Motorhomes - pros and cons?

Boris_Johnson

ADC
Moderator
DirtyBAT
I've thought about getting one of these for a while now. A nice compact 3-4 berth jobber. The other half is super keen too... Take 4 to 6 weeks at a time and just take off around Europe, Scotland, etc.

We'd be looking at around £15-25k for a decent second hand one, which is a fairly sizeable investment, along with the insurance, tax, maintenance, hook-up fees, fuel etc.

I've suggested we hire one a few times before we really decide it's for us - or if they're more trouble than they're worth.

The obvious flaw with a motorhome is once you're camped, you either need to hire a car or stay put. We're aware of this, hence we'd take the bikes and never stay in one place for too long anyway.

But do any of you have any experience in this field? Own one? Even want to rent it out to us?

Since leaving the Forces we'd been flying around the world, as well as staying around the UK, averaging around 8 trips per year. But as you know, the Pandemic ground us to a halt and we're still waiting for the rest of our Singapore / Australia refund. Needless to say, with everyone jamming up the hotel bookings, our thoughts of getting a motorhome have been somewhat more significant of late.

Cheers.
 
Pros....I haven't got one.
Cons.....lots of other people have.

Seriously, they clog up already congested roads. They have turned the north of Scotland into an open air cess pit.
Get a tent.
 

Boris_Johnson

ADC
Moderator
DirtyBAT
So buying a second hand one wouldn't exactly add to the "cess-pit" then... :???:

If anything we'd help because we'd be spending most of it in Europe :)
 
I considered a motorhome, about £70k for a decent accessible one, but in the end haven’t bothered. We wouldn’t be able to park it at home (covenant within deeds). One of the dogs doesn’t travel, so we wouldn’t get the use out of it that we would want. There’s also accessibility issues at sites for me and the wife would have to do all the labour, including emptying the waste cassette.

From what you’ve said though it looks like a very good idea for yourself.

These are a few miles from me.
 
We have friends with motorhomes. One couple have a huge thing and go away for short trips (the cost of the thing against renting a cottage doesn't make sense). Another couple have a small motorhome which is reasonably nimble and they have long weekends away. They often take the motorhome and a car because the motorhome even though it's small is a pain to park and too tall for many carparks.

We have a VW T4 Camper. It has popup roof and a clip on inflatable tent awning. The T4 is lowered and fits just under the 2m height restrictions in car parks and also in my garage. It has the footprint of a larger estate car so it's OK around little lanes and carparks. We use it for very long day trips, wild swimming stuff (get changed and hot chocolate) and weekends away. Wifey, me and the Jack Russell. At a campsite we can just leave the inflatable awning up like a tent and drive away.

My advice - hire and try. And then hire and try something else. There is always a caravan but they lack spontaneity.
 

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Boris_Johnson

ADC
Moderator
DirtyBAT
@dingerr cheers. There's not much below £30k on that site and they don't hire.

Yeah I can imagine accessibility would be a major issue for you, which is a shame.

We were talking about taking an RV across America when this all blows over. I imagine one of them would have greater mobility, but again, where to park it?
 

bcsack

Old-Salt
USA has loads of them on the roads - and loads of campsites / RV Parks - just google USA RV parks - there's farsands of them :)
 

Daxx

MIA
Book Reviewer
If you buy one, make sure you only ever drive at 40mph on all roads.
 

green_slime

War Hero
Utility in the UK is generally poor and you would be limited to formal camps (although some pubs allow you to stop overnight if you eat there). The size is annoying on UK roads.

Continental europe if much better and friendlier with services at most aires and villages in France.

If you want to go abroad then seriously consider it. If uk then drive and B&B for better flexibility,

edited for fat fingers losing to autocorrect
 

Polyester

War Hero
If you buy one, make sure you only ever drive at 40mph on all roads.
Hopefully he’ll come up to the A9 because there aren’t enough of the bloody things as it is. And I am led to believe that the welcome they are receiving in the highlands and islands is lukewarm at best. They put little into the local economy.

Save your money and stay in nice hotels. Plus they are horrendous to insure and fuel.

E2A: Boris would always be welcome up here. Just in a nice hotel!
 
I've been following a travel vlog series on YouTube called The Endless Adventure (mainly for the female half of the couple, who is utterly adorable).

In recent months they have been renovating a 1970s RV for their eventual use. For amateurs, they've done a pretty darn good job of it. The whole project was nearing completion and they had to put it into a mechanic shop for attention to the engine. While the RV was there it was parked out in the yard, where an artic coming in to the yard has side swiped it.

