Where Should You Rent an RV? Seven Solid Recommendations and Our Top Pick
So you want to exercise your freedom and see a bit of the world. You want the luxuries of home, when, well, not at home. How do you do it, and who do you contact, and why?
Leaders in RV Rental Companies
There are a lot of great rental options out there for travelers who are ready to rent an RV and hit the open highways. Among those options, seven companies stood out to us for their affordable prices and quality of vehicles and services:
- Outdoorsy (Best Overall).
- RV Share (First Runner-Up).
- Camper Travel Bookings (Solid Service).
- Cruise America (Wide Selection).
- Motorhome Republic (Widest Geographic Coverage).
- Indiecamper (Best Vacation Options).
- El Monte RV (Pet-Friendly RV Rentals).
How Can You Choose the Best RV Rental Company?
Fortunately, the internet now provides a range of options open to you. It all depends on what you need and where you need it. There are three main business models on the market that you should look at.
- Corporate RV rental companies.
- Peer-to-peer RV rental.
- RV marketplace sites.
Each of the above offers plus points and minuses. It’s up to you to balance out what you want with what you can afford. At the end of the day, this is what matters most, right?
Corporate RV Rental Company
A corporate rental company owns all its stock—all the RVs and travel trailers that it rents out. It has the advantage of having a staff of professionals in offices in different locations. However, some spread their net wider than others, which can cause problems with location and accessibility.
- RVs are maintained and cleaned after every hire.
- Company provides insurance and is liable.
- Safe and secure method of payment.
- One-way rental is available for convenience.
- Rentals are only available at specific office locations.
- Typically higher prices per night + ‘hidden costs’
- Limited range of models depending on your state.
Peer-to-Peer RV Rental
This is a different concept altogether, think Airbnb of RV hire. You’ll be renting directly from RV owners. This also has several advantages and also disadvantages.
- A more human approach to RV rental: you deal with the owner.
- Typically less expensive per night than other alternatives.
- Wide selection of RVs available.
- The entire country is the RV rental office.
- Private individuals can’t guarantee roadworthiness, quality, etc.
- If something goes wrong, liability can be tricky to manage.
- You will need to drop off the RV to the same location you took it from.
RV Marketplace Sites
This is an amalgamation of corporate rentals under one site. It has the bonus of being able to compare and contrast RVs, locations, and prices. They can save a lot of time and effort when shopping around, or give you a feel for what prices you should be paying if you are new to RV life.
- Compare and contrast RV prices.
- Check what’s available at multiple locations.
- Plenty of different RVs available.
- Good for newbies to estimate price ranges.
- Due to there being a middle-man, the per night may not be so budget-friendly.
What Kind of RV Should You Rent?
Ensuring that you get an RV that’s right for you and your road trip entails a lot of forethought.
There are some big questions to ask.
It all depends on a few fundamentals, and then it’s down to a personal choice about needs and facilities.
Hitting the open road with an RV, you pick out on a whim probably won’t end well. You need to determine which localities you’re planning to visit for several reasons.
Matters of Law
Firstly, the legal requirements for driving one can vary dramatically from state to state. If you’re going to be hitting numerous locations, make sure you have the right license.
Distance and Comfort
You must take into account your comfort level driving long distances. You may be able to handle towing a travel trailer for an hour or two, but how will you fare with an eight-hour journey?
You should figure out where you’ll be setting up camp, and how you want that experience to be. Does the campsite you want to visit have a limitation on RV sizes? Do you want to go off-road?
Finally, determine what’s going to be convenient for you when the trip is over. Would you rather drop your RV off at an office, or are you fine driving all the way back to the original pickup location?
Prioritizing Space and Other Requirements
Are you eager to rough it, or do you want your RV to have all the amenities to feel like you’re living in a house on wheels? Below are a few factors to think about:
Numbers of Travelers
The guest list should be set in advance to know how many people are coming along since you don’t want a sardine-can situation. If you’re traveling in a small group, determine how much space everybody needs to keep cabin fever at bay.
When it comes to these facets, the type of RV plays a significant role. Class A motorhomes are great for long road trips or long term life on the road. They can sleep up to 10 people in the larger ones.
You’ll have all the luxury of a small apartment with AC, electricity, gas, heating water, etc.—a home away from home.
Class B motorhomes usually have fold-away sinks and seating that doubles up as sleeping spaces. They are well equipped, but obviously on a smaller scale.
To compare, Class C RVs have a wide range of floor plans, so there will be a build to suit pretty much everyone. They’re the mid-ground between Class A and Class B, so have a compromise on space vs. liveability and maneuverability.
