Motor home Travel - help needed to a newbie!!

Travel Forums General Talk Motor home Travel - help needed to a newbie!!

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1. Posted by Nicwillroam (Budding Member 20 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Hello all,

I'm planning on buying my first motor home this year and am looking for peoples advice on what they have positive and negative responses from. Th criteria we have so fare is as follows:-
My partner can only drive up to a 3,500 Tonne vehicle due to his driving license so the vehicle can't be any bigger than this. (plus I understand that this saves money with ferry and border crossings etc...)
The total budget is around £25,000 so of course it will be second hand.
There will only be two adults travelling in it, and we're hoping to go travelling for months at a time.
We would prefer more living space, and putting a bed out each night won't be an issue.
We would like a shower and toilet (preferably with a separate shower cubicle).

If there's anything obvious I've left off the list, my apologies. I'm trying to stay as open minded as possible so as not to restrict my options. TIA

2. Posted by Dymphna (Full Member 205 posts) 2w 1 Star this if you like it!

In the US you do not have to have a special license to drive an RV, so don't know about the tonnage. With an RV you are going to want to have to pull a vehicle behind it. Otherwise you have to pick up camp and drive the RV everywhere you go. Getting one through traffic and parked can be a bit of a hassle, even in the US, Have you looked at a pull behind? With a pull behind camper you can park it and then drive away to go see different sites. You don't have the problem of parking when you pull into an area. Pull behinds come with two different hitches, a bumper hitch and a 5th wheel hitch. A 5th wheel is much easier to pull and you don't have the problems in the wind that you do with a bumper hitch. But it puts your bed up a set of steps, so if mobility is a problem it is something to be considered. For £25,000 would allow you to purchase a new camper, but you would also need a truck to pull it with. Stay away from any camper built by Forest River.

3. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1447 posts) 2w 1 Star this if you like it!

If you are in England or on the continent, or even sometimes in the US, you can take bikes or small motor scooters to ride when the RV is parked. Bikes you can put on the back of the RV without pulling them. Or you can use public transportation which is much better over there than over here or walk.

We travel and live on a boat which is similar to living in an RV, except we anchor or go to marinas instead of going to RV parks or campsites. I have always wanted a small size camper/RV which wouldn't be too much larger than a regular SUV. Easier to drive and park. We had a pickup camper but the truck we had was a crew cab with an 8 foot bed so it was as hard to park as a school bus.

What works for us on the boat and should also work in an RV....

You can have the shower and toilet in the same cubicle and sit on the toilet to take the shower. You will need a a water tank and also holding tank for the shower and toilet water. Our boat carries 400 gallons of water, but that's for 4 to 8 people. With only two of you, you won't need that much- 50-75 gallons should probably do it.. The kitchen sink can do double duty - bathroom and kitchen.

You will want some kind of propane stove (if you don't have to use electricity to cook - you will be more flexible because you can stay off the grid sometimes) Or whatever kind of gas they use where you are. (Butane, methane etc) Our boat has a propane stove which includes an oven. You can also get propane refrigeration for an RV (but not for a boat because a boat doesn't stay level). You will need some kind of heat, and propane will work for that too. We had a microwave on the boat at first, but it took too much electricity, so we put it back in the house. If you are going to hook up to electricity each night a small microwave can be useful.

We do have a TV that runs on batteries, and a TV antenna that works pretty well at anchor. We sometimes use oil lamps for light. If you have a lot of electrical appliances or if you want A/C- it may be too much for the battery bank to operate, then you will have to either hook up to electric power or have a generator. They are noisy, and if I were going it, I'd advise you to try to get along without it.

Since you are going second hand, the thing you ought to really inspect carefully is the engine. Most everything else you can swap out if it doesn't work, but the engine of the RV is very very important and may be in an inconvenient place- look for one that has been well maintained - oil changed on schedule and so on.

[ Edit: Edited on 31-Jan-2020, 22:21 GMT by greatgrandmaR ]

4. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 2396 posts) 2w 2 Star this if you like it!

