Social media manager Johnston chose to rent a pickup truck from U-Haul rather than a car rental service to minimize her costs.

Millennials and Gen Z are renting U-Hauls for hot date nights

To celebrate their first wedding anniversary in July, New York newlyweds Jessica Johnston, 29, and husband Dom Rand, 34, decided to take a trip they’ll never forget — and in the process became popular.

Instead of booking an overpriced flight during one of the most chaotic travel summers on record, or wasting money on an expensive Uber to risk battling inflation and staff shortages at a restaurant, the couple Rent a U-Haul pickup truck for $19.95 and followed suit at your local auto shop.

Social media-savvy Johnston, who works at a small coffee startup, posted a video of the couple’s cheap night out that garnered 1.4 million views on TikTok.

“My husband and I are always looking for unique, out-of-the-box dating ideas,” Johnston, who is from the western New York town of Dunkirk, told The Post. “So, we thought renting a U-Haul, grabbing a snack, and watching a two-person movie marathon in a drive-in would be a really fun way to spend our first wedding anniversary.”

Social media manager Johnston chose to rent a pickup truck from U-Haul rather than a rental car service to minimize her costs.
Jessica Johnston

A growing number of edgy millennials and Gen Z lovers are ditching established, more expensive date nights and anniversaries in favor of a good night. Amore Behind the U-Hauls. Couples are eager to take to social media to show off their creative, low-cost reimaginings of rental vehicles, and the internet loves it.

In a viral clip that has more than 722,000 views on TikTok, two babes from Texas stole a van from the company and put a plush mattress in the back seat from Chili’s “25” Dollars” menu and pick food in the restaurant’s parking lot.

Another group of sweethearts attracted more than 332,000 online users to their U-Haul meeting point.Impressed commenters were inspired by the date, leaving comments such as “Love the idea” and “Wow I think [do this]. “

U-Haul did not immediately respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment on the trend.

Johnston and construction worker Lander adorned the cargo bed of their U-Haul truck with air mattresses, plush pillows and burnt orange blankets, all brought from home. They secure the makeshift love pad to the back of the pickup with professional ratchet straps from RAND Works.

Then, watch Thor and The Doctor in a row for $10 before you park U-Haul. Strangely, at a newly opened auto store not far from their home, the pair went to Walmart for chips, cheese graffiti, acid-patch kids and other snacks for about $30.

In total, including the $5 gas they used to fill the tank and the cost per mile — U-Haul charges $0.89 per mile in addition to the initial rent of about $13 — Johnston and her husband paid for The outing cost a mere $80.

Johnston and Rand garnered more than a million views for footage of their U-Haul date night experience.
Johnston and Rand garnered more than a million views for footage of their U-Haul date night experience.
Jessica Johnston

“It’s a lot cheaper to rent a U-Haul than to actually buy an $18,000 truck,” she says with a laugh. “Even rent a truck [from a typical car rental company] At least $100 a day. It’s 100% worth it. “

The U-Haul date night craze is spreading rapidly across the country.

In August 2020, Diana Del Muro’s boyfriend, Blain Haskin, drove a hulking U-Haul van and parked in her Fress, Calif. Diana Del Muro’s jaw dropped to the ground when she told No.

Little did she know that Haskin, 24, had turned the 5,700-pound, semi-no-frills room into a dream suite, complete with a comfy futon bed, LED candles, flowers, wine and a plate of them. Favorite sushi roll.

“When he came to my house, I thought, ‘What happened? Del Muro, 21, a psychology major at Fresno State University, told The Washington Post.

Back in 2020, Haskin surprised his girlfriend of three years with a surprise anniversary dinner in a U-Haul van.
Back in 2020, Haskin surprised his girlfriend of three years with a surprise anniversary dinner in a U-Haul van.
Diana Del Muro

Real estate agent Haskin secretly rented the $20 rig and planned a special day to commemorate their one-year anniversary as boyfriend and girlfriend.

The pair were reluctant to celebrate at fancy restaurants or fly out of town for a weekend getaway amid heightened concerns about the coronavirus at the time.

“She got into U-Haul and didn’t know what we were going to meet,” Haskin told the Post with a smile. He initially wanted to take Del Muro to the beach. But the closest seaside is about 100 miles away. At $0.89 per mile, this tour will add $89 to an otherwise low-cost adventure. So the pair drove to an idyllic lakeside 30 minutes from home.

Aside from the affordability factor, Haskin and other young lovers turned to U-haul for another reason – their age. At age 24, Haskin may have met California’s age requirement to rent from companies like Hertz or Enterprise, but renters under 25 typically pay a punitive surcharge. (In New York, you can rent a car when you’re 18 for a surcharge that can go as high as $75 a day, according to Nerdwallet.)

Haskin, then 22, booked at U-Haul to avoid being hit
Haskin, who was 22 at the time, booked with U-Haul to avoid being hit by “young renter” fees some car rental services charge people under 25.
Diana Del Muro

Also, since the company’s big wheelers are not considered commercial vehicles, renters of any age are not required to have a special driver’s license. All that is required is a standard license issued by the government.

“Getting the truck was a very simple process,” Haskin said. “I ordered [from the website] via my phone. “

Once he opened the door to show Del Muro his heartfelt speech, she was struck by the thoughtful gesture.

“There’s no disqualification for him to do something so spontaneous and sweet and kind,” Del Muro told The Washington Post. She also shared a cute date scene on TikTok, which has more than 1.5 million views. “It’s so fun and unique, and it shows his love and dedication to our relationship.”

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