Want to hire a campervan or motorhome this summer… here’s how
The lure of the open road and hiring a motorhome or renting a campervan remains an attractive, available and accessible option for many holiday makers this summer. A range of vehicles from 2 to 6 berth are available to rent, with prices for the peak season running at around €1500 for a week. (Photo courtesy Spaceships)
The front page headline on the Easter edition of the Connacht Tribune in Galway tells the story.
‘Connemara braced for staycation invasion’ announces the story by Denise McNamara with the assertion that “almost all self-catering accommodation across Connemara is already booked out for the summer’s peak two months – before a decision is made about when restrictions will lift.”
It’s not surprising really that the Tribune’s research of the sparse availability of holiday accommodation rentals in the west of Ireland confirms the anecdotal evidence we have been picking up for weeks.
There is a significant surge in demand for staycation vacation options of all varieties. Many rental options in the popular coastal resorts are already booked out.
The same applies to camping and camping related facilities and services. Campsites are inundated with booking requests; many have signaled full-house signs for the peak summer months of July and August, while others have hit the pause button until there is some clarity around opening dates and the protocols to be applied.
Compounding the confusion further is the disparity to date in the vaccination rollout progress between Ireland North and South and the UK. This could lead to all sorts of headaches and hard-to-handle inconsistencies unless resolved over the coming weeks.
While inter-county travel currently remains prohibited, movement within county boundaries opens up from next Monday, April 12th, with a further proviso to permit travel of up to 20km beyond county boundaries. How that is going to be patrolled or policed is anyone’s guess.
When campsites can re-open, and on what basis is not yet clarified, with most campsite operators taking a wait-and-see approach. May still looks doubtful. There is a good chance for June. July is a must.
Camping remains a great option for those hankering for a family break, some fresh air, the great outdoors and some seaside fun and sunshine.
Last year many campsites opted not to open shared services such as shower and toilet blocks and camper’s kitchen, catering only for those with self-contained units. Only a handful of sites took tents last summer. Something similar is shaping up for this season, condensed once more with the traditional St Patrick’s Day, Easter and May bank-holiday written off again.
Considering all of this, one of the best ways to still make the most of the summer is to hire out a campervan or motorhome for this year’s holidays.
It’s not without its challenges.
To make it easier on you, Vanhalla, has taken a comprehensive look at what’s on offer in the motorhome-campervan rental categories, what you can expect in terms of cost, availability, terms and conditions.
We explore all your options from newcomers Buckled Wheel to the more established Spaceships, and all other kinds of bunks on wheels in between.
Before we run down through the range of companies offering motorhome and camper hire, which might provide the solution to this year’s summer holidays, a few things to keep in mind.
Check out all your options before you fork out your deposit. It could be an expensive mistake if you get it wrong. Remember it’s still camping – no one will be handing you breakfast in bed – and be prepared to cope with some rain and inclement weather.
Renting a vehicle to hit the road and go on tour is only half the battle. You will also need to try match up with some campsite and facilities, which are also heavily booked long in advance.
Leave No Trace is best practice
You can opt to wing it and wild camping is an option but last summer the convergence of large numbers of vehicles at beauty spots led to tensions. Poor behaviour on the part of a minority of campers can give everyone a bad name. Parking with regard for others, not blocking access routes for locals, respecting the need for emergency services to access jetties, piers and premises is important; how you handle and dispose of your litter and waste so as not to leave a bad taste and Leave No Trace, is common sense and best practice.
Other factors for you to take into account are upfront deposits, a minimum age limit of 25 to hire a motorhome, pre-authorised payments to cover any damage or insurance excess, possible minimum 7-days hire and additional charges for hidden extras. Motorhome hire alone for the peak season is running at about €1500 for a week.
Finally, make sure to fully familiarise yourself with the vehicle you are hiring. Don’t be rushed or afraid to ask questions. A couple of years ago I encountered a group who had hired a motorhome for the Electric Picnic weekend. Once the water in the vehicle had run out they didn’t know where to refill their water supply. With the water refill point located they didn’t have a nozzle or funnel for their container. A simple thing to sort but no fun if you have your dream machine motorhome and no water in the middle of nowhere!!
So let’s get started.
Buckled Wheel, Tipperary
First up is a newcomer which I find intriguing. Buckled Wheel based in Fethard in Tipperary offers a quirky solution for those looking for some camping adventure this summer.
