As more and more people – some out of necessity, some out of preference – vacation Stateside rather than travelling overseas, the appeal of RVing is increasing as well. However, an RV, even a smaller, no-frills model – is not an inexpensive purchase, and for those who have never tried out vacation life on the road before, not one they want to make without experiencing it for themselves first, which is where renting an RV makes both logical and practical sense. But how much does it cost to rent an RV for a month, a week, or even a weekend?
The answer to this question will vary wildly according to the vehicle chosen, the location it’s rented from, where you choose to rent from and more.
Here, we’ll be taking a closer look at these issues to help you determine just what it might cost you to rent an RV and head off on an exciting road adventure.
Is Renting an RV Expensive?
This is another question that has no straightforward answer. As is the case when you rent a car, or even a U Haul type truck, the daily rental cost will vary according to the type of RV you rent.
Small travel trailers – also known as pop-ups, fifth wheelers and toy campers) often rent for as little as $100 per day.
Renting the kind of luxury camper home RV you might have seen on HGTV and the Travel Channel may set you back as much as $300 or more per day (about the cost of a four-star hotel room).
You’ll also need to factor in other costs, including vehicle insurance, gas, mileage and, in some cases, incidentals like tolls, all of which can add significantly to the total.
A better way to think about RV rental costs is often to compare it to other options – like hotels and Airbnb – and decide if the freedom offered by renting an RV justifies the cost (many find it does by the way.)
What is the Cost of Renting an RV for a Month?
If you are planning a big, cross-country road trip – and an RV is a great way to experience more of the country – you may want to consider renting an RV for a month. The average cost of doing so will depend on where you pick up your RV, and what kind of vehicle you choose. Final costs are also often offset by things like special offer coupon codes – often readily available during off season months – and volume discounts, as a month is a long time to rent an RV.
The following table will give you an idea of the average daily cost to rent various RV types in the US on a daily basis. (Data sourced from Go RV Rentals Research for 2021 RV Rental Price Report).
You can then calculate an approximation of just how much a monthly rental might cost you.
You should remember that a daily RV rental works in the same way as a daily hotel room rental. The day begins at a certain time every day, and ends at another (often 11am to 3pm the next day or a similar schedule).
Car rentals usually work this way too. And while you may be given discounts for a longer rental period, the basic rate is still calculated by all the major RV rental firms, and most private renters, on a daily rate basis.
The season you rent in will make a significant difference to the price too, so factor that in when planning your trip.
What does this all look like in practice?
Here are some example searches from one of the largest rental providers in the US, CruiseAmerica.com , based on a search for a monthly rental in September out of their Arizona location.
- Sleeps: 7
- Ford V-10 Chassis
- Facilities offered: generator, gas cooktop, fridge, microwave, toilet and shower
- No of nights: 29
- Night Rate: $125
- Sleeps: 5
- Most popular model
- Facilities included: generator, gas cooktop, fridge, microwave, toilet and shower.
- No. of nights: 29
- Night Rate: $99
Compact Plus Motorhome
- Sleeps: 4
- Facilities included: generator, gas cooktop, fridge, microwave, toilet, shower, length 21.5ft
- No. of nights: 29
- Night Rate: $166
- Sleeps: 3
- Facilities: generator, gas cooktop, fridge, microwave, toilet, shower, length: 21ft
- No. of nights: 29
- Nightly rate: $152
- Sleeps: 3
- Ford F150 XLT SuperCab
- Facilities: gas cooktop, fridge, microwave, toilet and shower.
- No. of nights: 29
- Nightly rate: $139
How much of a difference does pick up location make? For the same dates, and the same vehicle, renting the large motorhome at $125.00 per night cost in Arizona, costs significantly more in Maryland.
Large Motorhome (Maryland)
- Sleeps: 7
- Ford V-10 Chassis
- Facilities: generator, gas cooktop, fridge, microwave, toilet and shower.
- No. of nights: 29
- Nightly rate: $205
Can You Rent an RV for a Week?
Renting an RV for a week is a very popular option, especially as a week is usually the amount of time that the average American worker can take from work. This is often ideal as it allows for driving time and several days onsite at a campground if that’s your plan.
In addition to the basic daily cost (which you can estimate from the table) you will also need to factor in the incidentals we mentioned, like gas and mileage.
How Much Does It Cost to Rent an RV for a Weekend?
Using the chart above, you can calculate your approximate daily rate, but you will have to define what you mean by a weekend!
If you pick up your RV rental on a Friday morning and return it on a Sunday afternoon, if you time it all right, you may only be charged for two days. If you were to return the RV on a Sunday evening or Monday morning, you will almost certainly be charged for three.
How Much Does It Cost To Rent An RV for 3 Months?
A long term RV rental – three months would be considered long term – may garner you significant discounts over the daily rate from some RV rental companies.
On the flipside, some may not offer such long rental periods, especially if their fleet is on the smaller side. You should shop around carefully when planning a long term RV rental, not just in terms of price, but also in terms of the vehicle itself.
Three months is a long time to spend in an RV, so you should try to ensure ahead of time that the RV you choose will meet your needs.
What's the Real Cost of RVing?
Earlier, we mentioned factoring in additional costs when budgeting for your trip in an RV rental. Additional costs come along with any vacation, of course.
If you are planning a vacation that involves a hotel stay, for example, you’ll also need to factor in the costs of travelling to the destination, the cost of food and beverages, the costs of getting around the area you choose to stay in and more. RVing often lowers some of those costs, as you can prepare your own food, which may be cheaper than eating out all the time, and set your schedule for getting around.
