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Everything You Need to Know About RV Relocation Deals

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Below view of happy family going on a trip with camp trailer.
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On the Road

RV relocation deals are a great way for travelers looking to enjoy the benefits of road travel to do so for a fraction of the price. As rental companies need to move their RVs from one location to another, they will offer relocation deals that can start as low as $1 a day. You’ll be taking a one-way trip, but travelers who are flexible can enjoy a great road trip vacation at an unbeatable price. We’ve broken down everything you need to know for an RV relocation trip, including when and how you can find them, what you’ll need to make a booking, and what tools you can use along the way for an unforgettable trip. 


Related: 26 Vacation Spots to Visit in an RV and Save

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What RV Relocation Deals Are

RV relocation deals are one way deals companies provide to move their vehicles from one point to another. Jon Gray, CEO of RVshare, considers them to be a “well-kept secret” in the RV industry. There are two common types of relocation deals. Factory specials are one way deals that start at the factory where new RVs are made and then move RVs to different distribution centers, while one way specials offer deals that can go from any rental location a company has to another location in the same country. 


Related: Best RV Destinations for Spring

RV on the road, Mount Cook, New Zealand
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Available Destinations

Relocation deals most commonly occur in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and sometimes in Europe, though deals in Europe can happen less frequently. There are a range of companies and search engines travelers can use to locate relocation deals based on country. 


Related:Americans Aren’t the Only Ones Who Love RVs

Australian rented motorhome stopped in at bush campgroung in Flinders Ranges region near Port Augusta at sunset.
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Relocation Deals Across the Globe

Some popular sites include Imoova, which provides relocation deals for RVs and campers  across the U.S., U.K., Europe, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. Transfercar offers relocation deals for cars and campervans across the U.S., New Zealand, Australia, and other countries.  Apollo Motorhome Holidays also offers a range of relocation deals across Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. (though this site is currently down due to Covid 19) and in Canada through CanaDream Canada.


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Quality control of finished assembly of motorhomes / camper vans in the production line in a factory
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Factory Specials

Factory Specials start at the factory where the RVs are manufactured and end at one of various distribution centers. Most US factory deals start in either Illinois or Indiana. For example, El Monte RV and Road Bear RV’s factory deals start in Indiana, while Cruise America’s factory deals start from Chicago.

Quality control of finished assembly of motorhomes / camper vans in the production line in a factory
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How Factory Special Bookings Work

With factory specials, you’ll be driving a brand new vehicle and team members on the ground will check the vehicles beforehand and assist you with the rental process and walkthroughs of the RV before you hit the road. These deals can be easier to plan in advance because they tend to start from the same locations and typically arrive at the same time of year. 

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When to Grab a Deal

For companies like RVshare, El Monte, and Road Bear RV, factory deals typically start around the beginning of March due to the fact that the RVs need to reach the various distribution centers before the busy summer season starts.  While the timing can slightly vary for these specials, travelers should keep an eye out on RV rental websites during the start of the year as these deals can often be posted in advance. 

Historic Route 66 Signpost in Santa Monica. California. USA
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One Way Specials

One way specials are the other type of relocation deal travelers will come across and will include a wider variety of starting points for routes, as they include movement of an RV from one rental location in the country to another. These can be short distance trips from one city to another in a single state (Los Angeles to San Francisco, for example), or longer distances that span the country (Chicago to Los Angeles). 

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When to Get a One Way Special

While factory deals can be easier to time, one way specials don’t tend to follow a linear trend, according to RVshare CEO Gray. One common pattern he notes is that RVs typically migrate south for the winter, meaning you can expect to see more RVs headed to warm destinations like the Florida Keys in the winter than you would see in colder locations.


Related: 40 RV Retirement Spots for Snowbirds

Young guy driving a luxury caravan in the winter
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How to Plan For One Way Specials

One way specials pop up throughout the year, but there are certain times you can always expect to see them, according to Anthony Kayaleh, Vice President of USA Operations for El Monte RV and Road Bear RV. Summer is a popular time where travelers can almost always expect one way deals across various routes. During the colder seasons, you’ll often begin to see one way specials to move RVs from colder locations in the Northeast to warmer locations like Florida, where relocation deals are popular from October through March. 

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Common Routes for One Way Specials

Routes include both short distances between major cities (Los Angeles to San Francisco) and longer trips across the country (Miami to Las Vegas or from Chicago to Los Angeles). Relocation deals can really pop up in any location where the companies have rentals, though some popular states are California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington in the U.S. and Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto in Canada. 

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Relocation Deal Nightly Rates

Relocation deals can start as low as $1 a day to $9 a day, though some companies will offer higher nightly rates depending on the trip duration. To provide a comparison, a typical rental price for an RV can range anywhere from $100 to $250 a day depending on when in the season you make a booking, according to El Monte RV’s Kayaleh. Relocation deals offer a steep discount, allowing travelers to pay as little as under $100 in total for the cost of the RV rental. 


