RV delivery is one of the latest trends in camping, upending the traditional model where you exchange your car for an RV at a rental facility. One of the biggest RV delivery operators is RVshare, a company that operates like Airbnb for RVs.
And while not all RVs offered there are deliverable, RVshare said that almost 40% of its RV rentals were delivered so far in 2022, up from 27% in 2021 and 16% in 2020, according to a report.
With RV delivery, people don’t have to worry about driving, gas mileage, and liability. Instead, they arrive at a campground to an RV already set up for them. Outdoorsy, another RV rental company, also shows that 70% of its listings offer delivery.
Other delivery companies own and operate the RVs themselves. Most are regional, like Southern California’s 101 RV Rentals, which delivers to campgrounds throughout Santa Barbara, California.
WHO ARE RV DELIVERIES FOR?
RV deliveries can be great for nature lovers, but that’s not the only clientele. It’s also handy for those traveling to a destination with no hotels available or a place where hotels are expensive.
RVshare said its top 2021 delivery destination was The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, a Disney-owned campground located a quick ferry ride from the Magic Kingdom theme park in Florida, and it’s getting more popular.
According to RVshare, RV deliveries at Fort Wilderness for the first three quarters of 2022 were up 12% versus the same period in 2021.
The cost of a campsite at Fort Wilderness Resort, including full RV hookups, is $1,300 for a six-night stay during the first week of March 2023. For a six-person cabin at the resort over the same period, you’d pay $3,600.
Sure, the RV rental and delivery cost eats into the $2,300 difference. But across delivery sites like RVshare and Outdoorsy, there are dozens of available listings large enough to sleep six that cost less than $1,000 for the week, including setup and delivery.
A few are even less than $500, making an RV rental one of the cheapest ways to sleep at Disney World.
LIMITATIONS OF RV DELIVERY
Some campgrounds ban delivery: Rules vary by the campground and are inconsistent across state and national parks. For example, RV delivery is prohibited in Yellowstone National Park, but it’s OK for some sites at Yosemite National Park.
RV delivery couriers can’t stop overnight wherever people want: For many, part of the charm of an RV trip is the ability to stop along the way.
Delivery fees can be confusing: Outdoorsy lets owners set delivery fees, which means that sometimes a cheaper RV might be more expensive if delivery fees are high. Some companies charge a flat delivery rate, around $150-$300.
Meanwhile, others charge around $4-$6 per mile by distance. Even then, most limit deliveries to a specific area, which varies by owner.
People can pack the RV from their driveway for rentals near home. Otherwise, they will be equipped only with what they can fit in the vehicle that got them to the campground. That especially limits bulky items — such as bikes and surfboards.
BENEFITS OF RV DELIVERY
RVs can be one of the most desirable ways to camp, offering conveniences like air conditioning, kitchens, power outlets, and Wi-Fi. Many of their challenges can be mitigated by delivery.
People save on gas by driving a car — not an RV — to the destination. Cruise America said, on average, its RVs get six mpg to 10 mpg. Instead, the company drives the car, which gets better gas mileage, on the road trip and has an RV delivered from a place closer to the customer’s destination.
Rental company Outdoorsy requires all renters to have an insurance package covering liability and damage. For stationary deliveries, that insurance is cheaper because people are not paying to cover the rig on the road. Sometimes it’s less than a quarter of the cost of Outdoorsy’s comprehensive coverage to insure an RV that you’ll drive.
RVs can be challenging, particularly for first-timers, to hook up, which is necessary to access fresh water, sewers and electricity.
This article originally appeared on AP News.