seeking some advice please

Discussion in 'American RV's' started by christinekontiki, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. christinekontiki

    christinekontiki Read Only Funster

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    My beloved and I have decided that we have had enough of the rat race and after doing a few sums, have come up with the idea (like many others it seems) that if we get rid of the house and car we can afford to bog off and drop off the system spending winter months in Europe spending money and summer (!) back home working to save up and go again when the weather changes.
    We are already the proud (and happy) owners of a lovely swift kontiki 660 but his nibs has decided that an RV would kill two birds with one stone giving us a UK base and a European option. I'm a bit scared by it to tell the truth. We have been and had a look at a few rv's and Ive scoured fleabay and I have to admit - he has a valid point.
    Trouble is they are so big compared to our camper (which is quite big itself, although not comparable by any means) and I fancy the wild camping in Portugal route. Can you go wild camping in an RV tho given the size?? What are the pitfalls of owning and running such a goliath, Im sure the mileage is scary for a start although thats not much of a consideration as we dont really intend to travel about all that much (probably just as well) How about breakdown cover, insurance, ferries etc etc etc....
    The other option is keep the kontiki and have a static back here in UK as a base. Lee thinks we wont have enough room in the camper for staying in europe 6 months at a time. I must admit, having had a look, the RV is impressive and the space is desirable, but .........
    Any advice please ????
     
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  2. Sundowners

    Sundowners Funster Life Member

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    Have a look on our sister site www.Motorhome365.co.uk - there's a wealth of information on there to keep you busy.

    Do some serious thinking about travelling in a RV, speaking from experience.

    Nigel and Pamala
     
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  3. dylan

    dylan Read Only Funster

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    Just to say welcome to the FUN :thumb:
     
  4. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

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    Can"t comment from experience on the RV although many others on here have them and love them.
    But, one or two on here have sold them and opted for a smaller van saying that route planning and parking is much easier now, and of course, there is a saving on the wallet.
    As for living in a smaller van, we spent months at a time away in a much smaller coach built ( we were much younger and slimmer then!) and we soon got used to the reduced space, but we also did a lot of travelling and only really slept in it.
    I can certainly see the benefits of an RV, more space, possibly better equipped, room for everything to be put away.
    However, there are a lot of roomy A Class vans around. They have plenty of living space, in a smaller more economical package. Have you considered one of those?
    We bought a van about the same size and layout as your Swift, our intention is to sell up here, rent a smaller property here, live in the van in Europe while looking for a house in France ( and probably live in the van while we refurbish the house) and spend loads of time touring. We are quite happy to do all that in our van.

    Allan
     
  5. old-mo

    old-mo Funster Extra Special Life Member

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    Don't do it with an RV....

    Decent sized Eurovan one of the bigger engine ones and a small car on a trailer...

    There seem to be problems with a lot of breakdown firms about the cost and how far they will get you home on the premium you have paid...

    An average on a petrol engine RV approx. 6 - 8 MPG,,,, if fitted with LPG system 10 - 14 MPG...

    Only saving grace with a big Yank is the engines do seem to go on forever, providing regular oil changes.... But... there is an awful lot other than the engine to go wrong IE

    Hydraulic Jacks,,, Electric/hydraulic Slides,,, Size of tyres if needed on the continent are a pain to get hold of, Nye-on impossible abroad reasonably available over here, but on the continent you have to think about getting them shipped out.,, Weeks and weeks should you be unlucky and have a windscreen crack/Break.....

    After 8 years with an American.... and all the worries about taking it abroad.... we have reverted to a reasonable size Eurovan...

    Just my take on them,,,,, others will come along and say they are the best thing since sliced bread...

    Each to their own.....

    Good luck whichever road you go down.. :thumb:

    PS... Welcome...
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
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  6. neilydun

