Renting An RV For A Road Trip

Renting An RV For A Road Trip
By Jody Halsted

You don’t need to purchase your own RV to make your epic road trip dreams a reality. It’s easy to find an RV rental near you that is perfect for your family.

Renting an RV for a road trip

Rental chain vs owner

Larger cities across the country may have a national RV rental chain. Cruise America, El Monte, Road Bear, and USA RV Rentals all have locations spread across the US. RVs from national chains tend to be basic units without a lot of options, like bunk beds and outdoor kitchens. Bedding, cook ware, and utensils need to be supplied by the renter or added to your rental at an additional cost.

The ‘sharing economy’ has been terrific for people who want to try RVing or are thinking about buying an RV but want to test a few different types. RV rental by owner companies like RVshare and Outdoorsy help RV owners rent their personal campers and motorhomes – kind of like AirBnB for RVs.

These RVs are usually upgraded models with additional options like slides (for more room), bunk beds, outdoor kitchens, and easy access hook-ups. When renting a personal RV more amenities are included in the cost. Renters usually have access to kitchen and grilling supplies, plates and utensils, bedding for at least one bed, a camp rug, and camp chairs.

The only downside to RV rental by owner is that most people only have a single RV. If the RV is damaged by a previous renter there may not be a replacement unit available. Both RVshare and Outdoorsy will do their best to help you find a suitable unit from another owner, but it won’t be exactly what you had initially requested.

When renting an RV there are a few things you need to be sure are in order before you can drive away:

  • All licensed drivers will need to provide copies of their current drivers license.
  • All contracts, payments, and the security deposit must be completed.
  • Liability insurance must be purchased in case of accident or injury.

What size RV should I rent for a family road trip?

When choosing an RV rental you want to be sure to have enough space for your family, but you also need to be realistic about what size RV you will be comfortable driving.

Another thing to check is if the RV has enough seat belts for everyone traveling. Most bench seats and couches are equipped with seatbelts.

When you begin researching RV rentals you will find three classes of motorhome, as well as towable camping trailers:

  • Class A motorhomes are built on a custom chassis and resemble a bus. Length ranges from 21-40 feet. Most Class A motorhomes have a bed over the front seats, as well as a dinette or couch bed. This unit type can sleep 6-8 people, on average, but may only have 6-7 seatbelts.
  • Class B motorhomes are built on a minibus or panel-truck shell. These units are smaller and very mobile; perfect for couples. Length can be from 16-22 feet.
  • Class C motorhomes are built on a van frame with a wider body section attached behind the front cab. These are most recognisable by the front over-cab sleeping area. Length ranges from 21-35 feet. Most Class C motorhomes can sleep 6-8 people comfortably between the over-cab bed, drop-down dinette, couch, or bunk beds, though the unit may only have 6-7 seatbelts.
  • Camping trailers vary in length and weight, usually from 16-24 feet. When considering a camping trailer you need to be sure your vehicle has the capacity to tow the weight of the RV as well as anything inside it. For safety reasons passengers are not allowed to ride in a towed RV.

If you want to be sure an RV is the right fit for your family, ask to see the unit before renting. You can also ask about a test drive, to be sure you are comfortable handling the vehicle.

Can I rent an RV for a one-way trip?

One-way RV vacations, usually crossing the US from coast to coast, are incredibly popular. National RV rental companies like Cruise America, El Monte, Road Bear, and USA RV Rentals all offer one-way rentals. As you’d expect, it’s not usually possible to do a one-way trip when renting from a private owner.

Renting An RV For A Road Trip

Jody Halsted

Jody Halsted is her family’s chief vacation planner and publisher of Camping Tips for Everyone. While Jody has experience with all types of camping, from ‘roughing it’ to luxury glamping, she prefers the spacious comfort of her 36’ Class A RV.

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