Tired of being cooped up for months but still too nervous about the pandemic to hit the skies or stay at hotels? Consider renting an RV — your very own “hotel” on wheels — to get you where you want to go in big-rig style.
RV rentals are on the rise this summer, and nearly one-third (27%) of Americans say they’ll take a road trip vacation this summer instead of flying due to health and financial concerns over COVID-19, according to a new summer travel survey by FinanceBuzz.
“Now more than ever, it’s important to take advantage and reap the benefits of being outdoors — and camping is socially distant by design,” says Jen Young, co-founder and CMO of Outdoorsy, a popular RV rental marketplace.
Outdoorsy is one of several sites that connect RV owners with customers who want to rent an RV for travel or camping. The RV rental sites work a lot like vacation rental platforms such as Airbnb, where owners list properties and people rent them online. Renting an RV is fairly easy with online rental sites. Before you rent, however, check out these pros and cons of RV rental.
Pros of Renting an RV
Renting is affordable
The average daily rate to rent an RV is $165, according to recent study from Go RV Rentals. Rental prices range from an average of $80 for a pop-up camper to $252 for a Class A Motorhome. Mid-range Class C motorhomes averaged around $200 daily, according to the study. Not a bad rate when you consider how much you’ll save on hotels and dining out.
Try before you buy
RVs are expensive, ranging anywhere from $10,000 for a small, used camper to around $130,000 for a Class C motorhome to more than $250,000 for a Class A motorhome, according to Camper Report. And the majority of RV owners use their RVs only about two weeks out of the year. “The beauty of renting an RV is that you can try on all shapes and sizes of vehicles before making a commitment to the cost of owning one,” says Young.
“One of the beauties of being a peer-to-peer platform is you get to talk with real people,” says Young. “We highly encourage renters to ask RV owners as many questions as they want in order to feel safer and more comfortable about their trip.” During the face-to-face “key exchange,” the RV owner typically goes over technical details on electrical systems, water and dump tanks, along with offering driving and travel tips.
Roadside assistance and insurance
All Outdoorsy rentals include insurance coverage, 24/7 live support and free roadside assistance, says Young. The insurance is mandatory to ensure both renters and owners are protected, but renters have a choice in which tier of insurance package they choose for their trip.
Experiment with finding the right fit
RVs come in so many different sizes and have varying amenities and options, so an RV rental is the “perfect opportunity” to try out different models and floor plans, according to Togo RV.
No RV owner obligations
In addition to hefty loan payments, RV owners typically spend thousands of dollars a year on RV storage, insurance, roadside assistance plans, maintenance and repairs. When you rent, you get all the fun of RV travel without those cost headaches.
Cons of Renting an RV
In-town driving limitations
It’s not easy to whip around town for grocery runs and other errands in an RV. “Going into the city for lunch required parking a 35′ vehicle,” says Tiffany Nyklickova, who rented an RV in 2019 to drive from Toronto to Atlantic Canada. “We had to consider parking when making restaurant choices.”
Parking at tourist attractions
Parking problems could also crop up at popular tourist attractions. On one occasion, Nyklickova and her family had to park one mile away and walk all the way to the entrance.
More extensive planning
With COVID-19 closures, you’ll need to contact campgrounds where you plan to stay in advance to make sure they’re fully open and inquire about current access to local tourist attractions.
High gas costs
One of the biggest cons of RV travel is gas mileage on the big rigs, which, depending on size, may get only about 8 to 10 miles per gallon. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll save on hotel costs and dining out.
You have to give it back
Eventually your trip will come to an end and the time will come when you have to return the RV. What a bummer! Once you get a taste of the open road, you might be tempted to get a rig of your own.