    neilydun Read Only Funster

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    I bought my rv earlier this year, so I might not be the best to advise, but here is my take.
    My wife and I have three boy`s at 17, 14 and 13, so really the rv was our best option space wise. We bought a 33' Gulfstream, with 2 side outs. The space really is fantastic, and it suits our needs perfectly. There is lots of room.
    Something to look out for is weight restriction. Lot`s of dealers told us these could be driven on an (old) style driving licence, but anything over 7.5 ton, and you will need an hgv (which me and Emma did last week !). We still have a huge payload, of around 1.7 ton, plus capacity to tow. Many have been re-plated to below 7.5 ton, so can be driven on the old style licence, but then have little or no payload.
    Fuel wise, yes they are very thirsty. But, many have already been converted to lpg. We get roughly 9 mpg, but lpg is half the price of unleaded, so you will get equivalent of about 18, which I don`t think is bad.
    When I first drove mine, I was very daunted, but they seem to shrink around you, and you will get used to it. I have driven around Cornwall and Devon, and live in a very rural area, with single track roads. Most, can be driven, if with a little planning.
    I have only been to 4-5 sites, but have not been refused anywhere because of our size, including caravan club sites.
    For us, recovery/breakdown is included with our insurance.
    If you want to wild camp, you would have the benefit of large holding tanks, and the actual length of ours is comparable to many of the larger Fiat based ones which are parked next to us.
    I can`t say for ferry prices yet, I will find out next year !
     
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  7. christinekontiki

    christinekontiki Read Only Funster

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    Thanks all for your thoughts. The driving license is no problem as Lee is an hgv driver and is totally unfazed about driving anything! I have reservations about driving our Kontiki, so I cant see me having a go on a really big un, but then again, that's what I keep him for :BigGrin:
    I had a look on the other forum as suggested, don't think I will make a member tho. Thanks all the same.
    He is doing his best to convert me and to be honest, I think I might be persuaded. Just so sick of the rat race, and its not getting any better as the weather cools down :cry:
     
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  8. chaser

    chaser Funster

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    Go to kindle store and buy the book called " when Katie pulled Boris" not much£2 maybe but all about someone buying an rv and traveling around Europe :BigGrin:
    Sorry it's How Katie pulled boris
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  9. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    another great factual read in the same vain....

    http://www.europeinamotorhome.co.uk/

    Containing useful tips and historical information, this is a book full of humour, catastrophes and everything else that comes with life on the road.
     
  10. JOHNSTEY

    JOHNSTEY Read Only Funster

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    Having just started our third month in our van it is possible to live quite comfortably in a medium sized van as long as you get on well with your partner.
    However we have now decided we do need a base and are looking to get somewhere in Edinburgh for the summer and Spain for the winter.:thumb:
     
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  11. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    As everyone de facto thinks that their current set up is ideal (or else they would be changing as well :Wink:) you will get a hundred different answers.

    Not everyone's driving skill or experience is the same as yours (for the better of worse) and not everyone is in exactly the same financial situation as you (for the better of the worse) and no one knows how much stuff you want

    I personally have flipped between European and RV several times. Currently on a RV phase.

    have a good look around, listen to advice but make up your own mind

    Good luck

    Eddie
     
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  12. CazPaul

    CazPaul Read Only Funster

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    After doing it ourselves for 2 years in a Hymer S820 my advice is go much smaller.

    In fact we saw quite a few people on year long/fulltiming in much smaller ones than our 8.33metre Hymer. I was quite envious of them, especially with getting around the big cities/fuel consumption/parking on Stellplatze/CL's etc.

    Paul.
     
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  13. Kazrob

    Kazrob Read Only Funster

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    New to this

    Hi my husband and I are also contemplating selling up lock stock and barrel and buying a winterised motorhome to live in and travel down through Spain for the winter months. :Laughing: we are fed up of working our socks off and not getting anywhere. Anyway I am digressing, we have a small autosleeper Harmony (old bless her) and after doing a lot of research we were thinking German motorhomes were the way to go but the new swift is lovely it will pay you to write down what you actually require ie: fixed or twin beds, seperate shower/toilet, cooker etc anyway good luck and have fun:thumb: we can't wait to make the move and leave the rat race behind.
     
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  14. FULL TIMER

    FULL TIMER Read Only Funster

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    There is an alternative to RV or Eurobox, a nice truck conversion, we thought long and hard when deciding to move on from a caravan. We found out after five years fulltiming in a caravan they are in no way built for the job, way to flimsy, and floors far from strong enough to with stand lots of use. Bearing this in mind and the fact that most eurovans are built on the same principle and methods these were soon discounted from our choices. Thought about RV's but again these are really geared up for use in the USA where sites are designed for them, they also don't seem to be very well insulated lot's of issues re running costs and spares etc, but lovely whilst on site and more than capable of living off site in one for at least a couple of weeks. again we decided not for us. This is where the truck came into the forefront I had already built a couple in the past for customers and thought it would be a good solution to our problem, the search started and we came across an ex prison transport vehicle Iveco Eurocargo 75 E 17 and made our minds up that it would make an ideal base vehicle, really well built and insulated box, build our own conversion so exactly as we wanted it ( as much as funds would allow),economical around 18 - 20 mpg, whole thing stands us at less than £14,000 five months later we were living in it and have been ever since. a few pictures here http://www.motorhomefun.co.uk/garage_vehicle.php?do=view_vehicle&id=729
     
