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Should You Buy Your Own RV? The Pros and Cons of RV Ownership vs. Renting

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RV camping can be a blast, but deciding how to go about it can be challenging. If you’ve tried RVing a number of times and you’re wondering whether you should continue renting an RV or consider buying your own, here’s a list of the pros and cons of buying vs renting an RV.

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Buying vs Renting An RV, Which Is Best?

When considering whether to buy or rent an RV, it’s important to weigh the all the pros and cons before pulling the trigger.

Fortunately, we’re here to help you by outlining the advantages and disadvantages of each option. 

Pros of Buying an RV

First, let’s tackle why buying an RV might be an advantage over continuing to rent one for every family RV camping vacation.

It’s yours forever.

One of the most obvious benefits of buying an RV is that it belongs to you and you only. For avid campers, it’s nice not to have to worry about picking out a camper to rent every time you want to take a road trip.

You will also enjoy being able to store all of your camping gear in the motorhome year-round, rather than lugging everything in and out of the house or garage each time you’re ready to camp. This will cut down on the time it takes to pack and prepare for each camping trip.

Furthermore, buying rather than renting frees you from worrying about paying for any scratches or dents that may occur during your trip.

Plus, you have the ability to pick up and go whenever you want. You can even rent the RV to others when you’re not using it and make a little extra money. 

You can decorate your RV with your own RV Decor

Another perk of owning an RV is the ability to decorate it with your own fun RV accessories and fully customize your RV to meet the needs of you and your travel companion(s).

Like a home, decorating your RV according to your wants and needs can enhance the overall camping experience. If you don’t enjoy being in the camper, you probably won’t use it very often.

Simple additions like RV camping decor or family heirlooms that remind you of past trips can help to make your motorhome feel like a home away from home. 

Shop My Favorite RV Decor

If you like to support Made in the USA and handmade products when you shop, you will love these fun RV kitchen decor items we found on Etsy and Amazon Handmade.

You Can Completely Remodel Your Own RV Camper

In addition to the small fixes, you can take on larger projects, like painting, creating an additional sleeping area or even decking out the outside of the RV.

Of course, these bigger projects come at a cost, but since the camper is yours forever, that money won’t go to waste.

If you do want to personalize your RV, you can use the money earned from renting it out, apply for a modest loan, or use any extra money you have set aside for projects along the way.  

Related Reading: 10 Budget-Friendly RV Campers To Purchase

You Can Rent Your RV Out For Extra Income

Renting your RV out through a site like Outdoorsy is a great way make some money on the side.

Cons Of Owning Your Own RV Camper

Now, that we’ve discussed the pros of owing your now RV, let’s talk about some of the downside to owning an RV vs. Renting an RV.

You need somewhere to store it.

While buying an RV does have great benefits, it’s important to take note of the disadvantages, too.

One of those disadvantages is storage.

Depending on your living circumstances, storing the motorhome could be a challenge.

If you have a garage or driveway space, you don’t have as much to worry about. However, if space is limited, you’ll need to explore some other options for storing your camper.

While renting your camper out, is an option to defer some storage costs, you may still need to store it during the times when it isn’t being rented.

As with storing anything, there’s a cost associated.

Before buying an RV, you should think carefully about where you will store it.

If you don’t have the luxury of space and can’t afford a storage unit’s expense, owning a camper could turn into a headache. It doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, though; you could always ask a friend with extra space.  

Related Reading: How to Manage the Hidden Costs of RV Ownership

It depreciates in value.

Even though RVs can feel homey, they are not traditional homes. They are vehicles, and as with most vehicles, motorhomes depreciate in value.

In fact “if you buy a new camper, expect its value to decline by 40% in the first 2 years”. What is depreciation? “Depreciation is what happens when assets lose value over time until the value of the asset becomes zero, or negligible”, according to Go Cardless..

So while it’s great that it’s yours forever, reselling it for a decent amount might be tough. Before you take the leap, think about whether you are in this for the long haul.

Of course, eventually you may have to sell your RV as you age or simply no longer need it. But if that time is fast approaching, you may want to reconsider whether it’s worth it for you to buy, or at least to buy a new camper.

If you are committed to buying an RV, try looking into used ones.

Check out these 10 Budget-Friendly RV Campers

Pros and Cons of Renting an RV

We’ve shared with you how easy it is to rent an RV here, but let’s dive deeper into the pros and cons of renting an RV for your RV family vacations.

Pros of Renting an RV Camper

First, let’s talk about the benefits of simply renting an RV for your family’s RV camping vacation needs.

You don’t have to worry about maintenance.

You may be sold on buying an RV even after considering the disadvantages mentioned above, but not so fast!

Renting an RV has its perks, too.

One of the biggest advantages of renting a camper rather than buying one is that you’re not responsible for maintenance. If something needs fixing, it’s not your responsibility to fix.

If you’re renting from a reputable company, like Outdoorsy, they should be taking care of any maintenance tasks before and after you rent the camper. 

Not only can maintaining your own RV be a headache at times, it can also be costly.

To get an idea of all of the potential time and money you’ll avoid spending, take a look at RV checklists needed for the average RV owner.

After seeing all that is involved in the upkeep of a motorhome, you may find yourself leaning more toward renting. 

You get to try out different styles every time you camp.

Although you don’t have the ability to customize a loaner RV, you may have a leg up on motorhome owners.

How so? Well, you have the ability to try a new camper every time you camp.

Not only can this be fun, but if you think you may be interested in buying an RV down the line, you will also have a better idea of what will suit your needs. 

If you’re an avid camper, you probably know that there are a ton of motorhome types.

There are various styles to choose from depending on your financial circumstances and size requirements even within those types.

It’s not that RV owners can’t rent campers just because they own one, but spending that money for something that you already own doesn’t really make financial sense.

As a motorhome renter, you don’t have to worry about that. 

Cons of Renting an RV Camper

Finally, let’s discuss the negative aspects of RV rental.

RV Rental Can be more costly

Alas, as with anything, there are some downsides to renting an RV rather than owning one.

The most obvious is cost. Depending on how much you go camping or travel via RV, it may be more cost-effective to just buy your own rather than renting each time you want to hit the road.

As of 2020, the average RV rental — depending on the type and how new it is — can range from $50 – $450 per night.

That doesn’t include additional costs, such as RV campground rates, cleaning fees, setup/delivery fees, gas and more.

When you multiply the average costs of these things by the number of times you plan to camp or travel via motorhome, you may end up spending more money than you would as an RV owner.

However, don’t just focus on the cost piece; remember all the pros and cons of buying, too before making a final decision. 

You may wish to read our post comparing the cost of Hotel vs. RV Rental as well.

It’s not customizable.

While you do have the option to test out different motorhome types as an RV renter, you will not have the ability to customize any of the spaces.

Think of a loaner RV like you would a hotel room. There are limits to what you can do with the space, as you don’t own it.

Yes, you can bring many of your favorite things from home to make it feel homier, but you have to accept the space for what it is when it comes to major changes.

If you’ll only be camping periodically and for short amounts of time, not being able to personalize the space probably isn’t a big deal to you.

However, if you plan on RVing often and you’re big on having things just right, you won’t enjoy renting regularly.

Dig a little deeper on what’s involved in owning an RV and seriously consider that option instead.

You may have a few more factors to contemplate as you try to decide whether buying or renting an RV is best, but with this list of pros and cons, you will be well on your way to making the best decision for you!

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