Renting an RV, like going camping, is a fun and affordable way to go on vacation. If you’ve never rented an RV before then, continue reading to find out all you need to know about renting an RV.
The Basics of Renting an RV
Before getting into the details of going on a road trip and tips about where to stay with an RV, let’s cover the basics first.
RV Rental License Requirements
Which license you will need to rent an RV will depend on which state you are in. On top of that, there might be a difference between the state requirements and the requirements of the RV rental company, too.
Which type of driving license you will need will usually be determined by the weight of the RV. These size requirements do differ per state so make sure to check the local regulations on RV driving licenses.
In the United States, you are allowed to drive any vehicle weighing under 26,000 with a regular driver’s license. If you want to rent an RV that weighs more than 26,000 pounds then, check with your local DMV whether your basic driving license is sufficient.
One of the licenses that you may need to have (in certain states) is the Commercial Driving License or CDL. Even though an RV is not a commercial vehicle, some states will require you to have a CDL because of the weight of the RV.
So, in short, unless you have an RV that weighs more than 26,000 pounds, you won’t need a special driving license in the United States. Check with the local DMV which driving license you need if the RV is over 26,000 pounds.
Then, check with the rental company what their requirements are for renting an RV. Just give them a call, so they explain everything clearly.
Cost of Renting an RV
The cost of renting an RV can vary a lot. Several factors such as the RV model, what state you are in and whether it is low or peak season influence the price of renting an RV.
You will be able to rent an RV for $150 per day. However, this will probably be an older basic model RV.
For newer models, you can expect to pay around $300 per day. These are RV models that are less than ten years old.
If you are looking for a luxury RV, then the cost of daily rent goes up even further. Peak season will also increase the daily rental price.
Other Costs Associated with Renting an RV
Other costs you need to consider when renting an RV are the cost of fuel and staying at an RV park or campsite. For longer vacations in one place, you might also want to rent a car for short trips like grocery shopping in the nearest town.
How much you’ll be spending on fuel will depend on the miles per gallon of the RV model. There is great variance in these figures.
In general, Class A RVs will guzzle the most fuel, Class C RVs the least and Class B RVs will land somewhere in the middle. You can expect a range of 8 – 10 miles per gallon for Class A RVs to 10 – 13 or even more miles per gallon for a Class C RV.
Aside from the cost of fuel, you might also want to consider the cost of renting a car. Having a small car can be useful if you’ve already found your favorite spot and don’t want to move your RV for activities like sightseeing or going into town.
Of course, there are other options to get around. Instead of a car you can rent bikes or find an RV campsite that is close to public transportation.
Why Traveling with an RV Is Cheaper
Going on an RV vacation is generally cheaper than going on a vacation where you have to pay for separate accommodation. Depending on how far you will drive and the MPG of your RV model, it might also be cheaper than buying airline tickets.
You will be able to save the most with an RV if you are planning to go travel with a group. It is no wonder that lots of families choose to take an RV on vacation.
Parking at an RV park or campsite is generally cheaper than staying at a hotel. You can get an RV that is big enough for all passengers to sleep in or bring a tent for extra sleeping space.
When planning a trip, compare the costs of taking an RV, camping with a regular car and other travel options. Often, you will find that driving an RV or going camping are the more economical options.
What to Remember When Planning an RV Trip
Planning for an RV trip is somewhat similar to going camping. You will need to plan out the road trip and find appropriate places to stay along the way.
A common question asked by RV newbies is how long to drive per day. Though this is mostly up to you, many seasoned RV users will choose to drive around six hours a day or about 300 miles.
Driving for six hours per day or 300 miles lets you cover significant distance without completely tiring yourself out. Of course, it is perfectly fine to do less because the great part about going on vacation with an RV is that you get to take the time to take in all the sights.
If you’ve never driven an RV before, then you should practice for a few miles before renting one. The size and weight of an RV are very different from driving a normal car and takes some getting used to.
Whenever possible, ask a friend if you can borrow their RV for practice. This way, your friend can also give you driving tips.
Where to Stay with an RV
Traveling with an RV gives you a lot of freedom on where to spend the night. You can stay at RV parks, certain camping grounds and even some parking spaces in the city.
RV parks are usually the most expensive option of these three. This is because RV parks tend to have more amenities and more electrical outlets for you to hook up your RV.
On the other hand, many RV parks are more crowded and have less natural space because priority is given to RV parking spaces. If you are looking for atmosphere and nature, an RV park might not meet your expectations.
If you do want to park somewhere with all the amenities and don’t mind paying extra for them, then look for RV resorts. These are luxury RV parks, the RV version of going glamping.
The budget option for traveling with an RV is campsites, boondocking and Walmart parking spaces. These options will cost you less or are even free.
Many campsites will have a few spaces reserved for RVs and other cars. Campsites tend to charge less per night so you can save a few bucks.
Do check with the staff if you are allowed to sleep inside your RV, though. Some campsites regulations only allow you to spend the night if you are sleeping in a tent.
You can park somewhere for free when you are okay with boondocking. Boondocking is parking your RV somewhere without any amenities such as electricity or a sewer connection.
Walmart is one of the businesses that allow you to park overnight in their parking lot for free. However, the decision is up to the manager so always go in and ask for the manager’s permission before you settle yourself in for the night.
You can also Google which state parks allow overnight parking. Some let you do so free of charge while others request a small fee.
In short, there are lots of different kind of places you can spend the night with your RV. You have the choice between going simple in nature or choosing more luxury locations like RV resorts.
Plan your trip beforehand so you won’t be scrambling for a parking space late at night. This is how you find yourself spending more than you were planning to.
Camping with a Car vs. Traveling with an RV
Is traveling with an RV as much fun as going camping? Well, that depends on what kind of trip you are looking for.
Technically, you could do both. You can drive with an RV and still go camping in a tent along the way.
If you do decide to rent an RV, we recommend keeping camping gear handy in the RV. This gives you a few more options during your trip.
Do your research, read through this post again and then plan your trip. The wide open roads are waiting for you.