Hiring or renting a camper van or motorhome is a great way to experience the joys of camper van life without committing to owning your own vehicle.

Renting vs Buying

Whether you rent or buy a campervan will be very much down to your own personal circumstances.  For most people buying, running and selling a vehicle is quite a commitment, so for a short trip of 1 - 2 weeks one would probably be better of renting a campervan.

For those who are mechanically experienced and confident buying, running and selling a campervan is fairly straightforward.

Renting Abroad

If you intend to travel in continental Europe (France, Spain, etc) then you are better off renting a campervan in the country where your journey will start.  Renting a campervan in the UK and then taking it to Europe incurs the cost of ferries and often extra insurance costs.  A lot of UK campervan rental companies don't allow their vehicles outside of the UK.

The exception would be if you intend to take surfboards or bikes to Europe.  You can't take the surfboards or bikes on a flight, so renting in the UK and taking the vehicle abroad makes sense in that situation.

Campervan as a Second Vehicle

If you have a car, and need a second vehicle, perhaps for a short commute for work, then owning a campervan as a second vehicle can make sense.  You can use the campervan as a commuting or second vehicle, in addition to your car.  However, adding lots of miles to a campervan purely as a commuting vehicle is generally not a good idea.  Campervans are more expensive to run than cars.  It is great to be able to jump in the campervan at the weekends or on summer evenings.  A small campervan makes a great family vehicle for weekend trips, as you have a kitchen, often a toilet, cooking facilities and great storage.

Renting Before Buying

If you are thinking of buying a campervan, then renting one before buying is a great way to see if you like the vehicle or lifestyle.  This is especially true if you intend to purchase a particular model, and you want to know if it suits you.  Many people when thinking of buying a campervan are unsure whether to get a small VW style campervan or a bigger motorhome style campervan.  Renting before you buy is a great way of trying with minimum cost.

Typically it is better to hire a campervan if you are going to be travelling for 4 weeks or less.

Let's look at some typically running costs of rental vs owning

Hire

  • Vehicle hire for 3 weeks, €60 per day for 15 days = €900 or £720.

This should be the only cost you pay for the vehicle rental.  If you are a young driver, or you have multiple drivers you may need to pay more for the insurance.

Buy

There are several smaller costs associated with buying, but ultimately you are not paying to rent the vehicle, but you do carry all of the risks.

  • Depreciation, there is always some sort of depreciation when buying a vehicle.  £50
  • Hopefully you won't have to do any repairs
  Hire      Buy      
Period 1 week 2 weeks 4 weeks 1 week 2 weeks 4 weeks 1 year
Rental cost (£50 per day) £350  £700 £1,400        
Depreciation (£10 per week)       £20     
Repairs (£20 per week)       £20      
Tax (£4 per week)       £4      
Insurance (£8 per week)       £8      
Breakdown cover (£2 per week)       £2      
Buying and Selling costs       £200      
Total £350 £700 £1,400 £254      

  

Comments (5)

  • Mustafa Alp's picture

    Hi, we wanna make 10 days tour of Balkans by starting Bulgaria. Could you suggest us a reliable company to hire campervan?

    Apr 06, 2016
  • nomadic's picture

    you might wanna try http://www.tour-europe.de , also based in Germany (Cologne), who offer Westys campervans

    Apr 19, 2012
  • Anonymous's picture
    Anonymous (not verified)

    Has anyone used the campervan rental www.buzz-around.com and would be able to give advise?
    They seem to be located in Dresden, Germany but do international one way rentals too.

    If anyone could let me know if this is a recommendable company I'd appreciate your advise

    Aug 29, 2011
  • serena rae's picture

    Hi could you give me a quote for hiring a 6 berth camper van for a family of 5 (3 children under 16)
    thankyou

    Jul 11, 2011

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