How much it costs to rent an RV will, of course, be dependent on a lot of factors. The obvious ones, how much time you want to rent for and the size of the RV but also how many special features you want to have included.
Prices vary a lot from one rental company to another and also state to state. According to Roadtrip America, “ El Monte RV and Cruise America” are the two largest RV rental companies, so they are good places to start if you were wondering what it might cost to rent an RV.”
However, the cost of the rental is not the only cost that you need to consider, and there is so much more to think about!
So, what are the ‘total’ costs going to be? Before we look at the costs involved to rent an RV lets first consider a few important factors. What type of RV or Camper do you want? Where will you be travelling to and how many people will go with you? Are you a family with small children or are you travelling with Adult children or as a group of friends? Do you have a family car or SUV that’s capable of towing a Camper? Do you want to travel to one destination or tour around? Will you be cooking in the RV? What time of year do you want to hire an RV? What level of luxury do you want?
What’s included in the hire cost and what do I need to bring?
All of your answers to these questions will determine the costs involved for your vacation.
What type of RV or Camper do you want?
Let’s take a closer look at the four main options;
Conventional Travel Trailer – This might be a good option if you are on a budget. The options here will vary from small, lightweight travel trailers that can be towed by a family sedan or small SUV. Perhaps best for a couple of adults only and for short trips or weekends.
You should check your vehicle owners manual for the maximum towing capacity. A Trailer Camper is easy to park and set-up when you arrive at your destination, it provides the added bonus that you have the freedom to use your own vehicle for sightseeing trips and trips to town for entertainment or supplies.
You can increase your Trailer living space by opting for a model that is expandable or has slideout sections. These come with special features that make setting up on your campsite easy and can increase your living space by up to three feet.
A conventional Travel Trailer to sleep two will cost from about $740.00for 14 nights rental in high season*
All prices shown here are approximate and for guidance only. You could pay a lot more, or less; Prices vary from state to state, and you can find various ‘special offers’ and ‘one- way’ deals.
Motorhome Type RV- These typically come in different sizes and price ranges, sleeping up to 10 persons.
A conventional Motorhome, built onto a chassis, even the smaller sized units come with all the comforts of home. You will find excellent storage; some also have underfloor additional storage spaces. The level of luxury is only confined by your vacation budget. You will be very comfortable with heating, and air conditioning included.
Most Motorhome’s will come equipped with cooker tops, refrigerator and a microwave oven: a fresh water toilet, shower and Generator.
It is possible to tow a small car behind a Motorhome, and you should be able to find a model with towing gear attached.
The ‘Van Camper’ model is smaller and sleeps up to 4 persons. A Van Camper is much easier to drive and to park than the larger motorhomes, so you could take your van into town for stocking up on supplies en- route to your destination or while you travel around.
The Camper Van Motorhome range includes models with additional accommodation areas over the cab, and these are typically built on a wider chassis, giving you additional living space.
The cost of a four-person Camper Van for 14 nights in high season starts at about $825.00*
Specialist, Sport Utility – can be either towable or motorized units. They will allow you to take motorcycles, dirt bikes or other ‘toys’ with you on your trip. Some companies will also hire out specially adapted vehicles for disabled users.
The options available in this category vary from state to state but can include hiring an ‘ice house’ or ‘horse trailer’.
Prices vary depending on what type of vehicle you need*
Park Model RV- If a camper model is not for you and you want a higher level of luxury, you could consider a Park Model RV. These can be moved and are best used at a site where you will be returning throughout the season.
They can only be used for recreational purposes and still need to be connected to sewer and water. They need to be ‘hooked up’ to electricity like any other RV.
The availability for rental is limited in this category as most people will want to own a Park Model RV rather than rent, but it is still possible to rent a unit for a ‘season’ in many locations.
You will need to consider the cost of this option against your schedule and the likelihood that you would be able to get enough use out of your rental.
How Much Does it Cost to Rent an RV?
The example below is taken from real life and shows a standard RV Motorhome for a family of five (two adults and three small children) for two weeks touring in May. This is just the rental of the unit; other costs will roughly double this throughout your vacation, taking all of the ‘other cost’s into consideration.
The estimated costs are as follows;
- 14 nights $938.00
- 3000 miles $1020
- State Tax 5% $97.90
- Total miles included with rental: 3000 miles
- Total Charge $2055.90
- Security Deposit $500.00
- Less reservation deposit – $300.00
- Balance due on pickup $2255.90
Overnight pitches or campground fees – The average Campground cost is around $30.00 per night, it may be more depending on the level of services on offer and amenities offered by the Campground. For a 14 night vacation, this is around $420.00.
