Vacation Toys for Cheapskates

Save Money on RV pr Motorhome Vacation

29 Aug Vacation Toys for Cheapskates


Save Money on RV pr Motorhome Vacation

Saving Money on your RV, Vacation Home or Boat Getaways.

Well you did it; you’ve paid off debt and maybe even the house.  Now you have the urge to go on a RV vacation, or maybe buy a boat, and what about a cottage?

Well I considered these things not too long ago and I shuddered when I saw the upfront cost, I couldn’t enjoy myself vacationing while I either went back into debt or spent the college and retirement funds.  So what do you do, tell the kiddies that vacation is an overnight at the Motel 6, not the lake, or seeing the country not from an RV but in the living room via the Travel Channel??

Well the truth is you don’t have to buy any of these. How about renting them!

Renting vs. owning an RV/Motorhome

We went a two-week RV trip recently and found the convenience and savings by renting instead of buying a 31 foot Motor Home.  The cost of a new 31 foot Motor home is about $80,000, but that’s not all; add insurance year round for about $600 a year, maintenance adds another couple of hundred, and most of us cannot dock the behemoth in their driveway so add another $1000 or so for storage, and we will not even figure out depreciation (it is similar to a car by the way!).

If you are not on board with the debt free way then add interest on a $70,000 to $80,000 loan or the opportunity cost of pulling 80 large out of your investments. 

Got your attention!  The alternative is easy; most large RV dealers rent this same motor home for about $1100 a week plus mileage.  Do the math, that is way less than the interest paid or interest lost and you do not have to worry about depreciation, upkeep, insurance, or storage.

Less pressure to rent vacation toys

The other advantage is that you will feel the pressure to use this asset and will go on more trips than you would otherwise would,  or feel guilty about doing the right thing by skipping your summer vacation to the mountains and go to the family reunion or pay for unexpected expenses.  I have had many relatives and friends with boats and motor homes express that they have a constant pressure to use it and that diminishes the enjoyment of owning one of these items.

My suggestion: just rent it when you want to go on a special vacation. Heck you may not even like it!  Better to find that out after a week’s trip in a rental than the maiden voyage of your new $80,000 “investment.”

Renting boats saves money and hassle

This same principle works for boats. Most resort areas have rental boats available by the hour or day for $100 to $300 depending on the size and the area.  And besides not buying the boat, you don’t need the 4×4 truck to tow it either!

I have done this a few times in beautiful Door County and the north woods of Wisconsin and enjoyed it while we used it, and REALLY enjoyed it when I pulled out of the parking lot of the marina without it!  The internet is a great source of rental locations, just plan in advance if you want to ensure the availability of the weekend you want.

Renting your vacation home or cottage

My last suggestion is to rent a vacation home versus buying one. There are many places you can rent from the owner directly. One of them, www.vrbo.com [not an affiliate link] has a state by state listing and even in other countries.  This way you can vacation in a cottage without the ownership worries and you can change your location each vacation without using a timeshare.

Variety is the spice of life, and there is not much variety in going to the same location week after week.  I am sure you will find that renting verses buying gives you flexibility, variety, and more money in your pocket once you arrive at your destination so you can make it a truly special experience!

19 Comments
  • Alex Humphrey
    Posted at 16:34h, 29 August

    Although we didn’t use it, I looked into renting a boat when my wife, another couple, and I went camping. The prices were surprisingly cheap (like you said, 100-300/day) and the boats looked great!

    • Matt Wegner
      Posted at 19:42h, 29 August

      We’ve looked into renting a boat several times on our camping trips too. Great post Kevin!

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  • Little House
    Posted at 15:50h, 30 August

    Mr. LH is constantly telling me all the “toys” he wants; a boat, a three-wheel ATV, etc. I just keep reminding him that we can rent fun, we don’t have to buy it for good! Excellent post.

    • Matt Wegner
      Posted at 10:08h, 31 August

      I’ve got the same wants list, but they’re certainly not in the budget for a while! It’ll have to be renting for now.

  • Kim
    Posted at 10:51h, 31 August

    Great tips and information….
    there is somewhere my kido has been wanting to go
    for quite some time and I have been trying to figure
    out cheapest ways to make it happen.

    This helped A LOT!

  • Marie at FamilyMoneyValues
    Posted at 19:43h, 31 August

    In the Rich Dad, Cashflow game, boats are called Doo Dads and they just cost you money!

    If you do rent them frequently, I wonder if there is a point of use at which it actually would be cheaper to buy one….

    • Matt Wegner
      Posted at 20:01h, 31 August

      I’ve never played that game Marie, but I have wanted to buy it for some time. I used to be a big fan of Kiyosaki years ago.

    • Kevin Suddick
      Posted at 09:56h, 01 September

      I don’t think that most folks would rent over 3 to 4 times a year, but those who do more than that and are debt free (including house), have a fully funded retirement, college taken care of, and have the cash…by all means buy the boat!

  • Kevin Suddick
    Posted at 09:59h, 01 September

    Thanks for the comments! I forgot to mention that you can rent motorcycles and snowmobiles as well. That should cover all of our toy urges. I’ve always wanted to try snowmobiling, I may have to rent one this winter!

  • Andy Hough
    Posted at 13:43h, 02 September

    Renting an RV would be interesting. My wife and I would like to travel around the country when we retire but I’m not sure if we want to do it in an RV.

    • Kevin Suddick
      Posted at 13:51h, 02 September

      Hi Andy, renting is made for you! See if you like it first and then you will have a better idea what you want. Then you can find the bargain on the right unit for you!

    • Matt Wegner
      Posted at 14:41h, 02 September

      I’m not sure I’d like to do it entirely in an RV. I like planes and nice hotels too. But as a former truck driver I wouldn’t mind a long trip in an RV. Just not every day indefinitely.

      • Kevin Suddick
        Posted at 16:24h, 02 September

        By day 12 of our trip, the 31 foot motor home got very small. I am not sure I could do much longer than 2 weeks at a time, even with no kids!!!

  • Dana
    Posted at 05:18h, 04 September

    We’re thinking of renting an RV next year for vacation. I’m going to leave all the driving to the husband though – I’ve never driven anything larger than a minivan!!

  • Shawanda @ You Have More Than You Think
    Posted at 11:24h, 04 September

    Good stuff. It’s absolutely insane to buy toys you’ll use only a couple times a year. I like the idea of using someone else’s assets, enjoying them, and leaving them for the owner to pay for, insure, and maintain. Doing so saves you time and money. Plus, you have more variety. You must be pretty loaded if you can afford an RV, a vacation home, and a yacht.

    • Matt Wegner
      Posted at 07:26h, 05 September

      Either loaded or concerned about portraying the image that you’re loaded…

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