Tips on Saving Money When Renting an RV

Even though Robin Williams has a rough job hauling his family across country in the 2006 blockbuster RV, with a few simple tips and tricks you can create a lifetime of memories with your family renting an RV.

Whether you’ve dreamt of visiting the Grand Canyon with all three children in tow or would like to explore the island of Key West with your significant other, renting an RV can be an affordable and exciting vacation option!

From the moment you begin searching for the perfect camper to rent, you can save money and travel savvy. Read on to learn how to see the United States on a budget.  

Saving Money Before Your Trip

Before you book your rental RV, you can begin saving money. Things to consider include avoiding unnecessary add-ons, planning around the holidays, and even choosing a smaller RV.

The RV You Rent

One of the biggest decisive factors when it comes to price is the type of RV you choose to rent Each RV has a price set per twenty-four hours. There are all different types of RVs to choose from. Larger and newer RVs will cost you more money per night.


One of the first mistakes people make when renting an RV is choosing to rent a much larger RV than they really need for their trip. Jane Engle writing on behalf of the Los Angeles Times says, “Many people overestimate what they need.” Sometimes an RV can be too large for the places you want to explore. If you can’t park it, you may need to rent an additional vehicle. Take in account how many people will be traveling and what size you need. Older RV’s and popup campers will also cost you less.

Pick-Up Location

Where you pick-up your RV can save you money. If you have to drive very far to pick up your rental, you are wasting gas money. When searching an RV rental marketplace, make sure you find pick-up locations that are closeby.

This will keep you from going far out of your way. It may also save you on parking since you’ll need to figure out where your car will stay while you enjoy your RV trip (unless you drop it back off at home and pick it back up).

It’s also important to note that some pick-up locations are in more demand than others. Think outside the box and look at multiple locations. This can save you hundreds.

The Time You Go

When you choose to go on your trip will have an impact on cost. Think through when will be the most popular times to rent an RV. Usually it’s in the summer. Families are quick to rent an RV because it can save them money and the children are out of school.

If you can, try to work around the times when others want to rent an RV. If you’re planning on heading out West, or renting your RV from out West, choose a time in the Winter. You can even fly out to an area where the weather is warmer and rent your RV from there. Another time to consider is the holidays. Many people want to be at home and prices for renting an RV may be lower.

Avoiding Add-Ons

Rental marketplaces are made up of all different RV owners who offer their campers to rent by the day. Some of these owners decide to include certain amenities like bedding, pots and pans, or bike racks. Some don’t. To save money, look at each listing and check which amenities are included and which aren’t. Then, ask others in your social circle to let you borrow items or bring you own!

Saving Money While Enjoying Your RV Rental

In addition to saving money when booking your RV rental, you can pinch a few pennies while camping! Cooking your own food, finding free activities, being savvy about gas, and staying at free camping spots will help you arrive home with some money in your pocket.


Ray of Love Your RV! says, “There is a big opportunity to save money by cooking your own food. Not only is it generally healthier but almost always far less expensive than dining out.” Instead of purchasing lunch and snacks every time you drive by a fast food joint, plan around your schedule to cook and prepare healthy meals.


By thinking ahead, you can pack lunch wraps, make delicious budget dinners, and eat nutritious snacks, all while saving money. Look for deals at mainstream grocery stores and pick up fresh produce at local farmers markets. This will allow you to buy more for less.

Another way to save is to bring your own crockpot. Crockpot recipes are simple and require little hands-on cooking. While you’re out enjoying the scenery, your crockpot is making a delicious dish that you can enjoy in the evening. Chances are you’ll also have leftovers!


It’s important to remember that in addition to paying to rent an RV, you also have to cover gas. Some RVs may include the first tank of fuel, but you must check with each individual owner to be sure. The key to saving on gas is to think ahead and do your research.

Look for the cheapest places to fill up and use a loyalty card to rack in points. Experienced RVers share lots of insider tips that include avoiding red lights, staying under 55 miles per hour, and even avoiding driving in high winds.

Where You Park

Every RV enthusiast will explain that where you choose to park will impact the cost of your trip. State and National Parks are the best bet for keeping prices down.

When looking for places to stop, consider the price and ask around about discounts. Sometimes a campground will simply give you a lower price if you ask and they need to fill lots. Another way to get good deals on campsites is by reserving your spot early. Prices shoot up the closer to the date of the stay. Keep the price low by staying in one place longer and asking for a reduced price for multiple nights.


Many people don’t think through the idea of saving money on hookups, but it’s a real way to travel on a budget. If you have enough power to stay a night without electric, rent a camping lot without hookups. This will be much cheaper. Saving money this way while renting an RV takes a little planning and some adventure!


Last, but not least, you will want to do activities while on your RV trip. Entertainment doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. There are plenty of activities all over the United States that are free of charge!

Begin by researching the different areas you’ll be traveling to. Once you’re there, stop into the area’s Visitor Center and ask about free or low-cost activities. Many museums and activity centers are free to the public on certain days. There are also a number of State Parks that you can hike, bike, or explore for free.

If you want to spend some money on activities, look for coupons and pamphlets at campgrounds. You can also look into coupon sites like Groupon and Livingsocial which offer discounted attractions in bigger cities around the U.S. Another thing to consider is purchasing a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. This pass is $80 annually and allows you free entry to National Parks and other fun perks.

3 thoughts on “Tips on Saving Money When Renting an RV”

  1. I like that you said that we should avoid the times when others want to rent campers. If I was renting an RV I would want to make sure I got the one that I want. Looking at reviews might help you to decide on one to rent.

  2. So many good tips! The fuel always worries me and I read someone else talking about all the add ons. Said $150 for a kitchen set and I was thinking you could just take what you will need to cook with and sabe the $150 or buy what you need probably cheaper. They also charged for a bike rack $30 and an outdoor kit $150… I mean those add ons can add up real quick. And, you have to consider the parking and sleeping after the RV rental. As much as you want to dry camp it is not always practical and you still need to find a place to park. It all depends like you said on the time of year and many other factors. Always plan ahead before any trip: your route, your arrival and expect it to take more time to get somewhere in an RV than a car. Especially if you are towing!


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