Caravanners but thinking of becoming motorhomers

Aug 11, 2014
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Hi
We've been caravanning for 30 years and are now thinking of making the step up to motorhoming. The thought of not hitching up, leg winding, awning setting up arguments, is becoming more and more enticing.

We've looked at a few layouts and know roughly what we want but one question is still bugging us. We've always said we would only motorhome if we were able to tow a small car, having been the "wheels" for a number of motorhomers over the years! We're not great walkers (although we ought to!) nor are we great cyclists. Our typical caravan holiday is to find a site, stay there and drive out for trips.

Have any of you motorhomers out there made a similar move from caravanning , have you changed your holidaying style and what are your thoughts?:confused::confused::confused:
 

Inthezone

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We made the move a couple of years ago, and tow a Smart car on an A frame, we use sites, THS. CLs as we used to plus now we stop over in many other places including beaches that allow motorhome parking, we don’t wild camp for free as I believe that if I can afford a motorhome then I can afford a few quid for fees to park, all in all its given us another dimension to our camping
 
Jul 26, 2014
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Hi I made the change two years ago ,and originally found it difficult to get around and see the places I wanted ,I don't ride a bike and am partially disabled , however with a little perseverance and the help of Google and site information such as uksites etc. I found loads of sites near public transport ,now I tevel in sitting on a bus to my chosen destination for the day without having to find and pay for parking. Of course I do have a OAP bus pass. So I am loving life now I spend most of my summer months touring in my motorhome which I call Khizzie .. Don't be afraid of taking that step up it makes life so much easier...Roy
 

funflair

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We changed from a caravan to a MH just over two years ago, we argued that as we cycle and walk a fair bit and very rarely used the car when we were out in the caravan we would be OK.

We are fine, but you might start by going away in the caravan and see how you get on not using the car. The continent would be different to be fair as there are more motorhome facilities close to towns whereas the camp sites tend to be further out.

You might look at electric bikes if you wanted a bit of assistance when you get tired.
 
Nov 6, 2013
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We changed after tugging for 20 years. Best thing we ever did and we wish we had done it much earlier.
I guess we have changed our holidaying style a bit as we no longer stay in one place longer that a couple of days. You get to see so much more in the time available.
We also find that we use the MoHo more that twice as much as the caravan due to the ease of just getting in and driving away (y)
We just have a couple of old bikes for when public transport is not available.
If you want to travel abroad then a motorhome is the sensible option as they are really geared for this type of holidays.
Whatever you decide.......enjoy!!!!
 

mikebeaches

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We had a touring caravan for many years; camping under canvas too - but, as others have mentioned, a motorhome does add a new dimension. But it does have some drawbacks too, which have been alluded to above.

We've considered towing a small car, but have avoided it so far - personally, I think it would be similar to having a caravan (but that's just a personal opinion, and plenty of others will disagree because they find the set-up invaluable - 'horses-for-courses').

At risk of generalising, unless you buy a huge motorhome, or you currently have a very small caravan - you will initially think a MH is less spacious than a c'van. But it all depends how you use it. And for us, one of the biggest single advantages of the MH - surprisingly - is having swivel cab seats (captain's chairs), that make really comfortable and adjustable armchairs when parked up relaxing. They also use space very effectively.

As you realise, the other obvious advantage is the ease and freedom of pitching up, and moving on again. Arrive at campsite or parking area, apply handbrake, turn off ignition - DONE! Fresh water is already on board, waste water is held in a second tank on-board - so little to worry about. Oh, perhaps turn the gas on so you can brew a fresh cup of tea.

We've got a 6-metre long van, so fairly easy to park when out and about for the day. But again, you 'pay your money and take your pick', regarding size.

Good luck, whatever you decide.

Mike
 
OP
Millie's Mum and Dad
Aug 11, 2014
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Thanks for all your really helpful responses.

Our caravan is an 18' (int length) with fixed bed, so yes, Mike, most of the MHs we've looked at seem a lot less spacious, and there seems to be quite a lot of dark wood about too, which doesn't help! But when you dispense with the fixed bed idea, that opens up a lot of options. Unfortunately the MHs we seem to home in on are the 7m ones but that's obviously because the floor space is similar.

What do most motorhomers do about the daily shop? (bearing in mind that typical fridges don't hold much more than a day or two's supply) Does it form part of your move from site to site? And do you find you can typically park your MH in the supermarket car park, whether here in the UK or in France?

