RV rentals can be a great way to see the country without breaking the bank.
However, you can do a few things to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible (and save tons of money in the process)!
Below you’ll learn how to rent an RV for cheap with our seven quick and easy money-saving tips!
Let’s get started!
How to Rent an RV for Cheap
The cheapest way to rent an RV is to select the optimal size and type of RV, be flexible with your rental dates and durations, forgo certain extras, and choose the right RV rental company.
Let’s break each of these down in more detail.
Finding the Cheapest RV Rental Company
When it comes to RV rental companies, you typically have three types to choose from:
- Peer-to-peer RV rental companies: These are the VRBOs of RV rentals. They connect RV owners with those looking to rent an RV. Because any RV owner can quickly and easily list their RV for rent, they have the largest selection of RVs to choose from for a wide variety of prices. Outdoorsy and RVshare are two examples of peer-to-peer networks. See How to Find the Best RV for Rent by Owner for more information and tips on renting from a peer-to-peer company.
- Corporate RV rental companies: This type of rental company owns a fleet of recreational vehicles that they rent out from certain locations across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Examples include Cruise America and El Monte RV Rental & Sales.
- RV dealerships: Some local RV dealerships may rent out certain models of campers. You will need to contact local dealerships to see if this is an option near you.
Peer-to-peer RV rental companies like Outdoorsy will typically provide the cheapest rental opportunities due to the sheer size of their inventory and wide range of rental prices.
That isn’t to say that corporate RV rental companies are over-priced. They just have limited inventory to choose from, and you can’t shop around for inexpensive options the same way you can with peer-to-peer rentals.
For example, Cruise America only offers one type of RV – a class-C – that only comes in four different sizes. And you can expect to pay around $115 to $265 per night on average.
Compare that with a company like Outdoorsy, which can have hundreds of different types, sizes, classes, etc., of campers to choose from, depending on where you live, at prices that range from $35 a night to over $400.
In other words, more options will typically mean finding a better deal.
But, to find the best deals, you have to shop around, so we recommend browsing through the top 5 RV rental companies to find the cheapest RV rental that will work for you.
Top 5 RV Rental Companies
Select the Right Type of RV
The type of RV you rent will have a pretty significant impact on its rental price. So, it’s worth understanding the different types of RVs available for rent and their average rental cost to help you find the best option for you.
- Class A and C motorhomes: Typically the most expensive, with an average rental price of over $200 per night. But, they also come in larger sizes and with a wide range of luxuries and amenities.
- Campervans: These Class-B campers are smaller than Class-A and C but typically still have a wide range of amenities. They are slightly cheaper than the above averaging $160 per night. The allure of these vehicles is that they are compact, making them easier to drive and maneuver.
- Fifth-wheel trailers: These are pull-behind campers, so you’ll need a tow vehicle and towing experience to use one. They can rival Class-A and C motorhomes in terms of space and amenities but are typically cheaper at $130 per night on average.
- Travel trailers: Smaller versions of fifth wheels. These also need to be towed behind a tow vehicle (which you’ll typically have to supply). They cost on average $110 per night to rent.
- Pop-up and teardrop campers: The cheapest option on this list, pop-up trailers, and teardrop campers must be pulled behind a vehicle and offer the least amount of amenities. They cost on average around $80 per night to rent, but you can find them for as cheap as $30 per night.
The trick to getting the cheapest RV rental is choosing the type of RV that meets your needs – and nothing more.
For example, if you have a tow vehicle and don’t need the extra amenities a fifth wheel provides, then a pop-up camper will be your cheapest option.
If you don’t have a tow vehicle, will a Campervan meet your needs? They are, on average, cheaper than a Class-A or C.
While the type of RV you rent will depend on your needs and budget, it’s still important to shop around and compare prices to find the cheapest option.
Select the Right Sized RV
The size of the RV you rent can make a huge difference in the amount of money you spend!
Similar to choosing the type of RV, you only want to choose an RV that will fit the number of sleepers you need and your gear. Any bigger, and you’ll likely be spending more money than you have to.
