How to Rent an RV for a Road Trip

Want to know how to rent an RV for a road trip? Here is a white RV driving down a mountain road in Washington state.

Many people dream of taking an epic road trip in an RV. They crave the sense of adventure and the experience of driving across the country in a home on wheels. But an RV may not be for everyone. Many people need to try before they buy but don’t know how to rent an RV for a road trip. Here, we’ll guide you through the process.

The Benefits of Renting an RV for a Road Trip

How hard is it to drive an RV? Will you be able to navigate all of the RV’s systems? How do you empty a waste tank?

It’s difficult to know the answers to questions like these until you give RVing a try. YouTube will show you lots of happy RVers, but not all travelers are the same. 

The biggest benefit of renting an RV for a road trip is the opportunity to discover whether or not RVing works for you and your family. Plus, you can learn what you need and want when shopping for an RV, including things like appliances and power requirements. 

When you rent an RV instead of staying in hotels, you also avoid having to pack and unpack each day. Don’t spend time searching for a hotel when you can sleep anywhere you can park, including Walmart, Cracker Barrel, and Cabella’s parking lots.

In addition, you can cook in your RV or at a campfire to avoid expensive restaurants. You’ll be traveling with an entire kitchen, so you can keep drinks and snacks on hand. Cut down on stops even more thanks to having a bathroom on board.

Finally, renting an RV lets your family experience our national parks system. Most parks offer breathtaking views and once-in-a-lifetime exposure to nature. 

Important note: Yellowstone National Park, as popular as it is, is not RV-friendly due to narrow roads that make navigation difficult. 

A family is ready for their road trip in a rented RV.

The Disadvantages of Renting an RV for a Road Trip

Cost discourages many from renting an RV for a road trip. Though you’ll gain information, you’ll lose a chunk of the money you could have put toward your purchase. The cost gets especially steep over time.

RV rental can end up more expensive than staying in hotels, especially if you spend the night at RV resorts and campgrounds. Some RV parks cost more per night than budget hotels. 

Plus, gas is more expensive when driving an RV. Your family car gets much better gas mileage.

You should also keep in mind that a rented RV is not your home, unlike a purchased RV. You can’t customize a rental as you would your own home.

And unless you’re towing a vehicle, you’ll need to haul that RV every time you need anything. Even a trip to the drugstore can become an ordeal.

Additionally, you’ll have to deal with the unpleasant reality of sewage. When it’s time to empty the tanks, you’ll have to be the one to do it, which can be especially daunting the first time.

A mom and daughter sit up front in their rented RV while on a road trip.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent an RV for a Road Trip?

You’ll pay a nightly fee for the rental, plus a fee for the generator, linens, and sometimes utensils. You also may need to pay for insurance. Additionally, you’ll pay a mileage fee based on distance traveled.

The average per night cost of RV rental runs anywhere from $175-$275 for a Class A, $150-$200 for a Class C, and $100-$200 for a Class B. Fifth wheels cost $60-$150. The prices nearly double on newer RVs. These numbers don’t include insurance, taxes, and mileage.

You may be able to find deals, but you’ll need to act quickly. And that’s not all you’ll have to plan around. A reservation at a campground may need to be booked far in advance.

What Kind of RV Should I Rent for a Road Trip?

The Class A motorhome and fifth wheel are the largest RVs you can rent. That makes them great for families. 

A Class C RV falls in the mid-range. A family could rent a Class C, but check how many people the RV sleeps first. Some sleep as few as three or four people.

Finally, a Class B would be sufficient for a couple or a family with a small child or two at most. 

When considering what kind of RV to rent for your road trip, bear in mind the challenges inherent in driving and maneuvering a large RV. RVs can sometimes feel unstable in the wind or when large trucks pass. 

A rented RV is driving down a highway into Glacier National Park, a great road trip destination!

Is Renting an RV for a Road Trip Worth It? 

If you want to determine whether RVing is for you, renting an RV may be worth your time and money. An RV is a major purchase that deserves careful consideration.

If you’ve always wanted to take an RV road trip with your family, it’s possible that renting an RV one time could be worthwhile.

But renting an RV for a long trip or once a year will add up quickly. Before renting, sit down and evaluate your motivations. Also, weigh the expense alongside your budget.

It’s easy to get sucked into the allure of traveling by RV. Renting an RV for a road trip may be the perfect solution in your situation. However, it could prove too expensive. Think about what you want out of your RV journey before committing to a rental.

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  1. Jason – terrific, insightful, detailed article on the RV rental scenarios. Nice work!
    My wife and I just returned from our first RV trip – a class C RVShare rental. We took this opportunity to, first, see if we like RVing, and second, determine if a C is the right format for us.
    It was an amazingly educational experience. We learned a lot about living in a super-small space, enjoying camping life and gained a better understanding what we want versus need in a future RV. (Also learned we hated driving the class C…)
    It was quite an expensive vacation, but a lot less expensive than buying the wrong RV! All-in, rental fees, taxes, gas, campsites, we were just under $250/night.
    It was a great experience, and we will do it again – but perhaps a small A, or revisit the towable.
    Keep up the great work! Love y’all’s content.

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