Renting an RV in Portland is a rewarding and fun experience. With an RV, you have excitement paired with convenience – what more could you want? I’ve spent many years hiring them and I can’t think of a better way of exploring the country. However, to make the most of your RV rental there are some things that you should definitely plan before.
If you’ve never rented an RV, then hopefully my guide will be a great place to start. I think this is pretty much everything you’ll need to know before you choose your RV…
My tips for RV renting
Before going into details, I suggest looking at the most important parts of renting a motorhome. While these things aren’t necessarily the most exciting, they are what make a trip safe and enjoyable…
1. Advance booking
Just like you would book a flight in advance, you need to book your RV rental well in advance too. It’s no good planning everything else if you can’t actually rent the RV to get you from A to B. Also, there is often high demand for RV rentals, and I’d honestly suggest booking months – if not a year – in advance.
Also, there are many peak times which makes things even more difficult and these include school breaks, the summer, or any other holidays.
2. Consider Roadside Assistance
Just like with your own vehicles, RVs can experience flat tires or other problems on the way. I would personally recommend factoring roadside assistance into your holiday budget. The chances are you won’t need to use it, but if you do and you don’t have it, it can be an expensive fix. I always make sure I’m covered before I go just for the peace of mind and there have been a few occasions now I really need it.
3. Compare rental prices
There are many different RV rental companies in Portland (I’ll list them further down in this article). This means you have lots of different options for comparing prices.
RV rental prices will vary according to the type of RV, the size, your location, the time of year, and your trip distance and duration. The more inquiries you make, the more choices you have so I’d suggest ringing round as many as you can.
4. Make sure you have adequate insurance
This is a must-have for RV rental. You should ensure that whatever insurance you purchase covers you for the states or countries you will be entering.
You need to have a cover that extends to you as the renter, the RV itself, and the owner. I would also recommend checking your policy carefully to make sure you’re covered for Acts of God like floods or hurricanes, for example.
How I would recommend choosing the right RV for you
There are so many different RVs/motorhomes that it can be hard to choose! Some are ideal for a couple wanting to explore far-out places in the countryside, while others are perfect for larger groups and families driving interstate.
There are four types of RV. These are…
- Class A: an all-in-one RV with a dining area, kitchen, separate bedroom, and bathroom with a shower. Many Class A RVs also have slide-outs to increase the space inside. Class A RVs are ideal for groups and larger families who need lots of room.
- Class B: These are often referred to as van conversions. These are either an extended or full-size van that has a raised roof. Most Class B RVs have a bed/diner combo, a basic kitchen set-up, and sometimes a toilet. Class Bs are best for single people or couples.
- Class C: This type of RV is made on a truck chassis and has extra space above the driving compartment. In the majority of Class C RVs, this extra cab is where the bed is. Most Class C RVs also have a kitchen, bathroom, and separate dining space. Sometimes, the dining space will convert into another bed space. This type of RV is ideal for families who need extra space but don’t want to drive the large Class A size.
- Travel trailer: these are slightly different RVs because you pull them with a truck. They come in lots of different sizes right the way up to 40-feet trailers. The interior features of these will vary depending on the size of the trailer. For mid-range trailers (between 25 and 35 feet), you will usually have a dinette, lounge, separate bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. It is essential to ensure your vehicle can pull the trailer that you’re looking to rent.
Sleeping in an RV
Sleeping in an RV is one of the best parts and should, therefore, be a big consideration when you’re choosing which RV to go for. Rental listings for RVs will tell you how many people can sleep in the RV so always make sure you check this before renting, you don’t want to be too cramped!
However, before choosing one, I would also recommend taking a look at what the beds are like and what sizes they are. If, for example, two are designed to be child-size, you might struggle if you’re a group of adults!
My advice for first-time RV drivers
If you’ve never driven an RV before, to be honest, it can be a daunting experience the sheer size of the vehicle can make things very hard, and then there are those pesky blind spots! Yet when you’ve practiced a bit, it can then become a lot easier as you gain your confidence. If you’re nervous about driving, there are a few things you can do to make things easier.
Firstly I would suggest you practice. If you plan on venturing far from Portland, hire the RV a few days before your departure so that you can practice maneuvers espcially parking!
RVs are wider and longer than your average vehicle so take it to a parking lot with lots of space when it’s empty to get used to your RV’s size.
Secondly, when you’re turning, make sure you turn wider than you would a car. Finally, don’t forget to use mirrors to check the back end and the sides as you turn.
One of the most difficult things about driving an RV is reversing it. So whenever you’re backing up, I would suggest always having someone outside of the vehicle as a spotter. This still applies even if you have a camera to help you with the maneuver.
When it comes to braking, it will take longer to come to a stop because your RV is a heavy vehicle. This means that you need to keep a good distance between the RV and any vehicle in front.
Finally, you’re on vacation! There’s no need to hurry. RV accidents are rare, but when they do occur, it is often because the RV was being driven at an excessive speed.
