10 Important Things To Know Before You Rent a Volkswagen Bus

Have you ever thought of packing up a VW bus and taking an epic road trip? Or maybe even just touring in a camper van for the weekend? Now that safe air travel feels limited, this might not be such a pipe dream. But there are several important things to know before you rent a Volkswagen bus and hit the road. Here are 10 things to think about before you take the plunge!

Editor’s Note: This article was updated in May of 2022.

vw bus at lake
Perhaps the biggest advantage or traveling in a VW bus is that you to take a road trip wherever you want, whenever you please.

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CONTENTS: In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about renting a VW bus, including:

What is a VW Bus?

vw bus camper van
VW busses are easy to customize, so you can easily create the perfect living space for you and your travel partner.

A Volkswagen bus is a light van introduced by German in the 1950s. It was one of the first vehicles that set the driver above the front wheels, and the engine in the rear.

That makes it the forerunner of the modern passenger van.

Brief History of the VW Bus

hippie van
VW Bus art dates back to the 1960s, when “hippies” painted images of peace signs, flowers, and other symbols of peace on their campervans.

Over the years, the Volkswagen bus has become somewhat of an icon around the world.

While it was originally created in 1947, the VW bus became popular in the 1960s and 1970s. That’s when it was the preferred mode of transportation by hippies as part of the “counterculture movement” in the western world.

VW Bus art dates back to the 1960s, when “hippies” painted images of peace signs, flowers, and other symbols of peace on their campervans during the notorious counterculture movement.

Since then, the VW bus has evolved into a popular campervan for travelers.

You may have heard the Volkswagen bus go by several names over the years, with official and colloquial names such as:

  • Kombi
  • Type 2
  • Transporter
  • Micro bus
  • Mini-bus
  • HippieMobile

But one thing is a constant as the bus has advanced over the years: it has kept the same casual vibe as a utilitarian vehicle for road trips

Now, let’s get into the 10 important things you should know before you rent a Volkswagen bus.

10 Things You Should Know

Make sure you know each of these ten points before you rent a Volkswagen bus for yourself. It can save you some headaches.

1. Advantages of Travel in a VW Bus

vw bus in field by ocean
When you rent a VW bus, you don’t have to worry about the costs or cleanliness of a hotel or airBnb.

There are plenty of advantages of travel in a VW bus.

Perhaps the biggest advantage or traveling in a VW bus is that you to take a road trip wherever you want, whenever you please.

Thinking of sleeping under the stars?

Falling asleep to the sound of the ocean?

Parking on a mountaintop?

Your VW bus can make that possible.

Rent a 7 passenger van and here’s a big plus: you don’t have to worry about the costs or cleanliness of a hotel or Airbnb. You’re in charge!

Plus, you don’t have to worry about the costs or cleanliness of a hotel or Airbnb. You’re in charge!

Finally, they are easy to customize, so you can easily create the perfect living space for you and your travel partner(s).

Even if you’re renting a Volkswagen bus, campervan travel and van life is on trend. You’ll find inspiration everywhere!

Whether you prefer a classic, simple style or a more sophisticated living space, the possibilities for arranging your space seem endless. 

2. Disadvantages of Travel in a VW Bus

van life morning
Do remember, you’re still basically sleeping in a car, which could be romantic–or cramped.

While the VW bus has many advantages, there are some solid disadvantages.

Do remember, unless you’re tent camping along the way, you’re still basically sleeping in a car.

In winter months, you may find it difficult to stay warm within the walls of a vehicle.

Likewise, in the summer, it can get quite hot without proper ventilation.

Of course, some vintage VW busses have 23 windows and large side bay doors. Now that’s a cross-breeze!

When you are looking to rent a caravan, make sure to consider the vehicle’s air-conditioning and insulation for a more comfortable experience. Perhaps invest in a solar powered space heater or battery-powered fan to bring along.

Another disadvantage is that you might find you’re incompatible with your travel partner, since you will be living in tight quarters in a VW bus!

It might turn out to be romantic for some couples, but be prepared for it to just be cramped.

You should also consider that the VW bus, while charming and easily customizable, may not be the most reliable vehicle on the market. 

Especially if you are going for an older model.

Ge aware that there may be a higher chance of technical difficulties or breakdowns.

And while VW campervans are typically easy to fix, repairs aren’t exactly something you want to deal with on your trip.

So, make sure that your caravan is well maintained and ready to go. If you are renting, make sure that you are renting from a reliable company.

