Best Place to Rent an RV in 2020 – Your Ultimate Guide

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Ah, yes, the freedom of wandering the open road calls to you, you want to see all the sights and create some family memories in your own recreational vehicle (RV). Unless you are somewhat wealthy or retired, owning and maintaining your own RV can be a large expense, especially when you only take that road trip once a year.

There is a huge market right now in the area of RV rentals which addresses this need for a seasonal RV fix. The average age of an RV renter has also declined over the past decade, reflecting this trend. The age of the average RV renter is now 33 and many people are choosing this means to have some fun and go on their own adventures.

Many people travel to vacation destinations and use their hotel room as a base from which to set out on their quest for fun. Think of how much fun those adventures can be if you take your base with you.

RV rentals run the gamut through different-sized mobile accommodations to meet a range of budgets. The main classes of rentals are towable (travel trailers and pop-ups), fifth wheelers, Class B vans, Class C cab overs, and the granddaddy of them all, Class A motorhomes.

Travel trailers (also known as caravans) are hard-sided trailers you tow behind a vehicle using a standard boat hitch. Pop-ups are similar in size and are erected at the campsite, but have a low profile while in tow with soft canvas sides that are stowed away in transit.

Fifth wheel campers are larger than those above but are drawn by a gooseneck yoke that mounts to a hitch positioned in the center of a pickup truck bed. Class B vans are your basic camper van, just like any minivan or maxi van, but contain furnishings (galley, cabinets, beds, dinette area).

Class C cab overs are a type of larger camper van with an attached shell that extends over the cab, hence the name (this area is also the main sleeping loft). Class A motorhomes are essentially large unibody vehicles or busses that are fitted out with apartment-like interiors.

If you are going for any of the big ones or need to tow a trailer for wet bikes, scooters, or ATVs, then there are a few preliminaries you need square away first. Many states require specialized licenses for larger RVs (see our handy table below).

State(s)CDL (Commercial Driver’s License)
ARVehicles >26000 lbs.
CN, HI, KS, NM, DCCDL Class B: >26000 lbs. 

CDL Class A: Vehicle pulling a trailer and total weight >26000 lbs.

WIVehicles >45 feet
  
State(s)Non-Commercial Special Licenses
CAClass B: >26000 lbs. or >40 feet 

Class A: Towing >10000 lbs.

MDClass B: > 26000 lbs.
MIRR Endorsement: Fifth wheelers
NC, PA, TXClass B: >26000 lbs. 

Class A: Towing a trailer, total vehicle weights >26000 lbs.

NVClass B: >26000 lbs. 

Class A: Towing a trailer, total vehicle weights >26000 lbs.

J Endorsement: Towing a vehicle >10000 lbs. but total vehicle weights <26000 lbs.

NYR Endorsement: >26000 lbs.
WYClass B: >26000 lbs. and towing another vehicle <10000 lbs. 

Class A: >26000 lbs. and towing another vehicle >10000 lbs.

First, check online for the model of RV you want to rent before going out to get a special license. The majority of RVs you would likely rent are typically under 26000 lbs.

First check online for the model of RV you want to rent before going out to get a special license. The majority of RVs you would likely rent are typically under 26000 lbs.

Quick tips on renting RVs

  • Rent from a Local Vendor
    There are several search services (Outdoorsy, KOAs RV Services Directory, Go RVing) you can use to find an RV rental near you that meets with your expectations and budget. If you choose to take your adventures far from home, keep in mind the time and fuel costs to get there.

For example, if you live in Delaware and are jonesing for a Rocky Mountain adventure, weigh out your options and decide whether it would be more affordable to grab a cheap ticket to Vegas and rent from there. Also, keep in mind where you intend to travel by RV and if any special licenses are needed.

If you rent your RV in Arizona with the Grand Canyon in mind for your destination, but spontaneously decided to cruise up to Yosemite, review the states through which you will be traveling and be certain to have the correct driver’s license (see our table above) so that your travels conform with local state regulations.

Just so you know, sometimes you can get really great discounts on RV rentals in the off-season, so a quick trip down to Florida during the winter may save you a lot of money on the rental.

  • Deposits and Insurance
    When you reserve an RV, there is nearly always a deposit fee that must be paid in advance. However, this fee is applied toward the total cost of your rental.

