Ever want to combine all the freedom and flexibility of a road trip with the luxury of a private vacation home?
Well, that mode of travel actually already exists. It’s called RVing — and although it’s also known as “camping,” it’s got little in common with what you remember from cub scouts.
RVing allows you to travel the country at your own pace with all the comforts of home along for the ride. (Yes, even the proverbial kitchen sink!) You won’t have to worry about stuffing your whole wardrobe into a tiny suitcase, or unpacking and repacking at each stop, either. Best of all, traveling by motorhome gives your itinerary a whole lot more wiggle room. Sure, you can stay on schedule… but if that intriguing-looking back road is calling your name, there’s no reason not to take it. After all, you already know exactly where you’ll rest your head each night!
Of course, RVs are large, fairly sophisticated vehicles with lots of high-tech systems. Even the smallest ones can cost tens of thousands of dollars to purchase, and even renting isn’t necessarily what you’d call “cheap.” For example, a quick search at one of the nationwide RV rental dealerships — I won’t name names, but it’s big one — shows that even a fairly modest Class C RV costs over $1,000 to rent for a three-day weekend. And that’s not counting food, fuel, or campsite accommodation fees, which can add up to quickly double that total!
But don’t give up on your dreams of an epic RV road trip quite yet. Fortunately, there are some ways around that hefty sum; all it takes is a little bit of know-how.
How to Save Money on Your RV Rental
Whether you’re looking to make a quick weekend getaway or are planning a coast-to-coast sojourn, here’s what I’ve learned about how to find the cheapest RV rentals.
Choose the smallest RV that will fit your needs.
This might seem obvious, but the bigger and more luxurious the RV is, the more it’ll cost to rent. Thus, a very simple way to save cash is to choose the smallest RV that still fits your needs and will keep you comfortable.
You might be surprised at how much you enjoy camping in a small RV; it’s a great combination of getting closer with nature while still having the creature comforts that matter most. Just don’t forget that if it’s a towable, like a pop-up or travel trailer, you need to have a towing vehicle that’s strong enough to get the job done!
Check out the peer-to-peer rental market.
You know how Airbnb has revolutionized the vacation rental industry — and even had an impact on hotels?
Well, the same can be said for RV rentals. Thanks to the prevalence of the gig economy, it’s now super simple and safe to rent an RV from a private owner through peer-to-peer marketplaces like RVshare. And best of all, those privately-owned RVs are usually listed at a fraction of the price of their commercial rental dealership counterparts!
It makes sense. A private RV owner who rents her RV out is simply looking to make some extra money with a vehicle that would otherwise be sitting empty. (After all, you can’t be on vacation all the time… unfortunately.) She doesn’t have to worry about funding overhead business expenses, like keeping the lights on in a big rental agency showroom or paying a customer service staff. RVshare takes care of all the logistics, including providing comprehensive insurance coverage and 24/7 roadside assistance, so all she has to do is find a renter… and all you have to do is find a unique, charming rental that fits your needs and saves you a ton of money.
RVshare has motorhomes and travel trailers of all types, shapes, and sizes available at steep discounts no matter where in the country you’re starting your trip from. You can even set filters to help you find your perfect rental vehicle, whether you’re looking for a pet friendly rig or one under a specific price point. It’s easy — give it a try!
Save on fuel.
Alright, you caught me: This one doesn’t actually have to do with your rental price, per se. But no matter what kind of RV you rent or where you rent it from, your second major expense is likely to be fuel — both gassing up the engine and topping off your generator. Motorhomes have great big tanks, and they’re not exactly known for their fuel efficiency. You could easily be facing a three-figure total at the pump!
But there are a few foolproof ways to save loads on your fuel bill. For example, consider taking a shorter trip. If you don’t have to drive as much distance, you won’t spend as much on gas or fuel… and you’ll have more time to enjoy yourself at your destination.
Got your heart set on an epic road trip? Not to worry. You can still save money on gas by finding the cheapest fuel with apps like GasBuddy and choosing the most efficient route on your navigation program. Another easy way to save: just don’t run the generator! That’s simple if you’re staying in developed campgrounds with hookups, of course, but those still have a nightly fee. So get the best of both worlds by “boondocking,” or camping on public lands in the wild, in places with temperate climes that won’t have you reaching for the thermostat.
The good thing about the growing popularity of RVing is that you now have many options when it comes to choosing a rental vehicle — which means you don’t have to settle for anything less than what you’re satisfied with. That’s especially true when you’re shopping the peer-to-peer marketplace, which features a much wider range of vehicle types, floor plans, and price points. Privately owned rigs are often cozier, have more character, and come at a better price. That’s what we call an RV rental trifecta.
Have fun shopping for your dream RV rental… and, of course, on your trip!