What Is More Cost Effective: Road Trip or Rental?

You’re mentally all gassed up and ready to go, but the question is, how are you going to get there? There are quite a few factors that contribute to this decision: how far is the drive, how many people are going, what type of vehicle do you need for the terrain, gas cost, convenience, and more. Let’s take a look at some of these factors and see if we can help clear it up.

Gas and Wear

Paying for gas will always be a factor for rental or road tripping in your own vehicle. But unlike a rental, you’ll be paying the bill for the wear and tear your trip will take. To put some numbers down, the average cost per mile has gone up across the board:

  • Average gas cost per mile: 14.45 cents
  • Average tire cost per mille: 1 cent
  • Average maintenance cost per mile: 4.97 cents

Of course, this is all assuming you drive the average 15,000 miles a year so if you’re putting more mileage on, these numbers will increase. And if you’re road tripping during peak travel times and via interstates, you’ll be paying way more in gas, too. One of the largest factors when deciding to drive or fly is the number of passengers. You can usually stuff 4 people in a sedan, maybe 7 in an SUV, but with all the extra luggage and gear, there isn’t much room. If you’re going to be taking multiple cars, it’s well worth your time to look into other options.


Before we get into the rental option, we have to touch on an important variant in this decision. The convenience factor is real, whether it’s easier to drive cross country or hop on a flight, it can depend on your preference. Fear of heights or flying may prevent you from choosing the ease and speed of a flight, but it is typically much easier and less stressful than driving. And it’s certainly much quicker for long distances.

Rental Car and Insurance

You hop off the airplane and head to the nearest car rental depot. Lucky for you, there’s always a rental agency ready for destination travelers, but they know they can gouge you on price. Not only will you have to pony up for the rental itself, but you’ll likely pay for insurance too. Now depending on your personal vehicle insurance plan, you may already be paying for rental car insurance so check that before you rent. Rental cars come with quite a few caveats, you’ll for sure pay more renting from the airport than anywhere else, you’ll be charged a steep price for returning your rental low on gas, you can’t go off-roading, age plays a huge role, and having multiple drivers will cost you. And you’ll still have to pay for gas.

Choosing to road trip or fly and rent can be a time-consuming decision. At Rugged Van Rentals, we make it easier for you! We offer unique services along with our van rentals like airport pickups, cargo boxes for luggage and gear, child seats, extra seating, and so much more. With 3 different off-road rental vans to choose from and hundreds of configurations possible, we can set you up for the adventure of a lifetime in your rugged van rental. Visit us online for quick and easy booking and be sure to check out all your options.

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