Vrooming across a lake in a speedboat, camping in a forest, crossing the Great Plains toward some distant national park in an RV. These are quintessential summer scenes. But, increasingly, vacationers are seeking these experiences in a slightly different way: They are renting boats, campsites and RVs from individuals in the growing Airbnb-like peer-to-peer marketplace.
RVShare.com could launch your ultimate joy ride: a family vacation in a recreational vehicle, aka a small home on wheels — one owned by someone else, no upkeep required. Increasing numbers of people are doing just that, said spokeswoman Maddi Bourgerie of RVShare, a peer-to-peer RV sharing site.
Bourgerie said that the number of bookings in the Twin Cities metro area jumped 100 percent from 2017 to 2018. The company started in Akron, Ohio, in 2013. By the following year, there was one RV available to rent in the Twin Cities metro area; today there are 200, ranging from a Mercedes Winnebago, starting at $185 per night, to one of those efficient teardrop trailers you hook up to your own vehicle, starting at $99 per night.
"We've seen a rise in road trips in general; it's easy to travel by road and go to off-the-beaten-path destinations," Bourgerie said.
Boating enthusiasts can head to GetMyBoat.com to rent a boat to drive themselves, or find captained vessels. That site took off in 2013 in San Francisco, where the founders lamented over all the boats tied up at marinas instead of being out on the water. The site lists 239 boats in Minnesota; the company sees potential growth here, given the state's 800,000 registered boats.
Meanwhile, Hipcamp.com, a site that offers places to set up camp at everything from state parks to private lands, announced that it now also lists federal campgrounds, including national park sites.
Let the Airbnb-like web searches begin.
Send your questions or tips to Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.