13 Ways Renting an RV is Not What you Imagined

Thinking about taking your next road trip adventure in a rental RV?

It’s no secret or surprise that here at RVshare, we think you’re on the right track. RVing isn’t just our livelihood, it’s our passion — and almost all of us started right where you are now, wondering if a motorhome or travel trailer was right for us!

But there are some common concerns and misconceptions that can make would-be renters hesitate before running a Google search for “RV rentals near me.” Isn’t driving an RV dangerous and difficult? What about setting up camp — is it complex and onerous? What if you want to rent a travel trailer, but you’re not so keen on doing the actual hauling (or you don’t have a tow-capable vehicle to do it with)? Is all camping done in developed campgrounds with concrete pads and swimming pools, or is there a wilder option — and if so, how rough is “roughing it” in a camper, exactly?

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Don’t worry. We all had those questions when we got started — and plenty more, to boot. One of the best things about RV camping, as you’ll doubtless soon find out, is that it’s in many ways a never-ending learning process.

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But when it comes to misunderstandings that could keep you from ever experiencing this amazing way to see the world… well, we simply can’t stand by and let that happen!

So without further ado, here’s what you need to know about RV rentals. (Namely, exactly how awesome they really are.)

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RV Parking and Driving is Way Easier Than You Imagine

For many would-be renters, the main concern is actually operating an RV. If you’re used to driving a little four-door sedan, these beasts can look scary!

But millions of people drive motorhomes and travel trailers every day, and most of them don’t have any special driving experience or training. With just a little bit of time and patience, you can easily count yourself among their number.

1. Driving an RV isn’t super difficult or more dangerous than regular driving.

This is probably the most common RV-related misconception we hear — and seriously, nothing could be further from the truth. That’s why driving an RV doesn’t require any special licensing or training: after a short learning curve, it’s really not very much different from driving an SUV or truck!

Of course, if you’ve never driven a motorhome before, you will have to take a bit of time to familiarize yourself with the controls — just as you would with any new vehicle. And once you get behind the wheel, chances are the main difference between car- and RV-driving will become apparent pretty quickly: the weight. With such a large vehicle behind you, you’ll find you need more time to brake in order to slow and stop, so make sure to give yourself plenty of room, and definitely avoid speeding!

2. Parking an RV isn’t too hard either — even if you have to back in.

Image via rvwanderlust.com

When you first look at an RV and a campsite, it may seem like fitting one into the other is a feat of physics and geometry you’re not quite prepared to take on.

But hey, remember how scary parallel parking a regular car seemed before you learned the trick to it? Parking a rig is just like that. It takes a little bit of practice and patience, for sure, but it’s super doable, especially if you have a helpful navigator who’s willing to hop out and guide you along. (Traveling solo? No worries — whether it’s a customer service rep or just a friendly neighbor, chances are you’ll find someone hanging around the campground who’s happy to assist you.)

Back-in sights can be a bit more of a challenge, especially if you’re towing a trailer. But even that obstacle is not insurmountable; it just might take a little bit more time and adjustment to make sure you’re in just the right spot. (Besides, most campgrounds have ample numbers of pull-thru sites these days.

RV Trips: Common Misconceptions

Now that you know you’re totally capable of going RVing, let’s talk about some of the most common fallacies about where, when, and how you’ll actually go!

3. There’s way more to camping than developed, resort-style campgrounds.

If the idea of RVing fills your head with images of developed campgrounds filled to the brim with rigs, one after another like Pez in a dispenser…

… well, that is one kind of camping. And it can be really convenient if you’re mostly looking for a place to lay your head while you explore your destination. (Or if you’ve brought the kids and are hoping to take advantage of on-site amenities, like game rooms and pools.)

But if you’re looking to get off the grid ASAP, RVing is your ticket to quiet, person-free paradise. Finding wilderness areas to camp on without hookups, also known as boondocking, is one of the most popular ways to go RVing.

Boondocking is one of the best ways to disconnect from the rush of day to day life and to get up close and personal with nature. You might enjoy serene vistas in some of the most untouched areas in the country, or find a cotillion of other RV campers making a sweet little community out in the wild. Either way, it’s an adventure — and better yet, it’s usually a free one!

