Should You Stay in a Hotel or RV?
Your approach to cost comparison between RVing and hotel stays depends on several factors. One of the first things to note is what type of RVer you are. Are you a full-time RVer, or just a weekender? Do you already own an RV, or are you thinking about renting an RV?
What type of RVer are you?
If you own an RV, whether it is paid in full or you are still making payments on it, you already have access to this resource and the cost is already figured into your regular budget. If you do not, the RV rental cost will need to be a part of your overall determination of RV or hotel.
The current cost of renting an RV depends on the type of RV. The average cost to rent an RV for a week is around $1580. Here are some cost ranges per night; the older it is, the lower the rate:
- Class A: $175-450
- Class B: $100-350
- Class C: $150-400
- Travel Trailer: $50-200
- Fifth Wheel: $60-300
Note: You will need a towing vehicle for the travel trailer and fifth wheel. You may want to tow a vehicle behind the Class A. Figure in the extra cost for renting tows.
RV owners average around 10 miles per gallon. It depends on the distance, but you will need to figure this into your expenses. Several hours of driving can cost around $100 for a large rig.
How many people are traveling?
The other item to consider is how many people will be traveling with you. There are a lot of RV rental options that have two bedrooms and can sleep 8+ people.
If you already own an RV, then you know how many people travel with you. In a hotel, you will usually have maximum 4 people per room, and for each person over 2, you will need to pay extra for them. You don’t always have to pay extra for kids, but you can be charged $20-50 per additional adult in a room. The larger your group, the more cost effective it is to choose an RV.
Where will you sleep?
The average cost per hotel room per night for 2020 was $186, but in 2019, it was $274. You can expect it to rise again to pre-pandemic pricing.
The average cost for RV parking is $25-80 per night, but if you stay for 7 nights, you can receive weekly rates and electricity. The average weekly rate is $250-600. It will depend on the location, space size, and amenities offered.
Where do you plan to have meals?
You may want to eat out at least once to try the local cuisine. That is a huge part of experiencing a new location. But if you plan on eating most meals you prep yourself, the RV is a clear winner here.
You may have a reasonable propane cost (or it’s already included with a rental) for cooking your own meals. But, planning your own menus and having a full kitchen to cook in is a huge cost savings. The average cost per person per meal prepared at home is $4.31.
For a family of two that is $181.02 a week. Compare that to the average cost of eating out – $20.37 per person per meal. Now a family of two is spending $855.54 in one week.
You might need propane to cook in your RV. A 30-gallon tank can last a week and cost around $30 to fill.
Is It Cheaper To RV Or Stay In Hotels?
Let’s look at this One Week Vacation Comparison Chart For Two People (Based On Average Costs)
|Room||$1300 one room||$300 average park rental|
|Meals||$850 (sometimes breakfast is included)||Save by making your own. $200|
|Fuel/Propane||N/A||Included with rental.
RV Owner – Fuel depends on distance (average $200)
Propane – $30
|Housekeeping||Included – tips not included||Included with rental.
RV Owner – DIY
|Transportation/Air||Rental Car? Air?||Included. You may want to tow a car|
So, is it cheaper to RV or stay in hotels?
As you can see by the chart, RVs are a huge savings. Even if you must factor in a week’s RV rental, it can still be a savings over a hotel room when it comes to meal options and the number of people you are traveling with.
You can shop for your hotel based on the location and amenities just like you can with the RV. Unlike your hotel though, if you find there is a new venue you want to try out, you can cut back on costs elsewhere.
The one thing that is hard to put a value on, though, is memories. RVing opens the options to experiences you will never get in a hotel. An RV can give you personal privacy and at the same time deliver opportunities to meet other travelers. Or, you can prepare meals together or cook-out over a firepit. And if you want to visit several areas, you don’t have to feel like you are living out of a suitcase. So, get out there and do something new – something you will always remember.
For all of your camping and trip planning needs, look no further than RV LIFE Campgrounds and RV LIFE Trip Wizard. RV LIFE Campgrounds is a trusted source of campground and RV park reviews offered by camping and RV enthusiasts just like you. With its accompanying RV LIFE App, RV LIFE Trip Wizard gets you to your camping destinations utilizing RV-friendly routes specific to your RV and travel preferences.
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