Welcome to 2011 – it is a new year and you might be feeling like trying something new, such as a campervan hire holiday! Okay, so it may not be the highest priority on everyone’s list, but for a lot of travellers, a campervan rental may be a new idea they are keen to try out. And for first-time campervan hirers, there may be a lot of questions floating around – and unusual ones at that.
Here at Salamanda Travel we are happy to help with those unusual, tricky and confusing questions that come with trying something new. With 10 years experience in the campervan hire industry, we have heard just about everything you could think of when it comes to renting a campervan – whether that be in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.
So you might be wondering what type of unusual campervan hire questions we can help you with? Well, they include:
- Can I travel with my dog or pet in a campervan? Answer: YES! We work with a number of campervan rental companies in Australia and New Zealand that permit dogs in their campervans for a small fee (sorry, no other types of pets are allowed). Conditions apply so let us know where you and your pooch would like to travel and we’ll send you the details.
- Can I fit 7 or more people in a campervan? Answer: unfortunately, no. The reason is that the largest campervans and motorhomes can only fit 6 people, as they only have 6 seatbelts. So while you might be happy to squeeze a few kids into one bed, by law everyone must have their own seatbelt, so the maximum number of people in a camper is 6. For families and groups of 7 or more, the best option is to hire two campervans (e.g. 2 x 4 Berth motorhomes or 2 x 6 Berth motorhomes). Of course this adds to the cost and splits the drivers between two vehicles, but it can be fun travelling in a convey and at night it is nice to set up the campervans next to each other and share a communal area between the two vehicles.
- Can I drive a campervan if I am under 21 years of age? Answer: YES! We work with a couple of campervan hire companies in Australia and New Zealand that allow drivers 18 years and older to hire campervans. Licence conditions do apply for young drivers but it is possible. Please note that the campervans tend to be the smaller 2 and 3 Berth varieties so there are no options for young drivers to hire the larger 4 and 6 Berth motorhomes.
- Can I tow a trailer or car behind a campervan? Answer: unfortunately, no. Although you may have seen this option with campervans for sale, hire campervans and rental motorhomes do not come with tow bars so they cannot tow anything behind them. You are also not permitted to fit your own tow bar to a campervan so please don’t try!
- Do campervans come with generators for use away from main power? Answer: yes and no. This all depends on the country of hire. In Australia and New Zealand, campervans do not come with generators. So this means you have to rely on the vehicle’s 12V battery for short periods of time (e.g. to run the fridge and internal lights) or plug into 240V main power at a caravan park to run the larger electrical appliances (such as the main air-conditioning, microwave and some TV’s). In the USA, most campervans and RV’s come with generators which can be used to run appliances such as the larger electrical appliances when you can’t connect to 110V main power. The generator runs on the RV camper’s fuel supply and normally cuts out when the fuel tank has 1/4 left. In Canada, the smaller campervans do not come with generators but you can request a generator with the larger 6 Berth motorhomes and RV’s.
- Do I really have to empty the toilet myself? Answer: YES! But don’t worry, it is not as bad as you think. If your campervan comes with onboard shower and toilet facilities, you are required to empty the toilet cassette before you return the campervan. You may also need to empty it regularly during your trip, depending on how long you are away and how often you use it. Toilet waste is captured in a cassette (filled with water and toilet chemicals), which you remove from a hatch on the outside of the campervan. The cassette has a nozzle which allows you to pour the contents down a designated waste drain at caravan parks. You then refill the cassette with some water and toilet chemical, ready for future use. You might be a bit squeamish the first time you do it but you get used to it after that.
This is just a sample of unusual campervan hire questions that we can help with. We are more than happy to spend the time to get all the information you need to make your campervan holiday the best ever. We will do our best to find you the answers so don’t be afraid to contact us with your curly questions!