Going Euro Style - The Van Life

Experience the Alps the way the locals do! The Volkswagen Bus you remember from the 1960s is alive and well in Europe! In fact, they continue to make newer models. At Alpenventures UNGUIDED, we know from personal experience that these are, arguably, the most practical option for adventuring in the Alps. Equipped with a kitchen, sleeping space for four, and plenty of room for your gear, renting a camping bus provides maximum flexibility and economical advantage.

 

Before booking a Euro-style tour with us, please watch the video and read this page thoroughly. Contact us with any questions you have. Check out our Euro Style tours!

The vehicle pictured is not available for rent

All bookings are based on availability. Book early!

Your camper bus will either be a Volkswagen T6 California OR a Mercedes Marco Polo.
What you should bring:
  • International driver's license (drivers must be at least 21 years old)

  • Sleeping bags

  • One or two sleeping pads if 3 or 4 adventurers will be sharing the vehicle (the upstairs bed is very comfortable, but those sleeping downstairs may appreciate extra padding)

  • Pillows

  • Bath towel

  • Power outlet adapters

  • Slippers (not necessary, but very nice)

  • Collapsible water containers, or water bottles, for drinking water

  • Simple, easy to prepare recipes

About your camping bus:
  • GPS

  • Seating for four

  • Sleeping for four

  • Automatic transmission

  • Air conditioning

  • Stand heating (internal heating when the car is not running - great in winter!)

  • Two cooking burners

  • 40 L refrigerator

  • Fresh and wastewater tanks (approx. 40 L)

  • Fits in most parking garages (198 cm high)

  • No toilet (possible for an additional fee)

  • No hot water

  • Road atlas

  • Dishes for eating and cooking

  • Paper towels

  • Dish soap

  • Sponge

  • Dish towel

  • Fitted sheet/s

  • Hair dryer

  • USB 12-Volt charger

  • Toilet paper

How it Works - Renting Your Campervan

IMPORTANT: 700€ refundable deposit is due 30 days prior to your tour!

Alpenventures UNGUIDED has partnered with a German company to provide this opportunity to our customers. While we are very excited about what this means for you, we want to be transparent in that simplicity is very difficult to achieve here. Our partner company sources the camping buses through a car-share program. In short, there are four parties involved in each transaction:

  • You, the customer

  • Alpenventures UNGUIDED

  • Alpenventures UNGUIDED's partner company

  • Vehicle owner participating in the car-share program

It is important to understand that this service is through a German company, and the documentation will be completely in German. We will do our best to highlight the important points, and to facilitate the paperwork, but we carry no responsibility or liability to ensure all terms and conditions are clearly translated and understood. 

Booking: Follow the standard booking process for all Alpenventures UNGUIDED's tours. Upon receiving the online booking, we will check availability and respond within a week of your request. As with other tours, customers can choose between online payment in full, or invoice deposit payment of 20% at the time of booking with the full amount due 30 days prior to the tour. However, with Euro-style tours, if the 20% deposit is less than 300€, 300€ will be due at the time of booking instead. Once confirmed, we will send additional paperwork. We need to receive this back within 7 days, or the booking may be cancelled. A 700 € deposit must be paid 30 days prior to the first day of the tour for each vehicle. You can pay this here. The deposit will be returned within 15 days following the return of the vehicle. Any damages or fees incurred during the use will be subtracted from the deposit. We also recommend purchasing one Van Box per vehicle (only available in Munich).

The Tour: Your camping bus will be available beginning at 3:00 pm on the first day of your tour. We will provide you with information on how to get there. During the tour, there are several rules you are required to comply with:

  • The rental contract is limited to 300 km per day. We design our tours to comply with this limitation. Kilometers exceeding this limit will be charged at 0.29€ per kilometer

  • The vehicle is only authorized for travel in countries belonging to the European Union, as well as Norway, Croatia and Switzerland

  • There are road tolls in many European countries. In Austria and Switzerland, a "Vignette" must be displayed on the windshield in order to drive on the freeway. Your rental vehicle may, or may not, already have one. These can be purchased at gas stations near border crossings, and usually at the border crossing as well. France and Italy often have many toll payment stations along their freeways. There are also smaller, mountain roads that may require tolls.

