*This post may contain affiliate links, please see my disclosure
This post is sponsored by our friends at RVShare. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are 100% our own.
We are passionate about RV travel.
Ok, that’s understating it. We LIVE in an RV, so of course we love it!
But as we get more and more questions about how it works, why we did it, and how YOU can try it for yourself, I wanted to crunch the numbers and put together a detailed plan to help you experience the JOYS of RV Travel on your next vacation!
We have partnered with RV Share to show you what is possible, and how you can not only experience vacation like never before, but also save a TON of money at the same time (my favorite thing!).
To learn more about renting an RV for your next vacation, check out RVShare.com.
Table of Contents
- Renting an RV direct from RV owners saves over 50% on family vacation costs!
- RV travel is a BETTER family vacation, and most activities are FREE
- There are 6 different types of RV’s to choose from (see below)
- National Parks are our favorite, and we give away some of our SECRET camping spots (scroll down!)
- To rent an RV for your upcoming trip, book NOW, because everyone is doing it (like….actually)
RV Travel Saves Money…Like a LOT Of Money
Before you book your flights and hotel for yet ANOTHER expensive family vacation….check out how much you can SAVE by booking an RV instead.
According to a new study by the CBRE Hotels Advisory Group, RV travel can save a SIGNIFICANT amount of money on your next family vacation.
For a 4-person family vacation, RV travel can cut your vacation budget almost in HALF. Check out the saving per RV type below:
- Folding camping trailer: 50-64%
- Lightweight travel trailer: 31-50%
- Compact motorhome: 31-50%
- Type C motorhome: 21-43%
- Type A motorhome – 41%
Based on the typical American week-long vacation, this is a SIGNIFICANT savings.
As someone who used to do the “Hawaii, then Disney, then Hawaii” back and forth, I wanted to crunch the numbers for myself to see what this actually looked like.
RV vs. Regular Vacation: Cost Comparison
Let’s take the typical family of 4, and take them on a week-long vacation to Hawaii (again!).
There’s nothing wrong with Hawaii, but man…..it’s cost like….a TON.
Here’s what it may look like:
|(4) Tickets to Maui (from the West Coast)
|$600 per ticket x 4
|7 nights near Kaanapali
|$300/night x 7
|21 Meals (7 days)
|$150/day x 7
|Compact sedan for 7 days
|$40/day x 7
|Tours, entertainment, etc.
|$100/day x 7
Total Cost for Hawaii = $6,550*
Now let’s compare that to a typical week-long RV vacation to a National Park.
|Class C Motorhome from RVShare
|Average $150 per night x 7
|National Park Camping
|$40/night x 7
|21 Meals (7 days)
|$75/day x 7
|Park pass, exploring, hiking, biking, swimming, etc.
|$50/day x 7
Total Cost for RV Vacation = $2,205**
* I searched out flights and hotels in May of 2020, and found some of the LOWER priced options. I also grabbed some of the averages from this site and this site. Your vacation may cost MORE or LESS depending on your plans, but this is what a typical budget may look like.
** Average RVShare Class C rental cost found here. National Park campsites are usually $20-$40 per night, I included the higher end. Food costs are DRASTICALLY reduced as 75% of your food will be made at “home.” National Park annual pass is $80, other costs may include bike or kayak rentals. Most everything else is FREE!
As you can see, the cost difference is INCREDIBLE. Over $4,000 in savings!
But here’s the thing, there’s WAY more to an RV vacation than just saving thousands of dollars (but it doesn’t hurt, right?).
I want to show you a few (non-financial) reasons we love RV’ing, and why I think you’ll be HOOKED after your RV vacation!
RV Vacations Bring The Family Together
If you’ve followed our Instagram page for any length of time, you know that we are in LOVE with RV travel.
But it’s not just the freedom of travel that we enjoy, it’s also had a HUGE impact on our family dynamic. We have been able to truly re-connect with each other!
Going camping in an RV is a COMEPLTELY new experience, and really puts the focus on FAMILY and RELATIONSHIP, rather than “do this, do that, go, go, go until you crash!” like most family vacations. RV Travel is not about “Entertain me!”, it’s about enjoying the journey with the people you love.
There really is something magical about quiet, star-filled nights, morning breakfast outdoors, and just taking the time to sit and listen instead of feeling the pressure to “do all the things!”
So put away the headphones, and bring out the s’mores. Make your family vacation about your FAMILY, and let your stress melt away under the stars!
And trust me on this, your kids will remember it forever!
RV Vacations Open Up A New World Of Experiences
You’re up early, birds are signing, squirrels are jumping from tree-to-tree, and your RV is covered by a canopy of trees as the sunlight filters in. Coffee’s on, breakfast cooking, and you simply get to take a deep breath of actual honest-to-goodness FRESH AIR, enjoying the sights and sounds of nature.
Yes, this is real life. This is what we experience when we visit our favorite National Parks!
