6 issues I realized from renting an RV for the primary time

Renting an RV is a simple and inexpensive solution to check out the RV way of life with out committing to a serious buy. As somebody who sometimes tent camps—however doesn’t at all times take pleasure in it—I just lately determined to lease a motorhome for a visit to the desert. It was the right excuse to raise my tenting expertise and get a style of what sleeping within the nice outside might appear like with (most of) the luxuries of residence. 

There are many choices obtainable for these trying to lease an RV. In my expertise, peer-to-peer platforms (for any sort of rental, not simply RVs) sometimes supply a higher vary of choices at a cheaper price level than conventional rental corporations. So I began by scrolling by means of listings on RVshare and Outdoorsy till I discovered precisely what I used to be searching for: A 24-foot Jayco Redhawk Class C motorhome, situated not too removed from me and obtainable throughout my requested dates. 

Whereas I’ll admit that driving a car of this dimension on California freeways throughout rush hour was a bit nerve-racking at first, it ended up being the right selection for the journey. Regardless of dry tenting removed from facilities, I had a kitchen, a toilet with a bathe, and an opulent mattress to maintain me comfy, heat, and well-rested throughout all the journey. 

RV and truck parked in the desert at sunset
Renting an RV is a good way to check out RVing with out committing to a serious buy. | Photograph: Sanna Boman

I dwell in a busy metropolis with restricted parking, and proudly owning an RV is just not essentially the most sensible selection for me. Nonetheless, with the ability to lease one for journeys like this can be a nice possibility, and I’ll undoubtedly do it once more. 

Listed below are six issues I realized from my expertise as a first-time RV renter. 

1. Decide your personal degree of dedication

Renting an RV is a good way to ease into RVing and future car possession, and you can begin as primary as you’d like. Maybe you need to strive sleeping in a motorhome or trailer, however you’re not fairly prepared for driving or towing a giant rig but. Lease from an proprietor who gives supply, and have them ship the rig to the campsite for you. Then all you must do is present as much as camp with out worrying about issues like parking, leveling, connecting to hookups, or emptying tanks. 

I needed extra of the complete expertise, so I rented a motorhome, drove it to my vacation spot, and arrange camp myself. Nonetheless, I did pay additional to have the homeowners dump the black and grey tanks on the finish of the journey. Dumping is a pure a part of RV possession—however having another person do it for you is a pleasant perk of renting.

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2. Be sure you ask for a correct walkthrough

Even you probably have earlier RV expertise, you’ll need to get a radical walkthrough of the unit you’re renting. All RVs are totally different, and also you need to be sure you know the way your particular one works, together with any quirks or methods. It’s a good suggestion to movie the walkthrough in your telephone in case you must reference one thing later. That is additionally a superb time to ask any questions—irrespective of how silly they could sound—and ask for demonstrations. Have the proprietor present you activate the generator, open and shut slides, and examine the battery and tank ranges. Be sure you know the place hoses, batteries, and fuse containers are situated. 

Class C motorhome with a bike rack in the rear and open slides
Ask the proprietor to point out you open any slides. | Photograph: Sanna Boman

When you’re renting a trailer, get a correct demonstration of the hitch setup. If it’s a motorhome, you’ll need to know which facet the fuel cap is on. Bear in mind to additionally write down the scale of the RV someplace simply accessible so the place you’ll be able to and can’t match (don’t head straight for the McDonald’s drive-through). 

3. Learn evaluations and watch out for scams

If an RV rental itemizing sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Learn the evaluations written by earlier renters and search for pink flags. If a number of evaluations complain about the identical problem—a unclean rig, impolite homeowners, or mechanical issues, for instance—chances are high you’ll even be coping with this stuff when you lease the car. If a rental is listed at a considerably cheaper price level than different comparable rigs, ask your self why that is perhaps. When you scroll by means of sufficient listings and evaluations, you’ll shortly study what to look out for.

