Campervan RVs have been at the heart of the classic American road trip since the 1950s, when extensive food and lodging infrastructure began to sprout alongside the USA’s impressive national highway system, and motorhomes first became popularized in mainstream circles.
RVs provide a unique road trip and camping experience that traditional tent camping simply cannot compete with. RVing is more luxurious and comfortable than tent camping, for example, as many modern RV models feature private bathroom facilities, beds, climate control systems, media centers, and more. In the RVing world, the elevated RV camping experience has often been likened to glamor camping, or “glamping.”
Campervans — also known as motorhomes — are a subcategory of RVs that are motorized, self-contained vehicles in which the living area is shared with the driver. Motorhomes are built on a vehicle chassis (i.e., bus or van chassis) and therefore do not require a tow vehicle to pull them along. They are the only vehicle you need for your trip.
Types of Campervans
There are several different types of campervans, each with their own particular advantages and disadvantages.
Class A motorhomes are the largest and most premium campervans available on the rental market. They are built on passenger bus chassis, and measure between 28′ and 45’+ in length. Though configurations can differ significantly, most can sleep up to 10 passengers comfortably, with some modifications.
Class A motorhomes are not made for those with strict budget limitations. They generally feature comprehensive luxury amenities that include a fully-equipped kitchen, private bathrooms (with toilet and shower), media centers throughout the vehicle, high-end furnishings, private sleeping areas and master bedroom, and more.
Class B motorhomes are the smallest campervans available on the rental market. They are built on van chassis, and measure between 15′ and 25′ in length. Most can only sleep up to 5 passengers comfortably, with some modifications. Thanks to their relatively compact size and van chassis, most Class B motorhomes have decent fuel efficiency, making them a great choice for a cross-country trip.
Class B motorhome offerings range from budget-friendly to luxury-oriented. Generally speaking, however, most modern Class B motorhomes feature certain basic amenities — such as bathroom facilities, kitchen, a media center, and a private bedroom — that ensure your trip will meet a minimum standard of comfort.
Class C motorhomes are mid-sized campervans built on a more compact bus chassis than Class A motorhomes. They cover a broader range, measuring between 23′ and 40′ in length. As with Class B motorhomes, Class C motorhome offerings also run the gamut from budget-friendly to luxury-oriented, with certain baseline amenities included in nearly all modern offerings. The choice of a Class C motorhome will almost entirely depend on your budget and your living area needs. For example, if you require a motorhome that can sleep 8 comfortably, but cannot afford to rent a Class A motorhome, then you may want to take a look at some Class A motorhome rentals as an alternative.
Advantages of a Campervan Rental in the USA
There are a number of advantages to renting a campervan RV when compared to renting a towable trailer RV. Consider the following.
- Campervans are easier to setup and require less time to setup when camping
- Campervans cost more to rent on average, but after considering the cost of a separate tow vehicle, a similarly-equipped campervan often comes out less expensive overall
- Campervans provide a more cohesive passenger experience — in most states, it is illegal to have passengers riding in the trailer while it is in motion, so you’ll have to find a way to squeeze all your passengers into your tow vehicle (or you will have to rent another passenger vehicle to transport your group)
- Compact campervans are a great option for newcomers to RVing, as they are a bit easier to maneuver than a tow vehicle with attached trailer
If you’re having trouble deciding on whether to rent a campervan or a towable trailer, you may want to go down to your local RV rental dealership and request a run-through and a possible test drive to see how you like the feel of a campervan. You can also learn more about what it takes to set up the vehicle for camping.
Renting a Campervan — Rental Company and P2P
When renting a campervan, you can choose to rent from a traditional RV rental company or a peer-to-peer rental platform.
In the traditional rental format, a dealership, campground, or other RV rental company operates a fleet of RVs that you can choose your campervan from. The company maintains their fleet and replaces old vehicles as necessary. As such, there is a certain minimum standard of quality you can generally expect when renting a campervan from a dealership or through some other traditional rental avenue. Further, you may be able to find discounts, coupons, and in-network deals (depending on if the company is partnered with an RV club or travel agency).
The traditional rental format has several disadvantages, however. As a rule, selection tends to be quite limited, as the fleet can only be so large, and the model you want may not be available during your target trip dates. Further, prices tend to be higher than peer-to-peer platforms.
Peer-t0-peer RV rental platforms directly connect individual RV owners with renters. As these platforms feature thousands of listings at any one time, the campervan selection is extensive and diverse in many locations. You can almost certainly find the rental you’re looking for, so long as you’re patient. Further, prices tend to be much lower (on average) than traditional rentals from dealership outlets and others. Why?
The RV owner on a peer-to-peer platform has few costs and therefore can cut prices to ensure that renters are incentivized to book the rental. A dealership, by contrast, has to pay numerous costs associated with doing business, from maintaining a lot and property, to payroll, to advertising, and much more. These costs carry over to the rentals, resulting in higher prices overall.