Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on Living on the Cheap.
It’s already been a long winter, but as always, we can still look forward to spring. Whether you want to enjoy walking in bare feet again on a sunny beach or be dazzled by a kaleidoscope of wildflowers in bloom, travel is a great way to decompress and reconnect — with nature, with loved ones or just with our own thoughts.
But it shouldn’t be just about the destination; getting there should be at least half the fun. That’s why renting an RV from RVshare is a great alternative to hectic, crowded airports and expensive hotel rooms.
And many folks are still trying to find alternatives to traditional vacations that involve flying and staying in hotels (or squeezing all the uncles and aunts and nephews and nieces into a relative’s house).
Bring your own (pet-friendly) hotel
Accommodations at popular spring holiday destinations are expensive. Instead of spending hours searching online for affordable lodging, you can reserve an RV, take the whole family on a cross-country trip and bring your “hotel” with you. And if your family includes four-legged members, you can choose to bring them along and save hundreds on pet sitting or kennel fees. (Just remember that reservations are a good idea at popular RV campgrounds just like at hotels.)
Living the RV life is a great way to put a little distance between you and the world and still travel safely.
Pull up at a campsite in a national park, and tuck into comfy beds for the night.
Park at the beach and cook dinner in your own kitchen.
Drive across the country without ever stopping to use public restrooms.
Is it expensive to rent an RV?
The average price of an RVshare rental is $150 per night. Older motorhome rental prices start at $100 a night, and travel trailers are as low as $50 a night. (Newer RVs start at $200 a night for motorhomes and $125 for trailers.)
Compare that to the cost of plane tickets plus hotel accommodations. Think about the money you’ll save cooking in your camper rather than dining out. The benefit to your bank account is obvious.
By renting an RV, you eliminate the expenses of airfare, hotel rooms and eating out (though you can still choose to visit all the local “diners and dives” you find along the way). The views and freedom to set your own schedule each day? Priceless.
To save even more, use these tips when searching for a rental:
Here are some tips from RVshare about how to get the best RV rental deals:
- Be flexible with dates.
- Avoid holidays and peak seasons.
- Find an RV with unlimited mileage and generator use.
- Negotiate with owners on rates.
- Rent longer for cheaper nightly rates.
- Don’t get a bigger RV than you need.
What if I have never driven an RV before?
If you’re an RV novice, the experts at RVshare recommend looking for a class C or class B motorhome, which are easier to drive than the more bus-like class A RVs. They’re also easier than towing most travel trailers.
What if I want to use an RV for lodging but not drive it?
You can take your hotel with you, or you can have your hotel come to you!
According to RVshare, it’s not uncommon for people to request RV deliveries. Here are some reasons people commonly cite for having a vehicle delivered:
- They’re nervous about driving one and would rather have it brought to them.
- They’re testing “living small.”
- They need to find lodging for people during a large event such as a festival or a reunion.
- They need temporary housing, perhaps while a home is under construction.
- They don’t have a truck with which to tow a trailer.
When you rent an RV for delivery, the owner will bring the RV right to you, set it up and show you how all the systems work. Then they’ll hand over the keys, and you’ll have a new temporary home.
Should you buy an RV or should you rent one?
One of the best reasons to rent an RV is that it’s an affordable vacation choice, with a range of options and price points to fit your budget and travel style.
Let’s face it, buying an RV is expensive, especially if you go for the high-end luxury types that really allow you to travel in comfort. A travel trailer or motorhome will cost you anywhere from $10,000 to $300,000, and then you have to maintain it once you own it.
A much smarter option for the casual vacationer is to rent an RV. If you later decide you do want to own one, you’ll have a much better idea of what to look for.
RV rentals through RVshare
Online services like RVshare make it easy to find rental RVs. Think of it as the Airbnb of recreational vehicles. RVshare allows you to search for available vehicles and rent them directly from the owner.
You can even get the RV delivered right to your door.
