Traveling around in an RV is something my grandparents did, but they weren’t on the road 365 days a year. For much of the time, it sat idle, as it does for many motor home owners. The idea behind the start-up is to hand the keys to the RV-less during those stretches when it would otherwise be parked in the driveway.
For a 15 percent fee for the owner and a 10 percent fee for the renter, Outdoorsy will connect the two. The vehicles are insured for $1 million. That’s good, because most states don’t require you to have a special license to drive a motor home, but if we learned anything from Road Rules, it’s that they take some getting used to.
Airbnb actually offers (downright adorable) RVs for rent, but Outdoorsy wants to be the go-to for that specific type of vehicle. “Airbnb is the perfect solution for apartments and homes and chalets and castles, but when you get into the world of recreational vehicles the users they use a different language,” co-founder Jeff Cavins told TechCrunch.
Searching in the Portland area, I found 29 options, ranging from $56 a night to $239. The problem was that unlike the professionally photographed Airbnb properties, some of the options only had a couple grainy photographs. You know an RV isn’t going to be palatial, but you still want to know what you’re getting into. The company does seem to be addressing this issue, as it’s looking for photographers to snap shots of the listed vehicles.
Of course, Portland is close to a number of RV parks. When I searched a few other spots, like Chicago, the results weren’t as robust. But according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, 8.9 million households own an RV. Those looking to embark on the great American road trip just need to hope more of them get on Outdoorsy.