Tags: , Categories: Travel

3 Best Peer-to-Peer RV Sharing Websites – The Airbnb’s of RVs


This past summer we rented an RV trailer from a popular RV sharing website. It was an amazing experience. We ended up with a fantastic RV that was delivered by the owners. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I spent plenty of time researching RV sharing for that trip. This in-depth article explores the peer-to-peer RV sharing options in Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

RV motorhome on the road

This past summer my wife and I rented an RV trailer from an RV sharing website and it was an absolute success.  In fact, if ever we are going camping this is how we’re going.

While we don’t own an RV, we are veteran renters of various recreational vehicles.

Our first 3 years of RV’ing, we rented a motorhome from RV rental businesses.  It was loads of fun. However, we rented from an established RV rental business, which was great but there is just one BIG problem.  That big problem is we had to reserve the RV so far in advance, as in no later than November the prior year.  This is a drag because often we haven’t cemented our vacation plans by then.  However, if you fail to rent by then, there’s nothing available.

Enter peer-to-peer RV sharing (just like Airbnb or Homeaway).

This past April, friends of ours asked if we wanted to join them on their camping trip scheduled for early August.  “Of course” we replied.  We’re always game for some camping fun, especially with friends.  However, I was concerned because I really prefer camping in an RV and I didn’t think we’d be able to secure one.  At that point though, I hadn’t heard about RV sharing websites.  I assumed our only option was the brick and mortar RV rental company we used in previous years.

As soon as we had agreed to join our friends, I called the RV rental business we so often used.  Sure enough, they had nothing available.  I called 5 different businesses all over the region.  All 5 had nothing.

I was getting nervous.  I really didn’t want to shell out $1,000 on a family-sized tent and sleeping bags.  I wanted an RV.

And so I started searching online and discovered RV sharing websites.  I was familiar with the concept having rented many houses from Homeaway (in fact, we rented a Homeaway house for our 2020 Wisconsin vacation which is exciting).

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I plugged in our camping dates and camping location with fingers crossed.

BOOM!  There were over 10 available options – including motorhomes, truck and campers and RV trailers of all sizes.

I clicked into one promising trailer and lo and behold, there was an option to pay a little extra to have the trailer delivered and set up at the campsite.  I couldn’t believe it.  This was a huge benefit for us because our vehicle can only tow up to 5,000 lbs. which limits trailer size.  By paying an extra $100 to $150 for delivery, we could rent any size we wanted.

I blasted out 5 RV trailer rental requests to owners.  Within 24 hours, 3 of them approved my request.  I made a selection, paid the deposit and secured our RV trailer.

When camping time came, the kind owners delivered it right on time.  They were super friendly and patiently explained how everything worked. We had a terrific vacation.  On the last day, they came, broke it down and hauled it away.

I’m definitely a huge fan of RV sharing and will do it again.

If this sounds like a good deal, you’re in luck. While we used RVezy, you have several options.  Here they are.  I suggest browsing multiple sites to find the best option for you.  It really boils down to inventory because other than some nuanced differences, they’re pretty much the same.

Related: 27 things to know before renting a motorhome RV

A. My 3 Favorite RV Sharing Websites

The following are my 3 favorite peer-to-peer RV sharing websites.  They’re my favorite because they offer the best selection and the website features are second-to-none.

1. RVezy – Best Canadian RV Sharing Website

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Read my full RVezy review here.

RVezy Overview

  • Countries: Canada
  • Availability filtering:  Yes (this is key because it saves a ton of time in that it will only generate available RVs based on the dates you specify).
  • Insurance: $2 million coverage
  • Roadside assistance:  Yes, but there is an additional daily cost.
  • Cancellation options:  RVezy offers several cancellation policies that owners choose.  Be sure to read the cancellation policy offered by the owner because they vary.
  • Minimum rental period:  Stipulated by the owner. Some have no minimum while some do.
  • Delivery/Pick up:  Yes, some owners offer the option to have the RV delivered and they will pick it up.  Usually, it’s an add-on service that costs additional fees.
  • Types of RVs: Every type imaginable.
  • Traveler / Owner reviews:  Yes.  This was an interesting process. When our trip was completed, RVezy sent me a link to write a review.  I did so (and wrote a great review).  Once my review was published, the owner’s review of us as renters showed up to me (they were kind enough to give us a great review as well).

Inventory and selection

The amount of selection is very important for any sharing type of website.  When trying choose the best RV sharing website for your rental, a good starting point is to see which one offers the best RV for you at the best price.

When searching for RVs, an important distinction is whether to search where you will pick it up or where it will be delivered.  If you want it delivered, search close to where it’ll be delivered.  If you will pick it up, then choose the area where picking it up is most convenient.

Test search results:  July 6 to 13, 2020:  I tested searches for Nanaimo, BC, Red Deer, AB and Halifax, NS.  While the number of available RVs seemed impressive, the big problem is that many of the results weren’t anywhere near the cities I searched.

Keep in mind the above data is not entirely determinative because there are many different types of motorhomes and types of RV trailers.  Also, when comparing RV sharing websites via the inventory method, check the radius or size of area that results are pulled from.  Obviously, results pulled from a larger zone will be higher.

