Hit the open roads with RVshare and discover the fun of RV camping.
If you haven’t been this grounded since high school, you’re not alone. But traveling now can be scary—crowded airports, hotels, restaurants—all present opportunities for exposure to the COVID virus.
Are you experiencing RV envy? These folks can travel self-contained. But what if you don’t have an RV? Most RV owners don’t use their vehicles year-round. Could this be a match made in heaven? Yes, and it’s a win-win for both parties.
Several companies, like Outdoorsy, RVezy and Good Sam, act as matchmakers. The oldest and largest firm, however, is RVshare.
It started with a story. In 2012, newlyweds Mark and Rachel Jenney purchased an RV for their honeymoon. Once they returned home they realized that, with busy lives, the payments continued, but the RV was staying home. What if they could rent their RV out? At the time, the only reasonable option for getting possible renters was Craigslist. What if there was a safe peer-to-peer program for RVers much like the four-year-old Airbnb for stationary accommodations? And RVshare became a reality.
According to Maddi Bourgerie, director of communications for the company, “We have more than 100,000 RVs across the U.S. and have booked over 3,000,000 nights on our platform.” She adds, “There are around 500 RVs to rent in Oklahoma (most near Oklahoma City) on RVshare.”
Choices range from tiny pop-up campers to rock star-sized motor homes. In 2021, trips starting in Oklahoma City have increased by 21% from the previous year and have doubled since 2019.
Advantages to renters include payment and fraud protection, insurance, 24-hour roadside assistance and customer service. Each vehicle is different with varying amenities. Owners will review all necessary instructions and many will even deliver and set up your vehicle if you are using it nearby.
As far as benefits to owners, RVshare takes care of listing the vehicle, verifying renters and including insurance, while the owner reaps the monetary benefit. Owners determine their own rates and availability.
RV owner Brad Nixon and his partner have a story similar to RVshare’s founders. Brad and Annabelle had grown up camping with their families. Together, they bought their first camper, a 2017 Coleman Light, perfect for the two of them. The first few years, they used it regularly.
As family circumstances changed, they found they were using it less and less. Then came COVID, and they experienced a cut in their income.
Brad says, “We really needed to generate some additional income. We had heard of RVshare in the past but I had been hesitant. At this point, it turned into a necessity. We signed up with RVshare in 2020 and immediately began to receive booking requests.
“Our rentals have included local residents looking to get away for the weekend or longer and out-of-towners coming in for special events. RVshare often alerts us to rental opportunities for large events such as rodeos, music festivals and auto shows. [Renting our travel trailer] has definitely made it possible to keep and maintain the camper. And our camper has officially been to more states than we have!”
For renters, there are many options. Most standard automobiles are limited in the loads they can tow—making pop-ups the only option. While they’re probably the least expensive choice, pop-up campers are in short supply. If you don’t have a vehicle that can handle larger loads, consider looking for an option at your destination—with an owner who will meet you there and set it up.
Towing also requires special adaptations for connecting to a trailer. Newer SUVs and trucks may come from the factory with these adaptations built in. If not, you’ll have to do some research to see what you need and what it will cost to buy and install.
Larger trailers include those with conventional hitches and fifth wheels that connect with a gooseneck extension in the truck bed.
Perhaps the best option for those new to RVing is a drivable RV. These come in three categories: Class A, B and C. Class C is the smallest—best for newbies. Driving it is comparable to driving a truck. Class A is bus-sized—much more of a challenge. The drivable RVs are not an inexpensive option, but they do offer a lot of convenience and the chance to determine if this type of travel is appealing.
Before you leap into renting, think about where you want to go and the availability of camping spots. Popular Oklahoma spots like Beavers Bend often fill up, especially on weekends.
When looking at a listing, be aware that the number of guests accommodated doesn’t guarantee maximum comfort. Question the configuration of beds before making a decision.
Also be aware that the first price you see is the nightly rate; but probably won’t include tax, fees for insurance, deposit, etc. Also keep in mind that miles per gallon will be much less than your normal vehicle.
Be sure and check the amenities and look at ratings and reviews. With RVshare, once you specify dates, you can correspond with owners and ask about any amenities not listed on the site.
Many owners, like Brad and Annabelle, go the extra mile to ensure your comfort and convenience, adding items not seen in their online listing. In their case these include a Keurig coffee maker, electric skillet, electric grill, cookware, dinnerware and all sorts of kitchen gadgets. They also replaced the camper’s original thin mattress with a thick, memory foam mattress.
There’s no better time to discover the fun of RV camping, and no better way to get out of the house—and still feel safe.