Interested in renting an RV but worried that the estimates you’re seeing online are too expensive? Finding RV rental deals can help you save big when you’re trying to plan a trip on the cheap. While some deals take a bit of work to uncover, others are hiding in plain sight, just waiting to be discovered.
If you’re willing to invest some time ahead of your trip, there are plenty of cheap RV rentals to be found. Whether it’s a matter of pushing your vacation into the off-season or taking advantage of AAA discounts, there’s almost always a way to put a few extra dollars in your pocket. Read on to learn more about how to find the best RV rental deals.
RV Rental Discounts
The first thing you’ll want to do is start hunting down coupon codes and special offers from the major RV dealerships. Most rental companies run special promotions from time to time that can help you cut back on your total costs. Some companies give you an extra night for free when you rent an RV for the week, for example, while others offer free miles to travelers who rent for a certain number of days.
Not all deals are explicitly advertised, so monitoring online forums like Reddit and Lonely Planet can also be a good way to learn about secret RV rental specials. Occasionally, you can also find RV rental deals on discount sites like Groupon.
And don’t forget about AAA discounts! If you happen to be one of AAA’s 55 million customers in the U.S. and Canada, you may be able to save anywhere from 5 to 10 percent on your RV rental. Most RV companies honor AAA discounts, so remember to ask for member pricing when making your reservation.
RV Relocation Deals
If you’re flexible on routes, some dealerships offer incredible RV rental deals one way, meaning they’ll cut you a great rate to take one of their campers from Point A to Point B. This typically happens when a previous customer rented an RV in one city and dropped it off in another, or when a company decides it has a demand for more RVs in one location than another.
In most cases, you’ll need to rent the RV by a certain date and return it to its destination within a designated time frame. You should also ask about any mileage fees you may incur. Most companies don’t care which route you take (so long as you get the RV from Point A to Point B), but after a certain number of miles you may be on the hook for a mileage fee, so it’s definitely something to ask about upfront.
Rent a RV Cheap
Can’t find a coupon code and not sure if a relocation deal works for the trip you had in mind? Luckily, there are still a few more ways to find a great deal. It sounds obvious, but consider renting your RV during the off-season, typically in the fall or spring months. Summer tends to be the busiest time of year for RV rental companies, so there’s not much incentive for dealerships to rent RVs for cheap during those months. By renting in, say, February or November, you can literally save hundreds of dollars on your trip.
Thrifty travelers should also consider smaller, older RVs, which by virtue tend to be more affordable to rent (especially if you’ll be gone for longer than a few days). Camper trailers are another great option for people who already own a truck or SUV since they tend to be less expensive to rent than a Class A or Class C motorhome. Being smaller, they’ll also help you save on the cost of gas.
Booking with a peer-to-peer rental site is another way to get an RV rental cheap. Using the model made famous by Airbnb, peer-to-peer sites connect RV owners with customers, so you can rent an RV directly from the person who owns it. Going this route not only gives you way more options than renting from an RV dealership, but you’re almost certain to save money and be able to rent on terms reached by you and the person you’re renting from (instead of on terms dictated by a strict corporate policy).
No matter where you’re headed, it’s crucial to secure a reservation as soon as you’ve identified the dates of your trip. If at all possible, try to book your RV months in advance, since waiting until the last minute basically guarantees you’ll pay more in the long run. This is doubly important if you’re hoping to rent an RV during a high-impact weekend like Memorial Day or within a 200-mile radius of any major music festival.
Other Ways to Save on an RV Rental
When in doubt, you can always resort to other cost-saving measures. If you’ll be staying mostly at campgrounds along the way, consider joining an RV membership club, which can get you discounts at sites across the country. You can even try staggering your overnight stops at campgrounds with stops at Walmart or Cracker Barrel, both of which welcome overnight RVers.
Cooking at home (aka your RV) can be both frugal and fun. It’s also a great way to meet your “neighbors” back at your campsite — everyone loves being invited over for a cold drink or a hot meal!
If you’re more interested in the camping aspect of RVing rather than the road trip, you can also save money by renting an RV at your destination rather than hauling it across the country. As a bonus, you’ll also spend less on gas, which can really add up since most motorhomes and campers get horrible fuel economy.
So there you have it: a list of several different ways to rent an RV on a budget. If all else fails, you can always invite a couple more friends to share both the cost and the memories. RVing is best enjoyed with others!