WHY HIRE A MOTORHOME?
Distances are a challenge when travelling in Australia. There are thousands of kilometres of not much at all and travel times between major centres can be extensive – a problem for time-poor people.
There are also many who would like to own an RV of some sort but, because of work and other commitments, it would spend much of its time in the driveway.
But there is a solution – there are plenty of motorhome and campervan hire companies around Australia. Just about all the major capital cities and some regional centres have hire depots, making a fly-drive holiday an attractive option. Fly to one city and either return or drive to another city, then fly home.
BENEFITS OF HIRING AN RV
The benefit of fly-drive travel is that there is no packing or unpacking each day at a hotel/motel – your possessions are always with you.
When long distances are involved, it’s a great time-saver to fly part of the way and, once on the road, to stop where and when you like, and still have your accommodation with you.
TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
If you’re in the market for a new RV, why not hire one for four or five days to help you decide what suits best? This will give you a feel for what you like and don’t like. Motorhome hire companies abound, and there are quite a few camper trailer rentals around, too but, unfortunately, there are few caravan rental companies out there, and you will need your own tow vehicle. Fifth wheeler hirers are thin on the ground, too.
Regardless, any of the above will give you a taste of the outdoor lifestyle, including living in confined surroundings. This may sound like expensive research, but if you are considering spending $80,000 or more and the same on a tow vehicle, then it all becomes a bit relative.
Some hirers will refund your fee if you later decide to purchase from the same place.
HOW TO HIRE CAMPERVANS AND MOTORHOMES
A fly-drive holiday requires a little bit of forethought. If you have never motorhomed before, then give some careful thought as to what vehicle you might hire. Most hire companies have good websites, but there is nothing like a visit to the relevant depot to view your prospective vehicle. Phone before you visit to make sure that the vehicle of interest is available.
Before hiring, make sure you check what is supplied with the vehicle. Most of the larger companies have a standard-items list, but it’s good to check on the sometimes forgotten things, like coffee plungers and TVs. Most rental motorhomes come with a 12V compressor fridge, which are reasonably energy efficient. But if you are going to spend several days parked in the one place away from power, then solar panels will be useful.
When considering hiring costs, don’t forget there are various levels of insurance that can be taken out, and that a bond is usually required as well. Another factor to be considered is relocation deals.
Fuel is a consideration, too. Except for the smaller campervans, most hire motorhomes have diesel engines.
The smallest campervan might be the cheapest to hire but the drawback of that is a small living area and (most likely) having to make the bed up every night.
WHERE TO HIRE A MOTORHOME OR CAMPER
Once you know what to do before hiring a van, you need to find the van, so you can go ahead and embark on your journey around the country. Here you can find a state-by-state locations guide for renting campers, caravans or motorhomes.
WHAT TO PACK
When packing, consider your luggage – suitcases, duffel bags, etc. Hard-shell suitcases are sometimes a problem in a motorhome when travelling, as once they’re unpacked, you have to find somewhere to store them. With Luton peak motorhomes, the cab-over bed is okay during the day but the bags have to be moved at night – usually to the driver’s cab
The best solution is soft-sided bags that can be folded down when not being used and can therefore be squeezed into a considerably smaller space.
It’s usually more a question of what not to pack, especially since a fly-drive holiday will see you travelling by plane.
Apart from clothing and personal washing gear, the best suggestions are one small torch for each traveller, reading material and DVDs/CDs and/or the iPod if there is a radio, TV and DVD player on board.
On the road, it’s helpful to consider food supplies. Usually, a major food shop is done immediately after the hire vehicle is collected, but consider the evening and following day’s catering on a daily basis and stock up accordingly. This will save you from having to move once you’ve parked for the night.