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RV vs. Hotels: Which One Is Cheaper in 2024

Until fairly recently, if you mentioned an RV, you would instantly think of a retired couple exploring the country or even the world, allowing them to effectively enjoy their golden years. But, this is no longer the case. RVs have become a popular choice for many people, and, surprisingly, cost-savings are part of the interest.

This may seem surprising as the average price of an RV is $150,000. However, if you check out these used motorhomes for sale by, you’ll find that you don’t need to spend that much to get on the road.

So, with that in mind, which is cheaper: an RV or a hotel?

The Short Answer

On the face of it, the RV is a much more expensive option, just look at the cost of purchasing one! You’re going to have to spend a lot of nights in very nice hotels to come close to the cost of purchasing an RV.

Making The RV Cheaper

But, as with most things, other factors need to be considered.

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You don’t have to purchase an RV to take a vacation. In fact, if this is your first experience of an RV or you’re only taking a short break renting makes more sense.

You can rent an RV for as little as $150 for a weekend. When you put that cost against the cost of a hotel room, you’ll quickly appreciate the savings.


Some companies need drivers, often at short notice, to move RV’s from one place to another, ensuring that they are ready for the next person that’s booked a rental. If you’re not worried about where you travel or how you’re getting back, you can take advantage of these offers to experience the RV lifestyle.


If you’re looking at a long trip, frequent use of your RV, or even just traveling, then there are many more factors you need to consider.

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The more people there are, the greater the cost of a hotel, because you’ll pay per person and may need multiple rooms. This will also increase the cost of your food. When you’re staying in a hotel, you generally need to eat out, which means using the restaurant or fast food establishments.

When you’re doing that three times a day, even a family of 4 can spend a minimum of $150-$200. That’s a figure that can quickly add up. In contrast, the same family of 4 can eat in the RV for a fraction of this price, saving a considerable amount every day.


If you’re planning on visiting cities, then you’ll find that they are not built with RV’s in mind. You’ll need to park on the outskirts and travel in and out each day you’re there.

However, if you’re heading into the outback, there are huge expanses where you won’t even see a hotel. That’s when it makes sense to have an RV; for convenience and potential for cost savings.

Insurance & Fuel

When you choose a hotel, you can travel there by car, train, or perhaps even plane your fuel costs will be minimal, as is the cost of your insurance. However, if you use an RV, you’ll find that the insurance is significantly more than your car, and it consumes more fuel. Alongside this, RV’s are generally a slower form of transport, meaning it will take you longer to get to a specific destination.

It’s worth noting that a family of 4 is likely to make enough savings on food to cover the increased cost of fuel. They are making the RV a cheaper option, especially if you have a larger group.

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Purchase Price

Of course, purchasing a used RV is going to cost you more than a hotel. But, this can still be a cheaper option, depending on several factors.

The first is usage. The more you use the RV, the greater the amount of savings as each trip is cheaper in an RV than staying in a hotel.

The second is depreciation. Your RV will depreciate, but it will still retain much of its value, especially if you look after it.

This is where all the factors actually tie together. If you assume the RV depreciates at 10% per year, then the cost to your wallet starts at approximately $10,000 and goes down every year.

$10,000 represents a significant vacation but is a small figure if you intend to take several vacations every year or simply go traveling. The average price of a hotel in Australia is $171 per night for two people. This increases to approximately $250 per night for a family of four, assuming you’re all in one room.

That means a fortnight for a family of four could cost as much as $1,750. In contrast, the average campsite will charge $50 per night for your RV. One week would be $350, a saving of $1,400.

That means if you take 7 one week holidays a year, you’ll have saved enough on hotel bills to cover the depreciation of your RV. That’s separate from the food savings you’re making.

Servicing & Maintenance

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It is worth considering the cost of maintenance and annual servicing. This will depend on the make of RV and whether you are capable of doing any of this yourself. You’ll need to include this figure in your calculations because it’s essential to undertake maintenance if you don’t, the likelihood of you suffering a breakdown increases, which will ruin any vacation.

Final Thoughts

Before you base your decision solely on money, you should remember that taking an RV gives you the freedom to change your route and experience sights that you may otherwise miss. Being in the RV is part of the vacation. This is not true when you’re driving your car to a destination.

Providing you intend to take 7-8 weeks holiday a year, the average family of 4 can save a significant amount of money and will get to experience more of the country by using an RV.

It is worth renting one first to ensure you’re happy with this type of vacation, and then you can start looking for the right one to buy.

About Ronald Lamumbe