How Much Does It Cost To Rent An RV? (2019 RV Rental Prices Included)
The costs of owning an RV are outrageous. From insurance, to maintenance, fuel, supplies, and loss-of-value over time are all issues that plague RV owners. It’s why so many people are considering renting instead of buying.
If you’re the type that prefers to give it back when you’re done and let the owner take care of losing money so all you have to cover is the cost of fuel, supplies, and short-term insurance, you’re one of the many wondering “how much does it cost to rent an RV in 2020?”.
We’ve broken down what you need to consider before renting and contacted multiple different companies to find out what RV rental company prices are looking like in 2020.
We wanted to know what ALL of the costs were, from setup and cleaning fees, to fuel and mileage costs, average cost of supplies, and more.
Here’s what we’ve found.
Average Cost to Rent an RV in 2020
In 2020, rates are all over the place — mainly because people’s options, what they want, what they need, and where they’re renting from are all over the place, too.
The sheer level of competition between RV rental companies is a major blessing for traveling nomads like yourself. It means you get the pick of the litter without getting taken to the cleaners and having your wallet feel the sting.
The costs you can expect depend more on the type of R you’re wanting to rent, how large it is, which options and luxuries you need included, where you’re renting the RV from, how old the RV is, and many more factors.
To give you a general idea of what to expect, here’s a short list of the average RV rental prices across the United States. These companies tend to rent to individuals, rather than companies, which means the fares may be slightly higher but it gives you a quick idea.
Note: These prices were collected through
- Class A Vehicles: $140 to $290 per day.
- Class B Vehicles: $100 to $225 per day.
- Class C Vehicles: $125 to $225 per day.
- Tow-Behind: $40 to $140 per day.
- Fifth Wheel: $50 to $150 per day.
- Pop Up: $50 to $125 per day.
- Toy Haulers: $75 to $175 per day.
- Recreational Vans: $60 to $150 per day.
One other note to consider… these are all considered “short term” rentals, so the prices are, in general, going to be higher than what you’d expect to pay if you were reserving the RV for a longer time period.
Long-term rentals (as in, a month or longer) are always cheaper since the RV rental company doesn’t have to pay to continue renting it out during that same time period.
Getting people to take the rentals costs far more than you taking control over the vehicle for a longer period of time. Company owners are often more likely to negotiate with you on the rates if you’re trying to rent for a longer time period, too.
One aspect that you need to consider, that most people don’t think about when they associate price to quality, is that there are a few shady companies who are marketing through higher prices — but those higher prices do NOT come with better customer service, more features and luxuries, or better, more favorable terms.
There are times when you can stumble on deals where an RV was rented from the location you’re wanting to travel to and left at the location you’re starting from. In these situations the companies will work with you so they don’t have to pay a staff member to pick up the RV when the rental has been completed.
The rental itself, though, isn’t the only cost. You’re going to need to factor in quite a few other expenses before you’re going to get to the true cost of renting an RV in 2019. Those costs can quickly add up, too. This is why we’re giving you the tools you need to negotiate the rental rates before you get into a situation that becomes far more expensive than you’d accounted for.
RV Fees and Expenses To Account For
When you’re planning your budget for an RV trip or expedition, especially if you’ve never taken one before, you’re going to need to consider ALL of the expenses encountered. This is an area that tends to catch people off-guard and leave their wallet hurting halfway through the trip.
- RV-Accessible Campgrounds: Depending on where you’re planning on parking the RV after you arrive at your destination, you may need to take into account the fees that the campground will charge. Some places will let you park your RV and camp for free while others are going to charge more based on the space you take up with your vehicle and gear. You need to call ahead, before you rent your RV, to get an accurate quote of the expenses the campground is going to require.
- Cleaning & Maintenace Fees: There’s two ways to account for the cleaning and maintenance fees that most RV rental agencies charge. You can either expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $250 for cleaning, based on the size of your RV, or you can spend the day you return cleaning it out yourself. Depending on how busy you are, this is an expense you’re going to want to account for since most people aren’t exactly fond of spending the day cleaning out an RV after they’ve returned from a long trip.
- Setup and Delivery: There are a few rental agencies that will not allow you to pick up the RV from their location, driving it to your campground, and then setting it up yourself. Instead, they are going to require you to pay an extra fee (usually between $100 and $200, depending on the distance and size) to deliver the RV for you and then set it up themselves. Typically, these companies will also clean the vehicle when you’re done, returning it to their lot themselves, as well.
