One startup wants to make it as easy as possible to dip your toes into that sweet, Instagram-worthy van life. Cabana, a startup founded just last year, lets you rent one of their converted 2019 Ford Transit camper vans through their mobile app, reports Business Insider.
After all, once it's safe to finally alleviate all of your pent-up cabin fever, why not ditch the cabin entirely? We're all sick of looking at building walls, after all.
Prices fluctuate based on season and demand, but expect to pay around $200 a night (including insurance, booking and cleaning fees) to experience that whole "home is where you park it" thing. Cabana's service uses standardized van layouts that you can select from in the app to make things easy. There's less choice than there is from a traditional RV rental service or the Turo-style Outdoorsy or RVShare rental sites, but it's much simpler this way and you know what you're getting.
Each van is off-grid-ready with its own power and water systems, complete with a 45-gallon fresh water tank, 200-watt solar panels, and batteries that will last up to 18 hours on their own. Every van features a queen bed, stowable table, storage, a 24-inch TV, wifi, a bathroom with a five-gallon toilet and shower, an exterior shower, and an indoor kitchen with a sink and a refrigerator. Cabana provides essentials like camp chairs, cleaning wipes, toilet paper, shampoo, bedding, and even coffee pods, too. Some vans also offer pop-up tents and slide-outs to give the kitchen more room.
The biggest downside is that they're not that big—one van can accommodate four people while parked, but only two in transit. If you're renting for four, you may end up needing two vehicles to get there.
Like any other rental company, there are still mileage restrictions—only 200 miles for the first day, and 100 for every day after that—with overage fees of $0.35 for any miles over that. Likewise, renters have to be over 25 years old.
Currently, Cabana is only available in Seattle, although they hope to add additional cities in the next year, including Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. They offer several check-in and drop-off spots for their vans, including at least one that will be next to the city's largest airport. Cabana's app makes check-in and check-out completely contact-free, too, as it can lock and unlock the van.
Expanding a travel app in the middle of a pandemic is some bad luck, but this could be the perfect way to travel if you're not comfortable staying in a hotel just yet. The numbers back this up: RV rental bookings increased by over 1000 percent in May alone as states eased up their COVID-19 restrictions, per Business Insider. That was after RVShare reported a 650 percent spike in bookings from April to May.
Best of all, Cabana owns and services the vans for you, as any other RV rental company would. You won't have to sell out any "live simply" mantras to the brands just to keep it running. Just hand back the keys and go sleep in your own bed when you're done.
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