General Questions

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Tincataylor, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. Tincataylor

    Tincataylor Funster

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    We are brand new on this forum so please be gentle with me if I am posting in the wrong place. To be honest you have so many sub sections delving into the minutiae that it is bewildering to knowing where to start.
    As we have yet to purchase our first motorhome then initially we would like any advice or input on our initial thoughts. Having looked at a few we liked the layout and fittings of the Autotrail 635 and a little research has shown that a second hand model is within our budget. So far so good, but this is where all the questions start. It appears that there is a choice between a Merc and a Fiat and I we would love it if you could post your opinions of the pro’s and con’s of both. We anticipate spending our time in UK and Europe and think a RHD would suit us best because the bulk of the time will be spent in UK, do you guys have any problem with RHD in Europe? Our last question might seem a bit daft but have any of you averaged out the cost of diesel / campsites / food / wine (lot’s) /other items when you are away to get an idea of the daily / weekly cost of your trips to aid planning? I know there are lots of variables here but it would be nice to look in the wife’s wallet and work out roughly how many days away we could get from this before I have to send her out to work again.

    All the Best

    Richard & Lynne
     
  2. Loujess

    Loujess Read Only Funster

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    So far as planning goes, we usually go for around 5 weeks and take as much food with us as possible since some things are more expensive in France. If you can take some stuff ready cooked, it will save you on gas. If you can stay on aires as much as possible, that will be more economical too. Sometimes free, or 2 euros or as much as 7 euros a night. You will probably need to stop on a campsite every 4 or 5 nights to do washing which is expensive on sites. Something like 4-5 euros for the wash and then a couple of euros for the dryer.

    As for camping, if you are travelling out of season, ie not July and August, you can use an ACSI card with the book which you can get from Vicarious Books at Folkestone (on internet). The card and directory are around £12.50. Another very good book is All the Aires in France, which has hundreds of aires in.

    Fuel will be cheaper at the supermarkets, ie Intermarche, SuperU, L.Eclerc, Carrefour. Don't buy fuel at the motorway services. You can park overnight at supermarkets if you want, but do be sure you are safe.

    I'm sure you'll get answers to your other questions. Happy travels and I hope we get to meet you some time. :BigGrin:

    Ivy
     
  3. Carol

    Carol Funster Life Member

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    Hello and welcome to FUN as Lougess has given you a few idea's. If you do not get the anwsers to all your questions I would split them up put spesific titles and you should get a wider range of replys.

    ACSI has been mentioned, camping cheque is also worth looking into. Have you thought about carrying bikes or maybe a scooter so that you don't have to move the van when you are parked on site.

    We find that if we treat being away as living in a different place and not been on holiday eg not eating and drinking out to often we can stretch what would be a months holiday into a 3 month holiday. :welcomefunster:
     
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  4. sedge

    sedge Funster

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    Hiya

    The eating in thing hasn't really been a strategy to save dosh for us, although it does LOL It's more because of 2 things - the food in the shops and markets is so lovely we want to buy it all. Yes you can buy prepacked etc like at home - but when you look at the fresh meat counter and the deli counter and the veg dept - well who would choose the plastic wrapped stuff? I know I could do this at home especially if it were all under one roof, which it never is here! but then Yes it does cost more and if we were doing that 365/365 - would we have quite so much to spend on hols?

    The second thing we find ourselves doing more and more is spending a lot more time in out of the way places. Teeny places that don't have a supermarket so you have to stock up before you arrive, because you know there's only one resto, it costs a fortune, all artistic presentation and no substance - and it's only open in August or something when they have a captive clientele. Where there are a good choice of eating establishments then the quality usually stays but the prices reduce, a bit more VFM .....

    So we don't do it to save money or cos we're miserable.
     
  5. slobadoberbob

    slobadoberbob Read Only Funster

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    just dealing with the RHD v LHD

    Owning a LHD American RV B class (Ford cab with a body behind) I switch back and forth to RHD drive cars so that side has never been a problem.

    But... if you are going to spend more time in Europe then the LHD will win out. In the UK I have to ask the co-pilot (SWMBO) if the turn is safe.. in France I do not... LHD vehicle in Europe often are not as well spec'd as the RHD versions.. I am thinking of cookers...

