How to Lease an RV

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Perhaps you have never taken a long vacation in an RV because the cost of buying one has held you back. Besides, if you end up not liking to travel that way, you'll probably lose a ton of money when you sell it. You have an alternative. Instead of buying an RV, you can lease one. However, just like any other financial arrangement, you need to know the ground rules, lest you pay too much. Here are a few things you should learn before renting your first RV.

  • Start small. If you've never driven a motor home before, you're in for a big surprise. They can be as long as 40 feet and are a challenge for anyone not used to driving one. The first time out, it's best if you rent something small. Besides, a smaller one will be much easier to park, it will use much less gasoline and it will handle much easier if you plan to explore any cities. It will also cost much less to rent.

  • Rent a larger one the next time out. It won't take long for you to be a seasoned RVer, so you'll be ready for something larger. First, think about how many people will be traveling with you, then look for an RV that will accommodate them. Don't make the mistake of saving money by renting one smaller than you actually need. It's a common mistake and one that will ruin your trip. RVs range from about 17 to 40 feet. The smaller ones usually are nothing more than campers mounted on a pickup truck. Moving up in size, you will have your choice of either a trailer or a free-standing unit. If your vehicle will not accommodate a trailer, or you lack the skills, opt for a free-standing unit.

  • Once you have decided what unit is best for you, compare the lease terms and the prices from two to three dealers, as both can vary a lot. Some dealers' contracts call for unreasonable penalties, even though they may have the best prices. Pay particular attention to restrictions and penalties based on the number and age of those traveling.

  • Return your RV by the time stated in the contract. Not only will you save money because most RV contract call for penalties for a late return, but it will be important to the dealer if you rent from him again.

  • When you pick up your rental RV, make sure that the dealer explains the unit's electrical, water and propane systems. Since they can be complicated, have another adult with you who is going on the trip, so you can share the responsibility for their use.

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