4. Camping without hookups isn’t actually as rough as it sounds.

You may be wondering about this whole “boondocking” thing. The whole point of an RV is to camp in comfort and style, right? Exactly how difficult is it to live without shore power and water hookups?

The answer: really not very, depending on where and when you’re camping. So long as you choose a temperate destination where the weather won’t leave you dripping sweat or freezing, you’ll likely be able to get away without running your noisy, fume-creating generator at all. (Ditch that microwave and cook over the campfire. It’s part of the experience!)

Of course, in order to have a safe and fun boondocking experience — and to stay out there in the wilderness as long as you desire — it is important to know some basic strategies before you go. For example, preserving your fresh water supply is the key ingredient to extending the amount of time you can go without revisiting civilization, so check out these water conservation tips and be sure to bring some extra potable water along with you. (Collapsible water jugs are a great way to do so, and can easily be folded down and stored once they’re empty.)

You’ll also need to be mindful of your wastewater holding tanks, as well as your garbage and any regulations in place on the campsite you choose. For tons more information about boondocking — how to get started, what to expect while you’re there, and how to lengthen your stay — check out this RVshare guide to getting off the grid.

5. That said, if you’re looking to live in the lap of luxury, it’s definitely possible.

Image via rvkeywest.com

Many people associate camper trailers with… well, shall we say a modest lifestyle.

But as we’ll expound upon below, there are plenty of motorhomes out there that are nicer than regular houses — and there are plenty of RV parks that’ll make you feel like you’re at Club Med, too.

If boondocking doesn’t sound like your thing, consider hitting one of these 12 luxury RV resorts, which offer every creature comfort in stunning destinations. Electricity and water RV hookups are a foregone conclusion, but you’ll also get WiFi and cable TV — not to mention access to beautiful swimming pools, golf courses, club houses, and other exclusive amenities and events. Staying at a place like that definitely upgrades your camping experience to “glamping,” and you even get the privacy and comfort of your very own bed.

If none of those spots are on your travel itinerary this year, no worries. Simply run a search for “full hook up campgrounds near me” or full hookup campgrounds in your destination area, and you’ll likely find plenty of options bursting with amenities and perks.

Keep in mind, though, that those high-end campgrounds can be expensive, especially during high-demand travel seasons! If you’re looking for a luxury camping experience on a boondocking budget, consider signing up for Passport America. It’s a discount camping club that’ll get you 50% off your campsite accommodation fees at almost 1900 campground across the country, including locations in Mexico and Canada. Better yet, you get a full year’s membership for less than $50. Considering the per-night prices we’ve seen lately, that could pay for itself in just a night!

6. Think RV camping is boring? Think again!

Image via texashighways.com

Despite its outdated reputation as an elders’ way to travel, there’s way more to RV camping than sitting back in your favorite lounge chair and watching the grass grow. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, however; in fact, we recommend you give it a shot on your upcoming trip. You might just be surprised how nice it feels to do nothing!)

On the contrary, RV camping is a great way to access a huge variety of adventures and tourist activities, whether you’re looking to hike, bike, and climb in the wilderness or work on your nature photography skills.

Many campers also use their rigs to help them take epic tours of the country, whether you want to explore the east coast, wind down the west coast, or travel to a variety of historical U.S. cities. If you’re really brave, you could even make a loop of haunted cities and creepy buildings.

And once you set up camp, the fun has just begun. Along with all the interesting things to see and do at your destinations, many campgrounds offer a variety of amenities to keep the whole family entertained even if you never step foot off-site. Swimming pools and playgrounds are just the beginning — our favorite family of camp-resort franchises, Jellystone, even offers organized events and themed weekends along with their array of water slides, splash jones, jump pads, and other fun-filled options!

Travel Trailers Aren’t as Scary as You Think!

Toying with trying a towable?

Although it isn’t as simple as getting behind the wheel and starting ‘er up, it is totally possible to rent a travel trailer. (And given how spacious they are, there’s plenty of incentive to do so.)

