Rent or buy a motorhome?


Camping tourism is becoming increasingly popular, as more and more Germans are choosing to travel by motorhome over luxury hotels around the world every year.

According to the ADAC, more than 70,000 leisure vehicles were registered in 2018 alone, including motorhomes, caravans and campers – an increase of ten percent compared to the previous year. All conceivable variants are available, from mini caravans to luxurious motorhome models.

So if you’re thinking about buying a motorhome too, there are two important questions to ask: what type of vehicle is best suited to your needs, and should you really buy it or is the rental option the more economical choice? We have the answers for you!

Choosing the right motorhome and important information

There are various motorhome variants. The following list gives some examples.

  1. the panel van
  2. the alcoves
  3. the semi-integrated motorhomes
  4. the fully integrated motorhome
  5. the caravan

If you are interested in buying or renting such a vehicle, you should first be clear about your needs, requirements and travel habits. You should also check whether you like camping at all, as it is a very special way of traveling. Many people appreciate minimalism and freedom on the road. Others, on the other hand, lack the comfort, privacy and the ability to cross oceans in the shortest possible time to explore the whole world.

If you buy your own motorhome and don’t rent it locally, you will always have the same starting point and are therefore limited in your choice of destinations. It is therefore advisable to try out “trial camping” first to see if you really prefer this type of vacation. This applies year after year.

The purchase of a motorhome is an important fundamental decision.

If you don’t have sufficient financial means and can’t afford a motorhome that will just sit in the garage, you should know that buying your own motorhome means in most cases deciding in favor of camping and against other types of vacation – at least for the next few years. From a financial point of view, buying is only worthwhile compared to renting if you subsequently use the motorhome for at least five to six weeks a year. For most people, this corresponds to their entire annual vacation, which means that there may be no time and often no money left for air travel to Thailand or similar activities.

Nevertheless, renting motorhomes, caravans and the like is unfortunately not always an inexpensive affair. According to the CIVD, this explains why families and couples with an above-average monthly net income of at least €2,500 in particular spend their camping vacations either in rented or owned motorhomes.

Camping: a versatile form of vacation for all age groups


It is therefore not surprising that camping has long been considered a form of vacation for senior citizens. In fact, until a few years ago, it was mainly older generations that could be found on campsites, as they could afford it financially.

Recently, however, there has been a clear change in this respect. More and more young adults are discovering the joys of camping vacations and investing in their own vehicles. As motorhomes are often expensive, they choose more affordable alternatives such as panel vans or caravans. At the same time, they hope this will give them more flexibility when traveling, allowing them to travel off the main roads or spend the night at the side of the road. However, it is important to note that permanent parking with a caravan on public roads or parking lots is not permitted. You should therefore find out in advance where and for how long parking is permitted.

Renting a motorhome or caravan vs. buying one

The decision between renting and buying a motorhome depends on various factors. Renting gives you the flexibility to try out different models without making a long-term commitment. Buying, on the other hand, offers you the option of permanent use and can make financial sense in the long term. Your choice depends on your individual needs and how often you travel.

The ultimate decision: Renting or buying a motorhome

As a rule, buying a motorhome is only worthwhile if you use it frequently. Nevertheless, the financial consideration always depends on your personal case. Panel vans are generally cheaper than fully integrated motorhomes and therefore pay for themselves more quickly. Used models can either be a real bargain or a source of constant repairs. You should therefore carefully calculate which option is more favorable for you as soon as you are clear about the type of leisure vehicle you want.

In addition to the financial aspects, there are other arguments in favor of either buying or renting. If you decide to rent, for example, you have the flexibility to fly to your vacation destination by plane and rent a suitable motorhome on site to be more flexible in your choice of destination. Ultimately, the decision to buy or rent is a fundamental one. Here are some considerations that may help you make your decision:

  1. Rental prices for motorhomes can vary greatly.
  2. The seasonal price differences should be taken into account.
  3. A cheap rental is possible outside the main travel season.
  4. Midsummer is not always the best time for camping vacations.

Advantages and disadvantages of motorhome rental at a glance


However, the financial advantage of renting a motorhome lies elsewhere: you have no running costs, do not have to rent a separate parking space or garage, carry out repairs, pay for the MOT, inspection and maintenance or buy a new set of tires – to name just a few examples. This not only saves a considerable amount of money, but also time and nerves. If the motorhome is broken or there are other problems, you can simply contact the rental company.

The disadvantages at a glance

  1. In the long term, buying a motorhome is more cost-effective than renting. As a rule of thumb, it is recommended that you allow around five to six weeks per year.
  2. When renting a motorhome, you often have to meet a minimum rental period, which is often seven to 14 days. Unfortunately, a short weekend trip is not possible with some rental models.
  3. Pets are not always allowed on board, which means that travelers with dogs often have to consider their own model.
  4. Especially in the high season, it can be problematic if you don’t book early enough. Motorhomes could be fully booked and prices could rise.
  5. There are potential pitfalls in rental agreements that particularly affect inexperienced campers. These include additional costs for gasoline, mileage allowances, travel fees and high deductibles in the event of accidents and damage. Careful preparation and information in advance are therefore advisable if you want to rent a motorhome.

Why buy your own motorhome? The reasons in detail

  1. Long-term cost savings: If you camp frequently or for longer periods of time, buying your own motorhome can be more cost-effective in the long term, despite additional expenses such as MOT and new tires.
  2. Maintenance and care: Similar to a car, your own leisure vehicle requires care and maintenance, which takes time and energy. Are you ready for this?
  3. Maximum freedom: With your own vehicle, you can organize your trips according to your own wishes. You can start and stay whenever it suits you and choose the equipment to suit your needs.
  4. Adaptation to your needs: Having your own motorhome allows you to fulfill your wishes and needs optimally and offers you maximum flexibility.
  5. Resale value: A well-chosen model can have an excellent resale value due to the current camping boom, which should be taken into account when making your choice.
  6. Rental option: You also have the option of renting out your motorhome yourself when you are not using it.

These are important considerations that you should take into account when deciding whether or not to buy your own motorhome.


The choice between camping and luxury hotels in Germany has shifted significantly in favor of motorhomes in recent years. In 2018 alone, over 70,000 new leisure vehicles were registered, underlining the continuing trend towards mobile travel. This increasing popularity is not least due to the wide range of motorhome models available, which make it possible to take individual needs and preferences into account.

However, before you consider buying a motorhome, you should carefully consider your personal travel preferences and your financial means. Although the rental option offers flexibility, it requires a thorough cost analysis, as prices can vary greatly depending on the season and demand.

Interestingly, camping is becoming increasingly popular among young adults, many of whom are opting for cheaper alternatives such as camper vans and caravans. This choice allows greater flexibility when traveling, as you can spend the night away from the main roads.

Regardless of whether you decide to buy or rent a motorhome, camping offers an extremely versatile form of vacation that appeals to people of all ages. The freedom offered by a motorhome vacation allows you to plan your trip according to your own ideas and enjoy the beauty of nature to the full.

If you would like detailed information about the prices for your camper, we recommend that you visit our website. There you will find current prices and attractive offers to help you plan and realize your travel adventures. We can provide you with all the information you need for your planned motorhome trip.

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Dethleffs Wohnmobil Innenbereich, Bayern Allgäu