Motorhome rental advice for newbies
Are you hiring a motorhome or Campervan for the first time? If so it can be daunting and there can be a lot to take in. But it shouldn’t be, let this quick guide run you through some of the key things to consider and put you at ease about your maiden Voyage.
Plan Your Route
The first thing to consider is where you want to go and how long do you want to stay. In Ireland, travelling by Motorhome or Campervan is by far the best way to experience all it has to offer. It’s also good for catering for children of varied age groups due to the variety of activities you can plan. Of course, we encourage you to take our vehicles beyond Ireland to UK Mainland and even Europe if you wish.
Pick one of our suggested routes within Ireland or do your own research on popular tourist routes and you wont be disappointed. For a more tailored approach, think about where all you would like to visit and then join the dots to plot yourself a bespoke route.
Plan in where you will stop off and where you will stay over each night. Think about the distances you have to travel between and how long this will likely take. This will simplify your itinerary and give an idea of how many days it will take to complete your desired trip. For overnight stays you have the option of a campsite, a legal stopover and wild camping. Please see our Route Guide section for information on all three.
In short, its best to have a plan in place before you travel. However, the beauty of a motorhome holiday is that this plan doesn’t have to be strictly adhered to. You can tweak the plan or scrap it altogether in search of a totally new adventure.
Regardless of where you choose to travel, all of our modern vehicles are fully equipped with water, heating and cooking facilities to cater for any type of trip that you want. It is advisable to book into a campsite at least every few days to refill the water, charge the batteries and empty the waste tanks (more on that below). You will be given a full run through of the vehicle systems and how to look after the motorhome when collecting it. It’s fairly straight forward and you will pick it up in no time.
Choose Your Motorhome
The vehicle you choose will largely be dictated by the number of people travelling and the layout you require.
Our VW Transporter Campervan is the perfect compact option and is suitable for couples or small families. Its smaller size allows you to travel places not accessible to larger vehicles and it will be easier to drive and park. It sleeps up to 4 people in two super comfortable beds. There is no toilet or shower built in but these can be hired as portable extras.
Our Zefiro 696 is perfect for small families (up to 4), friends and couples. It has a fixed island bed at the rear which offers luxury and privacy. A second double bed lowers electronically over the lounge area meaning you have a large liveable space during the day and a bed for 2 additional people at night.
Our Zefiro 675 is perfect for larger families, multiples couples or friends. It has 2 large bunk beds at the rear and a large double bed over the cab. The separation between the front and rear beds offers good privacy at night and an intelligent layout provides for ample storage. Early risers can get up in the morning and prepare breakfast without having to wake anyone else or fold away beds.
You will want to consider what to bring with you for your stay. Please see our equipment list which details everything that our motorhomes come supplied with. Have a think about what you would like to have on your holiday with you. This will differ between everyone and will be based on your interests and the type of holiday you are after. For example families with children may wish to bring toys and games whilst those into hiking will need more outdoor attire. Don’t forget about essentials like toiletries, cleaning products and toilet roll.
Storage is another important consideration. All our motorhomes have a large garage space which will take larger items and indeed any of your stuff that you wish to put in there. Our Campervan does not have this facility and will have less storage space in general.
All vehicles have internal cupboards for the equipment that you will keep inside. Consider bringing some plastic tubs or boxes to keep your items separate and stop them from moving around too much during travel. Depending on your location and travel plans it might be helpful to take the vehicle to your home on the first day of travel to pack your kit directly from your house rather than having to pack in into your car first. Alternatively, we can drop your vehicle to your home for an extra charge – quoted upon request.
The power into your motorhome will be provided by electricity or gas (propane) systems.
Vehicles come with 2 electrical systems which are 12v and 230v. The 12v system runs off the leisure battery and can be used at all times. Anything with a 12v plug or USB connection like a mobile phone charger can be run off the vehicle leisure battery. The TVs in all our motorhomes have a 12v connection meaning they can be watched at all times.
The 230v system will only work when hooked up to mains electricity (likely at a campsite) via an electric hook up cable which will come supplied in your vehicle. All conventional 230v appliances which have a domestic 3 pin plug can only be used when the vehicle is hooked up.
Electrical items that produce heat like a toaster or microwave produce a lot of current and may trip the electrics system of the campsite. Don’t make the mistake of bringing these items from your home to use in the vehicle. We have in stock some of these items that have been specifically designed for motorhome use (low output power). They are available as hireable extras.
Alternatively, you can do without as these items are mainly just a convenience and our vehicles are already equipped with a gas hob, whistle kettle, oven/grill to allow you to boil water and cook anyway.
