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We recently tried out RVshare for the first time – and it was quite the experience! If you are looking for an RVshare review, here is an experience from a family of five – along with 17 things to consider when renting an RV.
Over the past few years, RV living and traveling has become really popular in the United States. Rather than buying their own RV, many individuals have turned to a rental service to help with their trips. We recently tried out one of the most popular rental options – RVShare. In this post, I share a bunch of things I wish I’d known and what I learned through my RVShare experience.
Growing up, I was always a little jealous when we saw an RV on trips. It seemed like such a fun and convenient way to travel!
Apparently, my kids have felt the same way and last year, they started talking about RVs constantly. They just seemed so enamored by the idea of SLEEPING in the same place you drove in!
With the pandemic, an RV seemed even more appealing, and we started looking into the possibility of using one. Buying one didn’t seem like a good first step, so when I heard about RVShare – a company where you can rent RVs from other people (think an Airbnb for RVs), I knew we had to try it out.
We just got back from our first RV trip through Yellowstone, and it was quite the adventure. My kids are totally hooked on traveling via RV, and I have to admit, I’m starting to look into the possibility of getting, at least, a pop-up trailer someday!
If you are like us and think you want to take an RV for a spin for a family vacation, you’re in the right place. We learned a few things along the way, and I thought it would be helpful for anyone that is thinking of using RVShare for the first time!
What is RVShare
First off, you might wonder – what is RVShare?
RVShare is essential a rental marketplace where you can rent RVs of all types – they are put on their mainly by private owners, though I have seen a few rental companies with their RVs on the (I find they are the most stingy with what’s included!) By and large, it’s a great peer RV rentals service.
There are options for just about every price range and area. You can find RVShare that people are willing to deliver to you, ones right outside National Parks, and ones that you can take for daily trips or for a month
It’s basically like renting a vacation rental – but a mobile version. It’s a great way to use an RV without actually buying one – or to test the waters to see if it’s something you want to invest in.
It’s also a great way for RV owners to make a little bit of extra money from their RV, since they most likely have it parked in their drive way most of the time!
The RVShare platform is fairly easy to navigate, though I do recommend using it on a laptop or desktop. The mobile site works fine, but I just found it easier to work and find what I was looking for on the website.
why an RV?
What kind of RV experience is good for you
There are a lot of different RVs, trailers, and pop-ups – it can be a little overwhelming.
For our family, there were two main options – a drivable motorhome or a pop-up trailer. We have a Honda Odyssey, and it can only haul about 3000 lbs – basically, just a pop up trailer. We wanted to experience the full RV life for a bit, so we opted for a drivable motorhome.
This came with added things to keep in mind (such as a limit on how much we could drive), but I felt like it was a good way to experience all things RV.
If you have a vehicle that can haul more weight, you will have more options that aren’t as tied down to the mileage you can go. You really have to know what will work best with your vehicle!
There are a variety of different types of RVs – motorhomes, which are driveable, and towables, which can be travel trailers, pop-ups, fifth wheels, etc.
For the drivable ones, there are Class A, Class B, and Class C. We only looked at Class C vehicles, because these were most similar to driving a van or truck. Class A is like driving a bus, which we weren’t wanting to do!
Class A Motorhomes: The driver should be comfortable driving something as large as a bus
Class B Motorhomes: Comparable to driving and maneuvering an oversized van
Class C Motorhomes: Comparable to driving a truck and a popular option for beginner RV drivers
One thing that I think would be nice about having a 5th wheel or trailer that you pull is that you can leave it behind at your campsite. We left our vehicle at the place we rented it from – one of the reasons we chose the RV that we did was because they said we could park our personal vehicle there during our stay. However, that also meant we had to drive the RV all around Yellowstone because we didn’t have another car. With a 5th wheel or trailer, you can still take your own personal vehicle, leave the RV at your campsite, and have less of a load when driving around.
However, as I mentioned, we only have a minivan, so our options were limited in that respect!
If you are going to be driving without hookups available to you, you may not want to rent the fanciest, most souped up RV that requires hookups in order to access the features. You should also consider what you are planning to do – if you don’t plan to spend a lot of time in the RV, you may not look for an RV that has entertainment options.
I am a big fan of user reviews. I do think that you often see the really great and really horrible experiences through them, but I found all the reviews on RVShare to be really helpful. I personally stayed away from any that didn’t have any reviews – not because that means they are bad (more, they are just new to RVShare), but I just didn’t want to be the guinea pig for a new RVShare person when we were new to the experience ourselves.
