RV rental can have many benefits. It can give you a chance to RV in a different part of the world and it can give you a chance to test out different types of RVs.
The only issue is that RV rental can be costly.
Here are some tips you can use to help get this cost down.
Where Do I Find Good RV Rentals Deals?
We love Outdoorsy.
They are like AirBnB for RVs.
They have thousands of RVs you can rent locally all over the U.S. Here you can do a search for your area and see what’s available.
It’s typically a lot cheaper than going through the big RV dealers and local RV rental services.
What Does It Cost to Rent an RV?
The cost of renting an RV will vary wildly depending on the state you’re renting it in, the type of RV you’re renting, and even the time of year you’re renting the RV in.
However, there are some general price ranges that you can expect to see while renting an RV.
1) Class A RV Rental Prices
A class A RV will generally cost between $200.00 and $400.00 to rent. This extreme price variation is usually determined by the year of the class A and the length of the class A.
Remember, class A campers can range anywhere from 26 feet long all the way up to over 40 feet long so there is a lot of variation in class A RV sizes.
2) Class B RV Rental Prices
A class B RV can be had for as little as $100.00 a night and for as much as $300.00 a night. This will often depend on the amenities provided as well as the type of drivetrain.
Class B RVs that offer four-wheel drive will always cost more to rent than ones that do not. Also, a newer class B will generally cost a lot more to rent than an older one.
3) Class C RV Rental Prices
Class C RVs tend to rent for somewhere between $100.00 and $300.00 as well. The difference often comes in the newness of the RV as well as the size of the RV.
People searching for a smaller RV tend to want to rent a class B so you’ll end up paying less when you rent a smaller class C than you would with a larger class C RV.
4) Camper Rental Prices
Travel trailer prices can vary wildly. This is because camper sizes come in many forms and some campers are easier to tow than others.
I’ve seen pop-up campers renting for less than $50.00 a night and large travel trailers renting for well over $500.00 a night.
If you’re considering renting a travel trailer, look first at the ones that you can tow with the vehicle you already own. This will save you money because you won’t have to rent a tow vehicle along with your camper.
If you do have to rent a tow vehicle, look to rent a camper that comes with it as it will already be set up to safely handle that particular trailer.
20 Bargain Tips To Get The Best Price
1) Keep Your Mileage to a Minimum
Most rental companies will charge a flat fee plus another fee for each mile you drive. You may find some companies that will let you pay a set fee regardless of how many miles you put on the RV but this is extremely rare.
To save money, consider reducing the number of miles you drive in your RV. There are a few ways you can do this. The easiest way is to drive closer to your intended destinations before renting your RV.
For example, if you mostly want to use the RV in Florida, don’t rent it in Ohio. You’ll end up paying over a thousand dollars in mileage fees just to save a night or two in a hotel.
Another way to cut down on mileage is to use public transportation at your destination. For example, you might park at your resort and then use taxis, trains, and buses to explore the local area.
If you want to save even more money, bring a bike along with you. This way you can use your bike to run quick errands like picking up food or running up to the front gate of the resort you’re staying in.
2) Rent in A State with Lower Taxes
Different states have different sales tax rates. When you’re planning to travel in an RV, you may have plenty of states to choose to rent from. Even if you aren’t planning on traveling very far, you still may have plenty of states to choose from.
For example, I live in Pennsylvania and can get to New York, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey in less than 2 hours. This gives me many options to choose from when making rentals or purchases.
Here is a list of all of the different state’s sales tax rates, courtesy of the Sales Tax Institute.
|State||State Tax Rate|
|District of Columbia||6.00%|
Just keep in mind that these numbers do not take into account local sales tax rates. In some cities, these rates can be very high so they are important to take into account.
3) Pack Your Own Linens and Kitchen Supplies
As we said earlier, some companies will charge you extra money for linens and kitchen supplies. One way to avoid this fee is to bring your own.
Here is what you’ll need to do.
Ask what size beds are in the RV that you’ve chosen to rent. Bring flat sheets based off of these sizes and some safety pins.
This works better than buying fitted sheets as some RV mattresses come in strange shapes and thicknesses.
Next, find out what the kitchen has to offer. Then, bring pots and pans that can be used in conjunction with your kitchen amenities. For example, if the kitchen only has a microwave, you’ll want to consider glass or plastic containers rather than metal ones.
Also, be sure to pack your own dishware and utensils as well. This can come in the form of actual silverware or you can buy disposable ones instead.
4) Watch Out for Hidden Fees
When looking at RV rental prices, you should know that the daily rate isn’t the only number to concern yourself with. In addition to this daily rate, you may have to look at a mileage rate, an insurance rate, taxes, cleaning fees, setup fees, pet fees, and amenities fees.
One way to quickly find out these fees is to simply ask what other fees are involved in renting. Some companies will include taxes in their list prices while others won’t.
Some companies will charge additional money for each mile driven while others may include some mileage in their list price.
