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There are various approaches on the market when it comes to renting an electric camper. We’ve taken a look around and want to show you what you should look out for to avoid any nasty surprises.

Don’t be fooled by tempting offers!

Like everywhere else in the world, there are “such and such” among motorhome rental companies when it comes to setting prices for their own services and at the same time appealing to as many potential customers as possible. It is almost always the case that the vehicle rental per night accounts for the majority of the costs. Additional services and equipment are also offered – for an extra charge, of course.

However, many a colleague has found that their valued customers are primarily interested in the rental price per night. It therefore makes sense to keep this as low as possible in order to make the most attractive impression on the target group. Ultimately, however, even these companies cannot avoid covering their costs.

The measures required to achieve this often produce strange results. And quite a few potential customers are soon disillusioned to discover that the bargain they had hoped for unfortunately turns out to be nothing – often even the opposite!

Surcharge lists as long as the Nile!

I would like to illustrate this with a specific example. It is one of the largest rental companies in the region and advertises with very low prices. But let’s take a closer look.

An ordinary motorhome for four people (“white goods”) is offered at an astonishingly low price starting at 100 euros per night. But caution is advised here: This price is only valid for the so-called “low season”.

Even a cursory glance reveals that there are four seasons in total and that the favorable “low season” comprises just six weeks a year. The majority of the year is covered by the low, mid and high season with prices of up to EUR 160 per night. So you should pay close attention to when you travel …

Below the colorful pictures and the prominently displayed rental prices, there are numerous tabs with further information. I open them one by one.

First I come across the topic of “mileage”. This tab explains that up to a rental period of two weeks, only 300 kilometers per day are included. Each additional kilometer then costs a whopping 39 cents!

(One of the most common “arguments” against an electric camper is that you can’t drive far enough with it. Apart from the fact that this is not true and that we do not recommend it as part of our “Slow Travel” philosophy, it sounds very much as if they are deliberately calculating with kilometer charges).

The next item appears under the “Payment” tab. Here, 39 euros are charged for recording the driver’s personal data – unless you do it yourself on the Internet.

In the same section, there is a hefty processing fee of 80 euros if you want to change the booking period of the trip.

A common item called “service flat rate” (which we also charge for the final cleaning of the entire vehicle) can be found in the next tab.

This includes gas bottles, a full water tank, various cables and adapters, exterior cleaning and instruction on the vehicle, as well as things that are actually taken for granted, such as a first-aid kit, a tire-fit set or the operating instructions for the vehicle.

At 159 euros, the flat rate in this case is closer to the upper limit for this vehicle class. Next tab.

Since it is a diesel, a refueling fee for the AdBlue liquid is due. This amounts to 20 or 25 euros depending on the day of the week. And it goes on …

In the “Vehicle return” section, there are various “penalty fees” for not emptying the waste water tank (50 euros), returning the vehicle late (29 euros per hour!) and not emptying the toilet (149 euros!). And if you want to start or end your journey on a Saturday, you will be charged an additional 49 euros.

Of course, it is up to the tenant to take care of all these things, and we also charge an expense allowance if this is not done. But the amount of these items is considerable!

And wow, look! Nasty surprise! I used to think that the final cleaning was already included in the hefty service charge. That’s certainly the case with us. Here, however, we are proven wrong: another 149 euros are charged for cleaning the inside!

But even here we have not yet reached the end, because now follows – as the grand finale – the “Optional extras” tab.

In order not to go beyond the scope of this blog post, I’ll summarize in brief: 65 euros for the kitchen equipment, 60 euros for camping furniture, 19 euros for a warning sign (mandatory for Italy), 45 euros for an additional gas bottle and prepaid kilometer packages at prices of 32 and 30 cents per kilometer .

What counts is the (fat) end: the effective price

I have to let that sink in first. Then I use the calculator.

So I add up all the flat rates that are incurred regardless of the rental period. I am assuming a very realistic scenario.

All in all, I end up with additional flat-rate costs of over 580 euros! (And I haven’t even taken the additional kilometers into account!)

Even in the high season, this corresponds to a rental cost of more than three and a half days!

To get the effective price, I add the rental costs to the flat-rate costs and divide the result by the rental period.

For a short trip of seven days, the effective rental price is a whopping 242 euros per day. And even with 14 days you still end up with 201 euros per night.

Our approach

I don’t need to convince anyone that such a pricing policy is not exactly customer-friendly. That’s why we at LIGHTstern do it the other way around.

We want you to have a good feeling long before the trip. Not only when you’re planning and already thinking about faraway countries, but also when you’re calculating how much your dream trip will cost.

We have kept our price structure as simple as possible so as not to make it unnecessarily difficult for you: We have just two seasons that cover the same months every year. So there are two different rental prices per night. In addition, there is only the service fee, which really includes everything to do with handover and instruction. And – very importantly – the complete final cleaning is also included.

The only additional options available from LIGHTstern are a bike rack and a shuttle service to and from Stadthagen station if you want to travel by train. That’s it!

Everything else is always included with us. We call it an “all-round carefree package” for good reason and that means that you will find a fully equipped kitchen, freshly made beds, camping furniture and of course all the cables you need for charging and on the campsite.

You can also use our charging cards with which you can always buy your charging electricity at the best current price. Of course, we will also be on hand with help and advice before and during your trip.

And last but not least, we are always running special offers where you can rent a camper at particularly favorable conditions. And there are generally discounts from a travel duration of 8 days. Last but not least, for a road trip during parental leave or for digital nomads, we offer long-term rental with a discount of up to 40%!

Conclusion

We believe that a service-oriented company should first and foremost have the interests of its customers in mind. Of course, the business model must be viable. But it can also be done honestly and without first attracting potential customers with unrealistic prices and then disappointing them again.

Once again: Your best possible travel experience is our top priority. And for us, that starts long before you leave here.

So put us to the test and see for yourself what we have to offer. Whether it’s a spontaneous weekend with a LIGHTstern camper or a full-blown trip. We look forward to hearing from you!

Published On: 19. April 2023
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