- Fuel Costs: Just like a rental car, the agency is going to require you to return the fuel tank back to the level you obtained the vehicle in. You’ll also need to consider the gas mileage if you’re renting a motorhome or campervan, along with your cost of mileage while you’re in possession of the vehicle. Then, if you return the RV without refueling you can expect to pay higher-than-average fuel prices on top of an additional surcharge for failing to refuel the vehicle yourself. This can run anywhere from $25 to $50, again, depending on the size, location, and how active the rental agency is. Busier agencies tend to charge more to guarantee their staff aren’t spending time cleaning up after you!
- Mileage Calculations: Even though there are some rental companies that will give you unlimited mileage on their vehicles, some are going to restrict the distance you can travel without incurring fees. You need to take this into account before you rent and ask the agency if there’s any hidden fees or fines for going past the allowed limit. Sometimes those fees can rack up to between $0.25 and $1.00 per mile — a huge cost that many aren’t expecting until they get hit with the bill when they return the RV to the agency.
- Sales Tax: You know the government always gets paid, especially when their citizens are enjoying themselves! Even when you’re renting an RV online or from an agency in another state you can expect to pay sales tax based on where you’re actually taking possession of the vehicle or trailer. For instance, if you live in Florida and rent an RV in California that you intend to fly to, in order to pick up, you can expect to pay California sales tax and other fees. If they have conservation or other fees based on the carbon footprint of the vehicle, your rates could dramatically increase. Discuss this with the agency before you make your purchase to avoid getting hit with unseen costs.
- Insurance: Most companies that you can rent an RV from are going to include the cost of insurance inside of the daily rental fees. However, you can add additional insurance to cover the costs of unforeseen incidents, damage protections, and trip insurance / reimbursements for maintenance you have to perform on the road. Some insurance will help you obtain a refund if you encounter an emergency situation that requires an early return of the rental. Damage protection insurance (amazing if you have kids or other guests) is perfect for protecting you from any damage to the vehicle while it’s in your possession — whether you caused it, or not. If you’re renting luxury it’s highly recommended you prepare for the extra insurance coverages. One small nick on a countertop can end up costing you thousands to have it repaired!
- Security Deposit: Depending on the vehicle or trailer you’re renting, you can expect to plop down a security deposit ranging from $500 to $5,000 on the luxury-end of the spectrum. The deposits are always refunded after you return the vehicle and the agency guarantees there’s no new damage incurred during your trip. If you’ve damaged the RV, expect the repairs to come out of your deposit and the money to be held until the agency has restored the vehicle to its original state.
- Travel Expenses: Once you’ve gotten the costs of actually renting the vehicle or trailer out of the way you’re also going to need to take an account of what you think you’re going to be spending each day that you’re camping or traveling. Since most people are conservative, and feelings change once you’ve arrived at your destination, it’s always a safe bet to add an additional 25% to your budget, just to account for surprise visits to spots you didn’t think you’d want to see before you left, or times you want to stick around a bit longer and enjoy the scenery that you already paid to enjoy.
- Food Costs: Food is a major expense that very few people account for. Whether you’re loading up the fridge in the RV with food you’ve gotten from the grocer or farmer’s market, or you’re planning on eating on the road, costs can vary wildly from location to location. For instance, in large metropolitan areas you can generally get food for less than you will spend in more remote areas — where it costs more to get the food to the place you’re attempting to buy it from. Again, adding an additional 25% to your total food bill estimation is a good idea, and becomes “free” money when you get back if you didn’t go over the budget you actually set for yourself!
- Activities: The point of RVing, camping, and traveling is to get out and explore the world, so it only makes sense that you could find yourself getting involved in activities that you didn’t realize were available before you left. A lot of places rely on tourists just showing up wanting to enjoy their offers without actually advertising they exist. That means you could stumble onto new honey holes and hideouts that weren’t known before you left but can quickly add up if you have more than a few people with you. Researching the area you’re going to and what activities they have available before you leave is a great way to plan your trip, but it’s always a safe bet to add in a bit more in case you find something interesting that wasn’t advertised during your research!
