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5 things to remember when hiring a camper van

5 things to remember when hiring a camper van

Camper vans and other RVs (recreational vehicles) are cool again. Sales are rocketing as retired baby-boomers and younger urbanites fall in love with the freedom they provide and the chance to escape today’s 24/7 culture.

It’s easy to see why; from wild camping to a quick weekend in Cornwall with the surfboard on the roof, RVs are highly versatile, ready-to-go and can be very comfortable.

However, with newer models costing a lot of money, and even some second-hand campervans from the 1970s and 1980s selling for thousands, many people opt to experience the joys of an RV by renting instead.

As with car rental, you could get ripped off unless you heed advice and start the process forewarned against the pitfalls.

Here are some key tips for hiring a campervan or motorhome:

  1. The hire-package

It should go without saying, but does the hire-company offer self-drive insurance as part of the overall package? Some try to tack it on as an extra (and the worst may not offer it at all!). Also, is breakdown cover included? Again, this is something you shouldn’t go without. Some companies offer to transfer you from airports and other travel hubs to your vehicle, which is a nice extra.

Always ask, or check online, what the hire-package includes before paying any deposit.

  1. Check out the hire company

In the rush to book what you might think is a ‘deal’, it can be easy to forget that hiring an RV through a disreputable firm can cause nightmares. Check out their web presence: Do they get good customer feedback on review sights? Is their social media and website recently updated and informative? Is the small print easy to find?

One good tip is to check out their hire-premises on Google Street View; be worried if it’s an empty-looking building or someone’s house.

Remember, cheapest can offer mean ‘rip-off’.

  1. Does the company own their own vehicles?

Some companies are essentially third-parties, advertising other companies’ vehicles or even those owned by individuals. Many will be perfectly reputable (see point 2 above for checking them out!) but the last thing you want is to hire a badly serviced vehicle or one that doesn’t even have the proper insurance, or no insurance at all.

Watch out for companies trying to fob you off with a different campervan or motorhome to the one advertised.

  1. Condition and age

Ask a number of key questions; how old is the vehicle? Are you guaranteed the same model once you’ve paid your deposit (this should be clearly stated in the small print too)? Ask what year it was manufactured, current mileage and if there has ever been any damage. Even ask for more photos to be mailed to you. Good companies will provide all this quickly and efficiently.

  1. View in advance

Decent hire companies will let you view a vehicle in person, in advance, usually with a little notice. You can meet the staff too, and check out the hire premises to see if it ‘feels’ dodgy.

  1. Mid-week hire

It’s not a deal breaker for most, but the best companies will let you hire mid-week and not wait until ‘changeover’ day in high season.


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Published 12 June 2017