At pick-up, you will also be required to pay a non-refundable security deposit. You also will be required to either purchase insurance through the rental company (for an escalated fee) or provide proof of appropriate insurance that covers the replacement cost of the vehicle.

To save money, we advise you to go through your own insurance company first. They will nearly always give you a better rate.

  • Understand Your Contract
    Rental rates will vary by season and rentals are usually quite a bit less in the off-season. RV rental agencies will charge you a daily amount that may be adjusted by blocks of time.

Longer rental times may have a discount rate, so be sure to ask about it. Some contracts may have a mileage block for the declared destinations and rental time, with additional charges per additional mile driven.

Other contracts may charge you a flat rate for each mile you drive. Just be sure to read the contract details so that you know what you are getting into before you head out.

  • RVs are Tall (look at the overpass signs)
    Remember that RVs are not big cars, they are tall vehicles that do not fit everywhere. When traveling and approaching overpasses, the clearance is stenciled in large numbers on the structure over the center of the road.

Make sure you know what the minimum clearance is for your rental and make the appropriate adjustments if you happen to strap carriers or other gear on the roof. RVs also do not corner well, so slow down and take the turns gently.

  • RVs are Heavy
    Do not drive an RV like a car. They are many times heavier and stopping requires a little advance planning, even with an ABS braking system. So plan your stops and start slowing down before you get there.

Also, be sure to adhere to the right following distance from vehicles in front of you. You should be able to count one second of open road passage for every 10 feet of your vehicle length between you and the vehicle in front.

  • Parking – Plan Rest Stops
    When you need to gas (or diesel) up or just want a break from the road to eat, think like a trucker. Plan your rest stops along the route of your trip in advance.

Look for filling stations that cater to semis, as the entry and exit ways will be generous with plenty of overhead clearance. Also, many truck stops also have diners and some even have parks located nearby for you to take a break and unwind a bit.

They also will have pull-through parking intended for semis, a big bonus.

  • Be Prepared to Feed It
    RVs typically average 8-10 mpg and will use more fuel (sometimes a lot more fuel) in hilly or mountainous terrain. Include your fuel costs as part of your overall budget.
  • Bring Gloves for Poop
    This last bit of advice may seem a bit comical, but we are actually being serious here: bring disposable gloves. Whether you stay at a campground with sewerage hook-ups or have to empty your waste tank to a sewerage tank, the connectors and everything associated will be coated with fecal material.

We surveyed each rental service listed below for their range of prices. Actual prices will vary by season and location.

**The prices listed are for RVs accommodating a family of four from a test sample taken in July (summer season), based on a rental location of Dallas, TX.

COMPANYFEATURES
1. Outdoorsy
  • Delivery and set-up of your RV
  • They carry their own insurance
  • Roadside assistance
Check Pricing
2. RVShare
  • Secure payment protection
  • Assistance with re-booking
  • Guaranteed replacement rentals
Check Pricing
3. Cruise America
  • Maintain their own fleet
  • Options for long-term housing/trips
  • Big discounts on some one-way rentals
Check Pricing
4. Campanda
  • Prices can be negotiated with owners
  • VW Combivans are available
  • Customer to owner connections
Check Pricing
5. El Monte RV
  • Good customer service
  • Roadside assistance
  • Free use of generators
Check Pricing
6. Britz and Road Bear
  • Have their own, well-serviced vehicles
  • Rentals have many amenities
Check Pricing
7. Motorhome Republic
  • International
  • One-stop search service for RVs
  • Offer incentive discounts
Check Pricing

Our Reviews and Comparisons of The Best Place To Rent an RV

Outdoorsy

Outdoorsy is a rather new RV rental service, chartered in 2014, and features a peer-to-peer secure rental platform. When you complete their application process, they will notify you whether you can rent and provide their list of trusted rental retailers.

Rental retailers are private RV owners under contract and endorsed by Outdoorsy. The company originated from an idea by the founders that most RV owners rarely use their RVs for trips.

Think about it this way, a person buys an RV and uses it for one or two trips a year. The rest of the time, it just sits in the driveway taking up space, requiring periodic maintenance, and not fulfilling its function as designed.

Outdoorsy is like the Airbnb of RVs, allowing for people to rent RVs belonging to another private party when they are not in use and permitting renters the latitude to choose whatever kind of RV they want without having to buy one. In this way, RV owners get some return on their investment, the RV gets used more often, it is insured against client damage, and people who only need occasional use of an RV have the opportunity to go on their adventures.

