Today’s post is inspired by a reader’s question. A Culinatour reader wanted to know if she should explore Europe as a road trip and travel by campervan on her next European adventure.
My short answer: A resounding YES!
Just imagine how amazing it would be to travel Europe in one of these…
I’m sharing all the details in this post below where I will cover the following points:
- Why traveling by campervan is the best way to explore Europe like a local
- How to Choose the Best Campervan Rental Company in Europe
- Why Blacksheep Vans is my favourite campervan rental company
- Blacksheep Vans and Culinatour – A match made in heaven
- How to get started planning your European Vanlife adventure
My name is Julia, I am based in the heart of Europe in Frankfurt, Germany and I love everything related to travel, food and campervans!
As a professional travel planner, foodie and vanlife enthusiast it’s my mission to introduce to you what Europe has to offer in a way that you would never be able to experience on your own.
The secrets, the hidden gems – once you see Europe this way you’ll have a whole different experience.
My goal is to introduce you to the beauty of vanlife and make your next trip to Europe one of the best travel experiences you have ever had.
Why traveling by campervan is the best way to explore Europe like a local
Who doesn’t love a great road trip? It’s the perfect way to explore all the hidden gems and travel away from the tourist crowds.
Traveling Europe in a campervan provides you with the ultimate level of freedom!
No hotel bookings to tie you down.
No rigid itineraries to follow.
It’s a wonderful way to explore Europe as a family, couple or as a solo traveler. You will get to see the real Europe, away from the hordes of tourists.
If you want to travel…
…and not just see the sights but soak in the experience,
…take home memories that bring a smile each time you think of them
…and enjoy Europe the way the Europeans do,
then you are in the right place!
If this sounds like you, I would love to invite you to explore Europe the #Vanlife way!
Here are my top 3 reasons why a vanlife experience is ideal to explore Europe in a truly authentic way.
1. Keep it flexible!
There are no tight schedules, your travel plans can change as you are exploring and you can just sit back and enjoy the European lifestyle.
It’s completely up to you: you can explore multiple countries, go active or take it slow and just go with the flow.
2. Travel on your own terms!
Vanlife travel allows you to explore iconic sights before the tourist crowds arrive (there is nothing better than having breakfast amongst the locals before the big tourist busses roll in).
No matter if you want to fall asleep watching the stars or whilst listening to the sound of the ocean, you get to do it your way!
3. Make it 100% YOU!
Travel the back roads to cute little villages and places the locals like to keep as a secret. Weave in all your favourite activities: watersports, hiking, cycling or just chilling by the beach.
Make friends with the locals and get to know their way of living and their delicious local cuisine.
If you want a European adventure that is tailored totally to who you are and what you love, then this is for you!
Traveling Europe by campervan is great for families too!
If you are traveling with a baby or toddler you have all the amenities for changing nappies, swapping clothes, cooking food or taking a nap. It’s all right there and available in your campervan.
This is a snapshot of our campervan and within this post I will explain how YOU can travel Europe in a ‘home on wheels’, too.
How to Choose the Best Campervan Rental Company for a Stress-Free European Adventure Trip
Choosing the perfect Campervan rental company can be quite confusing.
Here’s my easy reference guide to help you find the best place for renting your Campervan!
Although we have our own Sprinter van getting converted and outfitted by This Moving House, I’ve researched many campervan rental companies in the past. Especially before we decided that we wanted to invest in a Sprinter van for ourselves.
Let’s start with a detailed list of the criteria I look for when shortlisting a campervan rental company:
1. The Condition of the Campervans
The first thing I look at is the condition of the campervans available to rent.
Are they old? Or new? If old, how old are they? When were they serviced last? Do they look good-to-use or are they shabby and rundown?
Here are a few “red flags” which will help you identify if the van is in a shabby condition:
- run-down tyres – check out this great article by carsguide on how to know when the tyres are worn out
- high mileage, e.g. if the van has over 200.000 km on the clock
- engine stutters when trying to start it – this could be caused by all sorts of issues e.g. a low battery, problem with the engine itself etc.)
2. Pricing and Fees
Next, you want to look at their pricing structure and see if it’s clear, transparent and easy-to-understand.
Are there any hidden fees?
What about surcharges during busy season?
Some campervan companies double their fees during the summer season while others don’t mention the cleaning fees upfront.
The deposit should not be more than 2.500 Euro and you should have fully comprehensive insurance included as a default.
I know first hand how confusing the pricing of campervan rentals can be. And as with any product or service, there is a significant price range.
If you are unsure if you are getting a good bang for your buck when renting a campervan, feel free to get in touch with me to discuss the details.
3. The Staff and Team
Then, you want to chat with the staff and team to see whether or not they’re knowledgeable about the technical aspects of the vehicle as well as outdoor travel.
Are they able to give you travel advice for your destination of choice?
Do they know what you should keep an eye out for?
