How to get the best deal when you rent an RV

Top 7 myth-busting RV rental tips to save big on your next RV adventure

CAUTION: This is a dangerous list.

an RV road tripping at Red Rock, CO, USA

If you own an RV rental agency that’s used to marking up your sales with endless useless and impractical options, and ripping off your customers whenever you have the chance, then you probably want to avert your eyes from the following article. That’s because we’re about to expose some of the worst practices you and your ilk routinely commit unto the unsuspecting public.

FlowRV is dedicated to providing the best information to both RV owners and RV renters. As such, we regularly publish critical reviews that identify problems and turn them into opportunities to upgrade and enhance the RV rental experience.

If you’re going on a fun-filed ‘Park and Enjoy’ vacation, where you get the most out of your rented RV without having to actually drive it or find a place to park it and hook it up to all of the utilities, then you’ll want to read this to make sure you know the best ways to have a great time and economize on several major expenses.

If your plans include a ‘Rolling Vacation’, where you actually get to drive the RV and enjoy the freedom of the open road, and the endless possibilities of places you might visit or daily destinations you might choose to park in for one or more nights, then you should read the following to make sure you know about the many options you have to save you a bundle at the start, as well as further on up the road.

RV Rental Myth Calculations

Myth #1: You need to buy all the options available, including on the rental agreement and the insurance policy.

Reality Check: You do not need to buy all the options available. Period. That’s why they’re called ‘options’. Because you can choose whether or not you wish to buy them. Typically, if you rent an RV with all of the options included on your rental agreement and your insurance policy, you will overspend by about $300 – $1,500 per night, depending on the type of rental RV experience you purchase. That’s because you simply don’t need every option, so it’s wasted money. Of course, it’s in the bad RV rental agency’s interests to sell you as much as they can. And that includes the insurance policy, even if they don’t make a penny on that side of the deal (and almost always, they do).

Myth #2: It costs more money if you drive your RV over state lines.

Reality Check: This one’s been getting a lot of mileage in recent years. It seems to be a popular and trendy misleading line that a sales agent can innocently pull out of their sleeve, right at the moment that the customer is getting a little frustrated by the excessive amount of time that it takes for the bad RV rental agency to hand you the keys to the voyage you’ve been planning and putting together for that special event that’s taking you to places where you’ll build great memories that last a lifetime. The truth is, it makes no difference if you drive around the parking lot or travel across the entire country and back. Your RV may be driven across state lines without any issue. Our agents in the field have surveyed the agencies offering this kind of unnecessary ‘interstate RV rental’ option, and found that a typical renter will save about $120 per trip by refusing to buy this entirely unnecessary offering.

Myth #3: We’re the only game in town. You’ll need to travel 50, maybe 150 miles to find another decent RV to rent. It will take you forever to track down another one that’s conveniently located and within your price range.

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Reality Check: That’s just not correct. There are probably dozens, if not hundreds of RV options to rent from, with 50 miles of you, and you can easily find them using the RV Locator Map on FlowRV, and on other trustworthy and authoritative RV maps online. The truth is, if you look around, rather than sign a bad rental agreement with an RV owner or RV rental agency that you don’t feel very comfortable with, then you will probably find a better agency and save yourself plenty of unnecessary aggravation, and typically you’ll save about $250 on your rental.

Myth #4: Getting to know the RV owner doesn’t matter.

Reality Check: In fact, it’s been shown that renters that spend a little time with the RV owners they rent from, have a far more enjoyable experience than those who don’t. This is because the time spent with the RV owner can help the RV renter understand the rented RV. Everything from how to drive it most efficiently, to managing the various power sources, the water on board, the most efficient ways to keep it clean, the proper use of storage to tidy things up for comfort, the best ways to economize on fuel, and so many more matters that can best be answered in person, by the RV owner. These types of tips can often save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Of course, every RV Owner could simply publish an all-encompassing answers page, however, many do not, and most specific questions may not ever be published onto a general answers web page.

Myth #5: Going off road with the RV is fine.

Reality Check: This is a common beginner’s mistake. Taking an RV off-road is generally a bad idea. They are designed for travel on roads. They are not designed to go over land that is not fit for road vehicles. In fact, it is very likely that traveling off-road with an RV will lead to damage to the RV, costing you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in repairs. This is why it is important that you do not drive any RV you rent, off-road.

Of course unpaved roads and trails and camping park areas are usually OK to drive on, as long as they are in road-travel-worthy conditions, ie: they are relatively flat and safe to drive on.

Myth #6: The awning is easy to use and you don’t need to worry about it.what an RV awning looks like, fully opened

Reality Check: In fact, the awning is a huge problem on most RVs, and you shouldn’t use it. The reasons are that it is large, heavy, and can easily get ripped off of the RV by a relatively light wind. And when it gets ripped off in this way, it usually does significant damage to the RV, which may cost many thousands of dollars in transportation, delays and repairs, among other things. So the best practice is to not use the awning at all.

To be sure, some RV owners lock the awning in such a way that it is unusable by default, and may only be used by request and with intent, and the understanding that any damage caused by the awning will be the responsibility of the RV renter.

Myth #7: Taking the RV over gravel roads at high speeds, is not a problem for an RV.

Reality Check: In fact, driving on gravel roads and kicking up a crazy dust storm will easily cause you to lose 3 hours and spend lots of energy to clean it, or you will need to pay extra cash to have it cleaned over that same period of time. Plus, you may damage the undercarriage, sides and other areas of the RV, in addition to possibly damaging any bicycles or other equipment which may be attached safely on the outside of the RV. And this damage will cost you more time and money, at the very least.

In other words, if you’re driving the RV on a gravel road, DRIVE SLOWLY! And you’ll enjoy your RV experience a whole lot more when you avoid this novice mistake.

  1. Terrific advice!! I can personally vouch for the caution about Awning use. I figure it costs me about $120.00 each time I use it as temperamental as they are.. The gravel road driving caution is also right on the money!!! Hosing out and wiping down the under bay storage requires about an hour of my time for each quarter mile of dusty gravel I drive on. Thanks for the great advice!!

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