Road trips are a classic form of adventure. One of my favorite vacations growing up was our family road trip to Montana – probably because my yellow lab, Chica, was allowed to come along. Fast forward to the present and I’m planning an epic road trip with my dogs, Cool Whip and Hercules. After doing some research, renting an adventure van with my pets makes perfect sense!

Hopefully the following information will help you prepare for the best pet friendly ad-van-ture possible.

Renting an Adventure Van with Pets |


Renting an Adventure Van with Pets

A good road trip is about more than the destination, so you need the appropriate vehicle for your journey. Campervans are a great alternative if you’re not up for tent camping but can do without the bells and whistles of a full-blown RV.

Most campervans are just a bit bigger than your average vehicle. While offering space for gear and room to sleep, they’re still maneuverable and easy to park. And the bonus? Many rental companies understand that family vacations means taking your pets along, so there are several pet friendly options!

READ MORE ⇒  Pet Friendly RV Rental Companies

Renting an Adventure Van with Pets

Policies and Fees

As with any rental, each company has different policies and fees. Call to verify any information you find online and clarify the rules regarding your furry companion. 

I rented from Escape Campervans in Phoenix and though they had no restrictions on size or breed, pets were not allowed during July, August, and September. While this seasonal restriction is meant to protect pets from hot vehicles, it could affect your plans if you’re hoping to travel during summer vacation.

Questions for your campervan rental company:

  • Are pets allowed in the van?
  • Are there additional fees for bringing a pet along?
  • Is there a pet weight limit or a breed restriction?
  • How many pets are allowed in the van?
  • Are there any additional rules pertaining to pets?

Safety During Travel

So, you’ve asked the questions and found a van that will accommodate your pet – but where will he or she sit?

Many campervans have a back seat that converts to a bed, so your pets might be able to ride just like they do in your regular vehicle. There are seat belts available to use with safety harnesses, and there might be space on the floor where a kennel would fit. When in doubt, ask the rental company – they may have additional suggestions.

READ MORE ⇒  The Ultimate Pet Friendly American Road Trip


Our adventure van, Hawaii, was fantastic, but the back seat was a little narrow for CW and Herc to share. Luckily, the seatbelts were accessible in the bed configuration, so I was able to keep the dogs secure without worrying that they’d slip off the seat.

Also, if your dog has a valid driver’s license and can reach the pedals, the driver’s seat is a potential option. Just kidding — Herc likes to scout for squirrels while CW and I nap!

What to Pack

Plan to bring what you’d normally take for a trip with your pets: food, water, bowls, leashes, harnesses, treats, and toys. Then add in any additional weather or terrain requirements: warm layers, raincoats, paw protection, outdoor beds, and towels for dirty paws.

READ MORE ⇒  Complete Guide To Planning The Perfect Pet Friendly Vacation


Also bring plenty of cleaning supplies: paper towels, cleaning wipes, fabric freshener, etc. It’s Murphy’s Law that if your dog gets sick in the vehicle it will be when you’re in the middle of nowhere with no access to running water or a washing machine. Trust me on this one! And pick up some dry shampoo for pets. No one wants to be stuck with a smelly dog — especially in a small space.

Finally, the outdoor beds and an old yoga mat were some of my most useful items. A small space can get dirty quickly, so clean dogs means a clean(er) van! The dog beds provided comfy seating to supervising my cooking, and the yoga mat made a handy doormat to wipe paws and keep dirt out of the van. Yoga mats are easy to clean and roll up nicely for storage. Plus they’re super-helpful for finding your zen after any less-than-stellar moments.


Since indoor space it tight, you might also want to consider a pop-up gazebo. They protect from sun, bugs, and rain if it’s not too windy!

Where To Park?

There are many, many places to take an adventure van and park for the night. You can go to state park campgrounds, private campgrounds, national parks, national forests, and Army Corp of Engineers campgrounds. You can also explore dispersed camping at Bureau of Land Management (BLM) locations. It really depends on what you find enjoyable and makes you feel comfortable. Fnd listings for thousands of pet friendly campgrounds at

READ MORE ⇒  RV Parks Or Boondocking?

Tips and Tricks

Review the list of gear that comes with your van rental before you start packing. Some things you normally take might already be included. This van came with camp chairs, bedding (fitted sheet, comforter, and 2 pillows), and basic kitchenware (propane stove, 2 pots, 1 pan, 3 dining sets, and several other miscellaneous utensils). I brought another pillow and a few blankets so CW and Herc had familiar items to calm them at bedtime.

Renting an Adventure Van with Pets |

Storage is where you’ll want to get creative. Plastic storage containers are great for keeping gear secure, organized, and easy to move around. In the evening you can easily shift the containers to the front seats for more sleeping space. I like 15-quart sized containers; they hold a decent amount without getting too bulky. Our van had two built-in storage boxes, space underneath the bed, and a shelving unit in the kitchen area for stowing gear.

At meal time, always be on the lookout for food thieves lurking in the background. They’ll patiently wait for you to forget about that plate of pancakes on the counter!

With those tips, we hope you’re soon renting an adventure van with your pets and making your own pawsome memories!

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  • This looks excellent my two girls would love this. We have to go from Washington to Texas so we thought a pet friendly van or cargo van would be great and it does look ideal!

    • Fantastic! We’re glad to help, Tina, and we hope you all have a wonderful trip.

  • That trip looked like fun. My Maggie would love that. At the pet friendly campgrounds, was the campground separated into pet, non-pet areas? And if it was, did you ever run into a full pet side so that you had to move on to another campground? Or were you allowed to make reservations? Thank you.

    • Hi Debbi! Good question – a handful of campgrounds we’ve stayed at have pet friendly loops or otherwise designate a pet friendly area section of the campground. Fortunately, we’ve never run into the situation where they couldn’t accommodate us. However, some campgrounds are extremely popular and book up quickly – whether you’re traveling with pets or not! Nearly all campgrounds accept reservations, so my advice is to reserve your campsites as soon as your plans finalized. I hope that helps!