Important tasks you must do when you collect your rental campervan or Motorhome to ensure a problem free trip!
(A) BEFORE YOU BOOK
HOW TO SELECT YOUR CAMPERVAN/ MotorHome & PROVIDER
Your first chore is to decide what type of campervan or motor home suits your needs and who will provide it for you.
Here are some important factors you will need to take into consideration –
- your budget
- your level of comfort. How much space do you want? e.g do you want to be able to stand up in the van? Kitchen inside or at the back of the van?
- the number of people it will sleep. Many experienced campers recommend renting a van larger than that required if your budget allows, e.g a four-berth camper for 2 people- as it gives valuable extra space.
- choice of a self-contained van (has a toilet, and water storage and is officially certified for freedom camping) or non-self-contained (must stay in motor camps)?
- the driver’s ability to drive the size of the van. e.g an inexperienced driver is probably not going to be confident with driving one of the larger motor homes.
- check travel reviews on independent websites to get an overall feel for the standard of service of your provider.
(B) BEFORE YOU ARRIVE TO COLLECT YOUR
campervan / motorhome
1. Online check in
CHECK-IN ONLINE IF POSSIBLE!
- If you have the option of an online check-in, take it! This will give you plenty of time to read through the rental agreement thoroughly and in your own time. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions.
- Don’t hesitate to email your provider with any questions about points that may need clarification. This will save you time when you arrive to pick up the vehicle and ensure you fully understand what you are getting and what you can expect. No last-minute surprises!
2. OPTIONAL EXTRAS:
Check the list of optional extras such as bike hire, baby car seats and cots, solar shower, outdoor table and chairs, roof rack, GPS system and see if there is anything there you may require and need to preorder. There will usually be an extra charge for these, although some may be included if you take the full insurance cover.
3. SPEAKING OF INSURANCE:
The big decision-Full Insurance (No Excess) or a large excess?
This is a must! Most companies provide basic insurance, included in your daily rental price but you will need to make the decision about the amount of excess you will be required to pay in the event of an accident or if the van is damaged or stolen.
The excess rate is usually calculated on a sliding scale- the lower your excess, the higher your daily rate. An admin fee will also be charged if you require services like a tow truck, etc unless you have full insurance. There will be a security bond imprinted on your credit card to the amount of the excess you have nominated and you need to make sure that this amount is available on your card.
Usually, if you take the full insurance option you do not have to leave the security bond with the rental company and additional items such as camping tables and chairs will be included. Taking full insurance or the insurance excess waiver option will give you peace of mind when you’re travelling. However, it is valid for the first incident or accident only and you may want to check if tyre and windscreen replacements are covered.
As with most driving insurance policies, all insurances are null and void if you are under the influence of drink drugs and in some insurance agreements it is also null and void if you roll the vehicle.
You should always have your own travel insurance for your own belongings.
4. WATCH THOSE “HOW-TO-Do-It” VIDEOS
Once you start your road trip you don’t want to be wasting your precious time trying to find out how things work or having to return to the depot or a garage somewhere off your itinerary to get help.
Before you collect your campervan / motorhome your provider might give you access to Instructional Videos about how to operate things on the vehicle like emptying and cleaning the toilet, opening the awning, how to connect the gas bottle, etc
Watch them twice while you have time, in the comfort of your own home! If you aren’t provided with them there are some good apps or websites that you can watch online.
- Bay of Islands Campervans also has some good instructional videos and information
- Wilderness Motorhomes has an excellent “How it works” section.
- The ‘thl Roadtrip’ app has “how-to” videos.
5. TAKE NOTE OF RESTRICTED ROADS
Each provider will have different rules on where you’re allowed and not allowed to drive. Check these carefully, as if you have an accident on these roads your insurance will be null and void and you may even be liable for the total cost of a replacement vehicle.
In New Zealand there are three roads that are prohibited by all rental companies and they are-
- Ninety Mile Beach in Northland,
- Skippers Canyon Road near Queenstown
- Ball Hutt Road near Mt Cook.
You will need to make alternative arrangements if you want to travel on these roads. Most of them have tour bus or shuttle options.
Your provider might also include other prohibited roads. Do check your itinerary and take these into account when preparing your itinerary.
Also in New Zealand, many of the amazing sights are accessed from gravel roads. Some companies will allow you to drive on these and some won’t. Check your itinerary carefully.
In Australia there are many roads, such as crossing the Nullarbor Desert and through the Outback, where there is absolutely nothing.
