Last updated: 07:00 AM ET, Thu May 14 2015

Opinion Home | Are We There Yet: Tips For Family Trips

  • Janeen Christoff | May 14, 2015 7:00 AM ET

    The Jucy Camper Van Makes Camping on California's Coast a Breeze

    The Jucy Camper Van Makes Camping on California's Coast a Breeze

    If you are like me, you have seen the beautiful photos of California’s Central Coast splashed on the cover of travel magazines from Sunset to Conde Nast Traveler with the crashing surf and a camper perched on a cliff and you picture yourself doing the same thing. Now you can and you don’t have to rent a giant RV to do it. In fact, you don’t have to be an outdoorsy person at all to camp on the Central Coast. These days, all you need is a Jucy van rental to make road trips in California – and beyond -- a breeze for every type of traveler.

    Jucy Rentals began in New Zealand where campervan rentals are practically a rite of passage for every traveler. They now have rental operations in Australia and the UK and brought the Jucy rental concept to the U.S. in 2012. 

    Jucy says that it’s U.S. vehicle, the Jucy Champ, includes everything “and the kitchen sink” and it’s true. Rent a Jucy and you’re all set, from camping chairs and comfy bedding to a kitted out kitchen in the rear of the vehicle and even a portable DVD player, all you need is a change of clothes and your personal items and you are good to go.

    Driving is a piece of cake – and this is coming from yours truly, who is of questionable driving ability. Each van is a converted Dodge Caravan and the sleeping facility on the top, known as the “Penthouse,” is basically a packed sport rack. The van goes everywhere a regular minivan can – just be aware the occasional parking structure.

    Jucy vans will also keep you well connected, with available GPS navigation as well as an added battery that will keep the lights and your devices charged. Everything is easy to operate and the extra battery ensures that the van’s battery won’t die and leave you stranded.

    In our Jucy, we easily slept four people – two adults and two children. It is perfect for families but would be particularly spacious for two adults traveling together, using the upstairs Penthouse as a bedroom and converting the “downstairs” as we called it, into a dining area. This can also be done with four people, but you have to convert the “dining room” back into a bed for sleeping after dinner. We ended up just using the outdoor picnic tables at our campsites for cooking and eating – which is really more fun, anyway.

    When it comes to cooking, Jucy makes it easy for novices and outdoor cooking experts alike. There are two camp stoves in the kitchen and one can be removed for outdoor cooking. There is a surprisingly spacious refrigerator and the aforementioned kitchen sink as well as plenty of cooking utensils, including chopping knives, pots and pans, a strainer for pasta and even a coffee maker. In fact, we had so much available in the way of cooking accessories that my daughter made a rule that we could only eat one meal out per day.

    If you are trying to think of where to take your Jucy van, look no further than California’s Central Coast. The Jucy turns a classic experience into an easily accessible drive. As many have discovered, accommodation options are sparse on some of Highway 1’s most scenic portions and camping is really the only way to get the most out of the experience for those who want to hike and explore the rugged but desolate coastline between San Simeon and Monterey, Calif.

    Now, campgrounds are available for reservations from several months in advance – I recommend making one because these sites fill up fast – and with the Jucy, camping is an accessible activity for travelers visiting from anwhere. There’s no need to transport your gear or even buy a sleeping bag. All you need is some carry-on luggage and warm clothes and Jucy takes care of the rest.

    Thinking of taking your Jucy even farther afield? You can rent a Jucy in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco and even drive them as far away as Canada. They also offer roadside assistance, helpful instructional videos in case you can’t figure out how something works, driving tips and more. 

    Planning a big trip and want some help? Jucy also works with travel agents who can help you book everything from your van to iconic hotels along the way and the best campsites on the coast.

    Here's a look at my family's journey in our Jucy:

    For more information, visit


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Janeen Christoff Are We There Yet: Tips For Family Trips

Janeen Christoff Janeen Christoff caught the travel bug while living in London, England. After two years on the road, she settled in Los Angeles and focused her writing on what she loved best — exploring the world. Today, she’s a well-traveled mother of two, the managing editor of Agent@Home and Vacation Agent magazines, an adventurer and a world wanderer. Want to know where she is headed next? Check out her blog at
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