Hire Amazing Motorhomes for Less
There are so many options available for families and couples looking to explore from behind the wheel of a motorhome, camper van or caravan. Staying close to home, England, Scotland and Wales offer a wide variety of landscapes to explore from soaring mountains and expansive forests to rugged coasts and meandering rivers. For those who like the city lifestyle, there are plenty of motorhome campsites within easy reach of London, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh and other cities.
Alternatively, you could spread your wings further and explore mainland Europe or even further afield (the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are popular destinations). Wherever you decide to visit, camper van hire puts you and your family firmly back in control of your time and schedule.
If you’ve never hired a motorhome before, here are some tips to help ensure your first experience is a positive one. Be warned though, once you’ve been bitten by the motorhome holiday bug, you may never go back to a standard package holiday again.
Preparation is the Key to an Amazing Motorhome Rental Experience
Once you have decided to explore motorhome rental, it is never too soon to make a start on research. There is so much to learn about different types of motorhome, the variety of resorts out there and the multitude of campgrounds you can base yourself at.
Then there are motorhome accessories to think about, various special deals and bonuses to consider, prices to compare, the list goes on. The most important thing is not to rush the process as this is when mistakes are made. Instead, settle down as soon as possible to the task, create a research folder (or at least make some space in a notebook) and spend as much time as possible browsing and comparing your options.
A camper van holiday is an opportunity for families or couples to spend quality time together and bond through shared experiences. For that reason, your fellow travellers, whether that’s your spouse or your entire extended family, should be involved from the very start. Springing a surprise motorhome break sounds exciting and adventurous but most people do prefer to have some control over where they go and what they do. Of course, your family may be the exception!
Once you’ve made a decision about your destination, it’s time to look at who you are going to hire your motorhome or camper van from. You essentially have three options:
• Using a standard motorhome rental company
• Hiring through a peer-to-peer rental company such as Outdoorsy
• Hiring privately (e.g. from an online advert or via a friend or family member)
Traditional Motorhome Rental Companies
These will have their own fleet of camper vans which are regularly maintained and often replaced on a regular basis. Although you can be fairly sure of what you are going to get, hiring from traditional motorhome hire companies can be expensive with hidden extras something to be careful of. The variety of motorhomes on offer can also be limited as these companies tend to deal in big contracts with specific motorhome suppliers.
Peer-to-peer Camper Van Hire
This is a relatively modern motorhome rental model, made simpler by the advance of website technology. Peer-to-peer RV hire companies such as Outdoorsy enable RV owners to list and market their rigs online to a global audience (RV is the generic American term for all types of camping vehicle).
The Outdoorsy platform uses browsing data together with user-controlled filters to localise and streamline the search process for renters. Once a potential renter has found the camper van they want, they can communicate directly with the vehicle owner and, if happy, make a booking. Outdoorsy also takes care of insurance, driver checks, customer support and roadside assistance, using economies of scale to offer industry-leading deals.
Peer-to-peer rental tends to be less expensive than using a traditional hire company and offers more variety. Quality (both of vehicle and owner integrity) can vary but hirers can often avoid the pitfalls by reading peer reviews. If you are interested in learning more about Outdoorsy specifically, read our Outdoorsy review. You can also access the Outdoorsy portal directly from our website and start looking for available camper vans in your area today.
Private camper van hire
As with peer-to-peer hire, renting a motorhome privately is often cheaper than through a traditional hire company. However, there is more of a risk of vehicle breakdown and less support. Unless hiring from a close friend or family member, renters are probably best avoiding private hire until they have had some RVing experience under their belts.
You will then want to decide what type of motorhome or camper van you are going to go for. After all, there is a huge difference between a state-of-the-art Class A Winnebago and a retro Westfalia from the 1970s.
This is a huge research project in itself due to the many different types of camping vehicle and the unique histories and features of individual rigs.
Risk-free RV Rental: How to Ensure a Safe, Stress-Free Holiday
Although a camper van holiday is all about having adventures and enjoying a break from the old routine, safety has to be a priority.
Everyone has heard humorous stories about remote breakdowns, unlucky accidents, mammoth detours and getting into pickles with the police but, let’s be honest, these situations are rarely funny at the time.
Top of the safety tips is getting a high quality insurance policy in place. Providing your motorhome rental period is covered by adequate insurance, it doesn’t matter who takes out the policy.
It could be the owner, the renter (you) or the hire company. If you are not satisfied with the policy arranged by the owner or hire company, you can usually take out our own policy instead.
An insurance policy provided by a hiring company is usually the best option for RV hire because they will be able to secure the best deals due to the number of vehicles under their policy. For example, Outdoorsy have industry-leading insurance in place for users of their platform. The added convenience and sense of security this provides is clearly deemed worth the investment.
Whichever route you go down, be sure to read through the fine print to check exactly what is covered.
It is vital that anyone who drives the motorhome or camper van is licensed to do so. In the UK, the licence you need depends upon the vehicle’s Maximum Authorized Mass (MAM) which includes the combined weight of the vehicle and its maximum load.
Driving a motorhome up to 3.5 tonnes is legal on a standard car licence as they fall under category B. For this reason, most motorhomes are built to be below that weight.
Driving a motorhome with an MAM between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes requires a category C1 licence. If you passed your driving test before 1997, chances are you have this category included on your driving licence. Otherwise you will need to have passed an additional test.
Anything heavier than 7.5 tonnes and you will need a category C (large vehicle) licence. To double check your category entitlements, look at your driving licence photo-card. This will have dates recorded next to those categories you are legally allowed to drive. Some motorhome rental companies such as Outdoorsy will check every driver’s entitlement with the DVLA before allowing them to hire a motorhome.