Related: The Coolest RVs for Rent Across America

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What Do You Need to Qualify

Drivers usually only need a standard driver’s license to qualify. You’ll need to be at least 21 years old in order to rent an RV, though in some states the requirement can be 25 years or older, meaning age requirements can vary based on the company you are booking through and your desired route. For example, travelers booking through RVshare will need to be at least 25 years old to drive the RV. 



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Types of RVs Available

Sometimes you may come across Class A RVs, but most commonly, RV rentals for relocation deals in the US will be Class C, which usually include a large-sized fridge with a freezer, a stove and oven for cooking, a bathroom with a shower and sink, and outdoor kitchens to enjoy cooking with a view during your journey. 


Related: How Much RV Can You Get for Your Money?

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How Many People You Can Take

A range of unit types are available for relocation deals. Typically, smaller units from El Monte, Road Bear RV, and RVshare will fit a family or group of four, and larger units can fill anywhere from six to seven in total. Some units can be smaller, like Cruise America’s current deals which include compact units that fit a total of three. All of El Monte and Road Bear’s RVs come with tethers and safety harnesses on seats to provide a comfortable trip for children.  

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Pets on the Road

In most cases pets are allowed. El Monte RV and Road Bear RV allow pets at no additional fee (unless they create significant mess or damage), and most of RVshare’s RVs are pet friendly. RVshare offers filters where you can select pet friendly options for your trip. Some companies can prohibit pets, so you’ll want to check in with the specific company you’re booking from to make sure you can bring your furry friends before booking. 

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Manual or Automatic

This will depend on where you are making your booking. For most U.S. companies, the majority of rentals will be automatic, though customers can submit a note to request a manual vehicle. In markets outside the U.S., the majority of rentals tend to be manual, so you’ll want to check the details of the booking when selecting a relocation deal. 

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Time’s Up

Factory deals can be posted as early as one month to even several months in advance in some cases, according to El Monte RV’s Kayaleh. He recommends travelers keep an eye out on their company website throughout the year for all deals, and at the start of the year to catch factory deals well in advance. 

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How Far in Advance Can You Book a One Way Special?

Deals are typically posted within two to three weeks before the required pickup date. Brian Demo of On My Way RV Service and Repair says two weeks tends to be the common booking period for one way specials, so you’ll want to plan for the ability to pick up at least two weeks from the date of your booking when planning for this type of trip.

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Why Being Flexible Can Mean Greater Savings

Deals can increase as you get closer to the pickup date, meaning the more flexible you are, the more you can save. “There’s an age-old adage in travel that if you’re flexible, you can get great prices, and that’s true with these relocation deals as well,” RVshare’s Gray says. “Typically, you’re going to have to react quickly and be flexible with your dates,” Gray adds. Demo also recommends that travelers continue to check in every few days from the two week booking window if they have the flexibility to do this for their trip. 

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Trip Length Varies

The length of an RV trip will depend on the route you are booking and the typical stopping points companies think travelers will want to see along the way, with most typically lasting a couple of weeks at a maximum of 16 nights. For shorter distances, like from San Francisco to Los Angeles, trips typically have a maximum number of five to seven nights. Meanwhile, on a route like Chicago to Los Angeles, trips are typically around two weeks as there are more stops you might like to see along Route 66. 

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What’s Included (and What’s Not)

Relocation deals will typically include a certain number of miles you are given for free, which are calculated based on the length of distance you will be traveling. In some cases, the deals can include unlimited miles, according to El Monte RV’s Kayaleh, though in most cases a particular number of miles is allotted with the option to purchase additional miles when needed. 


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You Have More Flexibility Than You Might Think

If travelers are interested in purchasing additional miles for their trip, they can often buy them as a package, though in most cases the majority of drivers fall within the given miles even when they take detours to sightsee or stop at popular attractions on their route. For Mike Wojciak, Key Account Manager at RVshare, that was the case. He recently took a 10-day trip from Indiana to Los Angeles with his family, and the 2,500 miles given for the trip allowed them to sightsee and visit various off-grid locations along the way while still coming in under the total. 

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Gas Credits and Fees Sweeten the Deal

Sometimes, relocation deals include gas credits to sweeten the deal. For example, El Monte RV had a range of one way specials that come with $150 in gas credit. Most of the time, fuel is an expense that travelers need to keep in mind when booking their trip. RVshare’s Wojciak says the cost of gas for his roughly 2,500-mile trip was about $800.


