Should You Rent An RV For A Cross Country Road Trip?

There is no better feeling than hitting the open road for a cross-country road trip!

Road-tripping in an RV differs greatly from traveling in a passenger vehicle – not only in terms of the driving experience but the cost and opportunities having an RV can open up.

This post will examine the pros and cons of renting an RV for a cross-country road trip in the United States, plus some of our top tips that first-time renters should be aware of.

  • Not sure what sort of RV you need or how a motorhome varies from a 5th wheel or travel trailer? Before diving into this guide, you might want to understand the different types of RVs for families

Pros Of an RV Rental For A Cross-Country Road Trip

First, let’s take a look at the positives of hiring an RV or travel trailer for your cross-country road trip:

You’ll Have Your Own Space

When it comes to road tripping, renting an RV offers several advantages over staying in motels. For starters, you won’t have to unpack and set up/break down a tent every day. Instead, you can simply park and move on to your next activity, whether it’s cooking, sleeping, or hiking.

Plus, with your own personal bathroom and shower facilities, you can comfortably spend the night inside the RV without needing to worry about privacy and bathroom queues.

pace inside a large camper or motorhome

Prepare Your Own Healthy Meals On The Move

RV rentals typically come equipped with refrigerators, small freezers, and propane stovetops. Some even feature microwaves, ovens, toasters, and other appliances. You can save significant money during a cross-country road trip by preparing your own meals.

Additionally, you have the freedom to eat healthier and on your own schedule instead of relying on restaurants that may not offer good or nutritious food. RVs also include sinks, making cleaning up much more convenient than camping in a tent and transporting dishes to the nearest water source.

Maintain Flexible Plans

When you hit the road in your RV, you’ll have everything you need with you all the time. No need to worry about rushing to pack up a hotel room or campsite if your plans change unexpectedly.

Many RVs can go off the grid for a few days, so you can park and enjoy nature without needing a fancy campground. This will save you cash and help you discover new and remote places.

Plus, if you’re not feeling your destination, you can easily move on and find another amazing spot to explore or rest without worrying about lost costs in hotel bookings.

Check Out Almost Any Attraction You Want

If you’re planning a road trip and want to hit all the best spots, don’t worry about finding a place to park your RV! Many popular attractions and parks have plenty of room for your big vehicle.

If you’re concerned, just call ahead of time and ask about their parking situation. That way, you can avoid the parking stress and enjoy your travels without worries.

Visit Family and Friends Without Being An Imposition

Even if your friends or family members have very small apartments or just not enough room to accommodate your traveling party, you can park in their driveway or on the street nearby.

That way, you can spend time with them during the day and then retreat to your own space at night, which lightens the burden of hosting and allows everyone to have some privacy.

Cons Of Road Tripping Cross Country In A Rented RV

Now, along with these valid pros, there are some drawbacks of renting an RV you will need to balance, but we’ve provided you with some potential solutions:

It Can Get Expensive

When renting an RV, it’s important to consider all expenses beyond just the nightly rental rate.

For example, you may be charged per mile for some or all of your miles, which can add up quickly on a long road trip.

Another expense to keep in mind is fuel – depending on the size of the RV, it may get anywhere from 6 to 20 miles per gallon.

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Other potential expenses include insurance, gear rentals (such as kitchen or linen kits), campsite and dump station fees, cleaning fees, sales tax, pet charges, and owners’ fees. It’s important to factor in all of these costs to budget for your RV rental accurately.

  • We have a detailed guide over here to the hidden costs of renting an RV to help you do your rental math!

However, you can shop around for sales and deals, or if it’s a peer-to-peer rental, you may be able to negotiate the mileage costs.

You can also look into relocation rentals, where the rental company needs to move RVs from one place to another, offering a one-way rental for a deep discount (seriously deep – like $1 a day!). This is great if you are flexible with your dates, route, and vehicle type.

Try websites such as to see if you can find a good match for your proposed itinerary.

If your preferred rental dates or route don’t match up with a relocation deal, the next option to try is Outdoorsy – think of it like an Airbnb for RV rentals. Campervan and RV owners rent out their rigs when not in use, often way more cost-effective than your big RV rental companies.

For peace of mind in making such a private rental arrangement, Outdoorsy provides insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance within your rental price – but these additional costs can quickly add up!

It Can Be Difficult (And Costly) To Navigate Cities In A Big Rig

Driving an RV through a busy city with narrow streets and heavy traffic can be intimidating, especially if you’re not accustomed to handling a large vehicle. Finding parking can also be particularly challenging if your RV cannot fit in a single space.

You may have to pay for parking and remember to feed the meter or move your RV to avoid getting a ticket. This can make it challenging to explore urban areas during your cross-country road trip. However, there are still ways to make it work. 

Many large cities in the United States offer reliable public transportation, allowing parking your vehicle outside the city and using a bus or train to venture downtown for sightseeing. Occasionally, highly sought-after tourist destinations may have parking lots with designated RV spaces. However, parking fees are still typically required.

Where To Rent An RV In The USA

With so many rental options out there, it can be tough to choose the right one. Big and small rental companies have their pros and cons, as do peer-to-peer platforms (renting directly from owners).

Here are our preferred online platforms for finding an RV rental for a US road trip:

Cruise America

Cruise America boasts more than 120 locations all over the United States and provides a diverse selection of RVs to cater to families looking for a dependable rental provider. They have a wide range of options from compact campervans to roomy motorhomes, ensuring that you can find the ideal RV that suits your requirements.


For those seeking a unique RV rental experience, Outdoorsy is worth exploring. This rental platform allows you to rent RVs directly from their owners, providing access to a diverse selection of vehicles and locations throughout the United States.

RV Share

Are you seeking a trustworthy peer-to-peer rental platform? RVshare might be just what you need! They offer a wide range of RVs to choose from, and their website is super easy to use. You’ll be able to find the perfect rental that fits your family’s requirements in no time.

El Monte RV

El Monte RV is a well-established and reliable name in the RV rental industry, with over 40 years of experience. They provide a diverse selection of RVs to cater to your needs and have multiple locations throughout the United States, ensuring that you can conveniently find a rental that suits your family.

Rental Company or Peer-to-Peer Rental?

One of the main advantages of peer-to-peer RV rental is that it often offers renters a wider variety of RV options. Additionally, peer-to-peer rental platforms often provide more flexibility in terms of rental duration and pick-up/drop-off locations.

On the other hand, renting from a big company like Cruise America may offer more consistency in terms of quality and maintenance of the RVs, as they are responsible for the upkeep and safety of their fleet. They may also provide more comprehensive support and resources, such as instructional videos and customer service assistance.

Ultimately, the choice between peer-to-peer rental and renting from a big company will depend on your personal preferences, budget, and travel needs. It’s important to do your research and compare options to find the best fit for your family’s road trip adventure.

So Is it Worth Hiring an RV For A Long US Road Trip?

Going on a cross-country road trip using a rented RV is an incredible way to embark on an adventure. It provides you with the convenience of flexibility and comfort, privacy, and the freedom to cook your own meals. This is especially advantageous if you intend to discover more natural wonders and wilderness areas rather than cityscapes, as traveling by RV allows you to engage in the experience fully.

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© Family Road Trip

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