Are you thinking of renting an RV to go on a family vacation? If you don't own your own motorhome or travel trailer, the cost of renting one is going to be the main item you should budget for. But how much should you actually budget for? We did some of the virtual legwork for you, to give you the basic price range.
The average cost of renting a 24-foot RV is $133 per night for in-season rates and $93 for off-season rates. This is based on countrywide rental data from Campanda, Cruise America, and Apollo RV.
Are you surprised by those prices? Hold your proverbial horses. There’s a lot more to RV rentals than just the nightly fee. You also have to take into account the time of year, the length of your rental, your mileage, generator use, and other fees. In this article, we’ll go much more in-depth on all those points.
So, What Are the Basic RV Rental Rates?
In the intro, we mentioned that it costs roughly $133 to rent an RV for 24 hours. This is during July, the peak season. Do keep in mind that an average is just that, an average. You will find vehicles that cost more than $133 and others that cost less.
Read more: Renting an RV — The Complete Guide for Beginners
For instance, on Campanda, there’s a 24-foot 2008 Winnebago View 24J 63542201 available for rent in El Cajon, California. Nightly, you’d pay $195. It’s a Class C that has room for six people. You could even bring pets onboard.
Over on Cruise America, in Elma, New York, you can rent a C25 RV for $165 a night. The more passengers you add, the more you’d pay. For instance, Cruise America charges you for a personal kit ($60 per passenger) and kitchen kit ($110 per passenger).
Finally, let’s look at Apollo RV. To rent an Apollo Pioneer that’s between 22 and 25 feet long, you’d pay $222.60 nightly. If you wanted a personal kit, it’s $60 per passenger. A TravelTab Adventurer, which is like a tablet, is $15 for three nights. Chemical toilets cost $2.50 each.
Those are peak season pricing examples. For the offseason, which is in the fall, prices are typically lower. We’ll talk more about this later in the article.
What about Luxury RVs?
Do you desire to sit in the lap of luxury? While it’s always cheaper to rent an RV than buy one, renting a luxury RV doesn’t come cheap at all. This seems to be regardless of location, too.
Need an example? The Swagger Wagon, which is a fun nickname for the 2017 Thor Motor Coach Tuscany, is listed on Outdoorsy two separate times. The first listing is in Opa Locka, Florida and the second is in Green Brook, New Jersey. The cost? $795 each night for both listings.
That’s on the lower end, by the way. Also in Green Brook, you can rent a 2016 Fleetwood Eagle Dream Maker that the renter calls the Traveling Palace. This 45-foot Class A luxury RV costs $950 nightly.
How Much Does It Cost to Rent Fifth-Wheels?
If the RV rental prices listed here are a little outside your budget, that’s okay. You can always rent a fifth-wheel instead. In California, the average price of fifth-wheel trailer rentals on RVShare.com is $156 based on all the current listings.
We’ll look at one more expensive rental and then a cheaper one. The 2017 Grand Design Momentum 349M in Clovis has a nightly rental fee of $195. This 38-foot fifth-wheel has room for eight passengers. It’s also relatively new.
Compare that to the 2004 Forest River F47 fifth-wheel in Madera Acres. This is much cheaper at $79 a night. It can fit even more passengers, 10 in all. It is smaller at 37 feet long, but hey, you get room for more friends or family.
How Much Does It Cost to Rent Travel Trailers?
Another rental option you have is a travel trailer. While not as lengthy or spacious as Class A RVs, a bigger travel trailer is comparable to a Class C. It certainly outsizes a Class B in many cases.
How much will you pay for a travel trailer rental? Let’s look at the costs in El Paso, Texas as listed on RVShare.com. By calculating an average based on all the listings, you can expect rentals to hover around $108 nightly. What might be driving down that average is the fact that, as of this writing, there’s a listing for a 1959 Shasta that costs $40 a night.
Although everything is bigger in Texas, many rentals in the El Paso area are less than $100. You could rent a 2015 Jayco travel trailer for $80 a night. Even a newer trailer like the 2018 Keystone Springdale is $125 a night. That’s very low, especially considering this rig is 32 feet long and has room for seven passengers.
Renting Trailers & 5th Wheel: The Big Caveat
You may have noticed our links to renting 5th wheels and travel trailers lead to RVshare.com. That website is a lot like AirBNB for RV's: Private individuals renting out their own RV's. That means there's no single limited fleet of motorhomes like you would find with a regular RV rental company. Instead, you can find just about anything your heart desires - as long as you're willing to pay for that.
Regular rental companies almost always hire out only motorhomes. Never towed options. You can easily find Class A, B or C or a motorhome with any of them. You can almost never find a 5th wheel or a travel trailer.
Why is that? Because they don't want the extra hassle of having to deal with your towing vehicle.
If you were to show up with an F-150 and ask to rent a large 5th wheel, they won't be able to allow you to do that. The Ford F-150 has a limited towing capacity. It may be the best in its class but it's still not enough to hook up a huge 5th wheel behind you and hit the road. You can read more about how much an F-150 can actually tow here.
And of course, you may not even own a pickup truck or an SUV large enough to tow even a small travel trailer.
If you're looking for a simple hassle-free rental from a large company, a motorhome it is.
If you have your heart set on towing, you'll have to do your research ahead of time and make sure you have the right vehicle to tow with and the right hitch too! Unless you have some experience under your belt, it could get complicated.
Can You Tow With a Rental Truck?
Why Time of Year Makes a Big Difference in Costs
Do you plan your vacations in the summer?
So does everybody else.