Average RV Trip Rental Daily Costs
Now that you’ve gotten to this point it may feel like renting an RV is going to cost you thousands of dollars per day. That’s exactly why we laid out the fees and potential costs for you the way we have — so you can dial back what’s required and what’s expected.
The actual average daily costs of renting an RV for your trip don’t have to be outrageous. It’s one of the most affordable (and enjoyable) forms of travel as long as you’re looking at the costs from every angle and accounting for them before you ever put in your rental request.
The length of time you’re traveling, the trim level of the RV, the area you’re renting from, and the area you’re taking the RV to will all have an impact on your daily rates but, for the most part, you can expect to fall somewhere into the ranges listed below:
- Day Trips: $100 to $300 per day. (Plus expenses & tax.)
- Week Trips: $400 to $2,500 per day. (Plus expenses & tax.)
- Month Trips: $1,500 to $15,000 per month. (Plus expenses & tax.)
Something to note is repeat customers and long-term rentals tend to have more favorable terms and agencies are a lot more inclined to negotiate those terms with you based on your history renting from them or the length of time you plan to rent the RV from them. Likewise, if you’re taking the RV to “safer” areas you can work down the rates
Tips For Renting An RV or Camper In 2020
Renting an RV and planning your trip can be one of the most memorable times in your life if you do it right — or one of the worst nightmares you’ve ever encountered if things go south.
We’re not saying this to scare you (since most people never face the nightmares) but we do want to give you some first-timer tips for renting an RV or camper in 2019 so you can guarantee your experience goes as smoothly as possible.
- Let your peers guide your way.
Even if you feel alone or overwhelmed when it comes to planning your next RV vacation, you aren’t. There are a ton of peer groups and smartphone apps (even some sites like ) that can help you plan your trip.
Searching for the actual RV rental has never been easier, either. The internet has forced RV rental agencies to compete with each other, knocking down prices, increasing the trim levels of available rentals, and one-upping each other’s customer service departments.
That means you win all around.
Let your peers who have taken the road less traveled help you out. There are a ton of RVing communities available with some devoted specifically to renters, instead of owners!
- Consider booking during the off-season.
Even though you’re going to be tempted to pack up and go during the middle of summer — when tourist destinations are advertising most often — planning your patience and waiting until the off-season can dramatically reduce your expenses.
Traveling during the off-season has a few other benefits, too. The weather is usually cooler, meaning you get to enjoy the outdoors even more — without the bugs, heat, humidity, and tempers that come from tourists being overwhelmed and overheated — and avoid most of the crowds, altogether.
Some destinations mark down their rates by as much as 50% during the off-season, in order to keep revenue flowing while preparing themselves for the next busy season. This is the perfect time for you to enjoy the destination without the crowds and other hassles.
- Food is the biggest expense!
There’s two schools of thought when it comes to eating on the road when you’re RVing — you either prepare meals for yourself on the RV or you enjoy the fine cuisine in the areas you’re traveling to.
It’s easy to see which way is more expensive. That doesn’t mean you have to miss out on local cuisine, though, just because you want to avoid eating out at fancy restaurants!
Before you leave, you’ll want to pack the onboard fridge with enough food to get you to your location and then start researching local recipes and cuisines that you can prepare in the comfort of the RV.
Food is easily one of the biggest expenses you could encounter, depending on the length of your trip and how many you’re feeding, but preparing your own meals is a way to cut that cost dramatically — if you plan for it.
- You’re a different kind of driver, now.
Size isn’t the only difference when you’re getting in to drive an RV for the first time. The rules of the road are different, too. You need to make sure you’re up on the laws for the size of vehicle you’re going to be navigating on the roadways — otherwise you could be accounting for fines and penalties, as well.
Most RV companies will educate you on the rules of the road before you leave but that’s about the extent of the education they’re going to give you. There’s still a few more rules you need to follow and strategies you’ll need to think about.
- Your journey is a marathon, NOT a sprint! That means you’re going to need to over-estimate the length of time it’s going to take you to arrive. When a speed zone is 55 miles per hour, you might find yourself driving 50 miles an hour — to save on both gas and potential hazards that come at you a lot quicker than when you’re in a smaller car.
- Cities can be the biggest nightmare, ever! If you want to test your patience, plan on driving through major cities while you’re behind the wheel of an RV or pulling a tow-behind camper/trailer. “Rush hour” can cause PTSD faster than you realize.
