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REDUCING THE COST OF RECREATIONAL VEHICLEs
There are ways to reduce the net spend on camper trailers, caravans, campervans and motorhomes.

 

Many of us would like to have a flash off-road caravan, 4WD campervan or motorhome, but it does’t take much research to discover that a new, off the shelf vehicle will set you back between $150,000 and $500,000. There are ways to reduce that initial outlay or to offset the costs.

 

A survey carried out by leading RV rental platform Camplify showed that two-thirds of Australians would like to travel to relieve their stress, but 79-percent of respondents said financial constraints were a roadblock to their relaxing holiday goals.

 

 

Rent, don’t buy

 

We asked Camplify for some input into this story, because renting, rather than buying, is an obvious way to avoid capital outlay. If you need a camping vehicle for only three weeks every year, it’s obviously not a great use of your resources to have an expensive piece of kit just sitting in storage.

Camplify’s website hosts thousands of privately owned campervans, caravans and motorhomes that are available to rent: overnight or for extended periods.

Even if you do intend to buy, renting is a useful way of checking out the type or model of camping vehicle you’re interested in. There are so many different types of vans to suit all kinds of travelling styles.

Whether you’re planning on converting a van yourself or buying a finished one, you’ll need to know just what kind of features you’ll want to include in your own van. All the research in the world can get you prepared, but you won’t really know until you take a trip in a van.

If you’re debating between campervan/motorhome or caravan, we know that

towing a caravan can be a traumatic experience for the novice. If you’ve never done any heavy towing, we’d suggest you read through all out stories in the Driving/Towing section of this outbacktravelaustralia.com.au website.

When hiring a caravan through Camplify there are also pre-hire rules for hirers and owners to ensure a tow vehicle is capable of towing the van that is being hired. Van owners who have caravans on the platform offer towing information on their vans’ loaded weight and tow ball ratings and ensure that hirers have the correct hitches and electric brake connections.

 

 

Build your own

 

Obviously, a significant part of van pricing is the cost of new materials and the labour needed for assembly and fit-out. Handy people can build their own.

Many recreational vehicle owners have done the DIY job and Camplify has conducted a breakdown of the costs involved, using real-life case studies to help those weighing up whether they should buy or rent their future RV.

An example is Queensie, a campervan owned by Andrew, from Queenscliff, NSW. Incidentally, he was renting it out for $170 per day in 2024.

Andrew bought a 2017 Mercedes Sprinter, for around $60,000. He then spent approximately $25,000 on a luxury renovation. Andrew said he learned a lot of clever ways to save money, without impacting the quality of the end result.

“These can be simple things, like buying an old table, to cut down for all your wood, and using Gumtree for things like bed frames,” said Andrew.

Although renovating a van can be intimidating, Andrew believed that anyone who’s a little handy can do it. 

“However, you do need to be patient,’” he said. 

“You also need to like problem solving and watch lots of YouTube videos for inspiration and guidance.

“It’s also important not to be afraid to start a section again if it’s not quite right.”

Andrew put Queensie on Camplify and took $15,000 in bookings within the first four months of listing.

Terry the Transit, owned by Georgia and Joel, in Queensland, was listed for casual hire at $130 per day. They bought it as an ex-trade vehicle that was: “In really good nick”. 

“The van cost $22,000,” said Georgia. “And the build was a further $20,000 in materials, power equipment and set-up.”

They did well to keep the total costs down to $42,000, but Georgia said they could’ve saved more money had they wanted to. 

“Ours obviously has a few more luxuries, so you could definitely do something simple for a lot less, but we wanted it to feel cosy and homely. 

“We splashed out on things like solar power and bed lift.”

So, there are more ways than one to get into the outback exploring life, without needing to outlay a fortune.

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