Wherever your wheels take you, you will feel a lot more relaxed if you know there is someone to call if you get into trouble.
When signing up to a roadside recovery service, make sure it is appropriate for your needs. It obviously needs to cover the destination you are travelling to, whether that is England, Scotland, mainland Europe or further afield, but you also need to think about the service you will receive. Will it be repairs on the roadside only, a tow to a local garage or transport back home for your vehicle and your family members?
Again, camper van hire companies will often provide roadside assistance as part of their package. Outdoorsy includes 24/7 RV rental roadside assistance as well as a dedicated customer service team.
Don’t Forget the Reviews!
One of the best ways to increase your chances of a great holiday experience is to pay attention to customer reviews. It can be difficult to get an accurate idea from a traditional motorhome rental company as reviews tend to apply to the company as a whole. However, peer-to-peer camper van companies usually enable hirers to review specific owners and vice versa. This makes it much easier to select a reliable camper van supplied by a conscientious owner.
From Motorhome Rental to Motorhome Ownership
Have you ever considered buying a motorhome or camper van and hiring it out to other camping enthusiasts? Don’t dismiss the idea without giving it careful thought. Those who have experienced the highs and lows of motorhome camping themselves are in a great position to provide a superb rental service. Hiring a camper van for a holiday is the perfect way to trial rigs before taking the next step into ownership.
If you’re worried about the hassle and costs of keeping your motorhome maintained between outings, creating your own motorhome rental business solves the problem in two ways:
First, your vehicle is less likely to suffer from the effects of being stowed away for months on end (damp, extreme temperatures, seized up parts, etc.)
Second, the income you get from hiring out your motorhome or camper van should easily cover any maintenance due to general wear and tear.
As detailed in an earlier section, camper van owners have two options when hiring out their vehicles. They can either handle the whole process themselves or they can use a peer-to-peer rental platform like Outdoorsy.
Private versus Peer-to-peer RV Rental
There are pros and cons to both strategies.
If you decide to hire out your camper van privately, you have complete control over the process and get to keep 100% of the rental fee you charge. This can make you very competitive on price. If you are confident in your marketing abilities and are happy to take care of insurance, renter vetting, roadside assistance and customer service then private rental could work for you.
However, many camper van owners prefer to leverage the economies of scale that peer-to-peer platforms provide. They can afford to use the best developers to create powerful online platforms for bringing renters and owners together.
They are also able to secure industry-leading insurance deals to cover all bookings and to provide extras such as 24/7 roadside assistance and a customer service contact. Camper van owners only really have to manage their online profile, arrange the handover of keys and give renters a walkthrough of their vehicle. Although camper van owners only get 75-80% of the hire fee, they can of course increase their rates to cover this. However, this could mean losing bookings to owners offering more competitive rates.
Follow this link for more information on how to earn extra money from your camper van or motorhome through Outdoorsy, the world’s largest and most trusted peer-to-peer motorhome rental platform.
6 More Camper Van Hire Tips
Returning to your own holiday plans, hopefully you are now in a good position to hire a motorhome or other type of RV with confidence. Here are 6 final tips to help ensure you have the best experience possible:
Thoroughly Research your Destination Area
Once you’ve hit on a destination, spend as much time as you can getting to know everything you can about it. With a limited time to explore, you will want to organise a full itinerary and spend as little time as possible on organisational tasks. Find out where the beauty spots are, what activities are on offer, where you can eat (both cheap and expensive options) and whether there are areas to avoid. You should also check out what amenities your campsite offers and ensure you can find it easily (Google Maps is as good a tool as any!)
Learn About Motorhome Types (and Other Camping Terminology)
With dozens of different types of camper vans, motorhomes and caravans available, each with at least two or three different names, knowing exactly what you are hiring can be a challenge.
A good place to start your education is our guide to the different classes and types of camping vehicle. Click here to discover the difference between class A, B & C motorhomes, caravans, fifth wheels, truck campers and more.
It is also a good idea to read a few camper van blogs and look up any unfamiliar terms such as boondocking (aka wild camping).
Match your Camping Vehicle to your Destination
This seems an obvious point but it is easy to get blown away by the features or character of a camper van or motorhome and end up hiring a vehicle which is not really suited to the type of holiday you want. Are you exploring the narrow, twisting lanes of Cornwall? A Class A motorhome is not going to be a comfortable drive in this part of the world. On the other hand, if you are planning to tour major European cities, you probably don’t want to hire a battered 1970s Westfalia as it may not last the trip.
Remember to Accessorise!
With space at a premium, it is important to be selective when choosing what to bring with you on your trip. Spend some time browsing the many wild and wonderful motorhome accessories on the market as there are some fantastic space-saving options (stackable dishes, collapsible washing-up bowls, multi-function cooking pots, etc.)
You should also spend time thinking about the utilities you will use and what you need to keep things in good working order (water hoses, leisure batteries, gas cylinders, WiFi signal extenders, etc.)
Consider Joining a Caravan or Camping Club
If you are planning more than just a one-off trip, joining a caravan or camping club can be a wise idea. Not only do you get to join a vibrant community of like-minded individuals, these organisations can also save you money through deals and special offers. For example, caravan clubs often provide fantastic insurance policies designed around the needs of their members.
Yes, there is a lot to think about when organising your camper van trip but never forget exactly why you’re making the effort.
Whether you’re experiencing the vibrant culture of European cities; marvelling at the vistas in the Scottish highlands; meandering through the Yorkshire dales or watching the sun set over the Atlantic, your number one priority should be to have fun and enjoy spending time with the people you love.