Elevate Your Road Trip with a roadsurfer Campervan

Ready to elevate your next adventurous road trip? roadsurfer makes travel a little easier by providing a full-on, scaled-down RV experience in a campervan.

Roadsurfer Campervan Road Trip
Roadsurfer lunch by the campervan with the backdrop of the San Francisco Peaks Photo: Greg HolderCredit: Terri Marshall

Camping is cool; the Right Van Will Make It Cooler.

As a lifelong road-tripper, there’s nothing I love more than escaping the madness of the city and hitting the open road. Recently, I elevated my road trip experience by exploring the mountains, national parks, and deserts in the Southwest USA by campervan. While I appreciate the lure of a big RV with all the comforts of home, I’m not up for driving something that big, and I certainly don’t want to tow a vehicle. The solution? A campervan.

The campervan offers many of the benefits of an RV – just not as elaborate. But it also provides the convenience of an easy-to-drive vehicle that can park in a normal-sized parking space and still give you a place to prepare meals and sleep. The campervan we chose also had a bathroom on board with a shower. It was small, but it worked.

Related: Top 10 Reasons You Should Try an RV Rental

Roadsurfer Campervan Road Trip
roadsurfer campervan plugged in at Dark Sky RV Park. Photo: Terri Marshall – Credit: Terri Marshall

The roadsurfer Experience

For our adventure, German-based roadsurfer loaned us a campervan. roadsurfer was started by a group of childhood friends with a passion for camping. Their goal was to make the process of renting a campervan seamless and simple. Europe has benefited from the roadsurfer experience since 2016. Fortunately, roadsurfer is now in North America with locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and, most recently, Las Vegas. The company also has two Canadian locations, Vancouver and Calgary.

For our campervan experience, we chose the Las Vegas location, which was ideal for exploring the Southwest. As the founders hoped, the process was simple. Once the van was reserved, we received an e-mail with a link to a tutorial to familiarize ourselves with the model we were renting. When we arrived to pick up the van, we also received in-person instructions. There was ample time to ask all the questions we wanted as an employee demonstrated how to use all the van’s features.

You’ll likely have many questions if you’ve never rented a campervan. I certainly did the first time I rented a campervan. My husband was the newbie this time, but I needed a refresher course. Here are some of the questions you’ll want to cover with your rental company before venturing off to explore.

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Roadsurfer Campervan Road Trip
Making room for the traveling laundry rack in the campervan. Photo: Terri Marshall – Credit: Terri Marshall

What is Included with the Campervan Rental?

Most campervan rental companies do not provide an all-inclusive rate. The additional charges for amenities depend on the company you’re renting from. With roadsurfer, a “kitchen box” that includes eating and cooking utensils, coffee cups, glassware, plates, and pots and pans is provided free of charge. However, there is an additional fee for bed linens. In the Couples Condo van for two individuals, roadsurfer provides two camp chairs free of charge. Just be sure to ask so there are no surprises.

Related: No Minivan Shame: 6 Reasons A Minivan is the Best Thing Ever

Roadsurfer Campervan Road Trip
The roadsurfer campervan exploring the Glen Canyon National Recreation Center. Photo: Terri Marshall – Credit: Terri Marshall

Is Your Mileage Unlimited?

Unlimited mileage is a perk I always look for, whether I’m renting a car or a campervan. Considering that hitting the road in a campervan to explore backroads, national parks, and the wide-open spaces we crave will rack up some serious miles, it’s best to find a company that includes unlimited mileage. With roadsurfer, mileage is unlimited. On our recent road trip through the southwest, where miles of desert begged exploration, not paying for excess mileage was a huge benefit.

Roadsurfer Campervan Road Trip
roadsurfer Couples Condo campervan at Sunset Crater National Monument. Photo: Terri Marshall – Credit: Terri Marshall

What Insurance is Included with Your Rental?

No one wants a camping vacation to turn into a financial nightmare. To keep that from happening, but sure to find out what type of insurance is offered or included with your campervan rental. At roadsurfer, a policy is included that covers most potential situations. If you’re more comfortable with an upgrade to the policy, that is possible for a fee.

We chose to stay with the provided coverage and had no issues. But it’s important to know what isn’t covered. For example, the policy that comes standard with the Roadsurfer rental doesn’t include coverage for awning damage due to severe winds. We knew not to open the awning during high winds, so we had no issues. A little common sense goes a long way.

Roadsurfer Campervan Road Trip
The open road never looked sweeter than in a roadsurfer campervan. Photo: Terri Marshall

Who Should You Contact if You Have Any Mechanical Issues?

Each company has emergency contacts, and it’s important to know that number before you drive away in your campervan. In the roadsurfer campervan, there is a QR code on the dashboard that provides a link to the vehicle’s manual as well as contact information for emergencies. Be sure to download the manual and additional information before you drive away. If you happen to end up in a place with no cell service, you’ll be glad you took care of that in advance.

Roadsurfer Campervan Road Trip
Letting the husband do the dumping! Photo: Terri Marshall – Credit: Terri Marshall

Does the Campervan Have Hot Water and Heat?

Exploring the southwestern deserts of Arizona, we experienced huge temperature swings. Days brought sunshine and highs close to 80 degrees, but at night, those temperatures dropped to 30 degrees at times.

Fortunately, the roadsurfer has heating and hot water, and everything is managed through an onboard panel. Still, sometimes things happen. One night we forgot to flip the switch located on the van’s exterior to turn on the propane that’s needed for the heater to work. My husband had to venture out in the freezing night air to correct that. He was rewarded for his efforts with a view of the Milky Way and a shooting star set to the backdrop of howling coyotes in the distance.

Roadsurfer Campervan Road Trip
Me and the roadsurfer campervan waiting for sunset in the Painted Desert. Photo: Greg Holder

More Things to Know about roadsurfer

While there are many companies offering campervan rentals, I’ve been incredibly happy with the roadsurfer brand. My first roadsurfer experience was in the Liberty Lodge (formerly known as the Road House XL) – a pop-up Sprinter camper. That model sleeps four, making it the perfect choice for a girls’ trip I did last year. This time, we chose the Couples Condo since it was just my husband and me. roadsurfer also offers Class C RV motorhomes for those who prefer a larger vehicle.

If your road trip adventures expand into Europe, there are even more options. I’m scoping out the possibilities, so don’t be surprised when you learn that I’ve been driving all over Europe in another roadsurfer model. It’s inevitable!

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Terri Marshall grew up road-tripping around the country. Her love for the open road remains strong today. A travel... More about Terri Marshall