MH Swap Australia & New Zealand

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by mojo, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. mojo

    mojo Funster

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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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  2. motorhomelover

    motorhomelover

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    One word ......RISK
    ......................RISK

    ONE WORD JUST BIGGER SO HOW MUCH RISK WOULD YOU TAKE WITH A £50k MOTORHOME ??
    PERSONALLY I DO NOT TRUST ANT ONE WITH MY POSSESSIONS
    ONE TAKES ONE WRONG ONE AND YOU LOOSE BIG TIME!!:cry:TOO LATE TO :cry:ABOUT IT AFTERWARDS
     
  3. mojo

    mojo Funster

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    £££

    The value of a motorhome would play a part in deciding to go the swap route or purchase a second hand van good enough for others to want to swap with and after many years of swapping around the world it could be sold.The depreciation,maintanance,etc would be insignificant compared to the savings on hire costs if you swap often.Your valuable vehicle would not be required for swaps.

    Our van is similar (£20,000) or less in value to the other swappers and after many emails and calls on Skype all parties were confident of respecting each others property just as you do on letting out holiday property or house swaps.So what would be the worst case RISK taken by us or our Australian counterparts?
    The van is written off or damaged ? INSURANCE
    Damage caused to fittings and they don’t pay ? How much for a replacement cooker/fridge/telly etc against the savings over hire.
    They don’t give you their van after using yours? For us it would be two months car or van hire on the cheap and still be quids in over the four swaps we had.

    If these appear to be too RISKY then we could have spent our £25,000 /£30,000 and still had exactly the same holiday.

    By the way,I have always wanted to holiday in a RV, fancy a swap .
     
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  4. Chris

    Chris Funster Life Member

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    There's an idea. Motorhomelover is going to be shivering in Cyprus for 3 months so his RV will need an airing:thumb:
     
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  5. motorhomelover

    motorhomelover

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    what and have to slum it in a Eurobox ? :Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:
    this is my one and only home :Eeek::Eek!:
    risk is too great for me thanks but No thanks :RollEyes::RollEyes:
     
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