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Wait! Should I Buy or Rent an RV?

| Updated Dec 5, 2023

Are you debating whether to buy or rent an RV? We've been there! Here's what we've learned.

Do you think you’ll love the RV lifestyle and want to try it out?

I have lived and worked a lot from the road. I love it! But it is not for everyone.

Before running out and purchasing an RV or committing to renting only, read my list of pros for both. 

Whether you want to be a weekend RV warrior or a full-timer, the following info should help you decide if you want to buy or rent an RV!

Should I Buy or Rent an RV?

photo illustrating our article about boondocking misconceptions

Renting an RV is a less risky investment than purchasing one, but does not quite feel like “home.”

But making a big purchase is daunting if you're not completely sold on the idea. Especially since new motorhomes can range from $100,000 to millions of dollars!

So, let's take a look at the benefits of each.

Benefits of Renting an RV

Let's kick off the list of different benefits to buy or rent an RV with renting.

If you are curious about what an RV lifestyle is like, renting might be for you!

Renting — Discover what you want (or don’t) in an RV

Image of Tiffin Mtorhomes models
Tiffin Motorhomes is known for its luxurious Class A motorhomes and, more recently, the Class C Wayfarer

Sometimes, the decision to buy or rent an RV is a progression. Many people rent first to better inform their purchase.

If you have never owned or rented an RV before, you may not know what you want in one. You also may not know what you don’t want in an RV.

For instance, if you visit cold, rainy areas, you might want a larger indoor space to stay dry during storms. Or, you might camp in warmer areas and love to utilize the outdoor living space. Are you a football fan that would use an outdoor TV for game days?

Trying out different features is a great way to compile a list of RV “must-haves” for a future purchase.

Check out my blog about what people say they look for most in an RV

Trying out different RV layouts can also help you decide what really works (or doesn’t) for you and your needs.

Do you like to cook? Which RVs have a kitchen in a great spot for you? Or, are you planning on working remotely when on the road? (Check out my blog on the pros and cons of working remotely from your RV.)

Different RVs have areas that work well as a workspace, while others don’t. Trying out different layouts lets you try out the spaces that may or may not work for you. 

Renting — Learn how RVs work

Renting an RV allows you to understand how they work. Not only can you drive it to see how it handles, but you can learn how to operate all of its features.

RVs take a little getting used to.

Being able to learn how different parts operate, such as the dining room pop-out or draining the grey water tank, lets you experiment before taking the leap to purchase an RV.

Renting — It’s Cheaper (sometimes)

Wait! Should I Buy or Rent an RV? 1

Depending on how much you intend on using your RV, renting one can be cheaper in the long run.

You do not have the hefty upfront cost of purchasing the RV, nor do you have to pay monthly insurance or maintenance fees. 

It can also save you emotional currency as well. Many people purchase an RV to find out that it does not meet their needs, so they end up selling it at a loss or living unhappily with it.

By renting one, you can try out RVing without the commitment and save yourself heartache if you decide it is not for you.  

Of course, there is a tipping point where buying would be more affordable. So, you'll need to do some math based on how often you plan to use it.

Renting — No RV maintenance

Another great benefit of renting an RV is that you are not responsible for its maintenance!

The average cost of maintenance is about $1,000-$2,000 per year depending on the size and age of your rig.

So, when it comes to buy or rent an Rv, you'll want to factor in maintenance costs. 

Renting — No commitment

Renting an RV is that it is relatively low commitment. You can choose to rent for just a few days, then give it back.

Aside from gas and stocking it with food and supplies, you don’t have to worry about RV expenses. You do not have to fix broken parts or keep up other maintenance.

The time and monetary commitments are far less than if you own it. 

Benefits of Buying an RV

Wait! Should I Buy or Rent an RV? 2

We know deciding whether you should buy or rent an RV can be difficult. So, let's take a look at the pros of buying now.

Purchasing an RV to own can also be very rewarding!

Buying — It’s all yours

One great thing about owning your own RV is that is all yours!

You can store your personal items, such as clothing, books, dishes, and favorite travel movies or games, just to name a few.

When you return home from a trip, you don’t have to clean out all of your possessions.

You can also decorate the RV to your liking so that it really feels like your home away from home. 

Buying — You can travel whenever you want

Do you feel like getting out of town this weekend? When owning an RV, you can pick up and travel whenever you want.

Feel like staying an extra day or two? You also don’t have to worry about returning it by a certain date! 

You don’t have to worry about someone else’s booking schedule.

Buying — You can rent it out

Did you know that you can rent out your RV to make some money when you are not using it? Individuals can rent your RV for a specific amount of time, for whatever price you set.

There are websites similar to Airbnb, but for RVs.

You can read How to Make Big Money Renting Your RV if you want to learn more. Though, of course, there are some pitfalls of renting your RV.

Buying — Pay less monthly than renting on several occasions

If you intend to make great use of your RV and travel monthly or even live on the road, owning an RV will likely cost less per month to operate.

While there is a large upfront price tag, the monthly cost of owning can often be less expensive. 

Buying — You can take your office with you

More people are working from home than ever before. If you’re one of them, working from the road might be a great lifestyle for you!

You can see different places, all while having your office with you. If this sounds appealing to you, check out the blog I wrote about what to expect when working remotely from your RV.

Renting or Buying — Conclusion

There are many things to consider when deciding whether to buy or rent an RV.

Renting can help you identify what you are looking for in an RV purchase. Or, it may even help you decide against that lifestyle altogether. Either way, there are pros to renting.

But if you already know that you love the lifestyle and understand your needs as an RV owner, you may want to skip renting and jump right into owning an RV that is suited just right for your tastes.

Sometimes, the decision to buy or rent an RV is a progression. Many people rent first to better inform their purchase.

Do You Rent or Did You Buy an RV?

Share in the comments if you rent or did you buy an RV! Or maybe you've done both! Let us know what you like and don't like.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2022-07-28

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

3 Responses to “Wait! Should I Buy or Rent an RV?”

January 28, 2021at8:34 am, PATRICIA MARTINI said:

We bought. this is our third and we downsized.


January 28, 2021at8:28 am, Darlene said:

I decided to purchase a used camper when I became tired of looking for accommodations that allowed pets. I thought about renting, but when I looked at the cost of renting versus purchasing a used camper, I took a chance and purchased. I never looked back. I recently purchased a new one that is similar to my former camper?


January 28, 2021at7:16 am, Michelle Burtt said:

I love your website and I’m sure you get asked a zillion questions. My question is – I live in south Florida and I love to boon dock. I’m wanting to add an additional battery to my 2020 Winnebago Revel. Have you heard of anyone doing this? If yes, are they happy they did?
Thank you ?


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