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Old 05-06-2015, 10:30 AM   #1
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RV Rental

We are looking to rent an RV for a family trip from Illinois to Phoenix this summer and then drop it off in Phoenix and fly home.

We checked with the major rental companies but they weren't interested in a one way rental at this time.

Another option is to drive it round trip but for logistical reasons if we did that we would need the rental for 22 days instead of only 9 if we did the one way rental. A 22 day rental would run about $5 including round trip mileage.

Then we thought, well, if we are going to drop $5k, maybe we just buy an RV, since we planned to buy one in the next few years anyway.

I'm interested in anyone's experience shares on RV rental, especially options for finding private party rental options. Also, has anyone purchased an RV and put it into one of the rental programs in order to defray some of the costs of ownership?

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Old 05-06-2015, 10:37 AM   #2
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I can't help with experience renting RV's as I've never done it. However, as someone who has been RVing since the 70's, I can say I would never consider allowing anyone to rent any of the RV's I've owned. Far too many things can go wrong with a 'house on wheels' and an inexperienced or careless renter can do some serious damage to the unit.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:32 AM   #3
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When I got interested in RV'ing, I went to CruiseAmerica to look at the rentals and to inquire about the rates. The rental cost made me think that it would not be bad to buy a used one instead. The depreciation loss I would take if RV'ing turned out to be not for me may be the same as the rental cost, for a used class C at the price range I was thinking about. I still have this RV, 5 years and 30K miles later.

Regarding renting out the RV, perhaps abuse is what causes the RV rental fee to be so high. At a campground, I once saw a rental RV parked with a rock the size of a grape fruit under one of the rear tires as a way to compensate for the terrain slope. The dummy did not know that it would stress that tire and may cause it to fail later in the trip. Sure, the cost is borne by the rental agency, but the possible blow out may cause an accident hurting his family. What a schmuck! Well, he might be lucky, and the resulting failure may not happen until the next renter's trip.

In the same vein, I observe that rental RVs never have awnings. I believe rental agencies learned quickly when many came back without them.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:45 AM   #4
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I rented a big Class C from CruiseAmerica in the early oughts for a bit less than 2 weeks on a 5000+ mile trip to show our then "tween" boys the great southwest (and San Fran, etc.). Ouch. Glad we did it, but the tab for mileage was excruciating.

Any rentals in the future will be solely to test drive/sleep potential purchase. Then again, if we wanted to just do one or two trips total, the rental would probably make sense--otherwise we'd be buying used/unknown and hoping it held together for the quick resale.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:56 AM   #5
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We rented an RV for ~$4K in 1997. Took a circle tour of the west round trip from Silicon Valley. Added a 3 bike bicycle rack for extra--that was worth it, especially at the Grand Canyon.

The trip was great, especially for our then 5 year old son. But we had a lot of problems along the way and extra expenses, such as a new tire. I don't think I would do it again without a way to drive around locally at our destinations. It's also hard to find places to park at night to sleep without the cops banging on your window telling you to move along at 4AM.


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Old 05-06-2015, 12:06 PM   #6
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... But we had a lot of problems along the way and extra expenses, such as a new tire.
I did not know that the renter would be responsible for tire replacement. This would be indeed different than with a car rental.

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I don't think I would do it again without a way to drive around locally at our destinations. It's also hard to find places to park at night to sleep without the cops banging on your window telling you to move along at 4AM.
Well, there's no way any rental agency would rent a towed car along with the RV. In the hand of an inexperienced renter, that would not last a couple of days, let alone mishaps costing life or limbs.

About finding places to stay, I researched this for quite a bit 6 years ago when I got interested in RV'ing. It led me to many interesting full-time RV'er blogs that I still read from time to time, although their location-scouting experience is not always applicable, with me as a traveler while they are campers.
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Old 05-06-2015, 12:12 PM   #7
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We rented twice back in the 1990s, both were returned to place of rental. I would think that a smaller rental company would be even less likely to offer a one-way option than the big national ones who might actually be able to get it back where it belongs. Perhaps even the big ones are franchises with the RVs at each location owned by the franchisee rather than the company, which would make them reluctant to do one-way rentals.

This outfit
RV Rentals in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma,Texas and Utah!
keeps contacting us to see if we want to rent out our RV through them. We're not interested but you might check them out.
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Old 05-06-2015, 01:36 PM   #8
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Check out Cruise America repositioning rentals in Spring & Fall. Rates about half regular, but you have to fit their trip day allowance and end points.
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Old 05-06-2015, 01:48 PM   #9
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I wonder about the average trip distance of an RV renter. I often see used rental RVs offered for sale by rental companies with lots of mileage for the vehicle age. It makes me wonder about the renter's experience. Between driving so much each day with a cumbersome vehicle and the logistics of finding or getting back to the parking place each night, I wonder how much time they have left for sightseeing.

I would not enjoy RV'ing as much if I did not have nearly unlimited leisure time as an ER, and also a towed car for excursions. And speaking of this arrangement, a class C towing a car works out great for us. We can disconnect/reconnect the toad in just a few minutes, a lot faster than with a travel trailer or a fifth wheel. And the RV is not as cumbersome as an A.

