Renting an RV in the United States is one of those decisions you won’t regret.
Utah, Arizona, California…many states in the US seem to be designed for traveling by RV. The long, accessible roads and the wide offer of campsites and places aimed at these types of vehicles in the US make adventure a guaranteed part of your trip.
If you’re thinking of renting an RV for your trip to the United States, read on. In addition to showing you where to rent cheap RVs in the USA, you will discover a lot of useful tips, so everything can go according to plan.
Are you ready to discover everything you need to know to travel by RV through the US? Let’s get started!
Guide to RV rental in the United States
Taking a motorhome tour across the United States is one of the trips we’ve wanted to do the most since we moved to the US.
The first opportunity we had to rent an RV in the United States was on our 10-day West Coast USA trip, and we didn’t take it because we didn’t know if we could do it. At the time, we searched the Internet and found very little information. Plus, in the few articles we did find, the information wasn’t clear.
After that trip, we decided to give RVing a try, and since then, we have rented motorhomes for 4- and 5-day excursions.
Given our experience, we decided to create the best article for anyone considering renting an RV in the US! In this article, you’ll find:
- The best RV rental companies in the United States
- Where to rent motorhomes in the US
- How much does it cost to travel by RV in the USA?
- How to find cheap RVs
- Best motorhome trips in the United States
- How to choose the best RV for your trip
- Where to camp with an RV in the United States (free options)
- Other tips for traveling by motorhome through the United States
RV Rental companies in the United States
There are four major RV rental companies in the USA:
The site is very straightforward: select the pick-up location and the duration of your trip. You can also use the filters according to your preferences, and all available RVs will pop up.
Individuals usually rent their RVs cheaper than companies do. It’s true that some vehicles might not be as new as vehicles from companies, but you can see ratings and reviews from other users to help you make your decision.
I’ve used Outdoorsy twice, and I’ve never had a problem. Actually, the owners were very kind and helpful.
The main drawback of Outdoorsy, and the reason why I started trying other options, is the obligation to drop off the RV in the same place as you pick it up.
That said, if you plan a circular route, Outdoorsy is the best motorhome rental company in the United States, and the cheapest one.
Motorhome Republic collaborates with the best motorhome and camper van rental companies in the US. They offer exciting discounts when you book from their platform.
This is, without a doubt, the cheapest way to rent new RVs in the United States, although the prices are a bit higher than with Outdoorsy.
The main advantage is that you can drop off your campervan in a different place from where you pick it up. For this reason, we decided to use this option when we took a linear route from Philadelphia to Maine, and the experience was superb.
On this platform, you’ll find everything, from somewhat newer vehicles to older ones. This means that the conditions of the recreational vehicles might not be the best, but the platform and reviews help in making the right choice, and it’s way cheaper than regular motorhome rentals in the USA.
Another motorhome and campervan rental company is USA RV Rentals. Here you’ll find newer and more expensive motorhomes than the Outdoorsy and RVshare marketplace options.
On this platform, the filters must be added once the vehicle is selected in the offer option. Same as other RV rental companies, they’ll show you the rental price per night plus all the extras you want.
What I like least about this option is that it has many hidden expenses, such as taxes, mileage, basic bed, kitchen accessories, etc. Although in the beginning, the price may seem cheap, in the end, you end up paying much more than with the previous options.
What is the best RV rental company in the USA?
We rented from Outdoorsy for the first time on a trip to visit Niagara Falls, and we liked the experience so much that we decided to repeat it on two other occasions.
However, for our 5-day trip to Acadia National Park, we wanted to fly directly to Maine and return by caravan to Philadelphia, so we decided to rent an RV with Motorhome Republic, as it offers the possibility to drop off the vehicle in a different location from the pickup.
In short, the best motorhome and campervan rental company in the United States, if you’re planning a linear route and can afford it, is Motorhome Republic. In contrast, if you’re taking a circular route and you’re on a budget, it is Outdoorsy.
Where to rent an RV in the United States
If you’re looking to rent a motorhome in the US, check any city/state where the above RV companies are operating.
Renting a caravan in the USA to tour the country is an experience on many people’s bucket lists, so during the high season, we recommend booking your RV/campervan well in advance.
Plan your motorhome trip across the US ahead of time and find out the places where you can stay overnight, such as public or private campsites, in the parking lots of some supermarkets, and even in signposted service areas.
