The Airbnbs of Motorhome Holidays

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Posted on 1st December 2017 – Caravans, Motorhomes

According to the Caravan Industry Association of Australia, camping and caravaning in Australia is stronger than ever with 88.2 million Australians and 7.2 million of foreigners choosing motorhomes to go on holiday.

Importing vehicles to Australia temporarily isn’t too difficult so, for Kiwis owning a caravan or campervan, taking your motorhome with you rather than renting one is an option. However, finding a place in a camping site can be hard during the summer holiday, which explains why online peer-to-peer platforms have hatched, bringing together landowners and happy campers looking to rent a spot outside of the conventional camping sites.

For those who haven’t got an RV, another company is now connecting owners and holidaymakers wishing to let one.


The problem with owning a motorhome or a caravan is that it will most likely sit in your driveway most of the year. Indeed, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association in the US, the average RV owner only uses it about three weeks a year.

And they are not cheap to purchase, so you basically immobilise a fair amount of capital when purchasing one. Outdoorsy puts owners in touch with people who want to have a caravaning holiday without purchasing a big thing and enables them to generate some revenue from their campervan.

Launched in 2015, the American company works exactly like AirBnB. RV owners list their motorhomes and control when to rent it, who can rent it and are free to refuse tenants. There is a peer-to-peer review system which ensures that both tenants and owners can evaluate each other. Letting with Outdoorsy also comes with a US$1 million liability insurance policy and US$250,000 Comprehensive and Collision Insurance. 24/7 roadside assistance is also offered as well as round-the-clock technical help if you can’t work out how your appliances work for example.

As you would guess, the company works on a commission basis, taking 15% from the motorhome owners and charging the renters a service fee of about 10%.

From a budget point of view, everybody can find something suitable, from inexpensive motorhomes to all-singing all-dancing luxury ones.

Surprisingly perhaps, your typical happy camper isn’t as old as you might think as the average age of owners listing their campervans on Outdoorsy is 48. The average rental period is 6 days which also makes it worthwhile for owners as they don’t have to do too many changeovers.

Motorhomes themselves aren't the only thing you can hire. Depending on what the owner has, you can add paddle boards, BBQ kits, bikes, kayaks, etc… The average price per night is US$400, but it often includes extras such as the equipment mentioned above. Even then, it is signifcantly cheaper than any other form of accommodation.

People using the website cite the freedom of travelling in a portable home as the main motivation to rent one. You never need to rush to your next accommodation and you are completely free to linger where your heart fancies.


Closer to home, Campable is a New Zealand App connecting people travelling in a camping van to landowners interested in renting some of their land.

Places listed on the website include vineyards, working farms, private clubs and resorts, and they’re not all in the country side, there is an increasing number of sites made available at Auckland’s Alexandra Park raceway which will be handy during sporting events.

From holidaymakers’ point of view, it gives them complete freedom in their itinerary. They are no longer bound by whichever camping site there is in an area, this whole new network gives them more options. It also enables them to meet local people and discover the country in a more authentic way, as opposed to pitching a tent next to another tourist. And it is often significantly cheaper than official camping sites as a night starts at NZ$30. From landlords’ perspective, this is a way to make some extra income and share their local knowledge.

However, users of the App have pointed out that, while using Campable ensures that you have a guaranteed spot, in most cases you won’t have access to power, bathrooms or dump stations and it is, in fact, not very different from the conditions of freedom camping, only it is paying, and it isn’t the best solution for longer stays.

The director of Campable points out that renting your land is a way to host without having to actually have people in your home, which some landowners may not be comfortable about, although some hosts will happily provide meals on request.

An indirect benefit is that, by providing more accommodation choices for motorhome owners, especially during busy holiday times, the necessity of freedom camping will be reduced, and with it the amount of litter left in the countryside.

So, tempted to go on a road trip with your motorhome? Here is what you need to do to import one into Australia temporarily (i.e. fewer than 12 months).

Customs and fees

You can import your motorhome into Australia for holidays with a Carnet De Passages en Douane (Carnet) or under section 162 or 162A of the Customs Act. You won’t have to pay duty charges as long as you leave the country with your vehicle within 12 months.

You will be asked to pay a security of an amount equivalent to the market value of your campervan. It will be refunded after you return the Carnet but it is a way to deter people from using this scheme to import vehicles they actually intend to sell.


Australia is extremely strict when it comes to keeping creepy-crawlies and undesirable plants out of the country so your vehicle has to be immaculately clean.

Road and Health Standards

To be allowed on Australian roads, your motorhome will need an Import Approval Permit which will only be delivered if a car meets Australian Road and Health Standards.

If you want to know more about importing your caravan, campervan our motorhome into Australia for a holiday, get in touch with McCullough on +64 09 309 1163 or request a quote online.

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