And, you might just want to sign up for Sam’s Club or another roadside assistance plan before your trip.

Also, be aware that the VW bus is not necessarily made for speed, so expect to drive at a comfortable 50-70 mph.

That’s all the better to see the scenery along the way, though, right?

3. What Types of VW Bus Are Available?

VW bus with pop up
You’ll find several models you should research and consider when it comes time to renting a Volkswagen bus.

Since its inception, the VW bus has grown and evolved with changes to its appearance and hardware.

If you are looking for the classic style caravan, the Volkswagen Type 2 (T1 and T2) makes a good choice.

Within the Type 2 generation, there are different models.

There’s the Microbus with the split windshield, and the model with bay windows, each with the option of 7 or 9 passengers.

If you don’t have your heart set on the classic vintage look of a VW bus, there’s also a larger, more square van-like shape. It’s not the beloved classic look of a VW bus, but it’s called the Volkswagen Transporter (eurovan).

Here are several models you should research and consider when it comes time to renting a Volkswagen bus.

  • Kombi – short for Kombinationskraftwagen or a combined-use vehicle – has simple/basic features
  • Volkswagen Type 2 T1(Microbus) – 7 passenger/9 passenger
  • Volkswagen Type 2 T2 – with Bay windows
  • Volkswagon T2 V3 – “Vanagon”
  • Volkswagon Transporter- (eurovan)- larger, more square van like shape, not the beloved classic look of a VW bus
  • Westfalia Camping Van “Westie”
  • Adventurewagon

4. Cost to Rent a Volkswagen Bus

Considering that the cost to buy a vintage VW bus can range from around $30,000 to nearly $130,000 USD depending on the year, model, condition, and mileage, renting may be the best options.

You can expect to pay around $100-$200 USD per night as a rental.

That’s about what an affordable luxury hotel might cost, but without being tied down to a certain location.

The cost to rent, of course, will vary from place to place, so be sure to do your research.

In addition, be sure to factor in the cost of gas, as the VW bus gas mileage is around 15-20 mpg.

You should also consider mileage limits on the rental agreement. As for the vintage rentals, don’t be surprised if you may be limited to how many miles you can drive per day.

As with any car rental, find out whether your existing car insurance will cover you for damages.

Also, be prepared to place a hefty hold on your credit card before you can drive away.

5. Where to Rent a VW Bus?

vw bus touring
Many websites will also only rent a VW bus in certain areas and destinations.

Similar to websites such as Airbnb and other accommodation websites, you can rent a campervan online!

Whether it is a general car/RV rental website or one specifically for VW buses, most websites will ask for your:

  • Location
  • Price range
  • travel dates

Then, they will show you which VW buses may be available.

These services may require a minimum night stay. They may also require cleaning fees, milage limits and charges, as well as pick up and have specific drop off time frames.

Many websites will also only cater to certain areas and destinations.

This all means you need to be sure to do your research on the services available for your desired destination.

6. What to Expect When Traveling in VW Bus

Let’s take a look into what VW bus life might be like while you’re traveling.

The VW bus is said to have good visibility, drivability, with easy steering. 

Any VW bus produced before 1973 is likely to have a manual transition (“stick”) unless it has been updated.

If you can drive a standard, your options are wide open. Believe it or not, less than 18% of the US population knows how to drive a manual transmission! (Source: U.S. News and World Report)

But don’t worry.

Since 1973, Volkswagen has offered models with both manual and automatic transmissions. That means you can choose a model that fits your comfort level, depending on your preference.

The seats in a VW bus are fairly elevated, so you are sitting high up in the driver’s seat.

Most renovated campervans will feature a small kitchenette with a sink, cabinets, and even a hot plate/stove top.

When it comes to bathrooms and showers, however, don’t expect to find those in your compact VW campervan.

That’s all the more reason you’ll want to plan out your pit stops.

7. Tips for Planning a Campervan Trip

coffee outdoors
Be sure to do some menu planning before your campervan trip.

If you’ve ever taken an epic road trip or planned a camping trip, then you’ll find planning a campervan trip is something of a hybrid between the two.

At minimum, you’ll want to:

  • Plan a basic route but prepared to do some exploring
  • Do some menu planning
  • Decide on comfortable and appropriate attire for your road trip
  • Incorporate pit stops and some take-out/dine-in meals
  • Scout out where you’ll overnight
  • Pack light but make sure you have necessities

8. Where Can I Stay with a Campervan?

Van Life at Beach
Check the local regulations before choosing a random spot and hoping to park overnight.

