Road trips by motorhome… for beginners too!
Five countries in five weeks by train, boat or plane? Check. Hiking in the High Atlas in Morocco? With young children? Check. Travelling is all about surprising yourself. Dancing along to the rhythm of the country you’re in, adjusting to the culture, and becoming one with nature. But for those who travel a lot, a place to call your own on your travels is a welcome idea. Not having to pack and unpack all the time. Being able to make decent coffee while on the road. If this describes you, then getting your own motorhome might not be such a crazy idea. Adventurers Joep and Fleur of the travel website Reisbijbel (website only available in Dutch) did just that.
Camping in the Austrian winter. 3700 km through Denmark and Sweden in just two weeks in a motorhome. And then we bought a second-hand motorhome (let’s call it vintage) so we could spend three weeks travelling through the mountains of Austria, Italy and France. And we did it all in just six months. Our adventures have made sure we’ve got plenty of tips for new motorhome owners.
Practice and test it out
It’s a good idea to try out a rented motorhome before you buy. You can rent one via a company or through sharing sites like Camptoo or Goboony. That’s how you find out if you want a ‘garage’ (that is, a motorhome with a space you can get to from the outside for your bike, skis, or other large objects), coach-car seating, a drop-down bed or an alcove. And that shower, do you really need it? There’s so much variety in design that it’s really smart to try a few different types before you make a choice.
If you do decide to buy your own motorhome there are two options. You can visit companies, or look on sites like eBay. The first option offers more security – for example you can get a guarantee. The second option is where you’ll find less expensive motorhomes, but there may be a catch. Make sure you get your motorhome inspected before you buy it. Make sure that there’s a moisture measurement – that’ll save you a lot of stress, and put it on a weighbridge, so you’ll know how many people and how much luggage you can carry.
But… don’t motorhomes cost a lot?
They do. So, don’t buy a motorhome with your last bit of change. As soon as your house-on-wheels is in the driveway, you’ll be incurring costs. For example, the tyres on a motorhome only last a few years. Even if they pass the MOT, the rubber does dry out. You also need all sorts of bottled chemicals and equipment for your on-board toilet. Don’t forget a gas detector, camping chairs, unbreakable tableware, levellers to make your motorhome level, anti-slip mats for in the cupboards. If you’re buying a second-hand motorhome, there’s a chance that a lot of the equipment you need will be sold with it. But even if you don’t want to totally ‘pimp’ your motorhome, you’ll still easily spend £1,000 for the basics. It’s important to keep that in mind.
A worthwhile investment
A motorhome gives you ultimate freedom. If you’ve taken the steps above, you belong to the select club of motorhome owners. If you have something out of the ordinary, a hip little bus, or a brand new integral motorhome, motorhome drivers often wave at each other. You can have a good coffee on the road, sleep in the most beautiful countryside and you don’t need to worry about thunderstorms and monsoons. And yes, you can even bring that extra portion of pasta sauce you made at home with you for after a fantastic day of skiing in the winter. A motorhome is wealth you can share with your family or partner. You get a hobby as well, you can learn and do loads of things yourself, and you can go on holiday whenever you want.
Even more advantages
If you have a motorhome you don’t need to book a hotel for your journey anymore. Just park in a large car park, whether or not it’s got security, find a campsite, or ask the restaurant where you had dinner if you can spend the night. No stress if there’s lots of traffic – you choose for yourself where and when you stop and you don’t need to plan anything. You can stop at supermarkets on the way to buy all your meals and drinks. You can park wherever you want, if you just keep any local rules in mind. And there are motorhome pitches in cities or busier places. You can stay overnight, right on Lake Garda, for just £10. Or for free next to the local vegetable garden of a village in the Valle d’Aosta. If you’re travelling by motorhome you can do all of this.
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