Motorhome Specific – Heating/hot water/fridge
The heating and hot water system will work off electricity or gas. If hooked up mains you have the option of running off gas, electricity or a mix of both. If not hooked up, the gas system will power the heating and hot water. The fridge is a 3 way fridge and will use either electric hook up, gas or the leisure battery for power so you will never be stuck.
Campervan Specific – Heating/fridge
The heating will run off the vehicle main diesel tank via a diesel night heater. There is a control panel in the rear that allows you to select the desired temperature and the heater will heat the vehicle to and maintain that temperature. There is a sink for running water but there will be no hot water available. The fridge/freezer will run off the leisure battery.
Our vehicles undergo full habitation checks annually to ensure that all the systems are in safe and working order. They are fitted with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that are regularly tested and come supplied with a fire extinguisher and fire blanket. Full safety advice will be given at handover.
Our vehicles are all below the 3500kg limit meaning they can be driven on a normal full driving licence. If your not used to driving a larger vehicle they can feel a bit daunting when first getting into the drivers seat but we will give you an opportunity to test drive and after a few minutes on the road you will feel much more comfortable.
We advise that you drive slowly and leave extra time for your journey, be aware of your mirrors (which stick out further than usual) and don’t allow other drivers to put you under any pressure; you’re on your holidays after all. That said, we advise against causing tailbacks and being an annoyance to other drivers. If you notice a build-up of cars behind you, it’s courteous to pull over safely in a suitable place and let them pass. On single track roads be vigilant and make use of passing places to allow you to pass oncoming vehicle and also to let vehicles behind to pass you.
All our motorhomes are fitted with a reversing camera or parking sensors which come in really useful for parking and low speed manoeuvring but we would advise having one person to exit the vehicle and guide you into any parking space if it is safe to do so. The speed limits for our motorhomes are the same as what they would be in your car.
Both motorhomes are around 3m in height and the campervan is 2m so remember this when entering car parks/tolls. When planning your trip it is best to check with attractions you intend to visit if there is any height restriction at their venue.
Once you are on your travels the only thing left to do is relax and unwind wherever you choose to venture. It might be useful to consider how you will get around locally if you don’t wish to do small journeys in your vehicle. A lot of people choose to bring bicycles and E-Bikes are becoming ever more popular. Our motorhomes are fitted with bike racks making this a good option for you to consider.
Our vehicles will require limited maintenance such as filling the water tank, emptying waste tanks and replenishing the gas if required. Fresh water is required for showering, washing up and flushing the toilet (vehicle dependant). Filling the water tank can be done at campsites and many fuel stations. Top it up at every opportunity as you don’t want to run out.
In the Motorhomes there are 2 waste tanks; the grey water and the black water (toilet cassette). The grey water tank collects the water that goes down the plug holes. When washing dishes etc try to scrape as much excess food as possible into the bin first. To empty the tank simply drive onto the grey water disposal area at the campsite and pull a lever under the van. The toilet cassette will need to be emptied every few days. If staying at a location with toilets you may prefer to use their facilities so that the cassette doesn’t need emptied as often. Toilet tablets are recommended in the cassette to keep odours down and help break up the waste for ease of disposal. Toilet tablets are supplied as an optional extra. The cassette simply detaches from the motorhome and can be carried or wheeled to the campsite waste disposal point where it can be emptied.
The gas systems works of gas cylinders that you can purchase or swap and many shops and campsites. Your hire charge will include one cylinder of gas. A second cylinder will come supplied in the vehicle and if used there will be a charge of £35. You will want to ensure that you don’t run out of gas as this will be your source of cooking and heat when not hooked up to mains. If you always keep a second full cylinder in the motorhome you can simply swap over once the first runs out.
There are no waste tanks in our campervan. The water trickles out through a hose underneath the vehicle as soon as it goes down the sink plug hole. A collapsible bucket will be provided in the vehicle. This should be placed underneath the outlet hose when stationary to collect the waste water. It can then be disposed of at an appropriate area.
The campervan will use a smaller gas cylinder located in a locker at the rear. There is only room for one cylinder so only one will be supplied. If it runs out it will be your responsibility to get it swapped for a full one or you can leave it and we will sort it on your return.
You will be sent a link to a handover video a few days before your trip. This video will fully explain the vehicle and its systems so that you’re up to speed when you come to collect. This will save you time on the day and you will also be able to refer to the video when out on your travels should you need to. You will have an opportunity to clarify any issues on the day of collection. You will be completely comfortable with using the vehicles prior to leaving our base. Hopefully you’ve found this quick guide useful and our hints and tips can make things pretty straight forward. Get out there and enjoy yourself in one of our top class vehicles. Book yours today.
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