Did you know there are 61 National Parks in the United States? Each of them were created to preserve a unique feature or historical landmark of the United States, and each and every time we visit one, they still take our breath away.
We have visited 20 National Parks in the last 18 months, and here’s what we LOVE about them;
- Often less crowded destinations. Parks like Yellowstone and Grand Canyon will have crowds, but with 61 to choose from, there are some AMAZING lesser-known destinations right in your own backyard that are just as amazing! We’ll talk about our PERSONAL FAVORITES later in this post.
- They break you out of the “Hotel Bubble.” National Parks are not a curated experience. They are real, raw nature, and bring you face-to-face with the beauty and strength of this planet! Bonus: There aren’t people at every corner trying to sell you something, saving your wallet and your sanity!
- They don’t leave you with a “vacation hangover.” Even Harvard scientists agree, there is something healing and re-charging about getting out in nature. Visiting a National Park will not only help lift your spirits, you will find yourself wanting MORE when you get back, not trying to recover from your vacation!
- National Parks are a LEARNING experience. I used to fall asleep in history class. I was BORED TO TEARS reading through a textbook about what happened a long time ago. But when I visit a National Park, I am immersed in learning about the history of it, and I CAN’T GET ENOUGH! From ranger-led hikes and talks, to the Junior Ranger program for the kids, learning about the parks WHILE exploring makes everything more enjoyable!
How To Rent The PERFECT RV For Your Next Vacation
Ok, I could really go on-and-on-and-on about what we LOVE about National Parks, but let’s talk about how to get to one THIS YEAR. There are a few different styles of RV Travel, and I want to walk through them to help you find the PERFECT RV for your family vacation!
Here’s a quick rundown of the most family-friendly RV types to consider, and who they work best for. Try thinking about how your family travels and what you want from your RV:
Class A Motorhome
Think “Luxury Home on Wheels.” A Class A motorhome is the BIG ONE, the one you would find a celebrity in. They are anywhere from 25ft. To 45ft. long, and are typically the fanciest way to travel.
For family travel, you will want to find one with a “Bunk House” for the kids, or if you’re fine having them sleep in the living area, you can typically turn the couch or dining area into a bed.
Class C Motorhome
This is the little cousin of the Class A, smaller with less “luxury”, but is also more budget-friendly. And for the kids, sleeping UP HIGH over the cab is akin to camping in a tree fort! I distinctly remember camping in one of these as a kid, and sleeping in the top area was WAY COOL!
If you haven’t driven a HUGE vehicle before, the Class C might ease the stress of driving a motorhome, as it’s similar to driving a big pickup truck.
We love travel trailers……probably because we LIVE in one! There are SO MANY styles and sizes of travel trailers, from tiny teardrops to HUGE. For family travel, our personal favorite is the “BunkHouse” model, with a space in the back for kids bunk beds, and a separate Master bedroom up front.
And I know what you’re thinking…..”how can I tow a 9,000lb. trailer around with my Prius?!” Fear not! Tons of RVShare owners will actually drop the trailer off for you! Keep the Prius and enjoy a travel trailer camping experience, hassle-free!
These are the BIG ol’ trailers with the MOST interior space of any RV. Some even have a “garage” in the back to bring along your Motorcycles and ATV’s (also known as a “Toy Hauler”). Some of these can be as luxurious as a Class A, but with even MORE space inside.
These are typically towed with a BIG diesel truck (usually a dually), but again, many of these can be dropped off at your campsite as well. These are great for bigger families, or those who need more SPACE in their RV. Or if you have a collection of “TOYS” that you want to bring along on your vacation.
Like to travel small? Camper Vans are all the rage, and pack a BIG punch for such a small ride. Though many of these are designed for just 2 people, many Sprinter Vans have been converted to accommodate more. These still have everything (including the kitchen sink), but these have the least interior space by far.
#Vanlife is going to be the best for an adventurous family who LOVES experiencing the outdoors, and want a more traditional camping experience, with a side of Instagram perfect backdrops that most RV’s can’t get to.
Ways to Find Your Perfect Campsite…..and Our Favorite RV Spots!
Ok, so you know that you can save THOUSANDS on your next vacation, you’ve learned about the MAGIC of RV Travel and National Parks, and you’re now furiously clicking through all your favorite RV Rentals in the area to find the PERFECT RV!
But how do I find a great place to stay?
Here’s a few quick tips to find a GREAT campground for your vacation;
- Look for “Full Hookups”. This means you have power, water and sewer, and don’t have to worry about how much you are using. Otherwise you’ll have to limit your bathroom and sink usage if staying for a while. But just note, some of our favorite camping spots don’t have this.
- Book in advance. Make sure you book as far ahead of time as you can. Many popular campground near National Parks and other family favorites get sold out, so make sure you start looking NOW.
