Booking the campsite

Once the RV was booked, it was time to get my KOA campsite. You need to give KOA details so your RV fits. I noted that I was bringing a 28-foot motorhome with slideouts (they widen the space inside the RV).

I ended up with a nice space near the store and th

I ended up with a nice space near the store and the playground. My space was out in the open, but my RV had its own awning. It was nice to have protection from the sun when using the RV’s outdoor kitchen. The site also came with a picnic table and fire pit with wood supplied by KOA. There was enough room to park the RV and my car.

If you arrive before the store closes, it’s

If you arrive before the store closes, it’s an easy check-in. I showed my ID and handed over my credit card. I got a map and my space number. I had previously sent that information to Jessie, who met me at my reserved spot.

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Cost to Rent an RV in Austin

 

Overall, daily rates for RV rentals in Austin, Texas exceed the national average. Interestingly, when you drill down, you’ll see this is because motorhome prices are considerably above average. On the other hand travel trailers are considerably below average prices. As an example, the capital city of Texas has some of the lowest prices on campers in the USA—travel trailers rent for a sweet $105 per day, much less than the average of $116 across 20 major metro areas. That would save you about $80 on the cost to rent an RV for a week.

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What Is The Cheapest Way to Rent an RV?

It can be costly to rent an RV for your vacation, but there are some simple ways to save. Here are our top recommendations. 

Use a Peer-to-Peer Rental Service

Renting peer-to-peer vs. through a large corporation usually means better prices. You’ll also have more options for RVs, letting you choose an RV type and size that fits your budget. Sometimes, you can also negotiate prices or get long-term discounts when renting peer-to-peer. 

Book During the Off-Season

Another straightforward way to cut costs is to book during the off-season. Let supply and demand benefit you. If you can plan your vacation in the early fall or spring, you’ll have more choices and lower fees. 

Plan Meals Instead of Eating Out

One massive perk of renting an RV for your trip is having a full kitchen, so you can plan your food and cook “at home.” You’ll save a lot compared to the cost of eating out for every meal. So, take advantage of this fantastic RV benefit!

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to read our guide on How To Save Money On Food When RVing.

Book Campgrounds Ahead of Time

Book Campgrounds Ahead of Time

Booking your stay in advance can also help you get the best price. Plus, you’ll have time to plan your trip and choose the best parks for camping.

Not only can booking save you money, but it will make your travels less stressful. Nothing is worse than scrambling to find a campground because you waited until the last minute. 

Cruise America Delivery Specials

Cruise America sometimes offers specials, such as factory delivery specials in which you are offered a discount to drive one of their RVs from a specific city to a different destination city. For example, a special rate of $19 per night was offered for picking up a 30 foot Class C in Chicago, Illinois and delivering it to Phoenix, Arizona within the specified timeframe. As of June 1, 2018, the following specials were offered:

Cruise America specials for delivering their brand
Cruise America specials for delivering their brand new motorhomes to different cities as of June 1, 2018.

Other RV Rental Costs to Consider

When planning your perfect family getaway, there are other costs to keep in mind. Don’t plan a trip without considering the following additional costs. We share a few important tips below but be sure to read all our tips on How To Save Money On A RV Road Trip later.

Campgrounds

RV rental prices don’t include the nightly rate of staying at an RV park or campground. You’ll usually pay an average of $35-$50 a night for full hookup sites. But in some popular destinations or high-end resorts, prices could be $100 a night or more. 

Gas

Don’t forget fuel prices! These can differ depending on region and timing. But most RVs get between 5-14 mpg for a larger motorhome and around 18-20 for a class B. You can use these ranges to estimate your total cost. 

Cleaning Fees

Cleaning Fees

Some rental companies or individuals add a cleaning fee of between $50-$100. If you clean the RV before returning it, you can sometimes avoid this fee. When booking, keep an eye out RV renters that charge cleaning fees, as they could vary from rental to rental.

Mileage

Read the fine print regarding RV mileage. Some rentals will include a base rate for unlimited mileage, and some will charge an additional per-mile fee if you go over. The costs can add up quickly! So, make sure you understand any mileage restrictions and fees before planning your trip. 

If you are planning a cross-country RV trip, you’ll want to look at RV rentals that include unlimited mileage. You can save money in the long run by not having to track your miles.