Ann
 
Apr 18, 2009
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Hi and welcome to fun Ann, as we are almost always on the move and visiting towns and villages, we pick up our shopping as and when its needed and don't forget as you now have a motorhome its not compulsory to use sites every time, we usualy find a nice quiet little spot somewhere about 4pm and that will do us for the night(y)

And yes parking in supermarkets is quite ok subject to the normal 2hour max
 
Nov 30, 2009
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Hello
:welc:
Do you mean the old "what happens if you run out of milk?" Chestnut? ::bigsmile:

If I had a £1 for every time a caravanner has said that to me.....

Most people use a Motorhome different to how people use caravans.
Most motorhomers don't turn up to a site, spend hours putting up the awning and filling it with dream catchers , standard lamps ,tables, settees ,carpets and other bits of tat ;) Then stay there for 2 weeks.
( though some do granted )
They generally move about after a day or so. That's the beauty of owning a Motorhome. So you tend to Take a few bits of food ,drink , milk. Then stock up elsewhere on your travels.
We've had 4 caravans before the Motorhome.
You are at an advantage. Because you know which layout suits you. We got it right first time with ours too. Many say it takes a few vans to do that. Which can be an expensive thing.
We wanted a nice lounge area. We didn't like the train cabin and table , set up most vans had when wanting extra seat belts in the back.
We also wanted a proper shower cubicle fridge and cooker , grill , hob.

Go with a list of wants . Remember you can't smell a photograph!
Make sure you get the lounging comfort you had with your caravan.
Be prepared to blow your original budget.

We don't regret becoming motorhomers. We love the freedom.

But we would become "shed draggers" again if we had to . We enjoyed the caravans we had. As we used them for weekend breaks much as we use the Motorhome. Cl's DA's and rallies .

I don't think we would have enjoyed our recent trip to the outer Hebrides in a caravan as much as we did the Motorhome though. In fact that trip has made us realise we want to do our next stage of motor homing , earlier than planned. We are going down the panel van conversion . The new van won't be here till November . Ralph's squirrelling away bits and bobs daily
Happy hunting. Don't rush into anything.
 

GJH

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Taking up Bev's point about a list of wants. The list I drew up is available for download as a PDF from Here. It will suit where it touches but it may be easier for you to start your own list then from a blank piece of paper.
 

Tootles

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What do most motorhomers do about the daily shop?
We shop for our next 'stay', by checking out the local supermarkets, or those en-route, on Goggle Earth. That way, you can also check if they have a car perk barrier! Shop, then stop. Anything smallish we have forgotten, well, most of that you can get from a local store, (milk etc), by having a walk, or using your bus pass. Bike's also available if we want a peddle.
We find that we walk a lot more, don't use as much fuel as when towing, and hey, after 40 years 'tugging', I had it up to the teeth playing 'dodge the lorry'. With a MH, you stop, plug in, brew up, RELAX!! No taking the aqua roll for a stroll, or likewise a grey water wheelie bin, or winding the legs down. Best move we ever made!!
 
Oct 29, 2008
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We chose a van with a larger fridge so can manage quite a time if we wish, however as we travel we enjoy buying fresh local produce. We have a longer van but you would be surprised where you can take it.
 
Jun 6, 2012
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OK in order of priority

Weight, Weight, Weight. Ensure you fully understand about the payload and GVW etc and what the Motorhome is plated at etc. Both me and my Dad had to uprate our vans as the payloads were grossly inadequate when we bought them. Never trust a dealers word on this. get it to a weighbridge and do the maths.

Layout and damp, but you know this from caravans

France is brilliant in a Motorhome and cheaper using aires de camping car and municipal sites, both are often situated very close to local towns and facilities. The UK is better for caravans as campsites are often out of the way and you need to rely on either bikes, public transport or towing a car (which I prefer not to do).

Our van takes a few minutes to prepare to travel. its much less hassle than a caravan so moving it is not a chore. Supermarket car parks are not a problem either in the UK or France

I recommend buying Jims book about buying a motorhome

Steve
 

Carol

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Think the jist is pretty clear, a lot of us have been tuggers for many years before changeing to a motorhome, to my mind when you have children the benefits of the caravan out way the motorhome, but when it's solo or a couple the motorhome comes into it's own.

