Should I rent an RV or rent a Car?
If a relaxing vacation or holiday is on your mind or you have adequate time on your hand to reach where you want, RV rental seems appropriate. However, if your destination isn’t too far away and you are in a rush to reach there, renting a car may be a better option for you.
Looking for more points to come to a final decision whether to choose an RV rental or a Car rental? Read along!
Choose RV Rental to Avoid Public Exposure
Covid has seen more and more people secluding themselves from crowded and public places. If you seek to avoid unnecessary public interactions and you have a trip to make, renting an RV makes sense.
RV Rental will help you Avoid Dirty Public Restrooms
RV avoids the need to step into any public restroom at all. There is a toilet, sink, and even a shower present in an RV.
RV Kitchen will help you Avoid Public Restaurants
With the availability of a refrigerator, a freezer, a microwave, and a cooking wrench, all you need to do to avoid the need to eat outside at public restaurants is bring your own groceries.
RV Living will help you Avoid Hotels
There are multiple sleeping areas in an RV. This negates the need for an overnight stay at a hotel or a resort either during the road trip or even during the entire vacation.
However, if at all the need to stay at a hotel arises, you can choose either Airbnb rentals or KOA.com cabin rentals. These are better and safer than lavish hotels and resorts with proper social distancing and safety norms.
RV has Greater Luggage capacity
With great size comes great storage and luggage capacity! An RV can easily hold 5-10 times more luggage than a car.
Choose RV for Passenger Comfort
Given the space of an RV along with features such as a table and bigger windows to enjoy the view, passenger comfort is at its peak. A rental car is less comfortable due to limited space.
Car Rental is better for Smooth Travel
Cars have better shock absorbers that absorb the vibrations when driving on a rugged road and make the ride smoother. An RV, due to its size and various parts like microwaves, refrigerators, etc. makes much more noise than a car rental.
RV Rental is a Complex Process
RV rental is a lot more complex than renting a car because it's not just the wheels you're renting, but an apartment-on-wheels. The booking, orientation, selection, and return process of an RV rental involve plenty of intricacies.
Selection of an RV is tough
When it comes to selecting the perfect RV for your journey, the task can be tough since there are hundreds of models to choose from. As an RV renter, you need to be much more proactive in selecting an RV such that it exactly matches your needs.
For eg - Some RV renters need to use a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. A sleep apnea machine such as this ensures that during the night, a power outlet remains adjacent to the bed. Renters need to carefully scan the RV for a proper layout to make sure that a power source can be connected to the CPAP machine at night.
On the other hand, a car has a fixed seating capacity (4-5 in case of a small car and 6-7 in case of a minivan) and you won't find any variation across brands so there isn’t much to choose from.
More Chances of Damage Charges in an RV
Rental cars are firmly built and have a robust structure which significantly reduces the risk of damages. Whereas in an RV, there are many delicate parts such as the mirror on the closet. Such fragile parts can easily be damaged by a mistake of the renter in which case he shall be responsible for its cost. This broken mirror could cost you $100 in damage charges.
In an extreme case, if you are driving your RV through a road that has low-hanging tree branches, it can damage the roof of your RV including the air conditioning panel at the top. The damage charges in such a scenario can soar up to thousands of dollars - you can end up paying $1500, the typical insurance deductible.
Once you return the rented RV, the renting company on thorough evaluation will make a list of all the damages that have occurred. Beyond damages of 1500$, insurance can help but up until that amount, it is the renter who's responsible.
RV Rental Return Process is more Troublesome
The only thing a car rental company looks at is that there are no damages when you return the car. They are not much concerned about the state of cleanliness or the number of miles clocked when you return the car.
In case of an RV return, there could be extra charges for the following reasons:
Excess miles cost excess in an RV
For an RV, you get an industry standard of 100 miles per night of the renting period and at least 33 cents per mile thereafter. For example, if you drive your RV 2000 miles on a 10 days trip, you get 1000 of those miles free and for the remaining 1000, you will have to pay an additional charge of $330.
However, if you rent a car, you face no such restrictions and can even drive 2500-3000 miles without any extra cost.
Similar to the miles parameter, an RV rental gives you certain free hours of generator usage beyond which you have to pay for the usage out of your own pocket.
When renting an RV, you'll be charged on a per-gallon basis for the propane used during the renting period.
At the time of returning your RV, you will have to make sure that the dump tanks of the RV toilet and kitchen are empty otherwise you may end up paying an additional fee.
The rule is simple in this regard - You get an RV with full fuel and you need to return it in the same condition. Anything lower than full might cost you extra.
