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Should You Hire A Campervan Or A Car For Your NZ Holiday?

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Ready for your adventure in New Zealand, but not sure what the best way to travel is? New Zealand is an incredible setting to explore, with beautiful open roads and diverse scenery, there’s no better way to explore than getting your own set of wheels and hitting the road! It’s a good idea to make sure you cover all the bases on what both campervan and car travel provide, as well as what their limitations are before making a decision and booking. In this blog, we will provide the pros and cons of both campervan and car travel, as well as some considerations to make that could influence your decision. Let’s dive in!

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What to think about when choosing between a campervan and a car?

A road trip is arguably the best way to explore and experience New Zealand at its best. But when it comes to your mode of transport, should you choose a car or campervan? Considering these points in the first instance is a great start:

  • How large is your group?
  • What is your budget?
  • What level of accommodation do you want?

Pros of hiring a campervan?

We may be slightly biased, but there are so many benefits to hiring a campervan to travel to New Zealand over hiring a car

There’s always something special about holidaying in a campervan. A campervan holiday will provide you with a whole world of possibilities. With unmatchable flexibility and freedom, you can hit the road at your own pace and embrace the ease of having everything you need packed right into your campervan.

Driving a campervan is not too different from driving a car, and the few differences add big benefits to the holiday experience. Campervan holidays are an epic way to travel around New Zealand; they provide free accommodation, oodles of space for all your travel buddies and luggage, and you can get just that little bit further off the beaten track to explore nature at its finest.

Travel by campervan and enjoy a classic car road trip, but with so many more benefits, and spend your time taking it easy and connecting with nature on a new level. Here are some of our favourite pros when it comes to campervan travel.

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Travel in comfort

Comfortable beds on board

A campervan allows you to relax and sleep in the same homely comfort every night. With comfortable beds on board, feel at home wherever you roam and avoid motels, hotels or hard tent floors that you can’t feel fully relaxed in. Plus there’s no check-in and check-out time to honour, simply park up and settle in whenever it suits you.

Room to spread out

A campervan is a home on wheels, so you really can’t get much more comfortable than this. Campervans offer kitchen spaces, dining rooms, beds, and bathrooms, as well as plenty of storage. Our campervan spaces are well thought out with plenty of storage - we also provide heating, and extra blankets to keep you warm in even the coldest of seasons. With plenty of storage on board, you’ll have all of your belongings at your fingertips. It’s also easier to keep perishable items cool, unless you’re travelling in a car with a cooler and topping it up with ice frequently - just another advantage of having everything you need on board.

Toilet breaks wherever and whenever you need them

Adding even more comfort to the standard car road trip, most of our campervans come with toilets - making for an adventure without the hassle of finding public bathrooms. This is especially convenient for families travelling with children. This way you can spend more time exploring the road, and less time stopping on the way!

Holiday on your own terms and timeline

Travelling in a campervan takes a lot of the complications of a standard holiday out of the equation. These kinds of holidays save the planning time it takes to find accommodation, so you can get started on your holiday without the hassle. Check out our handy itineraries for some more inspiration to plan your trip. Leave the stresses of check-in and check-out times behind, just pack your backs into our storage cupboards and get out on the road.

New Zealand is incredibly well catered to campervan travels, with over 250 campsites available across the country, and many of them free - there are endless options for travelling by camper. Download our thl Roadtrip app to make sure you can scope out all the best campsites along your adventure.

Save money

Renting a campervan essentially provides you with a whole holiday package, at one cost. Combining the accommodation and travel costs - campervanning is an efficient way to explore new places whilst saving money. As well as this, having the ability to prepare your own meals in your camper will also save a lot of costs that contribute to your standard holiday budget.

A campervan means you don’t have to pay for nights at hotels or rent homes to stay at. It’s the ultimate transport and accommodation package, all wrapped into one! You may also save that money you would’ve spent on expensive flights.

