Honest JUCY Campervan Review (Plus Helpful Tips & Advice)

29 October 2019



A month in a campervan travelling 3000km down the east coast of Australia, what an adventure hey? See this post for an in-depth itinerary of where to stay, what to do etc - and keep reading this one for a review of JUCY, one of the most popular rental companies for tourists travelling in the USA, Australia and New Zealand.


The idea is that you pick up the vehicle of your choice at one JUCY depot, have the journey of a lifetime and then drop it off at another. It's super simple but there are some real horror-story reviews out there, so I hope this sheds some light on things (from someone who wasn't entirely sure they were up for a month of camping, but ended up loving it!) 

Toying with the idea of buying a camper instead? We were too, but unless you've got the luxury of time to re-sell it, save the stress and go for a well-known rental instead. It's far more straightforward, insurance is covered and you won't spend the end of your trip asking for "serious offers only, please!" on Gumtree.

Choose

JUCY have various vehicles available - we went for the JUCY Crib, which is also referred to as the JUCY Cabana. It costed $45 per day, has 4x seats in the back that convert into a double bed that sleeps two, and (aside from the hideous green and purple exterior that screams 'I'm a tourist!'), we have absolutely no complaints. The JUCY team themselves were extremely friendly and helpful throughout the entire trip.

The JUCY Crib served our every need - the bed was surprisingly comfortable and quick to make once you got the hang of it, it was smooth to drive, really easy to keep clean and the 'kitchen' comes fully equipped with everything you need to cook your own meals.

Check

When you pick your JUCY up from the depot, thoroughly check the vehicle for any damage to avoid getting hit with 'there's a scratch on the door here, there's a chip on the windscreen there' fines that were actually the previous owner's fault, and not yours.

Make sure you know what to do in the unlikely event that you break down or get pulled over, and don't be embarrassed to ask any questions - neither of us had driven an automatic before so it was good to know what kind of gas it took, the fact that it used a footbrake rather than a handbrake and so on.

The only problem we encountered with our JUCY Crib was that halfway through our trip our fridge stopped working due to the cable being loose. We lost about $30 worth of food which was a shame, but JUCY resolved the issue really quickly by booking us into a nearby garage. We dropped Sheila off, went in search of a pie shop and by the time we came back, the fridge was repaired and JUCY had picked up the bill. 

Rent

JUCY offer additional items that you can rent and then return at the end of your trip along with your vehicle, and the ones that you absolutely need are camping chairs and a table - you'll use them every single day. JUCY state that you get a 'table', but this is located underneath the mattress and isn't suitable for outdoor use.

Another helpful thing we bought from JUCY was a car charging port so we could charge our phones and portable batteries on the go. Use the maps on your smartphone to navigate.

Pack

There's not a huge amount of storage space in the JUCY Crib - at first you might struggle to find a place for your things but after a few days you'll have figured out a system. In the evening we stood our big backpacks on the driver and passenger seats, shifted the seats forward then lifted the double mattress into place and pulled the sheet over. In the morning we put the end of the bed down, moved the seats back and put our backpacks on the mattress. In the beginning you think you'll convert the bed back into seats every day, but in reality there's really no point!

We kept our camping chairs under the bed, left our camping table outside at night and found places for all of our things (e.g. laptops in the pockets behind the seats, books in the compartments next to our pillows etc). Make use of storage in the front of the camper - we kept our small backpacks in the footwells and our cameras in the glove compartment.

Items that weren't included and came in really handy were: torch, mosquito net, battery-powered desk fan (a lifesaver on hot, stuffy evenings), camping power cable (this meant we could pay a bit extra for a powered site and charge our laptops).

Cook

Cooking is super easy in a JUCY, and it's also the cheapest option. Head to a supermarket and get yourself the basics: bread, butter, pasta, pesto, olive oil, salt and pepper, cereal, coffee, milk, eggs, washing up liquid, tea towels etc. Go for things that won't go off (tins of baked beans, soup) and will be quick to heat up when you're tired after a long day of exploring. The fridge is a decent size but bear in mind that you've got limited space and things might not stay upright, so you may want to go veggie (if you aren't already).

Will and I are proper foodies, we love cooking and it was a big part of our campervan trip - we made tons of meals from scratch like sausage and butterbean stew, pumpkin and sage risotto, Spanish omelette, halloumi burgers... the works! We became experts at one-pot meals, so let me know if you'd like some recipes.

Handy tip if you drink alcohol: boxed wine is mega cheap and perfect for camping!

Stay

The best thing to do is download the WikiCamps app and pay for the premium version - it's a huge database of campgrounds, caravan parks, hostels etc and fellow travellers leave helpful reviews and tips. It gives all the information you need (cost per night, facilities on site) and even works offline! It's the perfect way of finding somewhere to stay for the night and you can narrow down the search (free, must have hot showers). Always double check signs to avoid parking fines or illegal freedom camping.

It was 95% fun but admittedly, there were times when camping got a bit old. Heavy rain, being too hot/too cold, craving a proper shower and bed - they all contribute towards fatigue and a feeling of 'screw it, let's just book an Airbnb'. The great thing is, you can! Just park up, rest up and then return to the campervan life all refreshed.

Have an amazing time, and let me know if you have any questions in the comments! You know, for a girl who would've immediately dismissed the idea of camping a couple of years ago, I sure am missing good old Sheila already...

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