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international motorhome swapping


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International Motorhome Swapping

Like many others we had plans to tour Australia and New Zealand for longer than a quick 2/3 week visit.To hire a motorhome of a decent size and spec for such a short period is not a problem but as we eventually spent 8 months down under this would have cost approx £25,000 to £30,000 for the 240 days of hire for the quality of vehicles we used.We searched online for other options and came across a motorhome swapping website called-www.motorhomeholidayswap.com with listings for many countries.We made contact with various motorhome owners to see if they were happy with our vehicle (Autotrail Tracker 2007) and wanted to tour the UK or Europe.This led to many emails,photos and dates until we had compiled our tour.This would take place over two winters (their summer)using four different vans for a two month duration each.Each time the couple would pick up and drop off from the airport,put us up for a night or two and then we would set off covered by their insurance policy.We did the same in return but our UK insurance companies would only allow 30 days for temporary drivers so therefore I placed them for the full year as named drivers costing approx £100 increase to my premium.The thought of giving the keys to our precious van was balanced with the fact that these swappers where just as protective of their own pride and joy and we would all take care of the vehicles as if they were our own.But it was time to take a chance in life of trusting all parties to do the right thing by each other as although we had confirmed our dates and obligations to each other by a written agreement this was not a legal binding document.This mainly covered what items would be in the van such as bedding,etc and any damages would be paid for by the user unless it was a major issue where the insurance would step in.The following is a short description of each swap including the stopovers we used enroute using British Airways on both occasions.

Flight to Japan 1 week Oct 2009

2 Months Western Australia Nov/Dec 2009 using a Winnibago coachbuilt on a Mitsubushi base.This was old but well maintained and tough enough for the conditions we experienced on the dirt roads.Collecting from Freemantle we routed north along the coast to Exmouth then inland to Newman,Kalgoorlie,Esperance,Albany and Perth.In retrospect WA would hold our fondest memories of the true Australian experience due to the animal life,Aboriginies and the mining towns.This couple used our van to tour France and Italy July/Aug 2012.

Flight to Alice Springs and a four day 4x4 tour of the interior including of course Ayers Rock.

2 Months NSW,Victoria Jan/Feb 2010 using a Mercedes Auto Panel Van.Three years old and perfect for the more congested towns and cities of the most populated area of Australia.Collecting from Forster ,north of Sydney we routed north as far as Surfers Paradise/Brisbane then inland to Tamworth,Dubbo,Wagga Wagga,Mildura,Adalaide.Followed by a coastal route via Ballarat,Bendigo,Melbourne,Phillip Island,Canberra and Sydney.This felt more like home due to the population,traffic jams,etc but a great time visiting the many famous places.This couple used our van to tour UK May/June 2010

Flight to Thailand 1 week Bangkok and Koh Samui March 2010


Flight to San Francisco Jan 2011 for 3 days followed by Hawaii 1 week,Fiji 1 week

2 Months New Zealand Feb/March 2011 using a 4 year old 7 mtr coachbuilt on a Ford base.Collecting from Auckland we covered North and South Islands leaving out only Christchurch as the quake had just happened two days before our planned arrival! The best scenery possible and such pride shown in the Maui peoples history.This couple used our van to tour France and UK July/Aug 2011

2 Months Queensland April/May 2011 using a 3 year old Winniebago coachbuilt auto on a Iveco base with slide out.Collecting from north of Brisbane we routed north along the Great Barrier Reef coast as far as Cairns then inland for some more outback experiences.Again different from WA and NSW due to a tropical climate.This couple used our van to tour the UK Aug/Sept 2010

Flight to South Africa -3 days Safari near Port Elizabeth followed by 1 weeks car hire tour driving the Garden Route to Capetown.

It made sense to use stopovers whilst flying across the globe twice to save money travelling to them on future occasions and also broke up the long flight time.I could fill a book on our experiences and places but the point of this article is to put forward a option to fellow motorhomers that they might wish to contemplate.

Where there any issues with the van swaps ? Small accidental damages we paid for as did the others for things like a lost set of keys,a damaged electric step,windscreen excess,crockery broken.In one case our van got damaged on the fibreglass skirting by a low wall whilst reversing but the couple returned the vehicle repaired to the extend that I would not have noticed.A clutch failure in France cost best part of £900 to repair at Fiat which they paid for and I transferred the funds into their account.The only disappointing event was caused when one couple used our van for 5 weeks instead of the allocated 8 weeks due to a last minute booking to visit Turkey.We had no problem with this and even offered a follow up 3 week loan of our vehicle in the future.Unfortunately with only days before our arrival it was suggested by email that a token sum should be paid by us for our 3 weeks extra use! We agreed $200 aus but were upset by their last minute trivial request but felt obliged to carry through to secure the loan of the vehicle.If we had refused I believe they would have still lent the van but it left a cloud over this particular relationship.This proves how trust in human nature is the major component of this whole affair.We do recommend this swap option to friends and would do it again possibly for the USA in the future as our bank balance is a lot healthier than if we had hired for such a long duration.



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Gary what a lovely time you must have had. Is there an issue on insurance , either here or over there, regarding age restrictions? we are over 70, no problem with ins in Uk, apart from must be 3500 or less.

What about in OZ ? I guess you are under 70, so not a problem for you?

Would love to do it, and breaking up the flight is a very good idea



PS How about putting your log on here for all of us to read?

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Sorry cannot help with the insurance question but I do run a simple blog which I update when on travels for family & friends but it is open to anyone who cares to look.It shows photos as well as general chat about locations,etc.I use BLOGGER. Just google- GARY AND GLENDA JENKINS BLOG and you will see.Let me know if you get it ok ?
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