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Meet Lacey Mayer and Breanne Acio of San Diego Campervans in Bay Ho/Clairemont

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lacey Mayer and Breanne Acio.

Lacey and Breanne, please share your story with us. 
Breanne and I were born and raised in Los Angeles. We met in Woodland Hills and about 5 years later, married, went on a honeymoon around the world, and then moved to San Diego to pursue Bre’s master’s degree while I started teaching 5th grade. We’ve always been into traveling together and, one year ago, Breanne and I decided we wanted to travel more of the United States. We bought a van, converted it into a campervan, and started traveling that summer. During our travels, we found there was a whole community of people living part-time and full-time in their vans or cars! Breanne started our Instagram page to document our journey and that’s how we found out about a vanlife gathering up in Neah Bay, Washington. We went and enjoyed every moment of it. We fell in love with the community. We discovered that there were some things we could do to help make vanlife more accessible to people. One way was to help to try to make it easier for people to get into vanlife.

There are companies that will sell you a converted campervan for $80,000-$100,000. We decided to make it as affordable as possible for people by offering complete conversions starting at $16,000. We even have relationships with local dealerships and they will finance our conversion loan with the car loan to make it more feasible. This payment comes out to be way less than a monthly rent payment and people can live wherever and travel whenever they want! The vans we convert have a homey feel so people feel right at home when they walk in their door. We’re stoked to help people achieve their goals of traveling more often, connecting with a new community, and living a lifestyle that more and more millennials thought could only be in their dreams.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There’s a lot to be grateful for but, of course, there were some struggles growing together as a family business. We started because my father-in-law (Alan) lost his job. We have changed courses a couple of times too. We started out buying sprinters, converting them, then selling them. We then realized that it was very difficult to find quality vans to flip via Craigslist, so we changed course and started working on other people’s vans. We got a warehouse in order to have a better place of work because Alan’s garage was getting a bit small. It was also located in Hemet, which was too far away. Growing into a warehouse is a risky leap because it increases our overhead, but it was necessary in order for us to grow. There have been some challenges keeping family time separate from work time, of course. That’s to be expected though.

We then came to the idea of having vans to rent out! We realized that lots of people just want to rent a van for a week or a weekend instead of moving into it completely. The rental vans have turned out to be a huge success. We have just acquired 5 new rental vans from another company so now we have a fleet of 7.

We’re slowly growing out of this tiny warehouse because we’re moving to converting two vans per month.
With this new growth, lots of other obstacles come along. We became so busy, we started needing helpers. This, of course, is to be expected too, so we held interviews and hired 2 assistants.

Growing a business is new to us and so everything we’re doing is a new leap. We are so excited for the ideas we have brought to fruition. It was also a nice journey! We found a community we were passionate about, found some ways we could help, and then created a business out of it! What a way to live life. We are very happy we can fulfill our passions while helping others with theirs.

Please tell us about San Diego Campervans.
Our mission is to make vanlife more accessible. We do quality conversions at an affordable and reasonable price in order to help make your dreams come true. We also provide converted rental vans so people can go vanlife for a time period and then return them. It helps people get out and travel without having to make the commitment to owning their own campervan. We are most proud to be able to help people pursue dreams they never thought they could bring to reality. One comment we always get is that vanlife is their dream and we’re living it. Well, with our business, we make it possible to be your dream too.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
So many people deserve credit for helping us along with discovering our passions and pursuing them. The vanlife community has been tremendously impactful. The people that are within the community or aspiring to be in the community are so inspirational! They are the ones that aspire to do something and then actually do it. They break social norms while being okay if someone tries to break them down because of it. They don’t take much personally or else they wouldn’t be living the life of their dreams. They’re happy. The community has helped us to understand that it’s okay to not want to be stuck in a life you hate just to make money to pay the bills. It is okay to branch out and do what you love to do every single day, not just sporadically on some weekends. Our family has been so supportive of this journey. We started a business together and everyone believes in the mission. We truly desire to help and that’s what has been the best part. Seeing people head off with their newly converted van or home, or take off in a rental for a vacation has been so exciting. Everyone is in love with the decision to convert or rent and that’s what keeps us going.

Pricing:

  • $16k for a full conversion of your cargo van. We have 2 standard conversions with upgrades available.
  • We have 7 rental vans and nightly prices range from $79-$180 per night

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Jake Grove

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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