campervan or hotel New Zealand© JUCY Group
campervan or hotel New Zealand

Campervan Rental Vs. Car Rental + Stay in Hotel, Hostel or Airbnb in New Zealand

© JUCY Group
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Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
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Renting a Campervan or Motorhome Vs. Renting a Car and Staying in a Hotel, Airbnb, etc.

Which is cheaper, campervan rental or car rental and staying in a hotel, hostel or Airbnb? It’s a question we receive all the time! Despite campervan rentals being associated with travelling New Zealand on a budget, is it really that cheap? We compare campervan rental and car rental (plus staying in accommodation) in this complete budget breakdown.

The below article purely focuses on the cost of campervan rental vs. car rental and staying in accommodations. For more factors to compare, such as how many people are travelling in your group and the ease of driving, check out our other article, Should You Rent a Campervan or Car in New Zealand?

Video: Campervan and Stay in Campsites Vs. Car and Stay in Hotels, Hostels, Airbnbs, etc?

Want to know which is better, campervans or hotels in New Zealand, by watching the NZ Pocket Guide team explain? Check out our videos on the subject and don’t forget to Subscribe on YouTube for more New Zealand travel tips!

Which is Cheaper: Campervan Rental or Car Rental + Stay in Hotel/Hostel/Airbnb?© JUCY Group

Cost of Campervan or Motorhome Rental + Staying in Campsites, Holiday Parks and Freedom Camping

How much it is going to cost you to rent a campervan in New Zealand? There are a number of factors that don’t make this an easy answer. You need to take into account what type of campervan you’re renting, the season you’re travelling, how many kilometres you’ll cover to determine how much you’ll spend on fuel, etc. If you’re under 25 years old, you may have to pay a mandatory daily insurance excess reducer. See Age Restrictions When Renting a Vehicle in New Zealand for more information.

Take a look at the approximate prices below for the rental of a small campervan and a large motorhome with the seasonal rental rates. You’ll then need to take into account the cost of camping accommodations, such as holiday parks, campsites and freedom camping. Bear in mind that it’s likely that you’ll need to hook up to a power source and/or empty your vehicle’s wastewater and refill the water tank approximately every three days. This means that you’ll likely need to stay in a holiday park for some part of your trip.

Unsure of the whole campervan maintenance process we just went through? Make sure you head to our Step-by-Step Guide to Renting Your First Motorhome or Vanlife: The Guide to Living in a Campervan.

Rental Cost for a Small Self-Contained Campervan

In summer (December to March): NZ$200/day with included insurance or NZ$250/day with add-on insurance
In spring/autumn (April, May, September & October): NZ$160/day with included insurance or NZ$195/day with add-on insurance
In winter (June to August): NZ$100/day with included insurance or NZ$130/day with add-on insurance
Fuel (petrol) to fill a 70l/18gal tank: NZ$140

Rental Cost for a Large Self-Contained Motorhome

In summer (December to March): NZ$370/day with included insurance or NZ$440/day with add-on insurance
In spring/autumn (April, May, September & October): NZ$270/day with included insurance or NZ$340/day with add-on insurance
In winter (June to August): NZ$230/day with included insurance or NZ$300/day with add-on insurance
Fuel (petrol) to fill a 70l/18gal tank: NZ$140
Fuel (diesel) to fill a 70l/18gal tank: NZ$105
RUC fee (diesel): NZ$62-$68 per 1,000km (621 miles) travelled.

Miscellaneous Costs

One-way fees: Up to NZ$250
Additional driver: NZ$10

Camping Accommodation Costs

Holiday park night in powered site for 2 people: NZ$40
DOC campsite per night per person: NZ$15 adult, NZ$7.50 child (consider a DOC Campsite Pass to save money)
Freedom camping area: FREE

Example: The Cost of Two Weeks in Small Campervan in New Zealand

Just to give you an idea, here’s a basic example of the cost for a couple or solo traveller (prices would be the same) to travel in a small campervan with no insurance add-on for two weeks in spring starting in Auckland and ending in Queenstown. This doesn’t take into account any side trips, vehicles with better or worse fuel efficiency or the ferry crossing.

Campervan rental/two weeks in spring: NZ$2,240
Fuel cost travelling Auckland to Queenstown: NZ$560
One-way fee travelling Auckland to Queenstown: NZ$250
Stay at a holiday park for five nights: NZ$200
Stay at DOC campsite for two nights (per person): NZ$30
Freedom camp for seven nights: NZ$0
= NZ$3,280

Note that the above prices are, of course, approximate as prices for fuel and rentals fluctuate. These numbers are to give you a rough idea of which rental options, car or campervans, are cheaper. 

Ready to hit the road in a campervan? Check out The Best Motorhome & Campervan Rentals in New Zealand!

