So you’ve decided you want to go on a road trip… awesome! … But you don’t have a vehicle…hmmm. So you gotta ask yourself… should I buy one or should I rent one? This can be a bit of a difficult decision to make and it’s important to decide on a vehicle that’s right for you and importantly, budget-friendly! With over 20 years experience buying, selling and renting cars and campervans to backpackers Travellers Autobarn is a bit of a veteran when it comes to this kinda thing so we thought we’d share some of our knowledge!

Travellers Autobarn Hi Top Campervans for Sale (13)

The Pro’s of Buying a Campervan or Car

  • Total Freedom: The vehicle belongs to you so you can take it wherever you want, for however long you want. Dirt tracks, no problem! Extend your stay in Byron Bay for a couple of nights, why not? You won’t be constrained by rental days so you really have complete ownership of your trip and won’t be worrying about making sure you get to your drop off destination on time. The journey really is your own.
  • Guaranteed Buyback: If you buy a vehicle from Travellers Autobarn, so long as there’s no damage to the vehicle you’re guaranteed to get your money back at the end of your trip. But don’t worry, you’re not obligated to sell it back to us, feel free to sell it to whoever you choose. If you’re a good salesperson, it’s possible to get back more than the 50% we guarantee you. You’ve got the freedom to choose what feels best for you.
  • Cost-Efficient for Long Trips: If you’re planning on travelling for more than 12 weeks you’re probably better off buying a car or minivan. For a larger campervan, you’re looking at around 22-30 weeks for it to be the more cost-efficient option.

Should I buy or rent a van for my road trip

Should I buy or rent a campervan for my road trip?

 The Pro’s of Renting a Campervan or Car

  • Saves Time: If you’ve just got limited time to spend then renting not only saves you money but also time. Picking up and renting a vehicle is much quicker and easier than buying and selling one.
  • Hassle-Free: Should you have any problems during your rental period, they are the responsibility of the rental company. Travellers Autobarn will make every effort to get you speedily on your way again.
  • Cost-Efficient for Short Trips: If you’re just travelling for a short time it makes more sense to rent. For 8 weeks buying a $4,500 Stationwagon with a Buyback guarantee might be outside your budget, but renting the same car for $39/day is certainly affordable.





You wouldn’t buy a car if you only needed it for a few days, and by the same token, you wouldn’t rent a car to travel around Australia for a year. So when is buying a car better than renting a car, and when is renting better than buying? This can be answered quite simply if we compare the two options purely in economic terms (yeah we’re gonna get a bit serious for a minute now). Basically, we think that if you’re travelling for 8-12 weeks or less you should probably rent a car. For a longer trip of 12 weeks or more you buy a car. Have a look at the example below to see just what we mean. This example is based on the rental of a Ford Falcon Stationwagon with a variable daily rate, and the sale of a Ford Falcon at $3500 with a Guaranteed Buyback of 40%.




$1260 ($45/day rental rate)

not worth it


$2520 ($45/day rental rate)

not worth it


$2800 ($40/day rental rate)



$3360 ($40/day rental rate)

once you past 12 weeks: buy it!


$3920 ($35/day rental rate)

the best option

At 10 weeks you would spend roughly about the same amount of money renting the car as you would if you bought the same car and sold it back to us with a guaranteed 40% buyback. However, often it’s not just about money. If you value freedom over the price tag, you’re gonna enjoy your trip more if you buy.

Best Apps for Road Trips


While Campervans and Vans are more expensive than cars, they obviously fetch a much higher Buyback or resale price. The table below will give you a comparison between three options: renting one of our Hitops – a 2003-2005 model, buying a Van (similar such as our Chubby Camper but of an older age) or buying a proper Toyota Hiace Campervan (similar to our Budget Camper models – 2000 – 2002 models). The table is calculated at an average daily rental rate for the Campervan. The cost of a converted Van is averaged to $5,500 and the cost of the HiAce Campervan is $13,500.The Buyback prices are calculated at 40% in this case.

Renting a Hitop Campervan

Buying a MiniVan

Buying a Hitop Campervan

4 Weeks

$2100 (@ $75/day rental rate)*

Don’t even think about it

Are you insane?

8 Weeks

$3864 (@ $69/day rental rate)*

still cheaper to rent

keep looking down the column…

10 Weeks

$4550 (@ $65/day rental rate)*



12 Weeks

$4956 (@ $59/day rental rate)*

Buying your own van makes a lot of sense

keep going…

16 Weeks

$6160 (@ $55/day rental rate)*

Buying 100%!

actually, it is about 22-30 weeks that it becomes economical


* Daily rental rates used here are an example only and will vary seasonally.

Here at Travellers Autobarn, we sell ex-rental cars and campervans directly at our branches (Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, Perth, Brisbane, and Cairns). If you’re interested in buying a car or campervan directly give us a call on 1800 674 374 and our Sales and Buyback team will be happy to assist you.  We hope you found this blog post useful and it helps you make the decision that’s right for you! For all campervan or car hire click here, and sales enquiries click here or give us a call on 1800 674 374.

We’ve got many more Buying and Selling Campervan and Car articles for you, come and explore.

About the Author

Bastian Graf

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.

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