RVs are a great option for those who want to vacation “on the go.” Although renting an RV is not necessarily cheap, having one will take care of both your accommodations and your transportation needs. You’ll also be able to save money on food, since you can cook in the RV. Still, get the best price for an RV rental using some common tips and tricks.
Rent at the Right Place
When looking for the best deals on RV rentals, don’t go with the obvious. Stepping into a local car rental office probably won’t get you the best prices, because those offices don’t specialize in RVs and will only have one or two options available. Instead, look for RV rental companies. RV rental websites will let you search based on how much you want to pay, your location and the type of RV you need. Two of the largest RV rental companies in the country are Cruise America (cruiseamerica.com) and El Monte RV (elmonterv.com), according to Roadtrip America. Those companies are a good place to start if you just want a general idea of costs.
Before renting an RV, always ask what the rental package includes. Most RV rentals come with a number of miles included in the price. If you go over those miles, you will have to pay extra. Paying by mile is often more expensive than paying by package, so if you think you’re going to drive a lot, buy additional miles in advance, preferably in the form of packages of 150 miles or more, so you don’t have to worry about counting each mile. Also, ask whether weekend miles are more expensive, as this is the case with many rental companies.
Go with the Minimum
If you have a choice, rent an RV with a basic starter kit. This means no extras such as toiletries, a second tank of propane, or even special adapters and hoses you might not need. A lot of these things would be a lot cheaper if you buy them yourself, so ask whether that’s an option. Before you pay for additional insurance, call your car insurance company to see if a RV rental is covered. Many of the insurance add-ons you are offered when renting an RV are not needed, as RV rentals usually fall under coverage of your own insurance.
Get the Smallest Size
Don’t rent something bigger than you really need. Class A motorhomes -- the typical rectangular, bus-like vehicle -- are cheaper to rent, but have poor gas mileage. Class B motorhomes are smaller and easier to maneuver. They are more expensive to rent, but give you excellent mileage. Class A is ideal for four people or more, while Class B is best for a couple. Additional sizes are available and each has its own pros and cons, so you should talk to a rental expert before you choose one.
Rent at the Right Time of the Year
Renting during low season will also net you some savings, but this can be tricky because it’s based on your location. In some areas of the country, summer will be high season. However, in ski and resort areas, winter is considered high season. Some companies have high, low and shoulder season, while others only have on and off-seasons. Always ask before renting.
Tips & Warnings
- Shop around for the best RV rental prices.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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