The Best Things That You’ve Never Thought About Renting

Imagine, lounging on a yacht with a few folks in the waters of San Francisco Bay (or the French Riviera; or Portofino, Italy, etc…). There’s a skipper at the helm, and the sun is shining.

The following day, you’re doing a similar thing, though this time it is aboard a catamaran.

Through Boatcation and other burgeoning platforms like Outdoorsy, a campervan and RV owner sharing platform, peer-to-peer rental services seem here to stay. This is a good thing.

To celebrate, we’re rounded up some of our favorites.

Make it a boat vacation

Boatcation, a new boat sharing platform launching this June,1 matches boat owners with anyone looking to charter a boat for the day.

In many cases, you’ll be sharing the cost with others: Fellow sea-lovers (either strangers or friends) who are itching to get out on the water but either don’t know how to sail, or can’t afford to rent an entire watercraft. Or both.

Boatcation will launch with more than 600 boat listings in over 15 countries, including Greece, The Bahamas, and across the United States. Choices already include refined wood motorboats, idyllic sailboats, and 12-person superyachts, all available for chartering.

Prices range from as little as $300/day to upwards of $25,000/day, depending on factors like size of boat, amenities, and locale. The good thing is, splitting that price among the number of people onboard does wonders.

Share a (surfing) board or wheels…

Looking to hit the waves in Bay Head, N.J., or Santa Barbara, Calif., but don’t have a board? Relax, brah.

The Quiver is a surfboard sharing app that connects surfboard owners with groms (newbies), wahines (female surfers), and really anyone looking to catch some waves. Billed as “the world’s largest surfboard rental marketplace,” they offer rentals in hot surfing markets like South Africa, Nicaragua, and Brazil.

Hone a search by the type of board (e.g. long board or short board; single fin or tri/thruster), board brand (e.g. Bing Surfboards, Santa Cruz) and personal level of surfing expertise. Boards run anywhere from $15/day to $200/week via PayPal.

The Quiver also rents out stand-up paddleboards and additional accessories like wetsuits and leashes (a cord that attaches you to the tail end of the surfboard using a Velcro ankle strap).

Spinlister is another peer-to-peer rental service specializing in sporting equipment. Though surf boards and paddleboards are part of their offerings, they also provide skis and snowboards.

However, bicycles are the heart of their business. Not the types of clunky bikes available through bike sharing services that will get you from point A to point B: These are full-suspension mountain bikes, fat tire electrics, cargo bikes, single speeds, and beach cruisers.

Whatever the activity, you’ll find the mode for it here.

Walking tours get a makeover

It’s always so much nicer to have a local show you around. These are the people that know the best dive bars, can wax on and off over where to get the best and most affordable phở, and will point out that piece of street art in a hidden alleyway you likely would have overlooked.

Thankfully, the number of peer-to-peer walking tours, workshops, classes, etc continues to explode. Some of the ones worth checking out include ToursByLocals, Airbnb Experiences and Showaround.

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Walking tours of old. (Garry Knight / Flickr)


ToursByLocals feature private tours led by local guides, ranging from between two and 10 people. The prices are typically calculated by the experience, so an eight-hour biking and fishing tour in Costa Rica for $385/USD may sound steep, but the cost can be split among five people ($77/pp).

ToursByLocals is available in more than 150 countries, including Mongolia, Iceland, and Bermuda, with experiences ranging from a food walk around Moscow, Russia to a 9-day trek through Chile‘s Torres del Paine National Park.

They offer set itineraries and ratings can be perused before booking. The website also provides deets on each individual guide, including what languages are spoken.

Airbnb Experiences

Airbnb Experiences is another service connecting travelers with local ‘experts.’ It’s also one that’s really taken off since launching in 2016.

The experiences are both in-person—one to try: horse whispering with an equine therapist in Barcelona—and online. Think meditation with a Japanese Buddhist monk, sunset trekking on an active volcano in Italy, and paragliding in Medellin.

The average Airbnb Experience lasts from a few to several hours, though some run slightly longer. There are even Airbnb Adventures, which run multiple days and are for more intensive experiences like an 80-day trip around the world.


Showaround is a particularly cool service because you choose the guide first, and then work on the itinerary together. It’s basically like having a new friend to spend time with and have them show you around their city.

You can connect via personality, or around the love of a particular activity, and then decide what you’d like to do and how much time you’d like to spend with them.

Each person has their own hourly rate, and prices are further based on the itineraries that are created. For instance, a quick search in Tbilisi, Georgia, yields hosts that charge somewhere between $5-$15 per hour.

They are currently present in 15 cities at the moment, mostly in Eastern European and some Asian destinations but it’s worth a look if you are looking for a different approach.

Poolside parties for everyone 🌴

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Someone rent me an infinity pool. (imagesd man / Flickr)

Looking for a lush, tropical oasis with a heated pool and entertainment bar? It’s available on Swimply, a private pool rental service available in the U.S. and Australia.

How about the pool at the home of a former Hollywood silent movie star? They’ve got this, too.

Hourly rates range from $25 to $100-plus, depending on locale and amenities. Simply scroll through the available pools and when you find one (or several) that appeal to you, request it.

Once the owner accepts your request, you’ll get the pool’s exact location, access instructions, and often a Wi-Fi password, perfect for that ‘out of office’ workday by the water.

The same folks are also planning to launch Joy Space, a venue rental service, in the coming months. While there’s no set date yet, private gym, hot tub, and home basketball court rentals by the hour will be here soon.

Take a drive with another car sharing app

Sure, car sharing apps like Zipcar and Getaround are well established. But when you want to make an impression, Turo is the way to go. This is car sharing at its sleekest.

Classic rides range from a cherry red ’68 Mercury Cougar up for (rental) grabs in Miami, and a ’65 Porsche Speedster in Los Angeles. There are also convertibles, Teslas, and utility SUVs available for the choosing, not to mention everyday trucks, cars, and mini vans if something is more pedestrian in order.

Admit it: You’ve always wanted to show up at your high school reunion in an Aston Martin, à la James Bond in Goldfinger. Now you can.

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Borrow someone else’s car. (Turo)

1 footnote
  1. In the meantime, Boatcation’s Instagram feed gives you an idea of the possibilities ahead.
The Best Things That You’ve Never Thought About Renting via @maphappy
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