Motorhome induced brain fuzz....

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by RebeccaKristy, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. RebeccaKristy

    RebeccaKristy

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    Hi all. I am new here and new to motor homing! We are taking some time out and travelling around Europe (mostly Italy and Croatia) to absorb some culture! My partner and I have two boys aged 6 and 9. At the moment most of my research is into which motorhome. Ideally I want a 6 berth as I need the option of separating the kids if necessary. From all the vans I have seen I like a U-shaped lounge. I know this makes people gasp in horror! But I am thinking that the U-shape would give me 2 options. 1 to put my kids to sleep like on twin beds (no making up then) or 2, to get a mattress and permanently set the lounge out as a good sized double. In an idea world I would love a super king sized rear lounge, as we could sprawl out on the bed in the day and it would be very comfortable for my husband and I at night. I don't like the fixed french bed as we need more room than that, nor do I like the fixed bed over garage as it seems to make the motorhome really small and cramped feeling.
    In addition we will have to sell the motorhome within the year as we can't really afford to lose much money!
    Does any one have any advice? Is it better to buy a newer entry level mh or an older better spec mh? Which will retain it's value? What is the maximum practical length? My husband has an older licence so we can go heavy but would't mind being able to drive it myself.

    I have a budget of around £25,000, but can go higher if there are extras like solar, air-con, bike rack 4 bikes. I saw a CI Carioca 746 2009 and loved it, but couldn't buy it because there are so many things you can't tell by looking i.e. insulation. Research online has not helped with that. If I only have a mh for a year I would like to be able to use it off season.

    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    be warned, its very addictive, so you may not wish to sell after a year

    layout is a complicated issue and what suits one family doesnt work for others. with a 25k budget, you are really limited to vans a few years old. or choose an older classic van like a hymer which will hold its value better. possibly cheaper too
     
  3. RebeccaKristy

    RebeccaKristy

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    Well I'd love a hymer! But keep looking and mostly the have either too few belted seatbelt or they are eye waveringly expensive! What about Auto trail, are they good? seem expensive second hand?
     
  4. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    autotrail? now theres a question, you either love them or hate them. years ago build quality was good but not anymore and worse than that people have been fighting for years to get warranty work done.
    best value are some of the foreign vans, but as youre not talking new prices within your budget, then look at 3-5 years old when depreciation levels out
     
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  5. RebeccaKristy

    RebeccaKristy

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    Will do, depreciation is an important factor. What about mileage? You get vans with 25000 miles on and people talk like that is really high? Is newer higher mileage better than older low? . Is it worth buying from a dealer? Some offer warranties but are these worth it? Is private worth any money you might save?(Although I think that private van sellers seem to line their prices with trade anyway- even though when you get to the dealer they throw in extras and drop the price anyway). Thank for your reply Big1
     
  6. houdini

    houdini Funster

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    Welcome RebeccaKristy!

    As TheBig1 says, layout is a very personal thing. We only bought our nine year old Adriatik Coral 680SL last September, haven't used it much yet but the layout is similar to one we hired in NZ last year for our first MH experience. We went for the U-shaped lounge as we liked the feeling of space, felt claustrophobic in some of the others, this one has quite a few windows. Weighed up about fixed beds (only 2 of us), decided wd rather have the space during the day and put up with bedmaking. Also gave us option to have large double bed or, for speed, the single bed option. Chose model with an oven so can cook if wanted to save eating out cost. Important to check sufficient and safe seat belt set-up, we made a mistake with this.

