Caravan owner changing to motorhome

Sep 20, 2020
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I’ve been a caravan owner for 30 years. Now I’m thinking of getting a motorhome instead. I realise that this will change the touring experience significantly but...in what ways? And, if you’ve travelled the same path, what are the issues you’ve had to deal with? Do you regret it?
 
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Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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Welcome to the Forum.
I have had both types of units, Motorhome and Caravan and they both have good bits and bad bits.With a Motorhome , depending on its size, it is prohibited from using a lot of car parks as they are too high to pass under height restriction bars and many of the parking bays are too small.
Also every time you want to go anywhere you have to pack everything away and the unpack it when you return.

It can happen that when you leave for a day out you come back to find someone else has pitched on your spot.

With a caravan as you well know there is the towing, setting up and packing up, but you have a base to return to and it is cheaper to use the towing vehicle for trips out, easier parking etc.

No doubt others will add their view as well.
 
Feb 23, 2018
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I've never owned a Motorhome, but our first experience with a rented VW Type2 campervan quickly put us off; specially the packing up when you want to go out. Especially If you have the type of holiday with a 'base' and then explore the area from there, so that let us to go down the caravan route.

However, I was quite envious of the Hymer B-Class MasterLine parked in the beach carpark in Bude a few weeks ago. Your own toilet and shower after a day at the beach. But then trying to find parking in somewhere like Padstow, post-lockdown, with no park and ride operating, would be fun with an enormous motorhome - So you tow a little city car, which seems to defeat the purpose of a motorhome.
 
Mar 17, 2020
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In New Zealand they call them "ROAD MAGGOTS"

Now don't let that put you off of course! :cool::cool:
 
Jan 3, 2012
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Welcome to the forum i to fancy a Motorhome but it put me off when you going to shops you might have a problem parking it unless you are fit and taking some electric bikes to get about if not taking a small car than means you towing it you are paying for tax , insurance , & MOT on your motorhome and they are very expensive to buy .
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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It may be worth your while to rent a motorhome for a week and experience what it is like for you and whether it suits your ideas, before spending a lot of money on something that you find does not work for you.
 
Feb 23, 2018
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It may be worth your while to rent a motorhome for a week and experience what it is like for you and whether it suits your ideas, before spending a lot of money on something that you find does not work for you.
That's how we did it with the campervan. Even when we committed to buy a caravan, we bought a 'classic' caravan off Ebay and then eventually sold it for more than we paid for it (Pre-Covid demand).

This gave me the bug for caravanning so when we committed to buy a new caravan, we could get an 'entry level' caravan knowing we would enjoy it and it would be luxurious compared to what we were used to!
 
Jan 31, 2018
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Eye Kettleby lakes have one on site you can try. Adria. Dont think you're supposed to move it though!! They always feel so much more cramped than a caravan to us,
 
Jun 23, 2020
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done caravans small and large, camper vans as well as my own van conversion.

The biggest change is how you travel. with a caravan you travel to point A you then use the caravan as a fixed point to radiate out from. with a camper van you travel to all points and not one central point.

For me the biggest point was to have a camper van big enough to be comfortable in wet weather when your locked inside was to big to park, shop, town centre, life and the universe. we were always having to park it in places we were not sure of, then get taxi or busses into town centres. parking is a nightmare at the best of times, even worse at 28 foot long and 10 foot tall.

we also travel differently too. if we wanted to go to Norway we would in the camper van do 200 mile hops per day with lots of stops and delays over 10 days, when i travel in t he caravan i am more interested in getting to the destination so would do norway in two hops each 800m a piece, but then spend two weeks extra in norway where i want to be.





NOW A VERY EXTREME VIEW AND ONE THAT WILL REALLY KICK EVERYONE OFF,
SORRY PEEPS

from personal experience we found a lot of places are now very anti van lifers and the mess they leave behind,
the whole freedom of the open road is a load of tripe, we found a lot of towns in france and spain were not van friendly if you were not in a paid for aire.
Several beach areas we stayed at were extremely anti vans. now theres a massive argument just on that one topic but we found as a general rule of thumb, paid aires you were okay, "free camping" you were an open target, you dont get that with a caravan as you are all ways normally on a paid for site pitch and as such you get treated completely differently.

After seeing the disgusting mess van lifers leave behind and the way they bleed an area dry i dont blame the locals either. if i was a french mayor and i saw van lifers not in the paid aire i would set the dogs and the police on them too, you dont get that with caravanners as much.

so tin hat on and hiding behind the settee
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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Found itinteresting, not controversial in any way. Reaffirms my thinking re size and move ability.
 
Sep 20, 2020
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Thanks again, folks. The balance of responses confirms my suspicions, but I would be interested to hear from anyone who has gone from a caravan to a motorhome and doesn’t regret it.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Thanks again, folks. The balance of responses confirms my suspicions, but I would be interested to hear from anyone who has gone from a caravan to a motorhome and doesn’t regret it.
A couple we knew changed to a motorhome and everything that has been said they were aware of. But what they planned for was a totally different approach to their touring. They did many trips as far as Poland and the Med, with the labradors too. The sites were always near to a good public transport link such that if they wanted to go into city the transport links were available. They loved walking so they were content to book sites with good walking access. So it required more planning but they enjoyed what was a totally different experience. Unfortunately time has caught up with them and the MH has been sold, so now its back to Eurocamp mobiles and UK cottages.
 
