My Dad used to say if it Fly’s, Floats or F@#%$ it is cheaper to rent it. Replace F@#%$ with RV in the saying and I pretty much agree. Look around you. How many airplanes, boats and RV’s just sit around not being used. Do you really want to add yours to the list?
Owning Planes, Boats and RV’s is expensive. For the most part it is way cheaper to rent it. For a recent Art Surf Productions work trip, I chose to RV it instead of hoteling it. Simply put I didn’t want to schlep gear back and forth to the hotel rooms every night.
The RV itself cost about the same as the hotels in each location. Every other stop I got a campground with hookups. That added $39 to $89 per night. The gas mileage of the RV was about half of what the CruToys Jeep gets, so add in a fuel cost of a few hundred bucks. Thankfully the producers didn’t check my math when I turned in the expense reports.
Food is better too.
Eating well on the road is a tough thing to do. With an RV you can bring whatever you want, so I saved money there and ate way better with one exception. An actor friend of mine “Gomez” told me that a restaurant existed that still had my favorite burrito.
Sal’s in Clovis California was a regular stop for me until the owner died and the business split among the kids. One became a Bobby’s, One a Salazar’s, another Bobby Salazars. None remained Sal’s and the burritos weren’t the same.
Working on a TV show I ran into Gomez who told me the grandson owned the last “Sal’s” and it was hidden just off of Highway 99 in Selma, CA. He also said that the fancy burritos were the original recipe and I could get them frozen sometimes. So I pulled in, met Sal (the third I presumed) and stuffed the freezer with burritos. They were everything I remembered.
One of the things to watch when you rent an RV is the sewer hookup. The previous clowns didn’t get the blackwater pipe drained. When I opened the lid the first night poop was everywhere and I had to clean it up. One point for hotels.
Plugging in saves generator hours and hooking up water and sewer makes it easier to shower and act like a normal human on the road. Some hotels make that difficult.
It is Cheaper to Rent for a reason
The RV I rented was a Winnebago Class C Sprinter Diesel View. A long title for a small and reasonably comfortable RV. Normally I rent a larger Class A but I couldn’t find campsites that could accommodate an RV over 27 feet in a couple of places. At one location a Class A parking spot with hookups jumped to $139 per night.
Owning an RV means you need to pay for storage or you need to have a house with RV storage. Either way you are paying for it. Checking around town I found RV storage near me can run $350 per month. Driving an hour away it can run $250 per month. So that works out to $3000 to $4200 per year just to store your RV.
By keeping it rented the RV owner is able to avoid those fees or at least some of them. Doing the math, 10 day rental = $2000, that means I need to be on the road in my RV at least 20 days each year just to cover the storage costs. If you add in depreciation and maintenance, it gets closer to 60 days each year. The new version of this little coach is $159,000 and up.
Why would I buy something so I can’t afford to go on any other kind of vacation?
Renting Gives you Options.
Renting also allows me to go big when I can find the budget and the space to park it and go small when I need to. If you own it, you are stuck with it. Even though a Class C is easier to drive and gets much better gas mileage, a Class A is the best way to hit the road in an RV without a doubt.
Act like an owner.
If you rent RV’s often there are some things that you need to have for yourself since I have learned rental owners don’t provide them.
- A box of gloves for cleanup and hooking up
- A broom and dustpan
- A bottle of simple green – It cleans sticky bathroom and shower floors
- A portable BBQ. I got mine at Target during the end of year sale for half price.
- Fuel for the BBQ
- A cooler and Gel Cooling packs in case the freezer stops while on the road.
- Reusable Cups and Plates – Don’t be Trashy!
- A folding chair for each person on the trip
- An RV carpet. Weird as this sounds, it makes the whole thing better. – WalMart
If you are thinking of buying an RV, I highly recommend renting the same model first. After a dozen rentals, I got one this time that was listed as having a “Queen Bed” which it did not. It had three very uncomfortable full beds.
Look before you rent.
I have rented from private parties on Craigslist, RV dealers and RV sharing websites. Each time I found a unit I liked I kept that guys number. The owners that rent tend to sell and re-buy every three years or so, making it harder to get the exact same thing.
Private party rental has worked out the best for me. It usually is the lowest cost, and my insurance covers the RV. Make sure your insurance does cover you before you go. One RV sharing site offers “no hassle” insurance but when you read the contract, you aren’t insured at all. They are covering the owner to get the rental back out while they get the money from you including lost rental days.
When you rent from a private party you normally have a chance to go see the RV before you agree to rent it. You won’t be caught a bed short this way.
The RV sharing sites are like VRBO, the people on those sites keep their RV’s moving. The one I just gave back spent a week at burning man before I got it. Four pounds of Nevada dust removed on the second day and my sinuses cleared up. The owner tried to clean it, but if you have been to burning man, you know that dust gets in everything.
Yes it is cheaper to rent, and renting is a great idea before buying an RV.