3 Reasons to have maps in your motorhome.


I drive many thousands of miles a year in our motorhome, Mostly I could navigate without the aid of map or satnav as very often I’m heading to places on routes I know well.  However, I’ll admit that many of those are done without looking at a map, relying entirely on my trusty TomTom, (not! see here so latterly a Snooper, Review to follow) to get me where I need to be. We have become so reliant upon these devices and we blindly follow them thinking they know best.


I have a thing for maps, I love them, I can sit and read them like others might read a book, especially the ordnance Survey series that have so much detail. The more you look the more you see. Whilst I’m not saying you should ditch the SatNav; you really should add some good maps to your van. Motorhomes are ideal for exploring, and exploring with a good map is so much more enjoyable and informative. Here are my three reasons for you to get some maps in your van.

1. Maps give you the big picture
The view of the road that your SatNav gives is not really wider than the verge. The Map can give you so much more information. With a SatNav you might drive by the most interesting things not knowing they are there, but with a map, you’ll spot them. Maps might show you campsites you didn’t know about, hidden lanes or beaches, perfect overnight spots or maybe just a nice place with a view to have a cup of tea

2. Maps don’t need a battery.
If your SatNav is like the vast majority, when you remove it from the motorhome for a bit of walking/exploring the battery time is measured in minutes. And even then, the phone or SatNav screen is usually too small for the level of detail you need to best find your way . Maps don’t turn off and die and are always available to show you the direction of your next adventure. If you SatNav freezes just as you reach a junction or 6 exit roundabout (As happened lots with 2 TomTom’s I’ve owned) then without a map you’re snookered. You should always have a map as back up.

3. Maps make it Interesting
With the big picture that maps give, you can learn a lot on a journey, especially when a co pilot is reading as you travel. You’ll spot churches, caves, picnic spots, little hamlets, lunch stops, just of the beaten tracks, woods, rivers, hamlets. All of these become part of the journey and make life far more interesting. Much more so than blindly following that little green triangle on your SatNav where the only highlight of the journey is that John Cleese voice you downloaded, who tells you at the end that “,Even though you have no idea where we’ve been You’ve reached your destination and what a boring drive that was”

Enjoy the new technology, but don’t rely on it entirely, it WILL let you down. Learn to love a map, buy them and study them, learn about the land your travelling through. Once you’ve planned a route with a map you can then program your SatNav to take you on a route that YOU have decided upon. That way you are in charge, you have the best of both worlds and are not blindly following a computerised John Cleese voice.

RV in Narrow Lane

Relying only on your SatNav can get you into trouble.


About Author

Jim is a long time motorhome enthusiast travelling extensively in the UK and Europe. Averaging 12000 motorhome miles a year. He has owned many motorhomes both British and Continental. His present motorhome is a 27ft C class RV.


  1. Briony and R ichard on

    Hi Jim! We are planning to go to Europe this winter,heading for Spain.our motor home is not winterised,so wandering when would be the best time to go? We are not hanging around,heading for southern Spain.were thinking of going Nov,but now think that is too late.we want to go for a few months.wandering if you could give us some advise!! New to mother home forum,can’t get my head around site!!

  2. Ruby and Bert on

    I also love maps, I agree they offer so much more detail, sat navs have their place, but I have class 1HGV and PSV( bus / coach) driving Experience, unless you really know the route you can be in serious trouble.
    I live in the lakes ( Cumbria) not long ago a hgv artic followed sat nav and came to a halt, road was closed for a number of days whilst heavy lifting gear was brought in to rescue the vehicle.

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