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Explore overseas on a motorhome dream tour


Whether you are planning an adventure east, west, south or north, across land or ocean, motorhome travel is a great way to explore

But what if you want to try further afield? There’s no need to ditch the motorhome way of life and the great news is that there are plenty of options for all budgets.

So, you can hire a motorhome at the starting point of your dream tour, you can ship your own motorhome, or you can look at swapping a motorhome, a little like a house swap.

Here’s a rough overview from the May issue of MMM, including snippets of case studies from people who have been there before you can read the full article by buying the issue or subscribing!

Page contents

Words by Rachel Scholes


Hire a motorhome or campervan

Hiring a campervan in Australia

(Photo courtesy of Helen Werin)

The first option is to hire a motorhome at your destination of choice. This can be cost effective if you are travelling a long way and only going for a short-ish time period.

This can either be done through a traditional rental firm, or through the fairly extensive peer-to-peer rental market.

A few years back I rented a very basic Jucy camper to tour the Great Ocean Road in Australia. I very handily got advice from one of our advertisers at the time (Gallivanting Oz) which actually recommended going direct rather than hiring a bigger vehicle through its service.

It was great advice as I was travelling alone in early summer and did not need any more space or facilities than this campervan provided. My memories of that trip will stay with me forever – and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Anyway, back to the topic at hand and there is another option here and that’s peer-to-peer rental. Goboony is one the most well-known but its rentals are restricted mainly to Europe – it does have a rental available in Costa Rica, though.

Indie Campers has a range of options further afield (Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada) as well as those in Europe. Quirky Campers, a UK-based peer-to-peer rental firm, also has a New Zealand arm, while Camplify has New Zealand and Australia campervans on its books.

If you fancy the idea of a more exotic motorhome holiday, but with a little more help, then an escorted tour might be worth looking at.

The Caravan and Motorhome Club offers a range of these (Southern Africa, Canada and New Zealand), while the aforementioned Gallivanting Oz offers tours of Australia and Tasmania. Or in an intermediate point between full independent and escorted, the Club also has a range of itineraries, whereby campsites are also booked with motorhome hire and flights.

One of our preferred options is MandA Tours, who run escorted motorhome tours across Europe, giving you the freedom of driving your own campervan or motorhome while providing a reliable and friendly safety net for peace of mind.

Case study: hiring a motorhome


I opt for top insurance/excess waiver cover for peace of mind over expense, especially as a big cause of damage and accidents in Australia is hitting kangaroos

Hiring a campervan in NZHiring a campervan in Australia

Helen Werin's travels down under

In Australia, the most basic campervan worked best for us because, with a couple of exceptions, we used campsites. ‘Wild’/’freedom’ camping is illegal in many places in Australia, with big fines. Australian and NZ commercial sites all have decent, equipped kitchens. Knowing therefore that we would only use our stove in Australia when brewing up between sites, or on national park campsites, also shaped our layout decisions.

Perhaps I should say here that, at Australian national parks, there are at least toilets, typically of the ‘drop’ variety. Just hope the previous user has put the lid down because of flies!

I’m especially glad that we hired in Australia rather than export our motorhome because all that dust gets in everything.

I must say here that, at times, there were four adults travelling in the Jucy Condo in Queensland (two sleeping in a tent), yet we managed to fit everything in comfortably. We weren’t planning to drive on dirt roads in either country as this is not usually permitted with many models by hire companies, something crucial to factor in when plotting off-the-beaten-track adventures.

What would I do differently? Check fuel consumptions. Our Jucy Condo out of Sydney was a shocking gas guzzler. I also wrongly assumed, it being the same model as our Queensland campervan, that it would have the same layout. It didn’t have a food cupboard, so we ended up with boxes where the passengers would have sat.

I would also aim to totally avoid public and school holidays when hire charges (and campsite prices) shoot up.

Swap shop

Driving a motorhome in New Zealand

(Photo courtesy of Sue Mather)

This is a method which seems to be cropping up more and more – and is particularly useful if you already have a motorhome here in the UK.