But if you’re still having second thoughts about going with an RV trailer rental, read on to put your mind at ease.

7. Trust us: If you can learn to drive a regular vehicle, you can learn to drive a travel trailer.

Don’t get us wrong: towing pull-behind campers does take some extra time and know-how. Along with the basic physics of driving a rig with a joint in the middle, you’ll also need to learn how to hitch and unhitch the trailer, and any extra steps (like leveling or unfolding a pop-up camper) you might need to take to set up and break camp.

But millions of regular people like you and me have learned to drive travel trailers. And if you want to do so, you definitely can. (Just keep in mind that you may still be contending with that learning curve for the first few days, so if you’re renting your very first RV and you’re on a tight itinerary, you might not want to add that factor to an already-potentially-overwhelming scenario.)

Do note, however, that even small travel trailers are pretty darn heavy… which means they require pretty darn big and powerful vehicles to haul them. If you don’t have a full-sized truck or souped-up SUV, you may need to rent one before you can actually move the trailer.

Which leads us to our next point…

8. But if you don’t want to, guess what? Many travel trailer renters will deliver it to your campsite!

Talk about being spoiled rotten. Imagine having all of the benefits of a travel trailer without any of the minor inconveniences of actually having to drive it.

Well, turns out, you can get just that! Many travel trailer rental agencies and private travel trailer owners will actually deliver and set up the trailer for you, so you don’t have to drive it yourself. Of course, these services may come at an extra charge… but if you don’t have access to a capable tow vehicle, chances are it’s way more affordable than finding one to do the hauling yourself.

While not every RV rental dealership offers trailers, some do, and you can also find lots of travel trailers for rent on the peer-to-peer RV rental market. To get started, check out the listings for towable vehicles in your area at RVshare or search for “trailers for rent near me.”

“Luxury RV Rentals” is Not an Oxymoron

A motorhome or trailer may be an upgrade from tent camping, but it’s definitely a downgrade from your foundation-built home. Right?

Not so fast. Depending on the model you choose, you might find yourself forgetting your new digs have wheels.

9. Some motorhomes are nicer than most houses. Seriously.

Image via Pinterest

Don’t believe us? We’ll let the listings do the talking. There are some pretty insane luxury RVs out there, which often come with every convenience of home from jacuzzi bathtubs to washing machines. (Actually, who am I kidding? I don’t even have a jacuzzi tub at my house!)

Large Class-A RVs built by high-end manufacturers like Prevost or Newmar often fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars. In fact, it’s not unheard of for these RVs to sell for a million! On the travel trailer side of the spectrum, you’ll quickly discover why Airstreams and Casitas have such a devoted fan base if you get the chance to rent one.

So trust us, it’s definitely possible to pamper yourself while you’re RV camping. In many ways, it’s the best of both worlds: quick access to the great outdoors coupled with a totally plush indoor existence once you’re done exploring.

10. And travel trailers often boast more room and better amenities, even though they’re more affordable!

Travel trailers are sometimes a little bit maligned, even amongst veteran RV campers. After all, they don’t drive themselves, and they’re usually a whole lot cheaper than even a modest motorhome.

But affordability is a perk, not a drawback — and besides, when you don’t have to devote any room to an engine or cockpit, you get that much more living space. And as we all know, when it comes to RVing, every square inch is precious.

Fifth wheel travel trailers are actually some of the largest and most luxurious RVs available on the market. In fact, when they have multiple slide outs, they sometimes reach as much as 500 square feet of interior living space. (That’s definitely bigger than some studio apartments!)

Plus, they often come with high-end furnishings and appliances, since the designers don’t have to cut any corners to stay within the manufacturing budget.

Airstreams in particular are known for their high-quality amenities, with each piece being hand-fitted into the trailer rather than dropped in. Click here for more details on these iconic silver trailers, and to find out why you might just want to rent one.

11. In an RV, camping can include gourmet cooking, couch cuddling, and binge-watching.

Image via gonewiththewynns.com

RV travel is all about blending the best of everything. You can spend the day hiking in the great outdoors and snacking on jerky and trail mix… only to come home and prepare a glamorous three-course meal and relax on plush furniture.

