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By Dawn S

Have you been reading van life blogs, dreaming about building out your own camper van, and hitting the road in it full-time? The idea is appealing—believe me, I know—and there are lots of folks, young and old, who are doing that very thing.

Food for thought… have you ever fully committed to something and in hindsight wished you’d had the chance to “try before you buy?” There are some things in life you never know you like until you try it, like a trendy new haircut or an outfit. You wouldn’t even think of buying a car without taking it for a test drive first, right? So wouldn’t it be great if you could “try out” van life before you made the large investment of time and money to build your own van and sell off all your belongings?

Great news! With Escape Campervans, you can (and should) rent a campervan and try out van life for yourself. You may discover that living in a van is great… for a short period of time, but being a full-time van-lifer is not be as appealing as you had originally thought.

Mt Rainier Washington Campervan

Renting vs buying a campervan: Things to consider

What’s your commitment level?

Have you already rented a campervan with Escape, had an awesome trip, and you know this van life thing is for you? That’s great, but the only trouble is, you may have other commitments and family responsibilities, like pets, kids, aging parents, or a home or job that you love, that make the full-time van thing an impossibility (for now). If this is the boat you’re in, renting an Escape campervan is a great option. You can still get your vanlife fix and then return to your “real” life and to the things and people that need you.

How often will you use it?

  • If you own your own campervan, how often will you actually get to use it?
  • A campervan probably won’t fit into your garage. Parking or storing it can be expensive.
  • How much will you pay for insurance while your campervan is just sitting in your driveway or storage?

If realistically you are not going to use your own campervan that often, you can actually save money by renting an Escape van instead. You only have to pay for campervan insurance when you’re actually using the campervan, and it comes with 24/7 roadside assistance!

Custom Built Campervan

What do you want in your own van build?

Renting with Escape is also a great way to learn more about what you’d want out of your own future van build, so you can keep dreaming and working toward that goal. Some things you may want to consider are:

  • Do you like a bed that converts into a couch or booth, or is that a hassle?
  • How much storage do you need for the activities you plan to do while traveling or living in your van?
  • Do you like accessing the kitchen from outside of the van, or do you need a kitchen that is inside?
  • How much, and what type of power do you need?
  • How will you keep the van cool or warm?
  • Do you want running water in the van?
  • What kind of cold food storage do you want? Powered how?
  • Will your van also be used as an extra vehicle to transport the soccer team or a large family? If so, you will need seating with seatbelts.
  • How tall are you? Do you need a van you can stand up in? Does the bed need to run lengthwise or cross-ways in the van?

Mt Rainier Washington Campervan

Even if you own a campervan, it can still be good to rent

I never knew how easy and affordable road-tripping could be until I rented my first Escape campervan. It definitely made me want my own van. I am grateful that I had the circumstances and room in the driveway to make that happen. See the blog “How To Build A Campervan BIG BLUE – The Transformation.” Even though I own my own van, and have taken it on many trips, I still rent with Escape, and here are two reasons why:

  1. If we are traveling with our family or friends, the Escape campervan comes with a rooftop sleeper and is geared perfectly for a group of 4 or 5.
  2. If the destination is thousands of miles away, but we only have 10 days for the trip, flying in and renting an Escape campervan is the best use of our time and money.

Table Rock State Park MO Snow Campervan

Lessons learned after owning a campervan

Things I would change in my own van, if I knew then what I know now:

  • We would rather have a “high-top” van that John can stand up in
  • I would rather have a bed that converts manually instead of electronically
  • I would build a kitchen that can be accessed at the rear doors, similar to the Escape Campervans setup
  • I would add solar power for little things like lights (Escape’s vans have a dual-battery system with a solar panel for the fridge and lights)

Things I love about my own van, Big Blue:

  • The window shades, and screened windows
  • The roominess inside the van, even when the bed is made (Escape’s Big Sur model is great for this)
  • The pretty turquoise color
  • How easily it can be converted from a passenger van for 7 people to a campervan for road tripping

Antelope Island Utah Campervan

I hope you enjoy renting with Escape Campervans and trying out van life for yourself. And if you do love it, like I know you will, and decide you are ready to commit to owning your own van, Escape does sell their used, custom-built, hand-painted vans from time to time!

1 thought on “Renting vs Buying a Campervan”

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE this blog post ! I too, thoroughly enjoyed my time renting with Escape Campervans and there were so many times I dreamed of having my own van. I even started looking at some of the older vans that Escape sells 😉 . Thank you for sharing !

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