How a big van rental is perfect for a family road trip.
Pickup and go: your winter escape plan
2020 taught us all an important lesson: we CAN work from home, and if we do it right, home can be anywhere, for however long we want.
That’s why this winter my friends killed the Zillow alerts for new homes in warm cities in favor of a better compromise. February 2021 was their first attempt at moving their homebase to a new spot in a warm city for a few weeks. If they do it right, it will become their annual winter escape plan.
A little backstory
My best friend and his wife love almost everything about New England. They’ve made the Northeast their permanent home despite the bitter cold and dark winters. They’d be the first to tell you how January dinnertime conversations always evolve into fantasies about a new house in a state where the grass stays green 12 months of the year.
Without fail, each January, they write their pros and cons list in hopes to finally answer the question: WHY DO WE LIVE HERE? And each year, without fail, the pros just barely squeak by the cons and they agree to make it through one more year.
They stick it out here because they’ve committed to setting their 4-year-old up in the best schools they can. They willingly buy into another year in the Northeast because they know that there’s nothing in the world quite as refreshing as a New England Spring or an impromptu camping trip into the White Mountains on a fall weekend. They make time to take beach trips with friends or rent a canoe for a day on a lake in August.
Massachusetts is home and they don’t really want to leave for good, but it’s ok for them to say we need a long break from this sh** every once and awhile.
Get in the van!
They booked a beautiful Airbnb in Northeast Austin, Texas for the month of February.
It’s big enough for each of them to set up their home offices. It has a backyard, a firepit, and a projector TV. It’s walking distance from great tacos, coffeeshops, playgrounds and restaurants with plenty of outdoor seating. It has all of the vibe they need to feel at home away from home.
Austin in February isn’t all about tacos and cute coffee shops though. There are plenty of outdoor activities to be had, including a day in on the Colorado river, or an outdoor excursion to McKinney Falls State Park.
The only thing they need to do is figure out how to get there.
Before you search for the best van rental company…
Flying isn’t ideal, and not just because it’s something we’re all trying to avoid through the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic. What they’re really trying to avoid is limiting themselves and limiting their possibilities.
This is why their vacation to Austin quickly and easily became a road trip to Austin instead.
Van travel is not only the safest way to relocate their family COVID bubble, it also gives them the opportunity to make a few stops along the way and take the trip on their own terms.
Road trips are fun, but you need a lot of stuff.
If you’re going to relocate your life for a month, you’re going to need to bring a lot of stuff to make it work.
They need to pile in the skateboards, their Son’s scooter, a suitcase full of Paw Patrol characters, Rescue Bots transformers, and all of the Magna-tiles. Throw a few lawn chairs in for good measure, and while they’re at it, an air mattress, a tent, and a few sleeping bags just in case some of their friends decide to join them.
He’s a former touring musician turned record producer turned software developer. His day requires nothing short of a pretty powerful computer tower and a dual monitor setup, so of course, he brought it.
She runs an online vintage clothing store called Older Ghosts. Her passion and love for clothing is remarkable, but that love can feel like quite a burden when she’s trying to pack everything into a 24” by 18” suitcase like the sweet carry-on from Away that she got for Christmas.
The point of this adventure is not to be bound by constraints: work hours, appointments, flight restrictions or any agenda other than the ones they want – so decisions about what stuff they can or can’t bring are wasted energy.
When they first envisioned their roadtrip escape to Texas, my friend thought they could neatly pack everything into his Audi Q5. Then he realized how much stuff they actually had.
You’ve probably thought some of these options
A roof rack cargo carrier
First, he thought he would buy one of those Thule roof rack cargo carriers for the extra space. Then he realized it would end up living in his garage for the 48 weeks out of the year after this trip.
Install a hitch on your SUV and rent a Uhaul trailer
Then he considered installing a trailer hitch on his SUV so he could rent a small Uhaul trailer for all of their luggage. Not a bad idea, except we all know how hectic the pre-vacation countdown can be. When it gets down to the wire, an adventure into the unknown world of “will the parts be in on time, and are we 100% sure this trailer isn’t going to leak” isn’t great for stress levels.
Rent a large SUV
If a Q5 or a similar size SUV is your family car, you know it isn’t always as spacious as you need it to be. If you’re going to upgrade for the trip and rent a larger SUV, the first thing you probably think of is a Chevy Suburban or a Tahoe.
The classic suburban soccer mom truck – it’s close, but not quite the perfect solution. If for no other reason, what you see isn’t always what you get when you try to make a reservation with one of the big rental car companies. You run the risk of ending up with a minivan or worse, an SUV no bigger than the one you already own.
Here’s the solution: Rent a passenger van large enough for your family and everything you need.
They ended up getting themselves a brand new 15 passenger van rental from Greenvans. It was the perfect price for their budget, it was delivered right to their door with the back rows removed to give them plenty of cargo space.
The pricing was affordable and well suited for the long term rental this trip required. Most importantly Greenvans offered a ton of flexibility in case they wanted to extend the van rental and stay in Austin longer.
Not to be overlooked, the eco-boost turbo and the apple car-play landed him about as close as he can get to a driving experience equivalent to an Audi SUV. Not bad considering the number of hours they’ll spend on the road and how great it feels to actually enjoy the vehicle you’re driving.
So if you were racking your brain trying to think of the best way to get you and your family out of the cold and out on your own winter escape road trip, don’t overlook the idea of a large passenger vehicle rental from Greenvans. That might be the best solution you haven’t thought of yet.