Not necessarily totalled, but it hasn't done it much good at all and at the very least has set the whole project back by months. Even I was weeping.
 

RBMK

LE
Book Reviewer
Next door neighbour sold their canal boat and bought a motorhome. It's a 4 berth Renault jobbie and quite large to be driven comfortably round minor roads.

So far in 12 months I think that they've only used it about 4 weekends Most of the time it sits in their drive behind the house depreciating quietly.

So, price, insurance, depreciation, annual service needs to cover the home part as well as the motor. Fuel consumption of a decent size one is about 20 mpg and as mentioned, you may be restricted to official caravan parks. Prices are still sky high stupid at the moment but I expect that they will plummet as soon as foreign travel restrictions start to be lifted.
 

Arte_et_Marte

ADC
Moderator
My girlfriend has a Rapido 996M on a Merc chassis with after market solar panels. It's a 4 berth. On a 05 plate, she is is dated (the motorhome and my lass) and needs a wee bit of work. Reverse camera and fridge don't work, the stereo system is pants and the ally wheels need shot blasting and powder coating. Current value is around £22k.

But she runs perfectly returning about 25mpg. We took a week off and motored around the North Norfolk coast two weeks ago. It was a blast.

Some random stuff mate.

I was a bit concerned about the expense and lack of legal places to park up (I have spent too many nights in shitty HGV laybys to even consider doing that) but "BritStop" the motorhomers parking bible costs £28 for a years membership. It lists every pub and private parking place in the UK who have signed up, that's abot 3000 places. Some with 'leccy most without (and they are free to park at) and it's worth every penny. You can phone in advance, book a place (they will usually have space for 2 or 3, sometimes 5) We had a warm welcome at the three places we parked up at and obviously used the bar and restaurant facilities. If you don't want to put a sticker in a window, just rock up with the book in your grubby mitts.

It is a 'thing' much like bikers nod at each other, to wave at oncoming motorhomes. some wave enthusiastically, I just prefer the double cool, finger lift from the steering wheel and a smile.

Last month we again went to a site (with a pub) just off the A52 in Lincolnshire (Not Britstop) and plugged in because we wanted to check out the charging system. That night cost us £22. We will not make a habit of going to campsites though, we prefer the quiet gloriousness of each others company and a countryside pub.

There is a place in Sandringham (again, not Britstop) where it's 2 nights minimum and they will take your pants down for £80 for the pleasure of parking in a field with an electricity point. That is very expensive and not the norm. The vehicle has a leisure battery with the normal charge up system whilst on the move and with the propane gas system, we really don't need to keep going to a 240v park.

The lass lives in Peterborough, I live in Lincoln and the wagon is parked up at my place. I would drive to a Britstop pub, a little south of Sleaford and she would drive up in her car and we'd meet there for a weekend. This works well for us. She is buying a place in West Norfolk and I will eventually join her there, so this is only temporary.

The lass has been all over Europe in it. (She was teaching English to Italian kids for 3 months near Rome and lived in it with no dramas.)

Motor Insurance cost her £170 fully comp, including me as a named driver which I though was very reasonable. As an ex wagon driver, this thing is a breeze and I do not have a problem with any of the roads I have been on and some are single lane with passing places. It is what it is and doesn't bother me. (Or her, when she's duty clutch.).

There is a bit of faff removing the bog cassette, in that you need somewhere to empty it, but a lot of the BritStop sites have this facility. If you both just use it for a piss, it should be good for about 5 days. There is capacity for 100 litres of fresh water on board. Gas oven and 3 ring hob.

Of course there are restrictions, as have been pointed out and you are aware of. Height barriers in carparks, maybe cannot get too close to an attraction etc, but we are using it in a style where those things are not in our plans. We both love walking (and the pub) and this is ideal for that.

The loo is quite small and the shower is ridiculous, even for a slim chap like me, but I have no problem with plugging in the shower hose to the external connection and standing outside whilst getting clean. The lass is too shy for that. The beds are very comfortable and I have never had a crap nights sleep.

This is all quite new to me mate, so nothing is jaded and I haven't met any tossers yet (perhaps I have a good attitude?) As you know, things are on hold for me for a wee while, but I cannot wait to get out on the road again. I'm hooked. (up) Geddit?

Go for it mate.

Dersingham. Norfolk. 3 weeks ago.
20210809_175122.jpg
 

Boris_Johnson

ADC
Moderator
DirtyBAT
@Arte_et_Marte that's awesome cheers bud :thumleft:

II think the reason I've suggested hiring a few times first is because we're not quite done with the flying yet and if we're gonna buy one then it has to be *really* worth it.

