Travel can be expensive, but that doesn’t mean it should be prohibitively so. Hiking is free. So are viewpoints. Roasting hot dogs around a campfire should cost a similar amount to what you would spend back home.
Traveling by RV has the distinct advantage of bringing a kitchen along with you. Restaurants can be one of the biggest expenses for most people while traveling. Shopping around for campgrounds can be another way to save. So can downloading an app for finding the cheapest gas stations along your route. This is especially useful when you’re traveling by RV, as their bigger tanks can mean quite a shock to your wallet at the gas station.
But what about tips for actually saving on the RV rental itself? There are definitely tricks and hacks you can employ to help lower these costs as well. A cheap RV rental can be something you luck into, which is always an awesome event, but it can also be something that you employ a few strategies to make happen.
Read through the 10 tips below for a cheap RV rental and decide on what strategies can work best for you and your RV vacation to get the best deal possible.
1. Travel Off Season
Whether you’re flying to Greece or renting an RV, when you travel will greatly affect the rate you pay. We all know that it’s expensive to fly during Christmas week. It will also cost more to rent an RV during one of the big summer weekends, like Labor Day or July 4th.
When you travel off-season you’ll find much cheaper RV rentals. You’ll also find that campgrounds charge less, and even gas stations will charge more during busy road trip times, so you’ll save more on your trip overall.
Have you always wanted to drive through Colorado during the fall? October may be the perfect time for an off-season RV trip. You’ll need to wear a sweater, but that will only make the campfire more appropriate.
2. Rent An Older RV
On RVShare, the average cost for a newer Class An RV rental is $350 to $450 a night. This makes sense for the large Class A buses that come with a large number of amenities and features. A nearly new Class A can be a luxurious vacation. But so can a slightly older model. A Class A on RVShare that is ten plus years old will only cost you $150 to $250 a night. This is a huge savings! And there is plenty of selection for older RVs to choose from so you are sure to be able to find something that still meets your most important needs and desires.
3. Find Unlimited Mileage Listings
When you’re looking for a cheap RV rental, you will notice that most listings allow you about 100 free miles per day and $0.35 per mile after that. The next time you search you should narrow your search down to listings with unlimited mileage. These are a special and exciting find. Unlimited miles means that you can drive wherever without worrying about paying for the mileage you’re adding to the vehicle. This will not only save you money but stress as you won’t have to watch the mileage counter and worry about the money.
4. Book Early
The early bird gets the cheap RV rental! When you wait to book, you’re seeing the listings that were left behind by those who came before you. If there are any amazing deals in your area, you can be sure that the person who showed up first already grabbed them. By booking early, you are able to have the widest selection of what’s available to choose from and that will include the best deals around.
5. Try a Travel Trailer
Instead of renting a motorized RV, try renting a travel trailer. These come in a wide variety of sizes, so you can find something 15 feet long or 30 feet. They also have many amenities and you’ll be able to find both older and newer models. Depending on the size of the travel trailer, they can be hooked up to an SUV, or of course by a truck. And depending on the cost of what’s available in your area, it can sometimes be cheaper to rent a travel trailer and a truck rather than a motorized RV, so don’t rule this option out if you normally drive a Smart car.
On RVShare, the average cost per night for a newer travel trailer is $125 to $200. The average cost per night to rent a travel trailer that is ten years old or older is only $50 to $125. The savings can be significant.
6. Check out the Class B Camper Vans
The smallest motorized RV out there, the class B camper vans, are also your best option for a cheap RV rental. On RVShare, the average Class A motorhome will run $350 to $450 a night for the newer models and $150 to $250 a night an RV that is ten years old or older. Alternatively, the Class B camper vans run $200 to $350 a night for the newer models and $100 to $200 a night for the older RVs.
It’s also true that you will save money on gas driving a camper van. Plus, you’ll have an easier time parking, which is always a bonus.
7. Consider a One-Way RV Rental
The drive home is never as fun as the drive to where you’re going. On the way out, you are excited, everything is new, you are on the open road, and you are seeing the sights! On the way home, you are tired. Your trip is over really, you are worn out, and you’ve already seen the open road you’re returning home on.
Consider the cost of a one way RV rental. It may be cheaper for you to rent your RV on the way to your destination and then unhitch your travel trailer rental, or if you’re in a motorized RV, rent a car or even fly home.
8. Shop Around
Check your local listings on both Outdoorsy and RVShare. The services have similar offerings. In fact, many RV owners list their rentals on both sites. There are differences between them though and sometimes you may find a cheap RV rental listing on one site that you didn’t see on the other that may be the perfect fit for your needs and your budget.
9. Check Nearby Locations
If you live in Tucson, Arizona, consider checking Phoenix, Arizona for their listings as well. The distance from Tucson to Phoenix is about a 90 minute drive, but Phoenix is a much larger city with a wider selection. Because you’re looking for a deal, it can also pay to search in a smaller city if you’re located in the larger area. If you’re willing to travel to a nearby location for a cheaper RV rental, expand your search to see what’s available further away from you. Location can make a huge difference in the number and variety of listings you are seeing.
10. Attempt to Negotiate
It is possible to attempt negotiation with an RV owner. You do not want to offend them and you don’t need to be rude, but that doesn’t mean you can’t come to a deal that works for both parties!
You will have more wiggle room for negotiation if you are booking for a long term rental and if you’re booking in a slow season. It may be a better deal for the owner to rent to you for a lower price than it would be to have their RV sitting untouched. It may also be a better deal for them to book 10 nights with you for a lower price than to rent for two nights to someone else at full price.
Be polite, upfront, and message the RV owner to see what they say about the offer you have in mind.
Work the Art of Budget Travel On Your Cheap RV Rental
One of the tragic mistakes many make is to assume that travel is simply something they can’t afford without ever taking a good look at their budget and what is actually available out there. Take a good look at what you can truly afford to spend on the trip you want to take and then do some searching to discover whether you can make it happen.
Budget travel is an art. It takes some skill and finesse. After all, nothing comes for free. But with a little extra thought and work, you can find the best deal out there for your vacation.