by Savannah Vasquez
Maybe you’ve heard of Airbnb and VRSO, but did you know there is a site for RV rentals as well?
Now for a fraction of the price of staying in a hotel, you can rent a posh recreation vehicle (RV) from a local Destin resident on rvshare.com.
The website allows users to search by location, price, distance and number of occupants the RV sleeps, and each RV owner can choose the details of the rental agreements.
“We’ve been up and running for four years now,” said Partnership Director of RVshare Gaby Cuda. “RVshare is currently the largest peer-to-peer RV rental network in the world.”
When asked how long Destin has been operating in the rental side of things, Cuda said she couldn’t pinpoint that data, but she did say Destin is a hot market for RV rentals right now.
“We have around 70 units available to rent located in the city of Destin alone,” she said. “From the beginning, Florida has been, and always will be, one of our larger and more important markets for RV rentals.”
So just how did the idea to rent out personal RVs come about?
“It all started when RVshare’s founder, Mark Jenney, and his wife decided to purchase an RV to travel in for their honeymoon,” explained Cuda. “He later thought if there was a better use for his RV when it wasn’t being used by him. Thus, RVshare was born.”
Destin resident Kelsey McCabe recently listed her 2017 Palomino Puma DBTS on the site and said she has been blown away by how many people want to rent it.
“There is a lot of demand for it surprisingly,” she said. “We just listed it on there, just experimentally, and we are already booked for seven weeks over the summer and over Thanksgiving week as well.”
McCabe’s RV, nicknamed “Bunkhouse Bessy,” can sleep 10 and has two separate rooms, an indoor and outdoor kitchen, and flat-screen TV and other amenities.
“It’s unique for families because there are two bedrooms so there is privacy,” McCabe said. “We want families to really bond in this outside-of-the-box experience.”
McCabe said her own family of five enjoy the RV life, and by renting out their RV they are able to cover the costs of the storage and maintenance fees that the vehicle accrues.
As for booking Bunkhouse Bessy, McCabe said all you have to do is reserve a campsite and they will do the rest.
“They book a campsite and usually they come to us after they book a reservation,” said McCabe. “People can also come to me and I can help them match a campground, then we go deliver it and set it up for them.”
McCabe said that she recommends Topsail State Park, Camp Gulf, and Live Oak Landing as a few of her favorite spots to camp in her RV.
“The thing that we really like about RVing is how friendly the other RVers are,” she said. “It’s just nice to be able to share the RV experience and take a ‘campcation’ as I like to call it.”
For those who want the true RV experience of a road trip, there are some locals that allow renters to take their RV on the road.
Phillip Vaughn of Navarre rents out his Jayco Flight 28H, nicknamed “Beach Runner,” and allows renters to tow it themselves.
“Mine can be towed by a vehicle if they have the right size vehicle to tow it,” he said. “I just had a guy that just drove it all the way down to Port Saint Joe.”
Vaughn added that if renters need the service, he does tow the RV himself and set it up for an additional fee.
“Some people have their own RV but don’t want to drive it across the country,” said Vaughn. “Seems like people rent it and go to Destin or Fort Pickens.”
When asked how his rental site has done so far, Vaughn said if he had the time he would go into business renting out RVs.
“It’s surprisingly popular, especially for families who are interested in RVs or who really like camping over hotels,” he said.
“I’ve had it listed for three months and it’s already rented out about a week each month and two weeks a month over the summer.”
Bunkhouse Bessy: Rented by Kelsey McCabe. Sleeps 10. https://rvshare.com/rvs/details/1005351
Beach Runner: Rented by Phillip Vaughn. Sleeps 6. https://rvshare.com/rvs/details/1006645
Other RV rentals near Destin https://rvshare.com/rv-rental/destin/fl