✏ Previous article about the American road trip.
⇟ My youtube video about the van tour⇟
When you have to choose your van, you have to choose it well. This is the place you’re gonna stay to eat, to sleep, to have a shower and to hit the road. We were REALLY HAPPY with the van we rented and didn’t have any big problems with it. The space was enough for two people because with this type of van we were able to fit while standing up to cook or get dressed.
In this article, I’ll introduce you the van we rented for 15 nights and 16 days to cross 4 states of the American west: California, Nevada, Arizona and l’Utah.
We chose the Travellers Autobarn company (link here: https://www.travellers-autobarn.com.au). Was it a choice? Not really. We would like to book our van with the Escape Campervan company (very very famous). However, our booking wasn’t accepted because there was no more van available for the couple of weeks we were in the US. Well, we booked our van only one month before departure. We found the Travellers Autobarn on the Internet and we found it very cool so we booked our van. We received the email saying everything was good to go! YES!
◊ Good to know: in foreign countries, rental car likes when foreign people have credit cards instead of debit cards. In France, we have debit cards most of the time. The differences between the two cards is like companies can be sure you have enough money to pay the car you rent. Moreover, when you go to gas station, it's better to have a card without fees (ULTIM card). Since I travel very often around the world: I have a debit card without fees it means I can pay in different currency without any fees. I chose the French e-bank
→ If you want your free debit card when you’re abroad, click on this link to have a 80€ gift: HERE. Then select « CARTE ULTIM« .
→ If you want the free credit card to rent a van, select « CARTE VISA PREMIER » differed debit card. You’ll also have 80€ gift: HERE
The options and the prices
When you book your van, you’ll only have the vehicule itself. You’ll have to pick what you want . Here is the list of the options we chose:
- Kitchen set (details down below) + bed linen + chairs: $45
- Propane bottle (to cook): $35
- A solar shower: $30
- FREE unlimited kilometers (but it’s not all the time free).
Total for 2 people for 15 nights: $1577 (=1421€).
Our van was a Chevrolet express (2014). We could drive on little roads (like in Monument Valley). Its consumption was 12,5 liters for 100km, but the price of the gas in the USA is very cheap compared to Europe. Just to give you an idea: we spent 162 Gall (615 liters) of gas to our van representing $585 (€528) at the moment. We drove 3044 miles (4900km).
◊ Good to know: American gas station are a bit different than in Europe. If you have a simple debit card, you'll have to enter to the store and ask for the amount of gas you want. For example: if you ask for $60 but your reservoir is full when you completed $58, you'll only be charged of $58 and the pump will stop automatically.
The van has a solar panel on the roof for electricity inside the van. There is also a fan so that you can use it when it’s too hot or just in case of bad odors. There are drapes on the sides of the van to keep some privacy. At the frond you’ll have 2 USB sockets (I recommend you to buy a multi-sockets to plug your stuff while the vehicule moves).
About the storage space: there are a LOT of them for 2 people, which is amazing. There are some storage in the front of the vehicule to put documents, water bottle, and some storage are also available on the doors. At the back, there are space above the kitchen and also under the kitchen for the dishes. As well as under the sofas you can put your luggage on here (go check my youtube video for more details). We took only 2 carry-on suitcases and they could fit under the sofas. The van can welcome 3 people because there’s an extra bed above the king size bed. Now let’s detail the sets.
We chose the option “kitchen set” and we had everything we needed to cook: 3 plates, 3 little plates, 3 bowls, 6 spoons (big and little ones), 3 forks, 3 knifes, 1 big pan + 1 little pan, 1 colander 1 frying pan, 1 teapot, 3 mugs, 3 glasses, 1 can opener, 1 peeler, 1 chopping board, 3 ustensiles to cook.
Things you must have to travel in a van
In this rubric, I’ll list what, according to me, is essential to travel in a van for several weeks.
- A USB multi-socket USB to charge your electronic device
- An isothermal bottle
- A flannel (there’s a pail in the van so if you want to have a little shower you can put water and soap in the pail and wash your body with the flannel. NB: don’t forget to buy a LOT of water because if there’s something wrong with the van you won’t be running out of water.
- A bag to put your dirty clothes in it (yes yes)
- Pick carry-on suitcases rather than checked baggage
- Warm clothes for the hikes or for the cool nights
- Tissues (this is very important)
- Flip flop when you’ll take your shower outside
- Trash can (we bought parfumer trash can to limite bad odors–> Walmart)
- Bio toilet papers (Walmart)
- Beauty products little format
- External charger
- If you have a camera/drone: many SD cards
- If you travel for several weeks: dont bring your entire closet. There are a lot of laundry in the US
I hope you enjoyed this article! As I’ve said, this first experiment in a van was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING and we recommend this company! The only thing we can say is that we had a problem with the water because it wasn’t running in the sink for 3-4 days so we couldn’t do dishes or showers. We anticipated buying lot of water to put in the solar shower. This little technical problem was because of the fact that we drove onto little roads and the pump was shaking too much. But we stopped in Las Vegas, in one of their agency to solve the problem and they refund us the day.