My brother informed me the other day that he although he’s always quite fancied the idea of travelling in a motorhome, he’s never actually set foot in one. I was quite amazed.
He’s 40, educated, has travelled widely internationally and seen a fair bit of New Zealand as well. He loves fishing, boating, paragliding and other outdoor activities. I would have thought that campervan travel would suit him perfectly.
My brother is actually not that odd (though as his sister, I reserve the right to dispute this!). Quite a few of my friends have also never been in a campervan. Having worked in the campervan and motorhome industry for many years now, I sometimes assume that everyone knows what a great experience it is to rent a campervan and travel around New Zealand. But I guess if you’ve never had the good fortune to travel in a campervan or motorhome, you don’t know what you’re missing. From the outside, many motorhomes do look like big white boxes on wheels. They have a reputation of being slow and cumbersome to drive (if you’re one of the people who think this, I challenge you to test-drive one of the lightweight, modern campervans now on the rental market – they’ll go just as fast and handle as well as any car). And thanks to the plethora of ‘budget’ campervan operators in New Zealand, many people associate campervan travel with a backpacker, budget form of travel.
Indeed, I think what might have put my brother off the idea of campervan travel in the past is that he’s not really a ‘camper’. Despite loving the outdoors, he likes the finer things in life – good food and wine, comfy beds, TV, ensuite bathrooms, etc. He’d much rather pay to rent a car and schlep off to a 5-star hotel each night rather than ‘slum it’ in a camping ground. So, I’m going to educate him about the joys of campervan travel (starting with this blog post).
Campervans are more cost-effective
No one likes paying more for a holiday than they need to. It makes sense financially to combine the cost of your transport with your accommodation (do the maths and you’ll see that the cost of renting a car plus staying in a hotel is always more than expensive than hiring a motorhome). Plus, by having a full kitchen with you, you can save money by not having to buy all your meals and snacks from a minibar or restaurant. You will then have more of your holiday budget left to do activities.
You can have a different view every day in a campervan
Even in the swankiest hotels, looking at the same view every day can get boring. With a motorhome, particularly those with big panoramic windows, you’ll get a stunning view from your bed and your living area. And even better, you can change the view whenever and wherever the mood takes you! Wild camping in the forest on the shores of a glacial lake with snow-capped mountains reflected in the pristine waters, versus concrete cityscape viewed from the 8th floor of a hotel room? I know which I’d choose.
A motorhome gets you close to the things you love
Passionate about fishing? Golf? Wineries? Surfing? Skiing? Whatever you love you can stay right beside it in your rental motorhome. No need to organise transport to get to the golf course, or find your way back to the hotel after one too many tastings at a winery – just stay right there and make the most of it (assuming freedom camping is allowed and you’re in a self-contained motorhome of course. Download the Campable app if you want to locate freedom campsites around you or stay on private land and meet some locals). I’ve even known people to park their motorhome next to a lake, throw the fishing line out and enjoy an afternoon snooze while waiting for dinner to be hooked. Sounds like heaven!
Motorhomes are so much more convenient
You’re on the golf course, the sun comes out and you realise you left your sunglasses back in the hotel. Uh-oh! The guy teeing off behind you has just raced back to his motorhome and he’s got his sunnies on and is ready to go. It’s great having everything you need right there in your campervan. Speaking of convenience - motorhomes are also a great way to experience events and festivals. Many event organisers will have special parking for campervans and motorhomes onsite at the event. For example, at the New Zealand National Fieldays each year, you’ll find hundreds of motorhomes parked up just across the road. Because they’re staying virtually onsite, while the rest of us wait in traffic jams for hours to get back to our accommodation, the campervan people are already enjoying a glass of wine and cooking dinner!
Campervans have creature comforts
A good motorhome these days will have every feature and appliance you’d find in a hotel room, from king sized beds to TVs and DVD players, microwaves, designer décor, ensuite bathrooms and touch-of-a-button heating. Check out the gorgeous Wilderness Escape motorhome – it really is a 5-star hotel on wheels. And it doesn’t look like a big white box either!