RV and camper rental in the USA

Are you planning a road trip in the USA and looking for a suitable vehicle? An RV offers you flexibility, safety, and comfort. Learn everything about renting a motorhome in the USA, including insurance, costs, and the most beautiful routes through America!

Preparing your RV booking for the USA

The earlier you start looking for a suitable RV or camper for the USA, the better. Comfortable all-around vehicles are a favorite means of transportation in the United States and always book up quickly.

Also, if you book early, you might get an early-bird discount from larger suppliers such as TUI Camper.

Preparing your motorhome booking for the USA should include the following steps:

  • Determine your travel period
  • Determine the size of the motorhome you need (small, medium, or large)
  • Compare prices and offerings on the Internet
  • Reserve your motorhome or camper
  • Apply for an international driver's license
  • Apply for an ESTA
  • Apply for a credit card for the USA or have it activated
  • Book your flight to the USA
  • Get a SIM card for the USA

Before reserving your motorhome on the Internet, you should consider the following things:

  • When and where do you want to pick up the vehicle?
  • How many people will travel with you in the RV or camper across the USA?
  • Will there be an additional driver?
  • What route will you take?
  • How many miles will you travel in total?
  • What equipment do you need?
  • What insurance coverage do you need?
  • When and where do you want to return the vehicle?

Book a motorhome or camper van in the USA

If you have clarified all questions about the booking, reserve your motorhome at the best available price via one of the well-known booking portals on the Internet.

After your booking, you will receive a confirmation from the provider by email, on which you will find either the order confirmation or a booking confirmation already. Whether the booking is confirmed directly or not depends on the availability of the vehicle type, additional equipment, or extra requests such as a one-way booking.

Later in the process (but no later than four weeks before your trip to the USA begins), you will receive the voucher for the RV booking, which you must present to the rental car company when you pick up your vehicle.

It is best to create a folder for your travel documents where you keep order and reservation confirmations, vouchers, all tickets, and the printout of your ESTA approval.

Camping on the beach in the USA with motorhome

What types of RVs are there?

The good thing about RVs, as opposed to campervans, is that they are fully equipped and allow you to live comfortably on the road. But still, you are spoiled for choice when choosing your mobile home for the USA.

RV sizes in the USA

You can choose between the following RV sizes for your USA road trip:

Small motorhome

  • Up to 3 passengers
  • Length up to approx. 6.20 m

Medium size motorhome

  • Up to 6 passengers
  • Length up to approx. 8.40 m

Large motorhome

  • Up to 9 passengers
  • Length up to approx. 10 m

In addition, there is a distinction between different types of motorhomes:

  • Camper with alcove: sleeping alcove above the driver's cab + living space
  • Partially integrated motorhome: separated driver's cab, which is not intended as living space
  • Fully integrated motorhome: high-quality living space that extends into the driver's cab

The division into Class A (typical American luxury coach), Class B (mid-size RV, typical in Europe,) and Class C (semi-integrated RV on a pick-up frame) brings even more flavor to the game.

Motorhome equipment in the USA

Take some time to spot the RV of your dreams. Each model has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, what you gain in luxury by driving around the USA in a large "Class A" motorhome, you'll have to pay for in money and possible driving difficulties due to less maneuverability.

Equipment for a motorhome in the USA

If you have found the right type of motorhome for you, you can take a look at the available equipment and make additional reservations if necessary. The following equipment is available at all motorhome providers in the USA:

  • Air conditioning
  • Heating
  • Radio
  • CD player
  • USB ports
  • TV set
  • Kitchenette with stove and sink
  • Refrigerator with or without freezer compartment
  • Microwave oven
  • Hot and cold running water
  • Bathroom with shower and toilet
  • Double beds
  • Child seats

Suppose you have special needs when it comes to technology. In that case, you can also ask your caravan provider about satellite phones, toll transponders, emergency beacons, and similar gadgets for your USA trip.

How much does an RV cost in the USA?

