Planning A Summer Rental Van Day Trip?

Monday, February 18th, 2019

Read about 'Planning A Summer Rental Van Day Trip?' on USAVE, the place for all things car rental.

Summer is the perfect time to jump in a rental van and enjoy a day trip with friends and family. Regardless of where you’re based, there are many fantastic destinations within New Zealand that can be easily reached within a day in your rental van.

Teaming up in a rental van allows you to split petrol costs, share the driving duties and best of all you get the benefit of added space – allowing you to bring not only yourselves but everything you need for an fun filled day out and about.

Top 6 Travel Tips

However like all outings a bit of organisation beforehand is needed to ensure your perfect summer escape goes according to plan. Here are a few things to think about to make sure to have the best time when traveling in a rental van this summer.

1. Book The Rental Van Ahead Of Time

Perhaps the most important thing to remember out of the whole trip – you can’t have a rental van day trip without a rental van! Summer is a busy time for all rental companies, so it’s a good idea to get in quick and ensure you have the rental van you want and can get it for the dates required.

There’s nothing worse than having no option but to choose a vehicle that isn’t quite what you wanted – or not being able to choose one at all!

2. Set A Departure Time And Place  

Van trips are great for bringing as many friends and family as possible, but increased numbers mean a need for increased organisation.

There’s a very real risk of wasting a good chunk of the day if there isn’t a fixed time to leave, so to prevent this frustration ensure everyone is aware of the departure time and place, if they aren’t there in reasonable time let them know you’ll be leaving then anyway.

3. Discuss A Driving Rotation Schedule

Being able to share the driving duties is one of the big bonuses of hiring a rental van. It’s better if everyone knows beforehand when they’ll be expected to take the wheel so that they can ensure they’re properly rested. Be sure to discuss where you’re heading, different routes and expected time frames.

Sorting out shifts before you set out ensures everyone will get their fair share of breaks and nobody is left overly exhausted from driving too long.

4. Bring Plenty Of Water And Snacks

Some roads and places throughout New Zealand can be quite isolated, you shouldn’t always anticipate being able to buy food and drinks particularly outside of regular trading hours. Bring enough for the whole day and if possible invest in a good quality chilly bin (esky) to keep things cool.

Don’t underestimate the amount of water you’ll need on a hot day either – if you run out it can be dangerous for children and animals in particular. Dehydration can increase symptoms of fatigue making everyone grumpy and reduce reaction times when driving, so arm yourself with rations that will keep you energised throughout the day.

5. Consider The Optional Extras

New Zealand offers a huge range of natural environments to explore all up and down the country, ranging from rivers and lakes to mountains and forests. To make the most of the storage potential of your rental van when exploring them, consider hiring a vehicle that comes with a roof rack, making transportation of kayaks, skis, surfboards and much more simply a breeze.

With a rental van you may even have space to bring bikes or off-road scooters. Although New Zealand summers are generally long and sunny, the weather can change at any moment, so you may also want to use your added rental van storage space to bring wet weather gear. Rain doesn’t mean you need to end your day out, so long as you’re prepared for it.

6. Keep Sun Safe

Although being outside during summer is lots of fun, it can also be dangerous if you don’t protect yourself properly. Sunscreen and hats are a must here in New Zealand, but ideally you should shield yourself from the sun wherever possible, particularly if you’re going to be outside all day.

Small tents can be pitched anywhere and provide a good base for a short rest or temporary relief from the sun along with the added bonus of being able to store belongings. There are also sun umbrellas and special beach shelters able to be erected instantly.

Fun Family Rental Van Ideas

Hiring a family sized rental van is a great way to get the most out of your precious holiday time together. Having extra room gives you so much more freedom, for both yourself and your belongings. This extra space opens up a range of different day trip ideas that can be applied no matter where in the country your journey begins.

The key is to start with a rental vehicle that will be not only spacious for luggage but comfortable for passengers too, and of course mechanically reliable to make sure you get there and back again. Utilising a rental van is a great way to make your day trips a little more interesting, with the freedom to bring however much you need. Some great ideas for family rental van road trips are:

  • Lowering The Back Seats To Create A Makeshift Shelter. Though many beaches provide tables and seating areas, sometimes it’s nice to have a little extra protection from the sun and the wind. Lay a towel or tarpaulin down on the back of a rental van and open the rear door to create a combination roof and sun shade. You can even hang further tarpaulins from it to ensure privacy and extra shelter.
  • Bring Cooking Equipment And Dine Alfresco. The extra storage room means you can bring not only a picnic but half your kitchen – a small burner, cooker or barbeque means you can prepare a fresh hot meal right in the outdoors. Of course, you have to be sure to take all your litter with you when you leave, as well as ensuring you don’t create any kind of fire hazard or endangerment to other campers. You’ll also want to make sure you have enough water to not only drink, but to clean your equipment afterwards in case there isn’t any nearby.
  • Take Cushions, Beanbags And Books And Set Up An Impromptu Lounge. Of course, this heavily depends on fine weather for success, but it’s a great way to kick back and enjoy the outdoors at a more relaxing pace. Surround yourself with all the comforts of home, but with a great scenic vista.