We used RVezy and had a great experience. It currently only serves Canada but I suspect they’ll branch out to the USA in due course.  The site grew fairly rapidly and was featured on the investment seeking show Dragon’s Den.  It was started by a firefighter injured in the line of duty.

I found the user experience very good. It’s super easy to use.  Insurance was provided (which is important to me).  Payment processing went without a hitch.  It’s easy to communicate with the other parties.

The app also works flawlessly on mobile devices, which comes in very handy if you want to get back to someone while out and about.  Yes, prompt responses is good, especially if you haven’t snagged something yet.  It’s a shame when you lose out on a rental because you fail to respond or secure your preferred rental.

RVezy website | iOS App | Google Play

2. Outdoorsy

Outdoorsy Overview

  • Countries: Canada, USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
  • Availability filtering:  Yes
  • Insurance: Yes, there is extensive insurance policies provided.  The exact terms and coverage varies by country. I strongly recommend that you understand the insurance offered before listing an RV for rent and renting an RV as a traveler.
  • Roadside assistance:  yes.
  • Delivery/Pick up: yes (depending on whether owner offers this).  In fact, there’s a search filter specifically for generating only results where the owner will deliver.
  • Types of RVs: Every type imaginable.
  • Reviews:  Yes, like any sharing website worth its salt, there are many reviews you can read.
  • Cancellation policy: yes, but dictated by owner.

Inventory

I did the following RV searches for July 6 to 13, 2020 and here are the results:

  • Nanaimo, BC (Canada):  Driving RVs: 141 | Towable: 258
  • Red Deer, AB (Canada):  Driving RVs: 90 | Towable: 308
  • Halifax, NS (Canada): Driving RVs: 3 | Towable: 19
  • Bend, OR:  Driving RVs: 24 | Towable: 26
  • Boise, ID:  Driving RVs: 53 | Towable: 128
  • Traverse City, MI:  Driving RVs: 8 | Towable: 26

The Outsoorsy search function is very good because it does a nice job of generating results close to the locations you search.  It offers many filtering options so you can speed up your search considerably.

I’ve not rented an RV from Outdoorsy, but I checked it out at length when searching for RVs.  It’s a very large RV sharing option that serves several countries.

Outdoorsy website | iOS app

3. RVshare

RVshare Overview

  • Countries: USA
  • Availability filtering:  Yes
  • Insurance: Yes, there is extensive insurance policies provided.  The coverage options are very straightforward in that you pay for a policy based on the value of the RV.
  • Roadside assistance:  yes, there is a comprehensive roadside assistance program available.
  • Delivery/Pick up: yes (depending on whether owner offers this).  In fact, there’s a search filter specifically for generating only results where the owner will deliver.
  • Types of RVs: Every type imaginable.
  • Reviews:  Yes, there are many renter reviews.
  • Cancellation policy: yes, but dictated by owner.

Inventory

I did the following RV searches for July 6 to 13, 2020 and here are the results:

  • Bend, OR:  Driving RVs: 43 | Towable: 155
  • Boise, ID:  Driving RVs: 32 | Towable: 172
  • Traverse City, MI:  Driving RVs: 188 | Towable: 106

I found that RVshare’s search results were kind of like RVezy in that the size of the region was way too large, hence the larger numbers.

I searched for an app version but didn’t find one.  IMO, an app is a good offering because it’s so convenient to handle these things on our phones.

RVshare website

B. 3 Excellent European RV Sharing Websites

1. Goboony.com

Goboony.com serves Europe and serves it extensively with RV sharing rentals in Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, England, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Germany.  The website is excellent with all the search bells and whistles that make finding an RV easy.

2. Yescapa.com

Yescapa.com serves Europe, specifically the UK, Spain, Italy, France, Germany and Portugal.  The website itself is first-in-class so if you need to rent an RV in Europe, this is the go-to European peer-to-peer RV sharing site to check out.

3. SHAREaCAMPER

SHAREaCAMPER currently only serves Germany, Australia and New Zealand.  Actually this is great because most sites focus on Canada and the USA, yet RVing is huge in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.  The site works great and offers all the bells and whistles you want in a peer-to-peer RV sharing website.

C. Other RV Sharing Websites

Given how popular peer-to-peer RV sharing is, it’s no surprise that there are many sites angling to break into the industry.  While the above three are my favorite, there are others. The following didn’t make my top 3 because of limited inventory and/or limited website function.

1. Wheelestate

Wheelestate.com offers RV sharing in Canada only. The website is fantastic but it doesn’t have nearly the selection for Canadians that RVezy and Outdoorsy offers.  At the time I published this article, there were no mobile apps either (at least that I could find).

2. Campanda

Campanda serves multiple countries and has the bones for a top-tier RV sharing website but it needs to beef up its inventory.  The site works great, offers date filtering (saves time) and all the other helpful search functions but merely lacks inventory.

The inventory issue is probably one of the biggest problems faced by such sites.  Once there are a few dominant players, it’s difficult to entice RV owners to list with new sites especially if they’re successfully renting out their RV for most of the available dates in a year.