So much easier than having to consider the caravan towing behind, unacceable places become reality, the freedom to roam in Scotland brings a freedom that can't be had with a caravan, and as for Europe a motorhomes dream. You know what it's all about from your experience with the caravan. Give it a try and I bet you will wish you had done it sooner.
 

jonandshell

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Our 150 litre Thetford fridge will supply us and 2 kids for 2 weeks!
What's this daily shop business?:Eeek:::bigsmile:
 

DuxDeluxe

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We chose a van with a larger fridge so can manage quite a time if we wish, however as we travel we enjoy buying fresh local produce. We have a longer van but you would be surprised where you can take it.
Yep, that's us as well......... Heading off to Malvern very early Thursday morning (via the dealer for a small warranty fix) and keep thinking "oh must get ready for the trip" chuck some duvet covers in, a towel, throw some water in the tank and a few bits in the fridge. 10 minutes, job done!

We do have an industrial size fridge in the van so don't have to plan too closely - big fridge was a big bonus
 

Bertie Bassett

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Thanks for all your really helpful responses.

Our caravan is an 18' (int length) with fixed bed, so yes, Mike, most of the MHs we've looked at seem a lot less spacious, and there seems to be quite a lot of dark wood about too, which doesn't help! But when you dispense with the fixed bed idea, that opens up a lot of options. Unfortunately the MHs we seem to home in on are the 7m ones but that's obviously because the floor space is similar.

What do most motorhomers do about the daily shop? (bearing in mind that typical fridges don't hold much more than a day or two's supply) Does it form part of your move from site to site? And do you find you can typically park your MH in the supermarket car park, whether here in the UK or in France?

Ann

Welcome from someone who's a newbie to the site but been motorhoming since 1988 in six different vans. All the useful advice has already been given except that having had a very large vehicle with a scooter on the back we've now downsized. When we get somewhere we really like we go online and hire a car, best price we've got so far is £11.85 a day and on that occasion we hired a nippy Fiat 500 with air con for ten days. Don't 'walk in' as we did the first time we hired in Arles, that worked out at about £22.50 a day. For local stuff we've got bikes on the back. Go for it, you won't regret the change.
 

mikebeaches

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Thanks for all your really helpful responses.

Our caravan is an 18' (int length) with fixed bed, so yes, Mike, most of the MHs we've looked at seem a lot less spacious, and there seems to be quite a lot of dark wood about too, which doesn't help! But when you dispense with the fixed bed idea, that opens up a lot of options. Unfortunately the MHs we seem to home in on are the 7m ones but that's obviously because the floor space is similar.

What do most motorhomers do about the daily shop? (bearing in mind that typical fridges don't hold much more than a day or two's supply) Does it form part of your move from site to site? And do you find you can typically park your MH in the supermarket car park, whether here in the UK or in France?

Ann
No need to dispense with the fixed bed in a smaller van - we've got a 'semi'-fixed bed, which is made up all the time (including a memory foam topper), and is ready to climb into in less than 10 seconds by releasing a catch.

http://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/Motorhomes/Reviews/Motorhomes/Chausson-Flash-S2-2011-motorhome-review/_ch1_rw530_pg1

A big advantage for us is that we also have a huge bathroom and dressing room across the full length of the back, as large as in many RVs.

But there are lots of other 6m MHs, or thereabouts, that have full-fixed beds - French-style and transverse ones.

Our fridge isn't especially large, but we have no difficulty storing food for 3-4 days, or longer. Maybe a bit of planning required. But as others have mentioned, just call in to a supermarket as you're passing on your travels, or buy local produce.

Oh, and slightly off-topic, check out BritStops http//:www.britstops.com - free overnight camping, often at farm shops and other interesting places - not easy to do that with a caravan.

And finally, as lots have mentioned, travelling in the motorhome in France, and in fact most of the continent, is so much easier than in the UK.

Mike

PS Loved the comment from Ralph-n-Bev about the Outer Hebrides - really enjoyed wild camping there in our MH but, like them, wouldn't have fancied going with a caravan.
 

musson

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Hi we changed to a MH this year after having caravan on and of for 25 years,we use electric bikes and local buses (maybe get tow car one day) the first van only had 2 seat belts and 4 berths I would make sure your van has 4 seat belts in case you want to take someone with you other than that choose what layouts suits you
maybe join motorcaravaners club Regards Paul ps dont think i would go back to caravan
 
May 16, 2014
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We too have caravanned for in excess of 30 years! We bought our first motohome in May of this year and our only regret is that we didn't do it 5 years earlier.

