For those who are new to RVing and thinking of trying it out, the RV rental world can be a vast and confusing place. This can leave many newbie RVers feeling completely lost and overwhelmed as they attempt to plan their first RV adventure. Obviously, this isn’t how anyone wants to feel when planning a fun getaway, and we don’t want you to feel that way either! For this reason, we are going to use this article as a guide for those who are completely new to RVing. Here you’ll find all of the most important RV rental basics all in one place so you can start out your RV trip with confidence, and end it with memories that will last a lifetime.
There are many things that can stand in the way of enjoying a fun, carefree vacation full of amazing adventures. Some of the most common reasons why Americans famously don’t take vacations include: Airplane tickets cost too much Hotel rooms are too expensive Traveling in a cramped car is uncomfortable Tent camping is difficult during cold or rainy weather Flying to destinations limits the places you can see and visit An RV will quickly eliminate so many of the obstacles that have stopped you from feeling free to see and do all that you desire during a vacation to any and every destination you want to visit in the country.
The next section of this guide will cover how to find and rent the right RV for you and your travel party. Whether you’re a solo RVer looking to escape off the grid, a family with kids heading to a local campground, or a group of friends planning an epic cross-country road trip, there is an RV rental out there for you, and we can help you find it.
Now that you know a bit about the different types of RVs, you need to decide which one is best for you and what you wish to get out of your RV rental.
Before you finalize your RV rental, you’ll of course need to decide where you want to go. If you want to spend most of your trip exploring the outdoors, national parks and state parks are the way to go. If you’re looking for solitude, you can find tons of remote camping options at state forests (sometimes even for free!). Just make sure the rig you rent is well-equipped to handle the terrain if you plan to do any off-grid camping. Meanwhile, RVers who want to check out attractions along their route or at their destination might prefer campgrounds closer to the sights they are seeing. You could do a tour of several of the national parks… or one long in-depth visit at one of the biggest, like Yellowstone or Glacier. You could traverse the west coast’s famous Highway 1 from end to end. You could put together an incredible tour of the American south, or visit some of the most important U.S. historical sites. There are endless travel options when it comes to RVing and if it’s your first trip, you might feel pressured to jam-pack a ton of activities and stops into your itinerary. Try to choose your must-sees and dos and save the rest for future trips. Oftentimes, new RVers try to do too much and wind up becoming exhausted, unhappy campers. And remember — if you need to change your itinerary at any point during your trip, your accommodations are on wheels. In most cases, a last-minute change of plans is no big deal and is yet another perk to RVing. If you know what kind of camping situation you’d like, but need help choosing a destination, we’ve written dozens of blog articles on top-rated destinations, campgrounds, and attractions all over the country. Click here to find travel inspiration Need help finding campgrounds? Check out our campground guide to browse top campgrounds in every state.
It’s good practice to plan your route ahead of the trip itself. You’ll want to identify campgrounds and parking lots along your route that allow overnight RV parking so that you don’t run into a situation where you find yourself stranded without a place to stay for the night. Be aware of additional restrictions that may apply. Some campgrounds and RV parks do not allow for certain classes of motorhomes, and many will require a reservation to be booked in advance (particularly during peak season). Additionally, most higher-end campgrounds and RV parks adopt the “10-year rule” and prohibit campers 10 years or older. For national park stays, there is an average maximum length limit of 27 feet, though some parks will allow for RVs up to 40 feet in length. Planning your trip route is also crucial for ensuring that you don’t travel in excess of your daily mileage limit if your rental comes with one. Driving more than the agreed-upon limitation may cause long-term deterioration to the engine. As such, owners often set a fee for excess daily mileage. Straying too far from your planned route can put you in a situation where you’re spending way more on gas and mileage than you originally intended. If your budget is limited, these fees can be a significant burden, so they are best avoided unless absolutely necessary.
Many new renters have questions regarding exactly what you need to qualify, book, and drive a rental RV. Oftentimes, people don’t realize that there are actually rules regarding who can legally obtain a rental RV until they’ve already started planning their vacations. The good news is that qualifying to rent a recreational vehicle is actually pretty straightforward. What is necessary to book a rental RV? You must possess a valid driver’s license and a major credit card to qualify to book a rental RV. It’s important to note that temporary licenses are typically not permitted. Sometimes a credit reference, employment references, or verification of a foreign passport may be required prior to a rental agreement. Do you need a CDL to drive an RV? Many people shy away from renting RVs because they assume that a special license is required to operate a vehicle of this size. Fortunately, you don’t need a special license or certification to drive a rental RV. This means that you’re qualified to operate a rental RV if you know how to operate a regular automobile and possess a valid and current motor vehicle license. How old do you have to be to rent an RV? The minimum age requirement to rent an RV is 25. While some states do legally allow drivers to rent RVs when they’re as young as 21, individual rental agencies can create their own age policies. Plus, oftentimes companies that rent to drivers between 21 years of age and 24 years of age will tack on extra fees like a daily surcharge. Where to Rent an RV Considering this is an RV 101 article, it’s likely that you aren’t even sure where to look for a trailer or motorhome rental. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. There are two main routes you can take in terms of who you rent from: Nationwide Rental Companies — Nationwide rental companies are chains with locations in various places across the country. Some of the better-known rental companies include Cruise America and El Monte RV. These are an okay choice for some, but do have a good number of drawbacks. For starters, they don’t have locations in every city, meaning you may not have easy access to a chain rental company. Additionally, the RVs rented by these companies tend to be very basic, offering none of the homey amenities or variety in floor plans that many are looking for. Private RV Rentals — The other option is to go with a private RV rental. In some cases, you can find rentals through local RV dealerships. That said, it’s much easier to find a suitable private RV rental right here on RVShare!