Hidden Costs Of Renting An RV

I camped with friends and family for four days attending an outdoor music festival. We rented a camper from an RV dealership to pull behind a truck for what seemed like a reasonable price.  However, there are costs incurred when camping with an RV you may not realize at first.

Hidden Costs

RV relates expenses you need to be aware of include:

  • Fresh Water : If the RV has a sink or bathroom, and you plan to use them, you’ll need to fill the fresh water tank. We filled the camper’s 50 gallon freshwater tank for $1 a gallon.
  • Gray / Black Water Flush : Gray water is from the sinks and shower, black water is waste from the toilet. Before returning the rental RV, you’ll likely be required to empty the tanks. There are some places where this can be done for free or you may pay a fee to have someone do it for you. We paid to have our tanks emptied twice for $30 a time.
  • Generator : A generator is needed to provide electricity to the camper. Some RV rentals come with a generator with some number of hours included per day and a per hour charge for additional use. For example, we looked at some rentals that provided 4 hours of generator use per day, and $3 per hour after that. Generators can also be rented for a per day fee. We rented a generator for $50 a day.
  • Gasoline: Generators run on gasoline, so make sure you’ve got a filled gas can handy.
  • Propane : Some RV appliances run on propane, such as the refrigerator. It’s efficient, and it allows it to run when the generator is off (many campgrounds have quiet hours when generators must be off). The RVs I’ve seen have two propane tanks, but it’s hard to drain even one of them. A refill may cost between $20 and $30.

*Note: Prices quoted were at my specific event in Minnesota.  Prices may vary by location.

Renting an RV is an excellent option for those that don’t camp often, but need shelter and comfort for a unique event. However, there are other costs incurred over and above the rental of the RV itself. Knowing these costs better prepares both you and your finances for your trip.

How about you, EOD Nation, have you ever rented an RV and found yourself surprised at the extra expenses?

About Travis

2 Responses to “Hidden Costs Of Renting An RV”

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  1. Sassy Mamaw says:

    At the end of the day, Travis, it sounds as though it might have been more expensive than a mid-range hotel. Would you mind breaking it out further? how many of you were using the camper? How much did your costs run per day, per family? I’m sure it saved some money if you cooked there rather than eating out. Did you choose this for an area where hotels were not available? I’ve stayed at a camper in the past, but it was in a fixed location, hooked into water and electricity. A very different experience!

    • Travis says:

      Great questions, Sassy Mamaw. The event was an outdoor Music Festival with it’s own campground. We wanted to stay at the campground for several reasons: 1.) staying at the campground is part of the experience. People have themed campsites, and meeting/hanging out with new people is something you don’t get if you stay at a hotel 2.) The event location is near only a few small towns, with little in the way of hotels. 3.) the hotel rooms that are available have the prices jacked up during this event.

      There are electric sites, but they cost more (much more than the generator rental fee we paid).

      There are no water hook ups anywhere (they likely make a ton of money with the water trucks roaming the campground charging for water….).

      These are all great things to think of, and investigate when going camping with an RV. thanks for your comment!

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