The hashtag #vanlife has over 8 million posts on Instagram as of this month.
Traveling in a van, whether short-term or long-term, is becoming increasingly popular, and for good reasons! As an individual who has traveled internationally multiple times, both via plane, boat, and van, I can tell you that traveling in a van is by far my favorite. There is something so comforting about having a moving home, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom with you. While it may not be a 5-star hotel, you can surely find beautifully converted vans to rent that just might come close. But beyond aesthetics, renting a van for your next road trip vacation is extremely functional. Here’s why!
You’re able to see a wider variety of places since you can move faster and more efficiently.
There are multiple aspects to this but the most obvious one is that you’re able to be somewhere new every day. You don’t have to manage multiple Air Bnb or hotel reservations. If you were planning on tent camping but decide to travel via van instead, you’ll save on camp set up and tear down time every day. All of this saved time is time you could spend seeing another site or doing another hike. You can even pack your days as full as you want, with multiple pit stops along your route. Even if you’re driving from one state to the next, you’re able to quickly and easily stop at multiple museums, lookouts, small cities, etc.
You don’t have to constantly pack and unpack a bag.
Whenever I stay in a house for a certain amount of time, I realize how much I end up packing and unpacking bags, even just day bags. When you head out to a national park and are exploring with quick stops along the way, you know you’ll be back at your van with all your belongings, food, everything in just a short amount of time. You don’t have to pack a jacket, a snack, sunglasses, whatever else you may need since you know you’ll have access to the van again shortly. It also means that if the weather turns quickly, you can adjust! If you need to refill on water, you can instead of having to buy a single-use plastic water bottle! You’ll appreciate this quickly on your next van road trip.
Everything is within your arms reach.
One of my favorite things about traveling in a van is that I’m able to sit down and reach almost anything I need. This means if I’ve had a long day, I don’t have to move around too much once I lay down to relax. Or if I have a really busy workday, I’m able to reach everything I need quickly and easily (external hard drive, chargers, calendars, etc.) It also means that you won’t have to rustle through your suitcase or backpack constantly trying to find something you brought with you. Most vans have ample storage, especially for a road trip, so you can organize everything you packed accordingly and make it easy to find.
Beyond your belongings, you’re also closer to nature for the duration of your trip.
Waking up in a van that is parked out in nature, whether it be a beautiful lookout, national park, or public lands, allows you to maximize your amount of time spent outside during your trip. While traveling in a van, you’ll likely have the doors open whenever you are parked, providing you with fresh air whenever you want. You’re also more likely to stay outside for longer since you don’t have to rush back to your hotel room or make a dinner reservation. Things like campfires, sunset hikes, and scenic drives all become more attainable through a van rental.
You’re able to save money on dining out since your kitchen travels with you.
While renting a van isn’t always the cheapest option (believe me, you can rent a 4×4 2020 Winnebago for a lot of money), there are ways you can save money on your trip. One of the biggest money savers about renting a van is having the ability to prep and cook all your meals yourself. When you stay in a hotel or are doing a road trip via car, you end up buying food out (or eating gas station junk food, if we’re being honest). When you have a portable kitchen with you everywhere you go, you’re able to cook all your meals yourself. In fact, I’d even say that you’ll be more inspired than usual to cook in the outdoors with your mini kitchen!
Beyond just meals, most of your travel costs are consolidated into one (housing, dining, rental car, etc.)
In addition to having a traveling kitchen and saving on dining costs, all of your expenses for a road trip are pretty much consolidated into one. Instead of having to pay for housing, dining, rental car, and more, you’re simply able to just manage one booking with your costs all in one location. It’s a bit easier to manage and also allows you to be flexible in case you run into any hiccups in your travels!
Van travel allows you to see the places deep in nature that take longer than just 1 day to reach.
Maybe the waterfall that you want to see is too far to travel there and back in one day. Maybe the hike you want to do is best at sunrise but traveling from your hotel to the trailhead can’t be done in time. This is one of the best perks of traveling in a van! You can take multiple days to get somewhere and not have to worry about getting back to your hotel or lodge. It also allows you to park at the trailhead if you’re looking for an extra early morning start to your hike!
Lastly, it’s simply an extremely fun form of travel.
The feeling of the open road is unlike any form of travel I’ve ever experienced. You’re able to change your plans, stop at surprise locations, and have full control of your itinerary. Minimizing and traveling small is something everybody should experience at least once! I can assure you that renting a van will be an adventure that you will never forget in your lifetime.
Planning a road trip? Check out some of our best resources to help you perfect your trip!
- Best boondocking states for campers
- Finding dog-friendly campsites and activities
- 5 ways to save money while RVing
- Best simple van meals
- Tools to bring on a road trip with your baby
- 5 National and State Parks for your next road trip
- Tips for exploring the West Coast
Interested in renting a van for your next road trip? Check out our favorite rentals for beautifully adventurous locations like Quebec, Banff, Grand Teton and Yellowstone NP, and New Hampshire. And don’t forget to use our code “GOVAN” for $50 towards your next booking!