Everything You Need To Know Before Renting A Camper Van

Traditional camping is great and all, but a much bigger adventure lies in RV camping. Being on the road constantly and camping in dozens of different places is a truly unique and rewarding experience. But of course, you will need an RV for it, namely a camper van or a motorhome. Buying one isn’t a profitable choice since you won’t be taking an RV trip every month, so rentals make more sense. To learn everything you need to know before renting a camper van, just keep reading.

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1. Plan Early

If you are thinking about going to a camper van tour, you must plan things ahead. This is the case for most other vacations, but it is vital here. Start planning at least a month before. Choose the people you want to go with, determine a route, rent a reliable and versatile RV, pack the all the camping equipment and gear you need. Make sure every person in the group knows and understands how a camper van trip works and are comfortable with it.

2. Pick A Trusted Rental Company

To rent a reliable camping van at a reasonable price, you need to find a reliable company. Search for all the rental companies near you on the internet and look for other users’ reviews. After you have picked a couple of them, go out and speak with them. Compare the general prices, see what other services they offer (like insurance, vehicle return, dump services, etc.) and make a choice according to your budget.

3. Determine A Route

Obviously, the biggest difference between normal camping and RV camping is that you can go anywhere you want with an RV. Look for beaches, national parks, RV campgrounds, historical places, beautiful villages and towns. Read reviews online about the RV parks and campgrounds you are planning on going. Make sure everyone in the group approves and likes the chosen destinations. Ask the company and the locals to learn about their experiences and ask them where to visit. If it is going to be your first time, choose an easy route.

4. Choose the Right Van

Make a brief research about the camper vans that are suitable for your budget. There are a lot of different types out there, such as Class A, Class B Class C, fold downs, fifth wheels and truck campers.

Class A vans are the biggest ones. They even have a garage and are truly luxurious. The catch is, they are really expensive.

Class B vans are the smallest ones. They are easy to drive and have good gas mileage. Their specifications vary a lot from model to model, but they are often smaller and have less amenities than Class A and C.

Class C vans are the mid-sized options. They often have a good amount of space and amenities to accommodate a family.

Truck campers are designed to be able to go anywhere. They are sturdy, burly vehicles that can withstand even the harshest conditions, but they don’t have much space and amenities. They can hold a maximum number of 3 people.

Fifth wheels are trailers that have all the space and facilities you need, but they require you to hook them to a pickup truck.

Make sure your van has every facility you need, like a fridge, an oven, a shower, a sink, a toilet and a sufficient number of beds and seats. It should also be suitable for the route you picked and have enough space for everyone’s belongings.

5. Make Sure Your Van Is Working Properly

After you choose a van/motorhome according to your needs, ask for a tour and test the facilities inside the van. Check for any damages inside and outside. Test its engine, breaks, oil filter, pedals, fuel gauge, everything. If something is not functioning properly, report it to the rental company and either ask for another vehicle or ask them to get it fixed. Ask for a test drive to see if you can handle a van/motorhome; they are handled differently than normal cars. The company will probably accept it since they also want you to bring their vehicle in one piece.

6. Budget Carefully

Apart from the costs of your equipment, rent and gas, you actually have a lot of other stuff that you will have to pay money for. First off, you will have to pay for deposit and insurance. If you are planning on staying in a hotel at any point, book as early as possible to save money. Create a meal plan and bring your own ingredients and kitchen tools. It is way cheaper, healthier and more fun than eating at a restaurant every day. You will have to pay money to dump your RV’s wastewater regularly in a park or a campground. Also, RV parks and campsites have other fees you need to pay. Finally, some rental companies may require you to return the vehicle with a full fuel tank and a full gas bottle, so be prepared. While you can’t plan every single detail beforehand, it is best to have a good idea about your budget and planned expenses to not get into a difficult situation.

7. Pack the Equipment

Make a list of everything you need and start packing your stuff. You won’t need most kitchen and campsite items like tents, stove and shower since your RV has it. But you still need other essential items like proper clothing, safety tools, health & hygiene items and so on. To check the full list of stuff you need to bring to your camping trip, see our Camping Gear & Equipment article.

8. Remember to Drive Carefully

Remember, you are driving a larger, taller and heavier vehicle. Don’t drive into low-ceiling places and don’t try to speed up. Keep in mind that because of the weight, it takes longer for a camper van/motorhome to slow down and stop. Unless you are driving a top-tier truck camper, never try driving off-road.

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