We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Rent an RV or just drive a car and stay in mid-priced hotels

michigan
Level Contributor
104 posts
12 reviews
Save Topic
Rent an RV or just drive a car and stay in mid-priced hotels

Hi all you experienced travelers! My husband and I are newly retired and eager to "do the drive out west". Thinking it would be a cool adventure to rent a smaller RV from Michigan our home and travel due west for about 3 weeks. Are we crazy and ill-informed if we think we will be saving $$ by renting an RV? Maybe just get a cheaper flight to Las Vegas and just rent a car instead? I've been reading lots of posts and some seem to indicate it's pricier to rent even a small RV (we wouldn't do the tow kind) than to get a rental car and stay in hotels. I would appreciate everyone's opinion. Thanks, Mary

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
58,918 posts
113 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Rent an RV or just drive a car and stay in mid-priced hotels

I just looked at some Class B rental prices (that's usually a van size RV) and most that I saw were $100 to $140 per day. If you think you might want to travel a lot with an RV in your retirement, this might be a good way to sample the lifestyle. But it sounds awfully expensive to me. In addition to the higher fuel costs, you'd still need to pay $10 to $50 per night for campsites (amenities & locations vary!)

Good luck making the best decision for you.

Davie, Florida
Level Contributor
11,187 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Rent an RV or just drive a car and stay in mid-priced hotels

watch the movie RV with Robin Williams.

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Rent an RV or just drive a car and stay in mid-priced hotels

Congrats on your retirement. Happy days are there, I hope!

With 3 weeks I'd fly Las Vegas (or another place out west) and make a roundtrip from there. You'll lose so much time by driving from MI and so many things to see and explore. Car or RV is all about personal preferences but you won't safe money by renting an RV imo.

Tet

Oregon
Level Contributor
8,735 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Rent an RV or just drive a car and stay in mid-priced hotels

We owned a 25' Class A motor home for almost 10 years. We sold it after our kids left home. Soon after I retired we took a trip from oregon to Minn and Omaha and back, priced renting a motor home. It cost a lot more than the mid-range motels for just my wife and me.

Unles you pull a vehicle you have many restrictions on where you can go or where you can park. And I never liked driving that thing in a city.

We eat in room most of time, we take along an electric cooler for essentials, like lunch meat, cheese mayo, butter, milk, beer etc. We get the adapter to plug into 120 power, so we can move into our room. It has paid for itself several times over during the past 15 years.

For the longer trips we take an electric burner.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
42,892 posts
1,048 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Rent an RV or just drive a car and stay in mid-priced hotels

I'm a long-time RV'er and really enjoy it . . . but must agree with the anwers above. For a three week trip, find a cheap flight to LV and rent a car. Prices for even small RV's are very high, and you can stay in some decent hotels/motels for less than renting one. There is also the parking factor (a pain in cities unless you rent a teeny van size motorhome), the greater gasoline consumption, and as mentioned above, the cost of your RV parks. For a decent RV park with full hookups, you'll pay at least $25 per night - and much more in a high tourist area.

Put together a "picnic bag" and buy a cheap cooler and blue ice at a Walmart and that will set you up for inexpensive lunches from grocery stores. Or eat lunches out at nicer places when prices are lower and have sandwiches for dinners :-)

Toronto, Canada
Destination Expert
for Algonquin Provincial Park
Level Contributor
1,604 posts
1,139 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Rent an RV or just drive a car and stay in mid-priced hotels

I just went through the math a few months ago, and if you are willing to stay in BWest/HIEWXpress/S8 like hotels it is more convenient and cheaper to hotel it, eat their free breakfast, stop or pack a lunch and then enjoy a nice dinner with no dishes! I would agree to fly to LV, lots of cheap flights there and lots of choice for rental cars. RVing is a lifestyle, you may want to rent if you think it might become part of your retirement and you may want to buy an RV in the future, but to make it worthwhile you have to be using it for months of travelling with longer stops at RV parks. Depends on your style.

michigan
Level Contributor
104 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Rent an RV or just drive a car and stay in mid-priced hotels

Thanks everyone - I'm glad you all agree. I was kind of thinking that would be the answer. We have no intention of ever buying a RV - just thought it might be a way to save $$ on this type of trip. But at $100 a day just to rent it plus the cost of campgrounds, yikes! So I guess I'll look for that cheap Las Vegas flight and do the car rental. We've always done that type of traveling before and never had a problem - just thought I would switch it up a bit, but not at that expense!

I basically started thinking about the RV when I looked into Yosemite lodging - good grief! The cost of staying inside the park - don't think we're the Curry Village type - is beyond belief. We just came back from Yellowstone and the prices weren't nearly as bad as Yosemite. So I guess we'll just do the hateful drive in and out of the park each day.

Thanks again for your helpful answers - Mary

Fairfield...
Level Contributor
502 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Rent an RV or just drive a car and stay in mid-priced hotels

Hi MusicMary-

I agree with all the posts here - and it seems like you've got a pretty good idea of what to do. Just one thing that hasn't been mentioned that most people don't think about when buying or renting an RV - you have to learn how to drive one, and it isn't easy! The only people that transition easily to driving an RV are those who have professionally driven trucks in the past and understand a very large and long vehicle's limitations and how to handle them on the road.

Combine that with the cost consideration, and it really is a lifestyle, rather than just a fun "why-not" kind of thing to take on. I know tons of people who own RVs and love them, but they all agree it is, indeed, a lifestyle. Renting is usually the best choice for those trying to decide what size rig they want to buy (and want to test a variety of sizes on road trips).

If you're looking for some ways to cut costs on your road trip, this link may be helpful:

planning-fun-road-trips.com/frugal-road-trip…

By the way, if you need any help planning your road trip (where to go/what to see), please let us know. Lots of knowledgeable folks here who'd love to help!

Hope this helps-

Tara

michigan
Level Contributor
104 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Rent an RV or just drive a car and stay in mid-priced hotels

Thanks Tara - that website is fantastic. I've definately got in saved in my "favorites"!! Sometimes I think the planning and researching for a trip is just as much fun as the actual trip!

Yes, the idea of saving $$ by renting a small RV - certainly nothing like a large motor home - is now a thing of the past. I just thought it might be a cost saving "adventure" , but hearing from all the knowledgeable folks on Trip Advisor, it is more work and more $$. So we'll do our usual of finding a cheap flight somewhere, rent a car with a cooler in the back and away we go. Never had a bad trip yet! Mary

Fairfield...
Level Contributor
502 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Rent an RV or just drive a car and stay in mid-priced hotels

Glad to help! I agree - planning can be as much fun as the trip itself in many ways.

Happy trails!

Tara