There are more specific parking places for RV in the US than you think. Keep an eye out because sometimes they’re not well marked.
The US is full of exciting routes, and the roads seem to be designed for RVs; they’re wide, long, and comfortable. Here are some of the best cities to rent an RV in the United States and start your campervan trip!
RV rental in Las Vegas
Without a doubt, RV rental in Las Vegas is incredibly popular. Located in the middle of many US West coast routes and with so many things to do in Las Vegas, it’s one of the RV rental hotspots of the country.
If you’re renting a motorhome in Las Vegas, you must visit the Grand Canyon, where you can have the lifetime experience of flying over the Grand Canyon. Plus, there are plenty of RV campings in the Grand Canyon.
Other national parks that I recommend you visit if you rent your campervan in Las Vegas are:
- Death Valley (here you can see campsites for RVs in Death Valley )
- Zion National Park (here you can see campsites for RVs in Zion )
- Bryce Canyon (here you can see campsites for RVs in Bryce )
- Mojave Desert
With so many interesting places to visit around, it’s easy to understand why in Las Vegas, there are more offers to rent motorhomes than in any other city in the United States.
RV rental in San Francisco
Another famous city for RV rentals is San Francisco. The thousands of motorhomes that visit Yosemite National Park are usually rented here every year, since it is one of the best things to do in San Francisco. Without a doubt, this is my favorite place to travel by motorhome in the United States.
You can check where the best RV parks are in this article about accommodation in Yosemite. Regardless of the season when you travel, it’s vital that you book your camping for motorhomes well in advance.
Also, if you’re planning to visit the city, you can find where to stay in San Francisco that has free RV parking.
RV rental in Los Angeles
Renting motorhomes in Los Angeles is very popular; you can visit the city, drive across Hollywood, discover some national parks nearby, like the Mojave Desert, or go along the coast road that leads to San Francisco in your camper van, one of the best things to do in LA.
If you want to enter the city center, the best option is to leave your motorhome parked outside the city and take public transport. You can find the best free parking areas in this article about the best places to stay in LA.
RV rental in Denver
Denver’s perfect location right in the middle of Colorado makes it a good starting point for your RV trip to the Colorado State Parks and national parks like Rocky Mountain NP. It’s one of the best options if you’re thinking of traveling by motorhome through the United States during the fall season, since the colors of the trees are breathtaking.
RV Rental in New York
If you want to do something different from just visiting the Big Apple, rent a motorhome in New York and discover the state parks that are only a few hours away from the city. It’s an excellent opportunity to visit the Finger Lakes or Niagara Falls.
RV rental in Chicago
Chicago is the starting point of the famous Route 66 to Los Angeles, and there is no better option for making this trip of a lifetime than renting a motorhome in Chicago.
RV rental in Miami
Rent a motorhome in Miami and don’t miss the Everglades National Park, located just one hour from the city.
Another dreamy plan if you rent an RV in Miami is taking the scenic, coastal Overseas Highway to the southernmost city in the US, Key West.
Caravan rental in Hawaii
An original way to explore the islands is by renting an RV in Hawai. Enjoy the scenic roads and the most impressive national parks. However, get ready to pay a motorhome price that’s much higher than in other places in the United States.
How much does it cost to travel by RV in the USA?
To make a realistic budget, in addition to including the price of the RV rental in the United States, consider how much gas the motorhome is going to consume and the cost of the RV campgrounds.
Price of RV rentals in the United States
With this comparison, you can get an idea of how much it costs to rent a motorhome in the United States during the high season in US dollars.
In this example, I’ve calculated for a West Coast USA 10-day trip, with a 20-foot vehicle that fits two people sleeping (I’ve included an extra for the bed if that’s not included).
Pickup and drop off are in the same city (Las Vegas), and cookware, linens, unlimited miles, generator, and insurance are included:
|Outdoorsy||Motorhome Republic||RVshare||USA RV Rentals|
|RV RENTALS IN THE US PRICE COMPARISON|
Rental per day
In terms of prices, as you can see, Outdoorsy is the best motorhome rental company in the United States, since the price is the lowest of the four options.
Moreover, RVshare, another peer-to-peer RV rental company in the United States, is a similar price. This website is smaller and doesn’t have as many options, but you can always keep an eye out in case there’s something good.
