Motorhome rental for beginners. The complete overview!
June, 30 2020
You want to rent a campervan, how exciting! Maybe you don’t have a motorhome (yet) or you want to try something else than a caravan or tent. Whatever your reason, renting a motorhome is a lot of fun. The fun begins with the research. Where would you like to rent motorhome and what type of motorhome are you looking for? Maybe you already have your ideal motorhome in mind. Don’t you know exactly what you need to arrange and what you need to think about? I will be happy to help you with the preparations!
All about renting a motorhome for your holiday
- Why rent a motorhome?
- Where can I rent a motorhome?
- How much does it cost to rent a motorhome?
- Before you go renting
- Who is allowed to rent a motorhome
- Types of motorhomes
- Easy and hygienic: your own sanitary facilities
- Stylish campervans
- What else do you have to keep in mind?
- What do you have to bring?
- The lease contract
- Pick up your motorhome
- Extra tips
Renting a motorhome is a great plan! It can easily cost tens of thousands of pounds to purchase a campervan. You also have to take care of the insurance and buy all the camping equipment yourself. Think of kitchen inventory and camping chairs, but also all necessities to maintain the water tanks. Of course, if you have your own campervan, you will also have to pay all storage and maintenance costs and taxes. With all those costs in mind, hiring a motorhome could be a very good alternative.
Nowadays you can rent a motorhome or caravan in many different places. You can rent a campervan through dealers or professional motorhome rental companies, such as Indie Campers (Europe’s largest rental company with over 800 vehicles in dozens of countries), Bunk Campers, Camper Rent UK and Budget Campervans. At most rental companies you often have the opportunity to take a look in advance. This is really recommended! This will give you a good impression of the company and the different types of rental motorhomes.
There are also many websites that mediate between motorhome owners and travellers, such as Quirky Campers and Camptoo. You can also usually make an appointment with private lessors to have a look at the campervan and even make a test drive. This way you can be sure that this driving holiday home is something for you!
The cost of motorhome rental varies per provider, type of RV, season (high season and low season) and the duration of the trip. Private lessors are often allowed to determine the van hire costs themselves. So take a good look at which motorhome suits you and your budget.
Below you will find an overview of the motorhome rental costs of some providers. It concerns one week rental of a (family) campervan with four sleeping and sitting places (based on August 2019). Please note: the type of motorhome may vary. These prices are only an indication.
Dealers and motorhome rental companies
Provider Costs Bunk Campers £ 980 per week Camper Rent UK £ 945 per week Budget Campervans £ 940 per week
Provider Costs Quirky Campers Between £600 and £800 Camptoo Between £ 900 and € 1800
It is important that you start selecting a rental motorhome on time. Keep in mind that rental campersvans are very popular, especially in high season. Be sure to book your camper at least six months before your holiday (in high season). Many lessors also offer an early booking discount if you book on time. Do you have the option of going on holiday in low or mid season? Then this is really recommended. This will save you the costs for the campsite and the costs of renting a motorhome. Do ask if the motorhome can be heated properly, should you leave in autumn or winter.
Do you rent a motorhome in your own country? Then pay a visit to the lessor before you actually go on holiday. This way you will know in advance whether you will get a good feeling at this company. The lessor can also inform you about the different types of motorhomes and help you make the right choice. Doesn’t this party really suit you or your family? Then look for another lessor.
Many motorhome rental companies require the renter to have the correct driving licence for at least one year. In addition, some RV rental companies have an age limit for insurance purposes. Exactly which driving licence do you need? This depends on the weight of the motorhome you wish to hire and the number of people you are transporting.
- Have you picked a nice camper, but no experience driving one yet? Then ask the rental company if you can take a test drive. Usually this is no problem at all and the lessor offers this himself.
Now that you’ve thought about where you want to rent a motorhome and when you want to leave, it’s good to see what kind of campervan you want. This also depends very much on your travel company. There are different types of motorhomes, but these are the most common:
- Alcove motorhome
- Semi-integrated motorhomes
- Integrated motorhome
An alcove camper
I’m sure you know an alcove motorhome. This camper has a space above the cabin where you will find a double bed. Here you have the possibility to leave your bedding in the morning, because you sleep in a fixed bed above the cabin. In addition, there is often a possibility to turn the dining table into a sleeping area or there is already a fixed bed in it. This makes it possible for several people to spend the night in an alcove motorhome.
You have a lot of living space in an alcove motorhome, because your sleeping area is not in the living area. Because of the sleeping area, the alcove, above your head you have less visibility as a driver. Pay special attention to this when you want to drive under a bridge or park between trees. If necessary, let your co-driver get out of the car to see if it all fits.
A campervan is actually a camper in a van. Do you know the Volkswagen van? Exactly such a car! Many campervans have a lifting roof that you can ‘lift’ for an extra place to sleep. The campervan is compact and is also often used for normal transport. It is very suitable if you don’t need a lot of space and only need a small kitchen and a place to sleep. As campervan is in most cases suitable for two persons.
An integrated motorhome
In this RV, the cabin of the car is integrated into the living area, giving you plenty of space. Because this motorhome does not have an alcove, you have a better view of the road. In addition, you have a lot of space to stand in this motorhome. This type of motorhome is suitable for about four persons.
