Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Choose your currency when hiring a campervan in New Zealand

Popular New Zealand campervan hire website www.britstouringnewzealand.co.nz has announced the ability for customers to book their New Zealand campervan holidays in British Pounds or New Zealand Dollars.

"This is great news for UK travellers to New Zealand," said Brits Touring New Zealand director, Mike Ballantyne. This may seem like a small issue, but it is very important to UK travellers who are concerned about the impact of exchange rates on their holiday. For example, if a British family books a New Zealand holiday in April for travel around Christmas, most New Zealand campervan companies will collect the payment only in New Zealand dollars just prior to, or on arrival. By then the currency rate may have changed significantly. They may get more for their money, or they may get less. We realise that most people have a fixed budget and don't want to gamble on the exchange rates, which is why we give them the option of locking in a price in British Pounds, at the exchange rate relevant at the time of booking."

www.britstouringnewzealand.co.nz
features what is probably New Zealand's largest range of campervans to rent.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Would you take your Motorhome on this New Zealand bridge?


To the left is one of two one lane bridges in New Zealand that has actively used train track running down the center. One is near Greymouth, the other is new Blenheim

One way bridges are the norm in there, so drive carefully when you book your campervan in New Zealand!

This picture is host by pixdaus.com, if you are the photographer - let us know so we can credit you for it.

Most scenic roads in Germany for your campervan holiday

Germany is the perfect country if you are planning to self drive. Germany is known to have the most scenic roads in the world. The beautiful scenery, the fairy tale landscape dotted with timeless legends and stories and castles centuries old, all make this place a site-seers wonderland. Whether you are a group of young friends, honeymooner or a senior couple living out your retirement dream, this place has something for everyone travelling by a motorhome. Here are some of the top destinations that must not be missed at any cost.

The Romantic Highway/ Road

If you want to be transported back in time, this is the route you must explore in Germany. It is not called the ‘Romantic Road’ for no reason. Travelling through towns like Rothenburg, Fuzzen and Wurzburg, this 270 km route brings alive the romance of the days of yore with its past humble glories by taking you through some of the most beautiful villages in Germany.

The Castle Road

Another equally famous travel route in Germany is called the Castle Road. This 450 mile route derives its name from the fact that the stretch from Mannheim to the city of Prague will see you though over 70 old palaces and castles. You can choose to visit any of these castles along the way and explore them while enjoying the scenery along the way. The castle road constitutes part of the romantic highway as well.

The Toy Road

This enchanting route, as the name suggests is a tribute to the great toys of Germany! If you have kids or are a child at heart, don’t miss this 300 km drive starting at Zirndorf town near the city of Munich and ending all the way at the town of Waltershausun. This route takes you through some of the most exotic toy manufacturing towns and villages in Germany. Along the way you will also come across Playmobil, which is a theme park and toy land for kids. There are also many toy museums besides toy shops and stalls along the way. You are sure to remember this ride and your children will simply love it!

The Clock Road

This 320 km long German route as the name suggests, is designed to take you through a circular driving route which goes through the villages housing famous clock factories of Germany. This is the route for people who want to relax and unwind and set their own pace. It also takes you through the Black Forest which is a wonderful place to relax. The villages along the route are just as wonderful and you can choose to stay overnight at any of them to enjoy the typical German fare on this lovely road, before heading back.

There are many other such scenic roads and routes in Germany, including “the Fairy Tale Road”, “the Wine Road”, “The European Architecture Road” , “The German Cheese Route”, “Avenue Route”, The Haden Asparagus Route” and so many more, and each one with its own unique charm.

If you are looking to rent a motorhome in Germany, visit motorhomerental.de for information on travelling and booking campervan in this scenic nation.

Hypermile that Motorhome!

So you've decided to go on that RV Roadtrip that you've always dreamed about? Worried about fuel costs? Welcome to the world of hypermiling - getting the most fuel economy for your vehicle.