Where can you park your VW camper van for the night?

That’s a good question.

Of course, you can stay over at campgrounds and national parks.

You can also stay over at some of the places that RVers enjoy overnight accommodations, such as WalMart and Flying J.

As far as picking a random spot and parking overnight, it’s best to check the local regulations.

9. Alternative Types of Campervans

If you love the idea of van life, but want to scope out alternatives to a VW bus, here are some worthy competitors:

  1. Chinook Bayside Camper Van
  2. Doubleback Van
  3. Fiat Ducato Camper Van
  4. Ford Transit
  5. GMC Vandura
  6. Hymercar Camper Vans
  7. Mazda Bongo Friendee
  8. Mercedes Sprinter
  9. Outside Van Wanderlust
  10. Peugeot Rifter 4×4
  11. Renault Estafette
  12. Toyota HiAce
  13. Volkswagen California Camper Van
  14. Winnebago Revel 4×4

But, you might be glad to know that there is new VW bus in the making.

10. 2022 Microbus is Coming!

Small 7144 ID.BUZZconcept
The 2022 VW microbus has an updated aesthetic.
Small 7168 ID.BUZZconcept
As always, this updated version is loaded with space and windows.

After many years, the microbus is back and rumored to be better than ever.

This 2022 VW bus is making its comeback with modern features while keeping its classic, well-loved aesthetic.

It’s called ID.Buzz, or Buzz for short.

It will be fully electric and will have an anticipated driving range of 300 miles. (Extra points for sustainable travel!)

Plus, the interior seating is also expected to be flexible and reconfigurable.

While the 2022 minibus is still a concept car, it’s rumoured that the top speed will be 99 mph and it will have a starting price of $40,000 to buy.

The Buzz Electric Microbus is planned for roll-out in the US in 2024. A short-wheelbase version has already been released in Europe.

European short-wheelbase version already looks like a winner

So, how much to rent?

That’s yet to be determined, but we can’t wait to hear.

You can get a preview of the minibus concept car here.

Final Thoughts on Renting a VW Bus

So, now that we’ve covered the most important information before you rent a VW bus, does the possibility seem a little closer to becoming a reality?

Will you rent a vintage VW bus and head for the hills on a camping trip, or wait for the new VW minibus and cruise the Pacific Coast Highway?

You’ll get all the encouragement you need from us. Either way, it should be a blast!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Renting a VW Bus

Here are answers to some common questions about renting a VW bus.

How many people can sleep in a Vanagon?

You’ll be able to fit two people in the bottom and two on the top of the Vanagon, for a total of four adults/kids.

Can you stand in a VW bus?

No, not unless it’s a high-top VW camper, which is more like a small RV.

How many miles can a VW Bus last?

On average, vintage VW busses will get about 100,000 miles, If they are maintained well mechanically, then more.

What’s Next?

Now you can begin planning your road trip in a VW bus. Check out these helpful resources:

If you’re wondering where to go, here are some routes that can be a lot of fun:

Even if you decide against renting a VW bus, you have other options for road trips:

Did we cover your concerns? What questions do you have before you rent a VW bus? Have you ever taken an epic road trip or owned/rented a VW bus? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Rent a Volkswagen Bus Pin
You can save this pin for later on Pinterest.

Photo credits: Blue VW bus by ocean – Anthony Wright, VW hippie van –  Manuel Willer (Pixabay); Orange VW bus by lake – Alfonso Escalante, Green caravan in village – Liam Gant, Coffee cup, Socked feet – Taryn Elliott, Popup camper – Daniel Rodriguez (Pexels); 2022 Microbus photos and footage courtesy of Volkwagen.

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.

4 thoughts on “10 Important Things To Know Before You Rent a Volkswagen Bus

  • August 17, 2022 at 2:11 am
    Permalink

    Es improbable encontrar a blogers con conocimientos sobre este mundillo , pero creo que sabes de lo que ests hablando. Gracias compartir un tema como este.

    Reply
  • January 23, 2021 at 1:16 am
    Permalink

    Amazing! I know nothing about traveling all over the country…what a wonderful option to explore.

    Reply
    • June 24, 2021 at 11:13 am
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      I couldn’t agree more — renting a VW bus is a great travel option!

      Reply

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