Fifth-wheel trailers are great for large families on a break or groups of friends who want to get out and see the road. Still, be aware that ten people won’t usually fit in the towing vehicle. It’s illegal in most states to ride in the RV when it’s on the move.
If you opt for a pop-up trailer, bear in mind they typically weigh less than 4,000 pounds, which makes them great for towing and parking. The downside is that everything is downsized. Space is at a premium, as are the facilities such as showers and toilets.
To Tow or Not to Tow?
The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you want to tow or drive your RV. We’ll discuss both here.
Class A, B, and C Motorhomes
The downside with these types is that you have to go everywhere with your RV unless someone takes a car along. That includes grocery shopping and seeing attractions. You might want to check if the parking can handle your motorhome.
Towing can be difficult if you’re not experienced. However, there’s a significant perk. You can leave your trailer at the campsite and head off with your vehicle for sightseeing and fun.
Our only warning is to make sure your car can handle the weight of the trailer you pick.
Don’t forget that your RV isn’t going to be the sole expense. You’re also going to need cash for food, activities, campsite fees, souvenirs — budget planning is essential. Below are a few things to keep in mind:
Calculate how much you’ll need if you want to do paid activities, like visiting national parks, resorts, theme parks or other attractions.
Length of Trip
Be aware that gas mileage is going to be a factor for lengthy trips. Certain RVs, like Class A’s, are thirsty beasts, so this is going to be a significant cost if you plan on eating up the miles.
Class A and fifth wheel vehicles offer luxury at a significant cost per night for accessibility as well as fuel. Please plan your route carefully and make sure that you know where you’ll pitch up and that you can easily and safely get to where you want to go.
Corporate Vs. Peer-to-Peer Rentals
If you go down the corporate route rather than peer-to-peer, you will find a lot of ‘extra’ costs. Look out for charges per mile, generator costs per hour, bedding and cookware charges, and the like. Ask about these and any other additional charges upfront.
Similar to hotels, you’ll find that prices are seasonal. Be aware that prices go up and down with demand. This is a bigger factor on peer-to-peer sites where individuals set their own prices rather than a more fixed, corporate structure.
Also, look at insurance coverage and roadside assistance. Be aware that your RV may break down, so find out what provisions there are for recovery and how much they cost.
Our Reviews of the Best Motorhome Rental Companies
Best RV Rental
One of the bigger, if not the biggest, players in the RV hire market at the moment. We like to think of them as the Airbnb of the RV world. Though it’s a peer-to-peer network, they offer commercial insurance alongside your rental.
With Outdoorsy, you get the benefit of a large organization that’s tried, trusted, and well-reviewed. They have a vast and sprawling network of RVs for hire with pretty much every make and model somewhere in the country. Currently, they offer Mexico and Canada, as well as the United States.
There’s roadside assistance available 24/7, so this is a great plus. It takes the worry out of renting an RV from strangers.
The Outdoorsy rental platform is user-friendly—it’s quick and easy to navigate and easy to process payments. It takes a lot of hassle and stress out of the hiring process.
Prices will vary from city to city and according to the season. Don’t be caught out in a last-minute booking, always try to shop around and do it in advance. There are some great deals to be had if you look.
The main downside is that as a peer-to-peer service, you will need to return the RV back to where you picked it up from the owners.
- Great website.
- Huge, well-reviewed organization.
- Roadside assistance.
- Inconsistent pricing.
- Availability requires advance planning.
A similar peer-to-peer model to Outdoorsy. RV Share offers a great range of RVs spread around the States. The usual caveats apply with seasonality and with a city-to-city variation.
They have a 24/7 insurance and recovery policy, which gives great peace of mind. Like Outdoorsy, you have to be registered to rent out your RV, so you can be confident that what you book is what you get.
A different feature is a 5 percent loyalty program, which is a great incentive to come back again once you have the RV bug. This shows a real commitment to repeat business and set themselves apart from a crowded marketplace.
Their selection of RVs and rental locations is good but doesn’t quite have the reach of Outdoorsy. This is a slight downer, but everyone can’t be the biggest, right?
- Insurance and roadside assistance in the United States.
- Great selection and availability.
- Loyalty program rewards frequent customers.
- Fewer locations than Outdoorsy.
- Requires advance planning.
Camper Travel Bookings
Camper Travel Bookings is an RV marketplace site or broker. Because they broker vehicles from other renters, they can reach a larger rental market and offer a greater range of trip planning options.
This company will process your bookings via other companies. They don’t have their own fleet to rent; they search the market to get you the best deals for the dates and places you’re looking at.
The good points are that they take all the legwork and guesswork out of bookings, so you can concentrate on planning the rest of your trip. The downside is that they charge a fee (obviously) for doing so.
