08 October 2007

How much does it cost to go Burning Man and where to rent an RV in Los Angeles

When we were budgeting for going to Burning Man, we quickly realized we needed to fill the RV to spread out the rental and fuels costs. We opted to share food costs too and came up with a guesstimate of $3000 or $500 each if we filled the RV.

I just got my September credit card statement, so I sat down and did all the math. You can view the details here, but suffice it to say we spent about $1500 to rent the RV, $600 on diesel, $400 on food and drink, $240 for camp fees, and another $350 on miscellaneous. So the total was $3090 or $515 each. Right on target.

All this is less the costs of a ticket which can be between $200 and $400 dollars.

One reason the price was so good was our decision to use an independent RV rental outfit. The chain RV places (El Monte and Cruise American) have very high daily rate out of LA. Plus they charge for mileage and one of them charges for generator usage. Leaving from Vegas was much cheaper, but would have been a big hassle.

I found American RV after doing a bit of googling. They are a small independent place in Montclair. Their daily rates were as good as the chains Vegas rates. A recon trip proved their RV to be pretty nice and clean, although some were a bit long in the tooth.

Insurance was a big concern and a hassle. The chain places work like rental car places. Anyone can be listed a a driver. Each driver needs to make sure they have RV coverage, which is not standard and will usually cost you some bucks. The chains will also provide insurance if you like (at roughly comparable rates).

Not so with American RV. They only list one driver and only care about their insurance. To permit other people to drive (which is wise;you will get tired) you have to add each other driver onto the primary drivers policy for the duration. This was a major pain and took quite a bit of coordination with my insurance agent. BTW - Her name is Margi and she works for Aihara Insurance. She is a great person to work with. Give her a call if you are in the market.

Once this was all squared away, we were also a bit nervous about getting screwed on the back end. After all, we were going to Burning Man. The thing would be pretty dirty when we turned it back in.

All those worries were for naught. We need a pretty good job of keeping the interior clean and were not charged for anything beyond the contacted price on return.

Oh yeah ! I forgot to mention the RV we reserved was not available when we went to pick it up. So they gave us a comparable one. It slept 6, had a slide out, etc. Expect it was MUCH nicer and almost double the daily rate. But they didn't charge us more for that. Didn't even mention it.

So if you need to rent an RV out of LA, be sure to check out American RV.

addendum - drop me a line if you need any advice !

1 comment:

stevepcguy said...

Just so you know, Jeff Collison at American RV/Open Road RV is not an honest businessman. He has MANY reports on BBB and ripoffreport.com.