Whether you’ve always dreamed of traveling the country in a peace van or only recently gotten the urge to snag one for your upcoming vacation, VW camper van rental has never been more in demand. With its kitschy vibe, the versatile VW camper bus is beloved by everyone from road-tripping college kids, to adventurous families, to brides looking for a bit of vintage flair on their special day.
VW first rolled out the Volkswagen Type 2 camper van in the late 1940s. Just two decades later, it became an iconic symbol of 1960s hippie counterculture — and its popularity has hardly waned since then.
Since VW stopped production of the camper bus in 2013, it’s been a bit hard to find the vans in the wild. But if you’re willing to go on a bit of a hunt for one, there are still plenty of peace van rentals to be found across the country. Before you make your reservation, here are a few tips and tricks for how to rent a VW camper bus and what you can expect when contacting different rental places.
Rent a VW Camper Van
If you’re in the market for a VW camper van rental, it helps to start early and ideally be flexible with your travel dates. When renting a VW bus is the top priority, you have to be willing to travel when models are available for you to rent.
While there aren’t specialty rental companies in every state, lots of businesses specializing in VW rentals have cropped up around the nation’s major coastal cities. Peace Vans Rentals caters to customers in the Pacific Northwest, while Florida Oldscool Campers rents VW vans out of the Tampa/St. Pete area. Rocky Mountain Camper Vans is another specialty VW rental company out of Denver, Colorado.
If you’ve already done a search to see if any of these companies (or similar companies) rent VW vans in your area, don’t worry if you struck out. If you’re not seeing anything from traditional rental companies or RV dealerships, you can always check out peer-to-peer rental sites to find a VW camper van for rental.
Peer-to-peer platforms are basically like Airbnb: The sites work by hooking up RV owners with people who want to rent RVs. For folks interested in finding a very specific type of motorhome (like a VW rental, in this example), they’re often a good place to start the search. Because owners typically just rent out their campers for some extra spending money, they’re usually willing to cut you a good deal, and some say they more readily accommodate their customers than larger rental companies do. Try searching sites like RVShare to look for VW rentals in your area.
VW Campervan Day Hire
So now you know more about how to get your hands on the perfect VW camper rental. But in some cases, you might not need a VW van for more than a few hours. Whether you’re taking that special someone out for a vintage-style picnic, styling the camper as a photo shoot prop, or using it to set the theme at your upcoming nuptials, renting by the day is becoming more and more popular with customers.
Again, your best bet is to call local or regional rental companies who specialize in VW van rentals to see if they’ll allow you to make a one-day rental reservation. While you’re on the phone, be sure to ask if they allow their customers to rent a VW bus for a wedding or other special event. Some companies have policies against event rentals, but it’s always a good idea to be honest and ask upfront. You don’t want to run into any trouble if there’s a maintenance issue or other problem on the day of your event.
Many companies have a three-night minimum or more, but if you’re looking to rent during the off-season (fall, winter, or very early spring), some rental places are willing to waive their policies. You could also try renting the camper for the minimum number of days required and then try sharing the rental with a group of friends and splitting the overall cost.
Be aware that even if you do find a company that offers one-day rentals, you’ll likely need to put down a security deposit to make sure nothing happens to the campervan while it’s in your possession. Because there’s a limited inventory of vintage VW buses — not to mention the fact that repairing an old VW van is quite costly — most reputable companies ask that their customers put down a deposit as a show of good faith.
New VW Camper Van Rental
While vintage VW vans are ultra trendy, not everyone is comfortable traveling in an older model camper (that’s OK too!). Many of them don’t have air conditioning, which doesn’t always make for the happiest of times in 90-degree weather. There’s no shame in seeking out a handful of modern conveniences.
If you’re itching for all the creature comforts of home, VW has in the past few years released a new version of its classic camper. Dubbed the California T6 camper, the new VW van still has the classic pop-up top that sleeps two, but instead of having to operate it with a crank, the roof is electro-hydraulic. It’s also equipped with everything you need to make a delicious home-cooked meal, including a fridge, a stainless steel sink, and a double-burner stove top.
Wondering where to rent one of these bad boys? CamperVantastic in London has a few in its fleet, as does California Scotland outside of Edinburgh. Because the California camper isn’t sold in the U.S., you’re more than likely to be hardpressed to find one available for rent. (All the better reason to take a Eurotrip!)
And for VW fanatics, the brand’s constant ability to reinvent itself means more good things are on the horizon. The latest VW camper version is even more futuristic than the California T6: As unveiled in early 2017, the ID Buzz model is fully electric and able to drive autonomously. While it’s pretty spectacular, the newest model sadly won’t be on the market until 2020.