How to Rent an RV

April 9, 2021

Where to start, what to plan for, and how to have the best trip ever in your RV Rental.

RV rentals are the newest camping craze taking the industry by storm. New and seasoned campers alike are turning to RV rentals for many reasons – even people who own RVs and trailers are relying on rentals for their next adventure!

Save packing time –no more wondering if your tent, camp stove, coolers, ice, bedding, clothes, dishes, and everything in between will fit in your car between the kids and the dogs.

Save money – in some cases, renting an RV or trailer and staying at a campground is far more affordable than staying at an expensive hotel or resort. My RV parks and campgrounds have all the same amenities too – pools, convenience stores, laundry rooms, even playgrounds.

Save mileage – if your current RV is getting up there in mileage, renting an RV or trailer will save you some wear and tear. Additionally, many RV rental agencies offer multiple pickup locations; choosing to pick up your rental closer to your destination can save on mileage fees collected by the rental agency!

Help make buying decisions – try before you buy! Some RV rental veterans spend years bouncing between rentals trying to find their perfect match to buy. If you’re on the fence about buying an RV or trailer, take a few trips in some different rentals to really test drive each different option and style of rig.

Make memories – whether you snag a rental that fits in your trip’s budget or splurge on a luxury rig for your honeymoon, renting an RV will be a vacation you and your family never forgets. Be sure to take lots of pictures along the way!

Not sure where to start?

1. Budget

Be sure to include mileage, fuel, RV park and campground rates, insurance/roadside assistance fees (included with some rentals!), and a small cushion for unplanned emergencies or adventures.

Camp-California Tip: Budgeting food and meals for any trip is important, especially for camping. If you’ve never owned or rented an RV before, RV/trailer refrigerators and freezers are much smaller than their household counterparts. Opt for nonperishables when possible, and still budget for snacks and meals on the road — sometimes you just can’t so no to the convenience of a quick cheeseburger.

2. Pick your RV/Trailer

Choosing which type of RV or trailer you are interested in is the first step. Check out our blog post “Which RV/Trailer is Right for You?” to learn more about the different classes and types of RVs and trailers available on the market.

Before deciding on a rental, don’t forget to collect your final headcounts! While an RV rental is certainly more spacious than your tent, it is not as big as your house — although the description might say a rig sleeps 6, this might mean there are only three beds, which could lead to middle of the night kicking-matches for large families. Consider counting beds when shopping for your RV rental!

Camp-California Tip: Be sure to choose a vehicle you can comfortably drive; if you drive a speedy little sports car everyday, the largest Class A RV you can find might not be the best fit for your first trip — but is absolutely something that can be built up to with practice and experience!

3. Decide on Your Destination

Deciding on your ultimate destination can and should happen at the same time as choosing which type of rental you are choosing — some RV parks may not allow towables or be able to accommodate big rigs. Be prepared to flip flop between steps 2 and 3 to find your perfect RV rental and campground combination before booking and paying a deposit for the rental.

4. Map Your Journey

One of the most common mistakes excited RV renters make is trying to do too much. Even though you will be in the comfort of an RV, driving for extended periods of time is still exhausting. Try to keep drive times below 6 hours a day — this will keep the driver(s) fresh and will help avoid having to back an RV into a campsite for the first time in the dark! Arriving before 5pm in the summer and 3pm in the winter will save time to settle in, eat dinner, and will give kids, pets, and cooped-up adults plenty of time to explore the campground before sunset.

5. Have Fun, Every Step of the Way!

Whether this is your first trip or your 100th trip, renting an RV is an amazing experience, all the way down to making your packing list. Relax, have fun, expect some speedbumps along the way, and roll with them!

Camp-California Tip: Create back-up plans in case your original plans don’t work out. If the water park on your itinerary is closed or the nearby theme park is too expensive, our favorite alternative is settling into your campsite in a comfy chair and playing games, telling stories, and just being in the presence of the people you love enough to go on an RV rental roadtrip with.