Renting a caravan for beginners. The complete overview!
January, 15 2021
Going on holiday with a caravan. For many, the way to go camping. If you don’t own a caravan yet but you are interested, renting may be an option for you. Renting has two major advantages. You find out quickly whether caravanning is something for you and it is considerably cheaper than buying. Let me help you with some handy rental tips!
Tip: my colleague Bianca wrote an extensive article about renting a motorhome earlier!
Everything you ever wanted to know about renting a caravan for your holiday
- Why rent a caravan?
- Where can you rent a caravan?
- How much does it cost to rent a caravan?
- Before you rent
- A suitable tow car
- Easy and hygienic: your own toilet facilities
- What else must you keep in mind?
- What should you take along?
- The rental contract
- Picking up your caravan
- Extra tips
Renting a caravan is very smart in many cases. A new caravan can be rather pricey, and even second-hand ones often cost ten thousand euros or more. There are also many other items that must be purchased, such as a kitchen inventory, camping chairs and, for example, an awning. And this does not even take into account the materials needed for the maintenance of the water tank or other standard maintenance of a caravan. And do you have room to store your caravan at home? If not, you must also count on costs for storage.
And don’t forget that you must also have insurance for a caravan. This insurance is included in the rental price of a caravan. These kinds of things and the corresponding costs are all taken care of if you rent a caravan from an organisation or a professional rental company. By renting a caravan, you can save a lot. If you want to experience camping with a caravan, renting is an inexpensive way of getting acquainted with this.
These days, there are many places to rent a caravan or motorhome. For example, through various sites, including Camplify. These organisations often have several locations where you can rent a caravan. This is especially handy if you want to return the caravan to a location other than the pickup location. Another option is to search very specifically for a dealer in your neighbourhood. This means there is no long drive to get there. And you are able to ask more specific questions than through a website.
Facebook is also a good place to search to rent a caravan. There are various groups for private individuals who offer their caravan/mobile home for rent. After you have become a member, you may respond to messages. Do not hesitate to ask questions. People are happy to help! Campers are very social and wonderful people.
When searching for a suitable caravan, you will notice a difference in rental prices. A small caravan often costs only €20 or €30 a night, while a luxurious caravan that is suitable for five people may cost €80 a night. Consider your requirements carefully so as not to pay for options that you do not need. And, of course, you pay more during the high season than in the low season.
The prices at professional rental companies are often higher. This is because they provide more service and can arrange all kinds of things for you. These can include the final cleaning, issuance costs (for the preparation of the caravan and the loan of basic equipment), insurance and any claim adjustment. Some rental companies also offer the rental of camping gear with the caravan, including tables, chairs, bed linen, an awning and a bicycle carrier.
It is highly recommended that you thoroughly research which caravan best suits you and your budget. And always ask for a comprehensive quote with all additional costs so that it is easy to compare the total amount. Cheap can work out to be expensive if there are still many other costs to be added to the rental price.
It is wise to start looking for a caravan early. This gives you the most choice and you may profit from an early booking discount. If you rent for a longer period, you may also possibly be given a discount. The price of the rental does not only depend on the size of the caravan or the degree of luxury. The season affects costs as well. Are you able to go on holiday in the low season or spring or autumn? Then do so! This not only gives you a better rental price but lower accommodation costs at campsites as well. Do check whether the caravan heats up well should you be travelling in the autumn or winter.
Will you be renting a caravan in your home country? We advise visiting the lessor before you actually leave on holiday. This is a good way to decide whether the lessor feels right for you. The lessor can also inform you about the various types of caravans and help you choose the right one. If this caravan lessor does not feel right for you and your family, look for another provider of rental caravans. Private individuals are also often willing to let you view the caravan and even hitch it up to your car for a test drive.
When renting a caravan, consider which car you will use to pull the caravan. Is your car suitable or will you have to borrow/rent one? You must also consider how much baggage you will be transporting in the caravan while travelling. The caravan you rent may not be loaded heavier than the tow car permits. This information can be found on the vehicle registration certificate. If the tow car is unable to pull much and the caravan itself is heavy, the net load capacity of the caravan will be low. You may run into difficulties then with all of the items you want to take along.
If you have never driven with a caravan before, it might be wise to rent a small to medium-sized one. This makes it much easier to drive. If you know you are going to a mountainous area, it might be good idea to take a course to learn how to drive with a caravan behind your car. Driving skills are needed for driving through the mountains. Finally, it is advisable to try to pick up your caravan a few days beforehand. This gives you time to practice special manoeuvres.