    Not trying to advise, just the points we considered - more experienced Funsters will be along to help on the technical considerations I'm sure. :)
     
  7. Jeannette van den Oever

    Jeannette van den Oever Read Only Funster

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    Don't know much about MH (we've owned a caravan previously though), but have taken the plunge and bought one for our family of six. This was after spending 3 days at the NEC, looking at everything they had to offer. Obviously you will have much more choice, because '4' seems to be the magic number for travelling seats. :)
    Make a list of musthaves e.g.
    Privacy requirements - how important is this to you? Don't believe people when they say this isn't possible in a MH. Our kids 'knock' before bounding in our room at home, so wasn't giving that one up on 'holiday'. We opted for an 'ensuite' between lounge and bedroom arrangement, to spare my blushes (and possibly the kids). Probably not an option if you want a rear lounge, but something to think about.
    Do you want a garage? We did, but then 6 bikes weren't going to fit on the back wall. What about a scooter/trike? Unfortunately useful garages and rear lounges aren't usually compatible.
    Do you need a properly winterised van? If so, go continental.
    Be careful with payload allowances. Some cheaper family vans are stupidly tight, given how heavy things such as an everyday kids bike is.
    Don't be put off by missing 'essential' items, such as ovens, microwaves etc. These can normally be easily retrofitted, as can aircon.
     
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  8. andrewjw

    andrewjw Funster

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    If you are using the van to visit Italy and Croatia between May and October you'll find you largely only use the inside of the van when sleeping or driving...the rest of the time you'll be enjoying living outside [ a rollout awning would be a useful extra to have] plus possibly cab AC to keep everybody cool while travelling.
    You might not need as big a van as if you were using it solely for the UK...in Summer in Europe many people would let the children sleep outside the van in a pop up tent...big adventure for them and privacy for you!..only works if you are using sites of course.
     
  9. RebeccaKristy

    RebeccaKristy

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    Thank you. Houdini I want advice! It does seem that a rear garage is out unless you want to compromise on internal space. We can get 4 bikes on the back, and a scooter would only be handy if I want to leave the others behind..........so apart from ground sheet, bbq, cool box, table and chairs, and surf boards (in UK) then I don't need too much external storage. I think I would rather be comfortable stuck inside on a rainy day, than carry too much stuff. Or am I forgetting something I might need?
    Are continental couch built vans well winterised?
    What van did you get Jeanette? 6 sounds fun!
    On the privacy issue, I would like a door to the lounge as we can shut it to watch dvd at night, or when the kids wake early, but I haven't seen one. I can't stand a shower that has a curtain or goes on the toilet floor gross.
    As a lover of luxuries, I know that having all mod cons is important in the mh as it will help us not to use restaurants and proper campsites. Ultimately saving money- but also recouping the cost of these things when we sell the van. We are giving up our rented accommodation and trying to stick to the budget we would have used at home. Using our rent and council tax to have FUN FUN FUN!
     
  10. RebeccaKristy

    RebeccaKristy

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    Hi Andrew, we are- thinking that we need air con fitted in the back as well, d'you reckon or is it not needed? Won't it be like living in a greenhouse in summer?
     
  11. Jeannette van den Oever

    Jeannette van den Oever Read Only Funster

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    Your trip sounds brilliant Rebecca - hope you have a super time!
    We take delivery of our Dethleffs Esprit Comfort 7870-2 at the end of March - can't wait. Europeans (proper) love ski holidays, so I guess they build their vans accordingly. A van with a 'double floor' is recommended if you're going to be out and about in freezing temperatures. As far as a privacy partition goes, other than the 'couple' vans with bedroom/living room arrangements (Dethleffs ALPI has a nice arrangement, with rear lounge, but I think quite new, so even second-hand probably too pricey), I think Roller team vans could add it as an option, but again I think the base vehicles start at over £40K.
    Despite the inevitable compromises, you'll have a wonderful time, I'm sure. Enjoy!
     
  12. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    regarding depreciation the older the van the less loss you will suffer but the flip side is generally the older the van the more chance of failure of components ya pays your money and makes your choice older vans with six belted seats will be hard to find as well
     
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  13. andrewjw

    andrewjw Funster

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    Yes...if you are inside the van...hence my thoughts re "living outside".

    If you have habitation AC you'll need to keep all the windows , vents and doors shut all the time to make it effective...

    In my experience a couple of fans and open windows etc to keep the air inside the van moving is enough to stay comfortable.
     
