Are your outdoor adventures too big for a traditional RV? When you go camping, do you like to get off the beaten path, far from RV parks and full-hookups? If you like to travel without the hassle of commandeering a large vehicle (and paying for it), vandwelling might be for you.
And now thanks to a growing assortment of camper van rental companies, you now have the opportunity to give it a go.
Camper van accommodations have evolved from days gone by. No longer are they the exclusive domain of Volkswagen Westfalia-driving hippies, today’s camper vans are quirky, fun and offbeat – a perfect reflection of the type of traveler who likes to create their own adventure.
For decades, Europe, New Zealand and Australia campers have known how easy it is to be a “vandweller.” In these nations, small Class B camper vans comprise the majority of RVs heading out onto the open highway. Unlike their American counterparts, foreign RV travelers are rarely seen in the types of large motorhomes and trailers so common in the U.S.A.
Whatever country you’re in, van camping, also called “vandwelling” and “car living” has several advantages over motorhome and trailer living, including:
- Affordability: vans are easier to maintain, repair and replace.
- Traveling and living in a van, even on a short-term basis, is far less expensive than RVing.
- Better fuel economy
- Easier parking, especially in urban cities
- “Stealth van dwelling” is easy to do: vans blend in anywhere, making it easy to spend the night for free without getting a knock on the door by a shopping mall rent-a-cop.
- Vans can go into scenic and solitary wilderness areas that large RVs cannot, many of which offer free camping.
- You don’t need any special training to drive one; any licensed driver (minimum age depends on the company) can take a camper van on the road.
Fully-Equipped Adventures with Camper Van Rentals
Camper van rentals are located from coast-to-coast in the USA. Companies like Travellers Autobarn and Escape Camper Vans are situated in major cities like Los Angeles, Miami and New York, making it easy to fly in, pick up your van and go. You’ll also find a growing number of camper van rental companies starting up, like Ramblin Vans in Bend, Oregon.
As a temporary van dweller, you’ll have the luxury of renting a van that comes with all you need for a spontaneous road trip, including:
- Customized travel itinerary assistance if desired
- Camping equipment, like tents and stoves, folding chairs and sleeping mats
- Mountain bikes, kayaks and other adventure gear
- First aid kits, coolers and more
The camper van rental process is just like renting any other vehicle. You’ll start out with a base rate, sometimes as low as $140 a night, then depending on your needs and usage, other charges will get added, such as mileage overage, insurance and additional services like trip planning assistance. The upside is even when you add it up, the cost of renting a camper van is exponentially lower than taking a traditional motorhome or trailer rental on the road.
Whether you’re just testing the RV lifestyle waters by researching your options, or want to leave your RV at home for a more freewheeling adventure in a smaller rig, today’s new offbeat camper van rentals are a great way to get your adventure rolling.
Often called “The O.G. of full-time RVing,” Rene Agredano and her husband Jim Nelson hit the road in a fifth wheel trailer in 2007, after their dog Jerry lost a leg to terminal cancer. Sixteen years later they are still traveling and sharing their nomadic adventures at LiveWorkDream. As a self-employed wordsmith, Rene shares her expertise for many RV industry videos, publications such as the Escapees RV Club Magazine, and has authored numerous books, including the Essential RVing Guide to National Parks, and Income Anywhere, a guide to earning money on the road. She has been featured in global media outlets including the PBS documentary “NATURE: Why We Love Cats and Dogs,” The Guardian Sunday Edition, and the Dan Pink book Free Agent Nation.
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