5th Dec 2018
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How do you hire a campervan for a month and is it worth it?
How do you hire a campervan?

Emily wants to know if hiring a motorhome is a good way to tour Australia and whether she can expect any nasty surprises when she comes to make her booking.

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Q. Emily
My husband and I are thinking of travelling around Australia for a month and are considering hiring a motorhome to take in as many of the sights as possible. Is this an easy thing to do? What are the things I need to look out for? Are there any hidden expenses that could make this more expensive than it seems?

A. A campervan or motorhome is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to explore Australia. It is also increasingly popular, so you can’t just expect to turn up to a rental company and pick-up a motorhome that is ready to go, you will need to book at least six months in advance for peak periods like Christmas.

Before settling on any campervan, it is highly recommended that you read the company’s product disclosure statement (PDS) or rental contract. This document outlines everything you need to know about the campervan, your responsibilities as the renter and the services the company will provide to you. It will also discuss what you need to do if you break something or your vehicle breaks down. For example, in the case of breaking a mug, one company may require you to buy a whole new matching set, while another may only need that one cup replaced.

Depending on the company you choose to make your booking through, there are some things that you might consider necessities that could be included as optional extras, and that come at an additional cost. These can include bedding, outdoor furniture and accessories, and safety equipment such as GPS units and tyre-puncture kits.

More often than not, your campervan will come with unlimited kilometres, meaning you can travel as far as you like on any given day. A few companies offer capped daily kilometres on their campervans, which usually ends up being a few hundred. Exceeding the daily limits incurs a cost on any extra kilometres travelled.

A few companies charge extra for travelling on outback or alpine roads – up to $10 per day!

Always thoroughly read the hirer’s PDS or contract before signing anything. Some deals are too good to be true, as although the hire price is low, you will incur exorbitant fees when you travel to make up for it.

Insurance
All rental providers offer some level of insurance when hiring a campervan from them. This insurance operates similarly to third-party insurance, where you are covered if you are hit by someone else, but you will incur a very high, non-negotiable excess if you are the cause of the accident.

Basic insurance only covers you for any mechanical or electrical issues while on the road. However, if you choose to upgrade your insurance, any damage to your windscreen and tyres will be covered too.

Campervan rental companies do not offer insurance on the undercarriage or roof of the vehicle, and any damage to those will come directly out of your pocket.

Roadside assistance is also included in most hire agreements.

Have you ever hired a motorhome to tour Australia? What did you think of the experience? Did it encourage you to take more self-drive holidays?

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    COMMENTS

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    Willfish
    8th Dec 2018
    6:07am
    We have done several trips in campervans around most of Aus. A great way to travel, and you can do it one piece at a time. E.g. fly into Darwin, take 3 weeks to drive to Broome, drop off the camper and fly home. Next time Broome to Perth, and so on. For about $150 a day you have you wheels, meals and accomodation. Pick you stops and stay as long as you like. If a planned stop disappoints, just move on. No need to invest in a caravan, very easy for anyone to drive, and so versatile. Love it, and we are planning more trips, now in our 70's
    Cheezil61
    8th Dec 2018
    6:58am
    Love it so much i ended up buying a cheap ($500) campervan years ago & since updated it. There are many towns who offer free camps for short stays as long as you spend at local shops/cafes etc.
    Some companies have relocations for as low as $1 per day if you want to do a taster/test or are not sure if its your thing but there are conditions attached.
    There are also facebook groups with private rentals (similar to AirBnB but with vehicles) tho this is limited & depends where you live.
    Google search might bring up other options/possibilities.
    sunnyOz
    8th Dec 2018
    8:49am
    Definitely try first if you are interested in doing this, and thinking of buying. I HAD done this, (borrowed a small van from a friend to do a small trip) so bought a caravan. Big mistake. It did not take me long to realise I hated it - just not for me. Plus there was ALWAYS costs and expenses - don't let anyone tell you that living on the road is cheaper than owning a home! Now I wouldn't even hire a van - I find a far better way of seeing the country is House sitting. I am flying to Broome for my 3rd house sit - owner of house goes halves in air fares. Yes realise it is wet season, but house has semi indoor pool, use of car, no pets, close to Cable Beach.
    For me, is FAR cheaper and better way to see the country.
    musicveg
    30th Dec 2018
    6:30pm
    That sounds amazing, how do you get into house sitting and what are the basic things you have to be wary of? Thanks
    MICK
    8th Dec 2018
    9:01am
    Caravan? So sixties.
    The cost of fuel to tow, the cost of caravan sites the general hassle and the (often) cheap cost of a motel room make caravaning a thing of the past unless you want a different experience or intend to stay at rest areas where there are no showers.
    Good luck. Better you than I.
    Fair Dinkum
    8th Dec 2018
    9:16am
    If you want to see things and do things you wont get far around aus in a month we have done it several times and the minimum I would recommend is 3 month.
    If you don't want anything fancy you could probably buy something for what it would cost to hire + you don't have the hassles of dealing with the hire people which can be dramatic
    Fair Dinkum
    8th Dec 2018
    9:28am
    Caravanning is not for everyone but there are a lot of pluses for me independence is the main one don't have to be at a certain place at a certain time don't have to lug your luggage into a motel room every night you sleep in the same comfortable bed every night. the biggest cost is fuel you still eat the same as at home your not using electricity or water so those saving offset the extra you pay for food. we stay at the cheap caravan parks once or twice a week . A lot of the free camps are quite good and there is nearly always some one else camped there so safety should not be a problem. get the Wikie camps app has a lot of information on free camps and cheap parks
    Have a great trip look out for all the idiots on the road and remember you could be one as well
    venturers
    8th Dec 2018
    9:34am
    We currently have a self converted VW TRANSPORTER LWB as my daily ride and escape vehicle.
    It does require an extra effort in suburban car parks but I am often tinny enough to crack drive through spots or sites where I can drive in forward then back into the final resting spot.
    Otherwise the TRANSPORTER handles like a coupe.
    Our longest camper hire was 3 month stint in NZ (on retirement). The company(apollo) provided an old Bedford at a good rate.
    Nothing like our VW but was able to handle all country mountain roads and steep hills.
    We used caravan parks for the facilities.
    The shower/toilet became our hanging and storage space.
    Converting the bed into seats was no drama.
    A/C, heater coped with their winter.
    The lunch spots were made more pleasant by opening the side door for the view.
    All in all a motor home is a very pleasant
    Alternative to packing in and out of motels etc Every thing is where you want it.
    Think carefully about the height. Taller vehicles run the risk of smashing into low bridges or low tree branches.
    Lift tops really are a low effort. We often jump into the back without the roof raised..needing only to stoop slightly.
    Our camper is 2.1 meters high. Low enough to access most undercover parking. A major consideration in Brisbane summer in our choice of vehicles when purchasing(ex demo).
    The split front seats enables easy rear access..handy in the rain.
    Avoid the ego driven big rig choices...A daily pain in the butt.
    D'Arcy
    8th Dec 2018
    11:33am
    Some companies will not rent to people over 70
    jamesthepiper
    8th Dec 2018
    2:54pm
    If you simply want to try a campervan, there are a number of companies that offer 1 way trips. These are often where the camper has been terminated in one place e.g. Cairns, and the company need to get it back to e.g. Sydney. Often the starting place is in a resort area, e.g. Cairns, Darwin, Alice Springs, etc. and the destination is in a capital city, e.g. Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne. There are limitations with this type of rental though, but they are significantly cheaper if you're just wanting to try it out. Try Googling "relocation camper rentals" and see how you go.


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