Renting an RV – Part 3 – Costs and Justification

In this post regarding renting an RV I’ll write about the general costs we have estimated and how I justified the expense.

Here are links to the earlier posts:

This all boils down to the additional cost to rent an RV compared to how we would have traveled without an RV. It would appear it is costing us about $161 extra per day with the RV.

For us, this would include consideration of; renting a car or RV, possible hotel rooms or campgrounds, boarding the dogs, fuel and food. We normally rent a car for longer trips to keep the miles off ours and the trip seems shorter and more interesting when driving something you don’t drive every day.  I figure cost for food is a wash, although we may actually save money by not eating out. It will be fun to cook out of the RV! We are also not budgeting to spend money on tourist attractions as the view we want is just outside the RV. I’ve not included those savings.  I should also add if you are looking to save a little more on the RV then don’t plan a trip that includes driving 1,600 miles. The folks that rent the RV said the rental costs have more to do with the miles driven than the number of nights we have the rig.

We are able to take our two dogs saving $280 in boarding fees. The RV rental company is charging us $75 extra for deep cleaning the RV just in case the next person to rent the unit is allergic to dogs. We also decided to take the dogs to the groomer before the trip which is something we normally pay for regardless.

I considered the extra fuel cost compared to the rental car which is $388 more for the RV during the 1600 mile round trip.

Of course, we had to plan for campgrounds. I booked two prior to the trip to make sure they would be available upon arrival. Both are in fantastic areas. We knew about where we would land each night on the trip to and from Michigan. We decided to leave those nights open on the schedule and find spots along the way. Just in case we wanted to drive less or more each day because this is our first time driving a 25 foot motorhome.  Another cost consideration is we can normally stay with family in Michigan. However, if we took a vacation anywhere else the hotel costs would have been included.

If you add up all RV related costs, less having to board the dogs, rent a car and hotels, adding extra fuel costs the total comes out to about $349 per day. Compared to $188 we would have estimated without the RV. Again, that’s $161 extra per day for the RV related expenses. As a side note, we are able to pickup the RV the night before departure at no added charge.

How does one justify these added costs. Well, if we owned the RV we would have been paying at least the cost of monthly insurance along with depreciation as the RV aged.  I can’t take enough time off from work to take enough trips to justify owning an RV right now, so that was not really a valid alternative.

An obvious justification for renting an RV is to see what the lifestyle is like.  But, can you really gauge this during an eight day trip? Anything different seems fun for a short time.  I owned an RV in the past that was left parked at the lake. I can’t recall a single time wanting to come home early.

Planning for the trip had unexpected benefits such as learning about trip planning in a 25 foot rig, searching for the right camp spot and that I need to become a more patient person. I’m normally one of those type A’s who has to have everything in order and double check everything from a list. So we left a few decisions open – to be made as we travel along.  After living in the rig we have a good chance of finding out what works for us in terms of storage and how the space is utilized inside the RV.

Another justification is finding out if a Class C would be something we might want to own a couple years before we buy what will become our fulltime rig.

Perhaps the best justification for the trip is it’s our first real vacation in about 15 years which is priceless.  Camping next to Lake Michigan, in a state park and near where family can (and want to) visit is also priceless.

I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch of details. I hope you get the general idea about the extra costs of renting an RV compared to a rental car trip. If you have any comments or questions please let me know. As always, if you are reading this blog from the beginning, months from now, feel free to comment.

In what will be Part 4 of this series I’ll post a few photos of the rig – and the trip!

One thought on “Renting an RV – Part 3 – Costs and Justification

  1. I think renting an RV is a great idea even though it’ll cost a little more. It’s all about the experience and I think even though it’ll be just a week, you’ll still get a feel for how you like the experience. I’m so glad we had a couple of trial runs before going full-time. Have a wonderful trip 🙂


Comments are Appreciated

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s