The Campervan Hire Guide
So you have decided to hire a campervan - great choice! Now let us help you.
- How much does it cost?
- Recommended hire companies
- Campervan Hire checklist
- Campervan Hire FAQs
- Readers' campervan stories - hiring adventures
How much does hiring a campervan cost?
© Image courtesy of Goboony.co.uk
Comparing campervan hire costs
If you are hiring a campervan for the first time, the cost might initially seem high. But think again — what you’re getting is a fully equipped holiday home on wheels. It will be insured, kitted out, fully maintained, cleaned and ready for the open road… all you need to do is get in and drive.
Now does it seem so expensive? After all you’re getting accommodation and transport with a hired campervan. Plus you get to go anywhere you choose, anytime you want in a vehicle that can cost around £70,000 to buy.
So what can I expect to pay?
Campervans are smaller than motorhomes so they are usually cheaper (reduced cleaning bills, less maintenance costs, cheaper insurance and fewer facilities to maintain.)
As a general guide, you can expect to pay anywhere from £100 a night up to about £250 a night. There are many factors that will affect the price of your hire vehicle including:
- The age of the campervan
- The condition of the campervan
- The campervan facilities
- The size of the campervan
- If extras like bedding are included
- Where you plan to go
- How long you hire the vehicle for
- The time of year you are hiring
Additional costs to take into account are insurance costs, fuel costs (including heating fuel like gas), campsite booking costs (which are generally very low) and any ferry costs if you are going overseas.
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Also make sure that you ask about charges that could be incurred on return – excess cleaning charges, emptying the toilet, returning without a full tank of fuel and the gas you have used from the gas bottle.
Most companies will have prices on their websites – school holidays, as always, are likely to be the most expensive periods – but campervan hire is much cheaper in the winter.
How do I get an accurate estimate?
The best way is always to speak to the hire company directly. Make sure you know generally where you will be heading, when you will be going and who will be driving. Their customer services staff will make sure you get an accurate quote for a vehicle that not only meets your needs, but will also match your budget.
Recommended campervan hire companies
Our traders directory is jam-packed with campervan hire companies and independents from accross the UK and abroad. Here are three companies with great reviews and a superb service ethic that offer very high quality hire vehicles with all the modern safety and luxury you could want.
"Bunk Campers are one of the largest campervan rental companies in the UK & Ireland with depots nationwide. Since 2007, our customers have spent over 100,000 days on the road enjoying motorhome holidays. All of our campervans and motorhomes for hire are kitted out with everything you need to get on the road."Contact Bunk Campers
"We look forward to being able to share our love of camping and adventure with you and for you to discover and enjoy all the great outdoors has to offer from the comfort of our lovely, and very cool, VW campervan. We are an independent, family run business. Our aim is to provide you with the perfect escape to really explore, have fun, adventures and create amazing memories."Contact Camper Adventures
"Our mission is simple; To become your first choice for campervan and motorhome holidays by providing you with a first class service you will want to recommend to friends and family. Whether you’re embarking on an epic European road trip or looking for a long weekend exploring Norfolk, our modern vehicles will provide you with the perfect base from which to explore at your own leisure."Contact Capricorn Campers
Chelston Motorhome Hire
"For over 34 years, Chelston Motorhomes have been delivering the very best new and used motorhomes in Somerset, from our original customers buying campervans in the South West, to nationwide throughout the UK and now, to all over the world! ."Contact Chelston Motorhomes
"We’re motorhomers ourselves and pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service. If you’ve got an annual Comfort motorhome or campervan insurance policy, your friends and family can borrow your vehicle and insure themselves under our Discover short term hire insurance policy."Discover By Comfort
Picking up your hire campervan
© Image courtesy of Goboony.co.uk
You've selected the ideal campervan to hire, so what happens on the day you collect it and your rental starts?
Don't forget your driving licence!
UK drivers will need the plastic card driving licence and the DVLA code. You’ll need to go on the DVLA website prior to arrival to get the code, which allows the rental company to view the details held by the DVLA. You may also need to show proof of a UK address, in the form of a recent utility bill or bank statement.
Pay the deposit
You’ll need a credit card for the security deposit, too. Just like renting a car, this will be preauthorised for the amount – normally between £1,000 and £2,000 for a campervan or motorhome. Make sure it is not deducted but just preauthorised. If it’s actually deducted, ensure that it will be refunded immediately on return of the vehicle.
Don’t take things you aren’t going to use. Taking too much is a burden you can easily avoid. Your hired vehicle might be big, but the space fills up quickly. However, check what is included as you may need to pay extra for camping essentials like bedding, kitchenware and camping chairs, if you don't take your own.
Just like with a hire car, check the campervan for any damage and declare any you see and ensure these defects are marked on the rental form. If you don’t declare them before signing the form, you may be liable for the damage when you return.
Know how your vehicle works
Ask the hire company to show you how everything works – and we mean everything. Start in the cab and go through all the controls, including how to use the reversing camera (it might not have a rear view mirror, so you may have to rely on the side mirrors and camera) and handbrake (it might not be where you expect it to be). Then make the beds from the seats and then make them back into seats. Look for where to fill up the water tank and then how to drain it and the waste water tanks. Ask where the fuel filler cap is and what key it needs to unlock it.
