#Vanlife has been growing in popularity for years, and that trend has exploded of late during the coronavirus pandemic, when getting out into nature in your own vehicle feels like the safest way to travel. One company looking to capitalize on the moment and make #vanlife more accessible for those who don't want to commit to an awesome custom camper van build is Europe-based Indie Campers, which now offers monthly and yearly subscription plans.
Indie Campers has a fleet of 1,250 vans spread across 40 different destinations in 15 European countries, stretching from Amsterdam to Zagreb. The vans include Fiat Ducatos, Volkswagen Californias (with a manual gearbox if so desired) and Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo pop-tops. Depending on the area and the month, you can rent vans for as low as €899 (a little over $1,000) per month — fairly reasonable, when you factor in how expensive hotels and a rail pass would be for the same stretch of time. You can even do a shorter-term rental before committing to a lengthier plan.
The rental is not a complete free-for-all. Renters are mileage-limited to 1,000 kilometers on a monthly plan or 10,000 km on a yearly plan, with additional range packages available for purchase. (Things are closer geographically in Europe than the United States, but 1,000 km is still not quite enough to get from Paris to Berlin.)
Americans technically have an advantage when using Indie Campers. As non-EU residents, they can pick up a van everywhere; EU residents, meanwhile, must rent their van in their country of origin. Of course, the downside for Americans is you have to be able (and willing) to get to Europe, which isn’t easy right now. Some countries like Iceland aren’t accepting U.S. citizens at all. Others, like Ireland, mandate a 14-day self-isolation period after entry. Croatia appears to be allowing U.S. tourists at present.
But policies may change as COVD-19 cases spike during the winter months. So an Indie Campers adventure may be one of those things you put off until things get back to normal.