Lake Murray State Park Oklahoma Park Office Sign

Save money on your next vacation with RV rentals

Lake Murray State Park Oklahoma Park Office Sign
Gwyn Goodrow's image for:
"Save money on your next vacation with RV rentals"
Caption: Lake Murray State Park Oklahoma Park Office Sign
Location: Lake Murray, Oklahoma
Image by: Gwyn Goodrow
© Gwyn Goodrow 

Renting a recreational vehicle (RV) for your next vacation can be a creative way to save money. If you enjoy vacationing at locations with easy access to RV parking, you can save money on lodging and meal costs while enjoying the convience of having constant access to your home away from home. Choosing the right RV is critical to the success of your vacation. The first step will be to consider the number of participants and desired sleeping arrangements when choosing the size and layout of your vacation rental unit. Having the least expensive RV may save a few dollars but result in an overcrowded and confined vacation experience. Keep safety considerations in mind and ensure that your choice of RV has enough seats with seatbelts for all passengers. 

Once you have decided on your ideal recreational vehicle accomodations, three opportunities for saving money are RV rental cost, parking fees, and fuel costs.

Dollars and sense about RV rental costs

RV rental costs are complex until you know what to look for. Rental prices fluctuate based on supply and demand with consideration for geographic location, calendar season, and availability. Similar to airline prices, booking early may save money, but there are also opportunities for deep discounts when booking at the last minute. The rental agency will be looking to have the RVs on the road instead of in their parking lots and you can negotiate savings. The most common rental packages are a daily rate plus mileage. Convenience packages of bed linens, towels, cookware, and tableware are priced separately in most cases. You will need to consider those costs as compared to the time and effort of packing your own supplies for the journey.

The destination versus the journey

A common arrangement is to rent an RV in your hometown, drive for many days and then return the RV to your hometown.  However there are so many alternatives to consider. If your vacation time is limited, you can rent an RV near your vacation destination and fly to the pickup point. With this arrangement, you can reduce your driving time and lower the mileage expenses! This is a great way to save both time and money while increasing the number of days at the vacation destination. If the thrill of the open road is your goal, consider a one-way rental. Drive through the open countryside and then fly home instead of seeing the same scenery in reverse. As a third alternative, an emerging trend is on-site rental of a fully stocked RV or cabin at the destination campground. The online search tool at is helpful for locating these campground locations.

Parking fees

Parking fees are another consideration for saving money during your RV vacation. Prices for parking vary by location, seasonal demand and campground amenities. Use a good campground directory to ensure you are getting the accommodations to enhance your complete vacation experience. Campground amenities run the gamut from being just a parking space with no hookups to resort accommodations with electric, water and sewer hookups readily available. Modern campgrounds may include cable and telephone hookups, internet access, clubhouses and recreational facilities. Your campground directory will help you select the appropriate campground location to meet your needs.

Fuel costs

Fuel costs can add up quickly when driving large RVs for long distances. Fuel efficiency for an RV is similar to a freight transport truck, generally in a range of 6 to 15 miles per gallon. Actual gas mileage will fluctuate depending on the type and size of engine and the type of driving that occurs on your trip. You should expect better mileage when driving on open highways instead of in cities and better mileage when driving long flat roads instead of in hills and mountains. Before you begin your trip, understand the fuel tank capacity of the rental unit and map out the appropriate times for re-fueling in your trip. Even with a fully stocked RV, you will need to plan periodic stops for the driver to take a break from driving and for everyone to stretch.

With these money saving tips and careful preparation, your RV vacation will be affordable and financially stress-free. The RV lifestyle offers scheduling flexibility and allows for comforts of home to be included in the journey.


More about this author: Gwyn Goodrow