You essentially agree to swap an amount of time in your motorhome for a similar amount of time in a destination far far away. Obviously, this is not a decision to be taken lightly, and there are things like insurance that needs to be sorted out properly.

There are numerous websites that offer listings, but RV Worldwide is one that several of our readers have used previously.

Case study: swapping your motorhome


Put your motorhome to work rather than just letting it sit on your drive or in storage

Swap your campervan to travel AustraliaSwap your campervan to travel

Sue Mather swaps her motorhome

Initially, I messaged about six people whose motorhomes we liked the look of, and who looked as though they’d look after ours! Yes, our motorhome is our baby and, at first, Charlie was a bit reticent. We eventually started an email chat with Lyn and Pete, who live on the coast about two hours south of Auckland and eventually we agreed to be ‘swapees’.

There’s a few things to agree on, like insurance cover, breakdown cover and, of course, dates. We discovered that our insurer (LV) will insure named drivers, subject to a questionnaire, for 42 days (six weeks). Many won’t but it is worth phoning around.

It was easy for us going to New Zealand as Lyn and Pete were able just add us to their insurance. Lyn arranged for us, as overseas visitors, to buy specific breakdown cover for a 3.5-tonne motorhome with AA NZ for NZ$154 (about £85).

It’s easier not to arrange a direct dates swap as then you can host each other, so we hosted Lyn and Pete at the end of June 2023 for their six weeks in UK and Northern Europe.

We certainly had a trip of a lifetime… five weeks of the most stunning scenery, from fiords and waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, rivers, aquamarine lakes, extensive beaches, camping amongst the beach dunes, and zooming across Lake Wakatipu (Queenstown) in an aqua taxi.


Exporting a motorhome to the USA

(Photo courtesy of Lisa and Nick Hudson)

This is possibly the most costly and complicated method of achieving a dream tour. But it may not be as difficult as you might think.

You don’t need a big expensive vehicle, either. Regular writers, John and Sue Hughes, toured almost everywhere except Asia in a entry-level Ford Transit Chausson. They’ve now given up the far-flung travel bug; however, we do hear regularly from people setting off on big trips.

These are mainly to the USA and Canada and include A-classes, VW campervans and everything in between.

There is also another option for New Zealand, too, which has been reported on by readers in the past. You can ship out a new motorhome with Castle European to sell on afterwards. Much of this company’s business is through Kiwis wanting to travel Europe then ship the motorhome to use at home, but one reader bought a motorhome, shipped it out and then sold it on afterwards.

Because of the demand for European motorhomes, this can work out quite a cost-effective way of doing a longer tour of the North and South islands of New Zealand.

Case study: shipping your motorhome


In total, over 10 months, we visited 25 US states, four Canadian provinces and 12 national parks

Travelling the USA in an exported motorhomeExport a motorhome for global travel

Vivien Ogden exports her campervan to the USA

We settled on exporting our own demountable campervan because to rent would cost as much in two months as return shipping. Buying a vehicle is difficult in the US unless you are a resident. There is an option to set up a limited liability company that circumvents this requirement, but there are ongoing costs and storage to consider.

To mitigate the expense, we wanted to go for longer than the three-month ESTA visa allowed so applied online for a B-2 tourist visa. This entailed an appointment at the US embassy in London; the B-2 visa allows six months in the US at a time for up to 10 years; there is no specified time to be out of the US between each six-month period. It cost £280 per person and took four months.

The total one-way cost from Southampton to Charleston South Carolina came to £3,500, this included roro (roll-on roll-off) crossing, marine insurance and agent fees for customs paperwork. The crossings can only be booked one way a maximum of 6-8 weeks ahead so booking the return voyage had to be done towards the end of our trip, and cost £3,085 (total £6,585).

To import a vehicle to the US a TIP (Temporary Import) document is required from US border control. I was put in touch with the US agent and this was completed online and included Canada and Mexico.

Our foreign vehicle had the added advantage of creating a talking point and we met many interesting people because of it. I have to say, despite everything involved with international shipping, it is one of best decisions we have made to tour the USA in the comfort of our own vehicle.

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