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May 11, 2017
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We're just in the process of selling the Bailey twin axle.. motorhome arrives on Friday. Will let you know our experiences when we get home on Sunday!!!
 
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Oct 24, 2019
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We had a motorhome for 10 years and toured Europe from above the Arctic Circle in Norway to the Mediterranean, Portugal Spain and most countries in between!! We have since had two caravans. Europe especially Germany France and Spain is the place for a motorhome, space to park in Supermarkets without thinking of how many parking tickets you need, very rare to have height restrictions. If you are cyclists they are even better! Aires and Stelplatz for overnight stays. We found touring Britain by comparison more of a problem due to many of the reasons outlined above but mainly because the roads aren't as open and more overcrowded. If you have a fixed bed you pay a penalty in the comfort of the lounge, the driver and passenger seats are the most comfortable but you can have sat in them all day. We had a wind out awning which meant packing up and moving on was not much of an issue. Emptying on board waste tanks is a bit of a pain in Britain, we had a continental left hand drive M/H and the grey waste was disposed of by driving over a drain and dumping via a handle. rare to find these facilities in the UK. p.s. we bought L/H drive because I thought it would be easier to drive on the continent but in fact I found that mountain roads with walls and barriers close to the side of the van were a bit of a nerve wracking experience and I used a split mirror with the lower mirror focussed on the lower side of the van. It rather scared the passenger too when lorries coming in the other direction meant the passenger was above the protective wall or barrier and staring over the mountain's side and cliffs! (EDIT: Right hand drive means you are looking over the drop and can judge the proximity of the stone wall or crash barrier more easily!)
Caravans are a bit more of a pain to tour with if you like moving around but the advantage of a more comfortable lounge converted us and as I said the motorhome lounge is sacrificed because they tend to use forward facing seats that are more upright so passengers can have seat belts in the back. They are also noisy compared to tow cars as you tend to hear all the rattles of panels and pots!
I've never understood the use of a motorhome to tow a car for this reason of comfort. We'd use public transport wherever we could if we stayed for any length of time or if you wanted to stay a while in one place I think it makes more sense to hire a car locally.
All sorts of issues with towed cars in Spain too. Maintenance costs are less for caravans and we have one car and one set of tax and servicing. On balance purchase costs of towcar and caravan versus motorhome are probably fairly equal but then of course you don't have to change them or buy them at the same time when you have car/caravan versus motorhome!
Ah you ask have we regretted the move to caravans, I guess not because we have recently upgraded our caravan rather than going back to a motorhome. We have taken the caravan abroad too so again no regrets but we probably have done the Europe quick stop and go type touring.
 
Mar 17, 2020
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We had a motorhome for 10 years and toured Europe from above the Arctic Circle in Norway to the Mediterranean, Portugal Spain and most countries in between!! We have since had two caravans. Europe especially Germany France and Spain is the place for a motorhome, space to park in Supermarkets without thinking of how many parking tickets you need, very rare to have height restrictions. If you are cyclists they are even better! Aires and Stelplatz for overnight stays. We found touring Britain by comparison more of a problem due to many of the reasons outlined above but mainly because the roads aren't as open and more overcrowded. If you have a fixed bed you pay a penalty in the comfort of the lounge, the driver and passenger seats are the most comfortable but you can have sat in them all day. We had a wind out awning which meant packing up and moving on was not much of an issue. Emptying on board waste tanks is a bit of a pain in Britain, we had a continental left hand drive M/H and the grey waste was disposed of by driving over a drain and dumping via a handle. rare to find these facilities in the UK. p.s. we bought L/H drive because I thought it would be easier to drive on the continent but in fact I found that mountain roads with walls and barriers close to the side of the van were a bit of a nerve wracking experience and I used a split mirror with the lower mirror focussed on the lower side of the van. It rather scared the passenger too when lorries coming in the other direction meant the passenger was above the protective wall or barrier and staring over the mountain's side and cliffs! (EDIT: Right hand drive means you are looking over the drop and can judge the proximity of the stone wall or crash barrier more easily!)
Caravans are a bit more of a pain to tour with if you like moving around but the advantage of a more comfortable lounge converted us and as I said the motorhome lounge is sacrificed because they tend to use forward facing seats that are more upright so passengers can have seat belts in the back. They are also noisy compared to tow cars as you tend to hear all the rattles of panels and pots!
I've never understood the use of a motorhome to tow a car for this reason of comfort. We'd use public transport wherever we could if we stayed for any length of time or if you wanted to stay a while in one place I think it makes more sense to hire a car locally.
All sorts of issues with towed cars in Spain too. Maintenance costs are less for caravans and we have one car and one set of tax and servicing. On balance purchase costs of towcar and caravan versus motorhome are probably fairly equal but then of course you don't have to change them or buy them at the same time when you have car/caravan versus motorhome!
Ah you ask have we regretted the move to caravans, I guess not because we have recently upgraded our caravan rather than going back to a motorhome. We have taken the caravan abroad too so again no regrets but we probably have done the Europe quick stop and go type touring.
I think many would agree with your feelings. The thrust of the thread seems to support your views.
The only thing I don't understand is your assertion that the LH drive places you close to "walls and barriers" and RH drive "over the drop"!
I would have expected that if you traveled in both directions on mountain roads you would experience exactly the same whatever side you were driving from.
 
