RV Rental Company Comparison: Which Is Right for You?

Choosing Wisely

Dà Jiu Bao Liki / EyeEm / Getty Images CC

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Choosing Wisely
Dà Jiu Bao Liki / EyeEm / Getty Images CC

Choosing Wisely

As many travelers are opting for hitting the road in an RV over plane travel given the current concerns over COVID-19, some RV renters are on the hunt for the lowest possible price. Others want the most amenities. Some care more about delivery and other services, while others want lots of drop-off locations. The good news is, there's something for everyone. From traditional rental companies to rent-direct services, here's the lowdown on the country's top RV rental companies.

Related: Renting an RV? These Are the Features You'll Want — and Some You Won't

The RV Community is Buzzing About Outdoorsy

The RV Community Is Buzzing About Outdoorsy

Outdoorsy, which follows an Airbnb-style model of renting directly from owners, draws praise from pros such as David Kosofsky, founder and online marketing director of Go RV Rentals and an RV enthusiast for 15 years. It's "the best RV rental company," Kosofsky says. "They offer a wide range of RV rentals, including camper vans, trailers, motorhomes, toy haulers, and pop-ups," and renters won't find giant ads on the outside of its amenity-rich rigs like they will on vehicles from national dealer chains. Outdoorsy rentals also come with insurance, roadside assistance, and financing options.

RV Parked on Grass Near a Wooden Picnic Table At a Park in the Foreground, Couple Seated in Folding Chairs with a Campfire

RVshare Is Huge and Popular, But It Can Bring Headaches

RVshare is America's largest RV marketplace. It follows the same rent-direct model as Outdoorsy, but has an even wider reach and greater inventory. The company has thousands of five-star reviews and serves tens of thousands of customers a year. It's the biggest, but according to Kosofsky, not always the best. "We've had some reports from our users that RVshare owners are sometimes not as responsive as some would like, and on occasion have canceled reservations at the last minute, leaving travelers to scramble to find an alternative rental," he says.

When in Boondocking Doubt, Ask

USA RV Rentals Is Simple and Easy

The USA RV Rentals model makes renting easy; the company's site is intuitive and user-friendly, and RVshare lauds it as one of the top rental companies in America. The three-step booking procedure is simple and fast, and the company maintains depots in virtually every major destination city across the country. Just choose dates and pickup and drop-off locations, and hit the road.

Dog RV

Cruise America Is Pet-Friendly

For Amy Burkert, of the pet travel website GoPetFriendly, "there's nothing better for pet-friendly trips than a vehicle that provides all the comforts of home, but comes on wheels. One of the primary benefits of RV travel is that your pets can enjoy the great outdoors all day and sleep in a familiar place every night. Providing that consistency helps pets get comfortable with their new environment." Cruise America offers pet-friendly RV rentals at 132 locations in the United States, Canada, and Alaska — with no restrictions on the size or number of pets in the motorhome, and no additional deposits required. As long as the RV is returned clean, there are no additional charges; otherwise, there's a $250 fee.

Related: 16 RV Parks Your Dog Will Love As Much As You

No Pets? You Might Want to Skip Cruise America
Chez Chesak

No Pets? You Might Want to Skip Cruise America

Cruise America undoubtedly has a strong pet policy, but the company was panned by experts such as John and Jayme Serbell, who travel full-time in their converted Chevy van and run the custom camper van website Gnomad Home. It's got to be "our least favorite RV rental company," Jayme Serbell says. "Not only have we heard less-than-stellar reviews of their overall customer service, but you're driving a vehicle with a huge Cruise America billboard plastered on the side. What better way to let everyone know you're a tourist?" Travel writer, trade consultant, and chair of the Society of American Travel Writers Convention Planning Committee Chez Chesak agrees. "Cruise America was generally considered the McDonald's of RV rental," he says. "You'd get what you needed from them, but it would be bare-bones, as basic as possible, with minimal customer support."


Escape Campervans Is Great, But Not First Choice for Pets

Escape Campervans allows pets but, Burkert notes, charges a $150 non-refundable fee for up to two pets. Additionally, pets are not allowed on trips during July, August, and September. Still, Burkert hails the 12-location company and its vans as excellent, fully equipped, and easy to drive; and though they favor Outdoorsy, the Serbells agree that Escape is hard to beat outside the RVshare and Outdoorsy direct-rent model. "If dealing directly with a rental company is more your jam, we recommend Escape Campervan," John Serbell says. "They have an awesome lineup of camper vans available to rent," and rental hubs at cities including Seattle, Las Vegas, Denver, and Atlanta.

Related: Coolest Off-Road Camper Vans for Summer Adventures

Expedition Is Excellent ... in California
Andrej S./Yelp

Expedition Is Excellent ... in California

Expedition Motor Homes is exclusive to California, and if you're planning a trip to the Golden State, the company makes an RV journey as easy as can be. It'll deliver an RV to a home or office and pick up and drop off customers at the airport. As a bonus, every vehicle comes with free Wi-Fi.

Apollo Has Mixed Reviews
Jay V./Yelp

Apollo Has Mixed Reviews

Apollo is known for its large selection, flexibility in booking, and rotating specials and deals. The company's reviews, however, are mixed, and few are middle of the road: Users seem to have either loved their experience or hated it. In fairness, Apollo brass make an effort to respond to complaints and work with dissatisfied customers.

Motorhomebookers Has Low Prices

Motorhome Bookers Has Low Prices

When shopping by price, Motorhome Bookers often comes back with the lowest rates. It builds specials into its quotes, which come from a search of major rental companies across the United States. (The business model is similar to popular travel sites such as Expedia, which scours the industry for the lowest prices.)

Road Bear Offers the Newest RVs on the Market
Timothy Y./Yelp

Road Bear Offers the Newest RVs on the Market

Road Bear boasts one of the most up-to-date fleets in the industry, and for Chesak, Road Bear stood head and shoulders above the rest when he worked for a company that specialized in self-drive RV trips. "While some RV rental companies were good and some not as good, we went out of our way to work with Road Bear in every location we possibly could," he says. "They were just top-notch in everything they did."

El Monte Has Locations Nationwide
El Monte RV Rentals & Sales/Yelp

El Monte Has Locations Nationwide

Another company with a good reputation is El Monte, which Chesak considers to be "good, solid, reliable." It has locations all over the country, which is an important benefit — or at least it has been.

No matter how good El Monte or any traditional rental company is, there is no avoiding that the rent-direct model is disrupting the industry to its bones. "Companies like RVshare and Outdoorsy are on the cutting edge," says Sean Green, an RV owner, writer, and owner of Campers and Campfires. "Much like Airbnb, they are connecting people with needs," making it more convenient to rent an RV than a traditional rental outlet such as Cruise America or El Monte by having larger selections almost anywhere you go, Green says.

Related: DIY RVs and Vans You Have to See to Believe