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So what are the good and the bad bits about profound holidays? What are the key things you need to consider before hitting the road? Well, someone who did hit the road is a first time camper. Van Der Newstalk reporter Josh Crosby and motoring journalist Geraldine Herbert is going to give us the good, the bad and the ugly about buying one of these things or renting one.
Good morning to you both.
Now, Josh, you researched the whole thing and rented one. How was it?
We did. We did. And it was brilliant. I must say. Four of us took off on Friday afternoon, two weeks ago. None of us had ever set foot in a camper, let alone drive one hour sleep and one we took off headed for Donegal and worked our way down to Sligo Mayo and ended up finished up in Linch. But it was brilliant. It was brilliant. A unique experience, I suppose, that you wouldn't get in other circumstances just because you'd be going on par holidays or to be weddings or events.
So it was great and we would definitely recommend it.
OK, did you have a blue on board or there? Was it not that kind of cap?
No, no. There was a toilet and a shower. Now, I must say the shower was quite cramped. You wouldn't be you wouldn't be having any special treatment in it. Like so we did go to campsites and you and you used the showers that were there that you get in tokens and and you take a shower there in the morning.
Was it easy to find a place to park? It was. I suppose we didn't go in the peak peak season. I heard from other reports that maybe in June and July you would find it hard to get a place. But I suppose children were starting to go back to school. So we had a few campsites booked previously before we left. And then there was other times that we just decided off the cuff. We landed in Akeel Island one day and we said, look, this this place is beautiful.
Let's stay here for a nice ring, a campsite. It was right on the beach and they had availability. And yeah. So we found it overall was just brilliant.
Yeah. Would you recommend that people plan? And generally because one of the joys, I suppose, of caravans is you can go anywhere. But I'm just wondering how easy it is to get a place because some beaches have explicit instructions. No campgrounds here.
Yes. So before we left, we had three different campsites booked. And so we had the first night booked somewhere open downings in the top of Donegal. And then we had a second night down in Bondurant and then we had somewhere in Slagle.
So we had some sort of a rough itinerary where we were going. But as I said, we weren't in the middle of the the supposed to the peak of it all. But we did find it okay to get access to places. And then there was two nights out of the whole week that we actually didn't book into a campsite. And we found areas where it said free parking and there was other campers there. So it was safe. And I asked locals in the area, is it okay to park there?
And they said, yeah, you're five to 10 o'clock in the morning. So I that, as you said, that spontaneous kind of element to it, you can pack up and decide to stay here for a night. Okay. Are you a convert after this? I am.
And the three others that were with me as well, we all said when we dropped it back, we said, let's do this again next summer or whenever and maybe go a different route down to more east or West Cork direction. Definitely recommend it. I suppose there are some parts of it that might say, oh, well, this is a bit to know.
You're living in kind of cramped conditions and your home is on wheels, but overall, definitely highly recommended to other people to to give it a shot, even if it's just for one time to experience it.
How much did the whole seven day trip cost you? Well, for a camper alone, it was thirteen hundred for the camper for seven nights. And then there was a 200 on top of that for insurance and then there was two and a half thousand deposit. So I suppose that's a bit steep of a deposit, but I suppose you are renting something worth money. So it was two and a half thousand deposit and then you're talking thirty euro average on a campsite per night.
We were spending everything by four and all and all was eating out in restaurants, your trips, your entry into whatever locations you're visiting, I suppose the conservation of Europe.
But but we were being good to ourselves. No, like we were eating out in nice restaurants and.
Okay, but a good experience and you might just do it again. All right, Josh, thank you very much. Geraldine Herbut motoring journalist. Good morning to you, Geraldine. Have you ever done it?
I have, Pat. I took a California couple of years ago and my kids were very young at the time. So I think I probably recommend children being slightly older. If you're going with friends, it might be easier, but yeah, we had a great time. I'm not convinced that I do it every year. I can see the attraction of it, particularly this year with suffocations and the fact that people were looking for this sort of safe environment, a home from home.
But as I said, it's definitely worth doing wants. And I would definitely recommend, if you're considering buying one, definitely hire one for a couple of nights just to really get to grips with what it's like.
Now, can you buy them second hand as well as new? Oh, yeah.