In a few years, we may downsize to a B to allow my wife to help driving it, and to eliminate the need for towing a car.
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Old 05-06-2015, 02:17 PM   #10
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I considered renting before I bought my first small RV but due to pricing and condition of the rental units, I decided to buy a lightly used one thinking I could come out at least as well as renting if I decided to sell within a year or so. I bought a Tiger 4WD RV that was less than a year old (see pics on my profile photos), put almost 7500 miles on it during a long trip over much of the west, and sold it for more than the purchase price (enough to cover the trip expenses).

If you buy right (age, condition, and price), I think even for one long trip you would come out ahead by buying/selling rather than renting.

Earlier this year, I decided to buy another lightly used rig as my condo lease expired. Coal (black lab) and I have been traveling and living in the RV since late March. I have not decided if I will hang onto this RV long term as that will depend somewhat on where I decide to buy or rent. This one is a Phoenix Cruiser which is slightly larger than the previous RV but still less than 24'. I think I could likely sell this one within a year or so without much of a loss, if any at all.
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Old 05-06-2015, 05:16 PM   #11
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Talladega Race was last weekend, and there was a sea of 10,000 RV's in the parking lot. Many had CruiseAmerica Class C's rented for the week.

After seeing those animals, I'd never consider putting my RV into rental service.

I bought a fifth wheel trailer last Summer. First thing I did was impale a limb through the side--doing $17K damage to the cabinetry, etc. I'd hate to think how hard it'd be to collect on a renter's personal car insurance for such an accident.

I you want to try out the recreational vehicle world, buy a 2 year old unit that's already depreciated substantially. Then sell it if your family lacks the commitment to be a RV'er.
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Old 05-06-2015, 08:05 PM   #12
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I had friends who did a one-way from CA to NY with this company:
http://www.escapecampervans.com
The van was really cool and very easy to handle. I rode with them 10 days, and found it very comfortable. Small, though.

If it were me, I'd probably buy used and hang on to it. Our MH was very inexpensive at purchase, but it is a 1976 Airstream Argosy.
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Old 05-06-2015, 08:46 PM   #13
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RV Rental

The guy over at Living Stingy blog has blogged a lot about RV's. in 2009 he was more positive about the experience.
http://livingstingy.blogspot.com/200...on-budget.html
But in 2011 and 2013 he was less enthusiastic:

http://livingstingy.blogspot.com/201...-of-rving.html
http://livingstingy.blogspot.com/201...le-secret.html



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Old 05-06-2015, 08:57 PM   #14
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Wow. From his scorched-earth dissertation on the RV industry it sounds like he's spent so much time 'living stingy' that he forgot how to live.
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:45 PM   #15
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Wow. From his scorched-earth dissertation on the RV industry it sounds like he's spent so much time 'living stingy' that he forgot how to live.
Wow..Do you sell RV's for a living perhaps...

I think those links posted above give all of us daydreaming about an RV somewhere down the road a lot to think about.

I also read a lot of his other blogs and seems like a straight forward guy just trying to pass on some insight and life lessons......kinda like you get here...
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Old 05-07-2015, 01:40 PM   #16
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<snort> as if REW would sell anything but scorpions and rattlesnakes to future Texans!
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Old 05-07-2015, 01:41 PM   #17
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I will agree that most travel trailers and RV's are not all that well made and may be a pile of junk in10 years. I will also agree that the Casita travel trailer he owns is well made, and they hold their value as a result. I just wish Casita made a travel trailer longer than 17'. Scamp does make a bigger trailer, but their construction used to not be as good as Casita. The plywood base of Scamps used to not be entombed in the fiberglass shell like it is on Casitas. Hopefully Scamp has changed that. If anyone is thinking of buying an RV or travel trailer, I would recommend researching for at least 2 years before spending much money.
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Old 05-07-2015, 01:51 PM   #18
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This blog writer lives in Georgia. The lack of nice parking or camping places he describes is generally true in more populated places. Even in the wide open western states, good luck if an RV'er wants to visit cities like SF, or Seattle, let alone going into NYC. I had a tough enough time driving my MH through the Los Angeles metro area that in this current RV trek, I drove through Death Valley to be far away from it and enjoyed something new too.

So, if you want to see Boston, Miami, Chicago, etc... do it by fly-and-drive method. RV'ing is best reserved for countryside roadtrips.
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Old 05-17-2015, 11:50 AM   #19
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Thanks for all the advice. We put a deposit on a 22' class C yesterday. We'll be driving from IL out west to The Badlands and then either Yellowstone it Grand Canyon.

Any tips on good "cruising" guides that would help us plan the trip?

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Old 05-17-2015, 12:34 PM   #20
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.........I just wish Casita made a travel trailer longer than 17'. Scamp does make a bigger trailer, but their construction used to not be as good as Casita. The plywood base of Scamps used to not be entombed in the fiberglass shell like it is on Casitas. ..........
If you want a quality fiberglass RV longer than 17 feet, look at the Escape, BigFoot or Oliver trailers.
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