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Campervan Travels: 11 Tips Why You Should Buy Versus Hiring

The Facts:

The average cost of hiring a Campervan per month around the World is:

  • AU$2600, NZ$2150, US$3300

A reasonable Campervan purchase will cost around $2000-$3000 in most countries

When I set off on my first long term trip abroad to Australia I had to make the decision whether to buy a Campervan or hire one to travel in for the duration of my trip. After weighing up the choices I ended up purchasing a Campervan and have opted to buy ever since.

Having experienced this a few times whilst travelling abroad now I can say that it is definitely cheaper than hiring…..It may not be easier but ownership provides a chance to get some money back at the end of your expedition which often pays for the extra bit of effort needed at the start, and may well help fund an extra trip or allow you to take the long way home!

Our Van in Byron Bay
Our Van in Byron Bay

I hope I can pass on some tips below that will certainly help out. The first experience wasn’t a good one for me being the first time I did this, BUT I hope by sharing my knowledge on this you won’t experience the same mistake. (see #1)

1. Always consider what season you will be selling the vehicle in! I.e Don’t try to sell a Campervan in the Australian Winter in Sydney where all the travellers have moved up North to warmer climates resulting in having to leave it behind, having no money and flying back home to the UK broke.

2. Insurance costs in each country vary but are comparatively lower than what it costs in Europe, especially in New Zealand. It is even cheaper when you share it between 2,3 or 4 travel buddies!

3. The longer you own the vehicle the more money you are saving.

4. Buying enables you the freedom to not keep to a time scale.

5. Buying! This is a big category but very important. Some things to consider, often fellow travellers will price their vehicles fairly high to try and recoup any maintenance costs they experienced etc. Often it pays to find out when people are leaving to see how quick they need to sell it. While I would never want to see a fellow traveller get ripped off it may help in coming to a friendly agreement on price which is reasonable if you suspect they are asking too much.

Non-Traveller owned vehicles can occasionally be cheaper and with less distance on the clock. They may not come equipped with everything needed to survive a campsite but can often be cheaper, so expand the search from the internet cafe notice boards to the local car trading websites.

6. Mechanics! Always try to take a friend with you when checking out a vehicle. Whether you know what to look for or your friend does, it is good for one person to keep to the talking while the other has a quiet non distracted time to check out the finer points. There are plenty of websites out there with tips on what to look for if you are not mechanically savvy. Otherwise a test drive will tell you a lot and always take it to a garage to have a check over. These normally cost between $60-100 in NZ or a standard $140 in Canada. Very cheap but a lot of people over look this and pay later.

7. Selling! As mentioned always consider the selling season and also make sure you have a vehicle which is desirable to a buyer. For example in Canada a 4×4 will sell with no problems. See what vehicles are most common in your country. In NZ this would be anything Subaru based or Japanese vans.

8. Equipment! If you found yourself with a blank canvas, next stop is the local budget department store. Chairs, Bedding and Tents are normally crazy cheap.

9. Money back! It is normally acceptable to expect your entire investment back at the end of your trip, as mentioned overpricing is common. Be reasonable though as occasionally you may have to haggle and consider the great times you have had as money well spent!

10. Splitting costs with friends is a great way to ensure any maintenance you need doesn’t all count on you and can be taken out of each persons investment at the end of the trip. Splitting a new tire 2 or 3 ways does leave you with more money for the more fun things.

11. Travellers in commercial hire vans and cars are like adverts for would be thieves, there’s no hiding a Wicked Camper (if your not sure why you soon will). Purchasing a civilian car/van is one way to keep it stealth. I have met and heard stories of travellers having EVERYTHING stolen from their campervans.

If you have any specific questions I am happy to reply if you message me

Please feel free to leave comments and tell me about your travel experiences or if you want advice I will get back to you

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