How Much Is an RV to Rent, Buy, or Resell?
By TAXA Habitat Specialists \
The average RV cost is an important question for many friends or families planning adventures that involve living on the road. Many dream of taking an adventure in a recreational vehicle across the country, but without experience it’s difficult to know what expenses to expect. For a shorter journey, many will opt to limit their commitment and expenses by renting as opposed to owning. Of course, before you can consider whether renting or buying is the best option, you should first consider which form of RV fits you best.
Different types of RVs
The term RV (recreational vehicle) is an umbrella term usually used for any type of camper or motorhome. Motorhomes are in the largest classes of RVs and are shaped like buses or vans rather than towable trailers. There are four basic classes of RVs available to rent or own – classes “A” through “C” cover motorhomes and drivable campers, while the remaining class, the fifth wheel, refers to trailers with specialty hitches. A counterpart to the RV is the travel trailer, but for simplicity’s sake, we’ll treat them like a fifth wheel. Each class of RV has a different starting price point than the next, and understanding the types of RVs can help you better determine the final cost.
Class A motorhomes are the largest type of RVs – they are also the highest-end models with maximum storage and amenities. The largest Class A motorhome can average 27 to 45 feet in length, which can cause issues with off-season storage. Naturally, they’re also the most expensive.
Class B vehicles are smaller vehicles that offer less space, but they tend to be more maneuverable and less expensive. Though the decreased storage space can make packing a challenge, the smaller size makes for a better fit in compact camping areas. They’re usually van-shaped, 21 to 24 feet long, and most often sleep only two.
These RVs are basically a middle ground between Classes A and B in size, space, drivability, and price. We know, C usually comes after B, but we didn’t make these naming conventions. The general size range is 23 to just over 36 feet in length. Many can comfortably accommodate a small family. Class C motorhomes are typically characterized by a van-like front end with an overhanging sleeping area above the cabin.
Similar to travel trailers, fifth-wheelers are towed behind external vehicles. However, they require a special hitch, typical of 18-wheelers. While this hitch requirement can be more difficult to acquire, it can bear more weight. The hitch resides in the middle of the truck bed, so finding space for storage in the back of the truck might be somewhat difficult.
RV pricing guide
For long-term RV ambitions, it will usually be wisest to actually commit to purchasing an RV. Purchasing requires more maintenance and potential storage costs, but it obviously helps you avoid the high nightly fees for renting. Refer to the breakdown of average RV cost for different RV classes below:
Average RV cost when renting
Renting an RV incurs a nightly fee as the base charge, in addition to potential costs for mileage, generators, or other accessories needed. It’s also important to consider the potential costs for bedding or other items needed for RV travel.
|Class||Cost, 10+years old||Cost, Newer|
How much to rent an RV for a month?
Some RV owners offer discounts for booking their motorhome or travel trailer for longer periods of time. On average, the cost to rent an RV for a month can range from $1,000 up to $10,000, depending on the class of RV. Of course, extra costs can accrue from mileage, insurance, and amenities offered. In the long run, it’s cheaper to buy an RV than rent; although, renting can be a great way to find just what class of RV you want before purchasing.
Additional costs of RV’ing
Beyond the cost of obtaining the vehicle itself, there are additional costs that come along with traveling in an RV. It’s best to contact the RV dealer or rental company to ask about any possible fees you might incur. When renting, there are often potential fees for cleaning, set-up, pets, cancellations, or mileage. Whether you’re looking to rent or own, there are fees you’ll want to consider, such as:
- Gasoline – towing a trailer or driving a large motorhome consumes a significant amount of gas during longer trips. Getting a lighter adventure vehicle or pop-up camper can help offset some of this cost.
- Campsite rental – campsites can range from less than $10 a night all the way to hundreds of dollars for luxurious resorts. To save on this expense, try boondocking or dispersed camping.
- Propane – if your trailer or mobile home has a heater or gas stove, then it most likely uses propane. You can cook over a fire or plan your camping trips around warmer weather in order to save on propane.
- Electricity – unless you’re towing your trailer with an electric vehicle, you won’t have to worry too much about standalone electric charges during your camping trip. Most campgrounds roll a small electrical fee for hookups into the cost of the site.
- Insurance – most RV rental sites offer renter’s insurance; alternatively, some auto policies include insurance for renting mobile homes. Certain rates might apply for double-axle RVs or longer rental periods.
- Internet hotspots – getting reliable internet connectivity is important when trying to get some office work done at the campsite. Most campsites offer free wifi, but you might need a signal booster for better internet speeds.
It may be preferable to utilize mobile home resorts or parks that combine these fees into one nightly price, also offering shower, laundry, and sewage. Especially when you purchase and own an RV, there may be significant costs to service, store, and customize your vehicle.
It can be tempting to save money by purchasing a used RV, but older RVs will almost certainly come with more replacements and repairs. Either way, an extended warranty can be a good investment to combat these expenses.
Trading in your old RV
Trading in your old RV is a great way to make room for a newer mobile habitat. We recommend first searching online for private seller listings similar to your camper. Look at the price tag, extra features, and other price-determining factors. Factors to consider when reselling or trading in your used RV include:
- Make, model, and year
- Overall mileage
- RV interior
- Motor and mechanical issues
- Extra add-ons or upgrades
After you have a general idea of what your RV is reselling for online, you can set a price point in your head to better guide the trade-in process. It might be useful to note that RV prices can jump in the warmer months and fall during colder months – so the timeliness of your sale is also a determining factor for resale value. Additionally, cleaning up small smudges on the exterior and taking care of even smaller repairs in the interior can raise the value of an RV.
Finding a Vehicle for Your Adventures
Whether you’re looking to rent for a week or purchase for the long haul, TAXA Outdoors partners with an extensive network of high-quality RV dealers across the country. To connect with a dealer that can help find the perfect vehicle for you, use our Find a Dealer tool. Or, to find the right TAXA habitat for your journey, check out Choose My TAXA.