Renting an RV is an ideal method of travel that saves money, allows you to explore off the beaten path and still offers all the comforts of home. For the best experience, however, it’s important to research the best RV rental companies before making your selection.
First things first, there are two distinct business models that RV rental companies use:
- Rent an RV from a company fleet
- Rent individually from an RV owner
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to RV rental companies, but you will need to consider the pros and cons of their business model, their prices, the models of RVs available to you and, of course, company ratings and reviews.
To help you narrow down your options, we have researched and reviewed three of the top RV rental companies: Outdoorsy, RVshare and Cruise America.
The Best RV Rentals Companies of 2021
Between these three RV rental companies, you will find a wide variety of rental options, prices and features. It’s up to you to decide which company is the best fit for your RV vacation.
Outdoorsy, a large, well-respected RV rental company, uses the peer-to-peer rental model—they’re like an Airbnb for RVs. With their platform, RV owners are able to rent their vehicles to people throughout the United States.
As an RV renter, this means you will have access to a huge variety of RV models. From top-of-the-line new models to vintage campervans, Outdoorsy has a bit of everything.
The platform is also designed to protect both RV renters and RV owners. Beyond a basic license check, which all RV rental companies must perform, Outdoorsy has a number of additional security measures.
All Outdoorsy members must apply and complete a detailed profile. For renters, there is also a DMV check. While you will be renting from an individual RV owner, you and the owner will both have protection, thanks to Outdoorsy.
For more information, check out my full Outdoorsy review.
Pros and Cons of Outdoorsy
The Outdoorsy online platform and peer-to-peer RV rental company model has a number of both pros and cons.
The pros include the following.
- There are thousands of RV rental options located all over the United States (including vintage and one-of-a-kind RVs).
- Outdoorsy offers industry-leading insurance protection and 24/7 RV roadside assistance.
- You’ll find detailed, personal reviews on individual RVs and users’ experiences with RV owners (how easy it was to pick up the keys, how clean the vehicle was and more).
- Outdoorsy boasts a dedicated customer support team for both RV renters and RV owners
The con to consider is the following.
- You are renting from individual RV owners, not an RV rental company fleet. Not all owners will keep their vehicles in perfect condition, so it’s important to read previous renter reviews.
Cost of Renting from Outdoorsy
When it comes to pricing, Outdoorsy has some of the best pricing among the major RV rental companies.
Prices are set by individual owners so they vary quite a bit. Prices also reflect the region or city where the RV rental is located. In general though, thanks to the competition between RV owners, prices are at or below RV rental market prices.
On top of reasonable prices, Outdoorsy, like most RV rental companies, has the incentive to keep renters happy. With the peer-to-peer model though, individual RV owners are also incentivized to increase renter satisfaction. This is the way they can ensure a good review and more bookings.
Among all Outdoorsy RV rentals, there is a 93 percent average of 5-star reviews.
Looking at a more neutral metric, Outdoorsy holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The company has also received over a hundred 5-star reviews from satisfied customers.
RVshare is another peer-to-peer RV rental company. While its business model is similar to Outdoorsy, RVshare has a few differences in their RV rental platform.
RVshare is actually the largest online peer-to-peer RV network. You will find many RV owners listing their vehicles on both Outdoorsy and RVshare.
In addition to individual RV owners, the RVshare site also allows RV dealerships to list their own vehicles for rent. This is a nice option if you are thinking of buying an RV and want a long “test drive.”
Finding an RV rental through the company platform is easy with listings available in almost any region of the United States. Similarly to Outdoorsy, the platform also offers filters to find rentals that are pet-friendly, towable or available for delivery.
Pros and Cons of RVshare
RVshare has many of the same pros and cons as other peer-to-peer RV rental companies.
A few of the company pros include the following.
- There are thousands of RV rentals available, many of which boast 5-star reviews.
- RVshare offers 24/7 RV roadside assistance and insurance protection.
- RVshare has a five percent Cash-Back Loyalty Program, which is great if you rent RVs often.
Some cons include the following.
- Similarly to Outdoorsy, RVshare’s peer-to-peer model means that you are renting from individual owners. For the best experience, always check previous customer reviews.
- You have less insurance protection with RVshare. Compared to Outdoorsy, which offers $1 million in collision insurance, RVshare covers just $200,000 in RV value (however, according to RVshare, losses have never exceeded this amount as it most likely covers the totality of the cost of the unit).
Cost of Renting from RVshare
Pricing on RVshare matches the ranges found on other peer-to-peer RV rental company platforms, like Outdoorsy. With similar pricing, you might instead consider the extra benefits offered (i.e. increased insurance protection) between the RV rental companies.
In general, popular travel destinations like National Parks have RV rentals with the highest prices. Prices also fluctuate throughout the year, with lower prices during the offseason. Finally, prices can be affected by local festivals and events where RV camping is popular.
When it comes to reviews, RVshare has many thousands of 5-star rental ratings on their website.
However, beyond their website, RVshare has encountered a bit more negative feedback. The BBB has given the company an A+ rating with 95 customer complaints (out of 419 customer reviews).
3. Cruise America
Unlike the two RV rental companies mentioned above, Cruise America is not a peer-to-peer rental platform. Rather than renting from individual owners, with Cruise America, you select an RV from their corporate fleet.
Before peer-to-peer RV rentals, Cruise America’s model was the same model that most companies used to rent out RVs. As such, the company has a long history and a presence throughout the United States.
