Luckily for you, you don’t have to dive straight in to #vanlife. In fact, more and more people with wanderlust in their hearts are finding short-term vanlife trips with campervan rentals equally (if not more) worthy of the hashtag.
You’ve seen the enviable Instagram posts, you’ve read the inspirational blogs, you’ve probably even watched the YouTube channels that spread FOMO like a disease. #vanlife has crept under your skin and into your dreams, and like so many of us, the idea of the open road, remote sunsets and once-in-a-lifetime experiences is basically all you can think about.
Yes, vanlife is the dream but, for many, the practicality of packing your lives into a suitcase and throwing yourselves into that glorious nomadic lifestyle is either impossible or a decision not to be taken lightly. Will it really be everything it seems? Can you really deal with sporadic access to laundry facilities, deal with such a minimalist lifestyle and put up with some questionable shower facilities for the next few years? Will those stunning sunsets, chance encounters, and miles of open road really deliver everything they promise?
Luckily for you, you don’t have to dive straight in. In fact, more and more people with wanderlust in their hearts are finding short-term vanlife trips with campervan rentals equally (if not more) worthy of the hashtag. Whether it’s a gateway into taking on the lifestyle full time, or simply your way to express the adventurer in you, here are just a few reasons why you should try dipping your toes into vanlife.
And before you wonder whether part-time vanlife counts, I’m here to say that by golly yes it does. After all, vanlife is about adventure, freedom, and a life well lived - not about impressing others or proving that you can be the most hardcore off-grid vanlifer.
Rented vans have EVERYTHING you need
If you’re new to vanlife, choosing, buying and packing all the little bits and bobs you need for a trip can be something of a headache - from travel towels and solar powered fans to collapsible food containers and gas stoves. The costs really start to add up, you don’t know which version to buy, and you’ll almost definitely forget something.
Of course, there are some handy packing tips guides available, but if you’re not planning on being on the road for months or even years at a time, a better option can be hiring a van that comes complete with EVERYTHING you could need. Kitchen equipment? Check! Heaters and/or fans? Check! Bedding? Check! Storage equipment, outdoor furniture and handy gadgets? Check, check and Check! On the run up to your adventure, you should be filled with anticipation and excitement, not stressing about buying odds and ends, and that’s where campervan hire can win out, it leaves you with so much more time to plan your adventures.
You get your own support team:
Hiring a van for a short burst of vanlife has all the perks of life on the road but with the added security of having a team of experts at your beck and call all hours of the day. By renting a van, you’ll have 24-hour cover for any breakdowns, mishaps, or even just questions that may come up while out on the road. Better yet, campervan hire companies have years of experience when it comes to making the most out of the #vanlife experience and can help you with every aspect of adventure prep, from creating killer itineraries to advice on where to eat and what clothes to pack. Put simply; short campervan trips mean you have a safety net, leaving you free to really make the most of the experience.
Skip the season you don’t like.
Some of us are sun seekers, some of us are snow bunnies, very few of us are both. For the vast majority of us, there is an optimum time to be living it up vanlife style, and a time of year when we would rather be enjoying the comforts of a brick and mortar home. With a campervan rental, you can pick and choose when you hit the road. Those who like to chill, wait till the winter months and use that van to tour the ski slopes, a trip in New Zealand is perfect for this or maybe even Alaska. Summer lovers, time your road trip with the long days and warm golden rays when you can hike, BBQ and tour the beaches - I think a road-trip in Canada, Australia, or USA is calling you if you love summer. Even if you are one of those rare breeds that enjoy both the summer and the winter, taking a break from van life gives you time to decompress, re-pack, and re-pick your van so that you’ve always got the gear and wheels you need for your seasonal adventure.
Try vanlife on for size
Renting a campervan is more than just a holiday, it’s a fantastic chance for you to get a feel of what vanlife is all about. Whether your road trip for a couple of weeks or a couple of months, getting some experience of living on the road is the perfect way to find out whether it’s something you want to do long-term, or even for life.
It’s not just vanlife itself that you get to take on a test drive either. By taking a few short trips in different rented vans you can try out different sizes, makes and designs of vehicle. The more vans you test out on short trips, the more you’ll get a feel for which one you’ll want if you do decide to take the plunge and live full time in a vehicle. Given the cost of buying a campervan, having a firm idea of which one suits you and whether you really do want to live on the road for good is essential research (not to mention, great fun too!).
It can save you money:
Speaking of saving money, renting a campervan can mean huge savings when travelling the country whether you compare it to driving and staying in hotels or buying a campervan yourself. With rented campervans, you save money on travel costs, accommodation and even food - if you make use of that kitchen. Shorter trips also mean that you have to spend less on petrol, parking, and campsites, giving you more money to spend on what’s important, having fun.
Campervan hire also means that pesky costs and procedures like insurance and MOT are included, and require significantly less money than if you owned the van or were hiring long term. Trust me, insurance, breakdown cover, and repairs soon add up - and in my own experience, vanlife can be even more expensive than living in a penthouse apartment at times.
With short-term rentals, you’re only paying for the insurance while you rent it and the MOT is all taken care of. For once it’s more money, fewer problems.
Finally, for travellers looking to travel through a number of different countries and destinations, hiring separate campervans for road trips in each destination can work out far cheaper than if you were to try and ship your vehicle from country to country. The result? You can live your vanlife dreams all over the world without having the hassle and expense of exporting your own van, and you get to switch up your road-house every time!
In short, More cash, more freedom, more adventure:
So we’ve established that renting a camper van in the country, season and period that best suits your needs will save you money. Saving money on the trip itself and planning for shorter adventures also means you’ll have more money to spend on experiences and adventures on the road. You can pick and choose the perfect van for each adventure, and you’ve got a crack team of experienced travellers ready to step in and give you a hand at any point along the way. You can plan the ultimate itinerary catering to your every whim and fancy, explore multiple countries from Australia and New Zealand to Europe or the USA to Canada, and enjoy complete flexibility. It’s basically #vanlife 2.0. You may end up deciding to dive in full time. You may just find that dipping in and out of life on the road is even more magical.
By Tim Ahern