However, renting an RV does come with additional costs over the basic rental fee. Here’s a look at some you are likely to need to factor in:
RVs can be gas guzzlers. With gas prices rising in many states, this could add to the cost of your trip significantly.
The average Class A motorhome, according to the EPA, average 6-10 miles to the gallon.
Class B motorhomes net much better fuel economy averaging between 10-23 mpg.
Class C motorhomes fuel consumption lies somewhere in the middle between Class A and B averaging around 14-18 mpg.
To help you determine fuel costs KOA, one of the country’s largest campground providers, does offer a gas mileage calculator here.
Many car rental companies have stopped charging daily mileage fees and now offer unlimited daily miles to customers. That is not the case for the vast majority of RV rental companies, and as you will be charged a fee per mile, this will add to the basic cost of your RV rental.
For example, Cruise America, the large nationwide RV rental company we used as an example previously, currently adds a 0.35 per mile surcharge for every mile you drive, as clocked by the vehicle’s odometer.
So, if you were to drive 250 miles to your chosen campground destination, you would be charged an additional $87.50.
You will also almost certainly be charged for the use of a generator on board the RV you rent to power its electrical systems. Some companies do so at a flat rate, while others access a per hour fee instead ($3.50 in the case of Cruise America). Watch out for excess generator usage fees.
You do have to be very careful where you park your rented RV to camp. Many states have cracked down on illegal RV parking and so staying at a formal campground is the best option. These are rarely free however, and while some State Parks offer very reasonable rates you will have to factor them into your vacation budget.
Most RV campsites will vary in price average between $23 and $100 per night depending on the location, size of the site, available hookups and type of management. For many popular destinations, be prepared to pay at least $45 for a full hookup (electricity, water and sewer) RV site.
If you are driving on Interstate highways at any point you will almost certainly encounter tolls, and some of these fees can be hefty.
You will also need to note that some states – New York comes to mind first – no longer accept cash at toll booths, requiring an EZPass instead.
All the Little Extras
Most RV rentals come with basic equipment included, as you can see from the visual examples earlier. However, hidden in the small print may be all kinds of other equipment fees including excess mileage fees, refundable damage deposit and cancellation fees. And don’t plan on returning the RV in anything less than spotless condition, as if you do not, you may incur some hefty cleaning fees.
By the way, insurance for the rented RV might also belong on this list, but as that is a slightly more complex issue we’ll be addressing that in a minute.
Can You Rent an RV One Way?
You can usually rent an RV from one of the larger national RV rental companies one way, provided they have an office in the area. You’ll often find that in some states, even the big companies do not have much availability.
However, if yours is a popular RV vacation destination – Florida, Arizona, California, Upstate New York to name just a few – you’ll probably be fine.
Do You Need Insurance for an RV Rental?
The very basic answer to this question? Yes. But it’s complicated.
Often, when folks rent a standard car, they find that the insurance they already carry on their own car will cover a rental too. Do not assume that this is the case for a motorhome. Many insurance companies specifically exclude them from coverage, even if your policy covers basic car rental.
Another popular way to cover the insurance on a car rental is via one of your credit cards, and lots of cards do provide you with basic coverage for car rentals. And then explicitly exclude things like RVs and U-Haul trucks.
According to CruiseAmerica.com
The best thing to do is to check specifically with a customer service rep at your insurance company or credit card servicer. If you are covered, great, you are all set. If not, you will have to pay the company renting you the RV separately for insurance coverage.
The plan you will be offered is likely to be tiered, just like a standard auto insurance policy, and, in some cases, may be dependent on a check of your driving record.
On RVShare.com, insurance for a 2020 Thor Motor Coach Class C Motorhome starts at $30/day (sales tax not included). For a week that’s a whooping $210 charge.
For an El Monte AF33 Class A Motorhome on ElMonteRV.com supplemental liability insurance works out at $19 a for a 14 night rental. That’s a little better.
Is Renting an RV Cheaper Than a Hotel?
It depends. Taking Arizona as an example again, the following are some sample September nightly rates for a standard king room at hotels in Phoenix, Arizona from Booking.com.
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Phoenix Downtown, Standard King Room: $88/night (breakfast incl.)
- Hilton Phoenix Resort at the Peak, One-Bedroom King Suite: $175/night
- Baymont by Wyndham Phoenix, King Room: $94/night (breakfast included).
Staying in a hotel is very different to staying in an RV though, so it’s hard to compare the two directly. Hotel stays rarely allow you to cook full meals in your room, and you will need to factor in the cost of travel to and from your destination.
What is the Cheapest Way To Rent an RV?
The cheapest way to rent an RV is to do your homework really well!
Do some research on the types of RV available for your dates and destination, and then determine if the lowest priced options offer everything you need.
Shopping around between the major rental sites may save you some cash, and searching for promo codes, package deals and coupons may help lower your costs as well.
To save more money on your RV rental, you could also choose a destination where rental costs are lower, and, if yours will be a short rental – a week or less – returning the RV at an earlier time in the day may save you a whole day of rental fees.
So You Want To Rent An RV, Final Thoughts...
Renting an RV will usually be more costly than were you to head out on the same trip in an RV of your own. If you discover that you love RVing, then buying your own rig may be the way to go.
However, if you are trying the idea out for the first time, with some research and careful planning a week’s vacation in a rented RV may cost less than a more traditional stay at a hotel or Airbnb, and it will certainly help you find out for sure if RV life is right for you!