Flexible travel

During a campervan holiday, your campervan is both your vehicle and accommodation. This allows you to both change and make plans without much hassle. Enjoy a structured road trip following an itinerary, or choose to take it slow and just follow your nose along a lazy drive - whichever you choose, it doesn't; matter because you’re taking your accommodation with you. Avoid the stressful rush to meet hotel bookings, you’re literally driving in your accommodation

The flexibility offered by a campervan rental in New Zealand is unparalleled by other modes of travel, even hiring a car. Embrace the ultimate power you have when taking a campervan holiday, and change your adventure according to the weather, finding your favourite spot, or wanting to wake up to an epic view at the hidden gem you just stumbled across. All without the hassle of unpacking and repacking for a night at every place you choose to stop at. Campervan hire provides the perfect way to personalise your trip whilst on the road.

Hiring a campervan is straightforward in the sense that you don’t need a special license to drive one as you do with certain car hires, this means you don’t need to go through any loopholes to get out there on your holiday, and anyone on board of age will be able to take a turn driving!

You don’t need to rush to meet hotel bookings. You’re literally driving in your accommodation.

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Spend quality time with your travel buddies

A campervan is a great option for those travelling in groups. Campervans often range in size, from sleeping two people up to six. Experience some real quality time by experiencing new things and spending a holiday together as a group. Compared to other accommodation options, a campervan holiday will ensure everyone gets to spend quality time enjoying the adventure and getting to know each other. Travelling in a group also means that you’ll be able to save money on your hire, by splitting the cost.

No family member needs to be left behind during a campervan holiday. Britz campervans are pet friendly so your furry friends can come along for the adventure. With enough space in our campervans to comfortably sleep the whole family, this type of travel is the best way to make memories together.

Get up close with nature

New Zealand has an epic array of diverse scenery, and the best part about having a campervan to explore is that you can squeeze in as many bucket list destinations and attractions as you want! If something piques your interest, pull over and explore what’s in the area. Campervans are not only the perfect way to take the ‘road less travelled’ and uncover hidden gems that New Zealand has to offer, you can often choose to stay where you wander, rather than having to rush back to your accomodation for the night.

One day you could be waking up to an ocean view, and the following could be spent gazing up at giant snow-capped mountains. Travelling by motorhome allows you to truly connect with nature and visit many of NZ’s incredible destinations in a short amount of time. Self-contained campervans will make sure you are equipped with everything you need to go off-grid and experience the sheer beauty of New Zealand’s natural environment.

Cons of hiring a campervan

Like with anything in life, there are positives and negatives. This even extends to campervans.

Limited storage

Sure, most campervans are spacious, but if you have a lot of gear and luggage, it might take up room quickly. Depending on how long you’re travelling, you can mitigate this by packing light. If you’re staying at holiday parks during your road trip, most of these have laundry facilities, meaning you can pack fewer clothes and wash them as you go. If you’re travelling through towns along your route, instead of doing one big food shop, why not go exploring for markets to sample local produce and support smaller businesses.

Depending on who you’re travelling with and the gear you want to bring on the road eg. speclialist equipement like bikes, tents, kayaks and sporting gear, you may find that a car with a trailer is more suited to your trip. Most of our travellers are pleasantly surprised by how much you can really pack into a campervan compared to a car though!

You may have to take the scenic route due to road restrictions

Our campervans are all 2WD. This can cause an issue if you’re trying to drive on an unsealed road. In saying that, most of New Zealand is very accessible via surfaced roads. The thl Roadtrip app can help with planning a trip to avoid unsealed roads. Explore handy tips while you plan your trip, or when you’re on the road.

There’s a bit of a learning curve to driving a camper

At first, a campervan can feel a bit different to drive than your average car. It might seem overwhelming to be behind the wheel of a vehicle that’s a lot bigger than your average car, but after a while, you’ll get used to it and soon feel like a seasoned pro! Usually a few laps around the branch car park is all it takes.

You may be surprised to learn that campervans aren’t too much wider than a standard car, but they’re often longer. This means learning to take corners wider than you normally would and making sure to check your wing and rear view mirrors more often.. Once you’ve had a bit of practice, you won’t even feel the difference between driving a car or a campervan.

