I never buy anything on a whim. I have to do research before I buy something, especially big ticket items, to ensure I’m not wasting my money. I obsessively research things like TVs, cars, and especially recreational vehicles. Part of my research process is trying something before I buy it, which is exactly what you should do before buying an RV. 

Even more so than TVs and cars, RVs are incredibly complex products that come in a dizzying array of types and sizes. If you’re getting ready to purchase an RV, renting the kind you want on RVshare might save you from making an expensive mistake. How so? Renting an RV will help you answer these critical questions.

Motorhome Or Travel Trailer?

Most RVs break down into two categories: a self-contained, drivable motorhome or a travel trailer that’s towed. From there you get into the different types of motorhomes (Class B, Class C, Class A, etc.) and travel trailers (standard trailers, fifth-wheels, teardrops, etc.). But before you get that granular, you have to answer this fundamental question: do I want a motorhome or a travel trailer?

Motorhomes are more expensive than travel trailers, but they’re completely self-contained, giving you the ability to use the same vehicle for traveling, sleeping, showering, eating, etc. You are piloting your house down the road. 

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While it’s great to have everything you need at your fingertips, as well as the ability to pee while going down the road (do be careful, please), motorhomes, even the small ones, aren’t very maneuverable. You won’t be able to get your vehicle everywhere you may want to go. They require longer parking spots, their turning radius is usually large, and you may need a spotter outside when you’re in a tight spot.

Motorhome: Pros and Cons

Completely self-contained More expensive than trailers
Available in many lengths Not very maneuverable
  Going anywhere requires going from Camp to Drive Mode 
  Loud while driving

Also, every time you want to drive somewhere, you must break camp and put your motorhome in Drive Mode. This means making sure there’s nothing loose on the counters, all the slides are in, the silverware is secure, etc. Many owners can avoid this by towing a small car behind their motorhome to be their daily driver, but that makes their RV even longer and less maneuverable than before.

Travel trailers are generally less expensive than motorhomes because they lack the engine, powertrain, steering rack, and other mechanicals the latter requires. You do, however, need a vehicle to tow them, which could bring their cost up right alongside a similarly sized motorhome. 

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That said, separating your home from your vehicle comes with some advantages. For one, traveling with two vehicles is more quiet and comfortable. In a motorhome, you hear every creak, rattle, and boom this giant box makes while driving down the road, and because it’s shaped like a brick and (usually) built on a heavy-duty commercial truck or van chassis, the ride is often jarring. A travel trailer creaks, rattles, and booms too, but you won’t hear all that in your truck or SUV, which still rides comfortably like it was designed to. 

The other benefit of towing a travel trailer is you can leave a trailer in Camp Mode and use your tow vehicle to see the sights, go hiking, and pick up supplies – no breaking down camp every day to get somewhere.

Travel Trailer: Pros and Cons

Less expensive than motorhomes Requires separate tow vehicle, increasing cost
Quieter and more comfortable while traveling Tow vehicle + trailer = very long caravan
Leaving in Camp Mode when you need to go somewhere  

The downside of towing a trailer is that you create a really long string of vehicles going down the road. A medium-sized 30-foot trailer plus a 20-foot truck equals 50 feet of machinery that’s not fun to pilot once you take the exit off the highway. And you can forget about spontaneous stops at this or that attraction unless you’ve checked their parking situation beforehand. The same might be true for large motorhomes, but there are many smaller motorhomes available that can fit in a standard parking spot.

Neither one is a bad choice; each has their advantages and disadvantages. You just need to figure out how you want to travel. Renting either a motorhome or travel trailer (or both) from RVshare should give you that answer very quickly.

What Size RV Do You Need?

While you may be tempted to go for the biggest, longest RV you can afford, we recommend going for the smallest RV that will comfortably accommodate you and your family.

Larger RVs, be they motorhomes or trailers, are stuffed with more features, conveniences, and luxuries, for sure. Their price tags, however, are commensurately as large and balloon even further with the cachet of certain premium brands like Airstream and Prevost. 