In total, Cruise America has 132 locations. Unlike Outdoorsy and other peer-to-peer RV rental companies, the company doesn’t necessarily have rentals available everywhere that you travel. It does cover most major travel destinations and national parks, though.
Cruise America is also a great option if you are looking for newer and more modern RVs. The company updates its fleet with new RV models often. Alternatively, if you are looking for a classic vintage RV or campervan, Cruise America probably won’t have what you are looking for.
Pros and Cons of Cruise America
We mentioned a few of the pros and cons already. In general, renting from a corporate RV company is quite different than the experience with peer-to-peer platforms.
A few pros of renting with Cruise America include the following.
- There are great seasonal deals and one-way rentals.
- RVs are guaranteed to run well and be clean, which is not always the case when you rent from individual owners.
- Your rental options include some of the latest RV models.
Some of the cons include the following.
- There are less locations, which means you might not be able to rent an RV in the area that you want to travel.
- The rental process is much more complex due to the corporate nature of the company.
- Rentals can be a lot more expensive depending on their location and the season.
Cost of Renting from Cruise America
Cruise America pricing can be a bit difficult to calculate. There are a lot of extra fees and variables based on where and when you are going.
The company also charges extra for add-ons like kitchen utensils and bedding. Private RV owners, through websites like Outdoorsy, will usually throw those items into a rental for free. Cruise America also has a charge of $0.35 per mile driven.
On the positive side, however, the company often runs seasonal deals. If you time things right and book offseason, you can often find great deals. The company also has factory delivery deals through which you pay to rent the RV and drive it from the factor to a Cruise America location. If the route from the factory matches your travel plans, it can be an ideal option.
As far as reviews go, Cruise America doesn’t have a very good reputation. Plus, there isn’t a built-in rating system for individual RVs like you find on Outdoorsy. Without this, you will likely need to do a bit more research before picking an RV model.
The BBB has given the company a very low C+ rating, with many customers filing official complaints. The BBB even flagged Cruise America for a “pattern of complaint” and added a warning to the company’s BBB page.
Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing the Best RV Rental Companies
Now that we have covered a few of the major RV rental companies, you probably have a better idea of what you need. But before booking your RV rental, there are a few more things you should consider.
1. How Many People Are in Your Group?
RV rentals are a great option for extended family vacations. With your own “house on wheels,” it’s easy to accommodate everyone from toddlers to grandparents.
Something to keep in mind, though, is the space and sleeping options among different RV models.
All the RV rental companies we discussed provide information on how many people each RV can sleep. Beyond this, you might want to consider bathroom size, how many people can sit at the dining table, etc. Make sure that the RV company from which you choose to rent is forthright with this information.
2. Where Are You Going?
Before you can narrow down the RV rental companies, you need to know where you are going. Outdoorsy and RVshare have rental options almost everywhere in the country. Cruise America, on the other hand, has much more limited options.
Depending on where you are going, you will also want to think about the RV features you need. A cute, vintage campervan might be fun in Hawaii but, if you are in Alaska in early winter, it probably won’t have the insulation you need. Likewise, consider if you need room to store bikes, surfboards, etc.
3. How Much Driving Will You Be Doing?
Figure out how much you think you will drive. Some RV rentals come with unlimited mileage while others charge an extra fee above the rental for each mile driven. If you know how much or how far you might drive during your vacation, you can better narrow down your options based on pricing.
Make sure that the RV company you choose to use shares this information with you—and make sure that they have options available in your budget.
The Best Places to Travel with Your RV Rental
An RV rental is a fun vacation option no matter where you go. Even if you are just planning a camping trip in your own local national park, an RV rental can make the trip even better.
There are a few destinations, though, that are especially ideal for an RV vacation—we’re talking wide open roads and expansive RV parks that can make or break a trip.
1. Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas might be known for casinos and fancy hotels, but the region around the city is a great place to enjoy nature. The desert is filled with great hiking options, mountain biking trails and wildlife.
RV rentals in Las Vegas also give you access to some of the top sights in the American Southwest. Just an hour or so from the city, you can visit Lake Mead or Little Red Rock National Park. Drive a few more hours, and you can visit Great Basin National Park, Death Valley, Zion National Park, or even the Grand Canyon.
2. Denver, Colorado
One of the most beautiful road trips you can take in the US is through the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Renting an RV in Colorado will give you quick access to miles and miles of desolate mountain roads.
Head over to Rocky Mountain National Park to find unparalleled hiking, fishing and camping options. If you’d rather stay in the foothills, check out the RV camping options at the beautiful Garden of the Gods. This National Natural Landmark is home to 1,300 acres of unspoiled sandstone formations.
Renting a campervan in Hawaii for a road trip can invoke the image of classic vintage campervans strapped with surfboards. And it should; there is a reason that’s such a classic image. Hawaii is easily one of the best places to rent an RV or van and explore, whether you’re on Oahu, Kauai, The Big Island or Maui.
With great weather and small islands, it’s easy to drive from beach to beach enjoying the sun and surf. If you want to travel in a bit more luxury than a campervan, Hawaii RV rental companies also provide new, modern RV models.
The state of California is the perfect place to rent an RV. In just one day you can go from surfing at the beach to hiking the redwoods to skiing in the mountains.
Bonus: California has some of the country’s best RV campsites.
You can find amazing coastal views at campsites all along Highway 1. At popular national parks like Yosemite, you can find RV campsites with all the modern conveniences. There are even RV parks within walking distance to Disneyland!