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Campervan

Campervans are very popular with backpackers and you will see lots of them when you travel around in Australia. The obvious advantage is the that you don't have to set up a tent in the evening, the bed is comfortable and you have - at least with most vans - a gas stove, a small fridge and a sink included. Especially the fridge is invaluable in the hot Australian climate. Larger versions often have additional comfort features like inbuilt toilet or shower. It all depends on how much you are prepared to pay.

While the alternative - a normal rental car - is usually cheaper, it is not that simple, because you need to look at the whole package.

What you save on accomodation can easily make up for the higher costs of a campervan so that it is the better option especially if you travel to locations where good caravan parks or motels are not available.

CampervanTypical Hi-Top Campveran for 2-3 peopleI have created a simple page where you will find the search forms for both rental car and campervan hire. Click here to open this page in a new window, then bookmark it for future reference (Press CTRL+D).

If you don't return the campervan at your point of origin, you will usually be charged a one-way fee. While this might look costly, you need to consider that returning the van would cost you valuable time you can otherwise spend on your vacation. And you would also incur costs for petrol on the way back. In the end it might be a better option to book a one-way rental and cover the other way by plane. The costs for connecting flights - especially if booked together with your long-haul flight to / from Australia - are usually just a few dollars. Sometimes the price is even the same if you fly from - let's say London to Sydney and return or London to Syndey and Cairns to London.

Depending on the availability of campervans, the type and size you are looking at and demand (e. g. holiday season), prices can vary significantly. With their guarantee of lowest prices, DriveNow is the best way to compare the prizes for the large campervan rental companies operating in Australia and for your convenience I am providing their search form below.

Please always read the fine print. Sometimes there are hidden costs - especially for excess kilometres - that can significantly influence which company has the best offer for you. 100 inclusive kilometres per day for example are just enough if you want to get around within Sydney but you can do not much else with such a campervan. Depending on where you want to go, you can expect to travel between 200 and 500 km per day.

Most rental companies have excess damage sums of several thousand dollars. That means in case you have an accident, you could be liable for paying a few thousand dollars unless you take out additional insurance cover as offered by the rental company. Unfortunately the additional insurnace is charged per day and quickly becomes quite expensive. Make sure you read the Insider Information to the right on how to get around this.

 

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Insider Information

As rental car / campervan companies charge up to A$20 extra per day for insurance cover that brings down the damage excess to a reasonable amount, this quickly adds up to hundreds of dollars if you hire the car for a week or even longer. Here is, how you can save a lot of money:

  • Get yourself a credit card that has insurance cover for rental cars included. Usually this would be the case with a gold or platinum card. Visa and Mastercard are best, because the rental company might not accept other cards or ask a surcharge.
  • Look for a rental company that only blocks the bond on your card. This would usually be the sum that is in the rental agreement as excess damage. Some companies insist to actually take the money out of your card and refund it on return of the car or caravan. This is obviously the less favourable option compared to the amount being only blocked.
  • Make sure you pay for your rental car or caravan with the credit card that has the insurance cover included. This is usually a requirement for the insurance to cover the rental car or campervan.
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