Advice required for first motorhome trip please.

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Tony Campbell, Mar 15, 2015.

  1. Tony Campbell

    Tony Campbell Funster

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    Hi. Thanks for reading this message.
    My wife and I are planning our first motorhome trip in April, renting a motorhome to see if we like it.
    My question is, is a first journey of 3 to 4 hours to ambitious, even though 90% of it will be on motorways. I'm not sure if it is better to initially have a shorter drive of say an hour or so to nearer site. Our first trip is from Essex very close to the M25, to Dorset not far from the M3.

    Providing I can convince my wife of the virtues of motorhomes, hopefully we would then buy a used unit.

    We have plenty of experience of caravanning, albeit in South Africa 20 years ago, where we lived for eight years, our children have now grown up, and so our priorities have changed, although we do have a small dog!!

    Thanking you
    Tony Campbell
     
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  2. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    Our first trip was only half an hour away, the reasoning was if we had forgotten anything major then it wasn't far to go back home to collect it!

    But if you are sure everything on the hired MH works and you have got everything you need then a trip of a few hours won't be a problem. The thing about MHs, for us, is not to use it like a caravan and drive to one spot, stay there for a week then drive back. Others are different, they will stay 6 months in one place if the sun is shining and the beer cold but you won't know until you try it what suits you. :)

    My suggestion would be to explore slowly up the Suffolk Coast, going north from where you are. You can't expect brilliant weather in April so I doubt you are going to be lying on beaches. But wherever you go I am sure you will enjoy it. :D
     
  3. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    drive as many hours as you would in a car, overall speed a little slower but no problem otherwise. Plus it will help charge your batteries. One assume you are going to a site for your first outing. That way at least there will be someone to help solve any problems that may arise from being new to a motorhome.
     
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  4. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

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    Welcome.

    That sounds like a very doable trip for your first time out.

    The M25 southbound has no barriers now at Dartford so that will give you a clear run down to Dorset. No different really to driving a car.
    Maybe plan for a break at the Fleet services on the M3.
    No narrow roads, no low bridges - just traffic.

    Try and avoid rush hours, though that's difficult on the M25.

    After about 30 minutes driving you'll wonder what you were worrying about.
     
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  5. Andy

    Andy Funster

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    Hi Tony,

    I'm guessing you will be familiar with driving a vehicle of the Motorhome........(and here I don't know which type you've rented.........be it a van conversion or an A class...:whistle:)...and that you will have had chance to get to know/judge width and length etc.........same as using any vehicle for the first time, really. :).

    Its certainly a do-able trip, as others have said, take your time and enjoy the experience;......some great sites down there, Norden Farm just outside Corfe for one..............(if you search threads this is the site used and enjoyed by fellow Funsters for June meet, both last year and again this.........(y) which does say summat about its location.)

    Anyways, anything your not sure of, just shout; friendly bunch here, and we were all beginners once. (me last year :whistle::))
     
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  6. ebo

    ebo Read Only Funster

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    Our first trip was only half hour away as we'd never been caravanning or motorhoming before, wife took the car as well in case we'd forgot something, but if I was doing it again I would just go for it, its all part of the adventure.
     
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  7. mjltigger

    mjltigger Funster

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    The first time I ever drove a MH was from Pembrokeshire to Wiltshire when we collected it. I had driven large vans and towed caravans and trailers before so didn't find it daunting. Now we often 'pop' to France for a weekend lol
     
  8. Jonkil

    Jonkil Funster

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    Now I'm envious !
    The one thing I don't like living here is the lack of impromptu trips like that.
    We're tied to the mainland (Ireland) or an expensive ferry trip, or its a plane journey and airport time annoys the hell out of me.
    Have lived in London but prefer here because of space/freedom etc so will prob stay here, but does tie us down more than we like.
     
  9. mjltigger

    mjltigger Funster

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    Well France is about 4-5 hours from here including the tunnel but we have plenty of wise open space.. freedom has to wait till the kids all grow up :LOL:
     
  10. Jonkil

    Jonkil Funster

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    Yeah.
    Ours both grown and flown the nest (but they do come back to roost sometimes !) and we're pretty flexible really.
    Still run a business but much smaller than it was previously and have good staff to take care of things which free us up a lot.
    Love France and will visit a couple times a year, but having access from the UK South Coast is the key really.
    Enjoy your trips.
     
  11. ILOVEBOWLS

    ILOVEBOWLS

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    Hi Tony, One thing about this hobby is your not far from another MH and I have found them a friendly lot so enjoy your trip.
    I live in Ferndown Dorset so if you fancy a cup of tea P email me and I will give you the details.

    Be lucky David
     
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  12. DanielFord

    DanielFord Funster

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    Sounds totally doable to me, on our first trip, we did a 7 hour leg from Santander to barcelona, that was just a bit too much.
    Remember that the speed is going to be lower in the motorhome, you will get used to car drivers blocking you from overtaking on the motorway, so plod along, take breaks, remember you have a working kitchen :)
    Big one that you need to do, wrap the grill pan in a tea towel, the rattling will drive insane if you don't!
    Interested to know where in Dorset you are heading, sounds like new forest area?
     