- Like Amenities? Look for RV Resorts. Do you want a playground? A pool? Shuffleboard? Many RV “Resorts” have more on-site amenities than traditional campgrounds, so make sure to figure out what you want to do WHILE you are at the campground. If you’re more active and don’t plan on hanging around the camper, then State and National Parks might be a better fit.
- County, State, & National Parks are the most private. Most of the government owned campground give you a generous amount of space and privacy. The trade-off is most don’t have full hookups. If you don’t mind that, again, make sure to book in advance, as these fill up the quickest.
The general rule here is to just start searching. There are THOUSANDS of places to camp in the USA, so find what works best for you, read the reviews, and book it SOONER rather than later.
Now that you know what to look for, I want to share with you some of OUR favorite RV travel spots!
We’ve been on the road for over 18 months, traveled through 25 states, visited 20 National Parks, and over 100 camp spots around the country. Here are a few of our favorites, and what we LOVE about each spot.
Are you ready for some insider secrets on some of the best camping spots?!
Favorite RV Camping in California
If you’re on the West Coast, you have to check out one of the most AMAZING spots in California.
When visiting the Redwood Forest National Park, we happened upon a small, water-front campground called Shoreline RV Campground. We pulled in at night, and were able to snag a waterfront spot.
We woke up to the most amazing view!
It’s a simple spot, backed up to the bay, in a very small town. It’s only a few miles from the Redwood Forest National Park (one of our favorites!), and is a great place to SLOW DOWN and enjoy the view.
Favorite RV Camping in Florida
Our favorite spot in Florida is the Fort De Soto campground in St. Petersburg, Florida. It’s a county park covered in lush vegetation, giving you privacy and the feeling of being in a tropical jungle!
If you can book one, I recommend a Waterfront spot, as you can park just a few feet from the bay inlet and watch the wildlife play. But even the regular spots are wonderful.
We especially love all the palms on site, and put up our hammocks to enjoy the Florida weather.
*note: These spots include water and power only
Favorite RV Camping in Texas
Probably our favorite National Park so far is Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas. It’s a HUGE park, with mountains, desert, and riverfront protected lands. We stayed a WEEK and still didn’t experience even 25% of what this park has to offer.
We camped at the Rio Grande Village Campground, which was a stone’s throw from the Rio Grande river. We found a spot just across from a small hiking trail, and we could simply walk outside, and hike up the side of a hill to watch the AMAZING sunset!
Most of the sites a first-come, first-served after April 15, which means you need to drive in and scope out a spot. Once you get a spot, you can stay up to 14 days.
* note: These spots have no hookups. You need to fill up on water, and be comfortable camping on batteries/generator only for power. Totally worth it!
Budget-Friendly RV Travel Tips To Make Your Vacation ROCK!
Having traveled in an RV for over a year and a half, we’ve found out how to enjoy RV Travel on the cheap. Here are a few quick tips to make the most of your RV trip, and save your wallet!
- Cook ALL your own food. This one may be obvious, but cooking your own food will save you TONS. Most RV’s have fridges, freezers, and a full kitchen, so you can cook just like at home! And if you have a small grill, make sure to bring that along to enjoy cooking outside! You can really cook anything, not just burgers and dogs. So meal plan, stock the fridge, and save some cash!
- Hiking, Biking and Exploring. When on an RV trip, there is SO MUCH TO DO, and most of is free. Once you are in the National Park or destination, it’s time to explore. Bring along bikes or kayaks for some outdoor fun. Or find the nearest hike to some of the most amazing land formations in the country (Utah has a LOT of this). Or simply hang up a hammock and let the breeze rock you to sleep. No money, no stress, just enjoy the stay!
- Don’t Buy Stuff. Campfires are your entertainment, and photographs are your souvenirs. There’s no need to buy anything, as the memories you create and photographs you take home don’t cost anything. If you do buy a souvenir, I guarantee you’ll spend less at the local Ranger Station gift shop than the giant Disney store!
Spending money does not make an epic vacation. Spending quality time with those you love does. So put away your wallet, pull out the campfire and s’mores, and enjoy a budget-friendly vacation!
Book Your RV Now (Before It Gets Busy)!
I am so passionate about RV Travel, and truly think it can change EVERYTHING you think and know about traditional “vacation.”
I seriously want EVERYONE to experience what we have enjoyed for the past 18 months!
And the quickest way to get from “that would be nice”, to “We’re going RV’ing!” is using RVShare to rent an RV for your next vacation!
RVShare is essentially the “AirBnB” or RV rentals, where you rent REAL RV’s from REAL people who own them, love them, and can even deliver them right to your campsite!
Booking an RV is easy!
- Go to RVShare.com and search for RV’s near you on the dates you want to rent
- Select the Price Range, which type of RV you want, and any other specifics you want
- Once you see what’s available, simply select the RV you want, and book it!
It’s really that simple.
I recommend you start your search now, and book your vacation before the RV’s and Campgrounds start getting booked up.