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Is A Motorhome Rental Better Than Owning An RV?


luxury motorhome rental at campsite with autumn view

Is A Motorhome Rental Better Than Owning An RV?

Buying an RV is a big decision that shouldn’t be made lightly. Some luxury RVs cost as much as brick and mortar homes, and some people wonder if they would be better off renting in stead of buying. In some cases, it might make more sense to go for a motorhome rental instead of buying an RV for yourself.

There are both pros and cons to renting an RV and buying your own motorhome. You’ll have more freedom in an RV you’ve bought, but you’ll also pay much more to own and maintain it. Let’s explore the pros and cons of both of these options to help you choose the option that’s best for you.

Pros and cons of a motorhome rental

Pros:

Only use it when you want: This is one of the biggest points in favor of renting. Lots of RV owners don’t use their vehicles often enough to justify the cost. If you want to take only a couple of trips a year, renting could be the best way to go.

Cheaper short term option: You can also save a fair amount of money when you rent instead of buy. A new luxury motorhome will usually cost at least $100,000, and that doesn’t include insurance, maintenance, or any of the other costs that come later. A motorhome rental will often cost between $200-$400 per night. This is still a bit pricey, but it’s much cheaper than buying a whole RV.

Don’t worry about storage: Another major benefit of choosing a motorhome rental is that you don’t need to deal with maintenance and storage. You can just pick it up at one location and drop it off when you’re done. There’s no need to get the vehicle serviced or repaired, so it’s stress-free.

Freedom to try out different models: When you rent, you also have the opportunity to try different makes and models. You can experiment with Class A, B, and C motorhomes without any pressure to commit to a purchase. You might find that there are certain brands and floorplans that you enjoy, so you can figure out your preferences.

Cons:

Limited freedom to decorate: One drawback of a motorhome rental is that it will feel a bit impersonal. There isn’t any freedom to decorate, and you won’t be able to make the space feel like home in such a short time. You also might need to bring your own bedding, appliances, and other gear that might have been included in a store-bought model.

Hidden fees: Rental businesses all operate differently and you might get ripped off at some locations. Sometimes, there are hidden fees for cleaning, and you might have to pay a hefty collateral upfront. Try to pick your rental agencies carefully to ensure you’re getting a good deal.

Limited vehicle availability: Another downside of a motorhome rental is the fact that you might not always get the one you want. The dealer stock may change and other people could reserve the model you prefer. If you own your own RV, this isn’t something you need to worry about.

Must follow rental rules: Finally, you must follow the rules of the rental agency. This isn’t always a problem, but sometimes they may have annoying or restrictive rules that limit your enjoyment. Again, you may have to pay them a fee if you break these rules.

Pros and cons of RV ownership

Pros:

Freedom to decorate/renovate: Unlike a rental, you have total freedom to renovate and decorate your RV once you have bought it. You can redo the whole interior, replace appliances, and make it perfectly suited to your needs. The personal touch is what makes an RV feel like home!

Can resell or rent to others: Once the RV is under your name, you also can sell or rent it to others to make money. The initial purchase can be costly, but it’s not always a sunk cost because you now own something of worth.

Anytime convenience: Owning your own RV is also great because you can take off whenever you feel like it. There’s no need to reserve a vehicle and operate on the rental agency’s timeline. This freedom is one of the biggest appeals compared to choosing a luxury motorhome rental.

Can pay for itself over time: If you use your RV often enough, it can start to pay for itself. Some people live out of their RVs and save a lot of money that would have been spent on a house or hotels.

Cons:

Initially more expensive: For many people, it’s hard to get past the initial expense of an RV. They are quite expensive and may not be worth the cost if you don’t use them enough. Some people believe their money would be better spent on a home, car, or property.

Responsible for maintenance and storage: Once the RV is in your name, you’re now responsible for maintaining it. This takes a lot of time, effort, and money. You need to keep it clean, repair things as they break, and make sure it’s safe for travel. Storage costs can also be a pain if you don’t have room for an RV in your garage or yard.

Depreciation: This is one of the biggest enemies of RV owners. Any vehicle instantly loses value when you drive it off the lot. You have the freedom to resell your RV, but you’ll almost never break even, let alone make a profit.

May not use it enough: Many RV owners have found that they don’t use their RV often enough to justify owning it. It sits dormant for the majority of the year and only goes on a few trips. In some cases, these vehicles can turn into a source of stress.

Which option is better?

Both owning an RV and choosing a luxury motorhome rental have their ups and downs. One is not definitively better than the other, but if we had to sum it up:

RV ownership is better for those who will use it for full-time living. It’s also good for those who travel extensively and need a mobile living solution.

A motorhome rental is better for those who want to take vacations a few times a year. It’s also ideal for those who aren’t sure if they’re ready for the commitment of owning an RV but want to try it out.

If you still aren’t sure which option to pick, it might be best to rent for a while and find out if the lifestyle suits you. This will also help you test out different models and brands so you can find your favorite.


Find a motorhome rental

Not ready to buy? Try renting from RVShare or RVezy. If you are looking to buy a new RV but hate to part with the old one, earn some additional income by listing it for rental with RVezy.

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Author Emily Lawrence Avatar

Emily Lawrence

Emily Lawrence lives in Idaho with her husband Nathan. Despite the cold winters in this area, it's Emily's favorite season! She loves to spend time skiing, roadtripping, and just exploring the outdoors.

5 thoughts on “Is A Motorhome Rental Better Than Owning An RV?

  1. Excellent advice! My husband and I did a road trip to Durango, CO in late 2020 to try out a Safari Alto travel trailer. After two days in it, we knew that, much as I loved the design and the retracting roof feature, it wouldn’t work for us–too small and narrow. Instead, we wound up buying a Winnebago Minnie 2401RG, which was perfect for our needs and could be pulled with a midsized SUV. We paired it with a Dodge Durango and are very pleased with the results. We always recommend the rent before you buy approach!

    1. check out the Facebook for sale / marketplace ads in Florida — there seem to be quite a few coming up for sale by individuals.

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