A semi-integrated motorhome
Finally, the semi-integrated motorhome. This motorhome is a combination of the alcove motorhome and the integrated motorhome. Here, the cabin of the car is also integrated in the motorhome, but the cabin is still visible. Semi-integrated motorhomes also have a kind of alcove, but less space above the cabin than an alcove motorhome. This means there is no fixed place to sleep. This is solved with a lifting bed, which you can lower from the ceiling. The alcove of a semi-integrated motorhome is smaller than the alcove motorhome. This offers particular advantages while driving, because you have better visibility and the motorhome is not that high. This type of motorhome is suitable for about four people.
In most motorhomes you have your own toilet and often even your own shower. That is one of the great advantages of a camper or caravan. The sanitary is not very spacious, but it is very practical. You don’t have to share the sanitary facilities with anyone and you can keep them clean yourself. Prior to your holiday at the campsite, check whether the campsite have the right facilities for your (rental) RV. For example, you should be able to fill the water tank and empty your waste tank, depending on the type of toilet. Not sure how it all works yet? The lessor of your motorhome can tell you exactly which connections you need and how your sanitary facilities work.
Of course, I’d be happy to give you some tips for nice rental campervans. A big favourite is the VW campervan. Of course you can rent one of the newest models, but also real retro motorhomes. In one of those, you can imagine yourself living in the 70’s of the last century! Fancy something else than a Volkswagen? There are many other (retro) campervans online. Rent for example a cool Ford Transit or a real Westfalia. Of course you can also go for a newer model. No problem, there is something nice for every camper!
You now have a bit of an idea of the types of motorhomes that exist. There are a number of other things to think about before you actually rent the motorhome:
- Maximum mileage: Where do you want to travel to with the motorhome and how many miles is that? You often pay for a fixed number of miles or kilometers when renting a motorhome. Note: you pay proportionally more for the extra kilometres. So try to make a good estimate of your trip in advance.
- Deposit: when you rent a motorhome, you pay a deposit in advance. If something happens to the motorhome or if it gets damaged, you will most likely lose your deposit. Take a good look at the amount of the deposit and the conditions.
- Insurance: also ask the lessor how the motorhome is insured. Usually you have an excess. You can often take out extra insurance or buy the excess, so you don’t have to pay the full amount in case of damage. Think in advance if you want to do so. This way you don’t suddenly have to decide on a large amount at the rental company.
- The credit card: in your own country you can often pay for the campervan hire by bank transfer, but abroad you will usually need a credit card. Keep this in mind when you go on holiday abroad.
By now you know what which type of motorhome you like and what preparations you need to make. You can now choose a nice rental motorhome! Maybe you can see yourself in one of those cute Volkswagen vans or a cool integrated motorhome. If you rent a motorhome, take a good look at the inventory list. This will prevent you from taking too much or too little with you. Of course you can put something in your home on wheels, but you don’t need two cheese slicers. The kitchen utensils are usually standard in a rental RV. So you can leave that extra cheese slicer at home. Do ask if you need to bring your own bedding and covers. At some rental companies you can rent the bedding for a small fee. In that case you don’t have to bring your own!
When renting a motorhome you must of course sign a rental contract. Take the time to read this, including the small prints. Pay attention, for example, to cancellation costs, liability in the event of damage (see also the point about insurances) and the amount of your deposit. Also check if all rental costs are correct. It is possible that you have already paid part of the rent prior to your (foreign) trip. Make sure that the lessor does not ask you again to pay for this. A mistake can always occur, of course!
And then it’s really time: time to pick up your motorhome! Before you take your motorhome with you, the rental company will first take you on a tour through and around the motorhome. You will get an explanation about the motorhome and see what is present. The lessor will also make an inventory of what damage is already present. Take a good look and if possible take pictures yourself, so you have proof if there are doubts when returning the motorhome. After going through the rental contract and paying any outstanding amounts, you will receive the key. Then the adventure can really begin!
Now that you know how to rent a motorhome, you can start dreaming about your holiday. Have you already chosen a campsite or a tour? Whether or not you already know where you’re going, I won’t let you go without some extra tips:
- Are you going on a tour through another country? Then it’s very handy to rent a motorhome on the spot. Renting a motorhome in Canada or America may sound logical, but how about hiring a motorhome in France or Latvia? Chances are that you’ll find it cheaper at your destination than if you were renting a motorhome in your own country. Arrange the RV rental in advance through your travel agent or directly with the rental company. Then all you have to do is arrange transport to the rental company.
- Buy separate bottles of (drinking) water. You can never know exactly how clean the hoses and tanks of the campervan are. In order to work as hygienically as possible, it is best to buy bottles of water to drink and brush your teeth with. Be sure to follow the tips given by the motorhome rental company. They know best how to keep this particular motorhome clean and what works best.
- As a real dog lover you might want to take your four-legged friend with you on holiday. Would you like to take your dog in the campervan? Talk this through with the lessor. Not all lessors agree.
- Also indicate it if you take small children in the motorhome. You must of course have the possibility of a child seat. Most lessors have a solution for this.
Not a motorhome fan after all?
It turns out that after your first holiday with an RV you are not a motorhome fan after all. Maybe the rental motorhome was too big for you and you need something smaller, or maybe you enjoy renting a caravan a lot more. No problem, you can just deliver your campervan back to the rental company and you’re done. Of course, it is also possible that the motorhome meets your wishes right away. That is great! Then you know exactly what you are looking for in your next rental adventure!