Reading the reviews can give you further insight into what may not have been included in the owner description and help you decide if it’s the right RV for your family.
Know what’s included
Some owners will include everything – cooking supplies, bedding, movies, games, marshmallow sticks…the works. Others will either provide these for an added fee or they won’t be included at all.
Even if the owner says something like a kitchen kit will be included, you might want to verify exactly what is included. We had a big box that had a bunch of plates, knives, cutlery, a couple bowls, and a couple cutting boards. It also had a skillet. However, I wish I’d known there weren’t going to be more cooking vessels in it, because we ended up needing those. I would have liked to brought our own (I ended up cooking spaghetti noodles in a skillet!)
You should also see if cleaning supplies, hand soap, or toilet paper are included. Ours had some basic cleaning supplies, though no sponges or cloths, which made cleaning a little bit tricky!
Where will you put your personal vehicle?
If you aren’t getting the RV near your home, you might have to figure out what to do with your RV. We ended up getting an RV outside of Yellowstone, and we didn’t want to take our van into the park, too. I actually specifically looked for someone who said we could keep our vehicle at their location while we drove the RV – but this may not always be possible.
Some owners in RVShare will deliver (either for free or a fee) so that’s something to consider as well.
Dry camping vs full hookups
We went dry camping/RVing, which seems a bit ambitious for first timers. However, it actually went really well. We stayed at a camp site in Yellowstone, which do not have full hook-ups. However, they did have a dump station near by as well as a water station.
Knowing where you are going to be taking your RV or trailer is important. This can help you pick the right trailer or motor home for the situation.
Dry camping essentially means you won’t be able to hook your RV up to electricity, water line, and sewer. You might need to rely on a generator (if they have one), be a little more careful about water usage, etc.
Pay Attention to the Details
Each owner is going to have different details on their rental. Make sure you read the full description, cancellation details, when you can check-in and check-out, any additional fees, what’s included, and what the minimum age is to rent.
Before we rented ours, I read through ALL the available details to make sure I was familiar with everything. I think it’s especially important to know what different fees there are, and if they are optional or not.
If you don’t have your question answered by doing this, make sure you reach out to the owner before booking.
Definitely make sure you pay attention to the cancellation policy with the RV you are renting. Some individual owners are more flexible than others. If you worry that you might have to cancel, you need to be aware of what happens if the unexpected happens.
By paying attention to all of the details, you can make an informed decision on what recreational vehicles are right for you.
There are different fees that might be included with your rental – there might be a cleaning fee (we could pay for cleaning ahead of time, or we could clean ourselves…with the possibility of them still charging if it wasn’t done to their satisfaction), fees for extra amenities, taxes, service fees for the RVShare platform, and insurance.
Some owners have cheaper rental rates but don’t include a lot of “extras” that other rentals don’t offer, so sometimes it may end up being more expensive. Reading the RV listing in its entirety makes a big difference.
RVShare automatically requires their standard insurance plan, but you can upgrade for more coverage. We did the ultimate insurance coverage, just because we were wanting to be extra cautious for our first trip and it just gave us a little bit of extra peace of mind. You may also want to check with your own car insurance provider to see if they’ll cover any issues that might arise, or with your credit card. Many credit card providers include insurance for rented vehicles.
There will also be a hold on your credit card for a refundable security deposit, so make sure your credit card can handle that! This will go on your credit card a few days before you leave.
If you are getting a drivable motorhome, one thing to pay attention to is how many miles are included per night. I’ve seen RVs listed with as few as none per night with as many as 250. If you are planning a cross-country trip, the extra miles could add up – usually they are between .35 and .75 cents per extra mile.
Another thing to pay attention to is if a generator is included and if you can use it. Most rentals I saw included about four hours of RV use per night. I was worried about this at first, because I thought we would need a generator for everything…when in reality, we probably only used it for an hour each! The battery for the RV stayed well charged, and we only used it when we wanted to turn on the A/C for a little bit.
The campsite we stayed at limited when you could use a generator, so that’s something to pay attention to as well. I’m not sure if that’s the norm for camp site and RV parks.
Go over everything
The lady that we rented our RV from was fantastic. She gave us a full tour and showed us all the nooks and crannies, as well as how to run everything – such as how to empty the black and grey water (this is important!).
We felt much more confident in running the RV ourselves because of this. I suspect most owners will do this, especially if you are brand new – but don’t be afraid to ask questions and take notes!
