Beginners Guide to Motorhoming

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We get so many customers new to motorhoming. here are a lovely couple. In our short article entitled ‘Beginners Guide to Motorhoming’, we go through a short list of things to consider when the idea of living the motorhome lifestyle comes to mind.  A little planning can save you an awful lot of time, effort and cash. For more information please call us on 0115 930 3140

It’s an evocative idea

The word “motorhome” evokes the idea of a motorised home: a home you can take with you when you travel. The design and construction of a motorhome has continued to grow closer and closer to the concept of a real home on wheels. So, what should you expect from your motorhome?

The 6 key areas of a motorhome

Your motorhome can be broken down into six key areas:

  • The cab and belted travelling seats
  • kitchen/food preparation and cooking area
  • bathroom/toilet area
  • living/dining area
  • sleeping area(s)
  • storage areas for personal items – internal and external access

Basic motorhome equipment

Newcomers to the motorhoming lifestyle. let the fun begin!In terms of basic equipment and installations, specifications vary from model to model, with some of the smaller models such as van conversions being less well-appointed due to size limitations.  It’s worth considering what you want, as a minimum, for the type of life you want to lead. In any case, you should expect your motorhome to come equipped with, as standard:

  • LPG gas bottle storage space with regulator and isolator valves
  • 220v-240v AC mains electricity input with circuit breaker and leisure battery charger
  • 12v DC leisure battery system to power lights and equipment
  • Freshwater tank with pump and heating system
  • Waste (sometimes referred to as ‘grey’) water tank
  • Diesel, LPG gas or electric heating system
  • Wash basin with hot/cold tap
  • Cassette toilet system with waste tank (external access)
  • Fridge powered by gas, mains or battery
  • Cooking hob with 2-4 rings, 1 may be electric
  • Kitchen sink with hot/cold tap
  • Oven and grill
  • Microwave oven, in larger vehicles
  • Kitchen extractor fan or ceiling vent
  • Shower with (hopefully) an eco water head
  • TV/radio antenna and wall outlets
  • Stereo system

Extras, Extras, Extras!

another new customer takes delivery of their motorhome. A beginner too!When buying a used motorhome the original owner may well have added loads of extras which may not fit their new van, so these are often included with the used van.  They can often add up to many thousands of pounds in value. This is a major benefit for buying something nearly-new.  Here are some examples of those

  • Wind-out sun awning
  • Bicycle rack (either externally mounted on the rear of the vehicle or within an internal storage space or garage)
  • Reversing camera
  • Roof mounted air conditioning unit
  • External shower point
  • Tow bar and even an A-frame for car or trailer
  • Alarm system and/or tracking system for added security
  • Roof-mounted automatic Satellite TV dish
  • FreeView and FreeSat enabled TV(s)
  • Integrated sat-nav

Your motorhome can be as much – or as little – of a home away from home as you wish. You can take all of your creature comforts with you and enjoy relaxing with the motorhome lifestyle.

Choosing a used motorhome

The main decision criteria, apart from cost, is almost always layout.  The layout of your can make or break your idea of a perfect motorhome.  It will constrain the way you want to live and sleep and that’s likely to be the top priority.

It might be worth looking at the layouts of various vans that meet your needs.


Motorhoming Abroad

With the British weather leaving much to be desired this year so far, it has led us to thinking about where to find that little bit of sunshine in our motorhomes. So, whether you want to wander the beaches of Spain or explore the clear lakes in France, we’ve got some helpful points to help you when motorhoming abroad.

Motorhomes Travelling Abroad

Getting out of the country

With the number of Brits venturing abroad in their motorhomes increasing year-on-year, the concept of getting your beloved tourer across seas is getting even easier.

There are two options, either on a Ferry or on the Eurotunnel. If you decide to travel by ferry ensure you fill in all the dimensions accurately when booking in, for example the overall length and height must include any fixtures and fittings, such as bike racks.

For travelling on the Eurotunnel it’s important to know your vehicles dimensions so you know if you need to be on the standard carriages, single deck carriages or freight service. On the Eurotunnel you are able to take your LPG/gas tanks abroad easily, providing they are a maximum 47kg, turned off and less than 80% full.

Staying above board

When driving in Europe some, or a lot, of laws can change and unfortunately for us, being foreign doesn’t cut it with the police. We’ve recalled just a few below, but we recommend checking the specific country laws that you’re going to for any additional requirements.

Number plates. If you don’t have a Euro plate (12 stars with a GB) you are required by law to attach a GB sticker to the rear of the vehicle when travelling in Europe.

Speed limits. The way speed limits work for motorhomes in Europe is fairly similar to those in Britain. There are different speed limits for motorhomes under 3.5kg and those over this weight. Although these are not consistent throughout all European countries, you can find out more here:

Satellite navigation systems. In most European countries it is illegal for sat navs to actively search for mobile speed cameras. If travelling in France, Germany and Switzerland sat navs can’t warn for fixed speed cameras. In both instances you must turn off these functions in settings.

Breathalysers in France. Due to a lack of supply of suitable breathalysers it is no longer a legal requirement to carry a breathalyser when travelling in France. That being, it is still strongly recommended and once the supplies have increased, the legislation will come back into place (so depending when you read this blog it could be legal). Of course driving drunk is strictly prohibited so if you really yearn to drink that wine reach for some non alcoholic alternatives.

In these European countries it is law that headlights are on at all times: Croatia (winter months), Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.

Vehicles over 12 metres in Spain. If you’re travelling to Spain and your vehicle (including any fixtures, trailers or attached cars) is over 12 metres you must use two small or one large marker boards on the rear of your vehicle. These are made of aluminium, manufactured to ECE70 standard, be positioned between 50cm and 150cm from the ground and plain yellow with a red outline.

If you’re adventures tourers and are heading to Europe for the vast biking, there’s a few things to bare in mind. Bikes must be carried at the rear of caravans or motorhomes in Portugal. In Spain and Italy overhanging loads, such as bike racks, must be indicated by a 50 x 50 panel with reflective red and white diagonal stripes. In Italy these must be aluminium, in Spain they can be aluminium or plastic.

Keeping the cost down

Europe is significantly more welcoming to motorhomes than the UK. Between camper stops and wild camping being widely accepted, you can keep the cost of European motorhoming holidays to a minimum, providing you have a motorhome that you can cook in, carry drinking water, sleep in and have an on-board toilet.

Firstly, camper stops; these are available free of charge in most European countries and offer a place to stay, they range from carparks in towns to beachside spots. Although camper spots are stops and not a campsite, therefore you can’t set up a tent or awning, hang out laundry or sit outside with tables and chairs.

Secondly, wild camping; although illegal on the most part in England and Wales, in most European countries it is accepted, and you will find a host of ‘tolerated’ spaces on your journey. However, if you find a secluded spot you want to spend the night, the most that Police will do is ask you to move along.

If you decide to venture even further afield from Europe, we advise checking other countries laws, speed limits and special requirements. But for now, happy touring in that little bit of sunshine.

Help from other websites

Here are some popular links to other websites that you may want to visit

The Camping and Caravanning Club – New to Motorhomes

Practical Motorhomes – motorcaravanning for beginners

Out & About Live – Beginners Guide to Motorhoming

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