RV Rentals – Try before you Buy
RV Rentals are a great way to travel by RV without actually owning one.
You can vacation, see new places and learn more about your RV lifestyle
firsthand. It’s a good idea to rent an RV before you buy.
RV Rentals: How to get started:
Plan where you want to go.
Consider places you want to see, and how much time you have. Check campground locations and amenities.
Depending on season, and popularity of your destination, you may need campground reservations.
With a two week trip, you might vacation in two areas – and
spend one week in each. Or, you may move every few days. Or some
combination – it’s up to you. We suggest you allow some “down” time
with no particular agenda.
Moving everyday or constantly driving long distances, leaves little time to relax or fully explore your destinations.
are plenty of wonderful places to explore by RV – throughout mainland
USA, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Europe,
Remember the interests of everyone going on the trip.
Envision how each of you will spend time. Keep that mental picture handy as you do your planning.
Types of RV Rentals:
A variety of models are available at RV rental companies.
Most rent motorhomes. Class C “cab over” motorhomes are typical,
but smaller class B (camper vans) and larger Class A motorhome rentals
are often part of the line-up.
Pop-ups (tent campers) can be
rented from many places. Towable fifth wheels and trailers may not be
as prevalent, but can be found at some companies.
companies offer RVs designed to tow large gear (some brand names include
Fun Mover, Toy Hauler and Raptor), which have space in the back of the
unit for motorcycles, ATVs, golf carts, maybe equipment or inventory you
use in a job on the road. More lifestyle choices!
Research RV Rental Locations:
Are you going to rent near your home? Or will you travel to a pick up location?
When we rented a motorhome for our Nova Scotia trip (to try our
RV lifestyle before buying), we rented from a nearby RV rental
company…drove it home, packed it up… and headed out on the road the
next day. But we could have flown to Canada and picked up the RV rental
there. Personal preferences and budget will drive your decision.
What are you going to bring? This might make a
difference in where you go, as well as where to rent. Note that many RV
rental companies rent RV livability packages – which include kitchen
utensils, pots and pans, linens, towels, and the like. Some also rent
bicycles, folding chairs and grills. And some RV rental companies
accommodate fly/drive renters by providing helpful transportation from a
Book your RV Rental:
Know what’s included in your quote.
Note what you are getting with each quote, and add in additional expenses you will incur, so that you have an apples-to-apples comparison. Look at the things YOU care about:
- What mileage is included?
- Add in your estimated fuel expenses.
- How big is the RV? Does it have slide outs? It’s good to have adequate space for the number of people traveling.
- How many does it sleep comfortably?
- Are insurance costs included? What’s covered?
- What’s the deductible?
- Is there optional coverage available?
- Check your personal insurance policy to avoid paying for coverage you may already have.
- Travel in Mexico or outside the US, may require additional coverage.
- What is the deposit and deposit return policy?
- Are there prep, cleaning or other additional fees?
- Can you tow a car for day trips?
- Are pets allowed?
- What type of air conditioning and heating?
- Is there a generator? A generator may come in handy if camping without power, or in the event of a power outage. Note that generators run on your RV’s gasoline – and there may be an extra charge per hour of use.
- Is a TV, VCR, or Tape/CD player included?
- Does the rental company’s website/literature make you comfortable?
- List other features you like or dislike as you compare vehicles and companies.
Will you need a separate car?
If you are going for more of a wilderness camping experience, then this may be a moot point. But you may want a vehicle to get you around town. Remember that RVs don’t fit in all the same places cars do. You don’t want to get all psyched to visit a bunch of places and then find yourself saying, “Now, how are we going to get to that cute little town….hmmmm, I never thought of that”.
If you need a car, ask your RV rental company if they allow you to tow one behind the motorhome – many companies do not permit towing, or have limited liability. Another way to handle this is to have someone else drive a car separately, or rent a car at your destination.
When we rented our class C motorhome, we did not have a car in tow. But we planned in advance how we would get around. Sometimes, we could bring the motorhome (it was a 29 foot class C). In other areas, we walked, bicycled or took public transportation. It would have been more convenient to have a car. But for a two week vacation, it was quite workable. One of the advantages of a smaller RV is that it will fit in more places.
If you do tow a car with a rented motorhome (or it’s your car/truck towing the rented RV), educate yourself on weight limits and safe towing equipment. If your RV rental agency allows towing, they should be able to help you.
Other tips for RV rentals:
Read the rental agreement before you book the reservation, and make sure you understand the terms and conditions.
Make sure you know the refueling policy for the return, so you don’t have any surprise costs at the end of your wonderful trip.
Driver’s licenses: For American or Canadian
citizens traveling in the U.S. or Canada, no additional license is
needed – and border crossing just requires proof of citizenship. If you
plan to travel to Mexico, additional insurance and other conditions
For international visitors renting in the U.S., or for
rentals in other countries, ask your RV rental company about licensing
and insurance considerations. In most cases, an international license
will be fine for renting an RV in the U.S.
A little concerned about driving an RV?
Sure it will take a bit of getting used to. But it is very doable – think how many RVs you see on the roads these days.
You will need to rely on your side mirrors – if you don’t already use them when you drive, then practice getting in the habit with your personal auto.
And if you will have a lot of people traveling with you in the rented motorhome…first take a run solo, or with one other person, so that you can get comfortable.
Drive Your Motorhome Like a Pro: Download this complete video guide to professional driving techniques.
Pay close attention to the walkthrough when you get your vehicle. Your rental company should spend sufficient time with you to explain how everything works. They should run through things like hooking up at a campsite, starting the generator, how to use appliances, and everything else in the RV.
Take notes, ask questions, ask to have things repeated. Know where to find the manuals on various components. Make sure the dealer shows you that everything works. Better yet, ask if you can do some of these things “hands-on” as part of the walkthrough. This way you’ll know they work and it will be easier to remember how to do it the next time. Have the phone number(s) for the RV rental dealer, including a number to use in emergencies.
If you have questions or need a bit of help on the road, just ask a fellow RVer. If you have never been RVing, the one thing that is sure to stand out is just how friendly and helpful “RV people” are.
If you are heading overseas, we have positive personal experience in Europe with a company called IdeaMerge. They handle RV Rentals Worldwide, and Tax-free Auto Leases in Europe. (By the way, you can read more about our excellent adventure RV camping in Europe. )
See their selection of vehicles in Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and numerous European countries.
We used Ideamerge to rent a motorhome for our adventure traveling in Europe by RV. We recommend them based on our positive personal experience with the total rental process.
We enjoyed a reliable and comfortable RV and great customer support in making the arrangements. The also handle car rentals and leases.