The costs for RVs in the USA vary depending on the season, region, size, type, and equipment. You can expect a minimum price of about 150 € per day - no upper limits. For a camper van without a toilet and shower, you pay, of course, much less.

Requirements to rent a motorhome in the USA

To rent a motorhome in the United States, you must generally be 21 years old. Younger drivers, 18 years and older, can rent a motorhome for an extra fee at some rental agencies.

To rent and drive an RV in the US, you need a Class B driver's license (Class C may also be required for particularly large vehicles). An international driver's license is not mandatory in the States but is still recommended by traffic experts.

The reason is that some car rental companies and traffic police officers in certain US states, e.g., Georgia, Florida, or Kentucky, may require you to carry the official driver's license translation.

Documents for motorhome pick-up

Bring the following documents to the pick-up appointment:

  • Passport
  • Driver's license
  • International Driver's License
  • Printed RV voucher
  • Credit card with PIN

What to consider when renting an RV in the USA?

The whole process may initially seem a bit complicated if you're renting an RV in the US for the first time. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Have a deposit ready

When you pick up your RV, a rental deposit will be blocked on your American credit card that is unavailable to you until you return the vehicle. We, therefore, recommend that you take more than one credit card with you.

Read the terms and conditions

In the terms and conditions, you will find information about your obligations in dealing with the equipment, measures in the event of breakdowns, and routes that are not permitted. For example, you may be prohibited from driving on gravel and dirt roads or in particularly remote areas.

Insurance for a motorhome or camper in the USA

When renting a motorhome in the USA, a comprehensive insurance package with a deductible is usually already included in the price. These packages are designed to provide you with sufficient protection in the event of an accident.

However, you can choose to add additional coverage for any incidents that may occur. The most common insurance options include:

  • Reduction of the deductible through higher insurance premium
  • Glass and tire insurance
  • Passenger insurance
  • Property insurance for personal belongings

Additional costs

In addition to the caravan rental and the agreed insurance package (which is usually included in the price), you may incur other costs. These may include:

  • Cost of fuel
  • Cost per additional kilometer driven
  • Toll fees
  • Fee for kitchen equipment, towels, and bed linen
  • Rent for campsites
  • Entrance fees for national parks
  • Local taxes in the different US states
  • Additional fees for one-way routes
  • Cost of refueling
  • Extra costs for border crossings outside the agreed driving area

Refueling policy for motorhomes in the USA

Be sure to check the fueling policy of your motorhome rental company. If it is a Full/Full arrangement, you will receive your RV with a full tank and return it with a full tank. In case of a Full/Empty refueling arrangement, an employee of the rental company will take care of the refueling after you return the vehicle.

If possible, you should choose the Full/Full arrangement, as refueling by an employee of the rental company is often charged expensively.

RV or camper in the USA: Pick up and return

Before you can pick up your motorhome from the rental company, you must have been present in the USA for at least one day. This is a safety measure to prevent accidents caused by fatigue (e.g., jet lag from a long-haul flight).

You will go through the following steps at the car rental office:

  • Presentation of your documents (driver's license, voucher, passport)
  • A brief discussion of the terms and conditions
  • The signing of the rental contract
  • Introduction to the motorhome or camper (operation of generators, air conditioning, and facilities and other things)
  • A walk around the vehicle, recording possible damages
  • An inventory of the rented accessories
  • Noting the mileage
  • Noting the fuel level in the tank
  • Handing over the keys and vehicle documents

When signing the rental contract, make sure that the data in the voucher match the data in the contract.

Checklist for the camper or RV pick-up

When walking around the motorhome or camper before you pick it up, you should take a close look to avoid any hassle upon return. Compare the notes from the person in charge with what you see on and in the vehicle.