3. RVRentalConnection

As far as I could tell, RVRentalConnection has decent inventory but you can’t filter results by date availability.  You must contact individual owners with proposed dates.  This is a huge time-suck since you must contact more owners hoping some have availability.

4. PrivateMotorhomeRental

PrivateMotorhomeRental doesn’t offer date availability filtering and the inventory is not as robust as other sites.

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Should you join all RV sharing website services?

It depends. If you manage to find what you need on one of them, there’s no reason to manage multiple sites.  However, if you notice inventory varies greatly by site for your area, you may have no choice but to join more than one service.

I found RVezy to be more than sufficient for our needs. In fact, I checked out one other site for our area and it turned out RVezy had more available RVs so that made it easy.

If you’re an owner, it’s probably best to join as many as you can, or at the very least, a few of the more popular RV sharing websites.  After all, you might as well gain exposure to as many renters as possible.

RV Sharing Website Tips for Travellers

Fill out your profile

Put yourself in owners’ shoes.  You spent a lot of money buying an RV so you don’t want to rent it to the wrong folks.  Owners want to a get a sense that you’re a good person to rent to.  If you don’t complete any profile info, they have nothing to go on and may be more likely to deny any requests to rent.

I add a photo, briefly explain our family situation (wife with two young kids) and where we live.  I don’t give out my life story, but pepper it up with salient details so owners know we’re legit.

Be polite

Civility goes a long way in business and interpersonal relationships.  The entire rental process is much better when people are kind and civil.  I’ve never encountered any rudeness renting RVs or houses on vacation property sites, but I’m sure it’s happened.  There’s no need for it.  Remember, you as a traveler are hoping that an owner will approve your rental request.  Owners hope renters will choose their RV.  Both sides are dependent on one-another.  Give yourself the best chance of a win/win by avoiding being rude.

Be specific

When communicating with owners, be specific and succinct.  They are likely busy.  When you ask questions, ask as many as you can in one message.  If you send out multiple messages, the other party ends up getting a slew of notifications which can be annoying.

I typically note down all my questions and sent them all at once to save time and avoid the owner getting pinged with a million notifications.

Read the reviews

Don’t assume an owner is good to deal with or that the RV is a good choice.  Photos are just photos.  Instead, read the reviews.  One bad review out of 20 doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice.  8 bad reviews out of 20 is a bad sign.  Yes, I’ve passed over options due to negative reviews.

Read the RV write-up in detail

Take the time to read the entire RV write-up to avoid asking questions that you could have answered by taking a few minutes to read everything provided by the owner.  That said, while many owners include quite a bit info, some RV write-ups are lacking.

Respond promptly

Not only is it courteous to respond promptly, but it’s good practice if you’re keen to secure a rental.  RVs are in demand and it’s a shame to lose out on your first choice for failing to be prompt.  Of course, things come up and you’re not available 24/7, but do your best.  Don’t ignore it.  Most sharing sites have apps so you have quick and immediate access on your smartphone pretty much anywhere.

RV Sharing Website Tips for Owners

Good and plentiful photos

Make it easy for prospective renters to get a sense of what they get.  This is easily done with many photos.  And yes, photo quality matters.  Lousy photos make your RV look lousy.  It really does.  If you’re serious about making money renting your RV, then get serious photos.  It’s a one-time expense. It’s worth hiring a professional photographer.  A video walkthrough isn’t a bad idea either.

Provide a detailed RV write-up

This is almost as important as providing high-quality photos (and plenty of them).  The write should include the following:

  • Make, model and year of the RV.  This is helpful because prospective renters can do further research.  I liked the ability to check out floorplan layouts.
  • Set out everything that’s included.  The more detail here, the better because it helps renters figure out what to pack (the less I have to haul, the better).
  • Tech info – USB ports, screens, etc.

Provide as much stuff as possible

You can include it in the price or offer add-on packages.  The RV rental businesses offer add-on kits that you pay extra for (I’m happy to pay extra for kits so I don’t have to pack it and haul it).

Consider the following:

  • Propane grill
  • Fully outfitted kitchen (pots, pans, coffee maker, cutlery, dishes, etc.)
  • Cleaning products / broom
  • Generator
  • Camping chairs
  • Outdoor mat
  • Kid stuff: balls, kid kayak, etc.
  • Propane firepit
  • Hot dog/marshmallow sticks.
  • Bedding (many owners don’t include this because apparently it’s not all that sought after by renters.  However, some renters may be flying in and need bedding so perhaps offer it as an add-on option.
  • Awning
  • Functioning bathroom facilities

Outfit it assuming travelers are flying in (or at least offer the kit options).

Respond promptly

The early bird gets the worm. Renters are worried about not getting something, so many will take the first one available based on accepted requests.  If you don’t respond to rental requests promptly and/or fail to answer questions promptly, you’re not going to rent your RV as often as you could.

Yes, it’s a commitment when you list stuff on sharing sites.  You need to be prepared to do some work. There’s no free lunch.

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Tags: , Categories: Travel


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