5 Rules of Motorhome Happiness

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In almost 35 years of travelling in motorhomes, we came up with rules of motorhome happiness. We didn’t set out to write them; they grew over time and now we see that we rarely break one

1. Always be ready to go when you own a motorhome.
There is one of the biggest advantages the motorhome has over the caravan. We can move at a moment’s notice. To take advantage of this, we are always ready to go.

Some of the best times we’ve had in a motorhome have been when we were spontaneous. You can only be spontaneous using the motorhome rule of happiness number one. Always be ready to go. By that I mean your toilet will be empty and your fresh water tanks full. You’ll have more than half a tank of fuel and most importantly, you’ll have tea/coffee, UHT milk on board.

Being self-employed. The last 30 or 40 years. It’s rare that my getaways were ever planned; they just appeared, and we’d have to grab them. A day here, a long weekend, maybe even a month. I recall having breakfast in Chichester one morning when I got a call about a job I was about to do was postponed for three weeks. In less than two hours, we were in the queue for a ferry at Portsmouth! We were ready to go. You can’t really do that in a caravan, even if you kept it ready, you’d need sites booking and stuff. So the first rule of Motorhome happiness is, for us at least, one of the most important. Always be ready to go.


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2. Love driving your van

Drive a Motorhome you are comfortable with, and if there are two of you, that you are both happy driving!Too many people have vans they don’t enjoy driving. This is especially so for big vans, vans with large overhangs, and big rigs like American RVs.

When people are not happy driving, they tend to not take them out as much as they should. If you are not looking forward to driving your van, find the reasons and put it right.

We’ve broken this rule, we’ve had larger vans that only one of us can drive, or the other doesn’t enjoy travelling in. Love your van, love driving it and you’ll use it more.

Those of you who dread driving their van and don’t drive it as much are never really get happy with it. Get out more often, get comfortable driving. If this doesn’t happen, say the van is too big, or the manual gearbox is a pain. Swap it out for an automatic or get a smaller van. Honestly, it’s rare that someone really needs a big van, and little vans invariably have bigger and better adventures.

Okay, I know I said rule number two is Love driving your van, but rule number three is..

3. Never drive too far in one go.
Some brag that they do 400 miles in a day, but that’s more like work than fun. Experience has shown us never to travel over four or maybe five hours in one hit. By sticking to this rule The driving doesn’t become a slog, no one gets irritable, no one gets a numb bum. We aim for around 150 to 200 miles, maybe a little more if much of that is motorway.. Adhering to rule three makes rule 4 much easier to keep.


4. Never arrive late and never in the dark.
Always aim to arrive with plenty of daylight to set up and see your surroundings. This gives you a chance to unwind, maybe walk to the shops, cook a meal and enjoy the day. There are also practical reasons for not turning up too late. The French Aire you fancy might be full after 4pm, then you are struggling against the clock to find somewhere else to stay, or even if it has spaces. No one likes their peace shattered by late-comers. No matter where you are camping, arriving late means that the pitch in the sun or the shade is gone.

The nice pitch on the river bank is taken so rather than sit outside listening to the babbling river, you are on that last pitch nobody wanted and all you hear is the splashing at the Elsan point, which you feel is far too close.

5 Two days on the road is followed by two on a site
At least one full day on a site, but preferably two, must follow two full days on the road. We motorhome for recreation, don’t make it a slog. After two days of travelling, make sure you stop for a couple of days, chill out, explore an area. That way, you’ll be totally refreshed and the journey will not feel that much of a slog. The best holidays are the ones where you enjoy the travelling to as much as the arriving.

These are our five rules. You might agree or disagree with them, you may have your own. Let us know in the comments below.
About author
Jim
Jim
Jim is a long time motorhome enthusiast travelling extensively in the UK and Europe. He has owned many motorhomes, British, American and Continental. His present motorhome is an Orange Adria Twin. Jim is married to Siân, has three kid's, a dog and a dozen chickens. He lives at the seaside in sunny Sutton On Sea. You can visit him at this idyllic place

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Great tips Jim, Thank you!

