10 Photo’s That Should Be on Every Motorhome Owners Phone


Prior to the digital age, we always carried a cardboard document folder in the motorhome. This folder held photocopies of important things like passports, driving licences, insurance ect. Given that we would only need this folder if something was wrong; I identified it with wide black marker pen, and 1” high letters across the front “Shit Happens”

Then, when the kids learned to read, my wife provided us with a new folder and in neater writing the name for this folder was abbreviated to “Shapps”. And that was how it became known. We would add items we thought we might need in an emergency to our Shapps File.

We Went Digital
Not any more. Our Shapps file is digital, and carried on our phones. It’s now so easy to take pictures of important items that you might need should something happen.

However, as you are no doubt aware, if this important photo is stored along with all your thousands of other photos, you might struggle to find it.

Phone software differs, but it’s possible on most phones to add captions to photos that you can search for later. But it is better if you can place the photo somewhere where you can easily find it. Such as in a notes app. You can make a note, call it Shapps and add photos to the note.

A better solution for us was WhatsApp
We have a WhatsApp group called Shapps. We post pictures, scans, notes to it, it’s really easy to do and the photos are quick to find. WhatsApp is secure enough for us, with end-to-end encryption, and if one of us loses our phone, anyone in the WhatsApp group still has access to the files.

I also have a backup of all those images in a password protected Dropbox folder, so if in a real disaster we both lost phones, we could reach those items from any computer anywhere in the world.

So what sort of photos and scans are in our Shapps File?
Just looking at ours I can see;

  1. Driving licences
  2. Passports
  3. Vaccination cards
  4. Prescriptions or drug boxes
  5. Medical History
  6. Motorhome Log book/V5 and MOT
  7. Motorhome Insurance
  8. Motorhome Vin number
  9. Travel insurance
  10. Membership Cards

Start a Shapps file today and hopefully you’ll never need it. Don’t make one and it’s guaranteed that you’ll wish you had!
About author
Siân is a long time motorhome enthusiast travelling extensively in the UK and Europe. She has owned many motorhomes, British, American and Continental. His present motorhome is an Orange Adria Twin. Siân is married to Jim, has three kid's, a dog and a dozen chickens. She lives at the seaside in sunny Sutton On Sea. You can visit her at this idyllic place

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Not at all recommended to do from a security point of view. I work in IT, having worked in data for 20+ yrs. Do NOT create a file in WhatsApp (which is NOT secure as the article mentions) and most certainly don't allow others in the same group to have visibility to those files. Unfortunately, this article has been written by someone with little or no knowledge of data security.
Reactions: kev54
Can you point me to a system for holding/retrieving data online that is 100% safe? No, I didn’t think could. You say to give no one access, but why shouldn’t my wife join my WhatsApp group, where we’ll store our low-risk information? When her having access, if something happens to me or my equipment, is the whole point? We all know that no online storage/retrieval is 100% safe. The end-to-end encryption used by systems like WhatsApp and Signal is good enough for me and the data I store there. Balancing risk and reward is what you learn in a 35+ year security career.
Going to do this . What a brilliant idea
Excellent Jim will follow your advice and create our own Shapps file.


I’ve got my Shapps stuff on my phone but hadn’t really thought it through. There’s a mush mash of photos, files (in different folders), notes and miscellaneous stuff who knows where. Having just watched a video last week on YT of a young British couple watch their moho go up in flames on a drive in the USA, and now your tip, I must get my sh*t in order in a Shapps folder.
I also keep a full album of photos of our motorhome and any little distinguishing marks on the body work and interior, just in case the worst happens.
I know somebody who’s motorhome was stolen but found it weeks later advertised on Autotrader and the police were able to recover it using his photos.
That’s great thanks Jim got a lot of the stuff dotted around like confetti but nothing in any sort of order - today’s task! 😊
Have all this still in paper and digital but the WhatsApp idea is brilliant. Thank you. I’m sure this will help many.
Great suggestion Jim. Two condom job here. 'Phones' and old school paper in a folder for when there is zero phone coverage or some funky wants to take the info away.
If you don't already use a password vault, I can highly recommend it. I use free Bitwarden. You can create categories of secure information such as home, shopping, travel, etc, and save logins, door codes, credit card details, shopping sites, (Dartford crossing password!). Surprising how many items you build up, mine has over 250. It got me out of a hole this week when I wanted to test-drive a car and had forgotten to bring my driving licence. I was able to bring up a photo of it and show it to the sales rep.
Yes. One local copy with you or in vehicle (in case the internet is not working) and one on any of the online backup/file sharing apps. Most give you a few Gb's for free which is enough for documents and usually the next step up in storage is cheap and enough for photo's. (iCloud, Dropbox, Onedrive, Google Drive, etc).
I have used Evernote for this for years and so it can also be accessed by any computer using the login, as well as running on my iPhone.
Brilliant idea. I have paper copies in a file but will soon have a digital copy for my trip to France in july
Prior to COVID (and owning a Motorhome) Julie and I travelled abroad several times a year, so I keep all important documents and relevant photos in a folder on my gmail so that it is accessible world-wide.
Of course, this does rely on an internet connection!

I like the idea of the memory stick as a back up.
We do the same, I also had all the childrens’ NI numbers, I lost track of the number of times when we were away that we’d get a call when they were students or soon after “Mum what’s my NI number?” . I’ve probably still got them in fact. Worth doing for anyone with Student age children unless of course yours are perfectly organised! I still have their NHS numbers and Passport numbers.
In the early days of the Internet I sent myself photos of all of the important documents. So much easier to do today but security is always an issue
i have a usb stick on the van keys with a photo and copy of every doc, manual, instruction book and receipt
See your thinking but if you loose them or they are stolen, they own not only the keys to your van and possibly house, but also proof of ownership….
Thanks Jim really great suggestions. I was a bit confused that you were referring to the current UK Transport Secretary - then I realised... ;)! Oops - no politics here!
I love this idea and will be creating my own file before our next trip. Thanks for this, very helpful.
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Siân Brown
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