Earlier this summer, my husband and I did something we have never done before. We rented a RV and drove it across the state!
Since the huge RV we rented was a lot bigger than the Toyota Prius we normally drive, it was a little nerve-wracking at first. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for my husband to get into the swing of things and start feeling like he owned the road!
When it comes to renting RVs, there are a few pretty big misconceptions out there. A lot of people think that renting an RV is way too expensive, while others think it’s a bigger hassle than say, booking a room at a hotel.
Personally, I thought renting an RV was extremely stress-free. We didn’t even pack suitcases. We just pulled the awesome 2018 Thor Las Vegas into our driveway and filled it with our crap. Then, when we got home, we unpacked everything right into the house. It was also convenient that we could bring our own food, our own paper towels, and the RV had a fridge and kitchenette on board!
And, oh-my-gosh, it was amazing having a bathroom we could use while hubby drove. My kids pee every hour!
How Much Does Renting an RV Cost?
But, is renting an RV affordable? Although it depends somewhat on your travel budget, I would definitely have to say “yes.”
While the cost of renting an RV can vary a lot, the best way to shop around for deals is to visit GoRVing.com. This website lets you explore RV rental options in your area while making the price comparison easy.
From there, you’ll get connected to companies that rent out RVs in your area. Near us, RV rentals run as low as $71 per night but go up to around $200 per night if you get a super deluxe model.
If you choose an RV on the lower end of the pricing scale, you can easily score a seven-night RV vacation for a base price of around $1,000.
On top of the base RV rental, you’ll have to pay for gas (on top of whatever is included), camping spots, and potentially sheets, towels, and cookware. Either way, you have to keep in mind that your RV is more than transportation – it’s your hotel, too!
What other hotel would let you stay in a different place every night if you wanted – and all without unpacking?
5 Ways to Save On Your RV Rental
Fortunately, there are several ways to save on your RV rental no matter which type of vehicle you rent. While all of these strategies are easy to implement, they do take some time and planning.
Ready to save on the RV rental trip of your dreams? Here are five ways to save that could work for anyone:
#1: Bring your own dishes, cookware, and bedding.
One of the most common “upcharges” you’ll face when renting an RV is paying for a cookware or bedding kit. Since dishes and pots aren’t typically included, you can pay around $100 to have a kit ready in your rental RV. The same can be said for bedding since you’ll typically pay around $100 to have fresh sheets, towels, and blankets included.
You can skip these charges altogether by bringing your own. You may not need a ton of different pots and pans anyway, and it’s easy to pick up a stack of paper plates at the store. In terms of bedding, most of us have a few extra sets of sheets and blankets sitting around. Just throw them in your rental RV once you pick it up, and you’re good to go!
#2: Pick the right RV for your family size.
If you want, you can pay up to $250 per night for a giant RV that sleeps 10 or 12 people. But if you’re a family of four or five, you don’t need that extra space! Pick a smaller RV that sleeps just the number of people you need instead, and you’ll absolutely save money.
Remember that camping is about being outdoors anyway. You will likely cook your meals over the fire, and your RV will mostly be for sleeping. Pick one that’s comfortable, but not too big. Our 2018 Thor Las Vegas was perfect because it slept four people and wasn’t so big that it scared us to drive it.
#3: Choose your camp spot wisely.
In addition to paying for your RV rental, you’ll need to pay for camping spots. This is one area where you have a ton of control over how much you spend.
If you want a more “natural” experience, you can camp at state parks for as little as $12 per night. If you want a campground with a ton of perks and amenities, you can pay $100 per night or more. Personally, I like the more “natural” camping spots the best.
For this particular trip, we chose a camping spot that was somewhere in the middle in terms of cost and amenities. Because we had our kids with us and wanted our stay to be part of a trip to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari Theme Park, we chose to camp at Lake Rudolph Campground & R.V. Resort.
Lake Rudolph offers the perfect combination of natural wonder and modern amenities. They offer rental cabins and spacious RV lots throughout the camp, along with a huge pool and several on-site camping stores. They also offer a shuttle to the theme park next door, which makes it the perfect spot to camp if you also want to ride rides!
#4: Make all your own meals!
The best part about renting an RV is that you are basically riding in a portable house. You have bedrooms, a living area, a bathroom, and a kitchen for cooking. What more could you want?
Having a kitchen also makes it easy to save money. You’re camping anyway, so you won’t want to go out to eat! Use your camper fridge to store food you can cook over the fire and bring your own snacks. Over the course of your vacation, you can save hundreds of dollars by preparing your food yourself.
#5: Plan cheap family fun.
Camping is a great time to get away from the hustle and bustle of normal living. Make your kids leave their electronics at home, and have them get dirty outdoors. We brought along some cheap and fun things to do including cards, UNO, and board games. We also spent a lot of time sitting around and relaxing when we weren’t at the theme park next door.
Of course, Lake Rudolph offered a pool and a small water park as well. The pool was large and clean, and the water park was amazing for just $8 per person.
While I wasn’t huge on paying $8 per kid to go to another park, the water slides were more than worth it. Actually, we got a better value out of that money than we did at Holiday World since practically no one was riding the slides while we were there. Score!
The Bottom Line
If you’re thinking of renting an RV later this year or next spring or summer, do it! In terms of family travel, I found renting an RV especially fun and different. It’s super convenient to not have to pack and unpack, and it’s nice to have some room if you’re driving a long way. Instead of spending 12 hours in a car, you can spend the day riding in comfort in your own living room. Does it get any better than that?
Before you book, however, you should shop around to find the best deal. Prices for RV rentals vary by season and by the rental agency, so make sure you get several quotes. As I mentioned before, GoRving.com is a good source to find the best RV rental agencies in your area.
Happy RV rental shopping, and I hope you enjoy the experience as much as we did.
Have you ever rented an RV before? Why or why not?