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

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

© JUCY Group

Renting a Campervan Vs. Renting a Car and Staying in Accommodation

Which is cheaper: campervan rental or car rental and staying in a hotel/hostel/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 guide.

For more budget advice, head on over to The Travel Guide to New Zealand on a Budget and How Much Does it Cost to Travel New Zealand?

Campervan and Stay in Campsites or Car and Stay in Hostels, Airbnbs, etc?

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?

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

Cost of Campervan 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.

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 waste water/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.

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: Two Weeks in Small Campervan

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/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 in a holiday park five nights: NZ$200
Stay in DOC campsite two nights (per person): NZ$30
Freedom camp seven nights: NZ$0
= NZ$3,280

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.

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 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: Two Weeks in a Small Car

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/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 hostel private room 12 nights: NZ$960
Stay in Airbnb two nights: NZ$200
= NZ$2,710

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

Which is Cheaper: Campervan Rental or Car Rental

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. While we didn’t include it in the examples above, renting a car and staying in more mid-range 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.

Author

Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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