Last Updated: 9/14/19
Budget Campers is a child company of Tui Brands that offer extremely low-budget 2-4 berth sleepervans and motorhomes. Tui Brands holds several other rental companies—including Backpacker Sleepervans, Freedom Campers, and Tui Campers.
About Budget Campers
Budget Campers has been in business for over 20 years as a child company of Tui Brands. They are family-owned, so if you’re concerned about where your money is going, know that you’re spending it on a huge company, but one that has been built from the ground up and still retained by the original owners. They have two depots in NZ and allow one-way transfers between their branches. Aside from their one-way services, they only provide free storage of your personal stuff at their depot. Since they are part of the Tui Brand, Budget Campers also offers some campers from their sister companies. And before you start your NZ road trip, be sure to know and understand the different NZ freedom camping rules ahead.
In terms of vehicles, you will get what you pay for, but if you keep your expectations realistic, you won’t have much in the way of discomfort. In terms of service, you will get more than you pay for, as the company is upfront with communication and willing to help you with friendly customer service.
You should know that Budget Campers is considered as the 3rd tier campervan company, which means they offer much older campervan models compared to their correlated brands. Their vehicles are mostly 1999 to 2003 year models. Some of these campers come with awnings. You also need to take note that their vehicles only cater to 2 to 5 people, so if you're travelling with more than a group of 5, you can check out their partner brands. Also, these units are mostly enough to cater to people, it's best to bring soft bags instead of hard suitcases.
All of the extra accessories are for hire, but their basics do include a fridge and fly screens. Remember, these are basic rental vehicles, so you may want to spend a little extra on the “for hire” items if you want to be more comfortable during your holiday. Accessories that are available for flat fees and daily rental fees are tables, chairs, BBQ, DVD players, high chairs, portable baby pens (cots), solar showers, snow chains, boogie boards, awnings, coolers, power inverters, child and booster seats, GPS, and tourism radios. It seems that some of the accessories available are more diverse than even their sister competitors.
Budget Sleepervan is meant for simple travellers in need of a simple holiday. This 2 berth campervan is loaded with lots of marketing logos that will let everyone know you are renting a unit. This may not be a discreet option, however, it comes with all basic facilities you need, including a mini-kitchen, a rear bench/ double bed, and plenty of storage spaces. There's a small folding countertop that easily converts into a dining table.
The Budget Finder is a 2 and 3 berth campervan that is based on a 1999 Toyota Hiace model. This compact vehicle is a decent choice for small families or a group of friends. Its functional space provides all the comforts you need, including a cosy kitchen, a spacious living area that also becomes a double bed, and nice entertainment set with radio and CD player. Because of the vertical space, this gives extra space inside.
4+1 Budget Finder
If you're travelling with 4 to 5 people, there's also another variation of the Budget Finder. However, it only sleeps up to 4 persons―two on dinette bed and two on the overhead bunk. This unit is more upgraded in terms of campervan facilities and age model. In comparison to the previous Budget Finder model, this one is a 2003 Toyota Hiace that offers a rear kitchen and a living/sleeping area in the middle.
If you're a couple in need of extra comfort, then the Budget Seeker is the answer. Beautifully designed for two, this 2000-2001 Ford Transit is equipped with all the features you need for a cosy campervan road trip. The kitchen is well-furnished with all essentials like a gas stove, fridge, microwave, sink, and storage cabinets. Also, this one already comes with a shower and toilet. Not only that, you've got some entertainment facilities inside.
For a group of 4 in need of a comfier road trip, this 2000/2001Ford Transit might be a great choice. Budget Escape highlights a rear lounge that smoothly alters into a spacious double bed. Another sleeping option is at the doubled bed in the cabover area. The vehicle is much newer and cosier compared to the 4+1 Budget Finder.
Whilst the standard excess insurance is part of the rental, it's best that you avail one of their reduction options to limit the liability.
For Budget Escape and Budget Seeker, standard excess is NZ$3,500 (NZ$4,500 for drivers under 25 years old). But you can reduce the amount to NZ$1,200 by paying and additional NZ$25 per day (NZ$30 per day for drivers under 25 years old). Or, NZ$40 per day (NZ$45 per day for drivers under 25 years old) to reduces the excess to NZ$0.
For Budget Sleepervan , Budget Finder 2/3, 4+1, standard excess is NZ$2,000 (NZ$3,000 for drivers under 25 years old). But you can reduce the amount to NZ$800 by paying an additional NZ$15 per day (NZ$20 per day for drivers under 25 years old). Or, NZ$30 per day (NZ$35 per day for drivers under 25 years old) to reduces the excess to NZ$0.
The company’s reputation is quite decent, but not without some flaws. When looking at the general consensus of the company, it seems that the major problem is that some renters come in with extremely high expectations—such as getting much more out of a vehicle than they are paying. Of course, this will always lead to disappointment. Ultimately, if the renters go in knowing they will be getting low-budget accommodations, they wind up quite satisfied with their rental.
As you can see, these are not brand new vehicles by any stretch of the imagination, but they are kept clean and well-maintained. Many people, upon seeing the fleet, are uncertain at first whether or not it will break down. However, the fleet is so well serviced, few people report any problems during their trip. The biggest worry is making sure the accessories don’t break down, such as the fridge—but if it does, the service behind it is friendly and gets it fixed or replaced quickly if you’re willing to bring it back to the depot. Most of the time, however, everything in your vehicle has been checked and re-checked before sending it out to you, so you can rest assured that the majority of foreseeable problems have been handled prior to your pick up.
In other words, Budget Campers rests on providing functional vehicles to get you the basics during your trip. Nothing fancy or overdone. They provide clean campervans and motorhomes that are cheap for their size.