Renting an RV: Tips for RV summer travel

As a parent, I understand it can be appealing to rent an RV for a family road trip. Your schedule is your own (and so is your bathroom!), and you’re not confined to airports, flight delays, or even hotel reservations. On a whim, you can detour to visit something new, or delay a day to remain somewhere special. Before you take the plunge and rent an RV for a family road trip, however, read the following tips gleaned from hard-earned experience.


Weigh the costs to have an affordable RV experience:

Consider what is typical for you while on vacation: do you seek a relaxed experience? Are you content exploring a single destination for longer stretches of time, and do you want the flexibility of making your own meals? Would you rather have your own space (which is mobile!) than nightly hotel rooms that are less flexible? The amount of vacation money you’ll save by renting an RV depends on your road trip style.

Ways to save money with an RV:

  • Stay in one place longer to save on fuel.
  • Plan to cook in your RV or over a campfire.
  • RV reasonably close to home.
  • Skip hotel rooms (more on this below).

If, for example, you normally spend a decent chunk of your vacation budget on hotel rooms, the $30-$45 per night on an RV camping space will be a deal. Of course, if you’re accustomed to renting tent sites, you’ll need to budget for the upgrade necessary for an RV space. As a beginning guide, use this Vacation Value Generator from Go RVing to directly compare vacation prices.

Embrace the RV vacation lifestyle during your road trip:

Repeat after me: you’re not in a hurry. You’re not in a hurry. You’re not in a hurry… The beauty of RV vacations is the slower pace. Plan a route that takes you along scenic byways and off the interstate. Create an itinerary that ensures less mileage and more pit stops. In most cases, it’s more affordable to rent and return your RV at the same city. In other words, travel in a loop instead of in Point A to Point B style.

Consider driving or flying to your destination, then renting an RV:

This combination seemed perfect for us. We knew we wanted to fly from our hometown to our primary destination (in this case, Chicago). From there, we wanted to take it slow, so we planned an RV road trip around the Great Lakes. We didn’t need to rent a car, and skipped all hotel and dining costs while in the region. After our Great Lakes tour, it made since for us to fly to our next destination. The moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and create the transportation combination that works for your family.

Eat on the road so you don’t feel deprived of restaurant dining:

If the thought of preparing all meals while RVing doesn’t appeal, try these ‘tricks’ to feel less deprived of restaurant food:

  • stop at farmer’s markets and roadside stands en route
  • eat a big breakfast out (the cheapest meal of the day) and skip lunch entirely
  • let the kids cook: in an RV, it’s somehow fun to plan and create meals
  • cook over a campfire (we love this Guide to Campfire Cooking)

guide to summer RV camping

Get more tips on RV rental affordability at As I disclose whenever applicable, this post was written in partnership with Go RVing. I found the information on to be useful for planning an RV trip, and hope you will, too.

Photo credit: Trekaroo/mcfam


About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.




  1. tabitha hiriscau says:

    We are planning a road trip from Sacramento to Portland the up to Seattle at the end of June. We will be renting an RV because we have four children ages 9,6,2, and 3 months (need I say more Lol?)
    we would like to take our time and stop in few places. Could you suggest some pit stops for kids?;)

  2. I imagine you’ll be on I-5 much of the time (and good call with the RV…you’ll save $!). Check out our I-5 listings in one place:

    I’d recommend a stop in Ashland OR, a stop at Wildlife Safari in Roseburg OR, a stop in Portland, and then perhaps a stop in Centralia, WA. If you’re up for a detour, try Crater Lake!

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