  13. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    I sometimes think that motorhome driving isn't so much driving as sitting in a comfy chair watching a travel movie on a big screen. It's not as strenuous as car driving, mainly because you're sitting higher up. The going forwards bit doesn't take a lot of practice as long as you properly allow for the width, weight and height of the vehicle. I call it 3D driving. It's the going backwards bit that takes some getting used to.

    I can't remember what our first ever short trip was, but our first proper MH trip was to Florence and Venice via the Route Napoleon then back over the Alps via the Col de Montgenevre. Plenty of variety in driving technique there.
     
  14. Hollyberry

    Hollyberry Funster

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    Well, the first time I had to drive the motorhome was from SW France to the UK,on my own with 2 dogs and a cat. Believe me, if I can do it, anyone can. I had a half hour lesson from a kind neighbour and that was it.
    You'll probably forget to take something but usually it's something small.
    I'd just go for it. Motorhomes are perfect when you have a dog.

    Enjoy your trip.
     
  15. Langtoftlad

    Langtoftlad Funster Life Member

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    I have very recently done exactly this.
    My experience wasn't so ambitious though - probably because I'm a bit of a wuss :unsure:.
    First night was on my driveway! Thought being if I couldn't get heating on, plumbing to work, fridge to cool the the beer or forgot the corkscrew then I could abandon ship & head back to my own bed.
    Second, third & fourth nights were pre-booked at "full service" campsite, only about 90 mins from home (just in case).
    Fifth & sixth nights were at 'bare bones' CL type sites, had basic facilities but a little remote.
    Seventh night was "wild camping", relying entirely on the MH's facilities in a brewery carpark :ROFLMAO: !!!

    Loved it all, taught me loads but mainly had a great time visiting Lincoln, using public transport to get into the city so no parking worries, walking to to local so no drink drive "worries". Visiting the Lincoln Heritage & BBMF museums, going to Tattershall Castle and being lucky enough to see the Red Arrows doing their final inspection display from the top of the castle... to the Batemans Brewery, which simply ended up being "no worries" :D.

    My advice - don't try to do too much. Renting is expensive & the temptation is to cram in loads to make it worth while... whereas, actually, you're renting to trial the "whole experience".
    So kick back, slow down. Whatever you miss this time is just the excuse to come again when you have your own van.
     
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  16. Nik

    Nik Funster

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    Hi Tony
    Lots of good advice here from others. We were in the exactly same position as you last year. We live in West London, hired from 'Justgo' near Luton and went up to Snowdonia.

    We considered that the experience of driving the thing was just as important as that of 'living' in it. We had a 'French' bed and took time to consider the pros and cons of the vehicles layout, arriving at the opinion that an 'island' bed was for us, based on our experience with the hire vehicle.

    We also used a few different sites just to experience how easy it was to pack up and move after a night and also to break up the up and back journeys . We did stay for 3 nights at Barcdy caravan site in Wales. Lovely place. This was the time to relax into your time with the vehicle. To enjoy and evaluate it when either, just pottering around locally sightseeing, or in the evenings with the BBQ, wine and just sitting talking, playing cards etc. We didn't turn the TV on at all.
    I wouldn't have done a longer distance as that would detract from the relaxation time which is, IMHO, the rationale for having one in the first place.

    We have just brought our first MoHo, Autotrail Delaware, and will be setting off on our inaugural trip on the 27th March.

    Whatever you do, plan your first trip thoroughly, do not be too ambitious with the distances and build in lots of relaxing time. Most importantly ENJOY.
    All the very best
    Nik.
     
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  17. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    Make sure you know what you are getting, our first trip we hired a Motorhome in Germany, and found that's what you get a Motorhome. We had taken our bikes & bedding with us, luckily there was an Ikea near the dealer so that was first stop for some cheap crockery & cutlery etc.
     
  18. wingman

    wingman Funster

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    Hi @Tony Campbell
    Being in touch with the feminine side, DON'T bore your wife to death with a long drive. She can sit on a long drive in the car any time so there's nothing new for her.
    She will enjoy the outdoors, seeing different places etc so the distance you travel isn't important.

    Wonder where you are in Essex? You're welcome for a cuppa anytime.

    Enjoy your trip,
    Regards
    James
     
  19. Allan & Loren

    Allan & Loren Funster

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    Hi Tony,

    Our first trip was with another couple who had their own motorhome and incidentally it was their first trip too. We spent all weekend laughing and helping each other when we forgot how things worked! We drove about an hour and a half to our campsite which was enough as we wanted to spend as much time on site playing motorhomes rather than just driving.

    Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a great time and it's the start of many exciting adventures.

    Loren
     
  20. Old Soldier

    Old Soldier Funster

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    Hi Tony.
    Not sure what your driving experience is but take care not to drive too far on your first trip out which might put you or your family ( and the dog) off. I would suggest a couple of hours to somewhere that you are familiar with and that will give you a whole new experience. Don't try to do everything at once, you will find that your style of camping with the van will develop as you grow use to it. Good luck, you already made a good start by talking to this bunch of "experts"!
     
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