In celebration of their one-year wedding anniversary in July, New York’s newlyweds Jessica Johnson, 29, and husband Dom Rand, 34, decided to take a trip they’ll never forget — and went viral in the process.
Instead of booking an exorbitant flight during one of the most chaotic travel summers on record, or wasting money on an expensive Uber to take a chance on restaurants battling inflation and staff shortages, the couple bought the U.S. for $19.95. -Haul rented a pickup truck, and went tailgating at the local drive-in.
Social media savvy Johnson, who works for a small coffee startup, posted a video of the couple’s cheap night out, which garnered 1.4 million views on TikTok.
“My husband and I are always on the lookout for unique, out-of-the-box date ideas,” Johnson, of Dunkirk, western New York City, told The Post. “So, we thought renting a U-hall, grabbing some snacks, and holding a double movie marathon at the drive-in theater would be a fun way to spend our first wedding anniversary.”
A growing number of avant-garde Millennials and Gen Z sweethearts are behind U-Hauls setting up for a night of amor, more expensive date nights and anniversary rituals. Some couples are eagerly showing off their creative, low-cost reimaginings of rental vehicles on social media, and the internet is loving the ride.
In a viral clip with more than 722,000 TikTok views, two Texas-based loved ones snatched a box truck from the company, slid a plush mattress in the back, ate from Chili’s “two for $25” menu and indulged in an intimate feast. enjoyed. Restaurant parking.
Another set of sweets garnered over 332,000 online views at their U-Haul rendezvous. Impressed commenters were inspired by the date, “love the idea” and “oh I want [do this].”
U-Haul did not immediately respond to the post’s request for comment on the trend.
Johnston and Rand, a construction worker, decorated the cargo bed of their U-Haul truck with an inflatable mattress, plush pillows, and a burnt orange blanket, all brought in from home. He secured temporary love pads to the back of the pickup with professional ratchet straps from Rand’s job.
Then, calling U-Haul “Thor” and “Dr. Strange” at a newly reopened drive-in just a short walk from their home, the pair flocked to Walmart for chips, cheese doodles, Sour Patch Kids, and other snacks. Mara for, which cost about $30.
In total, including $5 of the gas they used to refill the tank and cost-per-mileage – U-Haul charged $.89 for each mile they charged, in addition to the initial rental fee. Did the trip, which came to about $13 – Johnson and. Her husband only spent $80 for the outing.
“It was actually a lot cheaper to rent a U-Haul than to buy an $18,000 truck,” she laughed. “And even renting a truck [from a typical car rental company] would cost at least $100 for the day. It was 100% worth it.”
The U-Haul date night craze is fast-tracking across the country.
Diana Del Muro’s jaw hit the floor when her boyfriend, Blaine Haskins, walked her to Fresno, Calif. A clunky U-Haul box lived in the truck and asked him to come back in August 2020 for a surprise.
Little did he know that 24-year-old Haskins had transformed the 5,700 lb cm ornate interior into a fantasy suite complete with a comfortable futon bed, LED candles, flowers, wine and trays of his favorite sushi rolls.
“When he came to my house I was like, ‘What’s going on? What’s in this f—king U-hall?,'” Del Muro, a 21-year-old psychology major at Fresno State, told The Post.
Haskins, a real estate agent, had secretly leased a $20 rig and planned a special date in honor of their one-year anniversary as boyfriend and girlfriend.
Due to the heightened COVID concerns at the time, lovers were not comfortable going out of town to celebrate at a fancy restaurant or take a weekend getaway.
“She got into U-Haul and had no idea what we were doing,” Haskins told The Post with a chuckle. He initially wanted to take Del Muro to the beach. But the nearest beach was about 100 miles away. And at $.89 per mile, the trip would have added $89 to an otherwise low-cost getaway. So the two went to the shores of a delightful lake, 30 minutes away from their home.
Besides the affordability factor, there’s another reason Haskins and other young lovers are turning to U-Hall — their age. At age 24, Haskins must have met California’s age requirements to rent from a company such as Hertz or Enterprise, but renters under age 25 are typically charged a punitive surcharge. (In New York, where you can rent a car at 18, the surcharge can be as high as $75 per day, according to NerdWallet.)
In addition, since the company’s large wheeled vehicles are not considered commercial vehicles, renters of any age do not require a special driver’s credential. All you need is a standard, government-issued license.
“Getting the truck was a really easy process,” Haskin said. “I booked it [from the website] through my phone.”
And once she opened her door to reveal her heartfelt presentation to Del Muro, she was blown away by the thoughtful gesture.
“It’s not out of character for him to do something so spontaneous, sweet and kind,” Del Muro told The Post. She also shared adorable date scenes on TikTok, which garnered over 1.5 million views. “It was so funny and unique, and it showed their love and dedication to our relationship.