Rental Insurance

Most RV rentals will include basic rental insurance in the cost. But others will charge additional fees for higher coverage levels.

Again, read the fine print, but know that skimping on insurance is usually a mistake, especially with such a large vehicle on the road. 

Cost to Rent an RV in Los Angeles

 

LA metro is a year around RV rental market due to the region’s temperate climate and large population of outdoor enthusiasts. Prices for renting an RV in LA are below the national average, coming in at $168 per night. Where you’ll find the best deals on RV rentals in LA is for motorhomes. As a group, driveables are priced 14% below the national average in Los Angeles.

Is Renting an RV Cheaper than a Hotel?

It’s hard to give a definitive answer to whether it’s cheaper to rent an RV or hotel because both renting an RV or a hotel room can be as cheap or as expensive as you want to make it.

For example, when renting an RV you could spend as little as $50 a night for a small basic pop-up camper to as much as $4oo a night for a large luxurious Class A motorhome.

And the same is true for hotels, as you can spend as little as $60 a night for a basic economy motel room to more than $800 a night for a luxurious 5-star hotel room.

In general, though it is typically cheaper to rent an RV compared to renting a hotel room, as an RV rental will typically cost around $120 per day, while a hotel room will usually cost around $186 a night.  

When comparing the cost to rent an RV to a hotel room though, it’s important not to forget to add the cost of the campsite or RV site onto the cost of renting the RV.

As the RV rental price is only half the equation when it comes to the true daily cost of renting an RV.  

Save Money through Research

By doing all the research you can before deciding on a rental, you can save money. Different websites might have lower fees, or one company may have a deal going on at the time. If you check multiple sources, you are more likely to come across a great deal. 

However, if you are going to spend the money on a rental than it better be one that is going to be suitable for all your passengers. Make sure you get all the essentials.

Look at the Type of RV

RV is a big term used for many types of motorhomes and trailers. When you are selecting a rental, it is important to know which one is which. If you don’t have a truck that has a large towing capacity then eliminate fifth-wheels. 

Here is a basic breakdown of the different RV Types that are usually rented: 

FeaturesClass A MotorhomeClass B MotorhomeClass C MotorhomeTravel TrailerFifth Wheel
Tow or Drive?DriveDriveDriveTowTow
How it Feels to Drive Like driving a busLike driving a vanLike driving a truckLike driving a truck or SUVLike driving a full sized truck
MPG6 – 8 MPG10 – 15 MPG8 – 13 MPG10 – 20 MPG10 – 18 MPG
Benefits-Classic -Usually the most high end RV-Usually big-Easy to drive-Compact-Saves on gas-Easier to park-Good amenities for  less $$– Room for sleeping– Room for amenities-Can detach from      truck-Available in various sizes-Biggest RV floor plans– Less swaying while   driving– can have slide outs
Usual Length21 ft – 41 ft12 ft – 20 ft20 ft – 38 ft21 ft – 28 ft22 ft – 44 ft
Cost of Rental(New)$350 – $450/night$200 – $350/night$ 225 – $400/night$125 – $200/night$150 – $300/night
Cost of Rental(Older)$150 – $250/night$100 – $200/night$100-$200/night$50 – $125/night$60 – $150/night

The information for this table was gathered from RVShare.com

Class B Motorhomes are like vans, while Class A motorhomes are like big buses. If you have a huge family you are planning this trip for, a bigger RV is going to be needed. However, if you are traveling the country with just one other person, consider getting a smaller vehicle.

If all you need is something to tow with your truck, there are some cheaper options. Popup or tow trailers are one of the least expensive kinds of RV’s out there. 

Some pop-up trailers can be rented for as little as $20 a night. If all you need is a place to sleep, this could be a great option for you.

Know your purpose and size needs before renting so you can pick the right kind of RV. Many people think about going on a roadtrip in a big bus, but that might not be what you need. There are many Class C motorhomes that are just as nice and roomy but less money. 

If you know your basics, it can help you narrow down the cheapest RV. 

Pick an Older Model

Older models can provide the same amount of comfort and room as a new RV but without the cost. If you are planning to rent from a rental share company like RVShare or RVezy, keep in mind that picking an RV that isn’t shiny and new could save you big bucks.

If you look at the chart above, you can see that the newer models are going to be over $100 more per night, which can definitely add up quickly.