Here are some great tips for hypermiling from http://www.cars4women.co.za/ :
1. Change to a manual transmission: If you’re used to driving an automatic, switching over to a manual car might take a little practice, but it’s definitely worth it. Once you have more control over the vehicle, you’ll be able to master more hypermiling tricks.
2. Slow down: The harder you press the accelerator, the more fuel you’re using. If you’re driving over the speed limit, you might save time, but you’re definitely wasting fuel and money.
3. Coast instead of braking: When you see a stop sign up ahead or a traffic light turning yellow, immediately take your foot off the gas and let your vehicle slow down by itself. If you wait until the last possible minute to brake, then you’re wasting all the fuel you used when you could have been slowing down.
4. If you have Cruise Control, use it: One automatic setting that actually helps hypermiling is cruise control, which prevents you from “creeping” over the speed limit without realising it.
5. Coast with your car in neutral or freewheel carefully on the downhill stretches: This takes the burden off your accelerator, preventing you from wasting fuel. If you’re not driving in heavy traffic, experiment with this effective money saver.
6. Don't transport junk in your car: The heavier your car, the harder it has to work to propel itself forward. Empty your boot and backseat of golf clubs, beach chairs, umbrellas and other items that you’re not using to lighten the load.
7. “Drive slow and low”: whenever possible to give your vehicle more mileage.
8. Optimise your route: There are huge benefits to “optimising” your route” when implementing hypermiling tricks. Instead of taking the scenic route to work, which could include more hills, twists, and dips, try finding a route that features level roads and less traffic lights or stop signs. Generally, a longer route with better driving conditions can use less fuel.
9. Park in the sun: The blogger Joe Future believes that parking your vehicle in the sun is a hypermiling tip for two reasons: “On a cold day, parking in the sun keeps your car warmer.” Also, a warmer car “will get to “auto-stop” mode faster than a cold car, so you’ll sit idling at fewer red lights while you’re waiting for auto-stop to kick in.”
10. Drive with a window open if you’re not on the highway: In the cooler months, stop blasting the air conditioner and roll down your windows. According to Drive.com.au, “It is generally accepted that air-conditioning increases fuel consumption by about 10 percent but winding down the windows increases drag, which is also an enemy of good fuel consumption.” If you’re going to be on the highway, keeping your A/C on low is still a good idea, but if you’re taking a joy ride, think about getting a little fresh air.
11. Don’t leave the engine running: It may seem like a good idea to let your car idle while you dash out to close the gate or drop off a DVD, but doing so wastes fuel. Take the extra few seconds to pull into a real parking spot and turn the car off first.
12. Service your car regularly: Taking your car for regular services, oil changes, tyre pressure and wheel balancing checks etc., is another easy way to maximize mileage.

Green Motorhomes

Green Motorhomes

Today, there is increasing concern across the world for a cleaner and greener environment. The ‘go green’ campaign has hit every aspect of our lives, be it shopping at super markets, working in offices and also taking a vacation.

With a growing concern on the impact of travel habits of tourists across the globe, especially when it comes to long distance holidaying, many choose to avoid excessive wastage and stay at home. But it is a natural human urge to travel and explore.

Travel companies, while acknowledging the issue of fuel emissions and harm to the environment especially due to long distance travel, are trying to come up with environment friendly solutions as an answer to this problem. Many companies and environmental NGOs have joined hands to promote RVing as a means for a comfortably viable family based holidaying option which is both affordable and avoids additional wastage while protecting the environment.

Many companies are now promoting RV and Motorhoming or camper van grounds in designated areas where families can have access to parking their rented or owned RVs.

Motorhomes Just Turned Greener!

With the increasing popularity of motorhomes, companies are coming out with various innovative designs and models to pack as many homely comforts into the RV as are possible. Be it a heating system, a microwave, a dishwasher, a shower, a gas stove, air conditioning, electrical gadgets, plug points etc. These are the same comforts that one uses at home or at a vacation abroad, in some form or the other. With an increasing pressure to save the environment and ‘go green’, companies are inventing more ways to minimize consumption and emission of fuel and looking for ways to avoid wastage. Thus, today, these same gadgets are designed differently so as to fit them in Motorhomes such that they consume lesser amount of water and very little electricity or fuel; allowing families to leave a comparatively minor ecological footprint or minimal damage to the environment which is restored very rapidly. This has led to more effective designs and greener motorhomes! So now, you can holiday without feeling guilty and show your family a good time as well.

Some Other Benefits of Motorhoming

Motorhoming can save on your energy and utility bills. For example, motorhoming in a cooler destination is a much more environment friendly idea than spending your summer vacations at home and turning up the air conditioning.

Moreover, Motorhomes are large and can carry more luggage and passengers than a normal car. So if you are holidaying with friends, it makes more sense to hire a motor home than to drive you own cars and meet up individually. Today, you can hire motorhomes that can house 2 to 8 people at one time. It is not just cheaper on your pockets and more fun, it is going to help you do your bit protecting the environment from the long distance emission of fuel toxins.

Finally,a ross the globe, more companies are putting in an effort to make motorhome rentals more eco friendly - examples of this are Enviro Camper sites www.envirocampers.co.nz in New Zealand and www.envirocampers.com.au in Australia.

Motorhome rentals are increasing as economy staggers

Here are a couple of encouraging articles - looks like motor home rentals are on the increase as most industries in the USA are faltering:

/Travel PR News/ Motorhomes - April 23, 2008 - General Manager of iMall Brands Ltd Motorhome Rental Division Rohan Marx said despite the economic downturn in their key markets of the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, bookings were up 70% of the same period on their Fetch Campervan Rental and Family Motorhome Rental websites.