We had these thoughts:
  1. you need to pacjk everything away when you have a motorhome even if you are only going out for an hour - answer - we are actually fairly tidy and put most things away after we have used them so no problem there then
  2. you don't have as much space in a motorhome - Our Elddis Aspire gives us as much space as the Sterling Eccles ruby (both fixed beds you notice) that we traded in for it.
  3. motorhomes are better suited to a touring holiday rather than the static week or two - absolutely true - but that is exactly what we had been doing for the last few years after the kids had (mainly) gone.
  4. We use the caravan at home as an extra bedroom when relataives and friends visit - and we have done that with the motor home too!
  5. Fuel consumption will be better with the car - well, it is when the car is solo but we are getting very similar figures with the MH as when we were towing.
  6. parking it at home is easier - definitely!
Bonus points
  1. When you go to stock up the fridge etc you do not have to hurry back to the van before everything defrosts - you have just brought your fridge with you.
  2. Forget the daily trudge with the water and waste containers - drive accross every few days and fill up/drain down - much less effort
  3. Daytrips with the grandkids are far better - water on tap, picnic in the fridge, toilet always available, cup of tea (to our taste and a lot cheaper than most cafes) whenever you want them
  4. france and other european countries cater very well for motorhomes
Minus points
  1. some towns in UK (Whitney in Oxfordshire recent example) do not provide MH friend;y parking spaces
 
Jul 5, 2013
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Most of what I wanted to say has been said. We used to be tuggers when the kids were younger and used the caravan in exactly the same way as you do. A quick tiring dash for the sun, a long time setting it up then stay put. Not anymore for us, but if that is still what you still want then I think you should keep the caravan.

Now we arrive on site/aire/cl early ish, take 10 minutes max setting up then relax and watch the awning arguments develop (been there got that T shirt) on the adjacent pitches. Very entertaining with a glass of wine in your hand.

A couple of days at most and then move on somewhere else that looks interesting
 

GJH

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(snip)
Minus points
  1. some towns in UK (Whitney in Oxfordshire recent example) do not provide MH friend;y parking spaces
But there is http://www.motorhomeparking.co.uk/ to help :D(y)

In the case of Witney specifically, the multi-storey car park has height barriers (which MSP doesn't? :)) but none of the other car parks do. See Here.
 

JeanLuc

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In support of Witney, all council-run parking in West Oxfordshire is free, although the car parks may not have spaces large enough for a motorhome. About three years ago I had to attend a meeting in Witney and as my car was out of action, had to go in the Hymer. I could only find on-street parking near the town centre, limited to two hours, but free. As the two hour point was approaching, I left the meeting and ran back to the motorhome to see a parking warden walking towards it. I arrived, out of breath, and explained my situation. 'Don't worry' was the response - 'leave it there and we'll keep an eye on it for you'. I have never experienced anything like that anywhere else.
 

simply

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Changng after thirty years doing the same thing is of course going to be strange, however, I think you have already answered your own questions. You are ready for a change or you wouldn't even be thinking about it let alone posting on here!

Having swapped my dearly loved caravan for a little camper this year I have absolutely no regrests and amazingly never miss the caravan. Maybe that is because I am out and about enjoying myself so much. I love the additional freedom and moving about on a whim. I was prepared to downsize considerably in favour of more movability. I think this is where your focus needs to be: indoor comforts v manoeuvrability.

Work out what is important to you then choose a 'van the appropriate size. On one end of the scale you can pop out anywhere in a tiny camper which can be parked in any high street or car-park so who needs a big fridge etc ? whereas with an enormous RV you are going to need to plan your trips and once you have landed are no more likely to move it than your caravan. Consider where on that scale suits you best, brave the change and go for it!

Interestingly, although I hear of folk that don't always choose the right motorhome first off, I never seem to hear of folk going back to caravanning after making the change !
 

tambo

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I started off at 17 with vw campers I had several splits, bays , t25, and t4s. ...had kids and needed more space so towed a caravan with the t4s for years but hated the stress of towing and all that setting up awnings fetching water like jack and Jill every 5 mins and was then tied to campsites which I hated .........It was more work than a holiday ...changed to mh in 2008 had about 4 before finding the layout that worked best for me

Now it's a holiday :) and true freedom I go where I like when I like :)
 
Jul 26, 2014
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:party2:
I started off at 17 with vw campers I had several splits, bays , t25, and t4s. ...had kids and needed more space so towed a caravan with the t4s for years but hated the stress of towing and all that setting up awnings fetching water like jack and Jill every 5 mins and was then tied to campsites which I hated .........It was more work than a holiday ...changed to mh in 2008 had about 4 before finding the layout that worked best for me

Now it's a holiday :) and true freedom I go where I like when I like :)
 
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