Chatter Hit the road with Outdoorsy.com

Chatter Hit the road with Outdoorsy.com

How one website is upping the travel experience

March 28th, 2019 by Sunny Montgomery in Chatter

From left, Brian, Jack, Amy and Alex Shoemaker wave from the windows of "Courage," the family's motorhome, while traveling through Wyoming.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Why spend the night in a cookie-cutter hotel room when you could stay in "Happy," a colorful 18-foot-long R-pod trailer that lets you take your accommodations around with you?

"We name all our [rentals] based on the emotions they inspire," says Amy Shoemaker, whose Cleveland, Tennessee, family operates a recreational-vehicle rental business via Outdoorsy, the online marketplace that lets its members list or rent RVs across the U.S. Think Airbnb, but more, well, outdoorsy.

Founded in 2015, Outdoorsy has become big business within the ever-growing travel industry. Over the last three years, the site has seen a 400 percent increase in bookings and more than a quarter of a billion dollars in transactions.

For the Shoemakers, Outdoorsy turned their love of the outdoors into a full-time business.

In 2010, Amy and her husband Brian purchased a 35-foot-long luxury motorhome, which they named "Courage."

"It's big, and it took courage to drive it," she explains of the name. "As our kids got older, we weren't using it as much. But we couldn't bear to get rid of it."

So she and Brian decided to list it on Outdoorsy.

Three years later, the family owns 18 recreational vehicles, all listed on Outdoorsy. Their options range from luxury motorhomes, such as Courage, to travel trailers, such as Happy, which is one of their most popular rentals.

"[Happy] is a true veteran. It's been out West four times. It's been to Yellowstone, to the Canadian Rockies," says Amy, who retired from teaching last year to help her husband and 21-year-old son Jack run the rental business. "We rent to people from all over the world. We've had people coming in from France and Germany."

Today, Outdoorsy boasts more than 7,000 listings, from Cleveland, Tennessee, to Honolulu, Hawaii. The vehicles themselves range from Winnebagos to camper vans to folding trailers.

When it comes to overnight accommodations, options are as vast as the open road. So why go traditional when you could be hauling the experience of a lifetime?

Here are four of our favorite Outdoorsy listings available for either pickup or drop-off at popular vacation spots around the country, including, of course, our own backyard.

 

"Happy" R-Pod

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Cleveland, Tennessee

"Happy" R-Pod

"Happy" R-Pod

"Happy" R-Pod

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

» Type: Trailer

» Sleeps: 4

» Cost: $69/night

» Features: AC/heater; stove/range; refrigerator; kitchen sink; toilet; shower; CD player; TV/DVD player

» Why we love it: The trailer does more than inspire joy. Lightweight, it also inspires freedom as it can be towed with an assortment of vehicles. "I pull it with my Cadillac," Amy says.

 

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Hoboken, New Jersey

1968 Volkswagen Vanagon

» Type: Camper van

» Sleeps: 2

» Cost: $189/night

» Features: stove/range; tow hitch

» Why we love it: Located less than 5 miles from NYC, you won't find a better way to satisfy both your sense of outdoor adventure and your love of big-city culture.

 

"Adventure Wagon"

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

St. Simons, Georgia

"Adventure Wagon"

"Adventure Wagon"

"Adventure Wagon"

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

» Type: Motorhome

» Sleeps: 6

» Cost: $199/night

» Features: AC/heater; stove/range; refrigerator; kitchen sink; toilet; shower; CD player; TV/DVD player; satellite; power awning; on-board generator; tow hitch; bike rack; dogs allowed with preapproval

» Why we love it: This "glamper" is sure to provide the utmost comfort, complete with a 32-inch TV and a private bedroom with a queen-sized bed.

 

1946 Spartan Manor

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

New Orleans, Louisiana

1946 Spartan Manor

1946 Spartan Manor

1946 Spartan Manor

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

» Type: Trailer

» Sleeps: 4

» Cost: $150/night

» Features: AC/heater; stove/range; refrigerator; kitchen sink; toilet; shower; on-demand hot water heater; Bluetooth-integrated sound system with CD player; TV/DVD player; awning; bike rack; tow hitch; two low-noise generators; cappuccino machine; pet-friendly

» Why we love it: This sleek trailer features the nifty looks of the 1940s and the modern conveniences of the 21st century, including two flat screen TVs and a cappuccino maker. And did we mention it's in New Orleans?!


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