Are they comfortable with the Campervan and can guide you about warning signs; what to look into and what to ignore?
More important, are they easy to reach when you need them, are friendly and approachable, and do they welcome your questions
Speaking of questions, here is a list of possible questions to ask your rental company, such as:
- Does the campervan come with GPS?
- Does the vehicle have built in cameras to assist in parking your campervan?
- Does the rental offer things like bedding, kitchen equipment, plates and cutlery?
- What’s the fuel consumption of the campervan? How many liters per 100kms should you expect?
- How many people can travel comfortably in the campervan without feeling cramped?
4. The Inclusions and Exclusions
Next, you want to get super clear on what’s included versus what’s an optional add-on.
Does the van have a proper camping kitchen and not a basic box with a camp cooker?
Are bedding, utensils and cutlery included? What about camping equipment?
If the basics aren’t included, your costs can quickly add up since you’ll need all of this for an enjoyable trip.
You also want to check the mileage included per day. Make sure it’s aligned with your travel plans because some companies can charge a bomb if you overrun on the agreed mileage.
5. The Customer Experience
Finally and most importantly, what’s the customer experience like, right from the beginning till van handover and then, the return.
Do they offer free test-drives and answer all your questions openly and completely?
Do they have an emergency 24-hour hotline that you can use in case there’s an accident or theft?
Do they do a detailed handover of the van that includes a complete explanation of all the technical features?
How do you feel when you interact with them?
This is it, my personal checklist that I use before renting a campervan. I know, renting a campervan in Europe can seem a bit overwhelming at first.
But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!
I am happy to help you organise your perfect campervan adventure in Europe. Here is a link to find out more:
Why Blacksheep Vans is my favourite campervan rental company
During my research of the best European campervan rental companies I came across Blacksheep Vans, a French company that really goes the extra mile for their customers.
I just had to share why I love what Blacksheep does for adventure-loving travelers looking to rent a campervan.
You’ll see how they check everything off my fairly picky list.
Blacksheep has beautiful, brand-new VW California vans available to rent. They swap out the entire fleet at least every other year so when you rent with them you get the latest VW Campervan! How cool is that?!
The following accessories and equipment are included in every Blacksheep campervan:
- outdoor table,
- inside table,
- kitchen unit equipped,
- storage box,
- gas stove,
- 12V cooler,
- water tank,
- kitchen utensils and crockery
Here’s a glimpse of everything that’s “always on board”:
Their offer includes comprehensive insurance cover which you can upgrade based on the level of security you wish to have. They have a 24-hour emergency number as well. So you don’t have to worry about being stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Plus, I love how they go the extra mile for their customers and make the minimum rental period only 2 days! That’s very rare with campervan rental companies (they usually set the minimum rental period to 5 or even 7 days). So with Blacksheep Vans you can easily just explore the vanlifestyle for a weekend break or a music festival.
And here is another great thing about Blacksheep:
Their campervans are not only cool, modern and fully specced, they are also quite affordable!
You can rent the amazing VW California campervan from 71 Euro per day and their VW Caddy based Mini Camper from 41 Euro per day.
So where in Europe can I rent one of these fantastic Blacksheep campervans, Julia?
I’m glad you asked! 😉
Blacksheep Vans currently has 35 agency locations across France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and the latest addition to their agency network is *drumroll* my hometown: Frankfurt, Germany!
Lucky for you, I’ve connected with the best of the best. Through these relationships I am in a position to hook you up with Blacksheep Vans across all of their locations in Europe.
If you are interested, I’d be happy to extend my recommendations to you – let’s connect and chat about your specific travel needs to make sure you have the best experience imaginable.
Blacksheep Vans and Culinatour – A match made in heaven
As you know, I am equally passionate about traveling Europe like a local as I am about enjoying the freedom of vanlife.
But there is one thing that drives me more than anything else:
I want YOU to create travel memories that will last a lifetime!!
No more cookie-cutter travel!
No more all-inclusive, one-size-fits-all deals!
Just tasty outdoor adventures!
That’s ALL you need to travel Europe like a local.
So here is the BIG NEWS!!
I teamed up with Blacksheep to be able to serve you even better going forward. Here is the simple math:
Blacksheep’s fantastic campervans
+ my custom travel advice
= Your EPIC European Adventure
How to get started planning your European Vanlife Experience
Start your European Vanlife adventure and travel Europe like a local with these 3 easy steps:
Step 1: Click HERE to connect with me to get access to all my insight knowledge about campervan travel in Europe.
Step 2: Check your inbox and confirm that you want to receive my inside scoop on traveling Europe like a local 😎
Step 3: Yay, we’re connected! Get ready to receive all my best travel tips, itineraries and special offers for your next European road trip adventure.
And here is the best thing: you will receive my travel tips and advice for absolutely FREE!
What are you waiting for?! 😉
Let’s create your perfect European adventure together! 🚐☀️⛰️