Other companies will charge pet fees and cleaning fees while some will not even ask about pets. I’ve even seen many companies charge extra money for the rental of linens and cookware. All of these fees add up and sometimes the RV rental company that appears to be the cheapest ends up being the one that costs the most after all of the fees have been added up.
5) Rent from a Private Owner
If your neighbor owns an RV that they don’t use, you might want to consider renting from him or her. In fact, you may find that your neighbor doesn’t mind loaning you the RV for free. Bring it back with a full tank and you’ll save money and they’ll get some free fuel.
Even if you don’t know anybody that owns an RV that you can rent, it is still possible to rent an RV directly from a private owner.
Websites like RVShare.com offer an AirBnB of sorts for RV owners and you can often find a great deal on RV rentals through sites like these.
6) Rent for Longer Periods of Time
Whenever you rent anything, you’ll find that you can save money by renting for a longer period of time. This means that instead of taking two or three-weekend trips, you might want to consider consolidating your trip into a one-week long trip.
You’ll save money on rental fees by booking this way and you’ll also cut down on the actual costs of obtaining the rental. For example, you won’t have to drive to and from the rental company office more than once. This cuts down on fuel usage and reduces the overall amount of time you spend on obtaining your rental.
The old saying “time is money”, really is true. So save yourself some time and money by consolidating your RV rental period.
7) Leave Your Pets at Home
Some RV rental companies will charge extra for your pets. Often, they’ll charge a daily pet fee as well as a pet deposit. This might seem unfair but pets do often cause more wear and tear on an RV so it makes sense that the rental companies would want to try to recoup some of their costs.
To avoid this cost, consider leaving your pets with a trusted friend. This will lower the cost of your RV rental and may even lower the cost of your campground stays as well.
Not only this, but not all places are pet-friendly.
This means that if you leave your pets home, you’ll be able to go to more places and explore new things. You’ll also be able to rent campsites in state and national parks that may prohibit pets.
On top of all of this, you’ll also reduce the stress of having to take care of your pets while out on the road. Why add an additional worry to your trip if you don’t have to?
8) Book in Advance
Booking your stay in advance ensures that you’ll have an RV when it comes time for your trip. This is especially important when you’re planning on going on your trip in the summer or during a holiday weekend.
Another benefit of booking your RV in advance as that you can save a lot of money doing so. Often-times the price of renting will go up as inventory becomes low.
This means that if you rent your RV while inventory is still high, you’ll save yourself some money.
Additionally, renting in advance gives you extra time to plan out your trip. This extra time can be used to book resorts in advance, plan out your route in advance, and save money in all of the other areas of your trip.
9) Rent in The Off-Season
You can save money by renting in the off-season as well. You’ll have many different RVs to choose from and they’ll all cost less to rent than they would otherwise.
Resorts, campgrounds, and even state and national park stays will all be less expensive in the off-season as well. Save twenty dollars a day in campground fees and thirty dollars a day in RV rental fees over a week-long period and you could save up to $350.00 on your trip.
The roads during the off-season are usually less crowded too. This can be especially important if you’re driving a large RV for the first time. With less traffic on the road, you’ll be able to get used to driving an RV with less stress. Not only this, but you’ll also have an easier time parking as there just won’t be as many people around you in the campgrounds and state parks.
10) Shop Around
Different RV companies will have different RVs for rent. They’ll also have these RVs listed for rent at different prices. Some companies will charge less and some will charge more.
Spend some time shopping around and you may end up saving a lot of money while still getting to rent out the same type of RV.
Conversely, you may find that you get to rent a more unique RV at one rental shop than you would have been able to rent at another.
My advice would be to find at least three different RV rental companies to check into. Call each company or check out their website to see what kind of inventory they have. Once you’ve identified a few companies that have the type and size of RV you’d like to rent, do a price comparison to see which rental company is offering the best deals.
11) Look at Prices for Smaller and Larger RVs
Sometimes pricing will change based on the popularity of the RV size you’re renting. In some areas, smaller RVs might cost more and in others, larger RVs will cost more.
When you’re making your rental decision don’t be too caught up in renting a particular size or type of RV. If you’re willing or able to go a little smaller or a little larger, you could end up saving a lot of money.
Also, this will increase the number of options you have so you’ll be able to spend some additional time shopping around to get the best deal. In the end, you may even end up getting more space for less money.
12) Consider a Towable
If you already own a vehicle that is capable of towing an RV, you can save a ton of money by renting a towable camper.
The primary reason for this is that you won’t have to worry about paying a mileage fee.
Generally, towable camper rentals are rented out by the day only. This is because the camper doesn’t have an engine so mileage differences aren’t really that big of a deal for the rental company. Sure, you may apply some additional wear and tear on the brakes and the tires but this cost is negligible.
If you don’t already own a truck, take a look at truck rental prices to see if it would be less expensive to rent a truck and a camper versus renting a motorhome. You may find you get to rent both at a lower price than if you had just rented the motorhome.