They rent and sell tear drop adventure trailers and roof tents as well as a range of innovative camping and travel accessories. They work with some well-known international outdoor brands including Hero Camper, Tent Box, Hoffa’s, Ridge Monkey and Yeti.
www.buckledwheel.ie is the website for bookings, which gives real time availability and pricing online. Prices start from €60 per night for a trailer that sleeps four.
The Terra Hibernia trailer weighs in at 500 kg, meaning it can be towed by virtually any car including hybrids and electric cars. All you need is a normal B license and your car insurance to cover you for towing a trailer (almost all standard car insurance policies have this included). The father and son team, both called David Henderson, can even print an additional number plate for you if required. Just ask for David!!
Their rented trailers come fully provisioned with everything you need, pots and pans, cutlery, plates, tea towels, cleaning materials, a full size double mattress in the tent and a fold down sofa bed in the trailer. The kitchen has a gas hob, electric oven and grill, water tank, sink and tap. Camping chairs and tables are supplied as part of the package. “We can even supply bedding if you need it, but most people bring their own duvet and favourite pillows,” says David. The trailers can have a bike rack fitted onto them, they can also supply fire boxes for people looking to barbecue or just have a camp fire.
Buckled Wheel partners with Mossy Earth and work with them to plant a tree in Ireland every time they rent a trailer as they work towards becoming a carbon neutral business.
The roof tent rentals have been a late addition based on lots of enquiries to rent these as a standalone product. These fit on any car, all you need is a set of roof bars and they install the tent on your car (it takes about 5 minutes) and remove it at the end of your trip.
|An intriguing and attractive range of camping vehicles and equipment is now available from a new Tipperary based company, Buckled Wheel, including camping trailers and rooftop tents.
Like the trailers, the tents come with a full set of camping equipment for anyone new to camping that doesn’t have any of the bits and pieces needed. The roof tents have a hard shell insulated roof and an integrated mattress (and lots of storage pouches). They sleep two adults and cost €25 a night.
These trailers and tents are relatively new to Ireland and a very affordable way to tour around the country this year. A trailer to accommodate a family of four costs less than €500 for a week in June and €200 for a weekend, according to David.
Vanderlust over in Ennistymon in County Clare are no strangers to Vanhalla regulars. David Hanley and his talented team converted our Transit van and continue to produce some of the best campervan conversion work in the country. They also do campervan hire, are vastly experienced in this space and have held their prices for the past few seasons when the temptation might have been to jack them up and take advantage of the high demand.
Vanderlust have the following converted campervans in their fleet.
A 2-berth VW Transporter non-pop top – carries 5 people with double hob-sink, fridge, and rib seat-bed. Costs €1050 per week. A 4/5 berth Fiat Ducato L2H2 MWB – carries 5 people with double hob-sink, fridge, triple rib seat-bed and large fixed double bed. Costs €1295 per week.
Vanderlust’s 2/4 berth deluxe – carries 2 or 5 respectively, with shower and toilet. Costs €1500 per week.
All their vans come with fully comprehensive insurance and they do a pre-authorisation on the credit card on pickup to the value of €1200 as a security deposit. The excess on the insurance is €1000 and the €200 is for cleaning if the camper is returned dirty etc.
|A recent Vanderlust campervan conversion at their workshop in Ennistymon, Co Clare.
This season Vanderlust are requiring a €100 non-refundable booking deposit to secure the booking. If there are further restrictions the date can be changed to a future date. The minimum hire period is 3 days and that goes out to one week for July and August.
Contact www.vanderlust.com or +353 65 6892805
West Coast Campers, Newry, Belleek and Dublin
Like everyone else in the sector, Gavin Gerrard at West Coast Campers is experiencing brisk interest for the forthcoming season.
But they still have availability across a range of options from 2 berth, 4 berth compact, 4 berth deluxe, 6 berth deluxe and VW Classic. West Coast also have a low profile and luxury option to choose from.
West Coast Campers availability is across an extensive and impressive range of vehicles and runs right up into September and October, which are well worth considering if the high season is proving too pricey or prohibitive.
Gavin and Jeanne Gerrard who founded and have run this business since 2009 are keen camping enthusiasts themselves so they are only too happy and able to help out and advise.
|A classic VW (below) or the low profile luxury 4-berth (above) are among the options available from West Coast Campers.
They have bases in Newry, Belleek and Dublin Airport for convenient collection and drop-off. They have a minimum 5-night booking policy which extends out to 7-nights for July and August. There is a 25% booking deposit, all named drivers must be over 25 and the excess on the insurance is €1350.
Spaceships have one of the largest fleet of motorhomes in the UK and Ireland, with branches just outside London, Dublin and Edinburgh.