Late Return Charges are more in RV Rental
A rental car can cost approximately $25 per hour of late return which usually goes on decreasing as the number of hours shifts to a number of days. But an RV return is quite rigid when it comes to late submission. Some RV rental companies charge up to $100 per late hour of return.
Personal Car Insurance doesn't cover rental RVs
In most cases, your personal car insurance policy will also cover your car rental. However, this is not the case with an RV. Your personal auto insurance coverage and deductibles will not extend over to your RV rental.
An RV insurance can be purchased additionally which costs around $35-45 per day. For the first $1500 worth of damages, it is solely you who shall stand responsible. Anything exceeding the $1500 dollar mark can be rolled over to the insurance coverage.
Driving a car is easier than Driving an RV
An RV is generally hefty and bulky. It can weigh anywhere around 10,000-20,000 pounds as opposed to a car that has an average weight of 4,000 pounds. Hence, driving an RV needs the complete involvement of all your senses and you need to have a certain level of alertness and confidence to drive an RV.
A car is much easier to travel. Driving an RV is much more strenuous due to its size. Factors such as extra margin needed to apply the brakes, changing of lanes, wind effect, and chances of swaying when bigger vehicles pass by add on to the complex nature of driving an RV.
Choose Car Rental for Faster Travel
A car can see you easily reach speeds of 85 miles per hour on a smooth road but you will be able to drive an RV at speeds of only 70-75 miles per hour on the same road. This difference in speeds can add 10-20% more time to your trip if you choose to rent an RV.
Lower Mileage in an RV
Also, the total RV fuel charges are approximately 3-4 times more than that for a car. As opposed to 25-30 miles that a gallon of gas can give in a car, an RV averages around 6-12 miles per gallon of gas depending on how heavy your RV is.
Car Rentals are much more Convenient than RV Rental
[caption id="attachment_2560" align="alignnone" width="2500"] Car rentals are convenient in the sense that your renting period starts and ends when you actually pick up and return your car respectively. Also, you get a 24 hour period to do the same and the facility is available on all days of the calendar.
In the case of an RV, industry standards spill out a pickup time of 3:00 PM and a return time of 11:00 AM. This poses a disadvantage because if you need to start your journey from 10:00 AM, you will have to pick up your RV on the previous day and pay for an extra day.
Similarly, if you are done with your trip and wish to return it at say 2:00 PM, you can't do so and will have to wait for 11:00 AM of the next day or pay the additional per hour charge.
Also, the RV rental companies are closed on Sundays and major holidays like Christmas, Halloween, and New Year which means that you can return only on the next business day and you will have to pay the charges accordingly.
Maintenance Issues are higher in an RV Rental
Usually, there are little to no occurrence of maintenance issues in the case of a car rental. The process of receiving a rented car back, cleaning it up, and renting it out again can happen within a span of a few hours. The chances of facing a maintenance issue or something going wrong during an RV trip is higher when compared to a car rental.
Cancellation Risk due to maintenance issues in an RV
Your trip can fall into jeopardy if a previous renter of the RV you've booked returns it in a faulty condition. A broken sewage tank can make the RV unfit for usage and hence it will only be just for the rental company to cancel your booking. The uncertainty can get aggravated during the busy season and your trip depends on whether or not the RV company has ready and available backups.
In the case of a car rental, this situation is highly unlikely given the backup options a car rental company has and the interchangeability of vehicles.
Car Rental has Lower Cancellation charges
You can simply reserve a car without having to load in your credit card details and cancellation thereof will cost you absolutely nothing! For example, you can rent a car without paying a single penny as a down payment if you rent your car through Costco Travel.
This is not the case with an RV rental. At the time of booking, you usually pay $500 or 50% of the whole amount.
Secondly, if your cancellation is within 30 days of the booking, you are at risk of losing the entire sum. Needless to say, you need to have complete certainty of your RV travel plans before diving deep into the bookings.
Car Rental for Noise-free Travel
A rental car is designed with fabrics, cushions, and noise absorbers that reduce the outside noise. Since an RV has a lot of moving and tweaking parts, it makes a significant amount of noise while traveling.
Choose RV Rental for Pet Travel
An RV is a much better option as compared to a car if you have a pet that you wish to take with you on your trip. Car rental isn’t too friendly if you have a pet onboard and you will have to keep the car devoid of any pet hair to avoid any cleaning or detailing fees.
If you have the time, budget, patience to drive long distances, and a strong need for social distancing and safety, RV should be your preferred option. On the other hand, if commuting from one place to another in an efficient, quick, and low-cost manner is your priority, you should opt for a car rental.
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