Buying second hand have a mechanic evaluate the condition of the motor home before buying it. Looks and puffery doesn't mean the vehicle will run good.

Do NOT buy one of these without first doing some long distance driving in one. Maybe simply rent one for a week or two and see how you like driving a house around.

Good luck.

5. Posted by Nicwillroam (Budding Member 20 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Wow!! Thank you so much to the you all for responding with such detailed info. My apologies I should have said that I’m based in the UK. I’m hoping to travel in the main around Europe, so its got to be capable of the mountains etc (within reason of course).

I will definitely ask a mechanic to check the vehicle out, that’s a great idea. I don’t want to become stranded anywhere if I can possibly help it. We’re planning on renting a motor home in a couple of months and driving it around Scotland, which I guess will be the real test to how much I like it (hopefully it lives up to my dreams)

We’re not planning on towing anything, but popping a couple of bicycles on the back for convenience is a great idea.

Thanks for the practical tips with the shower set up as well. I recently stayed in a place that had the shower over the toilet but it just stayed wet all the time and every time someone went to the toilet they had to wear shoes which then subsequently made the shower floor dirty. I appreciate that I could of been more organised and practical with this arrangement had I have know prior to staying there.

It’s all a big learning adventure ????????

6. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 2396 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

"based in the UK. I’m hoping to travel in the main around Europe.."

-

What side of the motor home will the steering wheel be on????

Good luck.

7. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1447 posts) 2w 1 Star this if you like it!

Personally I go barefoot in the shower. And mostly around the house too. It keeps the house/camper cleaner. I don't remember having a problem with drying things out - there should be a drain in the floor. If there is a problem, you dry the floor after you shower. You could wear "house slippers" if you don't like being barefoot.

There is also the option of a portable toilet. We used one in a camper. But that means that you have to empty it manually instead of just hooking up to a dump station. It's somewhat messy to do that.

Also be aware that you will have a separate holding tank for grey water and black water (Black water is what comes from the toilet - the shower and sink go to the grey water tank - i.e. there's no poop or pee in the grey water). Depending on the area, you can empty the grey water into a sewer or on the ground. Or not. Depends.

The toilet on an RV is somewhat like a boat toilet - you pump it out instead of flushing. There are special hoses for black water. If you use the correct hoses and pump the waste all the way through to the tank (instead of letting it stay in the hose) it shouldn't smell.

8. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1103 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

>I will definitely ask a mechanic to check the vehicle out, that’s a great idea.

I suggest you use the AA: https://www.theaa.com/vehicle-inspection/

If the seller doesn't want an inspection, don't buy the vehicle.

>The toilet on an RV is somewhat like a boat toilet - you pump it out instead of flushing

Greatgrandma, UK motorhomes/campervans are not like US RVs. This page shows the type of toilet they're likely to have:

https://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/helpandadvice/gettingstarted/campingequipment/toilets/

9. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1447 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

The first one of those is just like what I called a "portable toilet".

I guess I should not be surprised that UK toilets in RVs are different from the US since your regular toilets are also different from ours.

I've also heard of the use of composting toilets for RVs or boats. I don't know if you have them over there or not.

10. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1103 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

>I guess I should not be surprised that UK toilets in RVs are different from the US since your regular toilets are also different from ours.

It's not that....our toilets are exactly the same as US toilets, except that the flush is sometimes in a different place or is operated differently (e.g. lever to pull sideways) and the bowl doesn't fill almost completely with water when it's flushed. Oh, and we much prefer to have full or almost-full length doors on public toilet cublicles! :-)

It's just that UK (and most European) campervans and motorhomes are much smaller than US RVs. Smaller vehicles = few with room for large black water storage tanks to pump out. Smaller vehicles (cars and trucks too) because our roads are, in general, much narrower and more winding than US roads, especially in rural and scenic areas.

> composting toilets for RVs or boats. I don't know if you have them over there or not.

Yes, we do though....obviously...if they're used in a motorhome, campervan or sea-going boat they have to be fixed to the floor. You can get away with not fixing them on narrowboats.

[ Edit: Edited on 02-Feb-2020, 17:07 GMT by leics2 ]