Traveling in a campervan, a motorhome or a caravan is popular all around the world nowadays. Anyone can travel this way: young couples, families with children or elderly people. This post will help you decide whether you should try traveling in a caravan or a motorhome as well. It gives you 8 pros and cons of a motorhome and a campervan holiday.
Motorhomes, campervans, caravans, roof tents,…
As backpackers, we had a chance to experience the van lifestyle in Australia and New Zealand. For backpackers in Australia, Canada, or New Zealand traveling in a campervan is a way of life. Australians, Kiwis, and tourists from all over the world love traveling in a caravan or a motorhome just as much. It’s easy enough to buy or rent your own caravan, as there are plenty of companies specializing in that everywhere. Those with a real passion for the campervan lifestyle might even build their own motorhome out of an old van.
People that don’t want to compromise on comfort and can spare the money for it often buy or rent a large motorhome with toilet, shower, kitchen sink, and anything you can think of. If you only need the essentials, aim for a smaller caravan. Some of the smaller vans are also equipped with a small toilet and a kitchen sink.
Let’s face it, the rates for renting can be pretty high, especially in the high season. To save money on the whole camping experience, try the roof tents. They only offer a place to sleep, however, they are set up in a few minutes. You don’t have to look for a place to set up a regular tent every night. They can be mounted on almost any car nowadays.
Prices are obviously different in different countries, however, there are several things to keep in mind, price-wise, that are universal.
- It’s cheaper to plan a holiday and rent outside of the busy main season.
- Try to hire from and return to the same location, otherwise, you’ll have to pay extra.
- Try to avoid renting at the airport, as there are special fees for that.
- There is an age limit, which can range from 21 to 25 depending on the country. If you are younger, you pay extra.
There are websites that compare different providers, this can make your life easier. One of them is Vroomvroomvroom.
Campervan holiday: The pros and cons
Because of the specific style of traveling, the campervan or motorhome style of holiday might not be suited for everyone. The journey is just as important as the destination.
Pros of a campervan holiday
- Different and refreshing kind of a holiday
We’ve all been to the beach holidays, city breaks or tours. What if you could combine them all in one? Traveling in a caravan is very versatile and leaves a lot of memories from the journey itself.
- Freedom, your own travel itinerary, easy change of plans
You can create your own plan and, in theory, don’t have to rely on anything or anyone. You can always change the plans if you need to and stay somewhere else overnight. Change in the weather? Change directions.
- Unexpected experience
The journey is just as important as the destination. This can leave you with a lot of memories. You might decide to take a detour or stop by at an interesting place, you might meet some great people along the way.
- Your own home on wheels
Despite being on the road, you live in your own space, which can feel quite homey. If you’re lucky enough to have a big motorhome, you don’t need to stop to go to a public toilet. You also don’t need to use a shower in the campground as you have your own. Your van is also equipped with a kitchen or at least a stove and you have your own utensils.
- You can take a lot of stuff with you
If you have enough space, you can bring a barbecue, utensils, skis, bicycles or a surf with you.
- Campgrounds in interesting places, freedom camping
Freedom camping is quite popular and unrestricted in some countries, while the rules in other countries are quite strict. Sometimes, even when the property is private, the owner might let you sleep there for free or for a small fee. Wherever you’re sleeping, be considerate and don’t leave any rubbish after you.
Campervan holiday can hardly be seen as a cheaper alternative to a classic beach holiday, however, the price depends on several factors and it’s possible to plan the whole campervan holiday to be as low-cost as possible.
- Family-friendly holiday
Campervan or motorhome holiday is suitable almost for everyone. By choosing the appropriate campervan, motorhome, or a roof-tent and by choosing the right itinerary, you can tailor the experience to suit your and your family or friends’ needs. You can enjoy this sort of holiday and it doesn’t matter whether you’re a couple, a young family with small children or big children, an elderly couple, or a group of friends.
Cons of a campervan holiday
A lot of planning
Some people’s idea of a holiday is to relax, sip a cocktail, and do nothing. If this sounds like you, campervan holiday is not for you. Even before you set out on a journey, you have to do your research for the campervan hire, have to get all the equipment, get insurance, and create an itinerary. The holiday itself includes plenty of driving and dealing with unexpected situations. With motorhomes, you have to regularly check the water level, get rid of waste, keep track of electricity usage, and so on.
The standard of living is different for each and every one of us, however, generally speaking, the discomfort and inconvenience level while traveling in a campervan is going to be higher than in an apartment or in a resort. Smaller vans or cars with rooftop tents are less comfortable than big motorhomes and may not be suitable for elderly people with health issues.
Getting a big motorhome in the high season, going to the expensive western countries, and sleeping in luxury campgrounds is going to make your holiday very pricey.
Going back to the previous point. In popular camping spots in western countries, the rates are sometimes incredibly high. In some places paying just for a place to park and possibly using a shower and a toilet sets you back the same as a double room in a nice city. It doesn’t matter the toilets are dirty, the buildings dilapidated and there’s a party right in the spot next to you.
Think of all the driving you have to do. You also have to get used to driving a large car (especially when renting a big motorhome). Keep in mind you’re going to be reversing, parking, driving through narrow alleys, or taking over slower cars.
Lack of personal space
You might be excited to enjoy the personal time with your partner and/or kids (finally!), the reality can be quite different, though. The personal space and privacy you’re used to simply cannot be maintained in a campervan. This can cause fights and arguments instead of a relaxed holiday.
You might not want to leave your valuables in your campervan the way you would leave them in your hotel room. Not everyone wants to carry a laptop on a day hike, though. Think of all the time you spend outside of the van. Maybe you pop out to the shop and leave the camera in the car. Maybe someone brakes in in the meantime. Ideally, you should always think of leaving the car parked somewhere safe and without any valuables in it.
- We run out of cons.
The campervan holiday is not for everyone, but it is almost for everyone. We honestly believe almost anyone can enjoy a campervan holiday and create everlasting memories for themselves.
If you’re planning your New Zealand motorhome getaway, Queenstown should be definitely on your list. Exploring East Coast in Australia? Spend a day in Sydney.