This guide aims to help you decide what Campervan you need for your perfect trip around Australia.
Campervan rental in Australia is a multi-million dollar industry with new companies springing up all the time to get in on the action of such a vibrant trade. Many of the companies have been around for a long time, whilst some are in there early years. With Australia being such a beautiful and vast country, it's only natural for young and old alike to want to explore its treasure. Almost all the major cities are hundreds of kilometers apart so taking a campervan from one to the other makes a lot of sense. Not only do you get to go from one city to the next, you also get to see all the highlights along the way at your pace not the pace of the bus driver or airline pilot!
Things You Will Need
When you book you will need:
A list of travel details, where you wish to travel from and to, the dates of travel, how many people travelling, what vehicle you require.
A Credit Card
An Email Address
Step 1: Choosing a company.
Best thing to do is check the internet first before you ring. So use your favorite search engine and type in "Campervan rentals
During the winter months many companies with offer special deals as sales will fall, so it pays to check them out and see what they can do for you.
So lets say you have decided on 2, next step is to ring each one, ask them if they have vehicles available from your start and end point and get a quote. Tell them how many people are travelling, from where to where, and what dates. Bear in mind many will have "Price Match" offers so they will match another business on price. Don't be afraid to bounce one of another to get a good deal, saying things like; "The other has a fridge, yours doesn't can I get a discount for that?" may well work and get a few more dollars off.
Once you have a few quotes you are happy with, its time to speak with your travel mates and decide who to go with!
Step 2: Booking your Camper
Once you have your quote its time to book. Bear in mind that many will be fully booked in summer so its vital you book early to avoid disappointment.
Ring your chosen company and give them your quote number, the sales staff will them bring up your quote and take your details. They will take your Name, Address, contact number, driving licence number and credit card details to confirm your booking. Many take a deposit on booking to secure your reservation. Do not confuse this with a Bond which will be discussed later. The deposit is an amount that is deducted from the total hire amount to ensure when they day comes, you arrive to collect your freshly prepared vehicle.
Once you have given your details, the sales staff will give you your booking details usually via email, this will include all the details of your hire and fees and charges that apply.
Of course many sites offer a book online option which does the same thing except you don't speak to anyone, be aware you may not get the very best deals this way however as prices are preset.
Some fees you may have to add on top of your daily hire rate:
All companies will take some form of Bond, this is a sum of money payable to the company for the duration of your hire that is refunded upon the return of there vehicle. The reason for this charge is quite straight forward, if you were to hire or lend an expensive item to someone for much less than its true value, it would be sensible to ask for some kind of deposit to insure that item was returned safely, in other words to cover some/all of the losses if it were stolen or damaged. Some charge a relatively low bond (generally because there vehicles are lower in value) and some charge very high bonds (some vehicles can be over $100,000 to replace if destroyed)
So don't be alarmed when you see this charge it's perfectly normal. There are usually options to reduce the amount charged, these are outlined below:
With the bond/security deposit there is usually an option to lower the amount by paying a damage reduction or daily insurance. Don't be confused into thinking this is insurance for you, all this provides is a lower excess should you have an accident. In the event of an accident, not only will you loose the bond paid (If the damage is significant) you will also forfeit a liability which is proportional to the liability reduction option you take. For instance, say the Bond is $5000, if you take an extra $20 per day on top of your hire rate that would reduce your bond to $1000. This area is a great earner for any rental business! Always read the terms and conditions of the hire when you book.
One way fees:
Many companies charge if you are going from one place to another, so check how much they will charge depending on where you are going from and to.
Other fees such as Credit card processing fees, rural or outback driving fees may also apply however reading your booking conformations should reveal all of them.
Step 3: Collecting your Campervan
On the morning of collection, first ensure you have enough money to pay for your van, some companies offer a prepay so everything is paid before, others give the option of paying on collection. Also bear in mind some Credit Cards have daily limits so it might pay to ring your bank first to confirm, especially if you are using an international card. Also make sure all the drivers take there driving licences with them, its no good just saying you can drive J
Once at the vehicle collection point, just quote your name and the representative should know your booking, do the paperwork with you and show you to your vehicle.
At this point listen to what they say, ask them any questions you have regarding the vehicle and don't be afraid to ask again if you didn't understand anything. The process shouldn't take long and you should be on your way to a great trip!
Step 4: Hiring your Camper
This step is the fun part, actually driving and living in your van! On the first day its better not to drive and drive for too long, it's a new vehicle, the controls maybe strange, you may be driving on the other side of the road for the first time. So aim to do no more than 2 hours unless you really have to. Use the time to get used to the vehicle, check out its features and work out where you are going, how long your staying for etc etc.
Whilst on your trip it pays to look after the vehicle your in, the company has your money and more importantly the bond, if you don't return it in the same condition (with due wear and tear), abuse it, damage it or drive it recklessly then you wont be seeing the bond again. So if its an older vehicle, check the oil and water periodically. If it's a newer vehicle just make sure there are no issues before you set off. Most companies have some sort of help line you can phone if there is a problem. Always use there helpline before you try to get help with an issue as if you have to pay anyone to fix something and you haven't used the company's service they may not compensate you for the costs.
Above all have fun and enjoy your trip!
Step 5: (Sad Step) Returning the Campervan
On the day set by your agreement you will be required to hand back the Camper, unless you have extended your hire. Make sure you know where the return depot is and what time you have to be there. Make sure you clean out all your stuff especially phones, money and other personal belongings. Also clean the van of dirt, sand and other mess as this will increase your success of getting all of your bond back.
Return the van as you collected it and that's it, your guide to renting a van in complete.
I hope this helps any one looking to hire a Camper in Australia, its great fun and should be tried by everyone at least once!
Tips & Warnings
Please take all options and tips as a guide only. Always read the PDF's supplied.