  • All drivers must possess a valid international driver's license, and be approved, as well as documented, by the owner as drivers

  • No smoking in the vehicle

  • The awning must be fully retracted before driving

  • The pop-up roof must be fully closed and secured before driving

  • Use the correct fuel (Diesel - NOT BIO-diesel)

  • No pets in the vehicle without prior agreement

  • Pay attention to the height, length, and width of the vehicle

  • Follow the speed limits (you are responsible to know the traffic laws and signs in each country you visit)

  • The customer is required to pay any traffic-related fines

  • Most vehicles have summer tires. If you are renting a vehicle in winter, Alpenventures UNGUIDED will work with you to ensure your vehicle has safe handling; however, it is your responsibility to ensure safety standards are met in the winter

  • Be diligent about reducing the chance of break-ins and other damage: avoid parking in tourist areas, and when possible, do not leave the vehicle unattended outside of campgrounds

  • Do not leave valuables in the vehicle

  • When equipped with a solar panel, do not leave it unattended

  • Check the oil, water, and tire pressure every time the vehicle is filled with gas

  • Keep the mattress clean by covering it with sheet or blanket

  • Keep the seating bench clean by covering it with a sheet or towels

  • Bicycles must be secured on the bicycle rack

  • When the bicycle rack is in use, do not open the rear hatch completely

  • In France: The freeways in France are private, and divided. If the vehicle breaks down on the freeway in France, locate an emergency phone, and call first to notify of the break-down. The responsible towing service will be notified. Then you can call any other emergency numbers.

  • Spain/Italy/France: A warning sign must be displayed on the bicycle rack. 

Our recommendation: Avoid wearing shoes in the back of the vehicle for a much more clean and pleasant experience.

Returning the Vehicle: The camping bus must be cleaned out and returned no later than 10 am on the last day of the tour. The vehicle is to be returned according to the following. Failure to follow these guidelines will result in fees, which will be deducted from the paid deposit.

  • Full tank of gas (failure to comply will result in a 20€ fee, plus a charge of 2.30€/Liter of Diesel)

  • Externally clean - no obvious dirt or insects (failure to comply will result in a 100€ fee)

  • Internally clean - generally swept out and wiped down, trash and personal belongings removed, the refrigerator cleaned out

  • Both water tanks emptied

  • All items received in the vehicle from the owner should be accounted for and returned with the vehicle

  • Items belonging to the Van Box provided by Alpenventures UNGUIDED should be removed, according to the directions provided. All dishes must be clean.

  • Any damage to the vehicle during the tour must be reported upon return

  • Late return of the vehicle of more than an hour will result in additional fees, to the amount of one full day fee if the vehicle is returned on the same day, but late; and 140% the daily rate for each additional day. 

Insurance: The rental contract includes the following insurance:

  • Liability (property and assets): up to 50 million € 

  • Liability (personal harm): 8 million € per person

  • Full coverage

The following deductibles apply: 

  • Full coverage: 690€

  • Comprehensive coverage excluding collision: 300€

IMPORTANT: Insurance does not cover damages occurring on ferries or auto trains. An additional insurance must be arranged. Any damages from transport on ferries or auto trains will be the full responsibility of the renter (you) if additional insurance is not arranged.

In the following cases, insurance may not cover damages. In these cases, the registered driver is liable for all costs:

  • Damages that occur intentionally or due to extreme carelessness

  • Damages occurring when the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs

  • Damages  due to lack of regard for vehicle size (height, width, length)

  • Damages caused by an unauthorized driver

Repairs and Damage:

  • If the vehicle is in need of repair, it is important that this is addressed immediately in order to prevent further damage to the vehicle

  • The owner should be informed immediately. Repairs will only be covered by the owners if they agree to the repair and the cost, as well as receive corresponding documentation. For repairs costing over 50€, a damage report must be sent to the owner per fax

  • Windshield damage: due to liability reasons, the windshield will need to be replaced, rather than repaired. This cost is carried by the renter (you) and is covered by the comprehensive coverage, to which a 300€ deductible applies.

  • Tire damage: all costs related to tire damage are the responsibility of the renter (you)

  • Awning: The awning is not to be used when it is windy or raining, and should never be left unattended when it is in use. The awning replacement cost may exceed the 700€ deposit. The renter (you) is fully responsible for this cost, and will be billed should a replacement be required

  • Water System: If the water tanks are filled with fuel in error, the entire system will need to be replaced at the cost of the renter (you). This includes the tanks, the boiler, pumps, and the faucet.

