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Best place to rent a van for 2 months in California

Best place to rent a van for 2 months in California

Old Apr 28th, 2024, 09:04 AM
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Best place to rent a van for 2 months in California

Greetings,

As I gear up for an exciting two-month adventure across California in early 2025, I find myself in need of some advice. Could anyone point me in the direction of the optimal van rental service for this journey? My budget is somewhat limited, so I'm on the lookout for affordable options. Any recommendations or tips would be greatly appreciated!
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Old Apr 28th, 2024, 10:59 AM
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If you're looking for a van for camping, think twice. It is really difficult to find camping spots and you can't just pull over wherever you want and stay the night. The brand I often see is Escape, but there are many out there. None will be cheap and make sure you account for the price of gasoline and the cost of campgrounds. Camping in California isn't what it used to be. Everyone is doing it now.
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Old Apr 28th, 2024, 11:29 AM
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Give us more details -- which 'early' 2 months, any firm plans of where you plan on traveling? What with winter road closures (both for snow in the mountains and rock slides on the coast) and the very high cost of fuel in CA, there might be better options than a winter camping trip. Right now prices for regular gas in places like Lake Tahoe are running $5.71- $6.49 gal.; Monterey $5.19-$5.89; along the North Coast $5.39-$6.00+; San Diego $4.69 - $5.00+
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Old Apr 28th, 2024, 11:45 AM
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I'm hoping to travel around march / April 2025 and I am looking to travel around staying in campsites or other areas, getting into national parks and exploring around.
Is that gas price per litre, or per gallon?
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Old Apr 28th, 2024, 01:10 PM
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That's per gallon. March/April will be easier to find camping spots but you will have to deal with snow in many places. For the national parks, campsites sell out six months in advance.
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Old Apr 28th, 2024, 01:12 PM
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Thank you for your advice, where would you recommend to steer clear off due to snowy conditions?
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Old Apr 28th, 2024, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by AustinTraveler
That's per gallon. March/April will be easier to find camping spots but you will have to deal with snow in many places. For the national parks, campsites sell out six months in advance.
But often you can find campsites in adjacent national forests. You may be paying $9,000 in rent for two months for a camper van.

Last edited by PrairieHikerI; Apr 28th, 2024 at 01:24 PM.
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Old Apr 28th, 2024, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by kieranm7206
I'm hoping to travel around march / April 2025 and I am looking to travel around staying in campsites or other areas, getting into national parks and exploring around.
Is that gas price per litre, or per gallon?
Originally Posted by AustinTraveler
That's per gallon. March/April will be easier to find camping spots but you will have to deal with snow in many places. For the national parks, campsites sell out six months in advance.

Oh - and welcome to Fodors

Those prices are for a US gallon (smaller than an Imperial gallon). March can still be quite wintry in the mountains -- or not. This year we got quite a lot of snow in Mar/early April but some years there is none. Also March can re quite rainy along the coast -- or not.

Great places to visit those months are in the desert including Death Valley/Joshua Tree, the Sierra foothils/Gold Rush country, San Diego, and by April most anywhere along the coast from the Redwoods in the far NW of the state all the way down to Ventura County.

But if your budget is particularly low -- renting a van might be daunting. Most rentals (car or van) are limited to 30 days or less. So you may be looking at a short term lease or doing two different rentals back to back.
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Old Apr 28th, 2024, 01:56 PM
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Oh -meant to add -- $5 or $6 / gallon may seem reasonable to someone from the UK or Europe. But our distances are enormous and van's don't get high mileage.

Right now petrol in the UK will be running around 1.50 liter or about $6.00 gallon. Other states in the US tend to have lower to much lower gas prices than what we pay in California..
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Old Apr 29th, 2024, 02:07 AM
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That does sound like a lot! Any other recommendations?
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Old Apr 29th, 2024, 09:17 AM
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Renting a car and buying basic camping equipment at stores like Target might be a cheaper option. But it would require setting up and taking down the tent etc. every time you move. The last time we camped in Sequoia National Park at the end of May 2015, the campgrounds had just opened a week before, and I do not recall that the year was particularly wintry.

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Old Apr 29th, 2024, 09:19 AM
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California state probably has the highest state gas tax of anywhere in the US. Right now where I live in an urban area on the East Coast, gas is about $3.60 a gallon, by comparison.

This is just going to be a very expensive vacation, much more than staying in hotels. I think small RVs rent for around $200 a night. I don't know any places cheaper than that. those are rates from cruiseamerica.com even with a long term discount.

If you want some place cheaper with national parks, you could do NV/NM/AZ or Utah instead. It should be decent at that time of year, also, not too hot. And cheaper gas. There is some beautiful landscape in NM and there are parks like Arches, Grand Canyon of course
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Old May 1st, 2024, 04:42 AM
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For a trip that long, I would plan two loops. One loop from Las Vegas where you could do Grand Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, Zion, Death Valley, etc. and there are lots of state parks and BLM or N Forrest areas to camp in. One loop around California, from whichever city works the best for flights and camper rentals as well as proximity to the sights you want to see there.

Either loop could be done first and flights between Vegas and most California cities are fairly inexpensive, look for some of the lower cost airlines. This helps the limits many rentals put on time and mileage on rental vans. You also could do two loops in California if you choose to limit yourself to that. If you want to also explore cities, the camper will not be a good choice.

Last edited by oldemalloy; May 1st, 2024 at 04:45 AM.
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Old May 1st, 2024, 06:00 PM
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You might do better staying at Motel6 or Airbnb vs renting a van.

While the desert may be nicer in March, you wlll also see higher rates at lodgings.
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