ESCAPE VS JUCY USA Even though the RV lifestyle has been popular in America for years, renting a campervan to explore what the great outdoors of the US has to offer has only gained momentum in the last decade for foreign visitors. More Australasian companies have a presence in the US along with home-grown brands, so we thought it would be a good idea to dive into a few of the offerings so you can decide if they sound like good options for your upcoming road trip. Whether you are wanting to hit a festival or do a one-way adventure from Vegas to LA, finding the right campervan rental company is the key to your success.
Who are the companies we are comparing today?
Escape Campervans was the birthchild of 3 surfers in New Zealand back in 2003 and expanded into the US in 2009. Now celebrating 10 years in North America, it is the largest campervan rental company on the continent with 12 depots and more than 600 custom-built, hand-painted campervans. Having served over 80,000 travellers, Escape prides itself on its excellent customer service and offering campervans with exactly what you need to complete an amazing road trip experience. Entering a new market always brings new challenges, but Escape has taken it all in its stride and scaled to meet the growing demand for campervan rental in the US. It has just opened up two new branches and released a new vehicle in May 2019, and will be planning more additions in the future – stay tuned!
JUCY USA is the US branch of JUCY, which started out in Auckland, New Zealand, and is now one of the most successful campervan rental companies across Australasia. It branched out to the USA in 2012 with just a small amount of vehicles, but have now expanded to 300. It has branches in LA, Las Vegas and San Francisco, with Vancouver being a recent addition. Rather than using a US company to do the up-fitting of its vehicles, all parts are manufactured at the NZ plant and shipped over, so you can be sure to get the same quality vehicles that JUCY are known for. Over the next two years, JUCY USA plans to open three new branches across North America, and will also introduce a new product to its line-up.
Knowing what kind of fleet a company offers is crucial for deciding if they can offer you what you need for your road trip adventure around the USA. Currently, JUCY only has two types of vehicle on offer. The Wavefarer is great for two people whereas the 4 berth Trailblazer is suitable for two couples or a family. Both include facilities to do your own cooking, but no bathroom.
Escape Campervans has double the vehicle model offering, with the Santa Cruz sleeping two people and the Mavericks and Big Sur models sleeping five. The Indie Camper is the only vehicle with an onboard bathroom, and it sleeps 3 people.
Escape vs Jucy Fleet Winner: Escape
It’s always a good idea to check out what others have had to say about their experiences when renting a campervan. This will give you an idea of what to expect, and if there are any reoccurring problems that may deter you from wanting to book with a certain company. Even though Escape is the biggest campervan rental company in North America, we were surprised to see that only 152 people have left reviews on its Facebook page with a rating of 4.6/5. JUCY USA doesn’t seem to have its own page, and we can’t really look at the main company page as most if not all those reviews will be for rentals down under.
Google and Yelp are probably more appropriate to look at for the US market, so let’s see what they have to say. Both companies have a decent amount of reviews on Yelp, although was expecting to see more. Escape has 88 reviews with a score of 4.5/5, with lots of positive comments about customer service and the fact that the campervans had everything needed. There are a few comments about things not living up to expectations, but it’s always expected that there are a few negatives among a ton of positives. In terms of Jucy, it has a score of 4/5 from 75 reviews. While there are many comments about amazing experiences, there are a few recent comments about vehicle problems while on the road. Jucy scores a 4.2/5 on Google from 37 reviews, with lots of positive comments but there are a few that complain about customer service. Escape has a lot more reviews on Google, with an impressive rating of 4.8/5 from 237 people. Comments all look fantastic, so seems that Google reviewers really enjoyed their experiences. It’s important to remember that for every bad review, there are likely 100 happy customers. And by looking at the number of reviews that have actually been left online, only a very small percentage of renters actually bother to leave an opinion for others to see. On our own site, our editors give Escape Campervans a 4.7/5, and JUCY USA 4.4/5
Escape vs Jucy Reputation Winner: Escape
Before committing to a campervan rental, it’s crucial to understand your insurance policy. This is so you know how much you will need to pay if anything should happen along the journey, and you are not left with a massive unexpected bill. Taking out the right level of insurance is your responsibility. Whilst Jucy has gone down the path most campervan rental companies do, Escape has tried something a little different. Jucy allows you to take no extra insurance and expose yourself to the high cost of repairs for an accident and will keep a security bond. This bond, and your end liability if the case of damage, can be reduced by paying a daily fee. Pay an ever bigger fee and the security bond is reduced to $0 and so is the liability. Escape have skipped the middle position and have an all-or-nothing structure. Take out no insurance and you are liable up to the full cost of the vehicle depending on the damage. Or take insurance and don’t be liable for anything. They don’t take a security deposit and the other main difference is you can take your insurance out in portions on what you want to be held responsible for. Check out their insurance matrix below... If you want a head to head, here’s a roundup of what Escape and JUCY offer in terms of insurance.
|How is the Security Bond/Excess taken?||Card imprint only||Deducted from card|
|What is the bond/excess for base level cover?||Entire cost of vehicle $25K-$55k-||$1,500 or more|
|What does it cost to reduce excess per day?||Various coverage choices - $10 to $26pd||$10pd to $500 Excess|
|As above||$26.25pd to $0 excess||$24.95pd to $0 excess + extras|
|Is there a windscreen protection option?||Yes - $14pd||No|
|Claim administration fee?||No Mention||$60 per claim|
|Under body or overhead protection option?||No Mention||$45pd for “Liability Reduction” package|
|Tyre protection option?||Yes - $14pd||$45pd for “Liability Reduction” package|
Escape vs Jucy Insurance Winner: Too hard to call
Anything else worth knowing?
Sometimes when things look way too similar, you can look to what else there is to know about the company in order to make a decision. Escape Escape is usually one of the first companies to sell out, so it’s a good idea to book as far in advance if you can to ensure you get the vehicle you want. You just need a $200 deposit to secure your booking. It’s possible to do one-way trips, and there is a minimum rental requirement ranges from 3-14 days, depending on depot location and whether you are doing one-way or round trip. You can drive through Canada at no extra cost, and a there are a lot of extras you can purchase such as bedding kits, kitchen packs, tables, BugSocs and canopies. JUCY When you rent from JUCY, it’s possible to take your pet, but this is subject to prior approval and you’ll need to pay for additional cleaning. You automatically get discounts of up to 20% for various activities, tours and RV parks around the USA. You’ll also have access to a bunch of information that will help make your trip the fun adventure that it should be, with recommendations of places to explore and park up for the night. When you pick up your campervan, you’ll get flyers to hand out – if someone else uses your booking number then you’ll get a discount on your next rental. If you arrive in late you can arrange an after hours pick up, and you can even purchase one of the retired vans if you decide that you love vanlife so much that you want to carry on the adventure. There is also the JUCY GIVES program, where renters can opt to add $1 a day to their rental cost to offset their carbon emissions.
Escape vs Jucy Extras Winner: Jucy
Overall Winner - Escape Campervans
While JUCY is a solid company with a good reputation in New Zealand and Australia, we feel that they are not quite as advanced in the US market as Escape. Escape have been around a bit longer in North America, and they’ve certainly scaled up over the last 10 years. Escape has double the amount of vehicles on offer – both in terms of model choices and actual vehicle numbers. JUCY certainly does have some great extras, but we found that Escape has a better reputation overall and with its awesome hand-painted vans, your road trip will indeed be one to remember. But keep an eye on Jucy, this verdict might change in the next couple of years.