If you want to go on an RV road trip but don't want to commit to owning a camper, you need to know the answer to the question, "how much does it cost to rent an RV?"
How Much Does It Cost to Rent an RV?
It depends! RV rental companies and private RV owners set their own rates, which is why there isn't a standard answer to "how much does it cost to rent an RV?"
The cost of renting an RV depends on numerous factors such as the time of the year and RV type. However, there are many other hidden fees that you need to include when budgeting for an RV trip.
Four Main Factors That Determine the Cost of Renting an RV
Multiple factors determine the answer to "how much does it cost to rent an RV?" Below are some of the most important ones.
The most important decision you'll make
If you want to know how much does it cost to rent an RV, you first need to decide on the kind of RV that you want to rent.
Class A RVs are the biggest motorized RVs on the market. They're also the most expensive. While some class A RVs are relatively basic in terms of amenities, others come with king-size beds and even mobile car garages.
It's not unusual to see class A RVs listed for around $500 a night. Nonetheless, if you shop around and book in advance, you can rent a class A RV for less than $200 a night.
It's much cheaper to rent a class B RV (also known as a camper van) or a class C RV (smaller than a class A RV but bigger than a class B RV). Class B and C RVs cost between $100 and $300 to rent a night, but you can occasionally find them listed for less than $100 a night too.
Towable RVs, which include travel trailers, fifth-wheel trailers, toy haulers, and popups are typically more affordable than drivable RVs.
However, if you want to rent a towed option, you'll need to contact a private RV owner. You can do so by heading onto sites where individuals list their RVs, such as RVShare and Outdoorsy. Rental companies tend to rent motorhomes only to avoid the complications that towing vehicles present.
How long are you off work for?
Most companies won't rent you an RV for just 24 hours. Generally, the minimum rental period is three nights. That's because turning over an RV involves cleaning it and carrying out a maintenance check. These are all expenses that the rental company won't incur if you keep the RV for a longer period.
By renting an RV for a month or so, you gain bargaining power. Many rental agencies and private owners offer significant discounts for long-term renters.
Your pickup (and dropoff) location could help you save money
If you're lucky, you could stumble across an RV that was rented from the area you're intending to travel to and left at the spot you're starting from.
In cases like these, most rental companies will happily work with you to avoid having to send one of their staff to pick up the RV.
Clear skies and calm seas
If you rent an RV during prime camping season you're going to pay more than you would if you traveled during the off-season. Prime camping season typically begins in late spring and lasts throughout the summer and even into the early autumn.
Between rental costs and RV campground fees, you can save several hundred dollars by going on an RV trip in early spring, late autumn, or winter.
Other Fees You Should Take into Account
Many other additional fees influence the answer to "how much does it cost to rent an RV?"
This one is refundable
When you rent an RV, you have to pay a refundable damage deposit in case the RV comes back damaged. Because RVs aren't cheap, the deposit is pricey too.
In most cases, you're looking at putting down at least $500. Sometimes the deposit is as high as $1,000.
No one wants to spend the day after their trip doing chores
Many RV rental companies charge cleaning fees which can range anywhere between $50 and $250. However, you can sometimes avoid paying these fees by cleaning the camper before you return it.
These charges add up quickly
Even if you stay at campsites with power hookups, you'll probably end up using the RV's generator at some point during your trip. For example, if you're traveling in summer, you'll more than likely use the generator to run the A/C.
Almost every RV rental listing specifies the amount of time that you can use the generator daily. For each hour that you go over the limit, you'll end up paying a few dollars extra.
How many miles are too many miles?
Some companies give you unlimited mileage, but others have a limit of between 100 and 150 miles per day. Go over this limit, and you'll be charged additional fees (in some cases, up to a dollar per mile!)
You have to pay the government
Don't forget to factor in government taxes!
If you're renting an RV online or from a rental agency located in another state, you'll have to pay taxes based on the state that you'll be picking up the camper in.
For example, if you're from Arizona, but you're picking up your RV in California, you'll pay California's sales tax and any other applicable fees.
The really important one
If you're renting an RV from a rental company, it will handle the insurance for you. Nonetheless, you might want to purchase additional insurance to protect yourself against unforeseen incidents, especially if you're renting a luxury RV.
As an example, damage protection insurance safeguards you against any damage to the vehicle while you're renting it, regardless of who caused it.
If you're renting from a private owner, they might give you the option of jumping onto their insurance. Take them up on their offer.
First-time RV renters often assume that their own vehicle insurance will protect them because there's a clause saying that they're covered no matter the vehicle they drive. That's not true. Most insurance companies don't expect you to be driving a huge RV.
Where will you be staying?
Unless you're planning on boondocking or dry camping, you need to take campground rates into account! RV campsite charges depend on the type of campsite and the season.
Private campgrounds usually include full hookups and WiFi and sometimes other amenities, such as cable. They cost anywhere between $30 to $60 per night. Luxury RV resorts can cost up to $100. Public campgrounds tend to have fewer amenities and are, therefore, cheaper.
You won't get far without this one
You're going on an RV trip, which means that you'll inevitably spend money on gas. Make sure that you ask the rental company about the size of the fuel tank and what to roughly expect regarding miles per gallon.
Most rental companies require that you return the RV with a full fuel tank. If you return the RV with an empty fuel tank, the company might charge you higher-than-average prices for filling it up. Some might even insist that you pay a fee for having to drive to the gas station.
Want your camper delivered?
Some RV rental companies offer to deliver your rental to the campground you'll be staying at. They even set the camper up for you, but there's a fee of around $100 to $200 for this service.
With some rental agencies, picking up your RV from the lot is not an option. That means that you'll have to accept this service whether you like it or not.
Some fees are optional
Some companies give you the option of purchasing a kitchen kit and a personal kit. You might even be allowed to keep these kits after your trip.
On Cruise America, a kitchen kit, which includes cookware and cutlery, costs just over $100. A personal kit will set you back just over $50 but will get you a bath towel, a kitchen towel, a pillow and pillowcase, a sleeping bag or comforter, a bedsheet, and a washcloth.
What if you have to cancel your reservation?
Before you rent out an RV, familiarize yourself with the cancellation policy. It usually differs from one rental company to the next. Take the time to read the fine print. If you're still unsure as to what the refund policy is, contact the agency before you make a booking.
The sooner you notify the agency or private owner that you have to cancel your RV rental, the higher the chances that you'll get a full refund. Some companies charge a cancellation processing fee, which could be as high as $100.
How Much Does It Cost to Rent an RV? Now You Know!
The answer to "how much does it cost to rent an RV" varies. However, in summer, you can expect to pay at least $100 a day for the rental alone. There are plenty of other costs that you need to take into account before you set off on your trip too.
Nevertheless, RVing is one of the most affordable ways to travel. By traveling in an RV, you eliminate the need for car rentals, hotel stays, restaurant meals, and airline tickets.
Best of all, you can pack all of the necessities without having to worry about weight or space limits! Things like tents, camping chairs, and bug repellent sprays are much more expensive in busy tourist spots than they are at your local shop at home.
Were you surprised by the answer to "how much does it cost to rent an RV?" Let us know by leaving us a comment down below!
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