Dreaming of the van life: To buy or rent a campervan?
Self-catering holidays are at its all-time high, as camping and campervan travel is trending in the United Kingdom. The Caravan and Motorhome Club have reported more than 1000 new member sign-ups per week, and the campervan hire company Indie Campers has observed 164% growth in domestic travel bookings, compared to last year. As camping is more popular than ever, many are debating whether it’s more convenient to rent or buy a campervan.
The primary factor determining the buying versus renting dilemma depends on how often you use it. If you do plan going on road trips every few weeks in a year or are looking to live the van life for a couple of seasons through the year, you would probably be better off buying a motorhome as it’s more cost-effective and flexible in nature.
Buying a motorhome can cost between £15,000 to £40,000. In addition to the first purchase, buyers need to consider the associated cost of maintenance, storage/parking and insurance. If you want to use your vehicle every weekend/holiday or live permanently in a campervan, a purchase would definitely be worthwhile as it has high value for money compared to purchasing a holiday home. However, anyone who plans to buy the vehicle for a few nice road trips might experience the high expenses associated with the hobby.
Renting a campervan or motorhome does not tie you down to making large investments like these, or worrying running expenses such as insurance and maintenance costs. Renting, in fact, allows for more flexibility and convenience on the road. Travellers have access to services like roadside assistance, travel tips, as well as cleaning services. In addition, renting a campervan enables prospective motorhome buyers to evaluate their preferences and investment. Thousands of UK camping vehicles are bought annually, with a reported peak in domestic demand this summer.
A common issue is that many campervan buyers invest in vans and sell it soon, after realizing the high costs of maintaining a van that spends most of its time parked, rather than on the road. Several new campervan rental platforms now provide a solution to this through a peer-to-peer marketplace, where van owners can list their campervans for rental to utilize the lifespan of their investment, much like the “Airbnb” of campervans.
Buy and rent out. If you decide to buy, peer-to-peer rental can be a great way to get return on investments of owning a van. On average, owning campervan costs around £1,000 in annual running cost, excluding fuel. In comparison, Indie Campers estimate that campervan owners can earn up to £7984 by renting out the campervan for 15 weeks a year on their platform. Moreover, peer-to-peer platforms further boost a circular economy, promoting economic efficiencies that are closely interlinked with the ecological developments of reduction in total resources consumed. Thereby, it leads to waste minimization and promotes the recycling of commodities.
Melita Stella Dsouza
Indie Campers, Lisbon