Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Camper Van Road Tripping

Dear Jamie Jensen!

I'm 21 years old and I'm living in Houston, TX right now. Originally I'm from Austria and as an AuPair here in the United States. At the End of my stay here, which is this July, I would like to go on a Road trip with three Austrian Friends. We are most interested in the Pacific Coast, especially California. We were thinking of renting a Volkswagen CamperVan. With a Van like that we could all sleep in there and it's easy to drive with it. But I could only find one Place where you can rent Volkswagen Camper Vans, which is in San Francisco. Do you have any idea where we could rent Vans like that or what other options there are. It would also be okay to rent it in Texas and drive from here to California.

We are all very nature and adventure loving, so everything that contains nature around the Pacific Coast and the South like Arizona, New Mexico and so on, have our interest. Our concerns are mainly the places we could stay with our Van. We would not need exquisite Camping Places, just a legal place to park our van. We have time a whole month,but we don't want to spend too much money on the trip.

So generally we want to have fun, see a lot, enjoy the nature and some sights, museums and points of interest.

Maybe you have some tips for us...cause I bought some books and did a lot of research, but I think you could help me most.

Thank you very much!

Best regards


Hallo Steffi --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA, and I hope I can help you with your "California trip". I lived in Berlin for little while last year, but my German "ist noch sehr schlecht..."

I wish I could point you toward a camper van rental company, but I think the one you found in San Francisco is the only one offering such a thing...

To rent any vehicle for a whole month will be expensive, and since you are under 25 years old it could be difficult as well, so I ask you a question: have you thought about buying a camper van (like a great old VW?). I suspect there are quite a few running around Houston -- have a look on Craigslist, where I found this one:

You can get your money back by selling the van at the end of the road, too -- if any of your friends is at all "mechanisch fähig"? / mechanically inclined, this could be a great option for your trip.

The thing to remember about driving a camper van is that you still need to find (and pay for!) a place to park and camp -- state parks and other pretty places usually have campgrounds, which run $20-25 a night... Though out in the deserts you can usually pay a lot less -- or camp for free.

The wide open spaces of the Wild West between Texas and California are truly amazing -- Native American communities and ancient cliff palaces of New Mexico and Mesa Verde; redrock landscapes of Arizona (Monument Valley, Sedona, the Grand Canyon and so on!).

So do what you need to, to make this trip happen. You won't regret it. :-)

Let me know how things shape up, and thanks again for checking out my website -- and for buying my books! (Some of which have been translated into German! !)

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


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