I rented a camper van through Outdoorsy, the Airbnb for RVs, and it’s the perfect platform for first-time RVers

frank olito camper van

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When I decided to rent a camper van for a short road trip in January, I admittedly didn’t know where to start. 

Quickly, I learned there are three main sites for RV rentals: Outdoorsy, RV Share, and Cruise America. After doing some research and reading multiple RV blogs, I found most people agreed that Outdoorsy was the best of the three. 

Outdoorsy is a peer-to-peer rental service (much like Airbnb) that started in 2015. Over the years, the platform has expanded and today there are over 200,000 vehicles listed for rent in over 4,800 cities and 14 countries. Jen Young, CMO and co-founder of Outdoorsy, told Insider in December 2020 that the number of RV rentals made on the site skyrocketed during the pandemic. 

I, too, decided to rent a camper van during the pandemic after years of wondering if life on the road was for me. Ultimately, I booked a 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van through Outdoorsy for a weekend trip from New York City to Philadelphia.

From booking to talking with customer service, here’s what planning a road trip through Outdoorsy is like.

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First, Outdoorsy’s landing page prompted me to search for an area in the US and plug in my travel dates.

I typed in New York City and then the dates I was looking to rent the van. I was surprised it didn’t ask me any other information, like how many people were traveling or what type of vehicle I was looking for. 

After I entered this basic information, the available vehicles were listed in a grid on the left and laid out on a map on the right.

There were two things that stood out on this page. First, Outdoorsy’s business model is largely the same as Airbnb, where people rent out their homes for travelers. Essentially, all the vehicles listed on this page are owned by people in the New York area who want to rent out their RVs when they aren’t using them. The resemblance doesn’t end there: This page is even laid out like Airbnb’s website. 

The second aspect that stood out to me was the variety of vehicles that were listed. There were over 500 options when I searched, and some were traditional RVs, towable trailers, and camper vans. 

At the top, there were filters, which helped narrow down my search significantly.

There were six tabs at the top of the screen that helped narrow the search. In those tabs, I was able to specify that I wanted a camper van — I figured taking a larger, more traditional RV would be too difficult for a novice. I also specified that I wanted to pay less than $500 per night and wanted the camper van to be delivered to my home on the day of my departure. 

Only a few camper van owners allowed for delivery — as most renters pick up the vehicles themselves — so my options quickly became limited.

After narrowing my search, there were only two camper vans that …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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