Motorhome hire - choosing the right model
Hiring a motorhome or campervan is a great way to sample the delights of life without any of the typical restrictions. You can go almost anywhere you want, whenever you want and have all your home comforts with you.
But, before you get your credit card out and book a model, read these top tips to make sure you get the perfect model for you.
Before you start your motorhome hire journey
- There are typically age limits for drivers wanting to hire a motorhome, so be prepared to have to pay extra or be turned away if you’re aged under 21 or over 70. This doesn’t mean you can’t hire a motorhome but you may find there are fewer options open to you.
- You will be governed by your driving licence on what models you can hire. Almost all campervans will be ok for anyone with a standard UK car licence but if you want a larger motorhome have a look at your licence categories first. If you do not have category C1 you will be limited to a motorhome weighing 3,500kg or less. There are still many available at this weight but larger motorhomes will not be.
- Think about whether you are comfortable driving a larger vehicle. While many campervans are no longer than a family estate car, coachbuilt motorhomes can be well over eight metres long. If you are unsure consider taking a training course first from either the Camping and Caravanning Club or the Caravan and Motorhome Club.
- You will need to have a credit card so if you haven’t, get one before looking for a hire vehicle.
- You will have to pay a deposit – or have an amount reserved on your credit card – to cover any damage or late returns, so factor this in.
Selecting the right motorhome or campervan
- If you plan to tour in the winter, you will need a motorhome or campervan with Grade III insulation – this means it has a suitable heating system to cope with cold weather. Also consider that you may be spending longer inside the motorhome than if it were summer weather, so consider a model with a comfortable lounge to relax in.
- Consider what exactly you will be doing – if you’re panning cycling then make sure it has a bike rack and/or a garage large enough to get bikes inside. If you’re considering a family holiday and eating outside then ask for an external BBQ point and/or a garage large enough for all your chairs, table and BBQ to fit in.
- Think about how you will get around once on your chosen campsite. Once you have pitched-up and set everything up inside, it is a pain to take everything back down because you need to pop to the shops so ask if there is a bus service from the entrance or whether you can walk to the nearest town. If not, think about taxis or bringing a bicycle or scooter with you (but see above).
- If you are planning to camp away from a campsite, then you will not have access to electric hook-up, so ask for a model with solar panels and greater capacity or twin leisure batteries. Some larger models even come with generators so that may be an option.
- Consider whether you will use the shower. Many campsites have great facilities so you may want to use these instead but, if you use your motorhome’s shower, then consider how large the water tanks are.
- If you don’t want to make a bed up from cushions each night then consider a model with a fixed bed, but remember some models have drop-down beds so these may work for you also. Generally, though models with fixed beds are longer, so consider this if you’re planning to drive on narrow roads.
- Think about how many people will be travelling with you. You need a seatbelt for every passenger so this will determine what models you can hire. Then think about whether they will all be sleeping in the motorhome. If so, you need a berth for every passenger. Remember some models advertised as four-berth may only have two double beds, so check if this is acceptable to your fellow travellers. Others may have bunk beds so ask about bed lengths if it is all adults in your party.
- Will you be cooking or eating out every night? If you eat out, not a problem but if you want to prepare a meal then ask about cooking facilities. Most British motorhomes have very well-equipped kitchens but some continental models lack ovens and some don’t even have grills. Campervans have less well equipped kitchens so don’t plan to make anything but basic meals.
- Look at the payload of the motorhome and think about what you will be taking with you. If the payload is, for example, 400kg but you are going to carry five or six people and their luggage, 400kg is unlikely to be enough so you will need to look at an alternative motorhome.
- Ask about what is supplied with the motorhome – does it come with bedding, cutlery and plates, pots, pans and kettle, toilet chemicals, towels, deck chairs and outside table, etc? If not, you will have to bring all of this with you.
- Then consider if you want a TV…some come with one and others don’t.
If you still unsure about what motorhome or campervan rental is right for you, more advice is here
If you're nervous about driving a motorhome for the first time, then read this advice
When you're ready to hire, have a look at the directory of motorhome hire companies here
And finally, when it is time to collect your rental motorhome – read these tips to make sure that goes smoothly