How Much Does It Cost to Rent an RV?

updated Mar 28, 2021
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Ahh, life on the open road. Thanks to months of being cooped up during the pandemic, there isn’t much that looks better right now than enjoying the great outdoors, experiencing new things every day without having to worry about running into other people.

If you’re tired of being stuck at home, why not rent a new home to take out on a trip with you? An RV, or recreational vehicle, is best described as a home on wheels. Most of them have everything you need to live comfortably: a sleeping area, living quarters, a bathroom, and a kitchen. Depending on the size you rent, it could be downright luxurious. But keep in mind that as RVs vary by size, they also vary by built-in amenities, ranging from a small pop-up trailer to a full-blown Class A motorhome with luxe finishes. That also means how much it costs to rent an RV is going to fluctuate, too.

What’s more, demand for RV rentals is steadily increasing. Between 2015 and 2020, the market grew by 2.5 percent — and that uptick is only expected to grow further. Current rough estimates show the RV rental market increasing by just over 4 percent between now and 2026. So, if you want to rent an RV and travel the country, reserve one now before things get competitive.

Here’s everything you need to know about how much it costs to rent an RV.

First of all…can you rent an RV?

Yes, you absolutely can. Just make sure you know which license you’ll need to drive an RV. Companies like CruiseAmerica, Outdoorsy, and RVShare offer rentals across the United States.

Should I rent an RV for vacation?

It depends on where you’re going—and how much you want to drive. If you’re vacationing in a city, it’s probably not a great idea to rent an RV. You’d need to figure out where to park it, and pay exorbitant prices for parking within city limits. If you want to hit the open road and explore beyond urban areas, an RV will help you experience places you otherwise wouldn’t see. It’s like your trip’s built-in hotel, so you won’t have to worry about lodging in remote areas.

What do I need to know about COVID protocols?

The first thing to keep in mind while on the road is that every state is different with its COVID protocols. One state may require masks and another may not. Some states have a higher vaccinated population than others, too. So wear a mask every time you stop for gas or food, and be vigilant about washing your hands.

You’ll also want to follow all the CDC guidelines for keeping your RV rental clean and sanitized, as well as make sure the company you rent from is following all the protocol and cleaning the RV before you rent it. In both cases, that means the entire interior should be cleaned and disinfected, as well as heavy touchpoints on the outside of the RV like door handles and the gas cap. And remember to be responsible — if you’re feeling sick, postpone the trip.

About how much will it cost?

On average, expect to pay a minimum of $50 for a pop-up camper and $125 for larger trailer rentals per night. As you move up to larger and more luxurious models of self-driving RVs, you’ll pay more than $275 per night based on the age and size of the vehicle.

What are the average rental RV costs for 2021?

For RVs you drive yourself, costs currently average at about $300 per night. The pandemic has increased prices along with demand, so while it’s a little more expensive than normal right now, you can expect that to go back down once more people become vaccinated and feel comfortable with traditional travel. RV pricing is also competitive in popular rental spots, like out West, so it’s worth shopping around at different companies to find the best rates.

About what will a total RV trip cost?

To calculate this, combine your rental fee with campground expenses plus gas and meal costs per day. Then multiply it by the number of days you plan to be on the road. For someone renting a basic RV for a week, that’s roughly $2,000.

How much does it cost to rent a luxury RV?

For luxury, Class-A RVs, you’re looking at a bill between $300 and $450 per night.

Is renting an RV cheaper than a hotel?

It depends on the type of RV and class of hotel you’re eyeing. If you’re planning on staying in a roadside motel that costs $70 per night, renting an RV probably isn’t cheaper, especially since you’ll also be paying for site fees and gas. But renting an RV can be cheaper in places where comfortable hotels are scarce — and pricey.

What are the best places to rent RVs?

A number of companies offer RV rentals, including CruiseAmerica, Outdoorsy, and RVShare, and more. CruiseAmerica owns its fleet of RVSs, while companies like Outdoorsy and RVShare offer peer-to-peer rentals.

What are some tips for renting an RV cheaply?

Look into independent rental companies near you — sometimes they have lower prices than the major players. And since you’re starting your journey near your home, you won’t have to pay for a flight to pick up the motorhome. You can also keep an eye out on Craigslist for folks who either want to rent their RV out, or need someone to drive it to Point B.

How much does it cost to rent an RV cross country?

While prices always depend on the type of trailer you’re looking to rent, a cross-country trip will likely hover in the $2,500 to $3,000 range, once you factor in campsite fees, gas, and food on top of the initial rental fee, plus any traveler’s insurance to cover potential COVID expenses. That estimate will differ based on your plans to get back home — whether that’s driving the RV, flying, or another mode of transportation.

What if I want an RV long-term: How much would that cost?

Good news: The price to rent an RV per night gets lower the longer you rent it for. Long-term excursions can run as low as $50 per night. Just remember to haggle before signing your rental agreement — it’s possible to talk your fees down this way.

Where can I find RV prices near me?

RVShare has a location tool that allows you to find RVs in your area. Or, your search could be as simple as typing “RV rental” into Google Maps. That’ll surface a list of local businesses renting RVs. From there, you can compare prices online or in person.

Do I need insurance to rent an RV?

For a rental, yes, you’re required to have insurance. It’s a vehicle after all, and one that’s a bit more complicated than a regular car. Minimum liability insurance is required for every state, and some states may require extra.

How much should I expect to pay in gas?

According to KOA’s Fuel Cost Estimator, gas currently costs about $2.45 per gallon on average and is expected to go up to about $2.85 per gallon. How much you’ll pay for gas on your RV trip depends on how many miles you get per gallon and how far you intend to drive. For example, during a 100-mile trip with an RV that gets 15 miles per gallon, you can expect to pay about $16 in gas at the current price, or up to $20 in gas at the anticipated price.

Are there any other hidden fees I should know about?

Don’t forget, since you’ll be in lodging on wheels, you’ll need to cover the cost of all your food and any cleaning supplies you need to keep the interior and exterior in tip-top shape. Plus, you’ll need to pay fees for slots at campgrounds or RV parks, where you can park while you sleep. Depending on what company you rent from, you could also be responsible for a mileage fee, add-on costs for things like a kitchen kit, and generator expenses.