On top of this, you’ll end up with an extra vehicle that you can use after your camper has already been hooked up. This will give you more options and you’ll save money too.
13) Ask Your Credit Card Company About Insurance
It is always a good idea to get insurance on any rental vehicle you get. This is because one accident could end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars in repair or replacement costs.
Almost every rental company on the market will offer you some form of rental insurance but it can often be expensive. However, did you know that many credit card companies will ensure your rental for free if you use their credit card to make the rental?
Call your credit card company in advance and find out if this is something that they offer. If they do offer this service, make sure you find the policy in writing somewhere so that you’ll be protected in the event of an accident. Print this policy out with you and take it with you on your trip.
Taking all of these steps may seem like a lot of work but it can save you upwards of $30.00 a day. Over the course of a two-week trip, you could save yourself $420.00 just by calling your credit card company.
14) Use a Credit Card that Offers Cash Back Rewards
While we’re on the topic of credit cards, consider using one that offers cash-back rewards. Some credit card companies can offer up to 5% cash-back on purchases or rentals.
In fact, sometimes Discover card will offer up to 10% cash back on rentals. If your RV rental ends up costing you $2,000.00, you could end up saving $200.00.
Also, consider filling up your tank with a credit card that offers rewards on fuel purchases. Sometimes credit cards will offer an additional 5% cash back for any purchases made at a gas station.
15) Get Gas in a State with Lower Prices
On top of state sales tax, states have different fuel tax rates as well. This is why you might see gas for sale at $2.50 in one state and $3.00 in another state.
Fifty cents a gallon in savings might not seem like a big deal but remember that RVs can have extremely large fuel tanks. In fact, some class A RVs can have holding tanks of up to 150 gallons. In this case, a savings of 50 cents can quickly turn into a savings rate of $75.00.
Just keep in mind that sometimes it isn’t worth the time and fuel investment to drive to another state to get fuel. For me personally, I live in the state with the highest gas tax in the nation. However, I can drive 20 minutes away and find myself in Delaware which is number 36 in the nation for gas tax prices. It makes sense for me to fuel up in another state but it might not make sense for someone who isn’t quite so close to a lower priced gas tax state.
16) Pack Your Own Food
Since you’re bringing your own cookware, you might as well bring your own food as well. After all, why rent a vehicle with a kitchen in it if you aren’t going to use it? A home-cooked meal can be prepared at a tenth of what it would cost to buy the same meal out at a restaurant.
The easiest way to save money on this is to buy food at your favorite grocery store before you leave.
Then, just pack a cooler full of ice so that your food stays fresh until your RV refrigerator gets cold.
Alternatively, you could check to see if the area has a sales tax on food near the RV rental facility. If there is a tax on food in your state but not in the state you’re renting your RV in, you could end up saving a significant amount of money on groceries as well.
17) Bring Your Own GPS
Some RV rental companies will charge you additional money to rent a GPS from them. However, many of us already own portable GPS systems that we can bring with us.
Take along your own GPS system and you could easily save up to $10.00 a day on your RV rental.
Over the course of two weeks, you’ll save $140.00 just by bringing your own GPS. For this price, you could actually buy your own GPS unit.
18) Learn to Use The RV Properly
One way to save yourself money is to not incur any unnecessary costs. Many RV renters are inexperienced with RVs. Inexperience can cause you to get in more frequent accidents while on the road as well as while off the road.
For example, if you leave your RV hooked up when you leave your campsite, you may end up damaging your sewer system, your freshwater hose, and your electrical system.
On top of this, you could end up damaging the campground’s utilities as well.
Avoid these issues by being careful and learning how to use all of the RV’s systems properly before you leave. This can be done by researching the RV ahead of time and is another benefit of booking in advance.
19) Rent an RV at a Park
One great way to save money on an RV rental is to rent one that is already parked in the area you’d like to visit. This way, you’ll save money on campground fees as well as on mileage. Also, you’ll get to experience what living in an RV really means before ever having to drive it.
On top of this, you won’t have to worry about hooking up the RV as the sewer, water, electric, and cable will already be set up at the site when you arrive.
When I was young, my parents did this at a resort not too far from home. They ended up liking stationary RVing so much that they decided to buy a larger park model instead. Thirty years later and they still own a park model inside of a camping resort.
20) Get a Package Deal
Renting your RV as part of a package can also save you money. For example, you may find a package deal that bundles campground stays, a certain number of miles, and the RV all for one price.
Oftentimes, these RV rental companies will have agreements with camping resorts so they end up making more money and you end up saving money.
The resort gets traffic that they otherwise may not have gotten and everybody ends up benefiting from the arrangement.
Renting an RV is a great idea. It can help you get a feel for RVing before you invest a lot of money in it and it can be a great way to vacation without ever having to worry about the stresses of RV ownership.
There are many ways to save money on renting an RV and you should consider taking advantage of some of these ways.
Invest some time into saving money and you’ll have more to spend when you actually do go on your trip. You’ll get to see more places and do more things just because you had the foresight to do a little planning.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.