Being able to travel all over the country and experience different regions is the adventurer’s dream. RVs allow you to travel conveniently without worrying about finding places to stay everywhere you go. Lots of Americans agree that It can make for a fun way to travel as over nine million households own an RV.

If an RV adventure sounds exciting to you, you need to decide if you want to buy or rent an RV. Renting makes for a great option if you don’t plan to use the RV often. But owning an RV allows you much more flexibility and freedom in how you use your vehicle. Consider all the options as you decide how to take an RV trip.

How much an RV costs to rent or buy

It might sound fun to hit the road in a mobile home and stop wherever you’d like, but how much does it cost? There are many different types of RVs with a wide range of costs. The price can vary greatly within the same type of RVs, too, depending on the types of features they have. Let’s consider the costs to rent versus the cost to buy for each type.

Type of RV Cost to rent Cost to buy (new)
Class A Motorhome $240 – $302 per night $200,000 – $300,000
Class C Motorhome $198 – $225 per night $100,000 – $150,000
Class B Camper Van $187 – $239 per night $80,000 – $150,000
Toy Hauler $132 – $147 per night $25,000 – $100,000
Fifth Wheel $126 – $161 per night $35,000 – $150,000
Travel Trailer $113 – $126 per night $25,000 – $35,000
Lightweight Trailer $84 – $91 per night $15,000 – $35,000
Popup Trailer $80 – $86 per night $10,000 – $20,000

Consider additional costs you will take on with any of these options. How much will gas cost? Does a rental include all the utensils and kitchen supplies or will you have to buy those even if you decide to rent? Are there extra fees with the rental? What items will you need to invest in if you buy an RV? You’ll also need RV insurance if you buy a vehicle.

You could also purchase a used RV. This can help cut costs if you want to buy one but can’t afford a brand new RV. You can also apply for an RV loan if you don’t have the cash to pay all of the costs upfront.

The additional costs can quickly add up whether you rent or buy. Buying may be the way to go if you plan to use the RV a lot. If you only want to try an RV one time, look for rental companies that include everything in one price, so you don’t have to buy additional equipment. Think about the full cost to determine where you get the most bang for your buck.

Advantages and disadvantages of renting an RV

Renting an RV can be a great option if you don’t want the hassle of purchasing one. However, you will miss out on making your RV feel like home and adding personal touches if you decide to rent.

Advantages

It’s good to rent an RV for these reasons:

  • All-inclusive rate: When you rent from an RV company, they often include all the things you will need while camping, such as kitchen supplies. They can also help you set up insurance for your rental.
  • Flexibility: If you own your RV, you always have to end up back at home, but when you rent, you may be able to drop it off somewhere different than where you picked it up. So if you want to fly somewhere and then drive an RV home, you can easily do it.
  • Low cost: The initial cost of buying an RV is quite high. If you just want to use an RV a few times a year or even try it out just one time, renting is much cheaper.

Disadvantages

Renting isn’t all good. Consider these disadvantages to renting an RV:

  • Costs more than buying in the long run: If you plan to go RV camping often, the rental costs can quickly add up.
  • Less personal: When you rent an RV, you can bring a few personal items along, but you can’t make any major changes to personalize the vehicle.
  • More rules: With a rental, you have to follow the rules of the rental company. You may not be able to take it on certain roads, and the company may only allow you to go a certain amount of miles per day.

Advantages and disadvantages of purchasing an RV

Owning an RV means you have the freedom to spontaneously go on a camping trip. It also means you are responsible for taking care of the RV, and that isn’t always glamorous.

Advantages

If you want increased mobility and capacity for adventure, owning an RV is for you. Here are the top reasons it’s great to own an RV:

  • Easy and convenient to go camping: You can go camping whenever you want. You also don’t have to worry about loading all your supplies into a rental. You can keep the RV stocked with stuff and ready to go when you own it.
  • Feels like home: You can customize your RV however you want and bring your own touches of home.
  • Travel when and how you like: Don’t worry about full bookings when you own. You can decide you want to head out on a Friday morning and leave that afternoon without having to worry about a reservation for a rental.

Disadvantages

Owning an RV means you are responsible for all the costs and maintenance, which can be a drag if you aren’t up for it. Consider these cons to purchasing an RV:

  • High cost: There’s no getting around it — RVs have a hefty price tag. Once you own it, you still have to pay to get all the right gear, maintain it and fill it up with gas.
  • Maintenance: When you own an RV that breaks down or needs repairs, you must handle it. You may need to cancel trips if you can’t get unexpected repairs done in time.
  • Storage: Your RV needs to park somewhere when you aren’t using it. This can mean an extra cost if you don’t have room to store it where you live.

Bottom line

It costs a lot of money to buy an RV, but it may be worth it in the long run if you plan to use it a lot. If you want a simpler way to use an RV that doesn’t require you to be responsible for all of the maintenance, renting is the better option. Consider what matters most to you to determine whether you want to buy or rent an RV.