Motorhome Republic is a very compelling option since they offer new motorhome rentals in the US at a price similar to the principal RV peer-to-peer rental companies like Outdoorsy or RVShare.
Finally, USA RV Rental is the most expensive option. I found that there are many hidden expenses. When you add up the necessary extras to make an RV trip, like a pure sleeping mattress or a kitchen kit, the price skyrockets.
To estimate the cost of gas, check the updated prices by the state on the EIA website.
Remember that the unit of measure of fuel in the US is the gallon, roughly 3.8 liters. The approximate data for the calculation is a motorhome consuming 6.60 gallons per 62.14 miles (25 liters per 100km traveled).
RV campsites prices in the USA
In the United States, there are both public and private campsites. Depending on your choice, the price per night range between $15 and $50.
State and national parks manage public campsites. They are usually in the middle of nature and, in some cases, within a natural reserve.
The average RV campsite price in public campgrounds is $25, although it varies depending on the services offered. For example, in some of them, there are no showers, and most of them have no Wi-Fi.
At some point on your route, you’ll have to sleep in a private campsite. These are usually located close to a hotel, and prices typically range between $25 and $50 depending on the area, the time of year, and the amenities offered.
Cheap motorhomes in the United States
If you’re looking for cheap RV rentals in the US, your best bet is to rent directly from an RV owner instead of a traditional motorhome rentals company.
As we mentioned above, we’ve used Outdoorsy on some trips, and it went very well. The only time we rented from a standard company was on a one-way trip where the pick-up and drop-off points were in different locations.
Additionally, in the previous price comparison, you can check if renting directly from RV owners through this platform is cheaper than renting from traditional companies. Outdoorsy offers the lowest price according to all the options compared.
However, if you want to save even more, and you don’t have fixed dates or location preferences, I recommend you take a look at the offers that Motorhome Republic publishes here. You can also find interesting our tips to travel for cheap.
Best motorhome trips in the United States
If you love nature or want to visit several cities in a short time, traveling the USA by campervan is one of those things that is going to make your trip even more memorable.
Below you’ll find some of the most popular routes to travel by RV across the USA.
Route 66 by motorhome
It might be the most famous historic route in the US, but part of the original route no longer exists after the construction of new roads. If you’re planning to take the original Route 66, pay attention so you don’t get lost.
Route 66 starts in Chicago and ends in Los Angeles. You can rent your RV in either of these two cities, and remember to include in your budget the extra price for dropping off the vehicle in a different location from the pickup (one-way option).
Because of this, if you’re planning to do Route 66 by motorhome, I recommend renting your vehicle from Motorhome Republic.
West Coast trip by RV
Without any doubt, to me, the best route of all is the one that runs along the West Coast of the USA.
If you love nature and dramatic landscapes, taking an RV road trip through the West Coast national parks is something you’ll never forget.
My advice is to rent your motorhome in Las Vegas and start your route from there. For this route, you can rent your vehicle from either Motorhome Republic or Outdoorsy, depending on whether you’re taking a linear or circular route.
Route along the Pacific Coast Highway by RV
Stretching from San Francisco to Los Angeles, the Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most spectacular campervan routes in the US. Just imagine driving along the coast, seeing beautiful beaches and epic sunsets every day.
On top of that, along the way, you can also find several natural parks, such as Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, where you can see otters and seals in their natural habitat.
If you plan to do this route, your best option is to rent a motorhome in San Francisco with Motorhome Republic and drop it off in LA.
How to choose the best RV for your trip – Motorhome vs. campervan
The difference between a motorhome and a campervan is mainly the size. The larger the vehicle, the more amenities and comfort you’ll have, but the pricier and more limited it’ll be. Your choice depends on the type of trip you’re going to take.
If you take a short trip or a route with plenty of narrow roads and hills, renting a camper van is a better option. Generally, these vehicles don’t have showers, so keep that in mind and make sure that the campsites you book have these facilities.
If you’re planning a more extended trip with many stops, then a motorhome is the best choice. They are usually equipped with more amenities, including shower, rooms, and bigger kitchens. Also, not all RV campsites have bathrooms or showers, so if you travel by motorhome, this won’t be a problem.
Where to camp with an RV in the United States
It’s forbidden to sleep outside RV campgrounds in the USA, even if you have a motorhome or campervan designed for that purpose.
