7 On Your Side
Travelers turning to minivan campers for vacations
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A common European vacation choice that wasn't even available here until recently is just now taking off. It could save you some money and set you up for adventure.
Have you ever thought about renting a big RV for a trip but were turned off by the rental cost, gasoline prices, even the carbon footprint? Well, there is an alternative out there.
Here it is, the anti-big RV. A minivan that is set up for camping. This van is from Lost Campers, a company specializing in discreet minivans.
The back of the van is set up with shelves, a sink, water supply, along with a cooler. Inside there is a mattress."
"We have a full size bed in here but right now we have seating for five," said Nicholas Thomson with Lost Campers.
But with very little effort a bed is set up.
"People come back and they say it is more comfortable than the hotel we slept at," Thomson said. "I genuinely get that."
This is Escape Campervans. For the most part full sized vans, artists take care of the paint jobs.
"It is something that came from New Zealand and Australia, but we thought there was a huge whole in the American travel market for a product like this," said Robert Mewton with Escape Campervans.
The Escape Campervans come with a mini fridge and if you want a roof top sleeping contraption.
Lost Campers has a similar set up for those who want it.
Tyler Williams has rented a Lost Campers van three times. When asked why rent from them rather than a big RV, he answered, "It is a lot cheaper for one. It is a lot easier. We just throw our bikes in the back. It is just the two of us, there is plenty of room and it is comfortable."
He only takes his out for a long weekend, but other renters go on a once in a lifetime road trip.
"We just had two vans come back yesterday," Thomson said. "They did three months on the road, 12,500 miles. Yeah, they were on an odyssey, it was a big trip."
Depending on size and time of year you can spend as little as $30 a day or as much as $74. And remember, these things keep your vacation costs down.
"You do not have to get a hotel room," Mewton said. "The state parks and the national parks have some of the finest real estate in the world so it is nice to stay in them and enjoy them. Plus you've got the refrigerator in there so you do not have to eat at fast food or at restaurants. You can bring your own food you can cook. You are pretty self-sufficient."
Right now, 80 to 90 percent of the renters are from overseas.
europe, travel, tourism, driving, gas prices, climate change, 7 on your side, michael finney
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