There has been a big increase in domestic tourism, particularly in the US and Canada.

Also, inbound tourists are choosing the often cheaper option of renting a motorhome, over renting a car and staying in hotels.

At a time when many businesses in other sectors of the economy were cutting staff and spending, many RV and motorhome companies were adding vehicles to their fleets.

iMall have also noticed many RV sales firms in the United States moving to the renting pof RVs or increasing their number of existing RV's for rent. "We have been told by our partners that many US citizens are a bit cautious this year with the purchasing of privately owned RV's with the downturn in the property market and general nervousness surrounding the purchase of large ticket items. So RV sales companies have looked to their RV rental divisions to pick up the slack. We have quite a few new partners this year who are interested in utilising iMall's in-depth knowledge of on the rental of RVs and Motorhomes online to help build their rental divisions" said Mr Marx.

"The good news for these firms is there is a general increase in the number of people renting RV's in the United States this year. Somewhat ironically this is due in part to the weakening of the US dollar against other currencies, in particular the Euro. Europeans make up a large component of the total number of International inbound tourists who rent Motorhomes, so naturally a vacation in the United states in an RV is an attractive proposition for Europeans this year. We're only happy enough to help an economy in need."

iMall Brands Ltd Motorhome Rental Division includes such web sites such as rv-rental-usa.com, rvrentalcanada.ca, campervanhireaustralia.com.au, campervanhirenewzealand.co.nz and motorhomerental.de

Here is another article from Jsonline.com
RV industry may improve in '09
Many waiting for cost of borrowing to decrease to trade up
By RICK BARRETT
Posted: March 14, 2008

West Allis - Some dreams of buying motor homes and travel trailers have been dashed by declining home equity and nervousness about the economy, even as dealerships offer low prices to stimulate sales.
Wholesale shipments are expected to be down 13% for towable campers and 17% for motor homes this year, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association.

Nationwide, motor home sales are down roughly 40% from their peak in 2004.

"We expect the RV industry to worsen in 2008 before improving in 2009," said analyst Craig Kennison with Robert W. Baird & Co.

"The declines are severe, but not altogether surprising. Demand continues to suffer as consumer confidence deteriorates and the promise of lower borrowing costs so far fails to materialize," Kennison said.

Motor home and travel trailer sales are strongest early in an economic growth cycle when interest rates are low and consumer confidence is improving. Sales languish when the economy sputters.

Analysts said recent reductions in interest rates haven't been enough to jump start RV sales, which are important in Wisconsin's economy.

About 5,300 motor homes and travel trailers are sold a year in the state, with 20% of those sales made in the metropolitan Milwaukee area. Also, manufacturers such as Actuant Corp. of Glendale make components for the RV industry.

Nationwide, the industry is forecasting its fourth consecutive decline in unit shipments this year - the longest decline on record.

"A recovery in 2009 will depend on improved consumer confidence and lower borrowing costs, in our view," Kennison said.
Cut prices

Many consumers are waiting to trade in their recreational vehicle for a new model, hoping the cost of borrowing money edges down a little more. It's not unusual to have a 10-year loan for a travel trailer or motor home.

Some dealerships have cut prices to stimulate sales of the most expensive motor homes and travel trailers that cost them thousands of dollars in finance charges. Without too much difficulty, buyers should be able to get 20% off the manufacturers suggested retail price, said Mike Prosser, owner of Prosser RV and Cruise America Motor Home Rental & Sales in Milwaukee.

"But trade-ins can mess deals up," Prosser added.

Wisconsin motor home sales were down 11.5% in 2007, but towable-camper sales were down only 1.7%, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., a Grand Rapids, Mich., firm that gathers data on the RV industry.

With extreme cold weather in January and February, local sales got off to a slow start this year. Now, high gasoline and diesel fuel prices have become an issue for people who spend their weekends on the road.

"People tell us they're still going to use their RV a lot this year. They're just not going to travel as far from home," said Mark Green, owner of Hanna Trailer, an Oak Creek RV dealership that's part of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sport Show at Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park.

This year, more consumers are interested in smaller, lighter camper trailers. That's partly because of high fuel prices and cutbacks in personal spending.

"And you don't need a big vehicle to pull some of these units," Green said.
Prepared for a recession

This year, amenities are impressive on bigger, more expensive travel trailers and motor homes.

Some buyers are looking for fireplaces, his-and-her sinks, kitchen islands, granite countertops and full-size refrigerators. High-tech offerings include big, flat-panel TVs, bunk beds with individual DVD screens and headsets, iPod ports, satellite radio, and rooftop solar panels.

