On a recent trip to Yosemite National Park, the parking lots were dotted with some very colorful little campervans that reminded me of the long-term travel vans in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. It turns out that the Kiwi company that rents out the graffiti-inspired vans Down Under now has rental options in the U.S. The individually painted vans are available in several cities around the country for both short and long road trips.
Escape Campervans are available in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami and New York and each are hand painted by local artists. Prices are quoted for trips from 3 days to 85+ days. A young British couple we met in Yosemite were driving their Escape campervan from Los Angeles to New York for three months and the longer you rent, the cheaper the cost. Only a $200 deposit is needed to reserve a camper van.
The U.S fleet of Escape Campervans are economical Chevy Astros, Ford E150 and Dodge Caravans. Each of the campervans sleep two to four people and include beds, bedding and comforters, picnic chairs, sinks and running water, cooking and eating utensils, heat and AC, stereos, propane stoves, and ice boxes for food. Some of the vans include pop-up roofs with sleeping areas. Optional items can be rented including picnic tables, snow chains, rooftop storage boxes, GPS systems, tents, awnings, solar showers and child seats.
Photos by Escape Campervans
I’ve had our tiny backyard cottage as a rental on Airbnb now since June and we’ve had over 20 visitors who’ve been both charmed and confused by the size of the cottage, awed by the location and inspired by the space planning and design. Airbnb is a social website that connects people who have space to spare with those who are looking for a place to stay. Our cottage (which we remodeled last year) has been enjoyed by people from all over the world as a quiet place to stay while in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area.
If things continue to go as well as they do, about 20 percent of our income could come from this rental and this great service, allowing me to not have to work full time anymore. However, it has not been without its ups and downs. Several people have felt that the cottage is too small, the water tank is limited in hot water and the location a little out of the way. Albeit, some visitors have found it perfect for their needs. It can be difficult to include every need and want, but I’ve come up with five tips that could help you rent out your own tiny house on Airbnb.
1. Location, location, location…but not how you think
Our cottage is centrally located to many places: Reno, Carson City, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and Yosemite. It’s also out of the city, which allows our visitors to have a quiet getaway while still being about 15 minutes away from groceries and town. However, the majority of our visitors happen to be coming across the country — coming to or from San Francisco. If you market your tiny house as a way station to another location, you could bring in more visitors.
2. Offer a unique experience
A lot of visitors to the cottage were intrigued first by the name of our property and the bright colors of the house. Then they saw that we offered access to wilderness areas (complete with wild horses), a trampoline, plenty of parking, a giant vegetable garden they could peruse and their own kitchen and bathroom.
3. Be an expert in your area
Some of our visitors have been very happy with the advice I’ve given them about our area. I’ve told them the best places to go hiking, the best restaurants in the area and tips on how to avoid crowds. Be an expert in your own area and make yourself available for questions.
4. Check with your insurance and put it in writing
If you list your tiny house with Airbnb, your property is covered for loss or damage due to theft or vandalism caused by an Airbnb guest for up to $1,000,000 (in eligible countries). I also called our insurance company to make sure that we would not be liable for any injury to a guest as long as they were on our property. It turns out that bodily injury is covered under our insurance with any structure on the property. I have a small information packet in the cottage that outlines the rules of the property and for visitors to use our trampoline or swing at their own risk.
5. Be ready for last minute requests
Several of our Airbnb requests have been for that night or the next night. I’ve had to scramble at the last minute to clean the cottage and make it available for the next person. Be prepared for last minute requests and have extras of everything including bedding, towels and bottles of water and make sure the tiny house is heated or cooled depending on the weather.
The name of this vacation rental company in the United Kingdom might have picked the best name to describe the simplicity of staying in or living in a tiny house. Canopy & Stars have taken it a step further and offer handpicked quirky and eco-friendly small places to stay within Europe. They include tree houses, cabins, vardos, caravans, barges, yurts and more. Several of their properties caught my eye and stilled my heart: two shepherd huts on wheels in Hampshire, two shepherd’s huts located at a farm in Norfolk, and a train carriage in Wales.
Alex Evan’s Wiggly Tin shepherd huts (one pictured above) are located in Hampshire in the South Downs National Park. The huts (named Beacon and Butser) are completely off-grid and contain raised beds with storage underneath and wood-burning stoves. Showers and a bathroom are accessed in a nearby converted shepherd’s hut. Continue Reading »
To kick off the official start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, I thought I would add a little color to the Tiny House Blog with some tiny houses from Belize, the land of perpetual summer. My husband and I recently returned from the tropical country where we stayed on several cayes (pronounced keys) and on the mainland including Placencia, Caye Caulker and Rendezvous Caye and Tobacco Caye which we reached by sailboat.
Since the weather in Belize stays around 85 degrees F with nearly 100 percent humidity, most homes in Belize are raised off the ground on stilts to create airflow and catch some of the ocean breezes. Sometimes hammocks are strung in between the posts for lounging. Belize is an interesting mix of cultures from Jamaica, Cuba, Guatemala and other Central American countries and the styles are reflected in the colors of the homes which range from Caribbean blue to bright pink and orange. Continue Reading »