Why You Should Rent an RV This Summer

See the sights while you socially distance!
man and woman in front of RV

Summer is nearly here, and it's usually a time for tropical getaways and international travel. This year, however, many folks are looking to stick closer to home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But if you desire more than a staycation and don't want to visit a packed tourist spot, what can you do?

Turns out, 2020 has become a good year to bring back the classic American road trip. If the idea of cramming into the family minivan sounds unpleasant, though, try this solution: rent a recreational vehicle.

You don't have to rent from a business, either. Plenty of RV owners offer up their vehicles for others to use. Check out our guide below to learn how to find your ideal RV to rent, and where you can take it for your next vacation.

Where to Rent an RV

RV rentals are really catching on. In fact, this year bookings jumped 650% ahead of the summer travel season on RVshare, a peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace. Why is this the case when so many people are reluctant to use other travel methods? It's simple: renting an RV allows families to isolate and socially distance themselves, but still travel and enjoy a much-needed change of scenery.

Renting an RV can be an affordable travel option. We saw rates on RVshare that went below $50 per night.

RVshare is a great way to track down an RV to rent. When you visit the website, start by searching in your area to see what kinds of RVs are available. Odds are, you'll have plenty to choose from, and many of them will be more affordable than staying in an expensive hotel. For instance, we saw rates that went below $50 per night when checking out the different RV types. A number of filters are available for narrowing your search, as well, including these:

  • Pickup and drop-off dates
  • How many people the RV needs to sleep
  • Min and max prices
  • Whether you want a drivable or towable RV

How to Rent an RV

Ready to rent an RV for your summer road trip? It only takes four steps to book the perfect vehicle via RVshare. Here's how their rental process works:

  1. Look for your RV. Use filters like price, the type of towable or drivable RV you want, and the cancellation policy you prefer. RVshare really lets you hone in on your ideal RV, as you can also filter by rentals that allow pets, allow smoking, and have certain kitchen and bathroom amenities — think microwave, range, refrigerator, and shower. You can select other features, too, like a hot and cold water supply, and in-dash air conditioning.
  2. Talk with the RV's owner and arrange your trip. When you pick up the vehicle, you'll be able to go through a quick demo and then hit the road!
  3. Travel! Enjoy your vacation in your comfortable RV setup.
  4. Wrap up and return. Clean out the tanks, refill the gas tank, and then return your RV to its owner.

Don't want to pick up? One RVshare filter lets you only see options that offer delivery. Choose this if you'd prefer the owner bring the RV to you. Delivery options vary based on who you rent the RV from — for example, one we looked at offered a custom delivery location within the first 60 miles, while another one offered delivery within the first 30 miles. Just keep in mind that delivery will tack on extra charges, so make sure the cost is worth it to you.

family in front of RV

What Kinds of RVs Can You Rent?

These aren't the teeny RVs your dad strapped to the truck for camping every summer — although you can find units that small, if that's what you want. Here are the RV types, features, and options you can search for:

  • Select units that sleep anywhere from one person to more than six people.

  • If you're more "glamping" than camping, you can also filter RVs by the entertainment options that they include, such as a CD player, iPod docking station, TV, DVD player, and AM/FM radio.

  • Book huge, drivable RVs that are more like hotels on wheels, and fall into Class A, Class B, or Class C. Or go for options that can be towed via trucks, SUVs, or ordinary passenger vehicles.

  • Want to take your furry friends with you? Plenty of RV owners allow renters to bring pets along.

  • Find RVs with high-tech features, including electric generators, navigation, and rear-vision cameras.

  • Want to stick to a particular size? Narrow your options: the minimum length is 8 feet, but the maximum is over 40 feet.

  • Searching for a shiny, new RV? Cut down your results to a range of years, from 2000 to 2021 or newer.

Where to Go in an RV

If you're wondering where you'd even go in an RV, know that the possibilities are pretty much endless! RVs are popular for activities like camping, whether you head to the mountains or the beach. But some of the most popular destinations for RV trips are state and national parks. While certain parks are still limiting activities due to the pandemic, others are reopening for both hiking and camping. You can see the status of different state and national parks here and plan accordingly.

Some of the most popular destinations for RV trips are state and national parks.

Additionally, it's important to pay attention to guidelines for the area you're traveling to, and exercise caution if you'll be around others. Remember to keep your distance even while hiking, wash your hands with soap and water when you can, and keep hand sanitizer nearby if you don't have access to soap.

If you're concerned about crowds, you can always head to a park that's close to your home. Opt for locations that are smaller and not as popular as the big-name national parks, and you'll be more likely to keep your distance while enjoying a breath of fresh air.

How to Clean an RV

Even if you're isolating on the road, you still need to be conscientious about cleaning, just as you would be at home. After all, an RV is a home away from home! Fortunately, RVshare's cleaning guidelines make it easy to ensure you thoroughly clean your RV.

These guidelines are based on advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which should give you the peace of mind to hit the road without worrying about falling ill. As you'll be frequently touching surfaces in the RV, it's recommended that you clean and disinfect on a daily basis.

Hard Surfaces
Clean dirty surfaces with soap and water before disinfecting. When you're ready for the next step, use diluted bleach solutions, alcohol products that are 70% alcohol, or other disinfectants approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and appropriate for the surface.

Porous Surfaces
Vacuum up visible dirt and debris first. Or clean stains with an appropriate cleaning product. Then, if possible, wash items or disinfect them with an approved cleaner.

Laundered Items
Remember to not shake your dirty laundry — doing so could release dirt, debris, and possibly even viruses into the air. Instead, wash clothing and linens in the warmest-possible water while still adhering to care instructions. Don't forget to clean and disinfect hampers, as well!

Julie Ramhold
Senior Staff Writer/Consumer Analyst

Julie's work has been featured on CNBC, GoBankingRates, Kiplinger, Marketwatch, Money, The New York Times, Real Simple, US News, WaPo, WSJ, Yahoo!, and more. She's extolled the virtues of DealNews in interviews with Cheddar TV, GMA, various podcasts, and affiliates across the United States, plus one in Canada.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).