    But having drive RV's (American motor homes) for 25 years now all LHD, I have not found a problem with them in the UK.. bonus in europe.

    Lots will swear for the Fiat chassis.. but having read and seen the issues of the recent gearbox and the lack of speed at the way Fiat responded I would have concerns. Only ever owned one european motor home.. that was on a Merc chassis.. so I cannot compare one chassis to another.. These days with an American Ford Chassis I can say that is a first class basis for any motor home.

    But I am sure many will off advice on the subject. Remember most people change there motor homes with a few years to get to the area of use/comfort they want... while some to keep them for years, a lot do not.


    Bob
     
  6. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    driving a LHD motorhome in the UK is no problem at all, the extra height you have over a normal car helps and you know what to expect from the roads/traffic etc. Abroad a LHD makes life much easier as you get no surprises as someone creeps up on your outside (inside if you are in a RHD), it is an altogether a much more relaxed way to drive in unfamiliar territory. As for costings when in France we can and do go for 3 weeks at a time without using a site, plenty of aires around so really it is a matter of your choice of food/wine and how far you travel each day. drive each day and don't drink and it does not work out too bad.
     
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  7. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    Hi Richard and welcome to MHFun....motor homing is not a cheap way of having a holiday, If you put all your cost's, Purchase price, depreciation, tax, insurance, repairs,Mot, diesel,extras you buy for the motorhome, and campsites and ferries/ channel tunnel, and clubs you become a member of...like MHFun, Caravan Club, Caravan Camping Club and many others, Breakdown insurance, health insurance......

    FOOD is what we eat all the time...so no difference there

    I think you get the message it is hard to say HOW much/ and what it cost'...that's the bad out of the way...........
    Now what you do have is freedom go were you want when you want...change mind and go in a different direction depending on the weather...meet other campers have fun and just chill and do what you and the wife want to do...many motorhomers are in there later years in life:BigGrin:so we are not in a rush:BigGrin::Rofl1:


    I drive a left hand drive motorhome and a right hand drive peoples carrier in France...I also drive left hand drive motorhome and a right hand drive peoples carrier in the UK...NO PROBLEM

    What I will say you can find cheaper places to stay if you look and don't think coming to France is going to be more expensive than the UK because it is not...Tesco points for Tunnel fares...could end costing nothing for your travel.

    A second hand motorhome is a perfect choice...any problems should be all ironed out by the first owner...and there are many with low mileage..like new condition.....A dealer in France told me, look at FIATS....as they have 65% of the market...Mercedes,Ford, Renault, Iveco.....and any others are picking up the other 35%.....both Fiat..and ...Mercedes..are fine it is just personnel choice,


    My motorhome does about 25 to 28 mpg....a lot of motorhomes do around 28 to 32mpg....it depends what size engine to what size motorhome what weight you are and if you have a heavy foot ...some motorhomes with the bed above the cab of a larger size can be as low as 20 to 25mpg....
    Mel:thumb:
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  8. Tincataylor

    Tincataylor Funster

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    Well, thank you all for taking the trouble to post such informative replies, you make us feel welcome right from the start and we have not even purchased a motorhome yet!! :BigGrin:

    We may have given the wrong impression re asking about the cost of things. It's not that we are trying to do things on the cheap, but as we are in the planning stage trying to work out an "average" weekly cost while on the road would help us to plan what proportion of our year will be spent on the road. As far as I can see about £350.00 per week should just about cover it pootling around France. I totally take on board the comments from Sedge about buying and cooking local produce rather than eating out every night, a quick stroll in a village market really does make you want to cook.

    Anyway thanks so much to all of you for coming back to us.......I'm sure we will meet some of you in person one day.........preferably over a glass or 6 of the local vino :Wink:

    Richard & Lynne
     
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  9. ericonabike

    ericonabike Read Only Funster

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    If you disregard the fixed costs of the 'home [purchase price, tax, insurance, repairs, MOT etc] then it's pretty cheap. In France anyway, when you can use the ACSI card and aires etc. Here, I resent paying £25+ a night for sites [and extra for WiFi, which particularly winds me up!]. For food and drink, why not look at your normal budget at home? Say add 50% to cover additional alcohol and eating out costs. Our two trips this year have cost us £92and £58 for Dover/Calais on P&) and DFDS respectively. We also stock up on beer and wine, buying around £200 of excellent beer and quaffable wine [in boxes, don't knock it before you try it!] that would probably have cost us four times as much for the same items at home.

