Whether you’re looking to buy or rent an RV, the cost will undoubtedly play a role in that decision.
So, how much does an RV cost to buy and rent? And what’s the true cost of ownership if you decide to buy?
Let’s break down the average cost to buy a new and used RV, how much an RV rental typically costs, plus cover the main (and hidden) costs of RV ownership.
How Much Does an RV Cost?
An RV costs between $2,000 for a used pop-up camper to over 1.5 million for a brand new Newmar King Aire Class-A RV. As you can see, the price varies wildly depending on the type of RV, its amenities, whether it’s new or used, the time of year you buy it, etc.
Plus, there’s the option to rent, which might save you a lot in up-front buying costs and the cost of ownership if you only plan on using the RV once or twice a year.
To get you a more accurate cost for all the different types of RVs out there, we separate them out by new vs. used and then by type below.
And if you’re intent on buying an RV, don’t skip the cost of ownership section below, as it will help paint a more accurate picture of how much that RV will cost for as long as you own the camper.
Let’s start with new RVs.
How Much Is a New RV?
On average, a new RV will cost between $10,000 and $300,000. As mentioned above, there are outliers, Class-A Rvs that cost over a million dollars, but the majority are much cheaper than that.
The type of RV is one of the biggest factors that drive its cost. And since the price is typically one of the main factors when deciding which RV to buy, it’s good to understand the average price for each type.
Average RV Cost by Type
|Type||Average Cost (New)|
|Class-A||$50,000 – $300,000|
|Class-B (Camper van)||$70,000 – $150,000|
|Class-C||$50,000 – $150,000|
|Travel trailer||$20,000 – $75,000|
|5th wheel||$35,000 – $125,000|
|Pop-up camper/Teardrop||$10,000 – $20,000|
|Truck Camper||$5,000 – $50,000|
The figures in this table represent averages. Of course, you’ll find some models well outside these average prices. As mentioned above, the luxury Newmar King Aire Class-A RV runs around 1.5 million dollars! But, for your typical RV, you can expect it to fall within the ranges above.
Related: How Much Does a Class-C RV Cost?
How Much Is a Used RV?
You can find used RVs much cheaper than new ones, typically between $2,000 and $125,000. Again, there are outliers, some used luxury Class-As can cost over $350,000, but the majority are much cheaper.
The type of used RV and the year are the two biggest factors that drive cost.
Average Used RV Cost by Type
|Type||Average Cost (Used)|
|Class-A||$30,000 – $175,000|
|Class-B (Camper van)||$40,000 – $115,000|
|Class-C||$30,000 – $75,000|
|Travel trailer||$10,000 – $50,000|
|5th wheel||$30,000 – $100,000|
|Pop-up camper/Teardrop||$2,000 – $15,000|
|Truck Camper||$1,000 – $30,000|
Used prices for RVs are all over the board, as so many factors can influence the price.
Tip: If you’re interested in purchasing a used RV, first identify the type of RV that fits your needs and search for used models near you to get a good idea of how much you’ll likely spend. Once you’ve found a few models in your budget, check out our guide on what to look for when buying a used RV.
How Much Does an RV Cost to Rent?
Renting an RV is a viable option whether you want to test out the RV lifestyle before buying or want all the thrills of camping in an RV without the maintenance and annual insurance costs.
So, how much does RV rental cost on average?
|Class A Motorhome||$175-$275 (10+) or $350-$450 (Newer)|
|Class B Motorhome||$100-$200 (10+) or $200-$350 (Newer)|
|Class C Motorhome||$150-$200 (10+) or $225-$400 (Newer)|
|Travel Trailer||$50-$125 (10+) or $125-$200 (Newer)|
|Fifth Wheel||$60-$150 (10+) or $150-$300 (Newer)|
|Pop-up Camper/Teardrop||$30-$100 (10+) or $75-$150 (Newer)|
Keep in mind that these are average prices and will vary depending on the amenities, size, time of year, length of rental, location, etc.
Tip: Check out our guide titled How Much Does It Cost to Rent an RV for a complete breakdown of the costs plus tips to get the most out of your rental!
To get a true cost of the entire RV rental vacation, you’ll need to factor in:
- Rental insurance: This may be included in the rental cost if you use a reputable RV rental company like Outdoorsy. But, for extra damage or trip insurance, you’ll have to pay out of pocket.
- Price-per-mile: Some rental companies charge per mile that you drive on top of the daily rental fee. For example, Cruise America charges .38 per mile driven.
