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  • Writer's pictureJeremy

10 mistakes to avoid when renting a Van, RV or Camper

Updated: Jun 8

Whether you're renting directly from a business or considering peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms, the allure of exploring the open road in a van, 4x4 or RV is undeniable. However, amidst the excitement, it's crucial to avoid potential pitfalls to ensure a smooth and enjoyable vacation. In this list, we'll explore the top 10 mistakes to avoid when booking a camper for your next road trip

1 Assuming All Fees Are Included

The rental fee on P2P platforms often excludes additional costs such as cleaning fees, mileage overages, and generator use. Review the listing and rental agreement carefully to understand all potential charges and budget accordingly.

Van rental checkout price for a sprinter rental, find better deals on your rental on Outdoorsy, RVezy, Turo and RVshare.
At $300 per day, this van might appear to offer good value until you reach the checkout, only to discover that the final cost has doubled.


2 Not Booking Campsites Early

Don't assume you'll be able to just park anywhere and spend the night. "Van life" is now very popular, and you're not the only one looking for prime spots. Most popular destinations enforce overnight parking restrictions, and campgrounds fill up quickly. Book your campsites early to secure a spot and avoid the stress of finding last-minute accommodations.

Campground full sign in a national park, find campsite and get travel ideas at Outland Adventure Vehicle Rentals
Popular destinations tend to fill up quickly, so it's essential to plan ahead and not rely on the possibility of showing up and finding a camping spot available.


3 Getting Something Too Big

Large RVs and even vans can be difficult to drive on narrow roads, and finding suitable campgrounds can be more challenging and expensive. Additionally, some campgrounds located on narrow, unpaved roads may be inaccessible. Extra height can significantly increase costs if you need to take a ferry. Opt for a size that meets your needs without going overboard.

Large RV on a Narrow road, Find a compact Camper at Outland Vancouver
You might desire more interior space, but it's crucial to consider that you'll need to maneuver the vehicle around town and navigate mountain roads.


4 Failing to Clarify Rules and Restrictions

Van rentals may have specific rules regarding the driver's age, pets, off-road travel, or the use of amenities. Clarify these rules before booking to ensure they align with your plans and to avoid penalties for non-compliance.

Rules on camper rental, RV rental and Sprinter rentals have specific rules when booking in the US or Canada
Owners and rental businesses often have distinct rules regarding camper usage. Be sure to thoroughly review these rules before booking to prevent any potential difficulties..


5 Not Getting Unlimited Mileage

Canada and the USA are vast countries with huge distances between destinations. Opt for unlimited mileage in your rental agreement to avoid spending your last days of vacation counting how many miles you have left and skipping scenic detours to avoid surcharges. Give yourself the freedom to explore without worrying about extra costs.

Open Road in British Columbia Canada, Rent a Compact camper at Outland adventure  vehicle Rentals.
Your road trip will be significantly more enjoyable if you're not constantly worrying about distances and costs.


6 Neglecting Convenience and Flexibility

Don't sacrifice convenience for a slightly lower rental price. Consider factors such as the pickup and drop-off locations, as well as the flexibility of rental hours. Opting for a cheaper rental option located far away from your accommodation or the airport may seem economical at first, but you could end up spending more on transportation costs, such as taxi rides or Uber fares, to reach the rental location. Additionally, rigid rental hours may force you to return the vehicle at inconvenient times, potentially resulting in extra charges for late returns. Prioritize convenience and flexibility when selecting a rental option to ensure a smoother and more enjoyable experience throughout your trip.

Getting to your camper is expensive, Look for a Camper rental that offers free delivery to the airport
Make sure to have a plan for reaching the pickup location before booking to avoid any surprises and unexpected expenses upon arrival.


7 Renting an Old Van: It’s a Gamble

Renting someone's old van can be a gamble. While some older vans are well-maintained, it really depends on the owner. When booking your vacation, you don’t want it to rely upon someone's 15-year-old van that may or may not have been properly maintained. Look for newer models and ensure the owner has a track record of meticulous maintenance to avoid potential issues.

A vintage camper can be really cool but make sure you get something reliable for your vacation
Older campers may seem cool and cheaper, but if not well-maintained, they could ruin your vacation.


8 Renting from an Unverified Source

Especially on peer-to-peer platforms, the level of professionalism can vary widely. There is nothing wrong with renting from an individual owner instead of an established business, but be aware that you may not have any recourse if something goes wrong. Individual owners often have only one vehicle, so they cannot provide a replacement if there are issues. Check the owner’s profile, read reviews from previous renters, and communicate directly to gauge their responsiveness and reliability. An inattentive or untrustworthy owner can complicate your rental experience.

Find a Reliable Camper rental business be wary of deals too good to be true and peer to peer platforms
Ensure the business is legitimate and the owner is transparent and communicates promptly. Your entire vacation hinges on the vehicle, so don't leave it to chance.


9 Ignoring Fuel Consumption

Many renters underestimate the fuel costs of vans, RVs, and campers, especially larger models. Factor in the vehicle's gas mileage when planning your road trip and budget accordingly.

A large overlander is cool but make sure you budget accordingly before booking this type of camper
This large camper averaging 10 mpg (23.5 l/100) will cost $1380 in gas for a two-week road trip (3000 km).


10 Neglecting Insurance Coverage

Don't overlook the importance of insurance coverage when renting a van, RV, or camper. While rental companies may offer insurance options, they can be costly and may not provide adequate coverage for your needs. Explore alternative insurance options, such as your personal auto insurance policy or third-party rental insurance providers, to ensure you're adequately protected in case of accidents, theft, or damages. Failure to secure proper insurance coverage could leave you liable for costly repairs or legal expenses.

Camper rental insurance can be very expensive, make sure you compare the total cost of the rental before choosing a camper
Rather than paying a hefty price for the rental company's insurance, inquire with your own insurance provider or bank to insure the rental vehicle for less.

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