I mean, there's a huge range and there's a huge range in terms of budgets as well. I spoke to somebody yesterday who actually spend 7000 euros on a 33 year old Volkswagen transporter van, one of these classic vans. And now she got it at the she only had to put new tires and it had a bit of rust on it, but nothing major. And it had the engine had been replaced in its lifetime. So that was something worth and worth noting.
But the thing she was telling me about was she also used it as a mobile office over the last few months. So I think her parents have become, you know, all sort there's been all sorts of uses for them. But that I mean, if you get on to don't deal or any of those websites, you can get contrabands at any price. Now, you can, of course, go right up to the 40 fifty thousand. Then of course, you can buy them and restore them.
Restoring and converting is a whole different project in itself. You can do it on your own or you can take them to a company that'll do it. There are other companies that will actually buy one for you and do the conversion. Or of course, you know, if you don't want to know about any of that part, you can go straight to the top and buy the brand new and Volkswagen California. And now this is the spiritual successor to that nineteen sixties iconic camper van that'll set you back about fifty six thousand.
And Mercedes have a Marco Polo against sixty five thousand and Ford have a new Transat camper van coming in next year. So there are new options, but it really depends on your budget and what you want to get out of it and how often you want to use it.
Now, we're not really talking about Winnebago's here like you see in the United States. They would cost an arm and a leg. So you're talking about, you know, small enough accommodation.
You are, but I mean, having said that, something like this, say, the Volkswagen California that actually sleeps for people. So, you know, I mean, that's that's for adults. That's decent size. And any of those sizes would again, as I said, you can go for something much smaller. But the thing about it is, if you go for the sort of car van and you can drive it on your own driving license. So there isn't an issue with that when you're renting them, it tends to be the same stipulation as hiring a car.
So you usually have to have a license for two years, be over 25, be under 70. But apart from that, I mean, you know, they're relatively easy to drive. You don't have to worry about going from a car to something huge. I definitely would say if you're thinking of hiring one, they'll keep the size in mind, because, as I said, if you're a new renter, you don't want to be taken on something too big.
Yeah, and if you got one of those things, if you've got reverse and cameras would be a help if you're not used to driving that kind of thing.
So your basic advice is rent one first before you buy either new or second hand.
Yeah, absolutely. Just find out and remember that if you buy something, even if you're only investing seven thousand euros, which are you're investing 50 something, you're kind of going to have to get a new set of it for a few years. So it's something you're going to have to buy and use again. Now, you might decide after one trip in a camper van, it was nice, but I wouldn't do it every year. So you need to bear that in mind.
And the other thing, as well as if you're buying second hand some or caravans come in from the UK. Some come in from Germany and mainland Europe. If that's the case, they're going to be left and drive their left hand drive is perfect if you're planning on taking it to Europe. But it's you know, it's a pain in the neck here wouldn't in terms of taking parking tickets and toll booths and stuff like that. So just bear that in mind as well.
What I would also say, if you're buying second hand, is look for a vehicle with don't be put off by high mileage. So get something that's wrong. I prefer to see something young and with high mileage than old with low mileage, because that can indicate that it's been sitting around for a couple of years. I only get to take out once a year and you don't want that. And also, if you don't know anything about buying a camper van or caravans, bring somebody along that does and also just look for the same things as you would if you were buying a second hand car.
So check the interior, you know, check under the bonnet, check the tires as well. You don't want to see on even where because that could mean suspension problems. So just be careful. I mean, that's that's the best advice, really.
OK, well, I'm sure it's been a great adventure for the neophytes at caravaning this year, but maybe many more next year, depending on how long this whole crisis persist. Year Herbert, our motoring journalist with the Sunday Independent, thank you very much.
And before that news talk reporter Josh Crosby, have you met Rufus? He's a player for Little Monster. But even Rufus knows it's important to wash his hands, especially after going to the toilet. It's the best way to keep coal at bay. I want to show us how it's done, Rufus. OK, let's go wash, wash, wash your hands, thumbs and fingers to rinse and then make sure they're dry. That's the thing to do. Search safe food, hand washing for two cities, good hand washing habits.
It's the best way to keep E.coli at bay.