With the rise of the sharing economy, most people know that renting someone’s private condo or even their car is not only possible, but easily achieved at the swipe of a smartphone screen.
But what parents might not realize is there are other amazing items available to rent on vacation these days.
Here are a few of those options, whether you’re going for a small ticket item or a big splurge.
1. Rent an Island
Renting an island seems like something available only to celebs, but it actually can be a surprisingly affordable family vacation. You can check Vrbo, Private Islands Inc. or RentMyIsland for options around the world.
A few examples include an island in the Florida Keys with a houseboat that sleeps six for $3,200 per week. Your group of 14 can rent this island in Belize for $2,450 per night (about $175 per person), which includes onsite staff: a chef, private boat captain, and housekeepers to do your laundry.
2. Rent a Boat
If you’ve always dreamed of taking your family sailing, but didn’t want to make the investment, play captain for a week on someone else’s boat.
3. Rent a Private Plane
Private planes definitely fall under the “big ticket” category, as they are definitely not cheap. However, if you’re splurging on a big family trip, particularly to a remote area not easily served by a major airport, you may want to consider chartering a plane (for example, getting closer to the Grand Canyon by flying into a regional airport as opposed to one of the major hubs, which can be 90 miles away).
Private Jets Inc. is one provider that offers this service, with flights starting around $20,000 for continental U.S. destinations for seven to nine passengers. A slightly cheaper option is to try an “empty leg trip,” which allows you to fly on a private jet and then return on a commercial airline.
The advantage of flying via private plane is that you can skip the typical airport hassle entirely. “In some cases, you can pull your vehicle right up to the aircraft if that is allowed in that area,” says Eric Wells, president of Private Jets. “Pilots will take the luggage and get it loaded. You can skip waiting for the parking tram to pick you up, and you don’t have to wait in lines for baggage check or security.”
4. Rent an RV
Many families have dreams of RVing across the country and setting up camp near national parks and other destinations, but are scared off by the high price of owning and maintaining an RV.
Enter the RV rental—a great way to “test drive” this vacation style to make sure it’s a fit for your family before committing to purchasing one.
There are several websites that match owners up with renters. You can either drive yours to your vacation destination or in some cases, have the owner deliver and set the RV up for you at no additional cost.
On RVshare, the average cost for a rental is $200 a night, says spokeswoman Maddi Bourgerie.
She recommends booking the trip as early as possible, as reservations book quickly for peak family travel times, and she recommends Class C vehicles as best for beginners.
5. Rent a Tiny Home
When the tiny home trend struck, many families wondered, “Could we downsize and not annoy the daylights out of each other?” Renting a tiny home is a great way to figure that out before you empty out your basement.
You can easily find a tiny home on Airbnb for as little as $50 per night, and even some campgrounds are getting into the tiny house business, offering them as rentals in addition to cabins. My family loved staying at the Mount Hood Tiny House Village—a special thrill for our two boys as they explored the compact spaces and loft bedrooms. Ultimately, we decided it was an experience best reserved for vacation, not our daily life.
6. Rent Baby Gear
If you’ve forgotten a crucial item for your kids while traveling, or if you just don’t feel like lugging the jogging stroller on the plane with you, BabyQuip has you covered with items you might not have realized you can rent on vacation. Cribs, strollers, pack and plays, high chairs and even baby toys can be delivered right to your hotel room and returned when your vacation is over for a daily fee (anywhere from $10 to $20 per day, plus delivery fees).
Cynthia J. Drake is a travel writer based in Austin, Texas, where she lives with her husband and two sons. Since becoming a mom, she’s been stranded at sea with her family, gotten lost in the Rocky Mountains, dealt with more than her fair share of public vomiting, and still can’t wait for the next trip. She writes regularly for AAA magazines, Austin American-Statesman, Texas Highways and Cruise Critic. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Our team of parents and travel experts chooses each product and service we recommend. Anything you purchase through links on our site may earn us a commission.