Pros of hiring a car

We’ll admit it, a car can sometimes be a good option for a road trip holiday.

Cars are easier to park

As we’ve touched on already, parking is a consideration when exploring New Zealand, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time in smaller towns rather than getting off the beaten track. The cars you rent in New Zealand are probably a similar size to what you drive at home. You can often easily park them and get your car into smaller spots. In saying that, most tourist areas do accommodate campervan parking, and if you’ve got a passenger with you, they can also help you with directions once it comes to parking up.

Cheaper ferry tickets

If you’re travelling between the North and South Islands on your campervan trip, you’ll need to book a ferry for your campervan to cross the Cook Strait. When crossing the Cook Strait in New Zealand, you’ll need to put your campervan or car on the ferry. It’s slightly cheaper to ferry over with a car, given the size and weight difference.

Cons of hiring a car 

Here are the cons of hiring a car for your New Zealand holiday.

You’ll need to pay for and organise accommodation

Paying for accommodation is the biggest downfall of hiring a car for a holiday in New Zealand. The cost of accommodation adds up quickly, especially if you’re staying at hotels. The cost of staying at different places throughout your road trip will add up quickly, especially given the booking and cleaning fees of multiple bookings adding up. If you’re travelling in a car, you will need to organise and pay for unique accommodation each night as you explore. Not to mention, booking accommodation for a multi-stop trip is time-consuming! You will have to consider the time and money that goes into research, planning, and booking.

Less flexibility

Given that you will need to book accommodation in advance, you’ll be set to a fairly strict schedule. This can take away that ‘free’ feeling that comes with a road trip. You may feel rushed and need to get up early to make sure you’re all packed and ready to go to meet the strict check-in times that accommodation often has.

You probably won’t be able to fit larger items

Sure, it can be a good idea to pack light for a campervan, but you’ll need to pack even lighter for a car. A car will have less storage for luggage when you’re travelling around. A car boot compared to studio-apartment-styled storage on a campervan is quite a big difference in size. You also most likely won’t have space for activity items like a bike or a surfboard.

As well as this, campervans are fully equipped with kitchen items, as well as bedding and towels, which you will need to make room for on top of your bags if you’re travelling in a car and camping.

Why choose Britz when hiring a campervan

If you choose a campervan for your New Zealand holiday, we’ve got you covered at Britz.

Greater selection of vehicles

Britz campervans have been designed by locals, keeping in mind the features required to make a classic kiwi campervan trip easy and comfortable. Choose from 2-3 berth campervans ideal for a couple or a small family, right up to 6 berth campervans that are perfect for the whole family - including the dog! There are quite a few things to consider when choosing a campervan for your road trip so make sure you check out our Britz hire fleet guide, and compare our campervans to make sure the one you choose has all the features that cater to your travel style.

Handy locations

Britz branches are conveniently located in three major travel hubs of New Zealand. You’ll find these in Auckland, Christchurch, and Queenstown. All close to the airports, with plenty of safe and secure parking options nearby, you can pick up and drop off your campervan conveniently.

Britz price match

We are always looking to provide our customers with the best deal. If you find the same Britz campervan type for a lower price elsewhere, send the screenshot or quote to us for consideration at match@thlonline.com We will work on considering a price match depending on a few conditions.

24/7 on-road care team

To make sure you keep safe on the road and have all the answers to any questions you might have, Britz has a 24/7 On Road Care team to help you out. If you get into any trouble during your road trip or need a helping hand, free phone our Customer Care Centre.

Think a campervan is perfect for your New Zealand Holiday?

So, now you’ve heard all the pros and cons of both campervan and car travel in New Zealand, it’s time for you to decide which option is best suited to your travel style. Ready to embrace the freedom and flexibility of campervan travel, whilst getting off the beaten path to explore the incredible natural attractions of New Zealand? Check out our motorhome deals to see how much you can save, or start planning with our itinerariesBook online today and get ready for an adventure in New Zealand.