Even some of the less expensive travel trailers now come equipped with amenities typical of a suburban home.

"People want the large bed sizes, increased storage, things like larger picture windows," said Al Visintainer, general manager of Duchow's Boat Center, a Pewaukee RV dealership also at the Sport Show.

Some new motor homes are helping change the image of gas-guzzling motor coaches. Among them is a 24-foot Winnebago View that gets up to 18 miles per gallon. That compares with about 6 miles per gallon for a typical motor home.

Spurred by retiring baby boomers, and young families buying their first camper trailers, the long-term prospects for the RV industry are good.

Dealerships have prepared for a recession and have kept tight controls on inventories. They're anxious to make sales but aren't desperate, Kennison said.

"The good news is the RV industry tends to go early into a recession and comes out early. At some point these cyclical markets recover," Kennison said.

RV or Motorhome or Campervan or Camper or Caravan? Some Definitions below.

This is the first post in our campervan rental blog! I've decided as a first post to include some definitions of vehicles often defined as 'motorhomes' - take from Wikipedia:

Recreational Vehicle, and its acronym RV, are generally used to refer to an enclosed piece of equipment dually used as both a vehicle and a temporary travel home. This primarily a term used in the USA and Canada - Motorhome would be a more universally understood amongst english speaking nations.

Motorhome, Motor home - same as Recreational Vehicle (RV) - a small bus or trucklike vehicle with a roomlike area behind the driver's seat outfitted as living quarters.

Caravan
(Same as Travel Trailer) trailer towed behind a road vehicle to provide a place to sleep which is more comfortable and protected than a tent. It provides the means for people to have their own home on a journey or a holiday, without relying on a motel or hotel, and enables them to stay in places where none is available.

Class A motorhome
Constructed on either a commercial truck chassis, a specially designed motor vehicle chassis, or a commercial bus chassis.

Bus Conversion
A commercial passenger bus that has been converted into an RV. Highly customized with luxury components, bus conversions are typically the largest motorhomes available. Bus Conversions are a popular way of renting an RV in the USA

Campervan, Camper van, Class B Campervan
Built using a conventional van, to which either a raised roof has been added or had the back replaced by a low-profile body (aka coach-built). Class B recreational vehicles are commonly known as Dormobiles or caravanettes in the UK, or as 'Kombis' in Australia and other countries. This trend started in the 1950's after Volkswagen commissioned the Westfalia company to use the Kombi version of their Type 2 transporter as the basis for a campervan. Hiring Campervans in Australia are a very popular way of seeing the country.

Class C motorhome
Built on a truck chassis with an attached cab section, which is usually van based, but may also be pickup truck based or even large truck based. They are characterized by a distinctive cab-over profile, the "cab-over" containing a bed or an "entertainment" section. Also referred to as "mini-motorhomes". In the UK, the cab-over is known as a Luton.

Truck camper
A unit that is temporarily let into the bed or chassis of a pickup truck. These are much favored by hunters and other backwoods travelers, particularly in North America. Camper Hire are popular South Africa to handle the rougher driving conditions.

Folding trailer
Also known as a pop-up or tent camper, a light-weight unit with sides that collapse for towing and storage. Suitable for towing by many vehicles.

Travel trailer
A unit with rigid sides designed to be towed by some larger vehicle with a bumper or frame hitch. Known in British English as a caravan.

Teardrop trailer
A compact, lightweight travel trailer that resembles a teardrop, sometimes seen being towed by motorcycles.

Hybrid trailer
A blend between a travel trailer and a folding (tent) trailer. One type has rigid sides and pull-out tent sections (usually beds) while another type's top section of walls and its roof can be lowered over its bottom section to reduce its height for towing.

Fifth-wheel trailer
Designed to be towed by a pickup or medium duty truck equipped with a special hitch called a fifth wheel coupling. Part of the trailer body extends over the truck bed, shortening the total length of vehicle plus trailer combined. Some larger fifth-wheel trailers, usually over 40 feet (12.2 m) in length and 18,000 pounds (8,200 kg) in weight, are pulled by small semi-trucks, such as a small Freightliner.

Park model
This is a standard travel trailer that is not self-contained. It is designed for park camping only, and while it is easily moved from site to site, as a normal trailer is, it is not capable of "dry camping" as it does not have any water storage tanks and must be used with hookups. It is not a mobile home.

Toterhome
An uncommon term indicating a motorhome built around a semi truck chassis (such as a Freightliner). This type of motor home allows the pulling of large and heavy trailers.

Toy hauler
A motorhome, 5th-wheel, or travel trailer, it is designed to be part living space, and part garage for storing things such as motorcycles and ATVs.

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