Planning a Vacation this Summer? Consider Renting an RV

| March 20, 2012 | 11 Comments

I tend to dream a lot, especially now that I have money in the bank and can do a lot of things (if I choose to). So here I am on Saturday, thinking, “Gosh, I want to travel, road trip, get out and see the country”!

From research I did two years ago before a trip to the Pacific Northwest, I remembered this company called Cruise America. This company rents out motor homes and the thing I remembered most about them was that they have these extreme deals. So, I looked them up again to check out what was going on now with them.

Rent a Motor Home. What?

Yep, you read it right. You can rent a motor home. It’s usually pretty expensive and wouldn’t make sense for someone my age to take a vacation this way. But as I looked into the hot deals, this caught my eye:

75% off for the first one, really? Wow. So I called them and this very nice lady answered and gave me all kinds of information. I asked her about the deal from Chicago to Phoenix. I figured I could pull this off since I live so close to Chicago. In theory, me (and whoever came with me) could take a bus or a train to Chicago and then take a one way flight back to Minneapolis from Phoenix. Simple enough, huh?

The price to rent the RV on this particular deal was $389 (which was 75% off) for 7 nights, during the middle of May. Okay, that’s a good price. Next, I estimated how much gas would cost to drive this gas guzzler from Chicago to Phoenix. I came up with a total of around $825. Then camp sites. My best guess was $250. Then I looked up bus/train fare and a one way fight from Phoenix to Minneapolis, which totaled $159/person.

Here are those totals again:

  • Rent RV for 7 nights, with 2,000 miles of driving included: $389
  • Gas to fuel the RV from Chicago to Phoenix: $825
  • Campsites for 7 nights: $250
  • Travel to and from the RV pickup/drop off location: $159/person

For two people, this would total $825 per person and it gets cheaper as you add people. The motor home can sleep up to 5 people in 3 beds.

Wouldn’t This Be an Awesome Experience?

Think about this. It’s a beautiful spring day in mid-May and you and your family or friend(s) are hitting the open road between Chicago and Phoenix. You’ll enjoy some great cross country scenery taking you from farm country, through the Ozarks, across Oklahoma, through the tip of Texas and through the hot, dry desert. Along the way, you could even visit the Grand Canyon and my personal favorite, Sedona, AZ.

To camp along the way means to spend a ton of time outdoors. It means steak, pork loin and potatoes on the grill and sitting around the campfire making s’mores. On the clear nights, it means getting a crystal clear look at the star filled sky while listening to the crickets chirp. For me, it reminds me of the childhood vacations my dad took my family on.

So, Am I Going?

As of now, no, I’m not. Here’s why:

  1. I haven’t mentioned that I wanted to do this to anyone, until now.
  2. I’m not sure if I can find people who both, really want to do this and can afford to do this.

I’ll suggest around and see what people say. If you’re reading this, know me personally and want to go, let me know and let’s chat about it.

Like what you've read?

If so, please join over 600 people who receive exclusive tips on living on less and building a business, and get my Free Saver's Toolkit!

Get started

Tags: , ,

Category: Living Cheap

Comments (11)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Bridget says:

    I can’t do this. I get terribly car sick.

  2. Major road trip? Not since I was a kid – my parents owned a tow behind pop-up trailer and we travelled across Canada and the northern US a lot.

    But camping can be a really frugal vacation. My husband and I have a ton of camping gear – tents, coolers, camp stove, etc. A site at a local provincial park costs about $10-$15 a night – so a week is less than $100. Lots of fresh air, we camp near water so we swim; we take our bikes and ride. The kids love it, and so do we, and it is a LOT cheaper than our one major destination vacation we took!

    • My parents owned a pop-up trailer as well and we traveled across the U.S. It was a ton of fun. Yep, camping can be very frugal. For the most part, I think tenting makes much more sense financially than any kind of RV does. Even pop-up campers are fairly easy to haul around.

  3. Modest Money says:

    Sounds like it could be an awesome trip. With a bunch of friends it would be so much fun. If the price is an issue with your friends, you could always scale it down to a regular camping road trip. It may be more cramped during the drive, but would still be a great way to see the country. I’ve always wanted to do a nice long road trip across Canada, but you really do need plenty of time and cash to spare.

    • Yeah, that’s a good idea to scale it down to a regular camping trip with a tent. My only concern with tenting is that you never know what the weather is going to be like and tenting in the rain or during a storm is an absolute nightmare. I know from experience!

  4. Rachel says:

    A camping roadtrip is my favorite kind of vacation! Although we always just use my vehicle or a friend’s vehicle and then tent camp our way around. We did a massive camping roadtrip in my car through Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Arches, and Grand Canyon for a month one summer, and it was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. I went with my roommate from graduate school, and we had the best trip. I definitely suggest it!

    • A camping road trip is my favorite kind of vacation too! Wow, those places all rock! I’ve been to every one and they are probably my favorite places in the country. Did you do a lot of hiking too?

      • Rachel says:

        It is amazing, they are some of my favorite places now too! And yes, we sure did, all day hikes though but it is such a great way to see any national park.

  5. Cindy CF says:

    I looked into this two years ago for my son and I and it was cost prohibitive. It was very expensive for the rental – about double what hotel stays would have cost. Add in the gas which was very high at the time and it didn’t make sense for us. We ended up flying from Phx to FL and spent a week between Disney and family for much less than what the RV would have been.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Current day month ye@r *