Take one look at the #vanlife hashtag on Instagram, and it’s clear that more and more of us daydream of trading in our worldly possessions for a few months or a lifetime on the open road, but the reality of owning and maintaining a campervan or RV isn’t always so rosy. They’re expensive, gas-hungry, and more prone to mechanical problems than the average car. The solution? Just drive someone else’s. Here are five ways to do just that.
Outdoorsy has been a long-time favorite of ours for camper rentals. The site’s simple, peer-to-peer model connects RV owners with RV renters throughout the United States. With the largest selection of rental RVs available in almost every major American city, they offer more variety than any similar website. Options include everything from basic pop-up campers and economical travel trailers to upscale Airstream towables and ultra-luxurious Class A motorcoaches. They even boast cargo and utility trailers. Prices vary widely but seem to average between $100-$200 per day. That’s comparable to nightly rates at most mid-range hotels across the country.
If you’re unsure whether the van life is for you, sCAMPer Van lets you dip your toes in the water without a long-term commitment. Based primarily in Atlanta and Asheville, North Carolina, the company delivers campervans to customers throughout the Southeastern U.S. Their heavily customized rentals offer everything you need, and nothing you don’t, for days or weeks on the road. Pop-up roofs guarantee an open, airy sleeping cabin, plus they’re fully outfitted with ultra-efficient camp kitchens, off-grid power, and retractable awnings. The company even offers concierge delivery service and add-on rentals for everything from dishes to hammocks to kayaks.
Like Outdoorsy, Campanda works on a peer-to-peer, Airbnb-style model. The site boasts more than 26,000 rental RVs and trailers in 42 countries, though they’re primarily in the United States. Wading through such a massive selection might feel daunting, but the search helps quickly narrow things down. Renters can search using almost every conceivable option including length, camper type (e.g., Class A, Trailer, Van, etc.), vehicle equipment, water tank size, vehicle age, and whether the unit has a kitchen or bathroom. We found relatively new Class B and Class C RV rentals for between $150-$200 per night, while mid-range travel trailers can be found for less than $100 nightly.
Cruise America is the country’s oldest RV rental company, dating back to 1972. They boast a network of 129 locations throughout the United States and Canada. That may require customers not located near a major hub to drive some distance to pick up their rental. However, for those who’d prefer to rent directly from a major company rather than a private individual, it’s the most established firm in the country. Unlike its peer-to-peer competitors, Cruise America offers four standardized models nationwide, no matter the pick-up location. The entry-level Truck Camper Rental sleeps three in an over-cab configuration based on a Ford F-150 pickup, while the larger Standard RV and Large RV rentals are capable of sleeping five and seven passengers, respectively.
Your Local RV Dealership
You might be surprised to learn that your local RV dealer offers rental campers. A quick Google search reveals that many of the country’s largest dealers have a solid selection of rental units available by the day. Plus, if you’re ultimately looking to purchase your own RV, this is no doubt the best try-before-you-buy option.
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