The RV lifestyle is a dream for many people but not everyone has the budget for such a significant investment. Renting a motorhome is another option, but is it better than buying one?
Both renting and buying a motorhome come with benefits and drawbacks. Buying a motorhome is a big commitment and also a big investment. You won’t have to worry about either of these if you rent or hire a motorhome. However, if you buy your motorhome, you’ll be able to head out and explore or take a vacation when you feel like it.
In this post, we’ll examine both options and help you decide which is best for you.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Buying or Renting a Motorhome
Before you start weighing up the pros and cons of buying and renting a motorhome, consider some of the factors and how they apply to both options.
- Budget: When thinking about your budget, remember to include the cost of not just purchasing, but maintaining and running a motorhome as well. Also consider financing options, insurance, motorhome offers, and fuel costs. Renting could be the more budget-friendly option, particularly if you’ll use it infrequently or just for short trips.
- Maintenance and repairs: When you purchase a motorhome, you’ll need to repair and maintain it if you want to keep it in tip-top condition. If you’re not the best with such responsibilities, renting might be the better option for you.
- Storage: When you own a motorhome, you’ll need somewhere safe and secure to store it. If you have no space or access to some affordable storage, renting a motorhome could be a more practical choice.
- Depreciation: Much like any other vehicle, you can expect your motorhome to depreciate over the years. If you ever want to sell it in the future, depreciation is something that affects the resale value. If you rent, you avoid this issue altogether.
- Financial stability: Is your financial situation a stable one? Can you afford the ongoing annual cost of owning a motorhome? If the answer to these two questions is yes, owning a motorhome could be a smart investment. If your finances are uncertain or you’re worried about taking on additional responsibilities, renting may be the safest option.
- Insurance and registration: When you own a motorhome, you’re responsible for arranging and paying for comprehensive insurance coverage and vehicle registration. If you rent, insurance is usually covered in the price of the rental and the rental company takes care of registration.
- Long-term goals: What are your long-term lifestyle and travel goals? Do you plan to explore the open road in your motorhome regularly? If so, purchasing could make more sense. If you only want to enjoy the occasional adventure, renting would make more sense.
- Customization: When you’re buying a motorhome, you have the opportunity to customise it according to your needs and preferences. When you rent, you’re stuck with the interior and features and can only hope for the best match.
- Tax deductions: There are potential tax benefits to buying a motorhome, but only in certain countries. The interest on a motorhome loan is sometimes tax-deductible, which can make buying more attractive.
- Financing options: You may be lucky enough to find a lender who offers attractive financing options, making buying more accessible. However, you should carefully weigh up the long-term cost of financing compared with the benefits of owning a motorhome.
- Vehicle upgrades: If you own your motorhome, you’ll have the option of upgrading certain components such as batteries, solar panels, and other equipment to enhance your motorhome experience.
- Trip duration: If long trips are on the agenda, owning a motorhome might be more convenient and offer cost savings when compared with renting. However, if shorter trips are more likely, renting might be the more economical choice.
- The feeling of joy: Motorhome owners have a sense of joy and pride in their vehicles and the personal travel experiences they’re able to enjoy. Renting is more of a temporary arrangement and might not evoke the same emotions. Owning a motorhome can bring a sense of joy and pride as it becomes a personalised part of your travel experience. Motorhome hire might not evoke the same emotions, as it’s a temporary arrangement.
- Lack of choice: Rented motorhomes have their limitations in terms of amenities, layouts, and available models. When you own a motorhome you can choose all of these according to your needs and preferences.
- Flexibility with dates: There is a certain amount of flexibility that comes with motorhome ownership. You can schedule your trips without having to stress about blackout dates or rental availability. If you feel like enjoying some time away and exploring the open road, you can make your arrangements last minute. More advanced planning and coordination are needed when renting.
- Personalization: Personalization is a big benefit of motorhome ownership compared with renting. You can choose the interior design, add personal touches, and create a more familiar and comfortable space. There are very few personalization options when renting.
- Tech and specs: When you purchase a motorhome you can choose and upgrade specifications and technologies. For example, pick the latest entertainment systems, and navigation technology, or appliances. Choose motorhome hire and you’re stuck with standard features and customization options are limited.
- Travel preferences: If you like the idea of taking spontaneous trips and the freedom and flexibility that comes with them, owning your motorhome might be better. However, if you’re a great planner and like to arrange things in advance, motorhome hire might suit you better.
- Travel limitations: When you own a motorhome, there are no limitations on how far or where you go. Rental agreements, on the other hand, often restrict distance and certain locations which makes a motorhome holiday not so appealing.
Buying a Motorhome – Pros & Cons
If you like the idea of buying your motorhome, there are both advantages and disadvantages that it’s important to understand before you commit.
