The Best Money Saving Vacation Tips on the Internet: RV Camping Vs Hotel Cost

By Jake Maynard

If you're reading this, it probably means you're either planning or dreaming about a vacation!

Vacations are wonderful, however, finding affordable options can be challenging! To simplify the hunt for cost effective vacation deals, you should focus on accommodation options. Because one of the best ways to drive down vacation costs, is by choosing the right one.


Accommodation Options

To boil it down, options consist of the humble tent, an RV, or hotels/apartments.

While tent camping is the cheapest option, there's a few obvious drawbacks. For example, what do you get with a tent? Absolutely nothing!

On the other hand, hotels and RVs provide a more well equipped home away from home. That means much less to worry about, directly resulting in more rest, relaxation and adventure.

So, tenting options effectively drop out of the race for cost effectiveness.


The Remaining Contestants: RV Camping Vs Hotels

Let's get straight to the point. In terms of cost and experience, there is a clear winner - RV camping, every day of the week.

In the next part of this article, we break down the key costs associated with both options, illustrating why an RV always wins the race (and it's not just because it's the only option with wheels!).

rv road trip planning

Key Areas For Analysis 

Here is the three key areas to break down the costs of accommodation options. Each area is directly affected by which option you choose.

  • Food
  • Travel
  • Rental


Food Cost Analysis

This section simply analyses how your food vacation costs will vary depending on whether you choose RV camping or a hotel.


RV Food Costs:

In general, RVs come with kitchen facilities, so you can minimize food costs by cooking as many of your own meals as possible. An RV opens the possibility of buying cheap food supplies before you leave home, and then storing them in the RV (providing far more storage space than a suitcase, bound for a hotel).

Plus, while on the road, you will most likely pass roadside produce stalls nestled in the countryside, providing access to more affordable supplies during travel.

The added advantage of the RV option, is you'll benefit from fresh home cooked meals! Here's a list of 20 healthy meal ideas for RV travel to help out.

RV food cost estimate: $10 - $20 per day, per person (RV cooked meals)




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Deciding on where to go on your next RV trip can be challenging. Let RVezy make the decision easier for you. Take this quiz to find out where you should go next. Get ready to pack your bags!



Hotel Food Costs: 

To start, booking a hotel room with cooking facilities is harder to come by, and far more expensive. 

You can always skip the kitchen options, and go with a more affordable hotel room. However, in order to have a proper hot meal, you are limited to buying take out every time, which will significantly increase food costs (for families in particular).

The other risk is the location of the hotel. The location of the hotel plays an important role in determining the price point of food expenses. If the hotel is close to the airport or the downtown core of the city, you can expect the price of food to go up significantly.

While the price of home cooked meals available using an RV remain low and stable, where ever you are.

Hotel food cost estimate: $50 - $60 per day, per person (take out)


 Travel Cost Analysis

camping vs hotel essay


RV Travel Costs:

To clarify, the real 'travel specific' cost to RVing, is just the fuel. The rental price falls into the direct 'rental' cost basket, which we will analyse after the travel section. So, now let's focus on the RV fuel travel costs.

Driving a motorhome, campervan or towing a travel trailer will consume around 12 to 30 liters of gas per 100 kilometers. Using the current gas prices in Canada of around $1.20, here's the potential cost:

RV travel cost estimate for a 500 km return trip: $72 - $180 in fuel per vehicle, per trip (depending on fuel type, RV size and age)

The benefit of using RVezy, is that all insurance and roadside assistance is taken care of, minimizing the chance of any additional travel costs.

To further save on fuel costs, here's a few RVezy renter tips:

  • Aim for more modern, fuel efficient RV models.
  • Book an RV sized to your family. If it's overkill, it will be heavier and consume more fuel than needed.
  • Talk to the RV owner from whom you're renting. They will give you a heads up about how much fuel it uses and give you driving tips that may help you conserve fuel. That is a great benefit of the RV sharing economy; you have access to hints and tips only an owner of the vehicle could know!


Hotel Travel Costs:

Your hotel travel costs depend on distance, and your travel method. Even if the hotel is only a few hundred kilometers away, travel costs will generally include a combination of the following:

  • car rental
  • car fuel costs (your own car, or a rental car)
  • plane, train or bus travel and luggage tickets (for each member of the family!)

The exact cost will therefore be wildly variable, but most likely high. For example, domestic flights in Canada are some of the most expensive in the world!

The non-variable fact, is that it will be more expensive than an RV fuel bill!

Hotel travel cost estimate: Too expensive!

To reach a hotel, even a few hundred kilometres away using buses, trains or planes, will cost many hundreds of dollars, per person.  




Watch RVezy take on Dragon's Den!

Were we able to convince the Dragons to take a road trip with us or did they put out our campfire?





Rental Cost Analysis

camping vs hotel cost

This Section of the RV Camping Vs Hotel head to head is based around the direct rental price of each.


RV Rental Costs:

RV rental costs are split between the rental fee, and camping fees. They will vary depending on; (1) what kind of RV you need and how many beds, and (2) whether you want power and water hook ups at campsites.

Hint: To drive down costs, locate free RV campsites.

Here is the breakdown:

  • RV rental = Around $50 - $150 per night, or more if your looking for luxury!
  • Camping fees = $0 - $70 per night

Adding that together:

RV rental cost estimate: $50 - $220 per night, even for large families!

Don't forget to keep an eye out for weekly and monthly RV rental discounts provided through the RVezy website!


Hotel Rental Costs:

As with the RV analysis, it varies depending on how many beds you need and what facilities you want. For a hotel or apartment to fit four people, here's a ball park estimate:

Hotel rental cost estimate: $100 and $400 per night



RV Camping Vs Hotel Cost Summary

Let's bring the analysis together.



Food (per day, per person)

Travel (per day, entire family for a 500 km return trip)

Accommodation (per day, entire family)


$10 - $20

$72 - $180

$50 - $220


$50 - $60


$100 - $400


The end result clearly shows an RV provides, by far, the most affordable vacation model. You save money on food, travel and rental, producing a very cost effective accommodation option.

For larger families in particular, you could save hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars depending on how long you are vacationing for, and your desired levels of luxury.

To investigate your most affordable RV options, from simple but effective tent campers, right up to self contained holiday homes on wheels, check out the comprehensive RVezy rental catalogue.



There is an RV option for everyone!

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