We can’t think of a better way to spend the summer than to hit the road and explore the outdoors after months of home isolation. Whether a minimalist camper that is searching for a small campsite in the mountains or a glamper that prefers parking your RV at parks with plenty of amenities, it’s easy to find your ideal outdoor destination and the right rig!
Summer is just around the corner as the U.S. is getting back to regular operations, and people are extra antsy. More than ever, it’s important to get as many useful tips for renting an RV this summer, especially with some campgrounds still complying to social distancing and sanitation orders.
Renting an RV this summer vacation
Large companies have said that this can be a unique way to experience the outdoors. Bookings have surged at large rental sites.
Booking a rental
Rental agencies might require you to be over 21 years old and have held your driver’s license for at least two years. Other than that, you can legally rent and drive a motorhome in the United States.
Book in advance. Booking one day before the scheduled trip will not impress the agencies. A lot of people are scrambling to book for one on the spot, and it takes a lot of preparation for packing up. Not to mention, you must consider inspecting and familiarizing yourself with the vehicle before heading out.
Prepare more than the required amount. These companies need you to deposit a certain amount to hold your reservation. The deposit serves as a guarantee that you return with the vehicle in good condition.
Measure the miles. Unlike in car rentals, RV agencies do not offer unlimited miles. Carefully measure the distance of your travel, and check if they offer any mileage packages ahead of time.
Motorhomes and trailers
Before you start making reservations, it’s important to be familiar with the types of motorized homes on the market, and some other options, too!
- 25 – 40 feet
- 4 – 6 people
- Difficult to drive
These motorhomes are bus-sized with flat, front ends. Because of its size, you can easily fit in a family of five in the vehicle, where furniture can be flipped or tucked away for more bed space. Partly because of how long and large it can be, but mostly because of technical attributes, people find the Class A the most difficult to drive. Nonetheless, with a little familiarizing, anyone can take this anywhere.
- 17 – 19 feet
- 2 – 4 people
- Easy to drive
Often called the campervan, these motorhomes have a full living space at the back. As the smallest of the bunch, they can easily be driven anywhere like a large SUV. Their size also makes for easier parking.
While some are modified to include amenities like a full bathroom and kitchen, this takes up a lot of space. Comfortably, with this much in the back, two people will be able to sleep in the campervan, not counting the people at the driver’s seat and the front seat.
- 20 – 40 feet
- 4 – 8 people
- Easy to drive
Typically shorter than the Class A but still relatively large, these motorhomes are identified by their characteristic van-like front end. If you’re looking for one that is regular-sized, less expensive, and easier to drive, then this might be the one for you!
- 8 – 40 feet
- Up to 20 people
- Difficult to drive
These are another rental option, but tow vehicles are more expensive than motorhomes because of the insurance that comes with it. Fifth-wheels and teardrop trailers are great to consider when you’re thinking about bringing some friends or family along or if you’re planning on a long trip this summer.
Now that you’ve picked what type of vehicle you want, start budgeting. Think about how long the trip will be and when, because rates vary at different times for different days.
Contact the owners and arrange a price. Make sure you negotiate well with the owner or company, because they might give a discount if you drive for long trips.
On average, for a group more than four, you spend $125 – $300 per night. Other fees can include refuel charge, propane refilling, generator time, cleaning, and dumping fees. If there are any damages, and god forbid that happen, you need to foot the bill, too.
Call your car insurance. Perhaps the biggest ire of vehicle renters is the insurance. Rental agencies will sell you insurance for the trip as soon as you pay the price. A good idea to get around this is to see if your personal car insurance policy may cover motorhome rentals.
Consider extended service plans. Nothing is worth more than peace of mind. Good Sam covers a myriad of extended service plans for new and used RVs, motorhomes, travel trailers, and automobiles, trucks and SUVs. And there is no annual milage restriction.
Stop for cheap gas. One way to maximize your mileage is to refuel at gas stations who charge inexpensively. Like we previously mentioned, plan your route! Generally, gas stations near highways are more expensive. A Good Sam Club membership can save you at over 750 Pilot Flying J locations.
Pay for dumping services. After a long and hard drive, the last thing you want to deal with is cleaning the waste from a rented vehicle. It’s a real messy chore, so if the rental company or owner offers to dump the wastewater for a fee, pay for it. You’ll thank us later.
RV Rental agencies
Sorted from the lowest to the highest price, these are your go-to sources for rental agencies.
Peer recommendations and rentals. On websites like RVshare, Turo, and Outdoorsy, owners can let renters use their motorhomes for a relatively smaller fee in comparison to big-budget rental agencies. By far the cheapest option, a tip for renting an RV this summer is to know that the experience is reliant on the owner. Because there is also an extent of customer service, the owner can make or break your trip. RV Rentals allows renters to choose any RV with the amenities you want near your destination. You can even choose between a select number of local Good Sam RV parks and campgrounds.
Cruise America. On top of finding them just about everywhere, they also offer a wide range of RV types. However, it does have mixed reviews. Reception of the services, amenities, and the vehicles is fine, but common theme among complaints is “hidden fees”. Before you finalize your booking, make sure you’ve read all the terms and conditions.
Local agencies. A quick search on Google will find you the nearest RV rentals in your area. If you’re a first-time renter, they’re the best choice. They’ll show you the basics of using and driving an RV and guarantee that you enjoy your time outdoors.
RV dealerships. Large companies like RV dealerships operate with some vehicles available for rentals. Be wary however, as they often rent a vehicle, and then try and bargain with you to buy it.