Even the most carefree of campers would benefit from a small upgrade to their tent accommodations from time to time. While sleeping out in the great wide open with nothing more than a thin layer of nylon between you and the stars has its powers, there’s something to be said for sleeping on a real mattress at night, even while you’re camping. If that sounds like you, you may want to rent a van with a bed, otherwise known as a sleeper van or camper van.
If you’re looking to save money, one excellent thing about camper vans is that they generally get much better gas mileage than their larger counterparts. Since fuel costs can be a huge component of the overall cost to rent an RV, saving on gas can end up saving you hundreds of dollars over the course of your rental period.
And because they’re much smaller than a traditional motorhome, camper vans are among the easiest types of RVs to drive and maneuver around a campsite or parking lot. While you probably shouldn’t try to squeeze your whole family into one for a weeklong vacation, they’re the perfect size for solo travelers or couples looking for a great escape.
Interested in learning more about how to rent a car with bed? Consider this your one-stop shop for all the info you need on camper van rental in the US. A little preparedness goes a long way, especially if you’re renting an RV for the very first time.
What to Look for in a Sleeper Van Rental
Before you figure out where to rent from, it’s wise to brush up on some RV terminology and learn a bit more about what to look for in a sleeper van rental. When you go to rent a van with a bed, you may need to use different phrases with your RV rental agent. Even though they’re all essentially the same thing, you’ll likely get a variety of different results by asking for “camper vans,” “sleeper vans,” “conversion vans,” or “Class B RVs.” You can also try typing variations on your search term into Google to see what different options pop up.
Not all campers are created equal: Some sleeper vans were designed to be used for camping, while others have been converted to use as mobile accommodations. And because there’s such a wide variety to choose from, the amenities inside vary widely. Depending on which make and model you end up choosing, you may end up with anything from a bare-bones camper van to a mack-daddy option with a mini fridge and a flat screen TV. Be realistic about how high maintenance or low maintenance you and your travel buddy plan to be — some people adapt better to minimalism and spartan living quarters than others, so know your crowd before booking.
Where to Rent a Van With a Bed in the USA
There are two main options when it comes to campervan rental USA. The most obvious route is to search for RV dealerships and rental companies that do huge volumes of camper van rentals. Because of their large fleets, these companies generally offer a large variety to choose from and can more easily accommodate last minute travelers. At the same time, their rental policies may be rigid, and in peak times, they may require a minimum rental period of three or more nights.
The second option is to check out peer to peer rental sites, which are basically online platforms that connect RV owners to people looking to rent camper vans and other types of motorhomes. Because it works similarly to room rental sites like Airbnb, it can be a fun and easy way to travel, not to mention the fact that it’s often more affordable.
Depending on which part of the country you live in or will be renting from, there are tons of options to choose from, and you’ll get to see pictures of the exact sleeper van you’ll be renting from the owner (unlike the big dealerships, which sometimes just show you stock photos). Again, be sure to check out the reviews, or you can try to set up an email or phone conversation with the person who posted the listing to ensure that you’re on the same page and in agreement about any rental terms.
Tips for Renting a Van With a Bed Online
Once you’ve decided where to start your search, it’s time to rent a van with a bed. Price will vary depending on what time of year you’re planning on traveling and where you end up renting from. Typically, though, hiring a camper van in the summer months works out to be far more expensive than it is in the off season due to the weather and the high number of people taking summer vacations.
It’s common sense, but be sure to check out any online reviews before booking your rental, and always, always, always read the contract before signing it (even if it bores you to tears!). You’ll also want to ask about any extra costs, such as mileage fees or charges to use household items like bedding and dishware.
Because you’ll be spending all day and night in your vehicle, quality is key when you rent a van with a bed. Mattress quality is perhaps the most important thing, especially if you have a history of back problems or have difficulty sleeping. If possible, see if you can arrange a time to inspect your sleeper van with the RV rental agent or owner before agreeing to any one particular model. When in doubt, you can always bring a mattress topper just to be on the safe side.
Finally, if you need some last minute inspiration before your big trip, check out social media hashtags like #campervanlife or #vanlifediaries on Instagram for some truly amazing travel photos and ideas. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find some new friends in your neck of the woods with some good advice on secret routes and little known campsites. It’s always worth a shot.