That’s when RVs are in-season. The rental prices will likely go up once prime camping season begins, as we illustrated earlier in this article.
Demand is highest at this point. Everyone who wants to rent an RV will be clambering to do so in the late spring and throughout the summer. Even the beginning of autumn is still considered peak camping time. It’s only once Labor Day is over and the kids are back to school that the offseason begins.
While many RV owners will pack up their vehicles from November to March or April, that depends on where the owner is located. In southern states like Texas, California, and Florida, the weather is temperate almost all year long. There’s no need to worry about snow interrupting an RV excursion, only rain. That means you could possibly rent an RV in those states at any time of the year.
There’s a less significant change in pricing offseason in the south, then. RV rental prices are more likely to hold steady throughout the year in those states. That’s not nearly as true for states like Michigan or Washington, where winters are often quite severe. Or Alaska!
Factoring in Additional Fees and Other Charges
By this point, you know the average cost of renting an RV. You also have baseline pricing on luxury RV, travel trailer, and fifth-wheel rentals. You know the difference between offseason and peak-season pricing and how to accommodate for both.
You’re pretty much all set, right? Not exactly. While it would be nice if the nightly rental prices we listed were all you had to pay, that’s definitely not the case.
There are rental fees and other charges you have to take into account. Let’s talk about these more now.
Multi-Day Rental Fees
The first fee is for multi-day rentals. To show you what we mean, let’s look at the listing for the Winnebago on Campanda once again.
To rent that RV for a single day, you’d spend $165 in October and $195 in July. However, most sellers don’t let you rent for 24 hours. The minimum amount of time you can rent most RVs is three nights. In October, that means the rental price is $495 and in July, it’s $585.
These multi-day rental fees aren’t limited to Campanda, either. On sites like RVShare.com or Outdoorsy, the same principle is at play.
You might not be taking out an insurance policy on the RV, but while it’s in your possession, you’re expected to pay insurance on it nonetheless. On RVShare.com, insurance for a 2017 RV Winnebago might start $29.95 per day. Sales tax will be added on as well. For three days, that’s $89.85. For a week, it’s $209.75. That’s a decent chunk of change.
For the Apollo Pioneer on Apollo RV, supplemental liability insurance is $10 per three nights. That’s much cheaper.
While you should always take great care of a rental vehicle and leave it immaculate, you still have to pay cleaning fees. On Campanda, it’s $45 for every foot of the RV’s length.
Excess Generator Usage Fees
You might have to use a generator while you rent an RV, but don’t abuse the privilege. If you do, you’ll certainly pay for it. The amount of time you’re allowed to use the generator daily should be outlined in the rental listing. It may be three to four hours a night. For each hour you run the generator past that agreed-upon rate, you may pay cents to dollars per hour.
Excess Mileage Fees
Once you get the keys to your rented RV, you’re not just going to sit in it. Of course, you’re going to travel, but there are mileage limits to keep in mind. For the Campanda Winnebago, you get 100 miles per day you rent. As an example, you’d get 700 miles for seven nights.
If you by chance go beyond that mileage, you’d be charged $0.39 per mile if you stick within a 101 to 140-mile range. If you drive more than 140 miles but fewer than 200, the renter could stick you with a fee of $0.59 per mile. Going beyond 200 miles nets you a charge of $1.49 per mile.
Refundable Damage Deposit
If you’re careful about mileage and how often you run the generator, you can avoid the previous two fees. One charge you can’t get out of is the refundable damage deposit. This is the renter protecting themselves in case the RV comes back mangled. While you’re a very careful driver, you have to put down a deposit on the vehicle anyway.
Expect this to be pricy. On Campanda, the deposit is $1,500. Over on Apollo, you’d be charged $1,000 as a refundable deposit.
The keyword here is “refundable.” If you treat the vehicle with care and bring it back in the condition you got it, you’ll get all your money back. If something is wrong with the RV, your deposit money will go towards fixing it.
While you hope you’ll never have to cancel your RV rental, things happen. If you think you’ll have to back out of the agreement for any reason, let the renter know as soon as possible.
On RVShare.com, the policy is that you can get a refund the sooner you cancel. If it’s within 30 days, you can get the whole rental price refunded. If it’s more than 14 days before pickup, you can get half your money back. Once you hit the 14-day mark, if you cancel at that point, you won’t be refunded at all.
You could also get slammed with a cancellation processing fee, which is $99.
Are we done with additional payment then?
On the rental itself? Yes, pretty much.
But there's still the cost of gas and campgrounds. You could try boondocking (check out our boondocking tips here for that!) but if you want full RV hook-ups, you'll need to pay for that every night.
This would be beyond the scope of this guide which focuses on the cost to rent an RV. If you're still looking to go down this route, I urge you to read these two posts we have on the topic. They cover campgrounds and even the cost of gas:
Renting An RV – The Complete Guide For Beginners
RV Rental Vs. Car & Motels – Which Is The Cheapest Vacation?
To rent an RV in the US in the summer, expect to pay $135 on average - for rental cost alone. Depending on if you rent during the peak season or the offseason, these prices can fluctuate.
In addition to the above rental fee, there are other charges to prepare for. You can very rarely rent an RV for a single day, so multiply the rental fee by three or seven days. You also have to pay insurance, cleaning fees, and a damage deposit. You can get the deposit back if you bring the vehicle back in one piece.
If you take good care of your RV rental, you can enjoy a great family vacation with minimal extra fees. Good luck!
Still not sure whether this is for you? Check out this post: Should you be taking an RV trip or... maybe not?