Frequently Askes Questions About Campers

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Thursday, December 11, 2014

I get messaged with a lot of questions about my experiences traveling round Australia, and a lot of them are from people looking for help or advice with hiring campervans for the first time. I'll admit I was equally overwhelmed when I went on my first trip around Australia, so for everyone's benefit here's the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions I've received.
 
What facilities are offered on most campervans?
 
Campervans offer plenty of great features that set them well above the average car, including showers, toilets, microwaves, fridges, stoves, bedding and (in some cases) air conditioning. On top of this many camper companies will offer to throw in drinking glasses, crockery, a kettle, saucepans, linen / bedding, GPS units, childrens seats, and plenty of other accesories to make your trip that little bit easier. Keep in mind though that these different features will vary between companies and campers; and you will often have to pay extra to have all of these included.
 
Can the TV be on while driving?
 
While it is not legal for the driver to be watching TV while driving, many modern campers will be equipped to entertain young children on long trips, and this may include mounted displays for passengers that are perfectly legal.
 
Do the travel agents offer campervans for one way rental?

Yes. Generally you will need to pay an extra fee (possibly hundreds of dollars) and deliver them to a specific location. You may also be required to hire for a minimum number of days to justify the cost of transport for the rental company. Some companies offer discount trips to travelers who are willing to return a camper from a location. In this case a one way trip may actually save you money, but this will be restricted to specific times and locations.
 
Where can you stay overnight in a campervan?
 
A wide network of holiday parks at tourist centers are available for campers to stay in overnight. These have facilities to dispose of waste water, and charge your van's batteries, and will normally be located close to shops where you can re-stock.
While it is tempting to simply set up camp on a street or in a public carpark, there are often laws against this in many local districts, and you may find yourself moved on by the authorities and even fined if you don't check ahead.
 
What are the climate conditions in Australia?
 
You can experience mixed climate in Australia. Up north the weather is tropical and can swing from boiling hot in the middle of summer to monsoons during the wet season (due to the high variablilty, Northern Australia is said to have seven instead of the four traditional seasons). The southeast is largely temperate, and as a result is popular with both tourists and the public, being the site of three of Australia's largest cities. While the temperature is generally warmer than countries like America and Britain, coastal areas have high variability in weather patterns, and the climate in say Tasmania is very different to that in Townsville or Alice Springs.
 
Will I need to pay any security deposit?
 
Yes. You need to pay a security deposit at the time of collecting campervan. The travel agents will charge the security deposit to either your credit card or debit card.
 
Is there any age limit for hiring campervan?
 
You will need to be at least 21 years old to hire a campervan, thanks to insurance. If you require a campervan and you're under 21 you may just have to buy a small camper and sell it on your return.
 
Are vehicles equipped with booster seats for children?
 
Yes and no. Backpacker vehicles are often equipped with booster seats. However, some campervans may not have booster seats readily fitted. You'd be best to indicate your preference for booster seats at the time of booking your campervan.
 
Are campervans auto or manual?
 
Both, it depends on the vehicle. Be sure to do your research before booking if you are not able to drive a manual vehicle.
 
How do I book a campervan?
 
Many travel sites allow booking campervans online. You just need to specify the pickup date, drop off date, type of vehicle etc. The travel agent will send a quote to your email. I'd advise getting quotes for similar vehicles from two or three agents and booking the cheapest one. Make sure you're clear on all the terms and conditions of travel before making payment, you don't want to get sprung with hidden costs like toll charges after the fact.

Top tips with renting a campervan in Australia

Best Tips for Hiring a Campervan Hire in Australia from Andrew Whitelaw on Vimeo.
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