  • If anything is not working, such as the heating or a water pump, the vehicle owner should be contacted immediately. Following agreement, the vehicle should be brought to a repair shop that can address the issues. The renter does not have any claim to compensation.

  • If any issues are identified with the vehicle shortly before pick-up, the customer can choose to pick up the vehicle one day later, receiving compensation for one day rental, or is required to take the vehicle in for repairs during the duration of the rental. If the repairs last more than 5-hours, the rent costs for one day will be compensated.

Cancellation:​ Cancellation penalties for Euro-style Tours are different than for other Alpenventures UNGUIDED's tours. This is due to the requirements provided to us by our partner company. The following cancellation penalties apply:

  • ​Cancellation less than 51 days prior to the first day of the rental contract - 30% the full amount

  • Cancellation from 31 to 50 days prior to the first day of the rental contract - 50%

  • Cancellation from 30 to 21 days prior to the first day of the rental contract - 75%

  • Cancellation from 11 to 20 days prior to the first day of the rental contract - 90%

  • Cancellation 10 days or less prior to the first day of the rental contract - 100%

If the vehicle is not picked up on the first day of the rental contract, the owner has the right to cancel the contract in full. 

What to do if you get in an accident:

  • If an accident occurs, absolutely contact the police (dial-110 or 112), and await until their arrival. This is not required by law in all countries unless there is suspicion of alcohol or drugs; however, this is a requirement of our partner company. Do not admit fault. Complete an accident report which contains the following, and provide it to the vehicle owners via fax. The original copy should be provided when the vehicle is returned. If the vehicle needs to be towed, is burnt, or has hit a wild animal, the owner should be informed immediately.

    • Name and address of all people involved

    • License plate numbers

    • Insurance numbers of all people involved

    • Names and addresses of any witnesses 

Campground or no Campground?

Renting a camping bus gives you maximum flexibility for your adventure in the Alps. Backcountry camping is, in general, illegal here. This means that putting up your tent somewhere outside of a campground is not an option. But, there is more flexibility granted to those who choose to "overnight" in their vehicle. "Overnighting" means you are just sleeping in the vehicle overnight. Once you set up camping chairs, hang your laundry, or stay for an extended period of time, it turns into camping and is not tolerated.

"Overnighting" outside of a campground is legal in Germany (as of December 2016). In Austria, Switzerland, France, and Italy it is only legal with official permission. However, it is generally tolerated. If you choose to "overnight" outside of a campground in any of these countries, you do so at your own risk. In Slovenia, don't even try it. It is absolutely not tolerated.

If you do choose to "overnight" outside of a campground, comply with the following:

  • Avoid private property

  • Do not overnight anywhere with signs clearly indicating it is forbidden

  • Stay on roads you are allowed to be on (most forest roads are not open to the public - know your "Do Not Enter" signs, mostly indicated by a big white circle with a red ring around it

  • Find a low-key spot that is out of the way

  • Think ahead about your "bathroom" needs, as there is no toilet in this vehicle

Rest stops along the freeways are typically easy options for overnighting, as long as you can handle the noise. Looking for a quieter, out-of-the-way spot can be challenging and time consuming. In the Alps, the valleys tend to be rather developed, and the mountain roads are usually closed to public vehicles. In the winter, it can be nearly impossible, as you are limited to snow-plowed areas.

Campgrounds in the Alps often book up months in advance! We recommend planning in advance. Alpenventures UNGUIDED will book up to 5 different campgrounds for you per 12-day tour (stays for multiple nights in one campground count as only one campground). We find that in summer it is nice to stay at a campground every three nights at a minimum. This allows us to shower, fill water in the vehicle, and charge our electronics that do not charge in the car. In the winter, we often stay every night at a campground. It is just difficult to find a quiet spot, there is less vegetation to conceal us while we "do our business," and a warm shower is always welcome after a cold day in the snow. There are even luxury campgrounds with heated pools and saunas, which are great in the winter. Contact us if you want us to find some for you!

Pictures of the Vehicles

Mercedes Marco Polo

Volkswagen California

Currency Converter

© 2019 Alpenventures GmbH based in Ismaning, Germany

bookings@alpenventuresunguided.com

US Phone: +1 719 445 8899

DE Phone: +49 (0) 89 38 03 5305