    After six months of 'homing I'm addicted!
     
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  10. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    Welcome to the Fun Richard and Lynne...

    I am sure you will enjoy it here...

    If I wasn't driving too far and thus spending all the money on diesel, I could have a very good time in France on £350 per week... :Rofl1: :Rofl1:

    JJ :Cool:
     
  11. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    Sorry Richard, I never thought for one moment you meant motor homing on the cheap,
    What I was trying to say it was hard to put a figure on motor homing, as we all do and have different vans.....so it was a tough question to answer.

    Here is some more info for you.

    Re, France ..it depends what you are wanting or looking for...peace and quite, water, empty toilet cassette, empty grey water some nice views...then there are Aires in France at no cost or very little cost, although this year many have put a price on, or increased in price on the Aire, but still very cheap way of motorhoming...
    or
    Campsites that cater for a most of your needs..there are Municipal sites a little cheaper in France.....or main campsites at a lot higher cost in France......as there is a cheaper way of camping in the UK like CLs if you belong to the caravan club ...and the Caravan and camping club..but these will be more basic with less facilities..
    Another way is the a ACSI card or the camping cheque, better for European and maybe a must for over wintering in Spain/Portugal/France on campsites..
    Both these you purchase around the end of the year for the following year......and it guaranties you a site at a set price with a minimal electric point/6amps @ 4kw per day and you pay for any extra..for 2 persons and one dog for around..12..14..16 euros per night depending on the campsite. to Buy the ACSI Card it sir £12.50 + postage....(some campsites do not accept it in the main season)

    here is the link.
    https://www.vicarious-shop.com/ACSI-UK-CampingCard/
    http://www.acsi-camping-card-vicarious-books.co.uk/

    from Vicarious books at Folkstone...
    You can also buy Aires books from them..
    A good book from them is "all the Aires in France"..no it does not have all the Aires of France in it, it is just a title...also once you have purchased the book....look on there web site for updates to the book

    http://www.vicariousbooks.co.uk/product_list.shtml


    Mel
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  12. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    ACSI is vital if you use sites out of season. We saved around €500 in a month away in June, €420 at one site with 8 days stay in Spain, though thats because it's normally silly prices, lovely site though. Our prices varied between €16 for a top class site on ACSI to free for some aires. Our biggest expenditure is diesel though. Everything else much the same as home, food a little bit more in the shops, booze a lot cheaper. Rarely eat out unless the restuarant allows dogs.
     
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  13. motorhomer

    motorhomer Read Only Funster

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    We go away for 8/9 weeks at a time in the van, and have had trips to S Spain, Portugal, Italy, E Europe, and recently Norway/Finland?Sweden. It is wonderful!

    We don't monitor costs all that closely but I would say it costs no more on these trips than it does to live at home. Yes there are fuel costs, but some other costs are less and of course we save a fortune on not having heating and elec bills at home for these periods.

    We make a point of eating out from time to time, often Sunday lunch, but nowhere near all the time.

    Re choice of chassis, everyone will have their views. Having had lots of trouble with a Merc based van I would not go for one of these, the Fiat base is much more pleasant to drive and, in my experience, more reliable. Some early vans on the current fiat base did give some trouble, though. We have just clocked 14000 miles in our current van (Fiat) without any hint of trouble.

    The other one to consider is the ford. But the most crucial thing is the layout and kit in the van, and again this is a very personal choice.

    It's a great life!
     
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  14. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    I have had Fiats,Fords,DAF even Commer in my time. My present van is a Mercedes 3L 6 speed manual and is much nicer to drive than any of the Fiats I have had.
    It all depends on your personal experiences as non of us has had enough vans to have a statistically significant view. It all comes down to finding one you like, and as previously mentioned, the layout is what is important, all the base vehicles do the job (except a Fiat in a wet field :Rofl1:)
     
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