- Flexibility: Motorhome ownership gives you the freedom to travel with minimal restrictions. You get to choose where you want to go, when you go, and to travel at your own pace. If you want to you can head off the beaten path and enjoy worry-free explorations. You don’t have to stress about finding and booking suitable accommodation and there’s no need to stick to a strict itinerary.
- Comfort: A motorhome can provide all the comforts of home. Choose one with all the amenities you need and you are certain to enjoy a comfortable and relaxing motorhome holiday. You don’t have to make any compromises on comfort when you head out on the road. You’ll have a bed, kitchen facilities, bathroom, and adequate living space.
- Cost-effective: For frequent travelling, owning a motorhome is a very cost-effective option in the long run. You’re saving on the cost of accommodation. In addition, you don’t have to pay for expensive restaurant meals because you’ve got the facilities for cooking your meals. Cooking your food can significantly reduce your travel expenses.
- Family adventures: Motorhome ownership provides excellent opportunities for families to spend quality time together. At the same time, they get to create unforgettable memories while exploring new places together
- Sense of community: There’s quite a community of like-minded travellers you’ll be joining when you purchase your motorhome. Motorhome owners tend to share a love for adventure and exploration. While you’re travelling, you’ll get to meet lots of different people, make new friends, and create lifelong connections.
- Easy access to nature: When you own a motorhome, some of the most remote and beautiful locations are suddenly within your reach. You get to camp in state parks, national parks, and many other areas of outstanding natural beauty. Without your motorhome, such motorhome trips might be more difficult.
- Remote working opportunities: Since the pandemic, remote work has been on the increase. More and more people are choosing to work remotely. If you own a motorhome, it provides a unique opportunity to work anywhere. There is plenty of space inside to set up a workspace and travel while you earn a living.
- Lower stress levels: There are plenty of ways to travel such as car rentals or air travel, but few are as stress-free as motorhome trips. You don’t have to deal with flight cancellations or delays, navigating unfamiliar cities or airports, packing and unpacking your belongings. You’ve got your ready-made accommodation waiting whenever you need to take a break or enjoy a change of scenery.
- Maintenance: With your motorhome, there’s a certain amount of regular maintenance and repairs you’ll need to do. Diesel vehicles in particular can be costly to maintain. Some things you can do yourself which can be time-consuming. For more challenging repairs and maintenance you might have to pay a professional which will be costly. To keep your motorhome in tip-top condition, there are oil changes, tire rotations, and many other routine maintenance tasks you need to keep on top of.
- Fuel economy: Motorhomes are not the most fuel-efficient vehicles. They can be very fuel thirsty and drink a lot of petrol or diesel. When you’re budgeting for your trip, you must remember to factor in the cost of fuel.
- Parking limitations: Depending on the type of motorhome and where you are travelling, you could face challenges when it comes to parking. Urban areas in particular can be very tricky because parking spaces are often limited. You have to park further away from your destination or pay parking fees for a space in a secure lot.
- Storage: Motorhomes are much bigger than the average car. When on the road and for parking, they take up lots of space. A safe and secure place to store your motorhome is essential when you’re not enjoying your latest motorhome holidays. Such parking can be expensive.
- Limited mobility: Motorhomes provide flexibility and freedom, but in some ways, they are also very limiting. There may be certain areas you won’t be able to explore because of the size of your vehicle or road restrictions.
- Repair costs: Alongside the annual cost of regular maintenance, there are also costly repair bills to consider. Come of the repairs, such as water leaks or engine problems, can be costly to fix
- Resale value: Depreciation is something you need to take into account. Motorhomes lose their value, just the same as any other vehicle. It also makes it a possibility that you might not be able to recoup your investment when you sell your new motorhome in the future.
- Insurance and registration costs: Motorhome insurance tends to cost more than a regular vehicle. There’s also the cost of registration to consider. These costs need to be factored in when budgeting for your trips.
Things to Keep in Mind if You’re Buying a Motorhome?
So, you’ve weighed up the pros and cons and are still interested in becoming a proud new motorhome owner. Before you sign on the dotted line, take the following suggestions into consideration.
- Think about how much you can realistically afford to spend on your own motorhome. Alongside the initial purchase price, remember to factor in ongoing maintenance, repairs, and storage costs. The total cost of these can be a few thousand pounds.
- Always inspect the motorhome you want to buy for signs of water damage, wear and tear, and various other issues. A professional inspection by a third-party is always recommended because they’ll be able to spot any hidden problems.
- If you can, take the new motorhome out for a test drive. This allows you to get a feel for its road handling. During the test drive, test all the features to make sure everything is in working order..
- Financing your purchase with a loan is typically more expensive than financing an ordinary vehicle.