What they provide

  • International (US and abroad)
  • Insurance for approved clients ($1 million maximum coverage through Liberty Mutual, Lloyd’s of London, Generali, and Aviva)
  • Loads of rental options
  • Provide roadside assistance 24/7
  • Provide delivery and setup of your rental
  • Highly rated: 93% of renters gave 5-stars in over 5000 reviews

Pros

  • Outdoorsy seems to have a broad database with many RV size options
  • They endorse and screen both renters and the private leasers
  • They carry their own insurance for their leasing clients to cover you
  • Roadside assistance every day of the week at all hours if you have problems
  • Delivery and set-up of your RV to your location (home, airport, hotel)

Cons

  • Some RV size selections may not be locally available, depending on where you live
  • The upkeep on some rentals may vary since they are all privately owned
Pricing per night**

Pop-up: $50-$100

Travel trailer: $75-$127

Fifth wheel: $100-$200

Class C: $125-$285

Class B: $140-$350

Class A: $199-$500

Reviews

Overwhelmingly positive reviews by thousands of satisfied customers. Average rating 4.87 out of 5 stars for nearly 12,000 reviews on Trustpilot. Outdoorsy received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

RVShare

RVShare is another service similar in many ways to Outdoorsy, as it functions as a type of Airbnb for RV rentals. The company connects you with a load of rental options from private owners all across the US.

Founded in 2012, the owners of RVShare decided that a market hole existed that needed filling, specifically for people who want to go on RV adventures but did not want to make the financial commitment of purchasing and maintaining their own. They came up with this idea starting with their own RV, which tended to sit around in the driveway, unused, most of the year.

When they began to privately rent their RV, they realized that there was no established platform for other people to do what they were doing. After this, RVShare was born and now has a network of over 60000 RV owners who rent to customers through a peer-to-peer secure transaction system.

What they provide

  • Insurance: Up to $500,000 for liability insurance and $200,000 coverage for the vehicle
  • Roadside assistance 24/7
  • Online browsing system
  • A cash-back repeat customer discount (5%)

Pros

  • Secure payment protection and refund guarantee
  • Assistance with re-booking
  • Guaranteed replacement rentals if your RV falls short of expectations within the first 12 hours of rental
  • Will mediate owner/renter disputes if the owner improperly withholds your damage deposit
  • Some RV rentals have unlimited miles
  • Some RV rentals have a free mileage cap, after which there are charges per mile (see individual contracts for details)

Cons

  • Better Business Bureau previously gave RVShare a B- rating, citing more than 75 customer complaints about lack of customer email response, but now they are rated A+
  • Not as well insured as their closest competitor, Outdoorsy
Pricing per night**

Pop-up: $65-$115

Travel trailer: $60-$269

Fifth wheel: $80-$500

Class C: $119-$390

Class B: $150-$333

Class A: $150-$800

Reviews

Over 2600 reviews with a 4.3 out of 5-star rating on Trustpilot. The Better Business Bureau gives RVShare an A+ rating.

Cruise America

Cruise America differs substantially from our first two picks as they have a completely different business model. Whereas Outdoorsy and RVShare are the Airbnb’s of the RV world, CruiseAmerican is more like the UHaul or Ryder Truck rental of the rental RV industry.

They have their own RV fleet, from which RVs are rented out through their regional service centers all across the US and Canada. The selection range of RVs they offer is more limited, but only by class type.

Cruise America’s entire fleet consists of class C cab over RVs, but in a full range of sizes. Large models are 30 ft and can sleep 7. Standard models are 25 ft and can sleep 5. Compact models are 20 ft and can sleep 3, and their smallest models, Truck Campers, are 20 ft and can also sleep 3.

They have fewer rental locations than the Airbnb-type rental agencies, so depending on where you live, picking up your RV rental may require some travel. However, they do have options for one-way rentals that are very affordably priced.

Some of these one-way rentals you can have for as little as $1/day (yes, that’s not a typo). Why do you ask?

One-way rentals in many cases involve you, the customer, moving an RV from one drop-off location to where it is more needed for regional rentals. This option allows you to benefit from doing them a service.

