How To Try Vanife

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Do you want to know how to try vanlife without spending a ton of money? Before we moved into our van full time, we explored options and figured out how to try vanlife. on the cheap first. It’s important to try before you buy, so to speak, and these options for how to try vanlife first, will show you that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to find out if vanlife is right for you. If you want to skip the reading – watch our YouTube video instead!


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A few years ago, we decided to try vanlife in New Zealand by renting a van through Escape Campervans. The van was small, easy to drive and had simple amenities like a hang pump sink, a portable butane single-burner cooktop, and a cassette toilet (which we didn’t end up using). The van also came outfitted with bedding, cookware and dishes.

how to try vanlife

You can try vanlife by renting an van through Escape Campervan in several countries. In the United States, Escape Campervans offers several types of vans to choose from based on your group size and desired amenities. They offer pickup in 11 different cities across the USA, and allow for one-way trips too! This means that you can pickup in one location and then drop off at another. 

how to try vanlife


Outdoorsy is a website where individual owners of their custom vans can rent out their vehicle to users like you!  The benefit of using this service is that you can try out several different types of vans with different layouts so that you can get an idea of what amenities and floorplan you might like in your own van!

how to try vanlife

Another reason why Outdoorsy is a great place to for learning how to try vanlife is that there is a huge spectrum of prices and availability across the country. You can interact directly with the owner and learn specifics about their van build, including whether they built it themselves or paid for a professional company to do it.


The most basic, and least expensive, method to try vanlife would be renting an empty cargo van from a regular car rental company. Way before we moved into our van full time, our very first van trip was in an empty Promaster City. We flew to Orlando, Florida with a ExPed Mega Mat (very comfy!) camping pad, some bedding and a bug net! We drove around the Florida Keys for a week, exploring and tasting all of the Key Lime Pie!

This van obviously didn’t have a bathroom or kitchen setup, but we were staying in campgrounds and going out to eat most of the time. It was an inexpensive way for us to dip our toes in the water and figure out how to try vanlife without spending a ton of money.

How to Try vanlife
how to try vanlife

As experienced vanlifers of 5 years, we highly recommend people who are looking to possibly move into a van and travel full time, try one, or several, of these methods before making the financial commitment of buying and/or building a van. 

Whether you choose to go with Escape Campervans, Outdoorsy, or some other method, we hope you enjoy your adventure!