Extra fees to be aware of
I’ve already mentioned insurance and roadside assistance coverage, but you need to be aware of other potential fees that you might come across when renting an RV.
For example, you might have to pay extra for certain items, pets, using the generator, or cancellations. So before signing the rental agreement, be sure to ask about any additional fees you might end up incurring.
Traveling often comes with uncertainties, particularly in the current times of post-Covid-19 when cancellations can be more commonplace.
Therefore, before signing any rental agreement, ask about the company’s cancellation policy. If cancellation fees are expensive, consider purchasing extra cancellation insurance to cover any out-of-pocket expenses.
RVs and pets
Many RV rental companies are fine with pets, but I suggest you always check with them first. Even if the company allows pets, they might require you to pay an extra fee or deposit, or they might put a limit on how many pets are allowed.
When traveling with pets, it’s also a good idea to consider your destinations. Many state parks and national parks don’t allow dogs.
Some trails and beaches are also dog-free. The last thing you want is to bring your dog along for the vacation to have him spend all of his time inside the RV!
My suggestions for useful resources
There are lots of great apps that make renting an RV in Portland more enjoyable and easier. Here are some of my personal favorites…
- Yelp: Yelp is a great app for RV drivers because it has an extensive database of services, campgrounds, entertainment venues, and restaurants.
- AllStays: This is a huge, all-in-one guide for RVs that will help you find RV services, campgrounds, and places to stop overnight. There is also a list of Walmarts that are RV-friendly, dump stations, and truck stops where you can re-fill propane gas. At $10 for the download, I think it’s certainly worth the money.
- Gas Buddy: This app is a simple way of comparing fuel prices for you to find the cheapest station to fill up. It is free to download.
- RV Checklist: There are lots of things to remember when it comes to driving an RV from place to place. RV Checklist is a free app that reminds you of the different things to do before you drive off from an overnight stay. You can even customize the lists, a feature that I love!
Discover the best campgrounds in and around Portland
Before you start choosing which campgrounds to go for, make a list of things that you’d like from a campground. Do you need full hook-ups like cable/power/water/sewage?
Do you want a heated pool on-site? If the answer is yes, you should choose private RV parks.
If you want good views, privacy, and easy access to trails for hiking? Then I would suggest that you probably stick to public campgrounds.
Here are some good sites to help you choose where to stay…
- Allstays – as mentioned above, with the Allstays app, you can find a huge database of different campgrounds for RVs.
- Campendium – this is a large database that has campgrounds and advice from previous visitors.
- Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Resorts – this is a network of different campgrounds that focuses particularly on family vacations.
- US Campgrounds – this lists all public campgrounds.
My Favorite RV Rental Companies in Portland, Oregon
Now you’ve read my basic guide to renting an RV in Portland and you’re now ready to look at getting some quotes. There are many different rental companies in Portland. Here are some of my personal favorites…
- Bandago Van Rental – Located on NE Holman St., this RV rental company is open every day between 9 am and 5 pm. You can book directly online, email them or call them on 1-866-868-7826.
- Cruise America RV Rental – They have five different types of RV to choose from. You can call them 27/7 on 1.800.671.8042
- Escape Campervans – You can book online or call 1-877-270-8267.
- GoCamp Camper Van Rentals Portland – This is an RV rental company with a difference. Think of it as the Airbnb of RV rentals! GoCamp is a peer-to-peer rental company whereby RV owners can rent out their vehicles to people wanting to hire them.
- Rent RV LLC – This Portland-based company is the largest and oldest company in the NW. It’s also only 8 miles on the freeway from the airport.
- RV’s To Go – This company is based in Portland and offers clean and reliable Class C and travel trailer RV rentals. The telephone number is 1-800-RVS-TO-GO
- Vagabond Vans – This company’s tagline is “Clean. Simple. Fun. Not Fancy”. They offer a variety of smaller vans for rental.
- Wandervans Portland – This company offers small to large campervans. Their office is based on SE Madison St. You can pick up and drop off your van 24-hours a day.
We also have posts on…
Was this helpful?
Good job! Please give your positive feedback ⚡
How could we improve this post? Please Help us.✍
Scott Balaam – writer and photographer
Scott started his travelling life back in 1999, when he headed off on a solo jaunt to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia with just a backpack, a camera and a spirit for adventure. After that, the travel bug bit hard and now he is always seeking to head off somewhere new. Over the years he has lived in Italy, Qatar, Australia, Ireland, UK and the USA but his spiritual home will always be Rome as this is the city which most satisfies his unrelenting thirst for culture, good food and great football. In his spare time Scott loves nothing better than to be behind the camera and also runs his own blog and Instagram page. He also counts Melbourne, the rest of Italy, Amsterdam, USA, Athens, Cape Town and Tel Aviv among his favourite places. Find Scott on Linkedin, Instagram, or Twitter.