How to hire a motorhome – tips for newbies
If you’re not used to driving and staying in a motorhome, (How to hire a motorhome) book a campsite close to the hire firm for the first night. That will give you the opportunity to find out how everything works, and make sure you’re happy with driving the motorhome before you head further afield.
It’s a sensible idea to book campsites all the way if you’re travelling during the high season – you don’t want to turn up at a site after driving a long way only to find that it’s completely full up.
Remember that wild camping – pitching overnight somewhere that’s not a designated campsite – is illegal in England and Wales. Even if wild camping is permitted where you’re planning to tour, you should always obey local laws and look for relevant signs.
As always, leave no trace of your stay and always use campsite facilities or a dedicated point to dispose of your chemical waste and grey water.
Finally, if something serious goes wrong with the motorhome, or you’re involved in an accident, contact the hire company immediately for advice.
Returning your hired motorhome on time
Make sure that you have emptied the waste water and toilet tanks, or you could be charged extra. Check your contract for any other requirements on returning the motorhome. Don’t deliver it late, or you could be charged a hefty premium – check what time it’s due back, and what time the depot closes its doors.
Fly-drive RV holidays
Fly-drive motorhome holidays are extremely popular, particularly to far-flung destinations such as the US, Australia and New Zealand. You can rent a motorhome just about anywhere in the world.
Before selecting a company to rent from abroad, you should follow the same advice as if you were renting a ’van in the UK. Take extra care to look for negative reviews or bad press online, and perhaps consider posting on local motorhome internet forums to ask other people for advice.
A good rental company should supply you with everything that you legally need to carry in the specific country. For example, in Continental Europe you’re advised to carry a warning triangle, high vis jackets for each passenger, two breathalyser kits and more.
The AA has general advice on driving abroad. Take a list of what’s required, and make sure that you’re fully equipped before you go.
If you’re flying to a long-haul destination, consider staying in a hotel for the first night or two, so that you’re rested when you pick up the ’van.
Check the driving licence requirements – do you need an international driving licence, or will your British one suffice? If you still have one of the old-style paper licences, you might want to exchange it for a new two part card licence before you go; some rental agencies abroad are reluctant to accept paper licences alone.
You can order an upgrade quickly online and the DVLA will now even use your passport photo to update your driving licence to save you having to have another photo taken and verified.
If you’d prefer to allow another company to take the strain for you, Camping & Caravanning Club members can take advice of the Club’s Carefree travel service; it allows you to take an escorted tour in a rental ’van to many exotic destinations. For more information, see Travel abroad with the Club.
Try before you buy
How to Hire a Motorhome
If you’re thinking of buying a motorhome for the first time, hiring a ’van for a few days or more beforehand is a great idea – it allows you to sample different layouts and sizes of vehicle without needing to commit yourself long-term. Plus,
if you borrow a motorhome in the winter you’ll be able to find out how the heating system measures up, and you’ll soon discover if any other niggles present themselves.
Some motorhome dealerships have their own rental fleet, while others work in conjunction with local rental firms. You might even find that the cost of the rental is discounted from any camper van or motorhome that you go on to purchase from them. Even if your local motorhome sales dealership doesn’t advertise that they offer such a service, it’s always worth asking – or consider finding another motorhome dealer that does.
How to hire a motorhome , Renting your own campervan out
Hiring out your own motorhome when you’re not using it can be a great way of making a little cash – but it’s not without its downsides.
Going through an agency is the easiest way to do so, but remember that it will take a cut of your profits. Also, your vehicle will be in most demand during the summer, which is when you’re likely to want to use it yourself – and you should expect that your ’van won’t be treated with the same amount of care as you would afford it.
Before committing to any rental company do your research thoroughly; if possible, get a word-of-mouth recommendation from someone who has already hired out their ’van.