Want to experience #VanLife, but not quite ready to buy a van, quit your job and stop showering regularly just yet?

Well, here are some of the best tester kits to sample the joys of the open road … before committing to it.

The Airbnb of Vanlife

Someone else’s van, but they will be your memories. Photo: Outdoorsy

Filed under the “Airbnb of Vanlife” companies such as Outdoorsy, Campanda and RV Share provide platforms to rent an RV from seasoned veterans.

Each organization’s network is packed with knowledgeable and vetted RV owners who apart from handing over their prized possessions will also throw in expert advice on the best routes and camping spots in their hood. A “lived-in” look is all part of the vanlife experience and this way you have flexibility in terms of price and duration of your trip.

Start off with a day or weekend trip, build up to weekly missions, before eventually buying your own van. Which you can then rent out. (That’s what is called the circle of vanlife.)

Ease In Gently

Enjoy the great outdoors, and watch TV! Photo: Mercedes Sprinter RV Rentals

Easing into vanlife is important. Not all newbies want to ditch hot showers and proper cooking facilities and head off into the wilderness without WiFi. That's where Mercedes Sprinter RV Rentals come in.

This is luxury living, or at least as luxurious as you can get when traveling at 45 miles per hour. These rigs come with full bathrooms, oven and even a TV for late night movies (or lunchtime football). They aren’t cheap, coming around $400-$500 a night, but for those that are used to the finer things in life and still want to reconnect with nature, it’s a perfect way to comfortably ease yourself into a newer, more adventurous world.

Available in 21 locations in the Western US, you’ll also have no issue in finding somewhere to go.

Vintage Vanlife

VW buses as far as the eye can see. Photo: Courtesy of VWSurfari.com

The loving restoration of vintage vans is one of the cornerstones of the vanlife movement. Nothing slows down life quite like a 1950s VW van whose top speed is just under that of a tractor.

Of course, the restoration of these vehicles is an expensive and laborious process. Many people might not be too excited spending a year of their life (and much of their salary) hunched over a 40-year-old gearbox. But, that’s where Vintage Surfari Wagons step up to the plate. They offer classic VW Camper Vans for rent out of South Los Angeles, with each camper coming with its own unique personality.

And if you want to test the ultimate “Vanlife Tester Kit” why not book one of their curated group camping tours? Here, local guides reveal their most magical spots and will fix that fickle gearbox if there are any issues.

Island Life

Aloooooooha. Photo: Courtesy of Hawaii Surf Campers

It’s one thing to shed your urban skin, and hop in a van to hit the road for the weekend. It’s another when park your van under a swaying palm tree in Hawaii, pull out your surfboard and hit the warm waters of Oahu. Hawaii Surf Campers can make this happen, with a full range of campervans to suit your budget.

And if you don't surf? No problem. They are partnered with local surf schools so you can get discounted lessons and surfboards. After one week on Oahu we can’t guarantee you’ll be hanging ten, but you will definitely be thinking about buying a van … And then moving to Hawaii, and living in that van.

Being Told Where To Go

Have four wheels (and a planned itinerary) will travel. Photo: Pacific Overlander

Home is where you park it right? Or so the hashtag goes. However, having the keys to vanlife is one thing, but knowing where to go with your new, temporary, home is another. Luckily, Pacific Overlander can take the logistics (and the navigation arguments) out of it. They provide a host of 4×4 adventure vehicles coupled with rooftop tents and camping equipment, as well as personalized itineraries that will maximum your testing experience.

Be it exploring Big Sur, the Grand Canyon or Death Valley, they provide a literal road map to ensure that your #vanlife Instagram posts will stand out from the masses. Unfortunately, once your hooked and in a van of your very own, you’ll need to plan your own trips (and start your own navigation arguments).

Van European

Camping in Portugal’s Algarve. Photo: Indie Campers

The Europeans had been doing the vanlife thing decades before hashtags were invented. As such, the facilities for a mobile life on the road are better than anywhere on the planet.

It’s a perfect destination then for dipping your toes into four wheel living. Indie Campers offer van rental across 12 countries including France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Switzerland. Now sure, you may need to adjust (quite quickly) to driving on the “wrong” side of the road, but once acclimated, you can cross borders and cultures on a daily basis knowing there will always be a cheap, clean and van friendly campsite (or deserted lake) waiting at the end of the road.

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