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Renting an older van for a cheaper price sounded like a good idea at first, but after my experience I’d rather pay double than getting in one of their cars again.

First of all, our van had a mileage of around 400.000 km with totally ruined suspension which was seriously dangerous! Second, the upper cabin was lined in old, filthy black felt, which had such a strong stench that you’d get a headache just by standing up in the cabin for a minute. Obviously we couldn’t use the upper compartment for anything else but storage. Third, the cabin was totally leaking in rain, we tried to keep the worst out by using our towels during the night. Fourth, the aircon broke, but what do you expect from such an old van. And fifth, the worst of it all: bed- bug infested sleeping bags! The first time when I used one of their sleeping bags, in the middle of our 2 weeks trip, I woke up with what later turned out to be over 300 bites by bed bugs. I developed an allergic reaction and had to get to an emergency room where I was treated with antihistamines. What followed were three sleepless nights, and basically a ruined second half of my trip. Not to speak of drastically increased costs, we had to stay in motels since they weren’t able to provide another car!

We never slept anywhere else but in the van, my friend who slept on the bench/bed next to me and didn’t use a sleeping bag didn’t have a single bite. I even saw the bed bugs in the bag later, crawling around, dark of my blood. So it was totally clear where the bugs originated from. Yet the company completely failed to acknowledge that, apparently because they couldn’t find any signs of a bed bug infestation, and because all sleeping bags were “treated properly” before being handed to us. That’s a very poor excuse, since the bags were tightly rolled up and sealed in their cover in the upper compartment of the van. Upon delivery they tried to lecture us on how bedbugs appear even in “the most sanitary of environments” (=crawl into perfectly clean, wrapped up sleeping bags in the top compartment of a perfectly clean van). Neither sustainable nor smart business thinking of the management, just greedy and short sighted, since they don’t depend on returning customers.

Do yourself a favor, spend the extra money, and go with one of the big and serious companies. It won’t make a huge difference on your total budget, but you can be sure to have a joyful trip. I still get a chill when I just look at the photos of our van.
 

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I've removed reference to the company name as you'll appreciate that bad things can be said online with no means of verification.

We do not mind dicussions about the concept, pros and cons of travel experiences in general and on that aspect, my own comments are:
Your experience is what can occur within the principle of you get what you pay for and though there are likely many hire campervans about that will have high distances covered, there'll be those where use has been stretched past servicing and repairs needed such as you experienced and then others with just as high a use that could have just had a major service, shock absorbers replacement included.

It'll certainly be expected to get component failures in an older vehicle more so than with a newer one and as good as servicing is, it'll not always be so easy to pick up that a failure may be looming and if a roof leakage has not been experienced previously [ Australia's climate has been extra dry the past decade ] or minor leakage was not reported on previous hires, you may have worn the outcome of either in wetter weather.

Certainly, if the roof upper area had an obnoxious odour about it, that should have been picked up on cleaning/servicing and I suppose a good lesson to be passed on to all prospective hirers is to have a good sniff about.

Re
And fifth, the worst of it all: bed- bug infested sleeping bags! The first time when I used one of their sleeping bags, in the middle of our 2 weeks trip, I woke up with what later turned out to be over 300 bites by bed bugs.
, lecturing tone aside, it could have been that the company was attempting to advise on how bed bugs can be great travellers, hitching a ride from something else and yes, they can even occur in top quality hotels.

It may have been that sleeping bags had been out of their covers and then put back in again on a previous hire, with bed bugs getting in and trapped inside, the bags possibly looking unused and still sealed to cleaners and your experience is unfortunate.

I hope you have since treated all your own gear/luggage for if not there's every chance you could be carting bed bugs all about with you and even worse, all the way home.
 

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As for the component failures I completely agree, you get what you paid for.

But, bed bugs DONT just occur in top quality hotels, for one simple reason: proper treatment of sheets/bedding/rooms. Bed bugs and their eggs are quite simple to kill.

"It may have been that sleeping bags had been out of their covers and then put back in again on a previous hire, with bed bugs getting in and trapped inside, the bags possibly looking unused and still sealed to cleaners and your experience is unfortunate."

this has nothing to do with misfortune. the sleeping bags have to be cleaned and treated properly after each and every rental, no matter if they 'look unused' or not.

I've removed reference to the company name as you'll appreciate that bad things can be said online with no means of verification.

We do not mind dicussions about the concept, pros and cons of travel experiences in general and on that aspect, my own comments are:
Your experience is what can occur within the principle of you get what you pay for and though there are likely many hire campervans about that will have high distances covered, there'll be those where use has been stretched past servicing and repairs needed such as you experienced and then others with just as high a use that could have just had a major service, shock absorbers replacement included.

It'll certainly be expected to get component failures in an older vehicle more so than with a newer one and as good as servicing is, it'll not always be so easy to pick up that a failure may be looming and if a roof leakage has not been experienced previously [ Australia's climate has been extra dry the past decade ] or minor leakage was not reported on previous hires, you may have worn the outcome of either in wetter weather.

Certainly, if the roof upper area had an obnoxious odour about it, that should have been picked up on cleaning/servicing and I suppose a good lesson to be passed on to all prospective hirers is to have a good sniff about.

Re , lecturing tone aside, it could have been that the company was attempting to advise on how bed bugs can be great travellers, hitching a ride from something else and yes, they can even occur in top quality hotels.

It may have been that sleeping bags had been out of their covers and then put back in again on a previous hire, with bed bugs getting in and trapped inside, the bags possibly looking unused and still sealed to cleaners and your experience is unfortunate.

I hope you have since treated all your own gear/luggage for if not there's every chance you could be carting bed bugs all about with you and even worse, all the way home.
 

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Many of these older vans are rolling wrecks....registered in states that do not require regular safety or licensing inspections.

My wife and I have hosted people travelling with these cheap rental vans and I agree with all the previous posts.

You get what you paid for - cheap (and nasty)

Better to camp outside and breathe the fresh air......simple 2 person tents are only $25.
 
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