- RV-specific GPS apps can be a lifesaver! There’s a few different apps and RV-specific GPS programs available that help you avoid the most common obstacles that can stop you in your path — namely low bridges, construction and detours that send you through a metropolitan area when you thought the road was clear!
Getting used to driving the big rig requires your complete and undivided attention. If you’re constantly stressing about the roads and traffic around you you’re liable to make mistakes that could end up costing you dearly.
- Book your trip far in advance.
While being spontaneous in your travels is considered the spice of life for some RVers and adventurers, that spontaneity can cost you more than it should. Planning your trip ahead of time, for both the RV rental and your accommodations once you arrive can help you get better rates.
Getting ahead of yourself and figuring out where you want to go (making stops along the route to your destination) is another great way to reduce the stress of being crammed in the RV for long periods of time while keeping you from missing out on the action along the way.
- Keep your payments secure.
The RV rental agencies that we recommend will typically take your payments over the internet, giving you the security you need in case something goes wrong. However, nefarious types and scammers have realized there’s big money in RV rentals and have gone to great lengths to convince people they’re legitimate businesses.
They’ll ask for your information over the phone (or by mail if you’re ordering far enough in advance) and you’ll be left on the hook when it comes time to getting your money back after you realize you’ve been scammed.
To avoid this, don’t give your payment information out over the phone and definitely do not send sensitive information through the mail. Regardless what the agency says the reasons are, you want to make sure your bases are covered when you’re dealing with large amounts of money.
- Roadside assistance can be a blessing.
Variety is the spice of life and Murphy’s Law states “if it can go wrong, it will”. Having someone to have your back when you’re on the road is a major blessing. Instead of having your trip cut short because of an unseen expense, roadside assistance can get you back on the road.
Your rental agency should be able to provide you with roadside assistance and it’s highly recommended that you take them up on your offer. Even if you don’t use it (usually happens when you buy it upfront!) you’ll be grateful you had it if you need it. You never know when a flat tire, busted radiator hose, or torn fan belt can stop you in your tracks.
- Don’t settle for the first price.
The internet has given consumers like you the negotiating power you’ve always wanted, as long as you go out of your way to use it. Many travelers will accept the first rates as being “the way it is” and happily hand over their money without realizing how much they could save.
When agencies are advertising rates online they’re usually trying to find the balance between being low enough to attract attention while also being high enough to give themselves some leeway. It’s that leeway you can use to negotiate better rates.
By shopping around and comparing what each agency is offering you can effectively use the information to obtain better deals for your next trip. Make sure you’re paying attention to the fine print, though, because, many times, agencies will strip a ton of features to post a better rate and you won’t realize what’s missing until it’s too late.
- Insure your rental. To the fullest.
When you apply to rent an RV your will have a company that they use to insure the rentals and ask you to take on full protection plans. Even if you think you wouldn’t use them it’s highly recommended that you take advantage of what they’re offering.
Most travelers will (falsely) assume that their own vehicle insurance will protect them because it contains a clause where they’re covered regardless the vehicle they’re driving.
However, most insurance companies are not planning for you to be behind the wheel of a $100,000 vehicle. Let alone a massive RV that you’ve probably never driven before.
If your agency offers and recommends insurance, both comprehensive and collision, we advise you to take them up on their offer. The rates that you’ll pay directly through them are usually lower than what you can find on your own and can be wrapped into your rental costs.
- Consider the size & type of RVs available.
Are you and a couple friends looking to set out on an expedition? Or are you trying to introduce your entire family to a new part of the country you’re in?
Depending on how big your group is, you might want to physically check into the different sizes of RVs available. When you go into the research process thinking you need a larger RV you might find that the cost-savings associated with downsizing can be huge — and not put a damper on the actual space you have available.
Many times, larger RVs come with significantly higher costs because there is more room to pack other features and luxuries into — the types of luxuries you and your group may not take full advantage of, even though you paid for them in the rental price.
For instance, you might find that renting a truck and tow-behind camper trailer is a way to save quite a bit of money over a full-fledged Class A or Class B RV and packs just as many features — especially features that smaller groups can make better use of.
- Think about where you’ll sleep.
