If you’re an occasional camper who only needs to rent an RV for one to a few weeks a year, you will want to know how much does it cost to rent an RV.
RV rental prices vary widely between locations, different types of RV, how old a rig is and the time of the year. There are a number of hidden costs like gas and mileage and setup fees, and there are several considerations you must keep in mind when renting an RV.
But worry not, as this article will not only outline the average cost of RV rental but will also give you super handy tips on how to save money for your next camping trip.
Where Can You Rent an RV
Before, there was only one place you go to to rent an RV, that is rental companies like Cruise America in the United States.
Fortunately, several peer-to-peer platforms and apps like Outdoorsy have emerged to let you rent directly from the owner of an RV who would like to earn some money when they’re not camping.
This gives you an abundance of more affordable options to choose from. In addition, these platforms also offer advanced search filters, free insurance up to a certain value, the options for extra comprehensive insurance from a number of insurers and good support services.
How Much Does It Cost To Rent An RV
How much to rent an RV depends on three main factors, namely the class of the RV, how many people it can sleep and its age. Typically, the average cost to rent an RV on a peer-to-peer rental platform like Outdoorsy is as follows:
For newer RVs that are less than 10 years old, in the order of size and level of comfort:
- Class A: $350-$450/night
- Class B: $200-$350/night
- Class C: $230-$400/night
- Fifth Wheel: $150-$300/night
- Travel Trailer: $120-$210/night
For older RVs that are over 10 years old:
- Class A: $180-$290/night
- Class B: $100-$200/night
- Class C: $150-$200/night
- Fifth Wheel: $60-$150/night
- Travel Trailer: $50-$130/night
Alternatively, if you travel alone or with a partner on short spontaneous trips, you might not need a lot of space and amenities and can sacrifice comfort for affordability. Below are the smallest and minimalistic types of RVs that would be the cheapest to rent, although they are not as widely available as the above classes:
- Pop up campervan: $50 to $150
- Toy Hauler: $100 to $200
Other Hidden Fees When Renting An RV
Do note that the above prices are the rental price per day. In addition to this, you will need to pay a handful of other hidden fees. Make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully before committing to renting.
Delivery and Setup Fees
Some RV owners will give you the option to come pick up your rental or have it delivered to your home or the campground you’re staying at and set it up for you. Sometimes an RV owner will not give you a choice but you will have to pay for delivery and setup fee, which is a one-time fee of typically around $150 to $200.
Similar to renting a U-Haul for moving, you’re typically responsible for filling the gas tank before returning the rig. Put a reminder on your phone to fill it up on your way back, otherwise, the RV owner or the rental company will charge you the cost of filling it up, plus an additional logistic fee of about $20 to $50 since they will have to take the time to drive to a gas station.
This also means that when you receive the RV, its gas tank should be full. Remember to check this before heading off and if the gas tank is not full, you have the right to request the owner or the rental company to have it filled.
Price Per Mile above The Capped Mileage
Nowadays, when renting an RV, you usually can run as many miles as you want to. However, sometimes you will be given only a restricted number of miles, above which you would need to pay a fixed rate per extra mile, which is about $0.25 to $0.75/mile.
Many RV owners use this fee to account for depreciation of the vehicle. Remember to check with the RV owner or rental company on this to avoid paying for hidden fees later.
Another common fee associated with renting something is the upfront security deposit, which is refunded at the end of your trip if there are no damages. The security deposit for an RV is typically a few hundred bucks.
Note that if you’re covered by Damage Protection insurance, the deposit should be refunded to you no matter what.
Just like booking an AirBnB accommodation, most RV owners would allow you a short window during which you can cancel your rental free of charge. After this window has expired, you will be charged a cancellation fee.
Since having to reschedule a trip is common, make sure you read the cancellation policy to avoid extra cost where possible.
Sometimes RV owners will charge a cleaning fee of up to $100 if you fail to clean the vehicle before returning. Just plan your trip and allow enough time for cleaning, and prepare cleaning supplies beforehand.
