As lockdown eases and we are all desperate to resume our travels we are expecting a surge in demand for UK breaks as travel restrictions abroad remain uncertain. Many of us have re-discovered a love of the outdoors during those lockdown walks and we are all far more appreciative of our surroundings than we were previously. This has led to an increased demand from people wanting to explore more of the UK. And what better way to do that than with your own wheels and on your own terms?
Camper vans and motorhomes are self-contained with their own cooking and sleeping. Larger vans may also have their own small toilet and shower. They are seen as a safe way to travel. But they are also expensive and demand for vehicles has been high in the past 2-3 years. If you don’t want to take the expensive step of buying one why not try a camper van hire from companies like Herding Campers who have two modern sleek VW T6 camper vans for hire in the North East from their gorgeous campsite near Hadrian’s Wall at Herding Hill Farm? Great location to start a road trip to the Northumberland Coast, Lake District or into Scotland. Why not check out our Northumberland Road Trip blogs for some ideas?
So what should you take into account when hiring a camper van from Herding Campers or anyone else?
Most of us have an idyll about what our trip will involve, fuelled by social media images. In reality a camper van road trip takes planning and organisation, from ensuring that you have somewhere to pitch up, to making sure you have enough of the right things. Packing your van full to the roof will make for an unpleasant trip so make sure you leave enough room for you to live and move around in your vehicle, particularly if you need to be indoors in bad weather. Our VW T6 camper vans for hire have small, limited space so pack wisely. Whilst you might think that the solution to that is to hire a bigger vehicle please remember the larger the vehicle the more difficult it is to park and to drive particularly if you want to get away from it all down country lanes and out of reach places. Plan your trip and don’t try to travel too far – make sure you leave enough time to enjoy the route for the journey is as much the holiday as the destination in a camper van.
Generally, you need to be over 25 and have a clean driving license and accident record to hire the camper van. This means no convictions or accidents. The more gadgets it has then the more expensive it can be. A VW T6 is a great vehicle for couples looking to make the leap from tent camping particularly one that is as modern and as sleek as one on hire from Herding Campers. If you have a dog make sure you select a dog-friendly camper van, one of our VW T6 camper vans is pet-friendly.
Ensure you understand the sleeping arrangements of your vehicle and that you are comfortable with these before you book. For example, our VW T6 camper vans can be marketed as 4-berth, however 2 beds are in the pop-up roof so if you are not comfortable with this you should not book. Many smaller vans such as ours also have beds that need to be made up every night and whilst this is quick and easy, if this is not your thing you should hire a vehicle with a fixed bed.
Before you drive away make sure that you understand how everything in the vehicle works and what you need to do if they don’t. We give our guests a full orientation of the camper van before they take it away. Crucially please make a note of the vehicle’s height before reaching a bridge or multi storey car park and remember the larger the vehicle the more difficult it may be to access car parks with overhead barriers. Always take photographs of any existing damage, the starting mileage and petrol level before leaving.
You’ll need somewhere convenient to pick up and drop off your van, which is also accessible for your onward destination. The majority of camper vans will need to be returned by 9 or 10am meaning an early start if you park too far away on your final night. Herding Campers is located near Haltwhistle, Northumberland, less than an hour from both Carlisle and Newcastle and is ideal for onward travel into Northumberland, Scotland, Yorkshire and the Lake District. There are supermarkets in Haltwhistle and Hexham, allowing you to stock up on provisions before you leave. Many companies, including Herding Campers, do not allow you to take your vehicle overseas so if that is your plan please check the terms and conditions carefully before hiring. Plan your route and if you are thinking about wild camping ensure that you leave enough time at the end of the day to find somewhere to stay. Please read our BLOG on wild camping in the UK. We would always recommend that you choose licensed or certified campsites for your road trips.
Again, social media idolises the old fashioned, colourful, split-screen Volkswagen Type 2 camper van, but can be basic and uncomfortable to travel and sleep in and drive, so make sure that is for you before booking. Changing gear can be difficult and they are not very fuel efficient. A more modern equivalent such as the VW T6 campervan on hire from Herding Campers may be a better starting option for you.
Other options include converted commercial vans such as Mercedes-Benz Sprinters and Peugeot Boxers, not as photogenic on the outside, but easier to drive and much more comfortable. Vans this size would normally have a toilet too. Motorhomes are another alternative, and have plenty of space and gadgets, but the right licence is needed to drive one so make sure you don’t book something that is too big particularly if you have more recently passed your test. Check out the government website for more information.
There can be hidden costs when hiring a motorhome or camper van, so make sure you read the terms and conditions fully before booking. There could be hidden costs such as booking fees, insurance, excess mileage and fuel so make sure you know what is included and what is not. Ensure that you understand whether bedding is included or you need to bring your own. At Herding Campers our hire fees include hire of the VW T6 camper van, fixtures and fittings and all living equipment, 500 free miles (thereafter miles are charged at 10 pence per mile), UK fully comprehensive vehicle insurance and UK breakdown cover. We offer short breaks too and you can try the hire of one of our camper vans for just 3 nights Friday to Monday.
Covid has understandably made people nervous about booking holidays so ensure that you check the cancellation policies first. At Herding Campers you can book with confidence knowing that if you need to cancel or postpone your trip as a result of Covid-19 you can re-book an alternative date of your choice or receive a refund in full.
Depending on how well equipped your campervan or motorhome is, all you really need to supply is food (make sure to plan meals that can be cooked using the specific facilities provided – some gas hobs are small and only have space for one or two pans). If you want to BBQ find out whether one is included in the hire or can be added as an optional extra.
Be aware when packing clothes that there will be limited space for storage so ensure that what you pack is versatile, dries quickly if it gets wet and does not crease. Don’t bring a suitcase, you’ll have nowhere to put it so packs clothes in nets or in soft holdalls. No matter what the weather forecast ensure that you pack waterproofs for the UK weather is rarely predictable and not having the right clothes can ruin your holiday completely. Pack layers even in summer.
Regardless of whether the camper van has one you should always pack a torch and a re-usable water bottle. Throws or blankets are always a good idea for indoors and outdoors.
If you want to bring bikes ensure that the van you are hiring has the number of bike racks that you need. Never take the website photo as being the specification of the van you are hiring. Many camper van hire companies have multiple vehicle types and will swap and change according to availability so it pays to make sure. Both the VW T6 camper vans on hire from Herding Campers have bike racks for 2 bikes. Make sure your bikes are safely secured to prevent theft, them falling off and causing damage to the camper van.
Whether you’re wild camping or staying at campsites, Leave No Trace, respect the landscape and environment about you, dispose of waste properly, taking it with you if there are no bins, avoiding fires that could damage the habitat and leave what you find. Use your road trip as an opportunity to educate children about how precious the natural world is and keep noise to a minimum so as not to disturb wildlife or fellow campers. Drive economically.
If having considered all of the above you want to give camper van hire a go please visit our website at https://www.herdinghillfarm.co.uk/campervan-hire to find out more or call us on 01434 320175. Like the majority of hire companies you will be asked to provide some information about your driving record, which we will check with our insurance companies and then confirm your provisional booking. Our vans are available to hire for a minimum of 3 nights Friday to Monday or Tuesday to Friday or combine to make a longer break.