Is there an RV more stylish than the VW bus? Whether you’re looking for a bit of nostalgia from your childhood or too young to remember when they were all the rage, snagging yourself a VW camper rental makes for a picture-perfect road trip.
The Volkswagen Type II was released in 1950 and became wildly popular in 1960s counterculture, earning its nickname as the “hippie van.” A German contractor called Westfalia began converting the camper vans in 1951 but didn’t start adding the iconic pop-top til the late ’60s. Over the years, the camper buses gained a cult following with everyone from beatniks to college students to adventuresome families.
Although the VW Westfalia campers are no longer in production, many of them have been well maintained over the years and are still available to rent by the night or week. Read on to learn more about what it’s like to rent a VW camper and where you can find a VW van rental.
VW Camper Rental Tips and Tricks
Always wondered what it’s like to rent a VW campervan? Maybe you’ve seen them out on the road from time to time but never had the chance to peek inside one. If you’ve never had the opportunity to check out the inner workings, you’ll be surprised at the space economy and convenience these vans offer.
Surprisingly, up to four people can fit inside a VW camper, although four adults are likely to be squished in the tight quarters. To prevent overcrowding, some companies rent to a maximum of three adults or families traveling with two adults and two children.
Because the interior is quite small, most of the furniture in a VW bus does double duty. Expect tabletops to pull out from the cabinets and the dining banquette to fold out into a double bed at night. The pop out top also offers two extra sleeping spaces on top of the roof, with zip-out “windows” so you can catch a breeze while you catch some Zs.
Many VW models include a small stovetop and sink, but not of them do, so check with your rental company if you’re hoping to cook most of the meals on your trip. And since most VW camper vans don’t include a shower or toilet inside, you’ll need to stay at a campground that offers bathroom facilities (or be OK with figuring out your own accommodations for when nature calls).
One of the best parts about a VW camper is the ease with which you can park and maneuver it. Because it’s no larger than your standard work van, it’s easy to park in a normal-sized parking spot. (Unless you’ve driven a Class A RV, the convenience of this can’t be overstated!)
Finally, like most RVs, the VW camper doesn’t get great gas mileage. Most rental companies will charge you a mileage rate in addition to whatever you already have to pay for gas, so keep that in mind when calculating your fuel costs.
How Much Does it Cost to Rent a VW Camper?
The exact cost of a VW camper rental will depend on where you’re renting it, what time of year you want to make a reservation, and how much work the owner has done to convert or maintain the vehicle. Summer rates tend to be higher than winter rates because more people are traveling with kids and the weather conditions are better suited for taking a road trip. VWs that have been painstakingly restored also tend to come at a premium, since you’re getting a better quality vehicle.
Generally speaking though, you can expect to pay somewhere between $130 and $250 per night for a VW camper van rental. Some companies also require a minimum rental period anywhere from three to six nights, so make sure to ask about that if you’re planning a shorter weekend trip.
Again, keep in mind that there’s more to calculate in your overall budget than just the rental rate. Your total cost will be some combination of your nightly or weekly rate, plus fuel costs, mileage, and other fees.
Where to Rent a VW Camper Bus
Because VW campers are in such high demand, dozens of rental companies specializing solely in VW buses have cropped up across the country. For travelers who are into the idea of a picturesque, vintage-style vacation while still craving modern luxuries like air conditioning and a working kitchen, many dealerships have completely retrofitted their rentals and now offer models that maintain the aesthetic of an old VW without functioning like one.
Since VW vans are popular for beach camping, several of the rental companies have set up shop in coastal communities in the Pacific Northwest, along the California coast, over in Hawaii, and down in Florida. But if you don’t live by the water or in a vacation hotspot, don’t worry. Many VW eurovan rentals can be found on peer-to-peer rental sites, where RV owners rent their campers directly to customers like you (kind of like Airbnb but for RV rentals).
Depending on where you live, you may have to look for a rental in a nearby city. Better yet, if you rent a VW camper at or near your destination, you’ll save on mileage and fuel costs while still being able to have an authentic VW camping experience.
VW Camper Van Rentals for an Event or Wedding
Over nearly seven decades, the VW camper’s popularity has never waned. And because they so naturally lend themselves to photo opps, many rental companies have started offering hippie van rental by the day for photoshoots and weddings. Renting a VW van instantly takes your party’s retro vibe to the next level and does double duty as a kitchy backdrop to take photos.
If you’re interested in renting a VW camper for an event, be sure to let the rental company or owner know it will mostly be used for display. Since you won’t be driving it very far, it’s likely you’ll pay a different rate than somebody taking it on a road trip.