How to Rent an RV for Beginners

An RV rental might be the perfect way to get started into the world of RV adventures. But, it might be a little confusing and overwhelming at first glance. What type of RV rentals are available and what would fit your style of travel best? What are the rules for renting an RV? What are the best companies to rent from and how does it all work? Well, this post should answer all of your RV rental questions and have you on the road to your adventures in no time.

RV Rental Options- How to Choose the Best Vehicle for Your Travel

When you decide to rent an RV you can choose from many different types to suit the type of travel you want to do and how many people will be along for the ride. You can rent an RV and drive across the country stopping when and where you want. Or rent a camper near home, get it packed up and head to your favorite campground. Does the thought of towing an RV sound a little intimidating? No problem! Choose a rental that will deliver and set everything up for you. How easy does that sound?

Types of RVs

Rv is a general term for motorhomes, travel trailers, campers etc. There are several different types to choose from-motorhomes, travel trailers, truck campers

Motorhome Rentals- Drivable RVs

Class A Motorhome Rental- largest type of the motorhomes up to 40 feet long, most expensive.

Class A Motorhome– largest type of the motorhomes, up to 40 feet long, most expensive, full bathroom/kitchen/bedroom/living room and dining area.
Class C Motorhome- mid size motorhome up to around 30 feet with the same basic amenities as class A motorhome

Class C Motorhome- mid size motorhome up to around 30 feet with the same basic amenities as class A motorhome
Class B Motorhome- smallest of the motorhomes like a large van up to about 15 feet.

Class B Motorhome– smallest of the motorhomes like a large van up to about 15 feet.

Travel Trailer RV Rentals- Towable 

Travel trailers also known as towable or bumper pull. Come in a wide variety of sizes with bathrooms, kitchens, bed and/or bedrooms and living/dining area.
Fifth Wheel Travel Trailer
Fifth Wheel travel trailers are much larger than most travel trailers and require a gooseneck hitch in the bed of the pickup

Pop up camper with trees in the background
A pop-up camper is a lightweight rv that collapses for towing and storage. Normally provides a bed on each end and small kitchen area with a dinette.

Truck Camper- carried in the bed of a pickup truck

Where Can You Rent an RV? RV Rental Companies

RV rentals are available all over the country through several companies. Outdoorsy and Cruise America are well known and both are nationwide. They both also offer insurance to protect you against a collision.

Outdoorsy has a very large selection of privately-owned RVs, campers, truck campers, pop ups and motorhomes. Kind of like Airbnb for recreational vehicles the rental prices are affordable and some owners offer drop off service and set up so you don’t have to pull or drive the rental if you would rather not. For most camping vacations and trips I would recommend using outdoorsy.

Cruise America has much more limited selection of vehicles but they are corporately owned and maintained by the business. If you are heading out on a cross country road trip, I would suggest using Cruise America. They are more expensive however you will have the peace of mind knowing that the upkeep and maintenance has been done.

Making an RV Rental Reservation


Most companies require drivers be at least 25 years old with a valid driver’s license and clean driving record.

A deposit will be required and should be returned quickly if there is no damage at the time of RV rental return.

Fees to Expect with RV Rentals

Rv rental rates will be determined according to type of rv and length of reservation.

Some rental charge a price per mile over the amount in the contract. Be sure to know this in advance.

Gas- be sure to calculate gas into your travel budget. Motorhomes use a lot of gas and if you are pulling a travel trailer that will affect or gas mileage.

If you plan to boondock or stay where there are not hookups, you will need a generator. Most rental will offer this for an additional charge.

Insurance for Camper Rentals

Both outdoorsy and Cruise America offer $1 million-dollar liability insurance for collisions (verify this amount before you reserve to make sure this info is up to date)

Roadside assistance is also available to get you back on the road as quickly as possible in the event of a mechanical issue.

Booking a Reservation for RV Rental

Outdoorsy- you will be working primarily with private owners although the payments and insurance are handled by the Outdoorsy company. Search the website by location and type of vehicle you are interested in and then contact the owner by email to request a reservation. The owner will then contact you to complete the reservation. The deposit and payments are made online.

Cruise America does it all from reservations, deposits and payments.

Picking up Your RV Rental

Outdoorsy owners will arrange a time and place for you to pick up and drop off the camper. Outdoorsy provides owners with departure forms and a return form for the owner and the renter to fill out. Make sure you take the time to go over everything, ask questions and take notes. Some owners also include a manual for you to refer to. Note any damage etc on the form to protect yourself when you return the vehicle. When you return, do a walk thru with the owner and be sure to sign the return form so that your deposit can be returned.

Rental pickup with Cruise America will be at one of their nationwide locations. There will be a familiarization tour before you leave with the rental to learn how to operate it and do a walk thru. You will do another walk thru when you return.

Avoid these costs after the rental return

Here are a few things to keep in mind so that you get your full deposit returned:

Cleaning- make sure you clean the rv according to your rental agreement to avoid a cleaning fee. Treat the vehicle as if it were your own. Avoid tracking dirt and sand by using a rug at the dor.

Damages- any minor damage will come out of your deposit. Any major damage will be covered by your insurance company, but you will be responsible for anything the insurance company does not pay.

Empty holding tanks- be sure to empty the tanks according to your agreement

Gas fees- fill any gas tanks to the vehicle and generator according to your rental agreement.

Late fees- double check that you know exactly when and where to return the vehicle. Some late fees are by the hour and others may charge for a full day.

Make sure you pack everything you will need for your camping adventure with our Ultimate RV Camping Checklist

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