You’ve hired your campervan, ready to explore Australia – and now you’re being held back by a ‘technicality’ or something in the fine print.
Although we love just about everything about the outdoors, being struck by a nasty surprise is certainly not one of them – so, a little preparation and research cannot be underestimated.
To save you from a heap of hassle, we’ve gathered the top 15 travel tips before renting a campervan. Use this guide to pick everything from the right vehicle, to the right rental agency.
Let’s get started!
Look out for the number of passengers that can sleep in the campervan – called the ‘berth’. If it says 2-berth, this is normally because legally only 2 people can be seated in this vehicle.
Remember, Australia has strict road rules around wearing seatbelts – so no – you cannot sit a third passenger in the back of the van if there isn’t a seat in place.
2. 2WD or 4WD
Think about where you’ll be travelling and if you’ll require a 4WD for your journey. In most parts of Australia, you won’t need one – but if you’re planning to go to certain parts of the outback (especially in Western Australia and Northern Territory) you might need to think twice.
Also, don’t take your 2WD vehicle on dirt, unsealed roads, or beaches – it’s not safe and it’s probably not allowed by your rental company.
Don’t arrive at the collection of your vehicle only to realise you don’t know how to drive a manual campervan and that’s what you’ve booked!
Most of the time, campervans are manual transmission, but there are always alternatives if you need an automatic.
4. license requirements
If you’re travelling from overseas, it’s best to make sure you have an international driver’s license, plus your primary driver’s license on you when you pick up your campervan.
This isn’t always legally required, but it’s best to research state laws and what’s needed during your travel.
5. age restrictions
Most campervan rental companies in Australia require hirers to be over 21 years old – and even then – you may still be slapped with a ‘young drivers fee’.
Travellers Autobarn rents to anyone over the age of 18 with no young driver fees or exclusions on which vehicle you can or cannot rent.
6. Seating children
If you are travelling with young children, make sure you’re extra careful about which vehicle you rent – the laws in Australia may be much different to the laws in your residing country.
Many campervans only have seats in the driver’s cabin, and children under a certain age aren’t allowed to travel in them. Individual states also have different laws around baby seats and child seats in vehicles, so make sure you are picking the right vehicle for your needs.
Travellers Autobarn’s Hi5 Campervan has 3 front seats and 2 back seats, meaning you can travel with children as young as six months when you also hire/fit the correct baby seat in.
7. Van year model
Are you looking for a brand-new campervan, or do you not mind a few extra kilometres if it means saving a lot of money?
If you’re undecided, consider hiring a used campervan with a new interior fitting – it’ll save you tonnes of money.
Our Chubby and Kuga Campervans are just that – we buy a van which is a few years old and build the interior ourselves, guaranteeing the kitchen and bedding fit-out is no older than three years.
8. Size of van
Check out the size specs of your van before booking and ask yourself:
– “How much room will I need?”
– “Am I comfortable with driving it?”
– “Can I stand up inside?”
– “Does it fit in underground car parks?”
– “Does it have enough storage space for my luggage?”
9. Equipment & fit-out
What do you absolutely need on your campervan and what can you live without?
Many campervans have fridges, built-in gas burners, and microwaves on board which you might find very useful for one of your first trips in a van.
Others, for instance, will just have cooler boxes and portable gas cookers, which suits some travellers just fine.
For the larger campervans on offer, you’ll typically find built-in showers and toilets – but generally speaking – you won’t need this within Australia as campgrounds will house great facilities.
10. Power supply
Some vans have power hook-ups which you can plug in at powered campsites. This will be much appreciated if you want that extra convenience of a fridge on board, or to charge your power devices such as laptops and cameras.
11. Extra fees
You might see a cheap daily rate and think – “this is the one” – but always make sure you’re checking what other fees you might need to pay. Generally, you will want to hire a ‘living equipment’ pack which includes bedding and kitchen facilities. It’s worth checking what is included in that pack so you can decide if you need to bring anything else along/hire any additional items.
12. Other benefits of the company
As well as all the great things you’ll get in the campervan you’re thinking of booking, check what else the company has to offer.
Travellers Autobarn offers discounts on campgrounds around Australia, as well as access to free campgrounds Australia-wide.
13. Depot opening hours
We can’t stress this enough – check when the campervan depot is open before you make your booking/book your flights. Don’t make the mistake of flying in at 8pm on a Saturday night and expecting to collect your campervan, only to realise the depot is closed until Monday.
14. Cash card vs debit card vs credit card
What type of card do you have and what type of card will you need?
Typically – for security and bond purposes – rental companies will require you to have a credit card to leave on file. Even if you have full damage cover, other fees can come up – such as traffic infringements or tolls, so companies will still be required to have your card on file. If you don’t have a credit card, you should be able to fill out a pre-authorisation form to reference a friend or family members.
15. Read the terms and conditions
We’re all guilty of it – ticking ‘I have read and accepted the terms and conditions’, and skipping right past the content.
Be careful! It’s very important that you actually take the time to read them, as it’ll help you understand everything there is to know about your rental.
Anything from where you can take your vehicle, where you can’t, or what’s included and excluded in your cover. Be sure to take note!
Those were our top 15 tips to look for before renting a campervan. What did you think?
Travelling in a campervan doesn’t have to be stressful – doing your research and jotting down the right hacks will save you a heap of time and money.
If you have any other questions just post a comment or contact us at Travellers Autobarn.
Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.