Want to stay in Vancouver for $60 a night? How about in a van?
'I advertise it as this is how local people live,' says camper van Airbnb host
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.
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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.
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.
"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.
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.
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