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We are always ready to go, just have to load the food and a few clothes. Should have been away tomorrow on our ’shake-down’ weekend but I tested positive for Covid this morning 🤬
 
Thanks Jim, good advice. I struggle to always keep the motorhome tidy, so getting ready to move is always a bit of a pain. Tips and tricks on ways to stay tidy and storage solutions in a motorhome with not a lot of storage space, would be very welcome!
 
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Excellent advice for all of us, the MH is for pleasure not torture, so we usually spend the first three or four days perhaps 50 km from home, on a site and generally sleeping. Once we have restored energy we move on. Enjoyment and safety must be the premier characteristics.
 
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Thanks Jim, good advice. I struggle to always keep the motorhome tidy, so getting ready to move is always a bit of a pain. Tips and tricks on ways to stay tidy and storage solutions in a motorhome with not a lot of storage space, would be very welcome!
We probably always take too much of everything "just in case". I find 80% of those clothes come home unused and why do we take a weeks shop when there are always shops around? The shower is our best storage space for things that are easy to move out when necessary. Why have we a full set of crockery a d cutlery when there are only two of us. One of our best ideas was to fit a shelf in the garage, not too high but allows all the long things to slide under with everything else on the shelf. Thinking of fitting a similar highveld shelf for tables and chairs etc.
 
Thanks, some good thoughts. My “garage” is about half the size of a small broom cupboard!
 
Agree mostly. Rare that we would be more than one day on the road. We would try and find a stopover for a night if needing two days. I would never travel without booking a site in advance. Seen too many occasions when people turned away even early afternoon. Also would never keep fresh water in the tank for fear of Legionnaire's. Only takes half an hour to put water in, and that's only if you actually need it to travel.
 
I think your Tip 3 is very important, driving too far in one day only makes you tired and irritable. It can be unavoidable sometimes, we drove a long way to find a "France Passion", only to find the owners of the property had taken the signs down as they didn't want to do it any more. Then we had to start looking for an alternative which took another couple of hours. We decided there and then never to drive more than 3 hours to a location, less if we could.
 
I also probably have too much stuff in the van but it's up plated and I live in a tiny housing association flat so walking/cycling gear is kept in the van along with the usual tools, chemicals, camp gear,etc. I have no idea where I would keep it except in the van!! it is my refuge and escape and although it would be easier and cheaper to sell up it's worth the sacrifices to have that ability to just go!!! as Jim says don't go too far - many of my trips are less than 50 miles a day, I've even been known to park up less than a couple of miles from home, just for a change of scene.
 
We aren't always ready to go. We plan when we're going and look forward to it.

When we drive through France, we drive for four or five days. It's never two on two off.
 
Agree mostly. Rare that we would be more than one day on the road. We would try and find a stopover for a night if needing two days. I would never travel without booking a site in advance. Seen too many occasions when people turned away even early afternoon. Also would never keep fresh water in the tank for fear of Legionnaire's. Only takes half an hour to put water in, and that's only if you actually need it to travel.
 
If you have sterilised you drinking water tank prior to flushing and filling their is no chance of getting legionnaires as this is normally contracted in showers or air conditioning units and it’s the droplets inhaled into you lungs not drinking it!!
 
Totally agree with these ‘rules’, really valuable pointers for people setting out on the MH journey. On the occasions that circumstances caused us to ‘break’ them, such as successive traffic jams causing late arrivals at sites, it’s always been messy!!
 
Agree with all of that Jim. Thank you.
Just gone back to a smaller MH that we can keep on the drive again - a return to spontaneity. We prefer sites to pub carparks and like at least a couple of days at stops unless we are in a hurry to get a ferry / eurotunnel.
 
Great advice. Motorhoming is a time to slow down, get on the side roads and discover new places.
 
Excellent stuff JIM!
we often find us bickering around the time of departure. It's pointless when we we both know what we are doing, having done it all many times before.
Advice - just cut some slack to your partner, if it's something forgotten ypu can sort it on the way.
Also it takes a few sleeps to relax properly so just take it easy-it's a holiday
Mike and Ann
 
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