You’ll pay taxes on your rented RV like everything else. The important thing to note here is that the tax rate you’ll pay is based on the state you’re picking up the RV in, not the state where you live.
When you rent through a peer-to-peer rental platform, you are often automatically protected by insurance of up to a certain value for free. Otherwise, most rental platforms today will give you the option to pick from a number of insurers and pay extra for more comprehensive protection. Should you choose to pay for extra insurance, it would typically add on some 5% to 7% on top of your total rental cost.
The benefit is your peace of mind. When covered by a Damage Protection service, you will be able to get your security deposit and/or rental fees back in case of a covered emergency cancellation. Such an insurance is particularly handy when you’re renting a luxury RV, since in most cases you can avoid paying for damaged appliances and interiors or for cleaning the rig.
Just like Airbnb accommodations, some RV rentals allow pets while some don’t, and those who don’t might charge an extra fee or a higher security deposit to account for the higher chance of wear and tear caused by your four-legged friends.
In addition, before taking your pet with you, make sure to check whether the campgrounds and attractions you will visit allow dogs on trails or beaches.
Many RV rentals give you the option to pay extra for added amenities for $10 to $30 per item, such as satellite TV, a full kitchen supply package, camping chairs and table, hammock or tent, fire pit and grill.
We should also remind you that unless you’re planning to boondock, you’ll need to reserve and pay for your spot at the campground beforehand.
This rate varies widely: prices can be much higher during holiday seasons and for the most scenic spots in the same campground.
How To Save Money When Renting An RV
As the answer for “How much does it cost to rent an RV for a week?” is, in any case, at least a thousand dollars for the smallest and oldest rigs and a few thousand dollars for bigger, newer ones, you will want to save money wherever you can.
Below are pro money saving tips by seasoned travelers that not every camper might know about, and combining a few methods can together save you more money than you would expect.
Book In Off-Peak Seasons
Unless the only time of the year that you can travel with your kids is during their summer holiday, when prices are higher and it’s crowded everywhere, try to make time for a trip in off-peak seasons in spring, fall, or even winter. You can end up saving a couple hundreds dollars, get to experience a wholly different scenery and enjoy peaceful and unspoilt nature.
Depending on where you travel during the winter months, you can still enjoy warm and sunny weather while striking some great deals on off-peak season rates. Some campgrounds offer campsites right on the beach for half price until mid-March.
Another advantage of camping in the off season is there are more considerable discounts or a few free days for long-term rentals, that is for over a month. Even if the RV owner doesn’t offer a discount, you will be in a good position to negotiate if you’re renting long term, either on price or for extra amenities or camping tools.
Book Campground Ahead of Time
Just like booking air tickets, booking ahead of time would always give you better rates. Booking campgrounds ahead of time is particularly crucial if you’re traveling in peak season and in good weather. Also, the most scenic spots in the same campground get filled up very quickly. Therefore, as soon as you have decided on the dates, make your booking to secure the best spots at the best rates.
If you need amenities such as hook-ups for power, sewer, water, cable and wifi to travel in comfort, private RV Parks would offer better services than public campgrounds. Otherwise, if you want the shortest access to the best view with some privacy, public campgrounds will be right down your alley. There are many websites that provide a comprehensive list of campgrounds with photos, reviews, list of amenities and a filter function.
Plan Your Route To Save On Gas
Many campers might not think twice about fuel bills, but it can add up pretty quickly on long trips. The very first thing you can do to save on gas is to avoid unnecessarily overloading the RV. Next is bringing along a reliable tire inflator and checking your tire pressure daily, as under-inflated tires also eat up gas.
And then, plan your route wisely before hitting the road. There are currently a variety of apps tailored specifically for RV to help you with trip planning, such as RV Trip Wizard. These apps will show you how to get to the cheapest and closest gas stations, as well as other essential RV-specific services and off-the-beaten-path attractions along a route.