- Fuel expense: You will need to pay for the gas used during the trip, and many rental companies require the tank to be full when it’s returned. Unfortunately, RVs aren’t known for getting great gas mileage. So, depending on the cost per gallon of gas and the miles traveled, this expense can really add up!
- Campground fees: Campgrounds can range from $15 to over $100 per night, depending on their location and amenities. If you’re looking to save money, you can always dry camp, as well, which is typically free (you’ll just have zero amenities).
It’s a good idea to plan for these expenses ahead of time to have a better understanding of the total cost of the trip before securing your rental.
Cost of RV Ownership
When you buy an RV, unfortunately, the expenses don’t stop there. In fact, there’s something called the cost of RV ownership, which can add up to quite a bit.
So, what is the true cost of owning an RV?
If you’ve owned an RV before, then you probably have a pretty good idea of all the extra expenses that come with ownership.
But, if you’re looking to buy your first recreational vehicle, here is a list of the potential costs of owning an RV that you’ll want to plan for.
RV Maintenance & Repairs
Like any vehicle, an RV requires regular maintenance. But, an RV is also a house on wheels, so the amount of maintenance grows exponentially.
Some typical maintenance tasks can include:
- Tire replacement
- Brake replacement
- Battery testing and replacement
- Oil changes
- Propane tank refill/replacement
- Filter cleaning/replacement
- Coolant and wiper fluid checks
- Regular washing and waxing of the exterior
- Replace seals
- Sanitize the water tanks
- And so on
Plus, don’t forget about repairs. If something breaks, and things will break, you have to pay to either get it fixed or for the part and fix it yourself.
For example, water heaters will eventually go out and need to be replaced, window screens tear, tail lights burn out, etc.
So, is it expensive to maintain an RV?
On average, RVers typically spend between $500 to $2000 per year on maintenance. But, if something major goes wrong, you can expect that number to jump. Warranties can help cover some costs, and getting a professional inspection performed on your RV prior to purchase can help protect you and your wallet.
Similar to your home or auto, insurance to protect you and your RV is another recurring cost you’ll want to consider.
According to Progressive, the average annual RV insurance policy will cost $502 for a travel trailer and $848 for a motorhome in 2020. Liability-only policies started at $125 per year.
That said, the actual cost for an insurance policy will vary based on the type of RV, location, features, driving experience, and so on.
Fuel costs will vary significantly depending on the miles per gallon of your motorhome or tow vehicle, distance traveled, cost per gallon of gas, etc.
For example, a Class-A RV tends to get fairly poor gas mileage, between 4 to 8 mpg, so at $3 per gallon, a 2,000-mile road trip will cost roughly $1,000 in gas.
If you have a fairly economical tow vehicle and are only towing a small pop-up camper, fuel costs will be considerably less.
Either way, we recommend you use a fuel calculator to estimate fuel costs before the trip. And use apps like Gas Buddy to find the cheapest gas near you.
Hidden Costs of Owning an RV
Along with the above costs, there are what some would consider “hidden” costs to owning an RV. Or costs that many tend to overlook (but can add up quickly).
- Park Fees: The cost to reserve a spot at an RV park can range from $15 to over $100 per night, depending on their location and amenities. You can help offset these costs by splitting your time at free boondocking locations.
- Storage Fees: You’ll need a place to store your RV when not used. Some have the luxury of being able to store their RV on their own property, but many do not. Expect to pay between $50 to $250 per month to store your RV.
- Registration Fees: Depending on where you live, you’ll likely have yearly registration fees. For example, in Iowa, a Class-A recreational vehicle that costs over $80,000 has a $400 per year registration fee.
- Memberships: While RV membership programs like Thousand Trails and Passport America are designed to save you money, they still cost to be a part of.
- Supplies: Similar to a home, you’ll need to stock your RV with supplies, including kitchen utensils, food, laundry and cleaning supplies, etc.
- Upgrades: Upgrade costs will certainly vary, but if you want a better wifi signal or a satellite dish, for example, these will incur additional costs.
- Depreciation: While not a direct cost, your RV will lose value, especially if you buy new. One way to avoid that initial major drop in value is to buy used. Your used RV will still depreciate over time, but it won’t be as drastic as the first few years.
Now that you understand the costs of buying and owning an RV, what’s next? Check out our guide on the pros and cons of owning an RV to find out if owning an RV is cost-effective and if it’s truly right for you!