If you park in the wild, then it’s free!
Fuel – In the example above, the distance covered is about 3000 miles. The average RV holds about 25-50 gallons of fuel, and the mileage you can expect is in the range of 10-20 miles per gallon. A full tank is likely to cost between $75 to $150 to fill up, so taking the average cost, you should budget at least $600.00 for fuel.
Toll roads – these can take you by surprise so beware! While most people will expect to pay a fee to drive into one of the National Parks ( and by the way, you can buy an annual parks pass that is good value at $80.00 and includes access to up to four separate parks) some roads do not advertise in advance that the featured destination includes a toll road.
Activities– On most child-friendly parks, there will be some activities included in the overnight costs. It is worth checking this out in advance. You should also book in advance for the campgrounds that you want to stay at.
Food and Drink –will you be cooking in your RV or eating out? The cost of food will vary. Most RV’s will have a refrigerator, but it will be a much smaller sized unit than you have at home.
Generator costs. If you have rented a pitch with a hook-up, then the pitch fee may include electricity. If not you may be charged a few cents extra per unit of electricity used. You should ask this question when booking your route stops.
How prices differ with the season
There are four basic season’s that run like this;
High Season – July & August
Shoulder Season (early)- May & June
Shoulder Season (late) – September
Low Season – October to April
Prices will vary according to the time you want to travel. Some companies have a minimum booking period.
Where to Camp in Your RV
RV campgrounds vary in size and the facilities they offer. They can be at the side of the road, in major resorts or resorts themselves with space for hundreds of vehicles of all different types and sizes and providing entertainment as well as shower blocks, day rooms, games rooms, pools and courts.
It will help if you can plan a route and decide where you want to stay each day if you are touring or make a booking for a longer period. You would be advised to call ahead and book a space if you need an electric hook-up and sewer and fresh water services.
The most popular sites get booked out in high season, but it should still be possible to find alternatives.
Some people will want to ‘get away from it all’ and not be on a large Campsite, but even with this option its best to check where you can stop in advance.
Others want more facilities such as sporting options on or near the Campsite. Look out for those near Golf Clubs, restaurants and other activities that you would associate with ‘resorts’ such as Spa Centres.
Camping does not always mean ‘getting back to nature’ more people will compromise on hotel accommodation and splash out on Spa Treatments.
Whatever your style of camping, you will meet ‘like-minded’ people who will only be too willing to help out if you are not sure of anything to do with your RV.
Home is Where You Park It
Seasonal Events – There are hundreds of seasonal events that you can visit, and some Campsites create their own calendars of events. These may be designed for the kids or include music concerts and sporting events.
National Parks and Scenic Byways – If you are planning to visit one or more National Parks, then it is worth considering purchasing an annual National Parks pass. This is $80.00 compared to about $25.00 per Park entrance fee. Discounts are available for seniors, and free to the disabled and military personnel and children under the age of 15 years.
The pass is valid for a year from the month of purchase through to the last day of the month a year later.
It covers the pass owner plus three accompanying adults. For full details see http://www.store.usgs.gov
The term ‘scenic byway’ does not mean the route is limited to its scenic qualities. It also includes routes that have historic, archeological, natural and recreational features.
Coastal byways also offer good route options in several coastal states.
The ten most visited routes include;
- Olympic Peninsula Loop, Washington (Olympic National Park)
- Pacific Coast Highway, California (incredible scenery)
- Highway 12, Utah (two National Parks and red rocks)
- Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia (Shenandoah National Park)
- Highway 101, Oregon (rugged and wild coastline)
- Overseas Highway, Florida (Florida Keys)
- 89A, Arizona (Red rocks and canyons)
- Million Dollar Highway, Colorado (Mountains and breathtaking scenery)
- Route 1, Alaska (Northern Lights in Fairbanks)
- Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon (Waterfalls and Greenery)
Do I need a Special Licence?
You won’t need a special licence for a standard RV Motorhome or a conventional travel trailer, but you will need to be over 25 years old age to hire a vehicle.
In some states you may need additional licencing for Trailers with a fifth wheel, air brakes or if the unit exceeds certain weight thresholds. This may include some of the larger classes of RV Motorhomes.
If you have not driven a large vehicle before, you could limit how many hours you will be driving each day, especially if there will only be one driver in your group.
You may also require Specialist Insurance. Your rental company will have more information in this regard and terms will vary from state to state. This is worth checking at the time you make your booking.
www.cruiseamerica.uk KampgroundsofAmerica, inc Gorving.com USARVrentals.com www.store.usgs.gov