What they provide

  • All RVs are well-maintained and clean, guaranteed directly by the company
  • Long-term housing options if you need a temporary home
  • Factory one-way specials to help them relocate RVs to service centers at a great daily discount
  • Customer assistance 24/7 (not roadside assistance)
  • In-house insurance: $9.95/day with no deductible up to $1500 coverage for each damage occurrence

Pros

  • Maintain their own fleet
  • Options for long-term housing/trips
  • Big discounts on some one-way rentals

Cons

  • No levelers on any of their models (so the RV may rock a bit)
  • No canopies provided
  • Additional fees per hour for generator use ($3.50/hr)
  • No RV delivery
Pricing per night**

Class C: $130-$200 (3-night minimum rental)

Reviews

Trustpilot reports 4 out of 5 stars for over 1200 reviews. Cruise America currently has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau, but there have been some customer complaints. Some customers reported renting RVs that were not properly cleaned. Customer service has been slow to respond to RV breakdown-related complaints.  Opt to return it to a different service center than the one indicated on the contract, you will be charged additional fees.

Campanda

Campanda is another Airbnb-like, sharing RV rental service founded in 2013 and headquartered in Germany. The company has an international presence in 42 countries representing five of the six continents (if you are looking for RV rentals in Antarctica, sorry).

They currently have agreements with private owners of RVs totaling 26,000 vehicles available. We found their selection to be sparser since they are still growing, but their prices run the gamut from very affordable newer RVs to primo models.

Even when we searched in the summer months, we had to widen our US search to be national, in an attempt to survey their range of RV rental prices. Bookings are completely handled through their online interface and individual owners set their own contact details, so what you get can vary somewhat.

Booking through Campanda involves “inquiries” to RV owners, which in many ways more resembles a bidding process with some back and forth negotiation. As such, all inquiries are non-binding and there are no contractual obligations until you receive an offer and confirm acceptance, although payments are proxied by Campanda.

Campanda does not insure any vehicles since those are the responsibility of the owners. Be aware that you should probably purchase a rental vehicle insurance policy through your automotive insurer before renting.

What they provide

  • A range of rental options in any size category
  • For small rentals, VW Combivans are available
  • Customer to owner connections

Pros

Prices can be negotiated with owners

Cons

  • Numbers of available RVs at the time of this review were fewer and more spread out than other, similar services
  • Must carry your own insurance (RV owners have theirs as well)
  • Cancellation fees vary
Pricing per night (various locations)

Combivan (VW): $170-$187

Travel trailer: $85-$195

Class C: $170-$1130

Class B: $261-$285

Class A: $265-$1130

Reviews

Campanda received an average rating of 3.7 stars out of 5 for 543 reviews on Trustpilot. The company does not currently exist in the Better Business Bureau database.

El Monte RV

El Monte RV is a high-end RV rental service founded in 1970 as an RV dealer gateway service for sales, and recently, for RV rentals. They form a network of affiliated, independent RV dealers that house El Monte’s own fleet 1500 of RVs, which consist of the newest RV models (at the time of this review, 2018, and 2019 models or newer).

That being said, you will pay a much higher price to rent an RV through their service, but the models are guaranteed to be clean (sometimes, never used) and in top working condition. Rental locations are available in 13 US states (CA, CO, FL, IL, KY, MD, NV, NJ, NY, PA, TX, UT, and WA) and they have one center in Japan.

Want to chill out in the wilderness in a Mercedes RV? They have those.

So, for the price, what kind of other perks come along with the rental? El Monte provides a comprehensive on-site instructional on all aspects of your rental, a detailed walk-through, and free use of their onboard generators (no fee).

They also provide convenience kits at additional cost to outfit your rental for living. At some El Monte locations, airport shuttle service is also available.

El Monte also has long-term housing options for extended trips or temporary living space needs.

What they provide

  • Select from their fleet of 1500 RVs
  • Roadside assistance 24/7
  • Clean, brand-new RVs for rent
  • Airport shuttles in some rental locations
  • Long-term rental options

Pros

  • Vehicles available in most major cities
  • Good customer service
  • Roadside assistance
  • Free use of generators

Cons

  • No small RVs for rent
  • Best to carry your own insurance
  • Expensive
  • Pay fee for each mile ($0.32-$0.37/mile, based on vehicle size, but prepaid discount packages are available)
Pricing per night**

Class C: $1400-$1700

Class A: $1900-$2300

If you are looking for something much more reasonably priced from El Monte, check out their budget line through their subsidiary, Mighty Campers. We have no further info for you other than that because, despite whatever combination of dates and locations we selected, there were no RVs available for rent (they seem to mainly proxy through the Motorhome Republic search service below).

