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How To Rent An RV For The First Time

Dreaming of seeing the world at your own pace? Love to travel, but don’t want to stand in even one more TSA line at the airport? Sick and tired of road trips that end with days sleeping in a damp tent or schlepping all your stuff into yet another anonymous hotel room?

There are countless reasons to update your travel method of choice to RV travel. But of course, when you’re just getting started, buying a rig of your own can seem like an overly large commitment. Even the most modest motorhomes and travel trailers cost tens of thousands of dollars, and you could even spend as much as half a million (or more!) if you go for an ultra-luxe version.

Even if you’re doing pretty well for yourself, that’s a pretty serious investment. What’s more, research shows that most RVers’ rigs are only used for about two out of the 52 weeks of the year. After all, you’ve got other commitments: your home, your work, your family. Unless you’re planning to ditch everything and go full-time (like us crazy Escapees), you can’t spend every waking moment on the road. For the rest of the time, those motorhomes and travel trailers are sitting empty — collecting dust, while still requiring expensive maintenance and upkeep (not to mention making the darn payments on the thing, if you haven’t paid in full).

But as it turns out, it’s exactly that dynamic that offers curious travelers a unique opportunity. You can rent an RV through a nationwide dealership, or on the peer-to-peer market through companies like RVshare — and doing so can save you money while granting you access to some of the most comfortable and well-appointed rental vehicles on the road.

And if you’re wondering how, exactly, you go about the RV rental process, don’t worry: we’re going to walk you through it, step by step! Here’s how to rent an RV and what to look for in your RV rental, whether you rent from a peer-to-peer service  or from the big box guys.

Your First RV Rental: What To Look For

No matter where you decide to source your RV rental, the first thing you have to consider is what kind of RV you’re looking for. After all, there are about as many different kinds of rigs as there are campers, and the experience you’ll have in each type varies considerably.

It’s all about what your ideal vacation looks like, as well as where you’ll be going and who you’ll be traveling with. For instance, if you’ve got a large family along for the ride, you might want to consider a fifth wheel travel trailer, which can offer an unprecedented amount of living and sleeping space to ensure everybody’s comfortable. On the other hand, if you’re looking for luxury and ease of use, it’s hard to do better than a Class A motorhome: all you have to do is get in, unpack your stuff, and hit the highway, all with the comfort of knowing you have your very own plush amenities including a master bedroom, full-sized kitchen, and sometimes even a bathtub to soak in.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are smaller, more modest RVs, perfect for solo adventurers or a small, close-knit group that doesn’t mind getting cozy. If you want to get off the grid and go boondocking, many of the best destinations are down narrow roads that can be nerve-wracking in a larger rig, making a small travel trailer or sleeper van a much more sensible option. (Psst: there’s so much more to consider when choosing a specific RV type that we don’t have time to get into in this article! For a more in-depth guide, check out this deep dive into RV types and classes.)

But here’s the thing: the majority of commercial RV dealerships really only offer one or two different models. In most cases, you’ll be stuck choosing between a Class A or Class C motorhome, usually fresh off the factory floor. And don’t get us wrong — they’re often reliable and stacked with amenities.

But if you want an authentic taste of the RV life (or the option to choose a towable rig instead of a motorcoach), you’re a lot more likely to find it on the peer-to-peer market. Along with coming in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and floorplans, peer-to-peer rentals are also rigs that are actually used and loved by their families, meaning they’re appointed with the cozy touches that really make you feel like you’re traveling in a home away from home on wheels.

How to Rent an RV

Whether you end up choosing an RVshare RV or a motorhome from one of the commercial agencies, after you’ve decided on a type of rig, it’s time to go about actually planning your trip! To get started, you’ll want to decide on your travel window and probably get at least a rough sketch of your itinerary. That way, you’ll know where works best to pick up and drop off your RV, as well as the specific dates you’ll need to secure the rental.

Then, you can start shopping around for the type of RV that will best suit your needs. Even if you’re planning on going with a Class A or Class C motorcoach, you may find a better deal when you rent through the peer-to-peer market — after all, private owners don’t have to foot the overhead expenses of running a business, and they can pass those savings on to you in the form of lower prices.

Rent an RV in 4 Simple Steps:

  1. Find the perfect RV for your trip by using our detailed search settings. Filter by location, features and RV type to find exactly what you’re looking for.
  2. Talk directly with the RV owner to arrange your trip. Go through a quick walk-through when you pick up the RV, and you’re on your way!
  3. Enjoy the comfort of that home-away-from-home feeling while you’re on the road.
  4. Dump the tanks, fill up the gas and return the RV to its home.  

No matter how you go about renting your first RV or where you go in it, we feel pretty confident this unique way of travel is going to change the way you move about the world. Heck, that’s why so many of us do end up as full-timers. You never know, it could happen to you, too!

But of course, you definitely want to do your research before you commit to an RV purchase. Which is another great benefit of RV rentals on the peer-to-peer market: they’re so affordable and versatile, you can easily rent several different rigs to test out what they’re like on a trip. Talk about an awesome homework assignment, right? 

Author

RV Share

RVshare is the world’s first and largest peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace, serving more than 60,000 RV owners across the US and providing the best, most intuitive platform and tools for owners to start making real money from their RV. Owners can list their RVs for renters to find and customize their listing in order to highlight what makes their RV special, why they love it, and any amenities included.

We’re here to bring RV renters and RV owners together. If a renter wants the comforts of home while getting up close and personal with the beautiful world around them, an RV rental is the best place to start. With thousands of satisfied customers and a broad inventory ranging from travel trailers to luxury motorhomes, we have the perfect RV for any vacation, tailgate, or temporary lodging needs.

Want to get started on your very first rental RV adventure today? Check out the RVshare listings near you! 

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