However, there are exceptions. In cities where there is a Walmart, you can spend the night in the parking lot. This is also possible at many gas stations.
As regards campsites, whether they’re public or private, you can park your motorhome and sleep there as long as there is availability, and you abide by the campsite rules. Check out this website to see campsites’ availability and other useful information for travelers by RV.
In addition, some campsites are first come, first served (the spots are given in order of arrival), while at others, you’ll have to book in advance.
Please bear in mind that private campsites are usually more expensive than public campgrounds, since these are funded and managed by the US National Parks administration.
How to Find Free RV Camping in the United States
There are two ways to camp for free in the United States with a motorhome.
The first and best known is in the parking lots of Walmart supermarkets, which allow you to spend the night in their facilities with the hope that the next morning you’ll buy from their stores. This policy must work pretty well for them because Walmart has been offering caravan camping for free in the United States for years.
You can also see where to park and sleep for free with your RV on Free Campsites just by setting the RV filter. Keep in mind that some of the options are campsites without any service.
Tips for traveling by RV in the United States
Follow these six tips for your US road trip by motorhome:
- If you’re traveling from abroad, always take both your international license and the driving license of your country. An International Driver’s Permit is a booklet where your driving license is translated into several languages, so it’s not valid by itself. Remember to obtain your International Driver’s Permit in your country before the start of your trip.
- Decide if you’re traveling around the USA by RV or camper van. Additionally, do your research on the roads that you’ll take and the campsite options and their facilities.
- Make an itinerary of your trip, so you don’t miss anything. Check the opening times and information of the national parks and the attractions that you’d like to visit, and the distances between all your planned stops. Keep in mind that it will take longer than Google says since you’ll be traveling by RV.
- Plan an estimated cost for your RV road trip in the USA,and don’t pay for extras. Calculate your route and hire the mileage package that suits you the best. Don’t forget about the drop-off fee if you’re taking a one-way trip.
- Book the campsites in advance if you’re traveling during the high season and check their availability during the low season.
- Check where to park your rental motorhome in the United States. Take advantage of free parking lots and enjoy camping in natural parks
Frequently asked questions about RV rental in the United States
What is the minimum age to rent an RV in the United States?
The minimum age to rent a motorhome in the United States is 21 years old. On some websites, they only rent to drivers over 25.
What driving Licence do I need to drive an RV in the USA?
A standard license for driving a car is all you need, and it’s also recommended to have an international driver’s license. The latter is not mandatory for picking up your recreational vehicle, but if the police pull you over and you don’t have it, you run the risk of being fined.
Do they teach you how the motorhome works when you pick it up?
When you rent a motorhome or camper van, before you take it, they’ll give you some instructions on how it works and its essential maintenance. Some companies like Motorhome Republic, play a video with this information before the caravan rental.
What are the energy sources of an RV?
The RV engine provides electricity when it’s on. When the motorhome is off, you can use external batteries or an auxiliary generator. At some campsites, there is a hookup option, thanks to which you can plug in your caravan to the power grid.
For water consumption, there’s a freshwater tank, plus two tanks for gray water and sewage.
For cooking, you’ll need gas.
Where do I fill up the gas and water tank of my motorhome?
RV Dump Stations are points where apart from getting rid of wastewater, you can fill the tank with clean water and refill your motorhome or camper van’s gas.
You can also do so in some public campsites and almost all private campgrounds.
How to dump your gray water and black water RV holding tanks?
Learning to dump your gray water and black water RV tanks is easier than you think. There are two kinds of deposits that you must empty every three days or so: a gray water tank that comes out of the sink and shower, and a black water tank related to the sewage.
You’ll receive the instructions on how to empty these tanks when you pick up your RV. One important tip related to this: always wear gloves to dump your tanks.
You’ll find dump stations at some public campsites and almost all private campgrounds, plus some gas stations.
Can I park my RV wherever I want in the United States?
Parking your motorhome in United States cities is not allowed except at designated parking with an RV Parking sign or at Walmart supermarkets.
When is the best time to take an RV trip through the United States?
The best time to take an RV trip to the US in terms of weather is usually spring and autumn. On most of the RV routes, the weather won’t be as extreme as during the winter or the summer, and you’ll also find fewer tourists.
Do your research according to your destination and check the schedules and opening seasons of the attractions.