Should I Rent or Buy an RV?

by Calyn Ehid

Are you thinking of renting or buying an RV but are not sure which option to choose? While there are benefits to both, you should consider something that compliments your lifestyle and meets your preferences, as well as the type of RV needed to travel specific roadways. Do you want to take your RV off the beaten path? These are important questions to consider, so you might want to first rent an RV to determine what you like and do not like.

With almost 40 million people in the U.S. renting RVs per year and more than 15 million people owning one, the time has never been better to join the RV’ing community. Not only can you expect to find an RV dealer or lease company reasonably close to home, you will find that with the increase in people RV’ing over the years, there are more campgrounds and more updates to these campgrounds than ever before. Since, you are already interested in RVs, read on to decide if renting or owning an RV is right for you.

Benefits of Renting an RV

Of the benefits of renting an RV, you might want to consider renting before buying, the glaringly obvious reason is so you know what to expect before making a substantial purchase. Just like the case of traditional homes, not all homes are the same. The basics may be similar but the logistics and people’s habits vary, making one purchase more prudent than the other. Simply put, our homes usually fit our personalities. For example, do you need luxurious amenities or do you live simplistically? While some owners may insist on full appliances (a home away from home) you may look forward to getting back to basics, leaving the fuss behind. Some people prefer large interior spaces while others prefer to spend most of their time outdoors. Everything from the angle of your kitchen to the loud sound of your air conditioning wafting through the vents could cause you to regret your purchase, especially when there is likely a better candidate for you at an equivalent purchase price.

Another benefit to renting your RV is so you can get acquainted driving it. Can you imagine buying an RV only to find that it is too cumbersome to drive and you dread operating it due to difficulty or fear? You would not be the first to find yourself in this predicament. How an RV maneuvers and what types of roads it can traverse is vital to most people as there is little reason to rent/buy an RV that you cannot drive to your favorite destinations. Whether you prefer coastal destinations or mountainous ones, making sure your RV compliments your driving style on both highways and back/restricted roads is essential.

Perhaps the greatest deciding factor of whether to rent or buy your RV is a financial one. The purchase price alone will likely determine if you rent/buy an RV and which type of RV you choose. The cost of an RV usually ranges between $10,000-$300,000 while the average RV rental is typically easier to swing ranging between $150-$350 per day. As long as you are not planning to live in your RV year round, you might find renting is a more suitable alternative. And since the average RV sits unused for seven months of the year, you also have costly storage fees and depreciation to consider. Renting an RV will also save you the insurance and exorbitant maintenance costs associated with buying.  As the saying goes, time is money so if you fly to your destination, rent a local RV then fly home, you can avoid the unnecessary time spent driving across the country.

Other Factors to Consider

There are appealing benefits to buying an RV instead of renting one, but the most personal reasons are cleanliness and aesthetics. Whether you rent or buy, universally, most people prefer a new and clean space that no one has lived in before them. Perhaps the most relevant reason to own your own RV is the current world pandemic. While most RVs are cleaned before their next use, it is not always possible to avoid contact with germs left behind. Sometimes the RV is not cleaned properly or germs survive the cleaning process. Some RV renters report shabby cleaning practices by owners and rental companies, where they most certainly come into contact with the germs of strangers. Since no one is sure how long COVID 19 will linger or if this is the new normal, owners are taking comfort that they are in control of their RV’s cleanliness.

Convenience is also a popular reason to own an RV.  Owners are far less likely to put off a trip when they own their own RV due to having everything already packed (ready and waiting) just the way they like it. In fact, RV owners report traveling more than ever due to having a comfortable and convenient option waiting for them. Also, hotel reservations and amenity disappointments become a distant memory when you own an RV since it is an extension of your own home. Imagine never having to stress about hotel black out periods or paying increasing lodging tabs again. You can take your RV to a campground for up to $40 a night; in the worst case scenario, you can pull over at most box store parking lots to get some sleep if you feel the need to stop driving for the night.

Lastly, a perk of owning your own RV is the ability to rent it out while not in use. Renting out your RV can offset your costs considerably. You can rent your RV to others through your own advertising or through a company such as Outdoorsy or RV Share to connect RV owners with renters. Renting out your RV is no different of a concept as leasing traditional vacation rentals, you can make money off the rental, use it to offset RV associated costs or invest money back into your RV.