Can I cook potatoes in the microwave?

With my new life in Christchurch came a new job. I happily work at a campervan rental company and although it gets super crazy at times, I love meeting all these different people who are about to go on holiday and are full of excitement. However, most people don’t know what’s involved in renting a campervan.

The majority of the people comes in and expects to be out in a few minutes. They think it’s like a rental car, where you sign some things, get the keys and drive off. Well… it’s not! Our campervans and motorhomes are massive and it takes some time to get everything organized and explained. On average it takes about 45 minutes to one hour before everything’s done. And yes, you’ll probably have a couple of people waiting in front of you. Of course all the paperwork has to be in order, which can take a long time, depending on how many choices you’ve made at home. And then we have to explain everything in the van.

During our show throughs I’ve had the most crazy questions. The Germans tend to be the people who need to know everything. How many liters is the hot water tank? Could you check the lights with me? How many hours can I watch TV on the house battery? What’s the weight of the campervan? How far can I drive on one tank? You know what? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions! Then you get the people with the strange questions that leave you a bit baffled. What? There is no hair dryer in this campervan? Can I cook potatoes in the microwave? Well… do you do this at home? It’s a normal microwave. Can I cook while we’re driving? Didn’t I just say that the gas bottle needs to be closed for safety while you’re driving? And didn’t I just say that it is required to wear a seatbelt?

Unfortunately it gets worse. A family of five walks in to pick up their four berth campervan. Alarm bells go off in our heads. Five people, four places. How did this family imagine travelling. Turns out they expected it wouldn’t be a problem. It’s amazing how many people would just let their kids travel while sleeping in the beds, or walking around. This family could just not understand that it is illegal to travel without a seatbelt. Then they were frustrated when we couldn’t allow them to go without other transportation!

Often we get foreign travellers of whom we really doubt if they’re going to be alright. People come off a twenty-something hour flight with a jet lag and think they can drive for 6 hours down our windy roads. People, that is crazy! It was only last week that the company got some calls from different people about one of the vans. It was driving on the wrong side of the road for several kilometers. Others think it’s alright to just stop on the highway to take a photo. It might look like a small road with relatively little traffic, but it is still our main highway!

But let’s be honest, driving a campervan is pretty hard. It’s huge! Whenever I have to move one I drive like a granny, constantly checking my mirrors. Driving is fine, but parking? I have absolutely no feeling for how big those things are. Apparently neither have our customers, but some of them don’t realise it untill they’ve hit something. One of my customers hit the mirror of another van while driving off to start his holiday. There is a reason you need a heavy vehicle license for a truck. They’re different. So people, please take care driving abroad. I now completely understand why sometimes, when vehicles need to be moved to another location, they just put them on the train.


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