It's a gas
One of the most complicated bits of the campervan is the gas system if one is fitted. Is the gas tank or cylinder supplied full? Do you know how to change the cylinder if you run out of gas? Replacement gas cylinders are available at filling stations, garden centres and motorhome dealers. Some campsites also sell cylinders if you get stuck, but don’t rely on this, as you can never guarantee the sizes and types they stock. If you have a fixed LPG tank it’s worth familiarising yourself with how to refill it – in the UK this usually involves attaching a bayonet-style fitting and holding a button down until the tank is full. Releasing it usually involves a loud hiss, which can be alarming the first time it happens, but is normal! Not all petrol stations stock LPG, so consult a website such as drivelpg.co.uk to find one nearby.
Do you know where the fuses are and are spares supplied? Use the control panel to activate the electric and water pumps. Turn on the TV (if one is supplied) and make sure it tunes into the stations. Look at where you plug in the electric hook-up cable and where it is stored and then actually plug it in and unplug again. Do it now in daylight with someone with you rather than learn in the dark and rain!
Transfer your items
Use folding crates or bags to pack your car before going to pick up the hire vehicle unless it is local and you can drive home to pack. You can either leave these in the car or carry them with you to make packing up on drop-off day easier. Make sure you pack everything away securely if unloading at the rental depot. Folding versions can be stashed neatly away, but they will still take up space, so if its at a premium then its best to leave these in the car, but that means unpacking and packing at the rental depot.
Talk about toilets
Some campervans will come with cassette toilets, either permanently fitted or portable. These holding tanks will need to be emptied regularly. The rental 'van may come with toilet chemicals (or you might need to supply your own) that you put into the tank to reduce smells and help break down the contents. Make sure you know how to empty the toilet and always empty into an approved emptying point (commonly referred to as Elsan points). You may be charged or lose some of your deposit if you return a campervan to the depot with a full toilet or tank.
Driving a campervan
Many larger campervans do not have the central internal rear view mirror, and if they do the visibility through rear windows is not great. So check your side mirrors regularly, especially in narrow roads or when manoeuvring around corners. If reversing, ask one of your family to watch the rear (standing so you can see them in the side mirror), even if reversing cameras or sensors are fitted.
Be considerate while on holiday!
Consider the rural communities and towns you are visiting. It's not okay to empty toilets into anywhere other than designated points, without prior approval. Take your rubbish home with you. Don't park in passing places to admire the scenery. The Lake District has issued this code of conduct which offers useful advise to follow, wherever you are travelling in the UK.
Campervan Hire FAQs
© Image courtesy of Goboony.co.uk
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about hiring a campervan.
Q1: What will be supplied with the campervan
Answer: Many campervans will come with a basic set of pots, crockery and cutlery, but this might be an option. Commonly, you do have to take your own bedding and towels, but check the options list. Things like TVs, awnings, outdoor furniture and even bikes could be included, too.
Q2: Can I pack a hairdryer?
Answer: High wattage electrical items (domestic kettles, straighteners, hairdryers and microwaves, for example) are not advised. Campervan electrical systems operate on 12V, which will not charge or power 230V gadgets without an inverter. Using an inverter to power or charge appliances will drain a battery very quickly if not connected to the mains. Even if you have a mains hook-up function, some campsite electrics may not cope with the demands of selected power hungry appliances. Campsite facilities commonly offer built-in hairdryers or proper electrical points for hairdryers.
Q3: How many people can a campervan carry?
Answer: If you have people travelling in the rear, make sure they’re in designated travel seats and are wearing a three-point seatbelt. Put the headrests up, too, when travelling (you will usually need to put them away again to make up the bed). If you don’t have rear seatbelts, don’t take rear passengers. If you’re carrying children who need car seats then you must still use them. Some models have Isofix fixings but not all, so check first. .
Q4: What happens if I have to cancel or rearrange a booking?
Answer: Depending on the time period before your booking you may get back some of the deposit. But take a look at the hire company's cancellation policy. It may also be worth looking into insurance to safeguard against this. Finally, with all of the uncertainty around Covid and travel restrictions, it’s important to be able to book with confidence. Ask about free date changes or if you can get a full refund if the UK or Ireland governments impose restrictions closing the depot or introduce non-essential travel restrictions over the dates of your rental.
Inspirational Readers' Campervan Hire Stories
These inspirational stories are written by our readers and contributors, as they hire a campervan and have some amazing adventures. If you are looking for the inspiration to hire a campervan, these real-life tales have it all. A big thank you to all our contributors and readers for sharing these great stories and amazing photographs!
James and Sue have an astronomical time exploring Norfolk and Suffolk in an Auto Trail Tribute named the Planet 4,from Capricorn Campers...
After a stormy tour of Ireland’s Wild West in a fish van last year, James and Sue couldn’t resist going back for second helpings...
The McKelvie family have an epic time on the Heart 200 driving route, enjoying everything it has to offer from river tubing and white water rafting to gorge-walking and mountain safaris...
Fi and Simon hire a budget campervan and set off on a road trip of a lifetime around Norway’s Arctic Circle…
Ever considered spending seven months driving the Big Lap around Australia? That’s what Mike did, in a Suzuki APV named Priscilla…
Peter Rosenthal has a campervan adventure exploring Yorkshire in a hired campervan from McRent...
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