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It’s additionally price wanting on the availability calendar for the RV you’re keen on. A calendar exhibiting no different upcoming or earlier bookings generally is a pink flag—however it will possibly additionally imply that the homeowners are new to renting. Do your analysis and take heed to your instinct. When you’re apprehensive about one thing particular, think about sending a fast message to the homeowners to ask for clarification on that factor. Their reply (or lack thereof) may also help you establish whether or not or to not proceed with the reserving. 

Remember that homeowners sometimes do their very own analysis as nicely, so be sure you have a correctly constructed out profile earlier than you submit a reserving request. Embrace a photograph and supply as a lot info as doable about your self, your upcoming journey, and your RVing expertise. It will assist homeowners really feel extra comfy—and extra more likely to approve your request to lease their car. 

4. Learn the superb print and make a price range

Whether or not you’re renting from a rental firm or a peer-to-peer service, it’s necessary to fastidiously learn the itemizing, together with the superb print. There could also be additional prices related to issues like mileage and generator use—plan forward and price range for any overages. When you’re planning on driving 200 miles per day however the rental contract solely contains 100 miles per day, you’ll need to know this forward of time so it doesn’t come as a shock while you’re charged for additional mileage. 

Class C motorhome with two camping chairs in front
Tenting chairs are included with many RV leases. | Photograph: Sanna Boman

You’ll additionally need to double examine what’s included within the rental and put together accordingly. Many rental RVs include tenting chairs, mattress sheets, towels, and kitchenware—however not all. Some characteristic extras comparable to barbecues, folding tables, video games, Netflix, and spices for cooking. Some are pet-friendly and others will cost you a steep price for any indicators that your canine tagged alongside for the experience. Know what to anticipate and convey something you’ll want throughout your journey that’s not included. 

In some instances, the itemizing will specify what sorts of tenting and driving you’re allowed to do, so if the outline says “no filth roads” or “no festivals,” that’s most likely not the rig you need to lease in your subsequent journey to Burning Man. 

Renting an RV: Ideas for the first-time RV renter

5. Be versatile

You might need an concept in thoughts of the right rig while you begin your search. Whereas it’s not unattainable to seek out one thing that checks all of your containers, it’s unlikely—particularly when you’re touring throughout weekends or holidays. Mood your expectations up entrance by making an inventory of must-haves and would-be-nice-to-haves. For instance, a household of six would completely want one thing large enough to sleep everybody. However whereas it could be good to have everlasting beds or bunks for every individual within the household, somebody might need to accept a fold-out couch or convertible dinette. Your desire is perhaps a spacious Class C, however maybe a smaller Class A would higher meet your wants. A bit of flexibility goes a good distance relating to discovering one thing that works for you.

It’s additionally price asking questions. Generally a characteristic you’re searching for won’t be listed within the description, however that doesn’t imply all hope is misplaced. In my case, I discovered a rig that met all my standards however one—I used to be trying to lease one thing for two nights, however this one had a 3-night minimal. I messaged the homeowners, they usually kindly agreed to let me lease it for simply 2 nights.

6. Rigorously overview the departure and return varieties

Similar to while you’re renting a automobile, you’ll need to fastidiously examine the RV initially of the journey and ensure any harm or imperfections are documented. Take pictures of the generator hours and, when you’re renting a motorhome, the odometer. On the finish of the journey, when returning the car, do the identical factor and ensure your numbers match any return varieties or receipts. Even when everybody means nicely, errors can occur. I returned my rental RV with solely 4 hours added to the generator, however I observed I used to be being charged for twenty-four hours. It turned out to be a case of a missed decimal level and it was promptly mounted after I pointed it out.  

A view of the desert through an RV side mirror
Evaluate the departure and return varieties fastidiously. | Photograph: Sanna Boman

When you’re renting an RV utilizing a peer-to-peer platform, do not forget that within the overwhelming majority of instances, you’re renting somebody’s private car. Deal with it such as you would your personal, and also you’ll seemingly don’t have any points with extra prices. 

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