Renting a Motorhome – Pros & Cons
Now you know what to expect if you decide to purchase your motorhome, let’s compare the pros and cons of renting a motorhome model.
- No upfront cost: No large expensive investment is required when you rent a motorhome, compared with buying a motorhome which requires a significant financial investment for the purchase price and more.
- Maintenance and repairs are covered: When you rent a motorhome, most rental companies cover the cost of maintenance and repairs. This saves you money, time, and inconvenience.
- More variety: Motorhome rental companies will have a range of motorhomes available. You’ll be able to choose from a variety of motorhome models and sizes, depending on your needs for a particular trip.
- No storage necessary: If you’re renting a motorhome to enjoy the motorhome life for a while, you won’t need anywhere to store it when you’re not using it.
- No long-term commitment: There is no long-term commitment when you rent motorhomes. Therefore you can try different models and sizes without the worry of committing to a specific vehicle model.
- No depreciation: Renting motorhomes means you don’t have to stress about it losing value over time.
- Flexibility: Whatever motorhome model you choose to rent you get flexibility thrown in as part of the deal. You can swap around your itinerary, choose a different destination, stay one place longer, all without having to make accommodation reservations.
- Convenience: A rented motorhome is very convenient if you want to enjoy the motorhome life for a while. You don’t have to pack and unpack everytime you move location. You can take everything with you as you travel from place to place.
- Comfort: You can enjoy many of the comforts of home with a rental motorhome. It will have all the important amenities such as sleeping quarters, bathroom, and kitchen.
- Lower fuel costs: When it comes to fuel economy, some rentals are more fuel-efficient than others, which means you could save money on fuel, if you pick the right one.
- Limited customization: Customizations options are minimal with a rented motorhome. Whereas with a motorhome you own, you can customise it however you want.
- No equity: You don’t get to build any equity with a rental motorhome, unlike owning a motorhome.
- Reservation requirements: Ideally, you want the motorhome you want to be available when you need it so you might need to book it in advance.
- Higher rental costs: If you plan to rent a motorhome frequently, the total cost could work out to be more expensive than owning one.
- Time constraints: Motorhome rentals are popular which means you might not be able to book a specific time unless you make arrangements well in advance.
- Insurance requirements: Motorhome insurance is an additional expense when you rent a motorhome so don’t forget to factor this into the overall cost.
- Driving challenges: If you’re not used to driving a large vehicle, you may find driving a motorhome challenging.
- Maintenance and cleaning requirements: Most rental companies cover cleaning and basic maintenance. However, you’ll still be responsible for keeping most motorhomes clean and in good condition during your rental period.
- Limited availability: You may find your options limited or more expensive during peak rental times.
- Additional costs: Alongside the rental fees, you may have to pay extra costs such as dumping fees for the waste tanks, generator usage, and possibly even a charge for the number of miles you travel in the motorhome.
Rental Costs Per Season
There are peaks and troughs in the motorhome rental year. Depending on the time of the year, you could end up paying more.
- High season: This is the summer months and the most expensive time to rent a motorhome
- Shoulder season: This time of the year includes autumn and spring. It tends to be a slightly cheaper time.
- Low season: During the winter, motorhome life is not so popular. The low demand means prices tend to be cheaper.
Things to Keep in Mind if You’re Hiring a Motorhome?
Does renting a motorhome appeal to you more than buying one? Before you look for the best motorhome rental companies, keep the following things in mind.
- Always inspect a rental motorhome carefully. You’re looking for signs of water damage, wear and tear, and any other issues. If you spot any pre existing damage, take photos and report it to the rental company.
- As for a copy of the rental agreement and take your time reading it. If there’s anything you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Pay particular attention to the terms and conditions, additional fees you might have to pay, restrictions, and any penalties you might have to pay for damage to the vehicle or a late return.
So, Should You Buy Or Rent A Motorhome?
There’s no denying that it costs a lot to own a motorhome. Aside from the initial cost, there’s maintenance and repairs to think of, insurance, and storage costs. You can avoid many of these costs if you choose to rent a motorhome, but you also lose some of the benefits of motorhome ownership.
Whether one option is better than the other depends on your needs and preferences. If you like to enjoy spontaneous motorhome holidays and take time out to travel whenever it suits you, owning a motorhome might be the better option.
On the other hand, if you’re only going to want to enjoy the motorhome life infrequently and for short periods, renting a motorhome means much less hassle and responsibility.
Is it a Good Idea to Buy a Motorhome and Rent it Out?
A third option we’ve not really looked at is to buy a motorhome and then rent it out. This will bring in an income that could help with the additional costs of ownership. You’ll still have a motorhome available whenever you want it, but it’s also bringing in some extra cash to help cover the costs.
Now you’re aware of the pros and cons of motorhome ownership and rental, you’re better informed and able to make a decision that meets your needs.