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Taking a “JUCY” Road Trip

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If you’re looking for a little something different for a road trip escape, consider gettin’ JUCY! 

New Zealand based JUCY Rentals is a travel company featuring a fleet of retrofitted campervans featuring a 50s-inspired mascot called “Jucy Lucy.” The company’s original focus was toward young professionals interested in affordable, “green” ways to attend music festivals, sporting events and the like. But their popularity has extended far beyond that to extended weekend and family camping trips.

The parent company, the JUCY Group, was established in 2001 by the Alpe family, the patriarch of whom is known as “Mr. Tourism New Zealand.” From 35 cars in a small garage in Auckland, the company has burgeoned into a fleet of over 2,700 cars and campervans throughout New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S., with over 200,000 people driving, sleeping, cruising and playing JUCY annually, making it one of Australasia’s (comprised of Australia, New Zealand and the island of New Guinea) fastest growing independent tourism companies.

The JUCY vehicles are Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge Caravan minivans that have been completely transformed to encompass many of the comforts of home, making it fun and easy to travel across the miles.

For preparing meals you have a dual gas cooker, compressor fridge, cold water and waste water tanks, and pots and pans, and when it’s time to eat you have both an interior and a folding exterior dining table. And don’t worry about bringing along paper plates and the like, as they are stocked with plates, mugs, cutlery, kitchen utensils and even dish towels.

Renters also have the option of adding on packets of fresh linens, pillows and blankets for the number of travelers, which work great when the interior middle row of seats is easily folded out to make a bed large enough for two adults.

For entertainment there is a CD player as well as an LCD-TV/DVD player, and there are two very spacious storage bins for all of your stuff…and hidden from view when looking through the windows.

Speaking of windows, all of them are fitted with dark shades that offer privacy when changing clothes or sleeping which roll up and snap during the day/when driving, plus a full-interior curtain that drops down behind the driver and passenger seats.

Outside, what looks like your standard care roof storage box is actually “The Penthouse.” By simply pushing an interior button, The Penthouse opens at an angle, revealing a roomy two-person (children and/or adults) sleeping compartment with a circular roof fan and screened windows, accessible by a metal ladder that comes down from a hidden compartment between the roof and the bottom of The Penthouse.

Additionally, inside the van there is a wealth of cup holders, mini compartments, rear heat and AC controls and several slots where you can plug in chargers for your cell phones, readers and iPads and the like.

Rates are far less than the cost of renting a similar sized minivan, making it a very economical and beneficial mode of travel, especially if you are doing so with kids.

Note: because the storage areas are situated directly behind the front seats, neither the driver nor front passenger can move their seats back. So, if you are over 6-feet tall it may be a bit uncomfortable. Likewise, in the interior sleeping cabin two adults will be just fine. But if you have two “healthy” sized people it might not work so well.

The weather during your sojourn also needs to be taken into consideration. Even though there is a fan system that blows outside air into The Penthouse, both here and the interior sleeping cabin could be quite uncomfortable if not in a moderate climate, as you would have to keep the motor running for AC or heat. However, like one would do when planning a camping trip, there are other options like sleeping in a tent and using the JUCY for the other amenities, and so forth.

JUCY Rentals popularity is catching on, and it may not be long before they start popping up—pardon the pun—in other cities across the country!



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