The beauty and thrills that Alaska offers make it a place you really can’t miss, and our travel vans and SUVs offer several advantages that mean that your trip won’t break the bank. Here are a few ways a van or SUV can help you save on Alaska travel:

1. It’s a rolling hotel room.

It’s your rental car and your hotel room rolled into one! You eliminate the need for these two separate costs when you rent your travel van, and thus avoid paying high prices times two. The cost of a travel van in peak season (check availability and prices here) is far less than a rental car and hotel room combination would be in most places in the state. (And don’t forget about the Spring Special—come in the early season and save even more!)

2. Camping is cheap.

Campgrounds rarely cost more than $50 per night—and are most often somewhere between $10 and $30, even for the nice ones with bathrooms and showers. It’s true that some of the more popular ones fill up during peak season, so it’s a good idea to make reservations in advance, but some of the more isolated ones never do, and those are often the least expensive, too. And, while campgrounds are cheap, if you’re flexible and creative, you can even find places to “boondock,” or camp for free at an undeveloped campsite.

3. Cooking costs less than eating out.

Part of the joy of traveling is discovering new foods and cuisines, and we certainly encourage you to try the local restaurants and cafes when you get here. But, you don’t have to do that every night, and you don’t have to wonder where you’re going to eat breakfast and lunch, either. Purchasing food at a grocery store or a farmer’s market and cooking it on your camp stove always proves to be more cost effective than going to a restaurant for every meal, and you have the freedom to get as creative as you want. And, by all means, throw some Alaskan delicacies into your shopping basket and try your hand at a new recipe. (Just be aware that a whole Alaskan salmon is much too big to fit into the van fridge!)

So far, all of these savings could be had in either an RV or a camper van, but a camper van proves more cost effective than an RV in some obvious and in some not-so-obvious ways:

4. Better gas mileage

RVs are big: long, wide and tall. And not very aerodynamic, which makes for a gas guzzler of a vehicle. Our vans, on the other hand, are still the same size as a regular minivan, and the rooftop tent was actually designed to minimize drag while maximizing sleeping space. They get about 24+ miles per gallon on the highway, which is significantly better than a full size RV, and our Broncos regularly get 28mpg, even when fully loaded with gear, water, and people!

5. No extra parking costs.

Believe it or not, you will probably have to pay for parking at some point during your trip, especially if you’re parking all day while out on a sightseeing tour. The travel van and SUV advantage is that you can park in a single spot, sized for a regular car. If you drive an RV, you’ll have to find an extra-long RV space, which is more expensive, or even take up two or more spaces, which means you’ll pay double or more. In a travel van, just any any space you find is a space that’s appropriate for the vehicle, and they even fit into some parking garages! Plus, there’s no added stress from having to navigate a giant vehicle through city streets or small towns. Vans and SUVs fit just about everywhere.

6. No extra campground costs.

No trouble with parking also means no trouble finding a space at a campground that will accommodate your vehicle. Again, no renting an extra-long (and more expensive) RV space, and no need to pay extra for hookups or the spaces that are designated for generator use. You can camp in a dry campground, in a space designed for a regular car or for tent camping, and thus pay the least expensive rate. No need for pull-throughs or paved spaces, either.

7. Unlimited mileage.

We don’t charge for mileage! It’s all included in the nightly rental fee. So no curtailing your travels for fear of going over your daily allotment, and no surprise expenses at the end of your trip, either. Go as far or as near as you want, and go back again. All of our travel van and SUV rentals always include unlimited mileage.

Bonus: Can you really put a price on freedom?

A travel van is about freedom and adventure. Because that’s really what Alaska travel is all about: The independence to explore and discover and experience this incredible landscape for yourself. That’s hard to find when you’re worried about how much it will cost you.

Save on Alaska travel from the beginning of your trip. We can’t make Alaska itself less expensive, but we can offset the costs quite a bit. Rent a van or SUV, and you’ll have more money left to spend on the important things—the experiences, the memories, the things that are worth so much more than they cost.