British Columbia

Want to stay in Vancouver for $60 a night? How about in a van?

It's not unusual to rent out your home as a vacation property, but when that home is a camper van parked on the streets of Vancouver, it becomes a little more interesting. A Vancouver van dweller is renting out her four-wheeled home on Airbnb.

'I advertise it as this is how local people live,' says camper van Airbnb host

Luna Mammon lives in her camper van full time in Vancouver partly as a minimalist lifestyle choice and partly because of the city's pricey housing market. (Dillon Hodgin/CBC)

It's not unusual to rent out your home as a vacation property, but when that home is a camper van parked on the streets of Vancouver, it becomes a little more interesting.  

Luna Mammon bought her 1980 Dodge Ram camper van earlier this summer after returning home to Vancouver from extensive travel abroad.

Luna Mammon's camper van is parked on the streets of Vancouver. It is her home and is also available as a per-night rental on Airbnb (Dillon Hodgin/CBC)

Mammon lives in the van  she lovingly calls "Moonbeam" full time, but recently decided to rent it by the night to travellers because she needed the money.

"The response has been overwhelming," she said.

"I've had to block some days on the internet as time for myself."

The 'hippie van life'

As vacation properties go, the van is on the sparse side. It has a double bed, a top bunk that Mammon uses mainly for storage because it is "a little bit squishy," a few shelves and not much else. 

At around $60 a night, a stay in the camper van is cheaper than other nearby listings on Airbnb in Vancouver. (Airbnb)

There is electricity thanks to a battery and adapter, meaning Mammon can charge her devices and make smoothies.

In her Airbnb listing she writes, "You wanted the hippie van life, this is it!"

She then goes on to describe the most striking omission: there is no bathroom. 

"There are coffee shops that are a two-minute walk away, the community centre is really close by," Mammon said, then added with a smile that there is also a also 'pee jar' guests are welcome to use.

"And I was actually surprised that people have been using it."

'This is how local people live' 

So is it a sign of the times, or a lifestyle choice? 

A bit of both, for Mammon. 

Luna Mammon sits in her newly acquired home, a 1980s Dodge Ram camper van named "Moonbeam". (Dillon Hodgin/CBC)

"I've wanted to live in a van since I was like 13 or 14," she said, "I really fell in love with the lifestyle, with the idea that you can go anywhere you want, you're totally free, you don't have a lot of stuff."

But Mammon fully admits Vancouver's pricey housing market is part of the reason she turned to "Moonbeam."

"I find living situations in Vancouver really hard," she said.

"I advertise it as, 'this is how local people live', because prices in Vancouver are ridiculously expensive to afford rent." 

She also thinks that's why so many people have already lined up to stay in the van. At around $60 a night, she says it's a cheaper alternative to nearby listings. 

A quick search on Airbnb shows a handful of van options for rent in Vancouver and elsewhere in B.C. (Airbnb)

Need a business licence

She isn't the only one in the city offering a van for rent on Airbnb. A quick search on the site shows a handful of other listings in Vancouver and elsewhere in B.C. Mammon actually came up with the idea after hearing about another woman who was already doing it. 

City officials though say, depending on where a rental van is parked, it could be against their rules.

In an email statement to CBC News, a city spokesperson said, "Conducting a business out of a vehicle on city property requires a business licence." 

Mammon says she isn't too concerned. She can always move the van if need be. Most recently she had it parked outside a friend's house in Kitsilano.

But so far, she's pretty happy with her minimalist van-in-Vancouver lifestyle and with the guests who want to give it a try.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.