Also, the bigger an RV is, the more complicated it is. That’s more for you as the owner to learn to use, maintain, and even fix. There are more systems on board (HVAC, plumbing, lighting, etc.) that can malfunction, and they’re usually more complicated than simpler systems in smaller RVs.

We recommend going for the smallest RV that will comfortably accommodate you and your family.

It will also cost you considerably more to operate and park a larger RV. Fuel economy for the largest motorhomes and while towing the largest trailers can easily be in the single digits, and some require more expensive diesel fuel. And a campsite large enough to accommodate a 40-foot motorhome with 50-amp power will always be more expensive than smaller sites that can handle a 25-foot unit with 30-amp power. 

That said, if you’ve got the money, go for the gold – get a big RV. For your safety and that of your family, though, practice driving a large RV before you buy one. New owners of large RVs sometimes don’t even make it out of the dealership’s parking lot before they cut a turn wrong and whack their new home on wheels against a pole. 

Whatever size RV you decide on, try renting that size from RVshare first to feel what it’s like to drive or tow. Learn how difficult it is to maneuver in tight spaces, pull into campsites, and, most importantly, back up. You may decide the space and luxury of larger RVs isn’t worth their higher degree of difficulty to operate.

Do you like the RVing lifestyle?

Thanks to Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, RVing has been romanticized to the Nth degree. We’ve all been sucked down the rabbit hole of watching videos of 30-somethings living their best life out on the road and wished we were right there with them. The reality of RV life, though, isn’t a constant stream of knockout vistas and bubbling hot springs.

RVing is amazing, but it does require sacrifices.

RVing is amazing, but it does require sacrifices. In order to reach the most beautiful parts of our country, you’ll first need to downsize your life to fit into an RV. Bye bye, walk-in closet. Sayonara, double sinks. Adios, comfy recliner. Whatever size RV you settle on, your life will need to be edited in order to go RVing. 

You’ll also need to alter your definition of “comfortable.” You’re not always going to be just the right temperature while RVing. You’re not always going to be sitting in a chair. And you’re not always going to be eating a home-cooked meal. 

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But that’s OK, because in exchange for downsizing and dealing with some discomfort, you get to hike in Glacier National Park, watch the sunrise in Bryce Canyon, and live a lot more comfortably at Burning Manthan than the tent-dwellers. 

Yes, RVing requires a life adjustment, one that most are happy to make in exchange for everything it offers – particularly what those influencers are showing us on social media. But you need to know first if that life’s for you; renting an RV from RVshare will give you that answer.

Why Rent From RVshare?

For one, it’s the world’s largest RV rental platform, which means you’re getting more choices than you’ll find anywhere else. 

That’s huge, because the RV you’re interested in may be rare or unique. The chances of finding one for rent on RVshare is higher than anywhere else. Plus, there is every available type and size RV available for rent on RVshare, from 40-foot Class As to tiny teardrop trailers to even pop-ups!

Many owners who rent their RVs on RVshare also offer delivery as an available option. You can even filter searches on RVshare to show only those listings that offer delivery. When you’re in the throes of packing and preparing for your adventure weekend, having your RV delivered is a godsend time saver. 

RVshare has a Rental Guarantee, which offers a litany of protections for your rental experience.

Lastly, RVshare has a Rental Guarantee, which offers a litany of protections for your rental experience. First, the company has payment protection that shields you from fraud. According to RVshare, “If anything goes wrong with your payment, we will refund you.”

What’s most impressive about RVshare, though, is its commitment to ensuring the trip you worked so hard to plan happens no matter what. For instance, if the RV you rented arrives and it’s not as advertised, let the company know in the first 12 hours and it will work to find you a new one. Likewise, in the rare occurrence that an owner cancels a rental at the last minute, RVshare’s rebooking team will help you rebook a similar RV.

People often say a house is the biggest purchase you’ll make in your life, and a car is the second biggest purchase. An RV slots right in between, so you should put as much care and research into deciding which one to buy as you do the home you live in or the car you drive. Try one before you buy one by renting an RV on RVshare; you won’t regret the extra due diligence.

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