How to afford a camper van

By renting out your house or your van, you’ll pay off your RV loan and can even make a profit.

UPDATED SEPTEMBER 29, 2023 | BY INGRID SCHNADER
Gracie stands on a Storyteller Overland MODE LT camper van in Joshua Tree National Park.
What makes camper vans so expensive?

The chassis price alone for a Mercedes Sprinter would easily cost you $75,000 plus dealer fees and taxes. The next big ticket item on Storyteller Overland camper vans is the M-Power battery system, which allows you to boondock for days without running out of power. Finally, camper vans need insulation, modular furniture, internal water systems, kitchen appliances, cabinets and more.

But how can anyone afford this? Sure, plenty of people pay cash, but you’d be surprised how many people finance their camper vans for around $1,190-1,527 per month and turn it into a side hustle.

Here are two ways you can make your camper van pay for itself so you can afford vanlife.

For weekend warriors: Rent out your van

Instead of letting your van sit in the driveway when you’re not traveling, you can rent it out on GoCamp instead. GoCamp is like AirBnb but for camper van rentals.

Dawn and Les Prock have become “top earners” on GoCamp’s website by renting out their Storyteller Overland Beast MODE van since 2021.

They found that people are eager to get into the vanlife lifestyle and try a Storyteller for themselves, so renters were OK paying a premium to rent Dawn and Les’ van. Many Storyteller owners are renting their vans on the GoCamp website for between $200-300 a night.

Owners will receive about 80% of that nightly rate, and average bookings are five to six nights. This means that you could offset the cost of your RV loan by renting out your van just once a month! This could be one longer trip or a couple of shorter trips.

The best part is you can use your van when you want to, and you can make good money renting it out when you aren’t using it. Contact GoCamp at letsgo@gocamp.com for more information.

For full-time vanlifers: Rent out your house

If you’re committed to full-time van life, you can move into your van and get renters. Since your finance payment will be around $1,062-1,391 per month, as long as your tenants pay more than that per month, you can actually make a profit and still have enough money leftover for gas.

This is how Emily Pan was able to get into her Stealth MODE. She’d already owned a house in D.C., so she moved out, sold most of her belongings, and had renters move in. Emily was able to finance with 10% down and now pays $1,200 a month plus gas. She works her 9-5 job from her van (with the help of Starlink for wifi on the road).

"People look at me like, 'How cool are you?!' and I'm not." Emily said. "I'm no different from you. You can do this too."


Ready to get started with vanlife? Click the link below and we’ll get your adventure started!

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