Go RVing Without Breaking The Bank
There is no doubt about it, RV sales are on the rise! In a "Year In Review" by RVIA.org they state for the first time, RV shipments broke the 500k mark. Indeed a fantastic achievement to say the least! There are still plenty of folks out there, however, that don't have the money for or place to store an RV. Others don't have enough time to use one to warrant the purchase despite their wanting to experience RV glamping.
These genuine concerns have led to an increase in RV rentals in the market, as well as portions of RV resorts being converted to "Vintage Trailer Resorts" as destination rentals. If you want to try RV glamping but don't want to purchase an RV, then find comfort in the fact you have other budget-friendly options!
RV Rental Types
Going back even a handful of years ago RV rental options were mostly limited to franchise organizations like Cruise America. Judging by our last few trips to national parks, these companies are still a great option. Things have changed however due to sites like Outdoorsy.com and RVshare.com who allow RV owners to rent out their RVs. Not only can RV owners make some money towards paying off their RV, but potential renters also benefit as well by saving money, and working with independent RV owners.
Renting through Cruise America is still a great option. Doing some mock rental math, we determined we could rent a Class C RV in Salt Lake City for a base rate of $210 per night for the three-day minimum. Additionally, there was a $105 fee for mileage. They charge $0.35 per mile, so if you go under 300 miles, they will refund you the difference. If you go over 300 miles, it is an additional $0.35 per mile. Additionally, there is a $500 refundable deposit to cover damages. But wait, there is more!
If you don't have, or want to stock the RV with pots and pans, utensils and towels, etc., you can pay for it at the time of rental. A "Kitchen Kit" cost $100 and "personal kits" cost $55 per kit. Personal kits have towels, pillows, and a sleeping bag. They also charge $3.50 per hour to use the generator if so equipped.
Owning Versus RV Renting
We know what you might be thinking, "I thought this was a budget post!" It is...we promise. Let's forgo the "kit" charges and assume you have pots and pans in your house to bring, and you have bedding you can load up too. We will also consider you get your $500 back from your deposit by bringing it back unscathed. Meaning you are paying $245 per day plus tax factoring in the $105 for miles. So for a three-day rental, it is about $735. Wait for it...
Compare that to owning an RV where the payment is $200 to $600+ per month, even if you are not using it! Would you rather pay $735 for a trip or $7200 per year plus maintenance costs whether you take a trip or not? See what we are saying? You don't have to winterize a rental, you don't have to do maintenance on a rental, and you don't have to store a rental. Additionally, you are not paying for motels on your trip, and you always have a bathroom handy. You also save money on food as you can pack it with grub before you leave versus eating out for every meal. The only drawback is the 9 MPG the Class C gets. What about other rental companies? Good question!
Outdoorsy and RVshare
Sites like Outdoorsy and RVshare have been a game changer in the RV world. Not only can you find vast models to choose from, but it is also typically cheaper. Additionally, you are dealing with the RV owner who generally is more cordial. Not to mention, most RV owners have items like camping chairs and other glamping gear they will include in the fee. They are also much more likely to give you a thorough education on what and what not to do so their RV returns in one piece.
There is typically a deposit, and some folks charge a little extra for using the generator, but it is still a great way to go. One of the Class Cs we pretended to rent was $160 per night and included pots and pans, utensils, and bedding. We also looked at a Pop-Up camper for rent which was $90 per night. How perfect would that be for an RV glamping three-day weekend!
Additionally, both websites are very intuitive to help you find what you are looking for. After picking your dates, you can sort it by RV type and then read through your options until you see the one you want. Then you book it like you would a motel room.
Can you picture it yet? You pick up your RV on Thursday and load up all of your glamping odds and ends, and head out Friday for a weekend of fun! Then you just return it when you are done. Too easy!
Another change Outdoorsy and RVshare have created, is motivating RV dealerships to hold rental models. RV dealerships clearly posted several of the listings we saw. Unless there is someone in Utah with 12 of the same RVs for rent all parked in a concrete lot somewhere. Here is something cool about renting through dealerships though.
According to RVDA.org, 80% of RV dealers who rent RVs will deliver it and set it up at your campsite or location of your choice. What?! Can you imagine pulling up to your campsite in your sedan and having a 32 foot RV waiting for you ready to go? We live in the age is all I can say.
Destination Vintage Trailer Resorts
What if you don't want to mess with any of the rental bit? What if you just want to book something online next to a destination and go? Well, you have options there as well. A prime example is The Vintages Trailer Resort in Dayton, Oregon. Located in the heart of wine country, Vintages Trailer Resort is full of vintage RVs which have been restored to better than new. Oh when we say the heart of wine country, it is literally next to a vineyard. Wine tasting anyone? The insides of these trailers are truly impressive, not to mention the patios with portable grills to boot!
To ruin a perfectly good 80's song, "you can glamp if you want to, you can leave your cares behind." Okay, that was bad. Our point is, you have options at your disposal to experience RV Glamping whether it be renting or traveling to a trailer resort. You can rent everything from a 40' behemoth for an RV park to a lifted 4x4 van to explore the backcountry. If you want to go RV glamping, the only thing left to do is plan your adventure, and get it done.
If you decide purchasing an RV is right for you, check out our free RV buying tips guide first! -> Essential RV Buying Tips Guide