There are no petrol stations, no services, no power, no food, no mobile phone reception and no water. You need to check with your rental campervan / motorhome provider if you can travel on these roads at all.
You may also need written permission to travel on remote unsealed roads and on islands such as Fraser Island, Moreton Island and Rottnest Island. Each rental company will have its own list of prohibited roads. Make sure you check your itinerary carefully!
6. CHECK YOU HAVE ALL THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
- Driving Licences:
Do check that your licence is current and if you’re coming from overseas you have what is required in terms of a driving licence. You may need an international licence.
- Rental Agreement & Insurance documents:
Store these in a plastic folder to keep them together and dry and easily accessible once you’re on the road
N.B. Bring soft-sided luggage- it’s much easier to store in the van than large hard suitcases.
7. CHECK AND CONFIRM YOUR PICK UP TIME
You don’t want to waste valuable time hanging around waiting for your vehicle!
8. KNOW HOW TO GET TO THE DEPOT.
Check how to get to the rental depot.
Is there a shuttle bus from the airport or do you need to take a taxi or Uber?
Can you walk?
If you have your own car where are you going to leave it while you are on your road trip?
(C) AT THE DEPOT!
We know you’re excited and just want to get going but the pre-inspection is vitally important for so many reasons- mainly money and time!
So allow plenty of time when you go to collect your campervan / motorhome
DON”T RUSH! ALLOW YOURSELF PLENTY OF TIME!
THE PRE INSPECTION -CHECK, CHECK & DOUBLE CHECK!
Often a member of staff will accompany you to do a pre-inspection of the campervan / motorhome with a checklist where items of concern are noted or you may be sent to do it yourself. Be very attentive!
If a damaged item is not noted on this checklist you will have difficulty proving you aren’t responsible when you go to return the vehicle. If necessary do a second check before you leave the depot to ensure that you haven’t missed anything and you can report anything of concern.
TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOS
Document and take photos of:
The dashboard with mileage, fuel reading and the registration & road user stickers on the windscreen
Every scratch, chip, and dent on the bodywork including the roof and windshields before signing any forms.
Take photos of the interior and contents of the cupboards from the inventory.
And take photos about anything you’re not sure about.
OTHER ITEMS TO INSPECT
Turn on the ignition and check the lights and indicators are working. If possible take the campervan / motorhome for a short test drive before you leave the depot.
Check the condition of the tyres and the windscreen. These may not be covered by your insurance.
Check the toilet is empty and clean
Check the gas bottle has gas
Check you have the power cord to plug in at camps
CHECK YOU KNOW HOW TO
Operate the gas stove and connect and disconnect the gas bottle
Hot water- where is the reset button and how to operate it.
Empty and clean the toilet
Empty the grey water and refill the freshwater
How to operate the GPS
How to make up the beds
Where is the tyre jack and tools and is the spare tyre inflated?
Operate any heating for both powered sites and freedom camping
If you can get someone to demonstrate any of these tasks, take a video of them doing it for future reference. It’s a great time and stress saver to know how to do these things before you go than to have to waste your precious time once you’re on the road or parked up on the beach enjoying your evening cocktail!
WHAT KIND OF FUEL WILL YOUR campervan / motorhome USE?
Find out what fuel your vehicle uses and keep all your fuel receipts so that you can prove you have only filled with diesel if your vehicle is fueled by diesel
If your campervan / motorhome is a diesel-fuelled one you will be required to pay a Road User Tax at the end of your trip. Ask the provider for details about this.
THE INTERIOR OF THE VAN
If you have been given an inventory of items, check that they are all there and in good condition.
Check that the cupboards all close securely and there are sufficient pillows, blankets and towels and they are clean.
Check the interior lights, the ignition for the gas, the water pump, any fans and the doorstep.
Check all electrical equipment, the fridge, the microwave, the TV and DVD.
(D) RETURNING THE campervan / motorhome
Ensure that you know what time you are required to return the campervan. Most depots have their last drop off time around 4 pm and there will be a surcharge if you return your vehicle after the last specified drop off time.
Check your contract to see what you are required to do before returning your van to avoid any last-minute hassles or added expense that might spoil your trip.
You are usually asked to empty and clean the toilet, empty the grey water and to broom-sweep the inside of the van, and ensure no equipment is missing or damaged.
Some companies will offer an “Express return pack.” You pay extra to drop off the camper ‘as is.’
That means you do not have to empty the toilet waste and fill the gas bottles or fuel tank.
Have an amazing trip and stay safe!