Hiring a campervan is a great way to holiday and the best time to do it will depend on what kind of camper you are. If you’re looking to head off on a family road trip, you’ll likely be restricted by the school holidays. If you want dog-friendly campervan hire, you might want to think about going in winter when sites are quieter and walkies on the beach are less restricted. If you want cheap campervan hire, it might be wise to book well in advance. But what if you want cheap campervan or motorhome rental for all the family, including the dog, in the height of summer? Hey, we’re not miracle workers, but we can give you a bit of advice if you're pondering that all-important question: When is the best time to hire a campervan?
Summer campervan hire
It’ll come as no surprise that summer is the most popular season for campervan hire in the UK. Days are long, the sun is shining and campervanning comes into its own. As with all types of camping, the summer gives you the best chance of enjoying the warm weather and, if it does rain (this is Britain after all), the campervan is the ideal place to shelter. The six-week school summer holidays, music festivals and other events mean that competition for campervan hire is high at this time and prices can often reflect that. If your campervan hire company (or the campsites you choose to stay at) have a sliding scale of pricing, July and August will be the very peak. Often the only way to secure a bargain summer break is to book your campervan hire well in advance – and don’t forget to book pitches on campsites well-ahead too. For families and sun worshippers, summer is probably the best time to hire a campervan in the UK and, if you have an aversion to motorhomes, summer is also best suited to smaller campervans, where you're likely to be spending more time outside than in the compact van itself. But for bargain-hunters and people looking for a quiet getaway, summer might just be the worst option.
Spring and autumn campervan hire
The dynamic shoulder seasons of spring and autumn can be a great time to hire a campervan or motorhome. The weather can be surprisingly good but the prices will be lower than in the summer. For family campervanners, the Easter and half-term holidays in May and October can be a good time to hire a campervan. Prices will rise a little when school is out – but are unlikely to be as much as in the summer. If you’re camping without kids, September is a perfect time to hire a campervan. The weather is likely to still be warm, but prices will have dropped and many campsites are still open but much quieter. Spring and autumn are also a great time for nature lovers to get outdoors and a campervan may just be the best way to do it, as your hired van can be a wildlife hide as well as your transport, your kitchen and your place to stay.
Hiring a campervan or motorhome in winter
If you’re looking for a bargain break, winter might be the best season to hire a campervan and, if you book up in advance, it’s likely to be cheaper still. These days, whether you choose small campervan hire or a massive motorhome rental, almost all are fitted with some kind of heating system, which means winter nights can be surprisingly cosy. There are far fewer campsites open in the UK in winter but availability at those that do remain open is likely to be good and prices are likely to be low. If you like the idea of seeing where the wind takes you, having a loose itinerary and turning up at a campsite without booking in advance then, provided you know the campsite is open, it's a pretty safe bet that it will have space to accommodate you. And if you’re really keen on saving the pennies, you might want to go for a few nights of wild camping. Winter is the perfect time to do this as there will be less people competing for available spots and less chance of being asked to move on. For dog lovers, this can be a good time to head for a beachside campervan holiday as many places which are dog-free in summer become dog-friendly in winter, which means walkies on the beach are much easier.
Last-minute campervan hire & relocation deals
And now forget everything we’ve just told you about booking early and consider leaving it to the last minute! If you have very specific dates or ideas about destinations for your campervan holiday, you may not be at liberty to enjoy a last-minute holiday but, if you are flexible, the best time to hire a campervan might just be at the last minute. If a company has last-minute availability or gets a late cancellation, they will be likely to drop the price. It’s a win-win situation as some income will be better than nothing for them and you get a bargain last-minute campervan hire. Of course, we suggest using a search on Cool Camping using your specific dates to bring up late deals but it’s also a good idea to keep a close eye on social media too.
Campervan re-location deals are also a great way to get a last-minute deal. Hire companies sometimes need a van moving from place to place and will offer ultra-cheap hires for anyone willing to take on the task. It goes without saying, that leaving things to the last minute adds a lot of risk. You'll need to be willing to travel to whichever campervan depot has last-minute deals and you need to be open to choosing the dates that are available rather than the exact dates you may want, so, for most people this is a bad option. But, if you're time rich and cash poor and have plenty of flexibility, then there are some great last-minute offers to be had, particularly in autumn when the largest number of campervans and motorhomes need relocating. Bear in mind that re-location offers are always one-way (since the van needs moving from one place to another), so you might need to take the train (or even a flight) to one end of your route. But some motorhome rentals have even been known to fly customers abroad as part of the deal, in order to get their vehicles moved, while other common relocation routes, liked Edinburgh to London or Inverness to Glasgow, will fit in nicely with railway routes.