  14. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    Hi RebeccaKristy, welcome to the Fun (y)

    When we toured with three kids our ideal vans had both a dinette and u shaped lounge, for us we found this was the perfect layout. Everyone can fit in the lounge for TV or games and but sometimes, when you need it, the separation this layout gives with kids one end and adults the other is the only way to stay sane. Exciting times, kids love it and the memories will stay with them forever (y)
     
  15. jaykay

    jaykay Read Only Funster

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    We had an old Autohomes Landliner with a U shaped lounge at the rear. After having it a few months, we sold it and decided we wanted a fixed bed arrangement. We now have an a class with pull down double bed in the front with a fixed double at the rear. Its big enough inside on a rainy day, but we have no hassle making beds up or storing the bedding, which was something we hated. We also have a big garage, and outside lockers to store everything we might need. Ours is a Rapido, and although it was over your budget, you could get one a bit older for your budget I would think.
     
  16. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    There's a test of a new van in the February edition of the caravan club magazine which has a double bed over the cab and two bunk beds at the rear. Kitchen, toilet and dining area in between. This would seem like a good layout for what you want.

    A/C is a debatable subject, I would just get a couple of Endless Breeze fans. These will keep you cool with much less noise and you stand a chance of becoming acclimatised to the temperatures, which you won't with A/C.
     
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  17. SC 05 OUT

    SC 05 OUT Funster

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    You asked about Autotrails with rear U shaped lounge, so that’s the big tag axle Arapaho, single axe but high payload Scout, single axle Apache 700, all more or less the same just each one is a different size, to confuse matter more the newer Apaches are slightly bigger than the older Scouts. For £25k you should be looking at around a 2002 – 2007 model depending on which model you look for. The big tag will probably loose more money over a year unless you are lucky to find somebody who needs to sell, they are probably less popular because of there size (it doesn’t suit everybody). However if it was me in your situation I would go for that size m/h, the extra space and load carrying capacity would be of great benefit if fulltiming, mpg probably is more or less the same but motorway toll in Europe will be more for a tag axle. There are other makes of m/h with similar layouts don’t get stuck looking for one model.



    Autotrails have mixed reputation, whilst it’s true there are some dogs out there, there are loads of nice ones. You have to remember Autotrail make a lot of motor homes and I’m sure that as a % of units made they are no better or worse the other makes of a similar price band. Personally I’ve had mine 6 years with only minor problems non of which were down to Autotrails build quality but due to third party items failing (most of these parts are in all makes of motor home).
     
  18. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    When our kids were little we found that a U shaped rear lounge, mid bathroom, dinette and double over cab gave us a "mix and match" situation. The odd weekends we went way on our own we left the U made up as a double which was a bonus as well.

    It was a Swift, wasn't winterised as we know it today but still saw us safe and sound all over Europe.

    Too much planning can result in paralysis. I was 28 (now 53) when we bought our first Motorhome a new Autohomes Highway man, bought on the spur of the moment. Four weeks later saw us in Italy, with three little children, all wide eyed and delighted. Realised that we loved the lifestyle, but not the van so on our return bought the Swift. But wouldn't have paid the Swift price initially, but bitten by the bug, didn't regret buying the Highwayman

    Go for it (y)
     
  19. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Funster

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    hello head duck.jpg

    Just saying hello and welcome.

    I can't add to the advice above as our present van is sub 6m and best suited to a couple or couple plus one. When we had all the kids home we had a 6 berth Hymer which was wonderful. We sold it for the same price we bought it for but we had a lot of work done on the mechanics and new tyres all round. 25K should get you something decent - why not go for a left hand drive (usually a bit cheaper when bought in the UK) as you will be using it in Europe? Alternatively buy in Germany/France and import it. I've no experience of doing this but other forum members have and could give more advice.
     
  20. Momo

    Momo Funster

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    Hi RebeccaKristy and welcome to the Fun!(y):welc:
     
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