Picture it: you’ve got your bags packed, your dry goods ready, your emergency roadside kit at hand, and your maps (let’s be honest, your GPS) marked—you’re ready to go on your very first RV trip!
Only you’re missing one thing: a budget! The average cost of renting an RV from major rental companies like RVShare, Outdoorsy, or Escape Campervans can be really subjective and depends on a whole lot of different details.
So how much does it cost to rent an RV? Don’t fret! You don’t need to guess when trying to outline your budget. It can be estimated by determining a few different factors.
If you’re looking for some insight on how to best assess the cost of your RV rental, keep reading!
Types of RVs
One of the first things to consider when planning your RV trip and therefore planning your budget is what kind of RV you actually want to rent.
The prices can vary between makes and models, but to make it simple, you can separate RVs into two main categories: drivable and towable.
Driveable RVs are probably what comes to mind when you think of a motorhome. Of these motorhomes, there are three designations.
Class A Motorhomes are the largest and most expensive option, but they can be a necessity if you’re traveling with your whole family or are considering spending a long time in your RV.
Depending on the specifics, Class A’s can cost up to $300 a night to rent.
Class C Motorhomes are a good middle-of-the-road option that is still self-contained and comfortable but smaller and less luxurious than Class A Motorhomes. As a cheaper option, Class Cs can cost up to $200 a night to rent.
Finally, Class B Motorhomes are more akin to camper vans. If you’re considering a shorter trip or are traveling by yourself, they’re an excellent option and are usually $20 to $50 cheaper a night than class Cs.
Towable RVs require a durable vehicle with a trailer hookup to move from place to place. Just like the drivable RVs, you have lots of different sizes and amenity options when choosing a towable RV.
Depending on what you need, towable RVs are a more cost-effective option for many folks, typically less than $200 a night to rent.
Extra RV Rental Fees to Expect
Estimating the cost of renting an RV doesn’t stop at just the RV. In addition, there are some other necessary costs you need to budget for to best prepare for your trip.
Fuel and Mileage Fees
Aside from the RV itself, fuel and mileage fees are going to be the biggest financial factor in renting an RV.
If you’ve opted for a drivable RV, keep in mind that you’ll likely be spending hundreds of dollars every time you fill up. The gas tank is much larger than a car’s, and the weight of the RV means it will burn through fuel much faster.
Towable RVs will still come with an extra fuel cost. The addition of the RV and trailer attached to your vehicle will result in your filling up your tank much more frequently.
Another potential cost you might need to budget for is mileage fees. Depending on the company you rent through, you might be given an allotted number of miles you can travel per day with an extra charge of up to $.75 per mile exceeding that amount.
Mileage Fees are not a universal cost across the board, so make sure you check or inquire in advance!
Taxes and Rental Insurance
Without a doubt, taxes and rental insurance will be additional costs to factor into your RV rental budget.
The taxes you’ll pay on your RV will depend on the state you pick it up in, not the state you personally live in, so they’re subject to differ.
Rental insurance is another necessary charge. Renters insurance will typically be included in the price of your RV rental, but liability or damage insurance is the responsibility of the renter.
Though getting an extra policy isn’t mandatory, it’s a good idea to have as much protection for yourself and your rental as possible. It’ll be worth it in the end!
Other Expenses You Need to Consider When Renting an RV
With the rental itself, the taxes, fuel and mileage fees, and insurance accounted for, you’ve got the basics down.
However, there are a few other expenses you may need to work out depending on the specifics of your trip! Just like any other kind of vacation, you’ll want to make sure you have the funds for fun.
And, of course, you’ll need to leave your vehicle as clean as you found it.
Tip: book your rentals and reservations off-peak if you can! You’re likely to find better prices.
RV Campsite Rates & Fees
There is a lot of disparity in the cost of RV campsites or resorts. Typically, you can guesstimate based on the amenities offered what you can expect to pay.
For smaller, more low-key campgrounds or sites, you can spend as low as $20 a night to park your RV. However, the likelihood that you’ll have access to clean bathrooms and showers, wifi, or a camp store for that price is pretty slim.
If your budget comes first and you’re willing to rough it just a little, this could be a great option for you.
However, some more luxurious campsites will have those amenities and more, including pools, sports courts, shops, and dining. For these sites, you can expect to pay around $100 a night or more.
Park & Attraction Entrance Fees
Surely, you’ll be eager to hit the town and see the sites throughout your travels.
Most national parks are free, but some have an entrance fee of up to $60. Do you want to see a local concert while you’re at it? Or maybe an amusement park? What about a guided tour? Maybe you’ll want to rent some mountain bikes and go riding one day.
These are all things to consider at the top of your planning to ensure that you have the money set aside for both needs and wants.
Upon returning your RV rental, you may or may not have to pay a cleaning fee. Sometimes that will be included in your rental price, or if you do a great job of cleaning yourself, the fee will be minimal or entirely waived.
If you’d rather pay a fee and just drop your rental off as is, that’s fine too! But either way, make sure you consider cleaning fees in your overall plan.
The other costs you may encounter when renting an RV are going to be different per person, per RV, and per trip.
If it’s your first time ever taking an RV for a long-haul spin, you may not have the necessary tools and equipment on hand. Thus, you should also budget for things like a first aid kit, a generator, a roadside kit, camping kitchenware, or tarps.
Again, some RVs might already be equipped with a few of these necessities (something else to research!), but if not, you’ll want to have those ready to go before you set off.
Of course, you’ll also need food, water, toiletries, clothes, bedding, and more, which, again, you may already have on hand.
Best practice is to make a list of what you have and what you still need first so you can budget from there.
How Much Does it Cost to Rent an RV?: FAQ
Should I consider buying an RV vs. renting one?
To answer this question, you should ask yourself another question: how often will I use it?
If you’re a frequent RV traveler, it might be in your best interest to purchase an RV and avoid a lot of the rental fees. But it’s a big cost to undertake if you aren’t sure you’ll get your money’s worth out of it.
Do you need insurance for an RV rental?
Yes, absolutely you do. Just like a car or a home, you’ll need to have your rental insured.
Sometimes, this fee is already calculated into your rental costs and therefore doesn’t require extra budgeting. But, you may have to purchase this yourself depending on the company specifics.
If you’re traveling with children or pets or are planning on tackling some rough terrain, it may be in your best interest to explore additional insurance to ensure you and your loved ones are safe from any additional costs or damage.
Is renting an RV cheaper than a hotel?
It can be if you want it to be! More often than not, though, the price per night breakdown will probably be comparable.
The difference between renting an RV or staying in a hotel when traveling is less about weighing costs and more about the experience you want to have.
Ready to Rent an RV?
As you can see, there are a lot of different factors that go into the guesstimated price of an RV trip. What’s important is deciding which options are right for you and accounting for those details in your budget.
Visit our post about the best places to rent an RV for even more information. Happy camping!
- About the Author
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Leah is a writer, editor, and content manager with a master’s degree in English. Naturally, she is passionate about all things writing and learning.
She is proud to call North Carolina (specifically, the Outer Banks) home and loves exploring the state’s stunning coastline, sprawling Blue Ridge, and everything in between.
Leah can be reached at email@example.com