Going with an older RV might pose some risks, like an older vehicle. So, check the comments or ask the person you are renting from to make sure that there are no problems.

Be a Little Lenient on Amenities

Some RV’s come with some crazy benefits, like multiple TV’s and a great dining area, but sometimes that’s not what you need.

Make a checklist of everything that is important to you, like a bathroom and the number of beds there are available. Keeping your requirements simple can help you find the best deals out there.

If you are planning on going for a long trip in a rental, here are some of the more necessary things to look for:

  • Toilet
  • Showers
  • Refrigerator
  • Microwave
  • Air-conditioning/heating

Other things may be great and fun but ultimately bring up the price up a little too much over-budget. 

Use Multiple Websites to Find Lowest Price

It is always a good idea to check more than one website. Comparing prices is one of the easiest and best ways to get what you need. 

RV’s rented by owners may not post their RV on more than website so don’t miss out on a good opportunity by only looking at one company. 

Tips to Lower the Cost of Renting an RV

1. Rent an RV for a Week or More

It may seem strange, but you can often save money by extending the length of your trip! Remember that it takes the same amount of work for an RV owner to rent their RV for a weekend as it does for them to rent it for a week or more. Check the rental listing to see if the owner offers a discount on longer-term rentals. If a discount is not listed, send the owner a message and ask. They may be willing to give you a discount on the nightly rate for a longer-term rental.

2. Book Online and use a Peer to Peer Rental Service

There are many nationwide and local companies that you can choose for your RV rental. We love the service provided by Outdoorsy and the fact that you rent directly from the RV owner. 

Renting directly from the owner is great because they love and care for their rig, which means you will get a higher quality product. The prices are usually much lower than corporate rental agencies as well. 

If you are worried about problems or issues when renting directly from an individual, Outdoorsy has you covered. Outdoorsy offers insurance as well as 24/7 customer support to help you work through any problems that may arise during your trip.

3. Book in the Off-Season for Lower Rates

If you have a flexible schedule, you can save a lot of money on your RV adventure by taking your trip during the off-season. Depending on your rental location, the off-season may be during the winter (especially true for northern areas of the US and Canada) or summer (rates are cheaper in places such as Florida during the summer months). Determine the off-season for where you want to go and take a look at how much less expensive your rental will be! 

4. Negotiate the Price With the RV Owner 

One of the perks of booking directly with the RV owner is that you can negotiate some of the terms of your rental. If there is a mileage limit or additional charge for generator use, ask about a discount or price break on these items. You may be surprised at the willingness of RV owners to work with you, especially if you are renting for a week or more.

5. Use a Campground Membership For Lower Campground Rates

If you plan to camp in private campgrounds during your trip, consider a campground membership. A low-cost campground membership such as Passport America can save you a bundle, even on a short vacation. For only $44 per year, you can save up to 50% on nightly campground fees!

6. Pack Your Own Meals

One of the best parts of RV camping is that you have access to your kitchen wherever you go! Save money on your trip by eating in, cooking over a campfire, and having snacks for the road. Food is often one of the most significant expenses on vacation, and putting your RV kitchen to use will save you a bundle! 

7. Bring Your Own Linens

While basics such as dishes, pots, pans, and silverware are typically included in an RV rental with Outdoorsy, linens can be an extra cost. To save some cash, bring your own bedding and towels.

8. Drive Slow to Increase Your MPG

Since gas is one of the highest additional costs you will face during your RV vacation, it makes sense to slow down to save money. Driving slowly can save you several dollars a day on gas, and those dollars add up!

Check out our article What Is the Average Gas Mileage for a Class C RV? to learn how to get the best possible gas mileage in any type of RV.

9. Bring Your Own Bikes

Another great way to reduce your cost is to bring your own bikes. Many national and state parks have great biking trails that allow you to explore the park on two wheels. Bringing your own bike is a double cost saving as you will save gas by not using your vehicle, and you will not have to pay the additional cost of a bike rental. 

10. Book Early to Save Money Renting an RV

Book your RV before everyone else so you have less competition for the RV of your choice! For example, very few RV rentals occur from October through January. If you can plan your trip way ahead of time and book your RV when no one else is renting RVs there will be less competition and you will have more choices too! So, book as far in advance as possible to find your best deal!

For even more info about renting an RV check out our article The Ultimate Guide to Renting an RV.

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