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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

RV 'Airbnbs' turning into big business ahead of pandemic's 2nd summer

Don't want to buy an RV? People are now using an online Airbnb-style website to rent RVs for summer road trips.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The outdoor recreation industry is reporting more Americans are hitting the road and spending their vacations in the great outdoors.

In its North American Camping Report, Kampgrounds of America said the number of families who camp three or more times a year increased by more than 70 percent from 2014 to 2019. 

RELATED: RV sales booming during pandemic

And, with many people nervous to travel during the pandemic, recreational vehicle (RV) interest and usage is up even more.

We saw bookings start to take off when everybody realized that RV travel was actually the safest and easiest way to social distance,” said Jen Young, the co-founder of Outdoorsy, an online RV rental marketplace.

Credit: WTHR
Sarah Kiger uses Outdoorsy, an online RV rental marketplace, to rent an RV for a summer vacation.

Think of it as the RV version of an Airbnb.

“You can search, find and rent any kind of recreational vehicle from camper vans to big busses and hit the road,” said Young.

Young said there are currently more than 20 million recreational vehicles across the country that sit in driveways for most of the year.

“[So] the owner is able to make money while they aren’t using it, which allows them to provide an affordable price for families to rent it for a few days or a week,” she said.

Outdoorsy saw bookings skyrocket by 4,000 percent during the pandemic.

RELATED: RV business booming as coronavirus changes how we vacation

RELATED: RV company giving lucky health care worker free 7-day vacation

Sarah Kiger is looking for an RV for a few days. She’s planning a camping trip for her family.

“I saw that you could kind of rent anything from a really basic camper to a really nice RV and have a hotel on wheels and be in the outdoors,” said Kiger.

“That’s the reason Outdoorsy exists,” said Young. “To get people outside.”

Credit: WTHR
Sarah Kiger uses Outdoorsy, an online RV rental marketplace, to rent an RV for a summer vacation.