A few years ago, my wife, Melissa, and I headed off on a multi-year journey in our RV. Our plan was to travel the length and breadth of the U.S. and Canada, visiting friends and family and exploring as we went. Before that, we had sailed 11,000 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean. This was just our latest of many retirement adventures.
We had arrived at this point with lots of planning, by minimizing our spending, and selling off most of our non-essential possessions. After sailing our boat to Mexico, French Polynesia, Hawaii, and then back home to San Diego, we sold it and purchased an RV.
We had a specific type in mind when scouring the dealerships. We wanted an RV that would be easy to drive, had lots of storage, and a large cooking prep space. The reason being, we wanted it to not only be a comfortable vehicle for us to live in for extended periods while we traveled—we also wanted it to be a literal income vehicle once we returned.
You see, our plan was to rent out the RV while we weren’t using it ourselves, using online rental platforms. So, when choosing a model, we wanted it to be one that renters would be looking for. We had also rented a house on a friend’s property that was just five minutes from Melissa’s aging parents’ home. This gave us a permanent base and a place where we could store the RV, for free, when it wasn’t being rented. Renting out the RV would also cover the cost of renting the house.
Because we knew we would eventually be renting out the RV, handing the keys over to strangers wasn’t a problem. But we felt further at ease by the checks and balances that each of the rental platforms had in place.
Each rental platform we use takes anywhere from 15% to 25% of the rental profits as their fee. However, even after these fees, you can still make a lot from your rentals. The platforms provide targeted marketing to your customers, have Facebook groups that allow you to network with other renters, and much more. In our first summer, we made over $25,000. If you have a fifth wheel, trailer, Class A, Class B, truck camper, or anything similar, you could be sitting on some cash.
As well as the fact that your RV could earn you money, it also helps keep your RV running smoother. RVs want to be on the road and have their fluids circulating, not collecting cobwebs. The typical RV owner only uses their RV about three to four weeks a year, while the rest of the year it sits in a driveway, parking lot, or some type of storage facility. By renting out your RV, you’re actually helping to keep it maintained. Plus, we use some of our profits to provide further maintenance, pay for registration, insurance, purchase new tires, and all the things you would need to do regardless.
It really is the best income we’ve ever had. We get to set our own schedule, rent to who we want, when we want, help families enjoy the outdoors, and then, when we choose to, we use our RV to have our own travel adventures. Since we love to travel off-season, we plan to go across the Southwestern U.S. for most of October.