How to Rent an RV

When it’s time for your next vacation, switch things up by renting an RV. Not only can it save you money, but it offers a whole new perspective on vacation travel. Not sure how to get started? These tips will walk you through what you need to know, so your first RV adventure goes off without a hitch!

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 2018. 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:

Plan out each leg of your trip. Map out your travel route and decide on any overnight stops before you book your RV. Also, check to see if there are any size restrictions at your RV parks that could limit the type or class of RV you rent. Keep an eye out for highways with bridges that have height and weight restrictions. Some national parks also have limits on the size of RVs they allow so be sure you don’t rent one that’s too big.

Reserve your RV well in advance. 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.

Pick the right RV. There are three classes of RVs. Class A models are the largest of the lot and can be up to 45 feet long. Class C models are one step down and can range up to about 33 feet. The smallest RVs are in Class B.

How Much Does Renting an RV Cost?

If you’re thinking that you may be able to save a few dollars by renting an RV for your next vacation, you may be right. Although the costs to rent an RV vary by type, you can save anywhere from 27% to 62% when compared to traditional vacation alternatives.

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

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.

Budget for gasoline now. Don’t forget to put a number around how much money you’ll need for gas. Ask the rental group about the gas mileage your RV gets before you rent.

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 ramp up on RV maintenance.

Tire inflation and loading. Proper tire inflation is important for both safety and improved fuel efficiency. Periodically check to see if you need to add a little air. Also, be sure you don’t exceed manufacturer’s load guidelines.

Using 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 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 management on your part.

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 knowing someone is legally able to drive the rig.

Your RV rental company will work with you to verify that the RV driver has a commercial license — if one’s needed when renting. Generally speaking you won’t need a special license to drive an RV. 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

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 sign up for a class and save on your insurance when you become an RV owner yourself.

What Do You Need to Rent an RV?

In addition to having a valid driver’s license, there are usually a few other things that RV rental groups are going to need. Here are a few key items to bring with you 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’re going to need insurance. Make sure you’re protected throughout your trip. It’s wise to purchase insurance for the RV you’re renting directly through the RV dealer or rental business.

You’ll need to be of a certain age. Most RV rental companies require the RV driver to be at least 25 years old.

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 that evening campfire.

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Related Topics: Recreational , Boat , Snowmobile , RV , ATV