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If you were thinking about a family RV trip you will likely be concerned about the cost of renting an RV. I have been asked many times – how can I rent a cheap RV? This article includes my best tips for finding affordable campers and motorhomes.
Traveling in an RV is a great way to spend time together as a family and travel. You can find camping spots in amazing locations that you never would be able to afford in a hotel. On top of that, you’ll have all the comforts of home with you.
You may worry that renting an RV expensive though. Like any vacation though, you can find ways to create a frugal RV trip.
First, let’s look at what renting an RV actually costs.
What you can expect to pay will depend on the type of RV, the company, and the location. On average, an RV costs $75 -$200 a day to rent. Small motorhomes and campervans range from $75 to $150 a night. Larger motorhomes, travel trailers, and fifth wheels will cost $125 to $250 a night.
The price you should expect to pay is a wide range. Plus, each company or individual owner charges different fees. This is why you need to make sure to ask all the important questions. So before signing a contract make sure to read “17 essential questions to ask when renting an RV.” Let’s finish this article first. These are the best tips for finding a cheap RV to rent.
How Much Can You Save Finding a Cheap RV?
By following the tips in this article you can save 50% to 95% off an RV rental. For example, we rented an RV in Canada that would have cost $200 a day and we paid $98 a day with kitchen and towel sets included.
Also renting from an RV owner, similar to the AirBNB of RVs like Outdoorsy, will save you money. You can enjoy trying out a variety of campers and get inside camping tips. In fact, we highly recommend renting the RV you are interested in buying before purchasing. Because RV ownership is not for everyone we wrote about all the reasons we could think of for NOT buying an RV here.
Look for Discounts and Coupons on RV Rentals
Many RV rental companies have seasonal discounts and different coupons available. In fact, our very first time renting an RV was in Canada for 50% off (plus a bunch of extra add-ons).
Companies frequently have discounts in the off-season but they also give coupons and discounts for other reasons. For example, they may have last-minute deals due to overstock, or events that have reduced the demand for RVs rentals.
To look for coupons and discounts for your RV rental check the websites of several RV companies. We will start you off with a coupon to Outdoorsy (see the next tip too). Use this link (applied at checkout so bookmark this page) to Outdoorsy for $50 off your first rental
You can also call the local office where you plan to rent from and ask about discounts. While you are speaking to them make sure to ask about any additional things that they offer with the discount such as towels or kitchen packs. Here is a list of 17 questions you must ask before renting an RV.
Relocation Rental (Cheap or Free)
One extremely cheap or even free way to rent an RV is on a relocation deal. Many large companies need to move RVs for a variety of reasons. Sometimes a company may move RVs to the south in the winter where it’s warm and then back north in the summer for camping in the mountains.
You may find relocation deals for a dollar a day ($1/day) or less if you were willing to drive one way.
Rent from RV Owners on Outdoorsy
One of the best options for renting an RV is from a local owner. The peer to peer renting model has taken off in many other areas and is also possible for recreational vehicles.
In our experience, the of the two most trustworthy and reliable companies to rent from we like Outdoorsy.
The owners advertise their camper and you connect with them directly. The rental will include additional insurance to cover both you and the owner. If you really want all the details on the difference between renting we wrote all about it in the RVShare vs Outdoorsy showdown here.
This option gives you a wide variety of vehicles to rent. You cannot only rent motorhomes but also fifth wheels, travel trailers, pop-ups, and more. Plus, some owners will deliver it to your campsite, so you don’t even have to drive it!
Plus you can get insider information on the best places to camp and recreate in the nearby area. We currently rent out our travel trailer on Outdoorsy and RVShare. Try Outdoorsy for a discount the first time! The coupon is applied at checkout so make sure to sign up for the email or bookmark this page for when you are ready to reserve! $50 off Outdoorsy
Try Renting on the RVShare
The second of the best companies in the sharing economy is RVShare. If you already read, RVShare vs Outdoorsy showdown here, you see why we like both platforms. Because you are renting from individual owners, the variety and availability will vary by location. The benefits of using the company are the same though. You get to connect with the owner and the rental comes with $1 million dollar insurance.
Yes, like AirBNB, there can be some bumps when renting on the peer to peer networks. We are part of a community of thousands of RV owners and know how you can get the best expereince. To make your rental experience as smooth as possible make sure you ask all the essential questions for renting an RV.
Use Your own Tow Vehicle
When using a private party to rent from you could choose to use your own truck or SUV as a tow vehicle.
Both Outdoorsy and RVShare have travel trailers, popups, and other tow-behind campers for rent. You can use your own truck or SUV if you have the towing capacity. You will need to ensure you have enough towing capacity and the correct brake controller and hitch in your truck.
Another benefit vehicle is that you will have separate transportation when you arrive at your campsite. Driving a motorhome to run out for groceries or around a National Park can be difficult.
Choose a Small RV
When you rent an RV you need to think about how many people will need seats, seatbelts, and sleeping space. You should consider renting the minimum size that you can. We cover this in more detail in the post “15 Tips You Need to Know for RVing with Young Kids”
Obviously smaller coaches rent for less money. So check in about the smallest RV that you can rent from a company. Check out our article on the fun and amazingly small RVs for rent here.
Another benefit is that you will have more flexibility in the locations that you stay. Many National Parks have very small campgrounds and length limits for RVs. Arches National Park is extremely popular and has only a few campsites that accommodate 30ft RVs or smaller.
Ask your RV Owning Friends and Family
I know that most people do not generally loan out their campers to others. However, on occasion, we have let family and close friends use our camper for their own vacation.
When someone approaches us AND we know that they are responsible and careful we are likely to let them use the camper.
You will need to make sure you take extreme care of the camper and return it in immaculate condition. Also, be sure that the owner has additional RV insurance and you have full coverage on your tow vehicle. You can do this by calling both insurance companies and asking if you need an additional binder.
What are the nicest things you could do as a thank you to the owner? Fix something that’s broken or buy something new. We loved finding all the little things that our friends fixed when they borrowed the travel trailer.
Check the Local Newspaper
I have seen people advertising RVs for rent in our local newspaper. I can say I have only bought a camper from the newspaper but not rented one. So your mileage may vary but make sure you stick to a reputable person or company. Frequently, they will have a company or website and are just using the newspaper as another advertising avenue.
To do this you need to know the location that you would like to rent a camper. Then look up the local newspaper advertisements for that area. You might see an advertisement for RVs for rent by owner.
Contact Local RV Dealerships and Shops
Some local RV businesses such as sales and shops also rent out RVs. A search of the local area in a couple of phone calls will lead you down this route.
The RV community is quite close and they will know of other businesses doing this.
If you would rather do an internet search, try the website GoRVing. They are a complete resource for renting campers and planning your vacation. I found 5 places in Denver including a dealership.
Interested in an Unforgettable RV Vacation? Read our suggestions for the best places to camp in an RV:
- The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Moab
- Itinerary for Arches National Park in a Day
- The Best Beaches to see on your Oregon Coast Trip
An RV vacation is something that your family will never forget. If you are on a tight budget, finding a sharp RV rental will help stretch your vacation funds further.
This is part of our series on renting and RV. You can read more about the best tips for your first RV trip with young kids.
Hi, I’m Shauna – Welcome to Family Travel Fever. We are a large family, that was bitten by the travel bug! I take the kids by myself because I don’t mind flying or driving solo with my crew to discover the coolest places.
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