Motorhome hire - top tips and advice
There are lots of reasons why hiring a motorhome might make more practical and financial sense than buying one, from wanting to flaunt a pristine classic campervan on your wedding day to needing a mobile office from time to time.
Perhaps you enjoy going to festivals and events with friends and don’t fancy camping in a tent. Maybe you don’t have anywhere to park a motorhome permanently, or worry that you might not get enough use out of it to justify the upkeep costs.
Or perhaps you’d like to go further afield but don’t have enough time to drive to Spain or ship your motorhome or campervan to Australia.
The first thing you need to do once you have decided you want to hire a motorhome or campervan is to work out which layout will be best for your needs.
To do that we have created a simple guide to choosing the ideal motorhome. This guide will work whether you're planning to hire or buy.
Try a motorhome before you buy
If you think you’ve spotted your perfect motorhome at a show or on a dealer forecourt and wish that you could try it out, just to make sure, then you might just be in luck.
Before getting your chequebook out, it’s worth asking the question because an increasing number of dealers are now offering their customers exactly this service.
Poplar Motors in Derbyshire specialises in importing Toyota Granvia MPVs from Japan and converting them into campervans. If you hire one of these and then go on to buy, it deducts the hire cost from the sale price.
Swift Go rents models from its best-selling Escape motorhome range and Select van conversions, and also offers a range of ‘try before you buy’ incentives.
If you’re set on the idea of buying a motorhome but have little experience of using them, or are undecided about what layout and size to go for, then renting a motorhome for a weekend or longer holiday is also the perfect way of dipping your toe in…
There are lots of well-established specialist motorhome hire businesses around, from small, family-run businesses to large hire companies with multiple branches.
Such places tend to offer a choice of motorhomes from different manufacturers – ES Hartley, Freedhome, and Roseisle, for example – offer everything from basic little campervans to large family motorhomes.
As these motorhomes and campervans tend to be under 24 months old, renting them is a great way of testing the latest models and exploring what brands you like, what size you’re comfortable driving and what layout works best for you.
What’s included in the rental package varies so do check before you drive off.
Some companies include basic things like crockery and camping chairs, and most will offer a range of packages so that you can add bedding, towels, sat-nav, etc.
Some hire companies also offer pet-friendly packages so you can take the dog along, too.
Motorhome hire abroad
If you enjoy foreign holidays and fancy a change from hotels, going on a fly-drive motorhome holiday is the perfect opportunity to find out how well you really fare on a week or two of touring in pastures new.
Companies like Worldwide Motorhoming Holidays (from the Camping and Caravanning Club) can send you to far-flung corners of the globe, and can arrange flights and hotels as part of the package.
If you don’t want to leave the mainland, why not take a relaxing train ride up to Scotland rather than driving? Edinburgh-based Roseisle will pick you up at the station and even plan a Scottish adventure for you to enjoy in your rental ‘van.
Buying ex-rental motorhomes
Rental motorhomes are usually less than two years old, which means that they are sold on once they reach this age.
Many companies sell their motorhomes on directly, and list all of their ex-rentals on their websites.
Buying one of these isn’t a bad idea because it will come with a full service history and will have been maintained by the rental company. But bear in mind that these vehicles will have had a hard life, too.
The interiors are likely to be on the worn side and they’ve probably covered a lot of miles for their age.
The motorhome swap shop
Fans of Airbnb will love companies like Camplify and Quirky Campers, as the premise is very similar. If you have a campervan or motorhome sitting on the drive gathering dust, then you can put it to good use by renting it out for others to enjoy.
Just sign up to create an online account and you can then start browsing the website to see what’s up for rent.
As you can also list your own, it’s a great way of getting your ’van to pay its way.
- If you're interested in hiring a motorhome, have a look at these top 10 motorhome hire tips first.
- Then, when you're about to collect your rental motorhome, have a quick read of this
- And when you're ready to hire, have a look at the directory of motorhome hire companies here.
- If you're nervous about driving a motorhome for the first time, then read this advice