an attached cab section

RV Campers

Campers are trailers that can be towed or attached to the back of a vehicle. They have sleeping and eating facilities and are used for temporary quarters when camping or on vacation.

Common types of campers include: 

Folding camping trailers

These fold down for travel and are towed behind your vehicle 

Conventional travel trailers

These have rigid or expandable walls and are towed behind your vehicle 

Fifth wheel trailer

These big trailers are equipped with a hitch designed to mount in the bed over the rear axle of a pickup truck

Recreation/cargo campers

These include sleeping facilities and a special cargo-hauling compartment to transport ATVs, motorcycles and more 

Mounted truck campers

These fit over the bed of a pickup truck and are equipped with temporary sleeping and eating facilities

Reserve your RV before the season starts

Don’t wait until the very last minute to rent your RV. Busy seasons like summers and especially holidays tend to book up quickly. The same goes for campgrounds. Don’t assume there will be a spot for you when you arrive.

Plan out each leg of your trip

Map out your travel route and decide on any overnight stops before you book your RV. This benefits you in a few key ways. You’ll be able to:

  • Budget your fuel needs by understanding your mileage
  • Understand where you can refill potable water and purge wastewater along the way
  • Know ahead of time if you have shore power, local water and other campsite amenities
  • Map a route that accommodates that weight and height of your RV
  • Get advanced approval that your campsite allows your RV class and type

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How Much to Rent an RV?

Much like homes on the market, each motorhome has its own finishes — and those all range in price. Most RVs come furnished with a bedroom or areas to sleep, a small kitchen, a living area and a restroom. Bare bones models tend to be less expensive, while the luxe, high-end models can cost a lot more.

If you’re wondering how much it costs to rent an RV, the answer depends on many factors:

  • The amount of days you’ll be renting
  • The distance you plan to travel in the RV
  • The cost for supplemental RV insurance
  • The class of RV
  • The odometer mileage, age and condition of the RV you rent
  • The RV’s finishes and amenities
  • The gas mileage of the RV you choose
  • Cleaning fees
  • Taxes and tolls

So, how much it is to rent an RV for a week? And how do those costs compare to a more traditional vacation involving hotels and airfare? Although the costs to rent an RV vary by type, according to Joel Clark, CEO of RVshare, you can save anywhere from 27 percent to 62 percent when compared to traditional vacation alternatives. While shopping around, be sure to inquire how much it costs to rent an RV for a month – sometimes the rates are more affordable that way.

Here's a look at average weekly costs to rent an RV:

RV Class
Average Per-week Rental Cost
Large Class A Motorhome and Luxury RVs
$1,500 - $4,000
Large Class C Motorhome
$1,000 - $2,500
Large Travel Trailer
$900 - $1,500
Large Fifth Wheel
$1,000 - $2,000
Class B Vans
$500 - $1,500
Small Travel Trailers
$500 - $750

Can you rent an RV with bad credit?

You should know that some groups require you to pass a credit check before they allow you to rent. If your credit is less than great, you may be able to rent an RV by leaving a large cash deposit. What does it cost to rent an RV with bad credit? In most cases, it will be more expensive, but costs can vary. Check online for rental terms and conditions, or reach out to the dealer directly with questions.

Build out a vacation budget

A key part of any vacation is setting a budget. Figure out how much you can afford and then choose an RV that fits within that budget. Larger RV rental groups will have an online RV rental calculator you can use to help build out your budget.

Put aside cash for gasoline now

Don’t forget to consider how much money you’ll need for fuel. Mileage will vary significantly depending on which RV class you select. Ask the rental group about the gas mileage your RV gets before you rent.

Where can you rent an RV?

One quick google query on “cheap RV rentals near me” will likely reveal dealers and RV rental groups eager for your business. But it may be wise to shop around — and don’t jump at the least expensive option right away. RVs need to be well maintained over the years, and the less costly dealers may keep their prices down by cutting corners with decreased upkeep. That can translate into breakdowns while you're out on the road.

