Should You Rent, Lease, Or Buy A Class B Recreational Vehicle?

If you've always dreamed of traveling around the country during retirement -- or simply want to take weekend camping trips with your family -- you may be considering adding a Class B recreational vehicle (RV) to your vehicle lineup. However, the decision whether to rent, lease, or buy can be a tough one. The right decision often depends upon your family's needs and planned usage of the vehicle. Read on to learn more about some of the advantages and drawbacks to renting, leasing, and purchasing Class B RVs, like those from Fretz RV.

Renting an RV

If you're planning to travel relatively infrequently -- short weekend trips throughout the year, or perhaps one longer trip in the summer or fall -- renting a camper van or Class B RV for this trip may be the best option. Renting an RV is generally the most cost-effective choice of the three, and can allow you to have the RV ownership experience with much greater financial flexibility. For only the cost of a daily rental (and perhaps add-on trip insurance) and fuel, you'll be able to enjoy a fun, comfortable trip.

Renting can also be handy if you'd like to travel a long distance during your trip. Most rental RVs won't have mileage restrictions, allowing you to travel from New York to California without putting the wear and tear on your own vehicle (or risking the mileage overages of a leased vehicle). However, if you'd like to travel frequently -- or would like to be able to take off at a moment's notice -- one of the below options may be a better choice.

Leasing an RV

Because Class B RVs are built on a van shell, they often have similar lease provisions as typical vans or passenger vehicles. Leasing a Class B RV can allow you to have the most luxurious and up-to-date features without paying the cost of a full purchase. At the end of your lease, you'll be given the option to purchase your vehicle for a reduced price, or to trade it back in and lease or buy another one.

One downside to leasing a recreational vehicle can be the mileage restrictions. In most cases, a lease will place a cap on the number of miles that can be driven per year -- if you exceed this cap, you can find yourself paying a hefty surcharge per extra mile driven. Although you may be able to purchase a high-mileage lease, this can have a higher up-front cost. If your trips will be more of the cross-country variety, purchasing an RV may be a better option.

Purchasing an RV

There are several purchase advantages specific to the Class B RV or camper van. First, because these vans are generally short enough to fit into your standard garage, they can be stored year-round at no extra cost or hassle. And because of the economical fuel mileage, they may be useful as a second family vehicle even when you're not traveling far -- particularly if you've recently considered purchasing a truck or other cargo vehicle to haul home improvement items or furniture. A Class B RV can fill several needs at a relatively low cost.

The disadvantages of purchasing a Class B RV are limited to a higher purchase cost and ongoing maintenance expenses. In addition to paying cash or financing the vehicle, you'll be responsible for higher insurance rates and wear items like tires and brakes. However, by taking good care of your Class B RV, you can help minimize depreciation and preserve the resale value of your asset. When your family's travel needs change, you may be able to sell your RV and transition to leasing or rental.