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Motorhome hire: Everything you need to know before hiring a motorhome

If you don’t own a motorhome or campervan but think a home-on-wheels could be for you, then motorhome hire is perhaps the best way of finding out if it truly is. Faced with an entirely new world of jargon, navigating the options can seem daunting thought. Fear not, here Van Life Matters sets-out its motorhome hire tips and advice so you can find a motorhome hire company and rent one with confidence.

Whether it’s cheap motorhome hire or luxurious motorhome hire, before you start looking for a motorhome hire company, you first need to consider your needs.

  • How many people do you need it for?
  • How long are you going for?
  • Where are you going?

Once you’ve established your needs, you can then turn your attention to the motorhome rental company.

  • Can they provide the correct insurance for you?
  • Is breakdown cover included?
  • What motorhome equipment and camping accessories are included?
  • Are there any additional costs?

Motorhome size matters

While a big luxurious motorhome may at first seem appealing, they can quickly lose that appeal when you’re trying to navigate narrow country lanes, small towns and villages and height restricted car parks.

If you’ll be staying on a campsite, check to see if there are any restrictions on vehicle type or size.

And don’t forget, any vehicle over 3.5 tonnes requires a different driving licence in the UK.

Motorhome driving licence

Most UK motorhome hire companies won’t hire to anyone under the age of 21 or to anyone who has held their driving licence for less than a year.

To drive a motorhome with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of between 3,500kg and 7,500kg, you need a category C1 licence, to drive a motorhome with a MAM of over 7,500kg, you need a category C licence.

If you passed your test before 1st January 1997, you automatically have category C1 entitlement on your licence, allowing you to drive all but the largest American RV-style motorhomes.

If you passed your test after 1st January 1997 you can only drive a vehicle up to 3,500kg and tow a trailer up to 3,500kg MAM.

How much is it to hire a motorhome?

Motorhome hire prices depend on the length of rental, the location, time of year and type of vehicle.

The cost of motorhome rental could seem expensive to the uninitiated but when you consider you’re hiring a vehicle, a bedroom and kitchen all-in-one, it suddenly seems a lot more reasonable.

Be wary of motorhome hire mileage charges though.

Motorhome hire mileage limits

Some motorhome hire firms charge an additional cost to cover mileage and it can soon add up if you’re planning a long road trip!

If you are planning a long tour, you may well find that it could be cheaper to buy a motorhome and resell once you’re back home.

Otherwise, look out for companies that include unlimited mileage in the hire price.

Motorhome hire insurance

The cost of motorhome rental usually includes insurance against theft or damage to the motorhome.

It’s unlikely to cover personal possessions and you’d be well advised to consider travel insurance if you’re planning on driving abroad.

Where to hire a motorhome

You’ll likely already be aware that there’s lots of motorhome rental companies to choose from, and plenty of private owners offering their motorhome for hire too.

Look for online reviews, check the company address and phone number are verifiable and you can even search Companies House to see how long the firm has been trading for.

It goes without saying but be particularly cautious if you’re hiring a motorhome from a private individual.

Motorhome Republic: One of the world's largest motorhome rental agencies with locations in 45 countries around the world, including the UK. Thanks to its extensive network of locations and suppliers it provides a fantastic campervan hire deals and offers. The hire firm works with a vast number of partners, which means you'll be able to find a motorhome to suit your exact needs and budget.

             Pros: A Widely renowned motorhome hire company with an expansive choice of options and telephone support available 24/7 and 365 days a year.
            Cons: Despite the choice of options, the company warns that demand for motorhome hire means availability may be limited so you're advised to book well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Spaceship Rentals: A fantastic choice of campervans and motorhomes with lots of 'freebie' extras including unlimited mileage, up to four additional drivers and a temporary access code to The Caravan & Motorhome Club sites. Plus, there's options to take your dog and the minimum age to hire is just 21.
            
            Pros: All Spaceship motorhomes come with unlimited mileage add up to four drivers for free to your booking.
            Cons: Spaceship Rentals has a 'Great' Trustpilot rating but there are some unfavourable reviews so take a look at the feedback on Trust Pilot before making your own decision. 

Camplify: A slightly different approach to motorhome rental, Camplify connects verified campervan, motorhome and caravan owners with those wishing to hire one. All vans are comprehensively insured for hire and come with 24/7 nationwide breakdown cover.
            
            Pros: There's a fast growing choice of campervans, motorhomes and caravans - including some really quirky builds if you're after something a little unique.
            Cons: These vans are privately owned and there's cases where owners have cancelled bookings at the last minute. 

Picking up a motorhome rental

When it comes to picking up your motorhome, ensure that you’ve fully understood the terms of hire, what’s not included and any extras that you’ll need to pay for.

The motorhome hire company will have stipulated what documents you’ll need to take with you to collect the motorhome.

Most ask for your driving licence and payment details, you may also need an International Driving Permit.

Once the paperwork’s sorted, a reputable hire firm will show your around the motorhome and how to use all of its features.

Be sure to document any pre-existing damage – take photos and show the person doing the handover.

Don't forget to ask:
- Fuel type, petrol or diesel?
- How to fill the water tank
- How to connect to electric hook-up and operate the system
- How to operate the gas system
- How to operate heating and air conditioning
- How to operate the fridge
- How to operate the toilet
- How to empty waste water
- Position and operation of safety precautions including fire blanket, fire extinguisher, smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. 
- How to lock/unlock the van and how to start it.
- Make a note of the height, width, length and weight of the van.

Returning a motorhome rental

To avoid costly fines, ensure you return your motorhome on time and ensure the fuel, water, waste and gas tanks are be returned to the pre-specified state outlined in the rental terms.

Finally, leave an honest review of the company or individual to help someone else make an informed decision.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Van Life Matters newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest UK Van Life news, tips and advice.

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