Oct 24, 2019
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Its a visibility thing! When you drive in any country with the steering on the "correct side" you are in the centre of the road. The passenger is kerbside. So right hand drive in UK means you are next to the centre of the road. So if on a mountain or narrow road your passenger is next to the stone wall or crash barrier. In France the same thing will be true, the driver is near the centre of the road and the passenger is kerbside. That same left hand drive vehicle crosses from France and the driver will be kerbside. So take a right hand drive vehicle to France and the driver is kerbside which on mountain roads and narrow roads means you can judge the distances between the precious vehicle and the stone wall on mountains. In general you don't have much space either side on some of the roads to play with so being closer to the edge helps get closer to the edge as it were. Coach built especially have the extra width behind the cab unlike A-Class which have "straight sides". In a coachbuilt where touching something with the wing mirrors can be expensive they do stick out beyond the side of the van so the damage somewhat cheaper to repair. We did over 40,000 miles in our motorhome and had mirrors touched by oncoming vehicles 3 times. Some UK roads are narrow for all kinds of vehicles. As I mentioned I used to use the lower mirror in the passenger side set to look at the point where the habitation part stuck out towards the wall or crash barrier. Certainly helped in the judgement but always found it a bit small for the task. Incidentally one of the things I did miss changing to towcar from motorhome is the mirrors and view from on high! Motorhome mirrors are wonderful compared to those fitted in cars.
The downside is overtaking on single carriageway roads where the passenger is the one that sees if it is clear to overtake. Not a problem on motorways or dual carriageways and probably given you are unlikely to be overtaking on single carriageways in a motorhome, on balance I think the advantage of being able to judge the proximity to obstacles on narrow roads is a plus. Norwegian tunnels are pretty nightmarish as the have tunnel markers that stick out from the tunnel side which are supposed to be reflective but in fact get covered in mud and are difficult to see.
Hope this helps with what I mean. Must say for similar reasons an 8 foot wide caravan on UK roads and some of the European roads we have travelled would give me the Willies!!
 
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Nov 16, 2015
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Haha, try driving the Silk route through from Western China to Pakistan, Gilgit.
. Going across slow moving landslides. Great fun. Thankfully not with a caravan but with a big bus behind you. Scary.
 
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May 11, 2017
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I'm happy to report that we've done two trips (three nights in total) in the new motorhome and are getting to grips with the new way of doing things.
Biggest shock (which I had anticipated but didn't want to believe) is that the 120l onboard water tank doesn't last as long as a fully serviced pitch water supply :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
And, oddly, when I set the truma hot water to 'hot', it seemed to switch itself 'off' once it hit temperature, so I ended up with a cold shower (which had started hot but ran out just after the point of no return). Grr. It's exactly the same heating system as the caravan and that never happened?
However, that aside, on the plus side, we arrived in the dark on Friday night, reversed onto the pitch, and within 5 mins were fully operational. We'd travelled with a full water tank.
I no longer have to make our bed.. simply press a button and the incredibly comfy bed drops from the ceiling :). And our daughters share an over-the-cockpit big bed, so they're very, very happy. Especially as they have a TV to themselves....
On Sunday morning we cleared up from a hearty breakfast, closed all the cupboards, put the two shower bottles away, unplugged the electrics and off we went, to the beach for a dog walk before heading home. We would never have done that in the caravan.
It's a bit tighter on storage than the huge twin axle plus Land Rover Discovery boot, but we seemingly need to take less 'stuff' with us.
Assuming no lock-down, we're off again at the end of the week, four nights this time so we'll need to do a food shop at some point. That will be when we really realise the difference in outfits I guess. No more 'popping' to buy bread and milk.....
But a great start to our new holiday regime so far. I might even drive it soon, if Mr H hands over the keys....
 
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Oct 24, 2019
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Well done, popping to the shops isn't all that much of a problem, making sure no one pinches your pitch while you are away is a minor problem unless you are on a foreign aire when it becomes more major. BUT before Mr H hands over the keys and before you go into a supermarket car park make sure there isn't a height barrier and once in wonder if you need two parking tickets because you are using two spaces!!! ;)
 
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Jan 3, 2012
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Hi Harby i pleased you enjoying your new motorhome and keeping us updated of your two trips 3 nights in total and i hope you have many more breaks to come . providing there no lockdown
 
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