Important checks include:

  • Mileage and fuel level
  • Cleanliness of the vehicle
  • Paint and body damage
  • Damage to windows
  • Type and scope of accessories
  • Legally required equipment (e.g., first aid kit - depending on the state)
  • Condition of tires
  • The functionality of brakes, switches, levers, turn signals, headlights, and wipers
  • The functionality of shower, toilet, kitchenette, and hi-fi equipment (if any)
  • Fill level of fresh water tank
  • Fill level of wastewater tanks

At the handover, insist on being given a manual for the particular model of vehicle.

Checklist for the return of the camper van or RV

Just like at pick-up, when you return your motorhome, you need to make sure that the vehicle condition, accessories, and tank levels are properly documented in a handover log. Pay particular attention to:

  • Mileage
  • Fuel level
  • Adherence to the agreed tank regulation
  • The correct counting of the accessories

Subject the motorhome and all accessories to a thorough cleaning before returning them to avoid complaints and disproportionate costs for additional professional cleaning.

If, according to the terms of use, the emptying of waste water and toilet tanks is part of your duties, you must also do this before returning the motorhome.


You must be on time to return the motorhome. Otherwise, high penalties may apply! If a delay can not be avoided, then inform the motorhome rental as early as possible and arrange a later date.

Camping in the USA with a motorhome

A USA road trip with an RV is a very special experience full of adventure, starry nights, exciting encounters, and the typical American freedom feeling. However, even in the USA, there are certain rules when camping.

Wild camping with motorhome in California

Campgrounds in the USA: What are the rules?

If you are driving your RV through the USA in high season and want to stay at popular campgrounds, you should reserve a spot for your motorhome well in advance every day.

Should a reservation not be possible (which is generally the case at some campgrounds), always plan enough time for a "Plan B" to park somewhere else in case of an emergency.

We recommend that you arrive at your next campsite no later than noon. Find out about the facilities of the campsite before you arrive:

  • Is there running water?
  • Are there showers?
  • Are there connections for electricity, water, and sewage?
  • Can gas bottles be filled up?
  • Is there a fireplace?
  • Is there a supermarket nearby?

The answers to these questions can be essential for your planning. If there are no sewage connections, you might have to go to a "Water and Dump Station," and if there is no gas supply, you might have to have your bottles filled up beforehand.

There are three comfort categories for RV camping in the USA:

  • Full hookup: electricity, fresh water, sewage disposal, and more (e.g., cable TV and Internet)
  • Hookup: Connections for electricity and freshwater
  • No Hookup: Pitch only (also called "Dry Camping")

Additionally, you will hear the terms "boondocking" and "dispersed camping" quite often during your camping trip in the USA. They refer to wild camping, which is not allowed in every location in the USA but only in certain places such as national parks, national forests, certain parking lots, country parks, city parks, and some hiking areas.

Itineraries with motorhome in the U.S.

USA road trip with an RV or camper

Have you reserved your RV, booked your flight, and applied for your ESTA to enter the USA? Great, now you can plan the route for your American road trip! We have some recommendations for sensational RV routes through the USA:

  • Southern road trip from Miami to Atlanta (1,140 km) with stops in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie, Orlando, Gainesville, Tifton, Macon, and Atlanta
  • West Coast road trip from Santa Barbara to San Diego (380 km) with stops in Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks, Inglewood, Long Beach, Laguna Niguel, Oceanside, and San Diego
  • East Coast road trip from Boston to New York City (980 km) with stops in Boston, Provincetown, Yarmouth, Martha's Vineyard, Mystic, Old Saybrook, the Hamptons, Montauk, and New York City
  • Route 66 from St. Louis to Santa Monica (3,300 km) with stops in St. Louis, Springfield, Flagstaff, at the Grand Canyon, in Las Vegas, at Red Rock Canyon, and in Santa Monica

Traffic rules in the USA

When driving your motorhome in the USA, always make sure to follow the traffic rules in the respective US state because the US road patrols are not joking around.

Since you have to pay tolls on many roads, you should also always have your American credit card with you, as well as (for the few old machines) sufficient coinage.

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