Like the idea of disconnecting… but not entirely? Modern RVs are outfitted with all the latest and greatest technology, so you never have to feel out of touch. (And yes, we know that binge-watching the latest show is a critical part of your vacation. Click here to learn more about the best ways to stream when you’re on the road.)

RV Rental Prices Can Be Affordable

When you first start poking around on the camper rental market, you could find yourself nursing a case of sticker shock. At some large franchises, a rig can cost as much as $300 per night, or even more!

Fortunately, there are ways around those sky-high prices — and we’re not afraid to tell you that the peer-to-peer rental market here at RVshare is one of them.

12. Traditional RV rental agencies and dealerships aren’t your only options.

Image via rvrentalconnection.com

Many renters don’t even know it’s possible to rent rigs from private owners — but it is. In fact, some of the best RV rentals are the ones you’ll find on the peer-to-peer market. (And no, we’re not just saying that because we are one!)

It’s because private RV owners actually vacation in and love on their rigs, as opposed to offering a fleet of totally vanilla vehicles lacking in charm and character.

When you rent on the peer-to-peer market, you also have the opportunity to try out a wide range of vehicles. (Most traditional dealerships only offer a small selection of Class A or Class Cs.) And since you’re dealing one-on-one with a real, live person, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting and how much you’re paying for it, including any additional RV rental perks you might be getting like unlimited miles.

Oh, and we might not have mentioned the best part: cheap RV rentals! Since private owners don’t have to worry about footing the overhead expense of a full-on business, they can afford to offer their rigs at a fraction of big dealership prices. And at the end of the day, let’s face it: it’s all about that bottom line! By saving money on your rental, you’ll have more of your travel budget left over for fun stuff at your destination — and that’s a way better way to spend it than on an inflated dealership price.

13. Renting on the peer-to-peer market is totally safe and legit — and it can save you a ton of dough, too.

Although some campers have reservations about making motorhome rental reservations with a private individual, so long as you operate through a legitimate platform. And here at RVshare, every financial transaction and communication is done through our secure system, so you never have to worry about the confidentiality of your private information.

Your rental will also be covered by a comprehensive and liability insurance policy backed by an A-rated firm, and you’ll have access to free 24/7 roadside assistance for the entirety of your trip — even if you need it at 3 in the morning. It really is just about as simple as it gets!

Along with all those in-built precautions, RVshare also features a rating system that allows both renters and owners to provide feedback on their interactions, so you’ll never have to worry about what to expect once you show up to get the keys. Furthermore, the listings are intricately detailed and usually feature a wide range of photos displaying both the interior and exterior of the rental vehicle.

RV Rentals By Owner: A New Way to Get Going

Private RV rentals are a great introduction to the camping lifestyle. Instead of being thrown into a plain-Jane camper, you’ll be dealing with a real person who loves RVing themselves. And chances are, since you’ll be traveling in their very own vacation vehicle, you’ll find it’s decked out with all the decor, accessories, amenities and extras that make a mobile house feel like a mobile home.

There are also other ways to find stellar deals on RV rentals in your area, however. For instance, in some cases, you can find RV rentals on relocation special for as little as a dollar a night — granted that your itinerary and schedule matches the company’s needs.

To find out the full range of RV rental options in your hometown, search for “motorhome rentals near me” — or head to RVshare and enter your zip code and trip information to see what private campers are listed.

Ready to Get Out There? More RV Tips and Tricks

Now that you know you can rent an RV affordably, safely, and easily, let’s get to the fun part: planning your RV rental vacation!

Although your first RV trip might be a little intimidating (even after reading this post), we’ve got tons of helpful pointers to get you out on the road on the right foot — er, tire.

Whether you’re looking for destination suggestions or wondering what — and what not — to add to your packing list, here are some excellent resources for RVers who are just beginning their journeys.

We know that the moment you get out onto the road in your rental rig, you’re going to fall totally in love with RVing. After all, that’s what happened to us — and now look where we are!

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