Even though a rental agency lists an RV as “sleeping four comfortably” you might find out that “comfortably” means for children and anyone under 5 feet tall.
It’s critical that you actually see pictures of the sleeping arrangements — especially ones that are stored or converted from other features, such as a dinette table, to make sure your guests aren’t going to get crammed into uncomfortable sleeping arrangements, stuck feeling like a sardine in a moving can.
- Overcome the fear of driving a ‘big’ rig!
If you’ve rented a larger RV or even a campervan, you’ll want to spend some time getting used to the controls before you head out onto the open road.
Practicing your driving techniques in a large, open parking lot is a great way to get familiar with how the big bus moves around.
Setting up parking cones and spending a few hours planning how to make turns safely, backing up without running into things, and figuring out how long it takes to come to a complete stop can save you a ton of headaches once you’re actually underway.
Then, remember what we mentioned before — getting to your destination is a marathon, not a sprint. If you increase the speeds in an RV the results can be disastrous. Enjoy your vacation and embrace the slower-going speeds and you’ll look forward to the trip.
Otherwise? You may find yourself wanting more than a few drinks at the end of the day!
- Plan your trips itinerary early.
This is one of those times when having more-than-enough details is never quite enough. Knowing where you’re going, the routes you’re taking, where you’re stopping, what you want to see, and spotting minor hiccups that could turn into lengthy delays does wonders for your sanity.
You don’t necessarily have to stick to the plan as it’s set in stone but having a plan in the first place is, often times, more than enough to get you by so you can think on your feet instead of having to react to every situation that comes your way.
It’s also great for helping you get refocused on the prize at the end of the road in case plans do happen to get derailed for a moment, or two.
- Ask the agency for a list of ALL fees.
Fees in the fine print are a major issue when you’re dealing with less-than-scrupulous RV rental companies. Many times, these companies will tell you one price, take your security deposit, and then bill you for excess fees once you return — effectively draining your deposit.
To make sure you’re not falling victim to their scams, you can either reserve your RV through or ask the company upfront, and in writing, for a list of potential fees that you might incur during your rental.
Some of the most common fees are generator usage, pet occupancy, cancellations, over the mileage, and more. Asking the company if there are fees that you might incur when you get back is a good starting point. They are required to disclose all fees to you in advance.
- Keep the RV secure while you’ve got it!
One of the biggest issues people find themselves facing is damage to the inside of the RV or gear that was included in the RV getting damaged. These can add up to be a lot more expensive than it would cost to replace them yourself, if you’re not careful.
Your goal is to return the RV in the same (or better) condition than it was in when you rented it, so you’re going to want to make sure you have everything inside the vehicle secured before you begin traveling down the road.
From cabinets, tables, chairs, books, and even your dog bowls, gear sliding around the cabin of the RV can cause distractions — and expensive damages.
- Estimate gas mileage conservatively.
Depending on the size of the RV you rent, fuel costs could vary wildly. Larger RVs are going to take nearly 4x as much fuel as a small campervan and it’s not unheard of for a fully loaded RV to get less than 10 miles per gallon.
If you’re planning trips over long distances, this can add up pretty quickly. In order to make sure you’re not getting caught off-guard with a gas guzzler, make sure you’ve asked the rental agency what to expect in terms of average miles-per-gallon.
Then, like other numbers you need to account for, add an additional 25% for times when you’re stuck in traffic, dealing with more hills than usual, or you’re relaxing with the engine running.
- Plan on powering the RV yourself.
When it comes to power you have two options — either plug into the campground you’re at or run on the batteries in the RV. If you aren’t plugged in, the power you use is automatically going to come from battery storage… and that’s in finite supply.
Some rental agencies will allow you to add a generator to the RV, while some RVs will already have a generator in them. If the RV you’re renting doesn’t have a source of power on its own you’re going to need to speak with the agency about other arrangements.
You’ll want to ask ahead of time if you’re going to need additional power or plan on parking and camping in a spot where you won’t have access to power. RV batteries are incredibly expensive and can be damaged if you’re not caring for them properly, which usually means using up your fuel to keep them recharged.
- Don’t forget about life’s little essentials.
Just because you’re leaving home doesn’t mean you should actually leave home at home. You’re going to want to load up life’s basic necessities with you because your RV isn’t a hotel room and won’t come pre-packaged with your daily essentials.
