Traveling with an RV is an amazing experience and great to get into with a family. But what if you can’t afford to purchase your own travel trailer or fifth wheel just yet?
To get a taste of the RV lifestyle without making a major investment, consider spending a portion of your vacation budget on a rental unit instead.
Is Renting A Travel Trailer Cheaper Than A Hotel?
It depends on the length of the rental, but the short answer is yes. While short-term RV rentals can run on the steep side (see How Much Does It Cost To Rent An RV For A Week?, below), long-term rentals usually represent a lower per-night cost than most budget hotels.
Don’t forget, however, that you’ll need a vehicle that’s capable of towing the trailer (check the specifications before committing to a rental).
Also, bear in mind that you won’t have to face additional car rental fees when you get to your destination. That will help to offset the initial sticker shock, even for trips as short as a single week.
Since you can buy groceries and cook for yourself, renting an RV can save you even more money on food costs.
What Are The Benefits Of Renting A Travel Trailer?
Since travel trailers aren’t encumbered with engines and driving areas, they offer more living space than motor homes and are an excellent option for larger groups.
They’re also more affordable, combining the budget-friendly nature of camping with the comforts of home.
Additionally, with a travel trailer, you’ll be able to detach your vehicle at will and explore the region, without towing your entire dwelling behind you.
How Much Does It Cost To Rent A Travel Trailer For A Week?
Weekly rentals will typically run in the $500-$1000 range, depending on the size and the age of the unit. Older models are bound to run cheaper than their more modern counterparts, so if you’re traveling on a budget, look for a trailer that’s already logged a few miles.
How Much Does It Cost To Rent A Travel Trailer For One Month?
Monthly costs can dip even lower than weekly rentals, mainly because a long-term commitment represents less hassle for the owners. This is especially true if you opt to rent from a private owner, rather than a large corporation like Cruise America.
Depending on your location and the size of the travel trailer, the per-night average can be as low as $50.
Of course, the rental price isn’t the only expense you’ll have to worry about. Don’t forget to factor these additional costs into your budget.
It’s a good idea to purchase travel protection in any circumstances, but it’s especially important if you’re renting a home on wheels. Buy travel protection in case your trip gets canceled or cut short due to inclement weather.
If you also invest in damage protection, you’ll be covered in case there are any mishaps with appliances or furniture while you’re on the road.
In some states, the tax can bump up the overall cost of the rental by as much as 33 percent. How much you pay in taxes depends on the state you’re renting the RV from, so if it’s different from your home state, do your research in advance and take this into account when you’re crunching the numbers.
Towing a travel trailer will reduce the gas mileage of your vehicle by a significant amount. If you don’t already know how much mileage you’re getting, calculate that number by recording your odometer reading both before and after filling your gas tank.
Subtract the “before” number from the “after” number to determine how many miles you drove in between, then divide the difference by the amount of gas (in gallons) you added to the tank. The result will tell you how many miles per gallon (MPG) your vehicle gets during regular use.
Once you’ve determined the gross trailer weight (GTW) of your rental unit, you can estimate how much it will cost you in terms of mileage. Lighter loads (under 2,500 pounds) will lower your mileage by 10-15 percent.
If the load weighs between 2,500 and 5,000 pounds, you should subtract 15-25 percent from your regular gas mileage, while loads in excess of 5,000 pounds will cost you roughly 25-35 percent more.
Setup Or Delivery Fees
Many owners are willing to deliver the travel trailer to the place of your choosing and even set them up so they’re move-in ready as soon as you arrive. For this privilege, they’ll charge you a one-time fee—usually around $100-200.
Tip: Make sure you know whether this service is included when you’re making the reservation.
Unless you’re “boondocking”—parking the camper in a remote spot without access to water or electricity hookups—you’ll need to factor campground costs into your budget as well.
Even if you plan on boondocking (also known as “dry camping”) most of the time, you’ll need to plug in the travel trailer occasionally, if only to recharge.
The average RV campsite costs about $50 per night, although it’s certainly possible to find cheaper options if you do your research.
The owner or rental company will probably require a deposit of about $500 at pick up or delivery. The good news?
Unless there’s been any damage, you’ll get this money back when it’s time to turn the travel trailer in. Note that if you’ve paid for damage protection, you should get the deposit back in any case.
Average Total Costs
So, just how much does it cost to rent a travel trailer? These totals reflect what you can expect to spend on trips of various lengths.
Note that the higher totals aren’t particularly representative—you’ll only end up spending that much if you rent the most expensive unit you can find and make every possible mistake in planning your budget.
|Length Of Rental||Average Total Cost|
|Single Day||$100-$375 (tax not included)|
|One Week||$500-$3,000 (tax not included)|
|One Month||$2,000-$10,000 (tax not included)|
Best of luck on the next stage of your adventures!