Should I Buy Or Rent A Van Camper?


If traveling is something that has been on your bucket list for a long time and you are at the point where you want a van camper to hit the road with, you have the choice to either buy or rent a van camper. But which option is actually the best for you?

Should I buy or rent a van camper? Buying or renting a van camper each has pros and cons. If camping full time is your goal, then buying a van camper is probably your best choice. But if you will be van camping only one time or once every couple years then renting is perhaps the best option for you.

There are many different factors to consider when making the choice to buy or rent a van camper. I have done some research about this and here is what I discovered.

Buying or Renting a Van Camper – What is the Best Option?

Van camping provides a unique way to see the country. One of the great things about a van camper is that you have a place to sleep no matter where you go.

Another great feature is that you can cook right in your van camper, on a camp stove outside the van or over a campfire while parked at a campsite. The ability to cook some of your meals while traveling will eliminate the need to eat at restaurants so often and reduce your meal costs.

Van campers are small enough that you can take them many places where the bigger motor homes can’t go, which is another great aspect.

There are a lot of factors to consider when making your choice to buy or rent a van camper, I hope the following post will help you determine the best choice for your particular situation.

Buying a Van Camper

How do you know if buying is a good option for you? If you are going to be using your van camper on most weekends and on extended trips multiple times a year, then purchasing a van camper is in all probability the way to go for you.

Buying a van camper is going to be a big expense, therefore let’s explore some of the benefits to buying a van camper to help you narrow things down.

  • You will have the convenience of being able to go right out in your driveway and get in your van and go, no rental agreements, no reservations and no fuss.
  • Owning your own van camper gives you the flexibility of changing travel plans mid trip without having a specific time you have to return the van camper.

As in any situation there are also disadvantages, when you own your van camper you will have reoccurring costs and expenses that you will need to take into consideration. Here are some of disadvantages of buying a van camper:

  • First and foremost you will have a monthly payment for your loan if you don’t have cash on hand to purchase outright.
  • You will have the cost of insurance for your van camper.
  • There will be upkeep on a van camper such as tires, oil changes, routine maintenance and any breakdown expenses.
  • You also will have licensing and inspection fees.
  • When you aren’t using your van camper you will have to find a place to store it.

Renting Van Camper

If you plan on using a van camper on limited occasions maybe the way for you to go is with renting a van camper just when you need one.

One factor to keep in mind, if you end up renting the van camper a couple times a year for long periods of time, the fees that you paid in rent could make quite a substantial down payment on buying one of your own.

Here are a few of the benefits of renting a van camper instead of buying one:

  • You won’t have monthly van camper payments.
  • No maintenance expenses for upkeep.
  • You won’t have to find a place to store your van camper during the off season.
  • No insurance expenses.
  • Most rental companies offer 24/7 roadside assistance in case you have trouble which can help put your mind at rest so you don’t have to worry so much about breakdowns.
  • Renting a van camper will enable you to see if you want to actually purchase your own van camper.

Now let’s look at some of the disadvantages of renting a van camper for you next road trip adventure.

  • You will have a specific pickup and return time and that means keeping a tight schedule on your trip.
  • Renting can get costly if you are going to rent multiple times.
  • The rental company that you are renting your van camper from might have a limited number of miles you can travel then after the allowed miles there will be extra charges for any additional miles that you drive.

As you can see buying or renting a van camper both have advantages and disadvantages and there is no set right or wrong choice. The right choice for you will be the one that fits the travel plans, budget and required needs of your family.

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How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Van Camper?

Buying a van camper is a big step and you are probably wondering how much it is actually going to cost you to purchase one. I have looked into this exact question and here’s what I came up with.

Prices will vary depending on the year, make and model, what time of year you are looking to purchase, what part of the country you reside in and what rebates and incentives are available on new units.

Taking in all the above considerations, to purchase a new van camper you can expect to pay anywhere from $78,000 to $142,000.

If you’re considering a pre-owned van camper expect to pay anywhere from $16,000 to $90,000. You can find some really nice, low mileage, clean vehicles that will save you a lot of money over new and will still meet your needs.

As you can see the price range is wide depending on whether you want to purchase a new or pre-owned van camper, so make sure you do your homework to ensure that the van camper you pick meets the requirements of your family.

How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Van Camper?

There is a wide range of choices for renting a van camper too. In addition to the rental rate there are deposits and extra fees that you will have to consider and these will vary between rental companies. Let’s talk about some of these before we get started on the rates.

First you will have a deposit; this will usually start around $200 depending on the age of the vehicle and the deposit will increase the newer the vehicle is. The deposit will cover any damages that you do to the rented vehicle, if you don’t do any damages while you have the van camper rented you will get your full deposit back.

In the event that you inadvertently damage the vehicle, repair costs will come out of the deposit and you will receive the remainder back.

You will have insurance costs, cleaning or prep charges and usually there will be an additional fee if you are taking along a pet. Do your homework to make sure what extra fees you will have before renting.

Here are a few examples of what it costs to rent a van camper for different time periods and remember the rental prices will vary depending on time of year, age of the van camper, what part of the country you live in and various other factors.

  • 2018 Winnebago Travato – $249 daily, $1,600 weekly or $6,000 monthly
  • 2014 Airstream Interstate – $234 daily, $1,474 weekly or $5,967 monthly
  • 2016 Ford Transit Passenger – $120 daily, $799 weekly or $2,999 monthly
  • 2013 Mercedes Benz Sprinter – $137 daily, $925 weekly or $2,800 monthly
  • 2019 Hymer Loft Camper Van – $200 daily, $1,099 weekly or $3,920 monthly
  • 2002 Pleasure-Way Excel – $115 daily, $735 weekly or $2,660 monthly
  • 1985 Volkswagen T3 Westfalia – $225 daily, $1,365 weekly or $4,900 monthly

When renting do your due diligence, each rental company will have slightly different rates and fees, so check multiple sources before choosing. Doing your research can save you money and aggravation in the long run.

Compare units to each other to see what amenities each van camper offers so that you get the options that you need to make your van camping trip enjoyable.

Related Questions

Are there places that I can van camp for free overnight? There are many places that you can camp for free, you can stay overnight at truck stops, some rest areas and many national and state parks will have boondocking locations available. To learn more about boondocking visit our post here.

What resources are available online to help me find van camping sites?
There are multiple websites available to help you find camping sites. Each site will offer something a little different, but here are a few sites to visit: freecampsites.net, campendium.com or boondockerswelcome.com.

Cindy

Ever since I was little I have been a traveler at heart. It all started when I was six years old and my family took a road trip to Alaska. I enjoy visiting new places and revisiting some of the great locations that I have been to already.

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