If you aren’t thinking about full-time RV life just yet, you may be wondering if you should purchase an RV or if you should opt for renting. With over 35 million people looking to rent an RV each year, you’re not alone.
Just because 35 million people are doing it, it doesn’t mean it is right for you. Continue reading this article to learn the pros and cons of renting vs. buying an RV.
Here I am driving out of Sunshine RV Resort in Big Pine Key
The 411 on Should You Buy or Rent an RV?
Thinking about another payment in your budget each month might be a little scary but is it a good idea in the long run? Before you make that decision, look at these pros and cons. We’ll also go over some things you should think about before you buy an RV if you do opt for that route.
Pros of Buying an RV
When you’re buying an RV, it’s a major commitment but these pros might be enough to make you want to go for it.
- You don’t have to give it back once you’re through with your trip
- You pay less than what you’d pay renting an RV
- You take the time to find an RV that is just right for you so there’s a higher comfort level
When your vacation is over, if you’ve bought your RV and you have it in your possession, the next trip doesn’t seem so far off. Even if you don’t take your RV far away, you still have your own little slice of heaven where you can go to relax and enjoy mini vacations.
If you only rented the RV then you don’t have anything to show for all of the money you spent.
When you purchase an RV, you are able to pay small payments over time. You’re likely to use the RV more than once so if you break it down by days of use, you’ll see that owning an RV is much less expensive even when you factor in tags and insurance.
If you rent an RV to go on your vacation, you aren’t likely to be traveling in the perfect RV for you. Since this is the case, your RV might not be as comfortable as you’d like which will decrease the fun of your trip. When you’ve bought an RV, you’ve vetted all of the rooms and the setup so that you know you’ll love it.
Since the RV is exactly as you’d like it, you can enjoy your vacation time to the max.
Getting on highway 1 in the Florida Keys
Cons of Buying an RV
- Long-term commitment even if you decide you don’t want it
- May be difficult to sell
- Could possibly lose money if you do decide to sell it
If buying an RV has you biting your fingernails, it could be because of the long-term payment. The long-term payment could go up to 20 years now depending on the type of RV you purchase.
Our RV terms have always been right at 10 years. We don’t want to take forever to get it paid off but many large RVs are pricey so you want to have more time to pay or your payments might be overwhelming.
If you do find yourself wanting to sell, it could be difficult to get rid of the RV. It is easier if you’re willing to go to a dealership and you’re willing to take a loss.
When we traded in our one RV, we were able to get a nice amount back for it and we also got a good price on the new RV. This doesn’t always happen though so you have to be willing to take the loss just in case.
Getting ready to back in at Newport News Park in Virginia
Pros of Renting an RV
- No long-term payment commitment
- Learn how to operate an RV and see if you like it
- Great for people that only want to RV for a week every now and again
- Less expensive than staying at high-end hotels
If you are going up against staying in hotels vs renting an RV, that’s an easy choice depending on where you want to go. If there are RV parks nearby then renting an RV over going to a hotel makes sense.
In this case, we’re talking about should you buy or rent an RV? This makes it a little more difficult to make a choice when you’re just getting started with RV camping.
If you’re going to RV regularly then buying will save you thousands of dollars. If only want to go on a couple of vacations throughout the year then renting will keep you from getting stuck with a long-term payment that you’re going to regret.
One of the great things about renting an RV is that you can learn how to operate an RV to see if you like it. We jumped into an RV without ever pulling one and at first we were terrified that we were going to hate it.
It took a lot of getting used to so I am actually glad we didn’t rent one or we might not be living the RV life. It is likely to take you more than a week to get comfortable so keep that in mind if you do rent an RV for your vacation.
Renting an RV will allow you to figure out what layouts you like in the RV. As we get each new RV, I am seeing things that I would have changed around if I would have knew. We are on our second RV now and we are already looking at our third.
The first RV that we got was way too small for us but that’s all we could pull with our little SUV. The one that we are in now is a nice size but our boys are growing up and they are going to need more space so we are going to upgrade and get a bunk room.
Your needs may change as you’re RVing so trying out the different models by and getting an idea of what is going to last the longest can help you decrease the amount of times you have to change RVs.
Backing the RV in at the Daytona Beach RV park
Cons of Renting an RV
- It can cost a lot more money than buying
- You have to sleep where other people have slept
- There may be mechanical issues you don’t know about
If you’re a germaphobe then renting an RV isn’t necessarily the best option. You never know what people have done in them and how clean they were when they used it. It’s not much different than a hotel room.
When you rent an RV, you’re looking at putting out thousands of dollars depending on how long you’re going to be RVing. Break down how many days you’re going to be gone and see how much you’re going to be paying nightly and see if you can stomach it or if you’d rather just take the leap and buy.
Parked in Clermont, Florida. We had a really cool shaded area here with lots of privacy.
My Take on Renting Vs. Buying
Your experience may be different than mine but in our case, we are RVing 24/7 365 so buying makes all the sense in the world.
Even if you’re going to RV once a month or a couple of times a year, buying makes sense in my mind. Why would you want to keep hoping that you can find an RV to rent that works for your family when you could just store it for a little bit of money each month?
Almost any RV park near you has a storage section for RVs. You can get a good RV cover to make sure that your RV is out of the elements while you’re not using it. Here are some you can look through depending on the RV that you have.
Make sure to check the size of the covers as well.
While RVs do lose value just like cars, the memories that you create and the money that you save vs going to hotel rooms totally makes it worth it.
Important Things to Consider Before Buying
Before you buy your RV, make sure that it has as many of the goodies you want as possible. If you’re asking should you buy or rent an RV then you should at least walk through quite a few models to get a feel for things.
If you’re going to go full-time RV then there is no way it makes sense to rent long-term. It’s entirely too expensive and you could easily pay cash for an RV for the amount you’d spend renting an RV for a month. Lol
Make sure there is room for your favorite accessories on the countertop. Our first RV that we bought, there was not enough counter space which made it entirely too hard.
Some of our must-haves on the countertop are our ice maker and our little coffee machine.
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The icemaker is a little bulky but having cold drinks on demand and not having to take up space in our freezer is important to us. The coffee machine is thin and doesn’t take up a lot of room so we can still have our delicious java.
Don’t jump into an RV too quick. While it has worked for us just winging it — that isn’t always the case.
Make a list of must-haves and a wishlist and then go out and look at a bunch of RVs to see which ones work best.
Increase Your RV IQ
Now you know more about should you buy or rent an RV? You may be ready to make a decision about buying. Continue your RV education by reading our article about whether you should buy a used RV or a new RV.
Jill Miller is the founder of Your RV Lifestyle. Trading corporate America for the open road, Jill, along with her partner Jose, began their RV journey, making an unconventional start by wintering in New Jersey. A natural adventurer, she was motivated by a desire to explore the USA and beyond, embracing the varied landscapes, communities, and cultures across the country.
For Jill, the allure of RV living was not about material accumulation, but rather the pursuit of an adventurous, fulfilling lifestyle. A lover of golf, bicycling, hiking, and line dancing, she has carried her passions across the country, engaging with them in diverse settings. Jill’s commitment to the RV lifestyle came after years of careful research, numerous consultations with RV owners, and personal trials, including living in a rental RV.