I don't think I'm too far off sacking the flying though to be honest. Airports were already a pain in the arrse Post 9/11 with all the extra security, damn near stripping naked just to walk through the Stars in Your Eyes metal detector and still set the twat off, sharing lounges with chavs because they made air travel so cheap and the VIP lounges are usually full unless it's 4.30am and then it's not exactly the greatest time to take advantage of the "free" bar. God knows what it's going to be like when we all go back to "normal" and the extra things that will happen as a result of it... LFTs, an@l temperature probe before getting on a plane, another LFT on landing, vaccine passports and god knows what.

OK I'm exaggerating, but it's not going to be fun, having w@nkers in masks and hi-vis barking directions at you left right and centre. No thank you.

But your post has certainly given us some encouragement. Thanks.
 

slick

LE
I`ve had several over the years, of different sizes and age.
If you are going to use it a lot (at least once every couple of months, as an example ) then the expense will be worth it, if you only use it a couple of times a year then probably not.
Important things to consider...
- Can you park it at home, if not then you need to find storage and that`s another expense.
- Get one that is self contained with toilet and shower facilities, or you will limit where you can stay. There is a scheme called Britstops in the UK which lists free overnight stops at pubs etc. but the vehicle does need to be self contained. Likewise if you are planning to use the Camping Car Aire`s in Europe.
- If you have no kids on board then try adult only campsites. They often have availability during the busy seasons compared to the "family friendly" sites.
- If you are only used to driving a car then don`t go too big, maybe try a van conversion rather than a coachbuilt.
- Get a vehicle built by a recognised converter, preferably one that hasn`t been messed around with or with added "personal touches".

Have a browse on Motorhome Depot (you can put in min/max price and location to see what`s around.... LINK

And have a ganders at some of the owners tales on youtube, it`ll give you an idea of the type of vans, and where to stay etc. (some will get on your wick but they`re still useful to watch)....
CAMPERVAN CAPERS
ROAMING RADFORDS
MOTORHOME MAN.. beginners guide
 

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
A couple of pointers based on the experiences of friends and family

where are you going to park it ? they are big and can irritate the neighbours ( our neighbors have a 7.2 m long thing and it cuts out all the light )
if its parked up it needs to be hooked up to keep the batteries charged, and either covered or cleaned on a regular basis you will need decent steps for this,( not DIY shop shit) hire a platform from HSS or similar
also if its heavy, and your drive is not correctly re inforced its going to sink in and damage services
you need to open it up every few weeks to stop mould
fridges, cookers and heating systems can be expensive to fix, around a grand for a new fridge if it karks it
old people buy them new and then usually after 7 or 8 years sell them on
if you buy one, buy a quality one like a Hymer, my neighbours have a chav one, it looks cheap and after 3 years the plastics are starting to fade
if you buy one from an old coffin dodger, pay for a full engineers report, or you will as my brother in law found out, find that the old gizzard has removed all the accessories to sell separately
heavy duty but lightweight jack ( most have restricted clearance underneath and need a racing car style alloy jack)
leisure batteries replaced for Chinese rubbish = 600 sovs
gas cylinder remote fill kit
satnav
satellite dish attempted removal ( big old thing) massive leaks resulting
winter wheels and tyres !!
and lots of other small bits


Also if using it on the continent check the age of the tyres, can be a big old expense, and they dont like them more than 5 years old
also on a L/H drive vehicle the tracking will lead top front tyre wear if used in the UK all the time, so get it adjusted

Weight limits
most of the bigger ones have a very strict weight limit, so those big racks of cycles or a moped plus all the luggage can soon push it over

height
yep
lots of peeps smack the roofs into barriers

servicing, make sure cam belt changes have been done and its been used on long runs, short journeys could lead to a blocked DPF

Look out for body damage on the rear N/S the usual place old Gizzards clout street furniture

make sure all keys and fobs come with it

check all windows for cracks and chips

charger systems, most charge the leisure batteries via the traction units alternator, plus a mains hookup, the better ones have solar cells built in and a charge control panel
make sure it works and it keeps a charge

fit an alarm and tracking device for when it is nicked, or for when you forget where you parked it ( very useful in Europe)
my brother and sister in law joined a camping club thing, it gives you access to places on the continent where you can park up and hook up free and buy stuff from farm shops and local businesses


