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Stay Small – The Benefits of Hiring a Small Campervan!

by Naomi Fiddes-Baron

Family-friendly Serenity is the poster child for compact camper van!

There are two common sayings that we all use when describing things or events that completely contradict each other.  “The bigger, the better” and, “The best things come in small packages”.  These two sayings could absolutely be applied when you’re planning your campervan hire holiday.  So, the question is, should you go large, or, stick with a more compact camper van?

Well, despite owning both a larger and a smaller campervan, my heart will always belong to the more compact of the two.  And, even though we chose to live full time for a year in the larger one, I’m still strongly flying the flag for small campervans to absolutely be included in your campervan hire, or purchase, considerations.

So, read on to find out what I think the main benefits of hiring a small campervan are.

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

A campervan is unlike a hotel room where there, you’re likely to spend the majority of the time sleeping in a large bed.  Instead, a campervan needs to accommodate everything you’d need in a self-catering cottage or apartment, in one space.

So, you might have a tendency to think that in order to fit everything you could possibly need for one week away, you need a large van.

Actually, small campervans are surprisingly roomy and often really well designed, because they’ve had to be super clever in how they’ve been put together to make a workable, liveable space.  Take the iconic VW Transporter – one of, if not the most popular campervans available and these can sleep up to four people!  You’d be surprised to learn that some of our smaller vans actually have more head height and internal space than our longer vans on fleet.

Gloria sleeps 4 people!

Larger campervans often have the perceived luxury of a fixed bed.  However, you may find that you sacrifice comfortable, spacious and snuggly sociable seating during the daytime in order to get this.  For full time van life, a fixed bed is definitely appealing.  However, if you’re off on a shorter break, then really think about what you will spend most of the time doing in the van.  If it’s chilling out, cooking, socialising, then a smaller van might be just right for you!

Wanda has a corner sofa to rival many living rooms!

Easy Driving

The chances are, you might not be overly familiar with driving a larger vehicle.  It’s entirely normal to be intimidated by the thought of driving and manoeuvring a large campervan.  Behind the wheel of a smaller campervan, you’ll find it isn’t much different to driving a large car.  And, there are a number of benefits that come with that.

  • Easier to park in standard sized car parking spaces;
  • Super smooth to manoeuvre along narrow roads and lanes;
  • City parking is more readily available.

The swifter it is to feel comfortable and confident behind the wheel, the more relaxed you’ll be on you holiday!  Check out our handy first-time campervan driving trips.

You’ll be as chilled as surf-dude Karven driving a smaller van!

Go Off Grid

Whilst most campervans have some capacity for enabling you to experience the off-grid lifestyle, you might find it easier in a smaller campervan.  A more compact van is more readily able to drive down roads that larger vehicles might struggle on.  This means that you have more freedom to stop off wherever you fancy, rather than perhaps having to utilise bigger designated camping areas or perhaps camping sites. 

The beautifully rugged Katla can take you away nearly anywhere!

Of course, depending on where you are in the world, it’s super important to check the laws relating to wild camping.

Budget Friendly

When planning the costs of any holiday, it’s important to try and factor everything in.  This can be difficult when one of the main attractions of a campervan holiday is the freedom to be without plans for a period of time!  However, depending of course on how much travelling you want to do, remember that the following might be cheaper in a smaller campervan:

  • Fuel – smaller van likely equals less payload, which in turn equals greater fuel economy;
  • Camping – some campsites offer cheaper pitches for smaller campers;
  • Additional transport – ferry fees are often cheaper because they alter the cost, dependent on the length of your vehicle.

Small is Beautiful!

Gwenver manages to fit in a built-in shower and toilet!

I appreciate I may be biased, and I definitely agree that there’s a place for larger campervans.  However, I think that if you want a flexible accommodation option that gives you the ability to roam free and easy, a smaller, more compact campervan will absolutely give you a holiday experience to remember forever.  So, remember the benefit of hiring a smaller camper van and don’t discount the littler ones when you’re thinking about booking your next holiday!

If I’ve convinced you that a smaller campervan is the right choice for you – check out our collection for hire!