The upside is a far wider range of rentals in a much bigger geographic area with a much better spread of offices/collection points. Just keep in mind that the site is essentially a middle man, and this adds both cost per night and the hope that everything goes smoothly.
- Planning assistance for trips.
- Customer service for bookings.
- Good geographic availability.
- Value-added may not match fees.
- Not responsible for the RV fleet.
Widest Selection for Corporate RV Rental
Cruise America is a corporate rental company with a great selection of vehicles and an exhaustive list of locations.
These guys are one of the more prominent players on the stage, so offer a good range of RVs. They have their own fleet of rentals across The States and Canada.
While Cruise America are one of the big boys, they can’t match the range of RV rentals or the locations that say, Outdoorsy or RV Share can. This means that although they group their rentals in four easy to navigate classes, you won’t get the range you would elsewhere.
Cruise America has a great range of pick up locations, but again, this isn’t as exhaustive as others in the peer-to-peer market.
- Locations include the USA and Canada.
- User-friendly selection.
- Trustworthy, well-known service.
- Not as much selection as a peer-to-peer company.
Widest Geographic Coverage
This is our second marketplace site or broker. Motorhome Republic has the best coverage of pickup locations that we reviewed.
The issues here, the good and the bad, are very similar to Camper Travel Bookings. Yes, you get an extensive selection of rentals. Yes, there is the best geographic coverage. And yes, you can compare and contrast a vast range of RV rentals to see which best fits your needs and your pocket.
On the downside, we have the additional costs and charges levied. It’s well worth reading the small print on any contract to what you or they are liable for if there is a problem with the end renter. If your RV isn’t up to scratch, who is responsible for sorting it out?
It’s never a good way to start a vacation playing blame tennis over the phone or the internet. Do your research and make sure you know what you are getting, from who, and who is responsible. If you do, then they can be an excellent, hassle-free way to get precisely what you want.
- Coast-to-coast availability.
- Excellent selection of vehicles.
- Variety of pricing levels.
- Limited liability.
- Confusing customer service.
Best European Vacation Options
p>These guys are the largest RV rental company in Europe, and they do cover a lot of bases. Their rentals aren’t US standard; they have the smaller, ‘indie camping’ vibe—rather unsurprisingly. As a result, they offer more specialized camper rental services for travelers who have specific vacation goals at their RV rental destinations.
Indie Campers has a range of Class B models on offer, sleeping two to four (or six) people mainly, the extra two sleep in a tent.
They have an excellent offer that they have a free shuttle to take you from the airport to the depot, and you can drive away from there. Everything for your camping trip is provided, and there are no ‘hidden costs,’ unlike some rental companies.
In addition to the bedding, cookware, gas, etc. provided, you can also hire surfboards and wetsuits if that’s your thing. There is unlimited mileage and 24/7 roadside assistance too, which is a great addition.
The main downside is the fact that each country has only a few depots and in some cases, only one. It can make the pick up pretty tricky if you aren’t flying into the right city.
If you want to see Europe by road, this is a great way to go, but you’ll be limited by rental size and locations. You really will have to plan ahead here to get the best value.
- Coverage across Europe.
- Equipment rentals for any vacation.
- Airport shuttles.
- Limited locations in each country.
- Smaller vehicles.
El Monte RV
Pet-Friendly RV Rentals
Another corporate rental. There is a broader range of rentals on offer than, say, Cruise America, as they have Class A and Class C motorhome rentals, but this still isn’t as wide a range as the typical peer-to-peer rental companies. The quality that sets El Monte RV apart from the rest is their pet-friendly policies.
A few plus points are the fact that their rentals are pet-friendly, and they don’t charge for generator rental. The latter can be quite a cash saver for the budget-minded among us if you’re in a group and looking at Class A.
They offer a reward scheme too, which is a nice touch. It keeps the loyalty base, well, nice and loyal. While it doesn’t necessarily set them apart from everyone else, it’s still nice to see that they show they care about their business model and customers.
The downside is they charge for bedding and kitchenware, and these charges are pretty steep. There’s no getting away from these extras, and they do mount up, especially on shorter trips.
The other problem with El Monte is that they only have 29 bases in 14 states, and that’s pretty limiting. If you’re on the West Coast, you will be better served, but this isn’t great coverage. There is the option of one-way travel, but with this coverage, it isn’t the bonus that it could be.
- Only a pet-friendly rental company.
- Rewards program.
- Generator rentals.
- Limited locations.
- Steep costs for bedding and kitchenware rentals.
We hope this article provided you with all the information you need to make your choice in RV rental companies. If you learned something, please share this website with your friends and family members!
If you have any other recommendations for our community, please share them in the comments below. As always, we look forward to answering your questions and receiving your feedback!