Unless you plan to tour a great deal, then renting one would be far better, if you buy one and wish to recoup some of your costs, then a website such as goobooney is useful, where you can hire it out when not in use


dont park on the roadside in Europe, always use the services or designated sites, otherwise the albanians will come in the night, gas you steal your gold fillings, and eat all the chocolate

when returning to the ferry avoid the normal routes where you get stuck in traffic, or you will have a few camel jockeys tucked away in the luggage trays

before you buy one, check out the cost of hotels and how long it will take to recoup your money

make sure its got a decent hi fi for when you are not speaking to each other !!

and dont buy a home built or diy conversion
 

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
My girlfriend has a Rapido 996M on a Merc chassis with after market solar panels. It's a 4 berth. On a 05 plate, she is is dated (the motorhome and my lass) and needs a wee bit of work. Reverse camera and fridge don't work, the stereo system is pants and the ally wheels need shot blasting and powder coating. Current value is around £22k.

But she runs perfectly returning about 25mpg. We took a week off and motored around the North Norfolk coast two weeks ago. It was a blast.

Some random stuff mate.

I was a bit concerned about the expense and lack of legal places to park up (I have spent too many nights in shitty HGV laybys to even consider doing that) but "BritStop" the motorhomers parking bible costs £28 for a years membership. It lists every pub and private parking place in the UK who have signed up, that's abot 3000 places. Some with 'leccy most without (and they are free to park at) and it's worth every penny. You can phone in advance, book a place (they will usually have space for 2 or 3, sometimes 5) We had a warm welcome at the three places we parked up at and obviously used the bar and restaurant facilities. If you don't want to put a sticker in a window, just rock up with the book in your grubby mitts.

It is a 'thing' much like bikers nod at each other, to wave at oncoming motorhomes. some wave enthusiastically, I just prefer the double cool, finger lift from the steering wheel and a smile.

Last month we again went to a site (with a pub) just off the A52 in Lincolnshire (Not Britstop) and plugged in because we wanted to check out the charging system. That night cost us £22. We will not make a habit of going to campsites though, we prefer the quiet gloriousness of each others company and a countryside pub.

There is a place in Sandringham (again, not Britstop) where it's 2 nights minimum and they will take your pants down for £80 for the pleasure of parking in a field with an electricity point. That is very expensive and not the norm. The vehicle has a leisure battery with the normal charge up system whilst on the move and with the propane gas system, we really don't need to keep going to a 240v park.

The lass lives in Peterborough, I live in Lincoln and the wagon is parked up at my place. I would drive to a Britstop pub, a little south of Sleaford and she would drive up in her car and we'd meet there for a weekend. This works well for us. She is buying a place in West Norfolk and I will eventually join her there, so this is only temporary.

The lass has been all over Europe in it. (She was teaching English to Italian kids for 3 months near Rome and lived in it with no dramas.)

Motor Insurance cost her £170 fully comp, including me as a named driver which I though was very reasonable. As an ex wagon driver, this thing is a breeze and I do not have a problem with any of the roads I have been on and some are single lane with passing places. It is what it is and doesn't bother me. (Or her, when she's duty clutch.).

There is a bit of faff removing the bog cassette, in that you need somewhere to empty it, but a lot of the BritStop sites have this facility. If you both just use it for a piss, it should be good for about 5 days. There is capacity for 100 litres of fresh water on board. Gas oven and 3 ring hob.

Of course there are restrictions, as have been pointed out and you are aware of. Height barriers in carparks, maybe cannot get too close to an attraction etc, but we are using it in a style where those things are not in our plans. We both love walking (and the pub) and this is ideal for that.

The loo is quite small and the shower is ridiculous, even for a slim chap like me, but I have no problem with plugging in the shower hose to the external connection and standing outside whilst getting clean. The lass is too shy for that. The beds are very comfortable and I have never had a crap nights sleep.

This is all quite new to me mate, so nothing is jaded and I haven't met any tossers yet (perhaps I have a good attitude?) As you know, things are on hold for me for a wee while, but I cannot wait to get out on the road again. I'm hooked. (up) Geddit?

Go for it mate.

Dersingham. Norfolk. 3 weeks ago.View attachment 595301
blimey oh reilly
I was there 3 weeks ago
some of my family lived there
 
Been considering this for a while.

Conclusion - if you have a few kids, who are now adults and have / about to have kids - and all get on well - a Campervan is a brilliant addition to a family if shared
Can make wonderful, cheaper holidays for 4 or 5 families, you can visit places you havent.

Share the cost.
Nothing to lose ....... Family
 

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