It was only a matter of time.
Just as HomeAway.com and Airbnb.com dramatically changed the home rental industry, now two relatively new sites are transforming the ways people rent motorhomes. As with the vacation home sites mentioned above, they’re created for peer-to-peer interactions. And the increased competition between average Joes and traditional rental agencies (also found on these sites) has led to significantly lower costs in most areas. But the win is for owners, too, since most allow their RV’s to sit unused about 90% of the time; renting allows them to make back some of their initial investment.
The major players in the market are Outdoorsy.co and RVShare.com and both have listings across the United States (though neither yet goes into the Canadian market). They also have a near identical initial interface: users key in their destination, plus drop off and pick up dates. The site then takes them to a page with units and pricing, for vehicles ranging from Class A to Class C motorhomes, to travel trailers, pop ups and fifth wheels. Neither site offers the option of booking one-way rentals, which shouldn’t be surprising as that level of service would be difficult, to near impossible, for a person who owned just one RV.
As for which is better: I have to give the edge to RVShare, though it is not as handsome-looking a site. But key in Billings, Montana, say or Cleveland, Ohio and Outdoorsy comes up short, with no listings (or just one, in the case of Cleveland). With RVShare even the smallest cities are represented. I also found a larger range of options on RVShare with pop-up trailers for $75 a night to massive motorhomes with multiple “slide outs”. Outdoorsy tended to have fewer affordable options in most regions, and hasn’t yet tried to go the “loyalty” route, as RVShare has (it offers 5% cash back rewards for use on your next rental through the site).
So is renting this way safe? Well, both sites offer encryption for credit cards and $10,000 “peace of mind” guarantees. In addition, each checks the DMV records of any would-be renter, important for the owners. But once again RVShare goes a step further: if something goes wrong on the road, only it provides free, 24/7 roadside assistance to its users.
However, you decide to book, I can tell you from personal experience that renting an RV makes for a hoot of a vacation. Not only does it allow you to camp in nature with far more comfort than a tent can afford, but it makes you part of one of the friendliest communities on the road: RV enthusiasts. Try it, you’ll like it.