Most caravans contain a toilet and even a shower. This is one of the major advantages of a caravan or motorhome. The toilet facilities are not spacious, but they are practical. You need not share the toilet facilities with others, and you can clean them yourself. Check before your holiday whether the campsite has the right facilities for your (rental) caravan. You must be able to fill the water tank and empty the waste tank, depending on the type of toilet. Don’t know how it all works yet? The lessor of your caravan will be able to tell you which connections you need and how the toilet facilities work.
Always keep these three things in mind before you rent a caravan:
- Deposit: when you rent a caravan, you will most likely need to pay a deposit beforehand. Should something happen to the caravan or should it be damaged, you will most likely lose your deposit. Check carefully what the amount of the deposit is and under which conditions you will not get this amount back.
- Insurance: also ask the lessor what kind of insurance coverage the caravan has. Usually an excess is included. Often, you can take out extra insurance or buy the excess off so that you need not pay the full amount of any damage. Think about whether you would like to do this beforehand. That way you will not have to make a quick decision about a large amount while at the rental company.
- The credit card: in your own country it is often possible to pay for the rental of the caravan via a bank but, when abroad, a credit card is usually required. Keep this in mind when you go on holiday abroad.
You now know what to look out for when choosing a caravan. You might find it romantic to travel in a small Kip caravan. Or you might want a large Hobby, Knaus or Tabbert caravan with plenty of room for the entire family. The room that you have also determines how much you can take along. Before you go out and buy camping gear, it is a good idea to ask for the inventory list of the caravan you will be renting. Kitchen accessories are usually standard for a rental caravan. So leave that extra cheese slicer at home! Do ask whether you should take your own bed clothes along.
As mentioned earlier, there are rental companies that will rent out (a part of) the inventory for a price. It is possible that your family or friends include people who love to camp. Feel free to borrow some things. This will lower the price and you can be sure you are going on holiday with good equipment. Otherwise they wouldn’t be using it! If you are going camping for the first time, read these tips on packing.
When renting a caravan, naturally, signing a rental contract is required. Take the time to read it thoroughly, including the fine print. Pay attention to cancellation costs, liability with damage (see the point about insurance as well) and the amount of the deposit. Check whether all of the rental costs are correct. You may have already paid a part of the rent prior to your trip (abroad). Make sure that the lessor does not ask you to pay this amount again. It is so easy to make a mistake!
The time has finally come: time to pick up the caravan! Before you can leave with the caravan, the lessor will inspect the caravan inside and out. You will be given instructions about the caravan and will see what it all has. The lessor will also make a list of any damage already present. Do follow along and take photos yourself, so that you have proof if there is any doubt when returning the caravan. After going through the rental contract and paying any outstanding amounts, you will be given the key. Now the adventure can really begin!
Now that you know how to rent a caravan, you can enjoy anticipating and dreaming about your holiday. Have you already picked out a campsite? I still have some tips for you:
- If you are taking your dog along on holiday, we advise you to tell the lessor. Not all lessors will agree to this.
- If you are going on holiday with a larger group, take along an awning and/or canopy to create extra living space. And if your children are old enough to sleep in a small tent, there is more room in the caravan. A small tent can be cosy and can give your children a real camping feeling!
- If you are planning to tour through another country, you could consider renting a caravan on location or along the way to your destination. There is a good chance it will be cheaper to rent at your destination than renting a caravan in England/France. And if you are not hooking up a caravan behind your car in your own country, you can drive to your destination much more quickly.
- Before you leave, always check the tyre pressure, lighting and that all doors, drawers and windows are properly closed.
- Purchase bottles of (drinking) water. You never know how clean the hoses and tanks of your caravan are. Bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth is more hygienic. The lessor should be able to tell you what he/she always does. If anyone knows how clean this particular caravan is, the lessor does!
Not a big fan of the caravan after all?
Have you decided after your holiday that a caravan is not really your thing? Maybe your rental caravan was too large, too small or you would have preferred a somewhat more luxurious caravan? This is the advantage of renting: you simply return it to the lessor after your holiday! But there is a good chance that you had a positive experience. And now you know what type of caravan you like. Time to see if you would like to purchase you own caravan. Who knows? Maybe renting is a good option for your next camping adventure.