As with so many holiday options, there are quite a number of hire companies to consider for your motorhome trip in France. Not everyone offers the same vehicles or prices, terms and conditions, collection/drop off arrangements, added extras or even necessarily speak the same language so choosing a particular company to supply your motorhome or campervan can be a mind-boggling experience.
France Motorhome Hire hope to make the decision a little simpler by offering clear and concise advice, responding to quote requests and questions as quickly as possible and, above all, by offering the latest vehicles, prepared to the highest standards, at reasonable prices. Oh, and we speak English too!
When you are ready to start looking at which company you should hire from, there are many important questions to ask which will help you choose the supplier which suits you best – here are a few pointers to help you get started:
What vehicles does the company offer? – most motorhome hire companies in France have a range of vehicles to choose from so to begin with, you have to choose the type which suits your needs best. However, you run the risk of choosing one particular type and being given another so make sure you are getting what you intended.
What is the average age of the vehicles? – check that the vehicle category you have chosen matches up to the company's claims about its age - generally, older motorhomes have fewer modern facilities such as air conditioning, cruise control etc.
What condition should you expect the motorhome to be in on collection? – there is nothing worse than feeling that you are travelling (or even sleeping!) in a vehicle which someone else has left grubby so check who cleans the vehicle after each hire – if it is left to the previous client to do we know that it will have had the most basic attempt at cleaning and you may face starting your trip on your hands and knees with a sponge – any reputable company should guarantee that all vehicles are restored to perfect cleanliness between hires – and this requires a cleaning professional with exacting standards who will take great care over the presentation rather than rushing the job and missing the nooks and crannies!
Who maintains the vehicles and are they covered in the event of a problem? – breakdowns do occur and you need to know that there is a plan in place to help you if you encounter a problem. Newer vehicles have to be serviced in accordance with manufacturers guidelines for any guarantees to stand up in case of problems so it is essential that the motorhome is being maintained properly to start with and that there is a good breakdown/recovery insurance included in the hire price to give you peace of mind.
What equipment does the vehicle come with? – often the quoted price will be for a “bare” vehicle with none of the really essential items you need to make your trip comfortable – ask questions about whether the quoted price includes all relevant insurances and breakdown cover, crockery and cutlery, linen and towels, picnic furniture, bike rack and WC chemicals etc – if they don’t supply these in the quote, check the price for adding them to your order – they are essential items to make your trip easy and comfortable.
Be particularly careful to ask searching questions if you are booking via an agent – many agents offer great service and will help you with many other aspects of your trip but they may not have intimate knowledge of the vehicle you want. Remember too that booking via an agent in your own language (or even via their website in your own language) doesn’t guarantee that the person who hands the vehicle over to you will speak your language – and this could make communicating with them on collection or in case of a problem a lot more tricky.
If you do book via an agent, who will help you with any problems once you get on the road – if you haven’t had direct contact with the vehicles owner in the run up to your departure, can you be sure they will be easy to contact once your hire has started. It may be better to deal with a company who offer direct phone or e-mail access – at least that way, there is less opportunity for misunderstanding about your booking and you would know who to contact for advice before and during you trip. And if you can’t talk to a human voice before your booking, be prepared to be frustrated afterwards – if a company wants to do everything via the internet during the booking phase, they may not be any keener to talk to you once they have taken your money!
When the day comes to collect your motorhome or campervan, will you get a concise handover? – getting off to a confident start with a strange vehicle (and in a foreign country) is very important if the first few days are not to be too taxing. Even if you have hired a motorhome before, each one is different so it is reassuring to know that the depot staff will be friendly and informative. Its also important to know that the handover will be carried out at a sensible pace and at a reasonable location – the middle of a busy airport or in a city centre car-park may not be the easiest place to take in a lot of information. Ask how long the check-out should take – and be even more concerned if the answer is only a few minutes – in our experience, even the most seasoned campervan users take a while to get accustomed to a new vehicle.
Ask about exactly where the collection depot is – whilst it may sound attractive to collect your motorhome from a major city centre or airport location, you need to consider what is outside the depot gate. Will you be sent straight into dense city centre traffic or left to find your way out of a busy international airport – it is probably better to consider a quieter location where you have the chance to learn the nuances of your campervan on peaceful country roads away from the crowds.
Returning the motorhome at the end of your trip is an important event too – you would hope to avoid any extra charges for additional mileage, fuel or final cleaning for example so check what is expected of you on your return. If the company doesn’t offer check-back advice, you could face an unexpected bill or extra delays before getting away for the next leg of your journey.
Above all, a motorhome or campervan trip is supposed to be totally relaxing experience where you can go where you choose and follow your own agenda. The company you book with can’t help change the weather or the people you travel with but they can help by giving you the vehicle you were promised in the condition you were expecting it which should help you to enjoy a successful trip. Think carefully before committing your money – not all hire companies are the same!
We don’t normally like to shout too loudly about our own standards but we have had some exceptional feedback from our clients this year so we thought it would be good to share the results of our Client Questionnaire from 2012.
When asked “did you find the vehicle clean, well equipped and fully functioning when you arrived” – 100% of our clients said YES.
When asked “did you receive good service before and during your hire” 100% of our clients said YES.
When asked “how would you summarise the overall package from France Motorhome Hire” 15% rated the service as GOOD, 70% rated the service as EXCELLENT and 15% rated the service as OUTSTANDING.Customer comments in 2012 included: