HomeBuying a MotorhomeShould We Buy a Motorhome? Dream to Reality.

Should We Buy a Motorhome? Dream to Reality.

This is a question being asked increasingly often. With ever-growing numbers of people dreaming of owning a motorhome.

Should we buy a motorhome?

Motorhomes have never been so popular as they are today. It wasn’t always this way. In the UK the Caravan has long been king of the tourers. It probably still is, but for how long?

Thirty years ago, we would pull onto sites in our Auto-trail Pullman with its corrugated sides and a full Indian War Bonnet motive on the back and we’d often be the only motorhome among a sea of caravans.

Driving slowly around a site looking for our pitch number, we would get stared at by caravaners. Not your normal nosey stares. These were long and lingering, like the ones reserved for noisy strangers in a village pub.

During our stays, we’d often get caravaners doing the slow walk past our pitch to get a good look at our van. We’d hear them talk about on-board water tanks or about how those poor people are now completely stuck on site without a car.

Times change

Today it’s commonplace for motorhomes to be in the majority on sites. Now it’s the Motorhomers dishing out the long stares, being entertained while watching caravaners struggle to reverse or do battle with awning erections (divorce in a bag) and roll water to their vans in cute little plastic beer-type barrels.

So why the popularity explosion?

Despite the high prices, and their limitations, the last 20 years have seen motorhome popularity ever increasing. Then Covid came along and during that first lockdown in 2020, the interest went into overdrive. Dealers were selling more vans, sight unseen, over the internet, than they had, pre-covid, the previous year!

COVID-19 aside, This incredible hike in the motorhome’s popularity has been largely driven by some amazing marketing. If you succumb, it’s very difficult to think of anything else. You need a motorhome.

Masterclass in Marketing

Makers stuff brochures and websites with pictures and video, pushing this dream hard; seducing prospective buyers with stunning images of motorhomes parked on glorious beaches or on the grounds of a deserted castle; sat alone in lush meadows or parked by that pristine lake.

Buying a Motorhome. In 35 years of looking at Motorhome Brochures, Never seen a van on a campsite

In those pictures we see a good-looking mum and dad with two cute looking kids who will either be playing swing ball or carrying a canoe back from the water, their dog scampering alongside.

The scene might also show wet suits hanging to dry. Body-boards straight from the surf will be in shot, as will four bicycles leaning against a tree. This is the dream; the perfect holiday awaits.

All the makers do it, they show us motorhomes in so many beautiful places, and it’s a dream that is easy to buy into.

Dealer Brochure Pictures

Looking to buy a motorhome? All these brochure photos selll a dream.
All of these pictures are from dealers brochures. Not a campsite or neighbour in sight.

They sell the dream hard!

So, you’ve decided you and your family can do with some of that. You’ve invested your life savings and/or got an enormous loan. You’ve bought a motorhome. You’ve loaded it with your sweet looking kids, the dog, body boards, bikes and all your gear.

You are probably illegally overloaded on that first trip, but the dealer never mentioned payload and ignorance is bliss. (That’s a story for another time. Or just search “Payload” on MotorhomeFun)

When you want to buy a motorhome. makers sell you a dream

And we’re off

So where are you going to go? You get online looking for campsites and they are harder to book than you think. You discover that to get your preferred weekends; you need to book well in advance, and someone told you if that if is a bank holiday weekend, then it might be a year in advance!

You finally find a site with a pitch available. You set off, and the excitement is high.

Great Expectations

On the drive, your mind wanders to those pictures you’ve seen in the motorhome brochures, the rivers, lakes, sea and sand.

The site you’ve chosen is close to the sea and you imagine waking up to the waves crashing into the sand. You can’t wait.

Dream Meets Reality

When you arrive, your dream meets reality. You realise that nowhere in the brochures did they show you a van on an actual busy campsite? (In my thirty years of motorhome experience, Ive never seen a brochure with a picture of a motorhome on a regular campsite. ) You drive around looking for your pitch. And as far as the eye can see, it’s

caravan, awning, windbreak, car, BBQ, next to a | Motorhome, awning BBQ which os opposite | caravan, awning, windbreak, car, BBQ, behind a | Motorhome, awning BBQ and so on.

I’m sure you’re getting the picture. Then the Kids whizzing inches by on bikes. You struggle to park up and find there is no escaping the smoke from your neighbours barbie. You don’t feel hungry.

If, like me, the site you’ve chosen might put you in mind of the large grubby but friendly council estate you grew up on; the one you worked hard to leave behind.

Almost out loud, you mutter that this is nothing like those brochures, while the two dogs opposite continually bark, and the ball hits your van. The Dream ends, it’s become a nightmare.

Is that all I can expect?

OK, I have painted the worst scenario. Yes, those sites exist and judging by their popularity, plenty of people actually enjoy them.

But are you ever going to park up in that meadow, or have breakfast alone on that beach, just like in that brochure?

Maybe you are. Funsters took all the dream photos below. While most of the sites you visit will be pleasant enough, don’t expect them to match those in that sales blurb.

Should we buy a motorhome?

Yes. Buy a motorhome; once you get past the fact that the dealers are selling you a dodgy dream, your initial disappointment will fade as you quickly discover the real benefits of ownership, which are difficult to put in a brochure.

There is something just so damn exciting about packing van and heading off and being self sufficient. Even today, after a busy 35 years of motorhome ownership, that excitement hasn’t faded.

Years ago, packing the 3 super animated kids into the van for a trip in the summer holidays built fantastic memories. This last weekend, decades later, just the two of us head off in our van excited to be meeting up with friends in a city centre aire to watch a game of rugby. .

The Takeaway

The reality is nothing like they have sold you when you were making the decision to buy a motorhome but it’s not all bad news because when you buy a motorhome the reality is often much better than the manufacturers concocted dreams. You won’t park on too many beaches or in wonderful meadows alongside streams.

However, the reality can be way cooler! Picture yourself squeezing into an old French aire (kind of like an old, unkempt car park chock full of vans). Yes, you’re a little too close to your neighbour. If you both open your doors at the same time, they might touch. What an awful picture for a brochure!

But here you’re just steps away from an amazing, friendly French town or village, small boutiques, cafés, the morning baguette. Stunning pastries that take as long to wrap prettily as they took to bake. Cycle rides through the forest. A castle on a hill with footpaths to the top. Forget the boring brochure shot–you’ll want to stay here for days! Motorhomes are much more than parking up in a pretty meadow.

In another article, we’ll outline where you can take your motorhome at home and abroad and use it as a base for your adventures. Meanwhile, enjoy some photos below, not one from a brochure, all taken by Funsters

Real images  by real motorhome owners

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