RVshare is the first and largest peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace. Founded in 2013, the company has more than 100,000 vehicles available — everything from affordable travel trailers to luxury motorhomes that can accommodate any adventure in comfort and style. You might technically be camping, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be roughing it.
Choosing an RV is like booking a vacation home
In many ways, booking an RVshare RV rental is just like organizing a stay in a regular vacation home.
Plug in your dates, price range and location on the website, then filter results by the type of RV (drivable motorhomes versus towable travel trailers and popups) or the amenities you need (number of beds, pet-friendly, specific kitchen amenities, etc.). The owner will make sure the RV is neat and clean before your stay.
Benefits of RV travel
RV travel has always been a convenient way to roll your vacation transportation and lodging into one. With more people able to work remotely, traveling without having to use up vacation days makes spur-of-the-moment road trips much easier.
No need to bother with flight delays and lost luggage at the airport.
No sweating over fiddly tent setups and primitive cooking conditions at a campground.
You can skip the uncomfortable or noisy motels, bad or overpriced road food, and emergency bathroom breaks at dodgy gas stations in the middle of nowhere.
The benefits are magnified for travelers who still aren’t comfortable in crowds and want to maintain social distancing practices. Because of this, RV travel has been steadily rising in popularity since 2020.
With an RV rental, you have your own self-contained unit for traveling, sleeping, eating and using the bathroom. That means you can avoid crowded rest stops on your road trips.
You won’t need to wear a mask to guard against coronavirus infection when you travel or worry about washing your hands all the time.
You can bypass the hotels with their communal elevators and facilities, and pass up unmasked indoor restaurant dining for cooking with groceries you brought from home. (Or do takeout at your comfortable dinette.)
Planning for your RV getaway
Once you have chosen your perfect camper at RVshare, now you need to reserve your camping spot.
Before you leave on your RV road trip, visit campground reservations sites such at ReserveAmerica.com, which has many state parks and private campgrounds, or Recreation.gov, which is exclusively for booking at the many wonderful Corps of Engineers campgrounds around the U.S.
You’ll want to reserve in advance because camping is still a hot trend for vacations this year.
Full hookup sites (those including electric, water, and sewer) often sell out first at many campgrounds.
When booking a spot, you’ll need to know the length of your rental camper and what types of hookups it has. For example, if you’re renting a high-end RV, you might need a 50 amp electrical service and room for a 30-foot camper with slide-outs.
Map out acceptable overnight parking places before you go. (Did you know that Walmarts, truck stops and casinos are among the places that welcome RVs?) Consider making your overnight campground reservations in advance too, in case some are limiting campers or selling out from high demand.
Where can you travel in an RV?
You can take your RV anywhere you’re willing to drive from your home, so the options, both near and far, are abundant.
You can choose to tow or drive your rental or look for delivery and setup rental options near the campground or RV park of your choice.
National parks: National parks and other nature-based destinations are extremely popular year-round. Families want a 360-degree view and space to roam and explore. The areas near national and state parks are typically flush with campgrounds that welcome RVs.
RVshare reports that the top national park destinations for RVers are the Yellowstone, Arches, Grand Canyon, Zion, Great Smoky Mountains and Glacier National Parks.
Beaches: The beach is always a top summer vacation destination, whether it’s on an ocean or a lake, but you might actually enjoy southern beaches just as much (or more) during the cooler weather of spring. You can find some RV-friendly campgrounds at or near the beach. RVshare maintains a list of some of the best waterfront RV campgrounds, or you can search for sites with hookups near your favorite beach town.
Family visits: If haven’t seen your family since last year, a visit to your relatives might be in the cards this spring. Bring your RV lodging with you so you can socialize outdoors and not have to crowd into spare bedrooms and sleep on floors. Just be sure to check rules about acceptable places to park an RV in your relatives’ hometown. Some cities have restrictions on RV parking.
Long road trip: Got lots of time? Plan an epic coast-to-coast road trip around the United States in a recreational vehicle from RVshare. Visit iconic attractions across the country or crazy ones like the Biggest Ball of Twine or Carhenge.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.