You don’t have to go all-out, either. Take what you know you’ll need and then ask the rental agency what essentials are included. Some RVs might have your cookware included, while others are going to require you to pack your own onboard.
Then, think about what you’ll need once you finally park and start camping. Everything from tents, to chairs, coolers, lamps, and bug repellant are a lot more expensive in the tourist spots than they are when you load them up from your garage.
- RV apps can simplify your trip for you.
Making the most of your time on the road doesn’t mean leaving technology behind. Unless you’re going for a “true” camping experience, there’s quite a few different apps you can use to simplify your trip.
Here’s a quick list to get you started:
- Weather: Knowing what you’re going to be driving into can save you a lot of heartache down the road. If you know you’re going to encounter storms and rough weather, it could be worth it to drive an hour or two out of the way — or park and wait it out. RVs tend to act a bit squirrely in inclement weather, so having an app keep you up to date is crucial.
- Parks: If you’re wanting to visit national parks while you’re on the road you’ll want to have an idea of how to get to the areas where you can park your RV and visit. Many times you’ll have to deal with traffic before you’re pointed in the right direction. Having the app on your phone can give you a quick detour to avoid traffic and head straight down to the RV lot to park the rig.
- RV Checklist: Knowing what to do when you park and load up can be a mind-numbing experience and one that most people won’t want to deal with at the beginning and end of their trips. The RV Checklist app helps you build the list and keeps you focused, allowing you to check off what’s already been done so you know you’re not forgetting anything.
- AllStays: The AllStays app will not only help you find the best campgrounds and RV ready campsites, but can also help you find RV friendly restaurants, department stores, convenience stores, and fueling locations. This can save you a ton of time (and fuel) driving around trying to find a space to accommodate you.
- Yellowpages: When you’re on the road, trying to find the number for the places you’re looking for can be difficult. When you’re at home you know your way around and the quickest routes to get to where you want to go. The Yellowpages app gives you the same convenience while you’re away.
- Gas Buddy: Comparing fuel prices when you’re spending as much as it costs to keep an RV topped up is a great way to shave hundreds off your final fuel bill. The Gas Buddy app helps you find the easiest spots to fill up — and the cheapest.
Don’t overwhelm yourself loading your phone down with apps that you won’t need. Even the list above can be a bit intense for some. If you’d rather not use technology to get you by, keep only the barebones installed and resort to pen and paper. It’s been proven to work!
- Account for dumping the waste & water tanks!
Dumping the wastewater tanks can be a tedious ordeal if you’ve never done it before — and most RV renters are first-timers! That means you’re going to want to do a run-through to figure out how and where you can dump the tanks before you start filling them.
The process is fairly straightforward, even if you’ve never done it before, and many rental agencies and RV parks will have amenities available for you to dump the tanks or get help dumping them, for a small fee.
Here’s how to clear the tanks yourself:
- At the dumping station, make sure you’re parked as close to the drain as you can, with the valve to dump located directly over the drain.
- Put your gloves on and don the hose. Secure the hose to your tank outlet and deposit the other end into the draining station.
- When you’ve guaranteed the valve is secure (you don’t want that mess!) begin emptying the blackwater tanks first. When the drain slows to a trickle you can close the valve and them disconnect the hose.
- Thoroughly rinse the hose out and off and then return it to the draining station you got it from. Make sure you leave the area better than you found it.
- Rinse the outside of your tanks, valves, and area where you drained. Then, replace the cap on your holding tank and you’re finished.
It’s not hard once you do it the first time but many first-timers can get intimidated when they stop and think about exactly what it is they’re doing. As long as you take your time the process is straightforward and you shouldn’t encounter any random surprises of the blackwater tank kind.
Have you seen different RV rental prices?
Phew! That’s a lot of information to take in all at once, we definitely understand, but, as a first time RV renter, you can expect a few hiccups and hurdles here, and there.
Hopefully, by now, you know what to look for, what to watch out for, and can successfully navigate the different RV rental companies to get the best deal on your next trip.
If you find out the RV rental prices in your area are different, or you uncover information we couldn’t find on our first trip through the RV interwebs, definitely let us know! We love hearing from our readers and have made it our mission to make your trips as fun and relaxing as possible!
Looking to learn more? Read our Tips, Tricks and Hacks for RV Renters here.