6 Tips For Driving With Kids

Of course hiring a van and heading out for some fun family time means driving with kids. Dont panic – the great Kiwi family holiday is a true New Zealand institution that we enjoy every year and you can survive! With good planning and preparation, however, you can make the trip go much more smoothly for everyone. Here are 6 handy tips for driving with kids.

  1. Break Up The Journey. It’s much easier to be patient and relaxed if kids know the next exciting stop is only an hour or two away. Before setting out, research places along your route that aren’t just leg-stretchers but actual attractions that your kids can look forward to.
  2. Block Out The Sun. A lot of cranky behaviour comes from being overheated or tired of being under the sun. Blocking out the heat and strong sunlight can cool tensions. Suction cup blinds are a great option or towels can work just as well.
  3. Bring Lots Of Entertainment. But make sure some of it can be enjoyed separately. Music players, portable gaming machines and books provide a respite for each passenger. For those who get carsick, audio books are a great way to go.
  4. Point Out Landmarks. This helps them understand how much further there is to go and will help the journey feel less endless.
  5. Take Lots Of Water. Make sure everyone stays hydrated and try for healthy snacks to prevent any hunger-related grumbles.
  6. Give Everyone Space. Hiring a larger vehicle for your trip helps to give everyone more space and means you can all travel together in comfort.

What To Take On Your Holiday

Using a van rental for your Kiwi holiday is the perfect way to expand your luggage space while still enjoying an easy-to-drive, flexible vehicle. With a spacious interior along with roomy seating for all the family, hiring a van gives extra space for all involved, allowing you to avoid squabbles. If you normally take a car, you’ll find yourself swimming in the extra space. So the question is – what do you fill it with? Here are some quick ideas:

  • Watersports Equipment. If you’re heading to a lake or beach, having room for extra equipment such as a kayak, dinghy, surfboard or inflatable toys means extra fun.
  • Sports Gear. Bring your cricket set, volleyball net or the kid’s bikes if you have the space available.
  • Portable Gas Stove. Even if you’re planning to stay in a cabin or holiday park, taking a compact cooker means you can have a delicious hot dinner or lunch away from your accommodation at any time.
  • Extra Bedding. Being able to have thick foam mattresses, your favourite duvet and extra pillows will mean a better night’s sleep for everyone.
  • The Dog. Of course, it’s essential to check beforehand that the place you are staying allows animals, but bringing along a furry companion saves on kennel money and creates extra fun for the kids.
  • Additional Home Comforts. Consider bringing cutlery, fold-up chairs and tables, a chilli bin and small electrical appliances to make your stay that much more comfortable.

How To Pack Rental Vans For A Holiday In New Zealand

Rental vans are a great way to expand your packing potential when you head away on your New Zealand holiday this year, allowing you to bring extra gear and arrange for everyone to ride together in roomy comfort. With tons of luggage space and lots of legroom, a spacious van can alleviate holiday headaches. To get the most out of your rental van, it’s recommended that you pack wisely. Here are some tips to maximise the space you have available.

  • Start With The Absolute Essentials. If you do run out of room, you can choose between non-essential items.
  • Pack The Heaviest Stuff First – things like the tent, cooker, sleeping bags and folding chairs should go in on the bottom, and as far into the boot as possible.
  • Keep Everything Wrapped And As Compact As You Can. If you have the original bags for your tent and sleeping gear, use them.
  • Fit Small Items Into The Gaps. Fill the gaps with smaller items to get the most of every inch of available space
  • Gradually Start Placing Items In Order Of Urgency. The more likely you are to need something, the sooner it should go in.
  • Keep The Items You’ll Need For A Pit-Stop Within Esay Reach. It’s no good if you have to go hunting for food and picnic blankets every time you pull over.
  • Likewise, Consider The Items You’ll Most Want Once You Arrive. Of course putting up the tent is important, but so is relaxing after a long drive. Folding chairs or small appliances may be more use to you in the short term.

Hiring a rental van means you get a modern, well-serviced vehicle that you can rely on to get you there and back with the maximum comfort and convenience. With these tips you’re all set to have a fantastic summer rental van day trip. After all, the sights and sounds of New Zealand are best enjoyed with friends and family. Have a great rental van day trip!