Reviews

El Monte RV received 3.5 out of 5 stars for 2 reviews on Trustpilot. The Better Business Bureau of Las Vegas gives them an A+ rating.

Britz and Road Bear

Britz and its sister company, Road Bear, are both subsidiaries of Tourism Holdings Limited, a New Zealand company that has been around since 1984. In recent years, they have ventured into the RV rental business in New Zealand, Australia, and the US.

Their rental line of RVs consists of fleet vehicles housed at a few locations across the US and is more of a one-size-fits-all solution to road trip adventures. When we say one-size-fits-all, that is what they have: one or two sizes.

Through Britz, all RV rentals are newer Class C cab overs ranging from 23-30 ft of model years 2016-2018 and feature four berths, an awning/canopy, generator, a camping table, plus the standard galley, A/C-heater, and a bathroom.

Rental availability is first-come, first-serve, so renters do not have a choice of which size of RV they get. If that is an issue, going through their sister company, Road Bear, will offer the option to specifically choose your RV model.

One option that distinguishes Road Bear from Britz is that they also have one Class A RV they rent. Road Bear specifically offers five models of RV for rent, and we will give you a rundown of what you get with them here.

All rentals have fully galleys, adjustable sleeping accommodations that double in the daytime as dining areas, side awning/canopy, an entertainment center (radio, DVD, flat screen), and a generator. As we said, on the high end is their Class A 30-32 ft, which will sleep 6.

There are three intermediate, Class C models and on the low end, their smallest model is a Class C 21-23 ft cab over that sleeps 4. The top three models have bump-outs to provide extra room inside.

Despite nearly all their models being Class C, there are advantages to this design while traveling with your rental. In the instance where you experience some mechanical problem requiring roadside service or a mechanic, the fact that the front end is a van or truck chassis means that it uses all the same parts as trucks or vans.

That means even in the middle of nowhere in the US, someone nearby has the necessary parts for the repair to get you back on the road. There are differences in the two companies that you should be aware of when it comes to special deals.

Britz and Road Bear offer big discounts on one-way rentals if you are helping them to relocate their RV to another rental site or are helping to deliver a brand-new RV from a factory location to their rental depots (call them to set this up). Britz and Road Bear also offers shuttle services to and from airports or hotels to pick up your RV at certain locations.

What they offer

  • One-way rental deals
  • Airport and hotel shuttle
  • Well-maintained fleet vehicles

Pros

  • Have their own, well-serviced vehicles
  • Rentals have many amenities

Cons

  • Rebooking charges ($50)
  • Cancellation charges ($300 if 31 days in advance [Road Bear] or 60 days in advance [Britz], otherwise increasing % of rental contract total as you near the pick-up date)
  • Generator fee ($3/hr)
Pricing per night (Orlando, FL)

Britz

Class C 23-30 ft: $264

Road Bear

Class A 30-32 ft: $205

Class C (P) 25-27 ft: $285

Class C (L) 21-23 ft: $285

Reviews

Road Bear has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, but Britz is not listed. Neither company currently has any reviews on Trustpilot.

Motorhome Republic

Motorhome Republic is a content aggregator for RV rental retailers, so they do not connect you with private owners nor do they have their own fleet of RVs. There are 450 listed rental depots they reference from the big ones like Cruise America to smaller, regional dealerships.

Sometimes they offer promotional discounts to drive business, sort of like hotel and rental car services like Expedia or Travelocity. There are no booking fees.

What they offer

  • Negotiated deals through RV rental retailers
  • Some incentive discounts (like miles or extra days)

Pros

  • International
  • One-stop search service for RVs
  • Offer incentive discounts

Cons

  • Narrow selection in some regions
  • In those regions, no competition = expensive rates
Pricing per night**

Class C 25: through Cruise America, $204 (model year 2016 or newer)

Class C 22: through Mighty, $204 (model year 2018-2020)

Class C 22: through El Monte, $225 (model year 2019-2020)

Class C 22: through El Monte, $228 (mileage special 50 miles/day free, model year 2018-2019)

Reviews

The Motorhome Republic received 4.4 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot out of over 2600 reviews. There is no Better Business Bureau review at present. Some customers had complaints about hidden fees: all processed fees have a 1.95% markup.

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