If you miss traveling with loved ones or even going solo, you’re not alone. While different areas of the country all have their own travel and safety guidelines, some areas are slowly opening back up making it possible for families to go on socially-distanced day trips or short road trips. Hopefully, soon we all can have the option to travel cheaply with family.
Going on a family road trip has always been on my bucket list and it’s one of the best ways to travel cheaply with family and keep your budget intact.
If you’re looking into planning a small trip over spring break or summer vacation, here’s how you can rent an RV and travel cheaply with family.
Replace Hotel Rooms and Community Lodging with an RV
Choosing to stay in an RV is one of the best choices to make if you’re looking to safely social distance while still getting a change of scenery. While hotels are doing a great job of cleaning and sanitizing rooms, there are some community areas in the building and same goes with tent or cabin camping.
With an RV, you have your own secluded space including a kitchen area and private bathroom to use during the duration of your stay. That said, the RV rental will probably be one of your biggest expenses for the trip. To start, I’d recommend choosing from one of these 3 options.
Outdoorsy is just like Airbnb but for RV rentals. Rv owners from all over list their RV for rent so you’ll have multiple options to choose from. If you have a truck that can tow, you may be able to save money by renting an RV trailer which usually rent for around $75 to $130 per night.
You can also rent a Class A or Class C Rv which is the type of vehicle you can actually drive and sleep in. These will be a little more costly but could be more convenient if you’d rather not tow.
RV Share is another RV rental site that is very similar to Outdoorsy. You’ll be able to shop around and compare RV rentals for the specific area you’re looking to pick up in. Last fall, I booked an RV rental from this website for a camping trip with my dad and it was a very smooth process.
You will have to put a deposit down and make sure the RV owner gets a copy of your license and insurance information, but after that, it just comes down to picking up the RV and following all the guidelines for renting it out. Our RV host gave thorough instructions on how to get set up, hook up the stove, work the pop-out features, and anything else we could think of to make our experience pleasant.
Cruise America is a company that sells and rents out RVs through the U.S. and Canada. When you rent from Cruise America, you’ll be renting out one of their standard motorhomes and not someone’s personal RV.
Choose from a standard (maximum 5 people), compact (maximum 3 people), or large RV(maximum 7 people) rental for your family trip. All RVs include features like:
- Air conditioning
- Fresh-water toilet
- Gas cooktop
You may need to rent for a minimum of 3 nights the nightly rates start as low as $80 to $90.
Bring Your Own Food
Since RVs are often equipped with everything you need to cook and store meals, it makes sense to bring your own food along for the trip. This can be a great way to save money too if you’re looking to travel cheaply with family.
You may need to bring a skillet for cooking or a portable griddle so you can make things like pancakes for breakfast, grilled cheese sandwiches and other quick meals. Buy fruit that can be stored at room temperature and load up on snacks and drinks so you’ll need to do very little shopping once you get on the road.
Find Free and Affordable Things To Do
Vacations don’t have to be super busy but odds are you may want to get out and do something. It’s important to research the area you’ll be visiting and see what their rules and guidelines are for activities and certain experiences.
For example, some museums may be open in the area you’re visiting but you’ll be required to wear a mask. Hiking or riding bikes is always a go-to activity for my family whenever we’re camping or renting an RV because it’s free and easy to social distance.
Most state parks are free to visit or you may be interested in going fishing or renting a boat for a few hours. You can also bring movies, games, and other activities on the trip for the RV and build a campfire each evening.
Be Mindful of Hidden Costs
As with all types of vacations, there can be hidden costs associated with your trip. When renting an RV, one of the most commonly overlooked costs is the fees to park at campgrounds each night. Campgrounds or RV parks provide much-needed electrical hook-ups, an additional source of water, and dumping stations.
Shop around for affordable campsites or you may even want to get an RV campsite discount membership that will allow you to save at different site locations. If you’ll be driving a Class A or Class C motorhome, make sure you’re aware of any mileage fees you could incur as well.
If you’re looking to travel cheaply with family this year and social distance, renting an RV could be the perfect solution. Getting out on the road and being able to enjoy nature and new surroundings will be good for your mental health. Plus, you’ll be able to make lasting memories with loved ones as well without racking up some serious vacation debt.
What outdoor activities do you and your family like to do?