For example, you could pay $300 per night for a Class-A motorhome that sleeps 8. But, if there are only two of you, that might be overkill. You could potentially rent a travel trailer or pop-up camper for half the price!
Choose RV Rental Dates Wisely
The time of the year, and even the days of the week, you rent an RV, can drastically impact how much you spend.
The cost to rent an RV can be twice as much over spring break or during holidays (4th of July, Memorial Day, etc.) than during non-standard travel dates. Even booking your rental during the week as opposed to on weekends can lead to a cheaper rate.
In other words, try to be as flexible as possible with your rental dates and don’t book during major travel times to save the most money.
Extend Your Vacation
To get the cheapest possible nightly rental rate, book your rental for as long as possible.
Of course, this isn’t possible for everybody, and it will undoubtedly increase the cost of your overall trip.
However, if you simply want the cheapest possible rate, typically, the longer you rent an RV, the cheaper the nightly rate will be. This is due to discounts for long-term rentals, often up to 30% nightly discounted rates!
Related: How Much to Rent an RV for a Month
In this guide, you’ll find average monthly RV rental costs and real-life rental examples. Plus, you’ll learn the cheapest way to rent an RV for a month.
Forgo the Rental Extras
The optional upgrades and extras offered during the booking process can be enticing but really add to the total cost.
Extras like delivery and setup, additional insurance, kitchen utensil kits, unlimited miles, etc., can add hundreds of dollars to your final cost.
However, some of them may make sense and actually save you money in the long run. For example, if you plan to travel extremely long distances, unlimited miles may save you money. However, if you’re planning a shorter trip, paying per mile may be the better option.
It’s important to take a closer look at each of these upgrades and decide which ones are right for you and your budget.
Find a Relocation Rental
If you are extremely flexible with your travel dates, the number of days you travel, and locations, you could always try a relocation rental service.
But, what is a relocation rental?
Essentially, rental companies may need their vehicles moved from one branch to another. That’s where you come in. They allow you to rent their vehicle for next to nothing, to move it from one city to another. It’s a win-win.
For as little as $1 per day, you can “relocate” an RV from one city to another. Some relocation rentals even offer gas allowances, making the trip even cheaper!
Imoova.com and TransferCar are two of the big relocation rental players right now. Here’s a look at relocation rentals from Denver to San Francisco on Imoova.com. Rates are a low $1 per night with a $250 gas allowance!
Of course, this isn’t an option for everybody. They only offer one-way RV rentals, so you’ll need to plan a trip back. And the pick-up and drop-off dates are usually pretty stringent, so unless you’re extremely flexible with your travel plans, a relocation rental might not be the best option.
But, with all the limitations, if you can make it work, you can get arguably the cheapest RV rental possible with a relocation deal!
Tips for a Cheaper RV Vacation
Now that you know how to rent an RV for cheap, what else can you do to save money on your trip?
Here are a few additional money-saving tips to bring down the cost of your next RV vacation.
- Stay at cheap or free campgrounds: You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg staying at luxury campsites with all the amenities. While that’s fine now and then, you can save a lot of money by staying at national and state parks for as little as $15/night or boondocking for free.
- Use a gas app: Gas is an added expense that can add up quickly if you plan to travel long distances. Let’s face it, recreational vehicles don’t get the best gas mileage. Gas apps like Gas buddy can help you find the cheapest gas near you, potentially saving you hundreds during your trip.
- Supply your own camping essentials: When renting an RV, inquire what essentials come with the rental ahead of time. Corporate rental companies are notorious for charging extra for these essentials (kitchen utensils, cleaning supplies, etc.), while some peer-to-peer RV rentals come with them.
- Cook your own food: One of the advantages of traveling in an RV is you typically have many of the comforts of home, including a kitchen. So take advantage of that and save hundreds of dollars by cooking your meals instead of eating out. Even if you have a pop-up camper without a kitchen, pack a grill and coolers and cook as many meals as possible.
- Negotiate a better deal: What many people don’t realize is that you can negotiate the price of a rental. Especially during slow rental times, when the renter has little to no reviews, you plan to rent the RV for a week or longer, the RV is older, etc.