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  15. superk

    superk Read Only Funster

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    Chaser -Thanks for the plug for 'How Katie Pulled Boris - Travels with an American Motorhome (RV) in Europe' the Ebook is available on Amazon - the new version paperback is available at Feed-a-Read and listed on Amazon for future delivery.

    Although it's my own book I think you would find it valuable.

    Our situation was very similar Had a 32ft (10metre) RV and did four 6-month winter tours round France and Spain towing a car. Very enjoyable (only two of us) and although we rarely booked ahead it was always a concern what we would find on arrival at a site - could we get in, park up, dispose of waste, have enough electric to run the thing. The car was a necessity as we like to explore rather than sitting stationary. So bigger hops in the RV to allow exploratory expeditions in the car.

    My wife had a concern that if anything 'happened' to me she couldn't drive the RV either legally or, practically. A twisted ankle after a few too many Sangrias might do it!

    We made a dramatic switch to a 5.6 metre Sprinter van conversion by HRZ Reisemobile of Germany. With a pull down double bed we avoided having to make the bed up before we could sit down. It had a good-sized shower separate to the loo so we didn't shower the toilet. It had a fridge, cooker, LPG generator, inverter, 2 full-sized LPG bottles and Gaslow etc fully insulated and and lots of heated storage. The bodywork was only punctured by the diesel fill, LPG fill and heater exhaust (the RV leaked many times despite constant repair)

    As a result we were totally independent and could go anywhere a car could go. Yes, an extreme step and you may not want to go that small but we managed a six-month winter tour to Italy and Sicily wild camping or using sostas and did the Morocco trip. We also lived in it for 3 months between houses. It was a newfound freedom and we felt that was what motorhoming was all about.

    Each is a different kind of experience, both enjoyable and if your attitude is right and you just set out to have fun you will.

    Keith
     
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  16. kex66

    kex66 Read Only Funster

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    We have an RV and really enjoy our time away. Not only do we have our twin boys, we normally take at least one of their school friends (oh, and I almost forgot our boisterous parrot, Bingo!!).

    Without the space and slide out of the RV, we would end up driving each other mad. However, If it was just my wife and myself, we would go for a smaller, diesel engined Eurovan. The RV is a little bit too restricted on where it can go.
     
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  17. christinekontiki

    christinekontiki Read Only Funster

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    Thanks to all - have purchased the book as recomended and love it. Great read and its really funny too.

    Thanks again:thumb:
     
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  18. RVT

    RVT Read Only Funster

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    Touring in an RV

    We are now on our second RV the first was a Coachman 32Ft and now we have a 42ft Fleetwood with 3 side outs. We have travelled all over Europe and up as far as Sweden. The worst country for roads is undoubtedly the UK, The European road network is absolutely no issue at all.
    We used to also book ahead but now we don't bother, obviously you wont be able to fit in to all campsites as they have a limit of 10M2. But that said we never seem to have a problem parking up.

    The luxury and comfort you get when the sides are out and the jack are down far out ways any parking issues. I am of course bias as i haven't owned a European motorhome so I donut have anything to compare it with.
     
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  19. silverado

    silverado Read Only Funster

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    rv

    the bigger the better more room more comfort, if a bus can get down a road you can good look
    :thumb:
     
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  20. dotplus6

    dotplus6 Read Only Funster

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    It's a matter of personal choice but how much room do you need? If you downsize - static is a great idea for the summer months - surely travelling around in an auto trail would be sufficient. Lots of people live in their MH. Why not give it a go in the Auto Trail & then if you find it's too small change at a later date, rather than rushing into it & then regretting it - I imagine those bigger ones are more difficult to sell if you make a mistake.

    I personally wouldn't like to live in the big American type ones as there are definitely areas in France etc which would struggle to take them but as you said, you don't intend to travel too much. And if the weather is good (which I assume you are looking) then will you not mainly be sleeping in it?

    It's a great idea & I'm sure you will love the lifestyle - freedom!

    Dot
     
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