Do you get unlimited miles when you rent an RV?

Some RV rentals come with unlimited miles, though the daily rental rate tends to cost more for RV rentals with unlimited miles. It may be appealing to drive without closely tracking your miles, but with a little preparation and mapping out of your destinations, you can pay by the mile and save.

Can you rent an RV one-way?

One-way RV rentals are possible, specifically if you book in advance from a national RV distributor. Because they have locations in many parts of the US, you may be able to rent an RV from one location and drop it off at another franchise. In some cases, you may be charged a return fee for one-way RV trips. Again, a winning strategy is to look online for “one-way RV rentals near me,” to find an RV rental group locally. 

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How to Prepare for Your RV Trip

Getting organized is key to getting into the great outdoors. In addition to renting an RV and securing a place to park it every night, you’ll need to read up on RV maintenance.

Tire inflation and loading

Proper tire inflation is important for both safety and optimal fuel efficiency. Periodically check to see if you need to add a little air while out on your trek. Also, be sure you dont exceed manufacturers load guidelines.

Filling the water heater

High-end RVs may have a tankless water heater, but most still use a water tank. Make sure it’s full before you turn on the water heater.

Managing electricity

Get familiar with the electrical hookups before you set out. Campsite hookups have either a 30-amp or 50-amp capacity, so you may not get the same power flow at every site. Lower-amp hookups may require a little power budgeting on your part.

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Do You Need a Special License to Rent an RV?

It’s important to have a firm idea of where you plan to travel before you hit the road. You’ll also need some details on the type of RV you’ll be renting, like its weight and size. But, maybe most important, is having the right drivers license to legally drive the rig.

Your RV rental company will work with you to verify that the RV drivers have proper licenses — you won't be able to rent one without. Generally speaking, you won’t need a special license to drive a smaller RV, though license restrictions do exist for the larger, heavier RVs. Check in with a state’s DMV to learn about their latest license requirements.

Class of RV
Type of License
RVs over 26,000 pounds
Commercial driver’s license (CDL) – some states
Most class B vans and vehicles/trailers with a combined weight less than 26,000 pounds
Standard driver’s license

Be sure to head out for a practice run before you book your RV. See what it’s like to drive on the highway, side roads and in parking lots. If this is your first time with an RV, ask for a training session so the experts can teach you the basics. Or better yet, sign up for a class, get certified and then save on your insurance when you become an RV owner yourself one day.

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What Do You Need to Rent an RV?

In addition to having a valid driver’s license, there are usually some other things that RV rental groups are going to need. Here are the key things to keep in mind when you rent your RV:

You’ll need a valid credit card

Much like renting a car, a certain amount of money on your credit card will be placed on hold as a deposit. In the event that the RV is damaged, these funds will be used to make repairs.

You’ll need to be of a certain age

Most RV rental companies require the RV driver to be at least 25 years old.

Where can you rent an RV if you’re under 25 years old?

While most age-related terms and conditions for renting an RV are similar, some RV rental groups will allow young adults aged 21-24 to rent an RV. Younger renters may be required to pay a higher deposit amount, and the daily rates for this group can be more expensive. There may also be limits on the size of RVs available for rent to this age group.

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Do I Need Insurance to Rent an RV?

Yes, when renting an RV you should make sure you’re protected throughout your trip with insurance. You may be able to purchase insurance for the RV you’re renting directly through the RV dealer or rental business, but chances are you’re able to insure the RV through your normal home and auto insurance company instead.

American Family Insurance offers rental motorhome and camper coverage to provide protection for a rental motorhome or camper unit. This provides comprehensive and collision coverage to the rented motorhome or camper and is available for up to 30 days. Connect with your local agent to learn more about this coverage and how you can protect your rental RV. 

Renting an RV is a wonderful way to explore the country. Following these tips will help ensure you have everything you need for a safe and fun adventure, whether you’re on the road seeing the sights or kicking back and relaxing at an evening campfire.


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