You have decided that a trip in an RV is for you, but how do you rent one and what are your options?
Ways to Rent an RV
If you live outside the US then one option is to rent through a holiday package. Pick up a brochure at your local Travel Agent which will also give you ideas for your holiday routes.
Another way is to go to companies who will rent directly to you. The two largest companies in the U.S. with the most locations are El Monte RV and Cruise America. Both have a large selection of sizes and models of RV to rent. Camping World is another nationwide renter of RVs and Road Bear has several locations in the West.
There are also more than 460 national chain outlets and local RV dealerships that rent RV's, so searching around is recommended. Check out RVRA (Recreational Vehicle Rental Association) and Go RVing. Also a growing number of campgrounds offer on-site rentals. So if you only going to stay in a few campgrounds check with them first to see if they offer it.
Which RV is Right for You?
Before you can rent you need to decide what is the right RV for your trip. We will provide a few pointers here, but read our article What type of RV is right for you? to make sure you pick the one that meets your needs.
First thing to consider with an RV is does it have room the number of people you are travelling with and the space you feel you need within. It's important to fit the unit to your needs and desires, especially the level of privacy when sleeping. Check the size of the beds (adults usually require a full 6" length).
The most popular RV rental are motorhomes. Travel trailers, truck campers and folding camping trailers are also available at some rental outlets. Rental costs are dependent on the size, type and age of the RV, the season that you want it for and the length of time you will rent it. Generally, motorhomes rent from $100 to $250 per day and truck campers and travel trailers average $50 to $120 per day.
Choices that Will Affect How You Rent
A few things you also need to consider are:
- If you wish to rent and return your RV from the same place or go on a one way trip leaving it at another place at the end of your holiday. The second option will cost you more, but it does mean you may be able to travel a little further.
- If you are planning an extended trip some companies will sell you a motorhome with a buy back guarantee for 60% of the original cost if it is returned in a good condition, which may work out a cheaper option than renting one.
- Another variation on the rental story is the leaseback program. Sole owners will lease back their RVs to a company that will rent them to the general public at a reduced rental price.
Make Sure You RV is Fully Equipped
RV's mostly come without provisions and personal kits - so you will either have to take these with you or rent them on a weekly basis. If you wish to rent then they must be booked in advance of your holiday and you must also ask for a complete list of kit items so you know what you will be getting. See our article on What to bring with you when RVing for a complete list of what we think you need for your trip.
Remember! Cupboard space is limited in some RV's so pack wisely and if flying in for your holiday soft bags will be easy to store as rental companies do not have storage space for your luggage once unpacked.
If you are planning to camp where there are no hookups, check to see if the RV comes with a generator, as you may need to use one especially if you want air conditioning.
Purchasing your mileage at the time of booking is typically cheaper than paying for it locally. If you are going to do large mileage opt for the Unlimited Mileage option which usually covers the first 21 days and so much per day afterwards (check with your rent company as to their charges).
Understand the Ins and Outs of Renting
Ask about the rental agreement in advance so you understand:
- What are the renter's responsibilities?
- What are your responsibilities?
- What is your liability?
- Do you fully understand all the rental costs involved?
- What insurance is provided by the renter?
- Does your auto insurance cover what the renter's insurance does not?
- Does the renter have a 24-hour phone number for you to call if you have problems?
- If driving to pick up your RV, do they have space for you to leave your car?
Make Sure Everything is There and Works before You Leave
You should be given full orientation of your RV when you pick it up by a qualified instructor. Make sure you fully understand how everything works before you set off. Before you sign your rental agreement check on several items:
- Are there manuals included for the RV and all the equipment on board?
- Are there sun screens for any big side windows?
- Is there a selection of wooden blocks included to level the RV on uneven sites?
- Are extension cables and hoses included to accommodate electrical, sewer and water hook-ups?
- Do you get a spare set of keys for the RV?
- Are all appliances, controls, and fixtures working?
- Do all doors, windows, and steps work properly?
- Do smoke and gas detectors work properly?
Note to overseas guests: America is one of the few places in the world which hasn't adopted the metric system, so be prepared to convert feet, miles, gallons, quarts, acres, etc., to metric units you can comprehend.
Last of all enjoy the wonderful scenery before you and have a great holiday.
Copyright ©2012 Camping Road Trip, LLC
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