Renting an RV? Here Are 20 Questions You Need to Ask

Thinking about renting an RV for your next outdoor adventure?

If you don’t want to make a big investment and buy a new or used RV, you can always rent an RV to drive across the country! This is a great way to stick to a budget on your next family vacation.

Anyone can experience the magic of traveling in an RV. But if you’re thinking about it, you should know that there are a few things to consider when you make this decision. Your family adventure is riding on this (literally)!

If you’re renting an RV soon, stop and ask these important questions first! You can never be too prepared for life’s adventures.

1. Where Can You Rent an RV?

Your location will affect the options you have to choose from. If you live in a smaller town, you might have to look into nearby cities to find what you’re looking for.

Find out where your closest RV rental options are before you get excited. It might not even need to be a specific RV company.

If you happen to be flying somewhere and then renting an RV, you need to do your research ahead of time to make sure there is a nearby RV rental location.

Look up places near you that offer RV and camper rentals, and do a bit of shopping around. Sometimes you can find better deals if you just take a look and compare rates. Check for coupons and deals, too.

2. Which Type of RV Should You Rent?

Here are a few factors you should consider when you figure out what size and type of RV to rent:

  • Participants: if it’s just you and your spouse, do you really need a big huge Winnebago, or could you do with a pop-up trailer? Likewise, is a small pop-up trailer going to fit your family of 4?
  • Budget: can you afford to rent a big motorhome or should you save money and get a smaller towable camper?
  • Season: are you going to be driving through bad weather conditions? You might not want to be navigating a big motorhome in the middle of winter, when the chances of slipping on black ice are higher.
  • Camping style: are you more of a glamper or are you going boondocking? If you love to go glamping, you’ll probably want something with a few more amenities, like air conditioning or a television.

3. Where do You Want to go Camping?

The type of camping you’re doing will also determine what type of RV you should rent. In fact, some rental companies have restrictions on what type of roads specific vehicles can drive on.

Are you staying at a big, family friendly camping resort that has tons of bigger pull through sites? Then you can go as big as you want.

However, you don’t want a huge RV for backcountry adventures. For example, you probably shouldn’t go into the Rocky Mountains with a giant RV rig. Especially if you’re not an experienced RV driver and don’t do this regularly.

4. Do You Need a Special License?

Most of the time your regular driver’s license will be fine, but you always want to ask to make sure the company’s policies don’t have any special requirements.

You should also make sure there aren’t any age restrictions on renting an RV with the company you choose. For most companies, there’s a minimum and a maximum age you have to be to rent. However, this might differ depending on the state or company.

5. How Many People Does it Sleep?

This should be a no-brainer, but you should already know exactly how many peopleare coming on the trip before you rent an RV. Additionally, you need to make sure you rent an RV that accommodates that many people comfortably.

6. Will Insurance Cover This?

Double check with your insurance policy to see if you’re covered for renting an RV. You might need to get an insurance policy with the rental company if your insurance won’t cover your RV rental.

If you’re traveling between Canada and the United States, check to make sure you’re covered for driving the RV outside of the county.

Once you get your insurance coverage sorted out, make sure you read everything and understand exactly what it includes. The last thing you need is an unexpected financial burden in the middle of your amazing family road trip.

7. How Often do They Service The Vehicle?

When you’re renting a vehicle, and this goes for cars, too, you should always know when the last service was. Find out what they check for and make sure everything is up to standard.

You do not want to be stuck in the middle of a country road in the dark because someone ignored their maintenance duties.

8. What is it Going to Cost?

To determine if renting an RV is the best vacation decision for you, go over your budget and figure out what you’re comfortable spending. If treating yourself to a luxury motorhome isn’t in your budget, choose a smaller camper.

Remember that there are tons of extra costs involved that you could run into on your trip. You’ve got groceries, campground fees, gas, rest stop snacks or meals, activity fees once at your destination, and more.

Camping on a budget means being prepared and knowing where your money is going.

9. How Does it Drive?

One of the most important things to consider is how comfortable you’re going to be driving.

An RV is not like your family sedan. It’s not even like your SUV. You’ve got a wider vehicle to worry about, so you need to give yourself more room than usual, especially when you’re turning.

You need to feel good about driving it before you take it on a road trip. If you don’t, choose a different make or model.

10. Do You Smell Anything Unusual?

When you step into the vehicle, is there any weird smell you pick up? This could indicate a variety of issues, like rotting food or a sewage leak somewhere.

It could also mean the RV wasn’t cleaned properly, and if it wasn’t cleaned properly, how do you know it’s properly maintained?

On top of that, the smell is going to haunt you for your entire camping trip. Nix it as soon as you smell it.

11. Are Pets Allowed?

If you’re planning on bringing your fur baby along for the ride, do your research first. Make sure you’re allowed to have a pet in the RV in the first place.

It’s possible that the company you choose might not allow pets in the vehicles, and you wouldn’t want to find this out after you’ve already bought your dog his own RV bed.

Some RV rental companies will charge you extra if you’re bringing pets along. Avoid unexpected surprises by checking up front.

12. Does it Come With Linens and Towels?

You should know if the RV comes with these types of items or if you’ll have to provide your own.

Not every RV rental company is going to provide these, but it’s nice to know what you’re going to need to pack for your trip.

13. What Kitchen Items Are Provided?

This will help you figure out what type of groceries you’ll need to bring, and will help you plan out your meals for your trip. You can’t rely on having a microwave if there actually isn’t going to be one.

Some companies offer convenience packages that include some of those small appliances you can’t live without, like the coffee maker or kettle. However, not every company does this, and if you rely on your morning cup of java, you’ll have to make sure you know to bring your own.

14. How Many Miles Are Included in my Rental Agreement?

This is especially important if you’re going to rent an RV to drive across the country. Your agreement might not permit you to drive a certain number of miles, or you might get charged extra or going over.

Every company differs as to the mileage in your rental contract. Always double check before you dedicate yourself to a long road trip.

15. Do You Have Liabilities You Need to Know?

Read the fine print. You need to know what you’re going to be liable for if something happens to the RV. This is usually outlined in your insurance policy as well as the rental agreement.

You’ll avoid unexpected hiccups and hidden costs if you already know your responsibilities ahead of time.

16. How Big is The Vehicle?

This doesn’t mean how many people it sleeps or how big it looks from the outside. It means you should know the dimensions of the vehicle.

Why is this important? Wait until you drive through an underpass and you’ll be glad you knew you could fit.

You should also know the length and class of the RV because you need to make sure you book the right campsite or RV hookup.

17. Does it Have a Generator?

If you’re renting a smaller trailer or camper, it might not have a generator. Don’t get excited and think you’ll be sleeping in the nice, cool air conditioning if you don’t end up getting an RV with a generator. You can also avoid bringing that coffeemaker when you can’t even use it.

This is also something you need to know when booking your campsite. Whether you have one or not will determine what site the campground will give you.

18. Will You be Towing a Car?

This question is important because only certain RVs and campers can tow a car. Are you going somewhere where you’re going to need a car? If not, where will you be putting your car?

Don’t rent an RV that can’t tow a car if you were planning on bringing yours along for the ride. This can really derail your plans, especially if you were going to stay somewhere for a longer period of time.

19. How Far in Advance do You Need to Reserve Your RV?

Some RV dealerships and rental companies book up really fast in the summertime because it’s a busy camping season. In this case, you’re going to want to book well in advance to make sure there will be one available for you.

20. Is There a Bike Rack?

Many families love to bring their bikes along on their camping trips so they can easily explore the surrounding areas. If biking is part of your plan, you’re going to need to make sure the RV you rent can accommodate them.