I recently tried renting an RV through RVshare on a California vacation to Santa Barbara. RVshare is an RV rental marketplace that has a wide variety of options ranging from pop-ups to luxury motorhomes across a range of rental costs. Sometimes known as “The Airbnb of RVs”, RVSshare is a service in which travelers rent user-rated recreational vehicles—towable and driveable—from owners. As a first-timer, I appreciated that RVshare was easy enough for a newbie, but also had plenty of options for serious RVers.
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Here’s what it’s like to rent with RVShare and some key things to know before you book.
6 Things to Know About RVshare Before You Book:
- Users search for towable (travel trailers or 5th wheel trailers) or driveable (Class C or Class A motorhomes) RVs through an extensive database of rentals across the U.S.; though most options are round-trip, several owners offer their vehicles and/or arrange for one-way travel.
- As with any rental car, drivers must be at least 25 years old and must have a valid driver’s license—and if you meet that criteria, you can rent any RVshare vehicle.
- Drivers should know their own comfort level because driving a Class A is similar to driving a large bus. Towing a Travel Trailer requires a truck and being comfortable carrying a vehicle that is up to 28 feet behind you. If you’re interested in a travel trailer, you can enter your vehicle information to see what is available for your car based on towing capacity.
- Smaller Class C Motorhomes or even small Class B camping vans might be more comfortable to someone new to driving an RV.
- To search, renters sort by choosing one of the above or deliverable vehicles, location, dates, and number of guests. More filtered search options appear with the results including pets, features, rental options (including stationary rental), rental price, and cancellation type, among others.
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- Anyone looking for RV rentals can use RVshare’s website which includes extensive articles and information about road trip camping such as popular location details, tips and tricks for RVing, and guides to traveling on the move (including boondocking, or RV parking locations that are “off the grid” and often free!).
- Explore the country! Renters choose their destinations and aren’t locked in … travel as far as you want, as long as you are home in time with the gas tank full and the other tanks emptied. You don’t need to report on your whereabouts to the owner and can see and do as much or as little as you want during your rental period.
- RVshare includes a “Worry-free Rental Guarantee” which includes payment and damage protection, fraud screening, 24/7 support, and rental replacement if the vehicle was misrepresented.
My RVshare Experience
Other than a one-time rental of a pop-up Vanagan back in my early road trip camping days, I had never been in an RV. But, with Covid, our family figured it could be a fun getaway without moving in indoor spaces with strangers. We also thought it would be a great way to be close to natural beauty without spending a fortune.
RVshare Pick Up and Delivery
RVshare renters can either pick up their RV or pay a small fee for delivery, depending on location and distance. For us, delivery was ideal, as we were keen to stay put, so we chose a “stationary rental”; our minihome on wheels was waiting for us at Sun Outdoors Ocean Mesa campground at El Capitan State Beach just outside of Santa Barbara.
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Because our RV was delivered, we didn’t have to worry about where or how to set up once we arrived at our campground. The trailer was pulled in, level, and plugged in. The RV owner took her time explaining all of the features from heating and cooling to water use (there was a real shower and drinkable water), and once we unpacked our groceries and clothes, we were ready to enjoy.
Comforts of Home
When we booked, I was wary of what might have been a too small space and was concerned about generator noise from vehicles around us. But, I was pleasantly surprised at how much it felt simply like a tiny house in a quiet neighborhood! Being able to unpack our own groceries, clothes, and books, it really felt like a home. Our particular RV also had a bluetooth sound system, a fireplace, and both indoor and outdoor games. As with Airbnb, hosts let you know ahead of time what is stocked and ready for use, and for us, this included linens, towels, cookware, and charming decor. And, the bonus was, walking out the door, we were at a beautiful campground with a pool and easy access to the beach and hiking trails.
Why I’d Book RVshare Again
Other than our living space having wheels, to be honest, this felt simply like a lovely getaway. We used our own car when we wanted to go into Santa Barbara, and when we came home, we had cold drinks, delicious snacks, and our comfy camping chairs waiting for us. The Sun Outdoors campground enforced quiet hours, was far enough from the highway that there was no noise, and had a welcoming staff in a well-stocked food and souvenir shop on site. Though I think I’d have to build up to driving my own C or A class motorhome, I think I’m ready for a trailer and a trip on the move. I’m certainly going to book another RVshare.