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Additional Costs to Keep in Mind

Additional costs for relocation trips will include refilling propane tanks and charges when using the generator on an RV if you are staying at campsites that don’t have electric plugins or if you’re boondocking. Typically, generator fees are based on hourly usage and range from $2 to $3 an hour, according to El Monte RV’s Kayaleh, though this fee may be included free of charge in many instances. You’ll also want to consider costs for parking the RV overnight, as well as your return journey. 

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Parking the RV

Campgrounds and RV parking locations will vary in their pricing, with RVshare’s Wojciak finding that campgrounds typically cost from $20 to $30 a night. The most expensive campground he came across was Zion National Park, which costs $150 for the night. He also found there are various locations where you can park your RV for free, including at truck stops and gas stations, and recommends Love’s as a good resource for free rest stops and camping assistance. 


Related: How to Find Places to Boondock or Free Park in Your RV

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Tools for Locating RV Campgrounds

RV experts and travelers recommend tools and websites like KOA, The Dyrt, and Roadtrippers, where RV travelers can find a range of tips, navigation assistance, and information for their journey. These sites offer helpful resources for locating campgrounds and stops.  

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Off-Grid Camping

Since RVs come with generators and water tanks, travelers are able to spend time off the grid if they choose to do so. RVshare’s Gray recommends Hipcamp for those looking to get deeper into nature. RV park options range from private lands hosting miles of hiking trails to ranches and national forest campgrounds.  

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Prepare for Toll Fees

Another fee travelers face is for taking toll roads. To find the cheapest route to your destination, travelers can use TollGuru, which factors in tolls, gas, traffic, distance, and more to find the route that will cost the least in tolls throughout your trip. The app covers trips across the U.S., Canada, and some 50 additional countries, and is available both for iOS  and Android


RV Camper Van Accident
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Insurance Options for Relocation Deals

El Monte RV’s Kayaleh recommends checking with your auto insurance provider, as it may already offer insurance for your RV rental depending on your plan. If you need to purchase insurance, each company offers a range of options with various tiers to choose from, often including 24/7 roadside assistance from $10 a day to $41 a day depending on the tier.

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First Timer Tips

“Once you get used to it, it is very easy to drive,” RVshare’s Wojciak, who had only briefly driven an RV before his relocation trip, tells Cheapism. He says drivers need to pay attention to the video about the RV typically given when picking up the vehicle, as it will also explain how to correctly empty out all tanks. In addition, he recommends taking the RV around town and through a few parking lots to learn how everything works before hitting busy freeways. 


Related: Rookie Mistakes First-Time RV Drivers Make


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What You Should Pack

Pack light, as RVs will come with most amenities you need and you may be flying home at the end of the trip. RVshare’s Wojciak recommends packing clothes for various climate zones for long distance trips where temperatures can range from highs of 80 degrees to lows of 30 degrees in colder locations. Additionally, while most RVs will include televisions, packing a tablet can be a good idea since many vehicles are Bluetooth-equipped to make streaming a breeze.

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How to Get Back After Your Trip

Most of the time, travelers will take a flight back home, as it can be a relaxing break after being behind the wheel for several days or weeks. Often relocation deals can be a great tool for those looking to move across the country. Another option On My Way RV Service’s Demo recommends is that travelers consider a train trip for their return, allowing then to take in scenic views on the trip back home. 

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Flexible Options for Booking Relocation Deals

Many companies have options to make booking relocation deals easier, including filters for desired trip options or a concierge booking team to help with reservations or waiting list signups to get notified about specials. If you don’t see your desired route, Demo says it’s worth calling the company to ask for a deviation, while adding additional days to your journey is usually possible as long as you return the vehicle by the allotted relocation window. 

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Reasons to Do an RV Relocation Trip

Besides the savings, which can be upwards of $2,000, relocation deals can take you through destinations you might not otherwise explore. This was the case for RVshare’s Wojciak, who came across a campsite filled with rafting rides and ziplining he says will be a regular stop on future RV vacations. “It’s really hard to beat this experience; it was one of the coolest things we’ve done as a family vacation and the kids still talk about it to this day,” he says.


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Making the Most of Your RV Relocation Trip

Wojciak recommends travelers plan out where they would like to stay and their preferred activities before heading out for their trip, as popular campgrounds and activities like bike rentals and tours in national parks like Zion can book up ahead of time. Researching what you want to do along your route can ensure the best experience possible. 

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The Benefits of RV Travel

“Everyone wants to say ‘hi’ and help you when there are things with RVs you don’t understand, and you get all sorts of cool connections people may not think about when they consider it as a substitute to a hotel,” RVshare’s Gray says. He finds RV trips allow the freedom to easily go to destinations that are otherwise hard to combine with a hotel stay while still getting luxury amenities you won’t find with traditional camping. 


Related: What It's Really Like to Retire in an RV