Which is Cheaper: Campervan Rental or Car Rental + Stay in Hotel/Hostel/Airbnb?© Unsplash

Cost of Car Rental + Staying in Hostels, Hotels and Airbnbs

Like the cost of campervan rental, car rental costs are determined by the type of car you’re renting, the season you’re travelling, and how many kilometres you’ll cover to determine how much you’ll spend on fuel. Again, there may be extra costs such as a one-way fee. If you’re under 25 years old, you may have to pay a mandatory daily insurance excess reducer. See Age Restrictions When Renting a Vehicle in New Zealand for more information.

Take a look at the approximate prices below for the rental of a small car and a large car, choosing the seasonal rental rate that applies to your trip. You’ll then need to take into account the cost of accommodation where prices greatly differ depending on whether you’re staying in a hostel, hotel or Airbnb accommodation. Of course, there are many more styles of accommodation in New Zealand, which you can check out in our complete New Zealand travel guide.

Rental Cost for a Small Car

In winter (June to August): NZ$20/day with included insurance or NZ$45/day with add-on insurance
In summer (December to March): NZ$45/day with included insurance or NZ$70/day with add-on insurance
In spring/autumn (April, May, September & October): NZ$35/day with included insurance or NZ$60/day with add-on insurance
Fuel (petrol) to fill a 42l/11gal tank: NZ$84

Rental Cost for a Large Car

In winter (June to August): NZ$25/day with included insurance or NZ$50/day with add-on insurance
In summer (December to March): NZ$70/day with included insurance or NZ$95/day with add-on insurance
In spring/autumn (April, May, September & October): NZ$50/day with included insurance or NZ$75/day with add-on insurance
Fuel (petrol) to fill a 50l/13gal tank: NZ$100

Miscellaneous Costs

One-way fees: Up to NZ$250
Additional driver: NZ$10

Accommodation Costs

Hostel private room: NZ$80
Hostel dorm per bed: NZ$30
Airbnb private room: NZ$100
Hotel room: NZ$160

Example: The Cost of Two Weeks in a Small Car + Staying in Hostels and Airbnbs in New Zealand

Just to give you an idea, here’s a basic example of the cost for a couple to travel in a small car with no insurance add-on for two weeks in spring starting in Auckland and ending in Queenstown. They would be staying in reasonably affordable private rooms in hostels and Airbnbs. This doesn’t take into account any side trips, vehicles with better or worse fuel efficiency or the ferry crossing.

Car rental/two weeks in spring: NZ$490
Fuel cost travelling Auckland to Queenstown: NZ$560
One-way fee travelling Auckland to Queenstown: NZ$250
Stay in a hostel private room for 12 nights: NZ$960
Stay in an Airbnb for two nights: NZ$200
= NZ$2,710

Example: The Cost of Two Weeks in a Large Car Staying in Hotels in New Zealand

Taking the same example as above and just swapping the factors of a large car and staying in hotels instead, here’s an example budget:

Car rental/two weeks in spring: NZ$700
Fuel cost travelling Auckland to Queenstown: NZ$560
One-way fee travelling Auckland to Queenstown: NZ$250
Stay in a hotel room for 14 nights: NZ$2,240
= NZ$3,750

Note that the above prices are, of course, approximate as prices for fuel and rentals fluctuate. These numbers are to give you a rough idea of which rental options, car or campervans, are cheaper. 

Ready to hit the road by car? Pick the right rental for you from The Best Car Rental Companies in New Zealand.

Which is Cheaper: Campervan Rental or Car Rental + Stay in Hotel/Hostel/Airbnb?© NZPocketGuide.com

Conclusion: Which is Cheaper, Campervan Rental or Car Rental + Staying in Hotels, Hostels or Airbnbs in New Zealand?

This is one of those situations where you can let the numbers speak for themselves. Contrary to popular belief, it is actually cheaper to rent a car and stay in budget accommodation. On the other hand, renting a car and staying in hotels would only be marginally more expensive than renting a campervan.

In conclusion, if you’re looking to travel New Zealand with budget in mind, go for a car rental and stay in hostels or Airbnbs.

Need more budgeting advice? Head on over to The Travel Guide to New Zealand on a Budget and How Much Does it Cost to Travel New Zealand?

More About Campervan Rental or Car Rental in New Zealand

That’s it for our comparison of staying in a campervan or hotel in New Zealand! Now, make sure you’re ready to hit the road with these road trip guides:

Now that you know whether to hire a car and stay in a hotel, hostel or Airbnb or hire a campervan, do you need some road trip ideas? Check out the following itineraries for the best road trip routes:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Guide to Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand.

Sources:

The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Robin C.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Robin, who is the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. With more than 15 years of experience in the New Zealand tourism industry, Robin has co-founded three influential tourism businesses and five additional travel guides for South Pacific nations. He is an expert in New Zealand travel and has tested over 600 activities and 300+ accommodations across the country.

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