Also make a list of what you need to bring along and check with the RV renters on exactly what is included in the RV. This way, you can pack all you need and won’t have to drive far to buy them on the way.
If your RV comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, another way to save money on gas is to cook for yourself, which would also save you quite a bit of money on meals. If the RV comes with a good sized fridge, make sure to stock up on groceries beforehand. For longer trips, research on places where you can buy some along the way and plan your route accordingly.
What To Consider To Pick The Right RV for Renting
Driving a hulking gorilla of an RV on hilly, mountainous terrain is no joke and takes some practice. Know what you’re comfortable with and choose the type of RV you will be driving accordingly, with considerations for the amount of space and the amenities that you need, of course.
If you don’t need a compact vehicle for little excursions around your campsite, a motorhome would be easier to handle and maneuver than towing a fifth wheel or trailer behind your SUV or pickup. You will be driving inside the motorhome itself, while towing means you’re handling a setup with two separate vehicles.
And the smaller and lighter an RV is, the easier it will be to drive, so the smaller Class B and Class C motorhomes are easier to handle than the larger Class A motorhomes. If you need a compact vehicle for excursions, you will be towing it behind the motorhome (note that not all vehicles can be towed this way).
Space, Sleeping Arrangements and Amenities
The cost to rent a motorhome is directly proportional to its size, or specifically the number of sleeping arrangements, and its amenities or level of comfort. Below are the main classes of RVs and the amenities they typically offer.
Class A RVs are the largest and most fully equipped all-in-one home on wheels, ideal for families and large groups who need a lot of space and privacy and a high level of comfort.
A Class A motorhome typically includes a fully-equipped kitchen with sufficient counter space and storage plus residential grade appliances, a lounge and a separate dining area or a two-in-one common area for both functions, a bathroom with a standing shower or bathtub, and one or two separate bedrooms.
Slide-out is a common feature to increase the interior space, and the sofa in the lounge and/or the seatings in the dining area typically can convert into extra sleeping arrangements.
Class B RVs are not the second largest in size of all RV classes, but among the smallest. These are small vans, ideal for the single or couple travelers who typically go on short trips and can sacrifice space and comfort for drivability and traveling flexibility.
If you travel alone or with your spouse and do not need a whole lot of space, then a Class B might be a great option. Vans come in different sizes and heights; there are even extended vans or pop-top vans with a roof that can be raised up for extra head room once the van is stationary.
A Class B minivan is almost always without a bathroom and space for washing and drying clothes due to its limited size. They are typically equipped with basic kitchen appliances like a mini fridge and a one- or two-burner stove and a microwave, and a dinette with seatings that doubles as the sleeping area.
To free up interior space, many smart models today come with a kitchen or dining unit that can be pulled out from the back door to offer outdoor cooking and dining.
A Class C RV is bigger than a Class B, and is built on a truck chassis with an extra cab over the driver’s compartment, which usually houses the sleeping quarter.
This design means you are basically driving a pickup truck with something attached on top of it. Most Class C motorhomes have a bathroom, a dinette/bed combo, and a well equipped kitchen.
A 5th wheel is a large sized RV that you would need at least a truck to tow. They offer the same level of space and comfort as a Class A, but allow you to detach it from your towing vehicle, so that you can use your towing vehicle to explore around your campsite.
You will need to sacrifice a bit of drivability for this benefit though, so practice is recommended before your trip.
A travel trailer also requires at least a pickup truck to tow. Travel trailers come in a wide variety of sizes, but are generally smaller than a fifth wheel or a Class A, and thus are equipped with less amenities.
You can choose from tiny 10 feet compact trailers all the way up to 40 feet long trailers, with varying floor plans and interior features.
A mid-size trailer is one of 25 to 35 feet in length, and typically includes a private bedroom, a dinette/bed combo, a lounge, a kitchen, and a bathroom.