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8 First-time Campervan Rental Mistakes To Avoid

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Travelling by campervan is the ultimate way to travel. Whether you prefer relaxing on a beach with a good book or bungy jumping off a bridge, you can create the perfect campervan holiday for you.

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A campervan holiday offers the flexibility and comfort that allows you to explore at your own pace. You’ll be able to enjoy some spontaneity and travel with everything you need in tow.

With its compact size and diverse landscape, New Zealand is the ideal place to explore with a campervan hire. From solo travellers to couples, families to groups of friends, campervan travel ticks all the boxes for ease, affordability, flexibility, and convenience.

But, like any type of holiday, things can go wrong if you’re not prepared. To help make your next campervan hire experience the very best possible, we’ve put together a list of 8 common mistakes to avoid.

Avoid these 8 first-time campervan rental mistakes

1. Not booking your campervan in advance 

RV rentals are generally in hot demand during peak seasons and school holidays. So, if you’re planning a New Zealand road trip during these times, it pays to book your RV rental in advance. The last thing you want to do is waste time and money planning for a trip, only to find out the campervans are fully booked!

You can take advantage of a wider selection of campervans by booking in advance. That means you can choose the best one for you and your travel companions. It will also mean you can likely book your campervan for the exact dates that you want, rather than having to compromise by choosing dates that aren’t quite ideal or cutting your holiday short because your campervan needs to be back for the next holidaymaker.

Then, once your RV rental is all booked in, you can relax and start planning all the great places you’ll visit on your exciting campervan holiday!

2. Not choosing the right camper for you 

Being stuck with a campervan that is too small, too large, or just not quite what you need can really put a dampener on your holiday.

Remember, you’ll be driving, sleeping, eating, and using the bathroom in your campervan, so it pays to do a bit of research on which one is right for you.

One of the first considerations when choosing the best campervan to hire is how many guests you’ll be travelling with. Britz campers come in a range of sizes to suit every type of traveller – from our 2-berth Venturer for couples, to our 6-berth Frontier for big families or groups.

To help you choose the best campervan, you’ll also need to consider:

  • How much space do you need for storing your gear?
  • Whether you need a toilet or shower. If you’re staying in campgrounds only, this may not be so important as you’ll have facilities available. However, if you’re freedom camping, you’ll need to have a bathroom on board.
  • Your budget. Don’t forget to factor in fuel and campsite costs into your campervan budget.

For more great tips on how to choose the right campervan for your New Zealand road trip, check out our handy guide.

3. Overpacking 

One of the big benefits of hiring a campervan is that you can travel with everything you need in tow. There’s no need to worry about limiting your luggage to a suitcase or keeping it all under a certain weight. Your campervan has space to store that extra book, bulky jacket, or favourite bottle of shampoo.

Having said that, it can be easy to overpack and find that you’ve packed things you don’t actually need. Your Britz campervan includes many everyday essentials such as plates and cups, blankets, and cleaning gear.

For more guidance, check out our helpful tips on what to pack for your New Zealand campervan holiday.

4. Not making the most of the off-peak seasons

New Zealand is jam-packed with great destinations and fun activities for winter and summer. But don’t make the classic first-timer mistake of overlooking the off-peak seasons of spring and autumn.

Exploring New Zealand by campervan during the off-peak seasons has lots of extra benefits, including:

  • Less traffic on the roads.
  • Off-peak pricing at campgrounds and attractions.
  • Children are in school, so it’s a lot less busy – wherever you go! It pays to check the school holiday dates in New Zealand before you book your campervan hire.
  • The scenery is just as beautiful! During autumn in New Zealand, the trees put on dazzling displays of colour, and of course, in spring, the blossoms are magnificent!
  • You’ll also be helping support businesses that appreciate your patronage during the quieter season.

5. Not making any reservations 

Travelling on your own terms is one of the most exciting things about hiring a campervan. But as tempting as it may be to totally wing it, we recommend you reserve your camping spots to avoid missing out.

Once you’ve booked your campervan hire, the next thing to do is start researching campgrounds in the areas that you’ll be travelling to.

This is especially important when travelling in the peak season, with some popular campgrounds and DOC sites attracting reservations many months in advance!

A great tool to help you find campgrounds and camping sites is the thl Roadtrip app. This handy app has everything you’ll need to help make your campervan holiday fun and enjoyable. Not only can you find a great campsite nearby, but you’ll also be able to search out petrol stations, supermarkets, laundromats, free Wi-Fi, and pretty much everything else you need while you’re travelling.

6. Not making a rough plan for your trip 

As tempting as it can be to go with the flow when you’re on holiday, making a rough plan for your journey is important. It can be helpful to schedule some planning time in advance of your holiday. This way, you can start to draw up a basic itinerary for such things as:

  • When and where you’ll stock up with food or have meals.
  • Things you’d like to see and do.
  • Stops along the way.
  • Routes that streamline your travels without doubling back or taking windy roads.
  • Making the most of hidden gems that you might miss if you didn’t research them first.
  • Need some ideas to help plan a great itinerary?

Check out some of our popular driving routes for some inspiration.

7. Not downloading offline maps 

The days of travelling with bulky map books or fold-out maps are a distant memory now that we all have the world at our fingertips. But that also means that if you find yourself in a spot without cellphone coverage, access to your maps disappears too!

We suggest downloading the thl Roadtrip app onto your smartphone. This way, if you’re likely to be travelling in a part of New Zealand that has limited cellphone coverage, you can still access maps offline. You just need to save any maps you’ll need first.

Note, your Britz campervan also includes an in-vehicle tablet with a GPS to help you navigate your journey. The tablet can even offer handy suggestions of activities and experiences near you that you can book directly from the tablet, along with how-to videos and more.

8. Parking on uneven ground 

You’ve enjoyed a long day of sightseeing and making the most of all those must-do activities along the way. So, as you pull into your campground, you’re probably keen to get set up, settled in and ready for a good night’s rest. But here’s where many first-time campervan travellers make another common mistake – parking on uneven ground.

Before you break open the bubbly or spark up the barbecue, one of the first things you’ll want to do once you’ve parked up at your chosen campsite is to make sure your campervan is nice and level.

Not only does this help make your living space more comfortable and easier to move about in, but it’s also important for ensuring optimal water drainage and performance of your RV fridge. Ensuring your campervan is level also makes it easier for water to drain freely through your water hoses to your grey and waste tanks.

Fortunately, most commercial campsites provide nicely levelled sites, so parking up doesn’t take too much effort. But if you’re freedom camping, or parked somewhere that has a bit of a slope, you’ll need to spend a little more time getting your campervan level. 

Ready to book your campervan holiday? 

Now that you know some of the most common mistakes made by first-time campervan travellers, you’re ready to start planning! Remember, the first item on your list is to book your Britz campervan in advance.

Why not spend a little time now checking out our range of campervans and start thinking about which one would be best for you. Then, once you’re ready to book, decide which of our branches in Auckland, Queenstown, or Christchurch would suit best for your pick-up and drop-off.

Once you’re all booked in, it’s time to get inspired and start planning your itinerary and routes. Let the fun begin!