Take a video or pictures
Before you leave the place where you pickup your RV, I would take detailed pictures and videos of the interior and exterior of the vehicle. This will protect you from being blamed for anything that you didn’t do.
The lady we rented from had a very detailed form where she wrote out all of the details on the RV and what was previously broken. I appreciated that she did this, and she encouraged us to let her know if we found something that was broken after we left. Not all owners will be as diligent though, so just make sure you protect yourself as much as possible!
Be familiar with the contract
There’s a standard contract that you sign when you go with RVShare, but many owners will have an additional agreement that you have to read and agree to. Our owner had a multi-page document that we had to to read, agree to, and sign before we could pick up the RV.
Put all the drivers on the agreement
When I booked our RV, I put myself down as the main driver and had to upload my driver’s license. Later, I went in and added my husband, because he was gonig to be the main driver. Don’t forget to do this! The verification process just takes a few minutes, so as long as you have a valid driver’s license without any major issues, it shouldn’t take a lot of time.
Communication with Owner
The owner of our RV sent messages through the RVShare website. I made sure I responded right away, and she was very quick to respond as well. Make sure you communicate before and during the rental (if possible).
We went to Yellowstone, which had NO Internet service or cell service. I couldn’t contact the RV owner if I wanted to (and at one point, I did – we couldn’t figure out why the outlets weren’t working!) If you know you’ll be going to a place like this, come up with an alternative way to contact them if you can.
How many seats vs sleep
The vehicle we rented said it slept seven. I assumed this meant there were seatbelts for seven, when in reality, there were only enough seats for six. We only had five people, but this could be a surprise for some!
You should also be aware of if car seats can fit safely or not if you are driving with children.
Know what’s expected of you
Make sure you know what is expected of you when it comes to taking care of the RV and plan accordingly. For instance, with our RV, we were expected to fill up the tank before returning it, which was about $75, emptying the water tank to a certain level, and cleaning it completely. You need to factor these into your budget and your schedule to ensure you get it back to you on time.
You should also make sure the expectations for cleaning are require upfront. We really couldn’t completely clean our RV until we removed all of our stuff, so we needed to get back to our rental place earlier so we could move all our stuff and finish our cleaning. Again, make sure there are cleaning supplies available to you or plan ahead!
I started looking for RVs a few months before our trip, but I put off actually booking one until a few weeks before. At that point, not only were there a lot fewer options for RVs but there were fewer options for RV sites as well. Make sure you book early so you can make sure you get the best choice of RVs and RV sites.
This is really important and can prevent any issues down the road. The owner really should walk through the vehicle afterward with you there to point out any issues they see. You may have a difference in opinion, and if you don’t discuss issues before you leave, you could very well be hit with a big fee afterward.
For example, when we got back, the owner couldn’t get the generator to turn on, which was kind of a big deal. She messed with it for a while, and Forrest went over to see what was going on. She said it wasn’t working, but he was able to get it to turn on right away. They had a laugh about that afterward but had we not been there, she may have just thought it was broken and charged us for it!
Walking through can also help you rectify any quick issues. We took pictures of the mileage on the vehicle before and after we left, which
The owner we rented from had us all sign something upon leaving that the vehicle was accepted in the condition it was without any additional damages or issues, so we were able to leave knowing we wouldn’t have a shocking post-trip fees .
Our Overall Experience
The RVShare experience was very positive. I found it was really easy to filter and sort out what vehicles we were interested in at the location we wanted.
I like that you can favorite different vehicles so you can go and compare them easily later.
One thing I found confusing was sometimes one price was listed, but when I went in to book it, it changed considerably. I’m sure that this is because people charge more or less for certain dates, however, it would have been nice if this was adjusted on the search page based on the dates you were searching for.
The booking process was really simple and straightforward once we decided on a vehicle. They asked some questions, and the owner was sent our request. She approved it within an hour, and at that point, we were able to talk more.
Some vehicles are available with the Instant Book feature which means you don’t have to wait for approval from the RV person. If you are doing a last-minute trip, that might be something to look into.
I felt like the prices were reasonable, and there was really something for every option. I don’t know how the experience is from the owner’s side of things, but for a renter, it was pretty simple. I think it’s a great way to gain access to an RV without buying one – or if you are thinking of buying one but aren’t totally sure if it’s worth the investment.
There are other rental services out there, and they all have their pros and cons. However, RVShare is a great place to get started with this type of traveling if you are a beginner!
Have you used RVShare? Make sure you comment below to let us know how it went or if you have any questions!