From their branch at Garlow Cross (near Navan) they rent out the 7-berth Family motorhome. It features two rear bunks, an over-the-cab loft double-bed, with a further double and single beds that can be made up from the large living-dining area.
This motorhome has its own washroom with toilet and shower, together with a kitchen that includes an oven, hob and 140 litre fridge freezer. There is also central heating, so it is perfect for all-year-round hire. It provides a completely self-contained holiday experience, which is ideal for a safe holiday this year.
Spaceships provide all cooking equipment and cutlery, and there is a large garage, offering loads of storage space at the rear of the motorhome.
The Spaceships rental package includes unlimited mileage for up to 4 drivers, with free standard insurance (£2,000 bond) or the opportunity to upgrade to all-inclusive insurance which reduces the excess to zero. They also offer 24/7 Roadside Assistance if you need it and have their own in-house Customer Support Team.
The rental cost ranges from under £500 for a week in April to up to £200 per day in the middle of August. (Note all prices quoted here are in sterling).
Spaceships have the Visit Britain ‘We’re Good to Go’ accreditation for the measures they have put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic. They have a deep cleaning and multi-point check of all the motorhomes between hires, with contactless collection-drop-off with online check-in and a ‘digital handover’ and familiarisation video of the motorhome.
Spaceships have also introduced a ‘Covid Promise’ which enables customers to re-schedule their booking free of charge, or get a refund or credit voucher in the event of Government imposed travel restrictions.
You can contact them at www.spaceshipsrentals.co.uk
Camp and Cruise, Dublin
“This year like last year is very unpredictable. On one hand the bookings are flying in, but on the other hand people are still very conscious of the fear of lockdown number four happening. The season like every other one is a logistical challenge to provide the best service to our customer base and try to fit everyone in. This itself is challenging, when the majority of customers have been seeking the start of July to get away, with the worry of school possibly resuming in early August. We try to accommodate as much as possible and where we can’t get them away, then we try to give them alternative dates that are available to help with their decision,” fleet coordinator with Dublin based Camp and Cruise, Keith Daly outlines the tricky dynamic in which everyone in the sector is trying to navigate this year.
“The Camp and Cruise fleet has a mix of Motorhomes and Campervans. They consist of modern and classic vehicles. We started off way back in 2012 with a Rollerteam 600 King motorhome and now we have 15 vehicles, everything from Rollerteam Zefiro 675’s, Rollerteam 747, Rollerteam 500, Rimor Seal Plus, Ford Tec, Fiat Tributes T669’s, T620’s, T720’s and we also have built one of our brand of vans an LDV into a 3-berth campervan. We are also a main dealer for CI and Rollerteam parts,” explains Keith.
“The price of our motorhomes has changed very little over the past few years, as we feel that our customers have been put through enough pressure and austerity during this pandemic. We know that the demand for motorhome holidays is huge and we most definitely could have cashed-in like the hotel sector has done, but that is not what we do here in Camp & Cruise Motorhomes,” says Keith, adding that their emphasis is on customer care and value for money.
McRent, Limerick and Dublin
While advance bookings for this summer are busy, McRent Director, Aoife Lenihan confirms that there is still some availability for 2-4-and 6-berth motorhomes for May and June out of their Limerick base and similarly for their rental range from May through to August from their Dublin depot.
Prices will vary depending on dates. For example a 2-berth for one week during high season is €1290. The vehicles will range from 2019 to new and will include delph and gas for the duration of your rental, as well as other necessities such as toilet chemical, which might not seem obvious at first to the uninitiated.
During high season minimum hire is 7-nights. There is a security deposit of €1200 required and this is the excess amount on the insurance.
Additional information together with specific price quotes is available at www.mcrent.ie or if you have any queries, or contact email@example.com or +353 69 66480 www.caramotorhomes.ie www.caramotorhomes.co.uk
Wild Atlantic Campers, Galway
The online booking system for Galway based Wild Atlantic Campers for the 2021 season is now live. They have limited availability for this summer and a minimum 7-day hire is in play from June 18th through to September 25th. Depending on the vehicle you require the cost runs from €175 to €225 per day.
Bunk Campers, Dublin and Belfast
You have most likely spotted one of Bunk Campers vehicles on the road as they are one of the biggest operators in the sector with depots in Dublin, Belfast, Edinburgh, Birmingham and London.
Their website is most comprehensive giving a detailed spec, terms, conditions and options from budget 2-berth campervans to larger and more luxurious 6-berth motorhomes, right throughout Ireland and the UK.