Everyone wants to get the best value possible for their money. Whether you are going for a budget vacation or looking to splurge on the ultimate expedition, you want to get the most RV for your money. Let’s take a look at how to maximize your dollars on the amazing Outdoorsy.com marketplace.
#1 Know what you want and when you will go
To get the most value, you have to know what you want. Getting a whole bunch of features you don’t need is going to pad out the price without giving you any extra pleasure. Think about what kind of trip you want to have, what you want to do, and how you want to relax. Will it be warm or cold, dry or humid? Do you want to cook or eat out? These kinds of questions can help inform what sort of RV would be perfect for your adventure. Outdoorsy’s search page has a lot of options to look for RVs that have the amenities and features you want most.
#2 Know when you will go
To see the full cost of a rental, including taxes and service charges, you need to pick the dates you plan to rent. Even if you aren’t 100% sure when you will go, you should guess so that you can see the full price. Taxes and service charges are proportional to the total RV rental price, so picking dates is the only way to see the full cost.
If you are renting an RV during peak season and in a popular location, you can expect to pay a premium price. Even if renters are not raising rates, all the best deals are likely to get booked very quickly. By traveling on the shoulder season, or by renting well in advance, you can often save a fair bit of money on your rental.
#3 Smart Filtering
The two key search options for getting the best value on an RV are the price limits and the star rating. Five-star ratings are your best bet, but you may find some great bargains at four stars without sacrificing core quality. Renting an RV is not a great time to gamble on something with a less than excellent reputation. For the price, you want to start at the low end and work your way up. You can’t sort the RVs by price, but by setting a maximum and filtering based on that, you will see the best bargains first. I recommend starting at around $100 and working your way up.
Take a look at what you get, it may be slim pickings, but if there are any stellar values, they will be easy to spot. If you don’t see something to your liking, start increasing your maximum price by $25 per night until you find an RV that seems like just what you are looking for. Bookmark anything that seems like a good candidate so that you can find it again later and do some comparison shopping.
#4 Broaden your search area
It is almost always very convenient to Rent an RV close to home, but it might not always be the most economical choice. The wider you cast your net while searching on Outdoorsy, the more likely you are to find a stellar deal. RVs in big cities and near popular destinations may come at a premium, but a nearby town may have one that is exactly what you want at a better price. Some renters will bring the RV to you, but most require you to pick it up at a fixed location.
#5 Renting near or far
There are two basic strategies for renting an RV. The one that occurs to most folks is to rent an RV near where they live, drive to their destination, and then drive back home. The other is to travel to your destination and then rent an RV while you are there, much like you might do with a rental car. This second strategy can often save you some money depending on the destination. Plane tickets can be quite affordable to some cities, and it will make your overall rental time shorter. Not to mention, it means you need fewer vacation days to enjoy the same time at your destination.
It is worth your time to check both possibilities and compare the price. Keep in mind costs like travel to and from the airport and from where you will rent the RV. Also, fuel costs for your RV travel. Most RVs get between 5 mpg and 20 mpg depending on their size. Another consideration here is the gear you will bring. If it doesn’t fit on the plane, that might be a non-starter for you.
#6 Consider a trailer
Travel trailers are nearly always going to be the cheapest RVs you will find on Outdoorsy. If you already have a truck or SUV that is set up for towing, you can get a lot of space for a lower price by going with a trailer. Small travel trailers can be found for as little as $50 a night and are often larger than a Class-B motorhome. Trailers also offer a lot of flexibility because the tow vehicle can be detached and used to explore the backcountry or other places you wouldn’t want to bring an RV.
#7 Factor in mileage
When looking at an outdoorsy listing, pay attention to the mileage charges listed for the RV. Many renters will offer at least 100 miles per day at no extra charge, but beyond that, they will often have an additional cost per mile. This isn’t there as a gotcha; it is to help them cover the costs of the additional depreciation that comes with high mileage. You may also see generator fees, usually by the hour that cover fuel and wear and tear on the generator.
#8 Examine the extras
When looking at a particular trailer, pay attention to the extras in the listing. There may be features you want but aren’t included, or there may be features you would really value and are free if you ask for them. This is both an area where you might discover hidden costs or hidden extra value. Renters often offer extras like boating equipment or camping gear at a rate that can save you money, but other times you might do better renting them elsewhere. Whatever the case, the smart shopper should give them due consideration.
#9 Take good care of the RV
If you return an RV that is filthy or damaged due to neglect, you will be responsible for covering the costs to repair or clean the RV. This could turn an affordable rental into a significant extra charge. Simply being mindful of the RV as if it were your own property is the best way to avoid such extra charges. Keep the RV clean and treat it with care and respect. It is also a good idea to document the condition of the RV when you pick it up. Take pictures both inside and out, and document any existing damage with a photo while pointing it out to the owner.
#10 Know the cancelation policy
Different renters on Outdoorsy have different cancelation policies – know what they are before you agree to them. They are required to follow the rules they agree to, but not to go beyond them. If you don’t pay attention you could end up paying for a trip you couldn’t actually take. That is not a good deal. If you think there is some risk that you could cancel, it pays to choose an RV with a generous cancelation policy.
#11 Know when to walk away
If you show up to get your RV and things are looking fishy, it’s time to pause and take stock. If you are not getting what you asked for, or if the RV looks dirty or in bad repair, you should be concerned. Should you go ahead with the trip and the RV is a lemon, you will have a harder time getting your money back than if you refuse to take the RV. If you have doubts, ask to test the electrical and the appliances. If they won’t help you with that, or if they aren’t working, its time to walk away, call Outdoorsy customer service to get a refund.