The world of motor-homing has experienced a boost in popularity over the last couple of years as holiday-goers have sought a way of escaping it all in the midst of a pandemic. Perhaps you’ve been tempted to give it a go yourself as family and friends recommend some of the stunning holiday destinations right here in the UK that are often overlooked.
If you’ve never been for a trip in a motorhome before, you might be looking for a bit of advice on the do’s and don’ts, from choosing the right vehicle to the procedure at service points. This article offers our top tips on getting it right the first time and setting you up for a fantastic staycation.
Decide whether renting or buying a motorhome is best for you:
Renting a motorhome for a staycation in the UK is also a great way of trialling a motorhome holiday before taking the plunge and purchasing a motorhome for yourself. This is especially true if this is going to be your first motorhome trip.
Having said that, many people just know right from the get-go that motor-homing is going to be the lifestyle for them. Whether that’s because they’ve enjoyed camping in a tent before and are now in need of a little more luxury or they’re attracted by the freedom that motorhomes offer. Even if this is the case, we advise looking at the deals that you can get on used motorhomes, rather than going for the new models. If you end up selling in a few years, a motorhome that’s already a couple of years old won’t have depreciated in value as much as a vehicle that you bought new.
If you’re not completely sure that motorhome trips are going to be right for you and the rest of the family, try before you buy. This is a much cheaper way to discover that you or your partner doesn’t enjoy motor-homing as much as they thought they would.
Choose the right motorhome for you and your trip:
There are plenty of options out there when it comes to motorhomes. From small campers to enormous A-Class motorhomes, so you’ll have to think carefully before hiring or buying a particular model.
Different types of motorhomes are better suited to different types of trips and you’ll also have to consider how many people are coming along too. If it’s just you and your partner and you’re looking at doing some long weekends away, a small camper might well be a good option for you. However, accommodating a family of four for a trip longer than this in a camper can get quite tricky.
Campervans might not have the same facilities on board that are now very common in motorhomes. In particular, the bathroom options might be very limited or even non-existent, so you’d have to rely on campsites with facility blocks.
Here are some good questions to ask yourself while choosing the right vehicle:
What are you legally allowed to drive? Before you do anything, check your driving licence. Motorhomes can be large, heavy vehicles and your licence might not allow you to drive some of the bigger ones.
How many travelling seats will you need? You’ll need to make sure there are enough designated seats with seatbelts for everyone coming on the trip.
How many beds will you need? As above, you’ll also need to make sure there’s enough room for everyone to sleep!
What bathroom facilities will you need? Are you going a little further off the beaten track and require on-board facilities like a toilet and a shower or will you be using the facilities at camp sites?
What kitchen facilities will you need? Will you be doing most of the cooking yourself or will you mostly be eating out?
How much storage space do you need? Will you be bringing a lot of equipment with you like bulk sports gear? If this is the case, you’ll also need to double check the vehicle’s payload as going over the limit will render the vehicle unsafe.
How large a vehicle are you comfortable driving? If you’re mostly going to be travelling on main roads, a larger vehicle shouldn’t be too tricky to handle. If you’re thinking of tackling any narrower roads, think carefully about how confident you feel behind the wheel. If you go for a motorhome that’s bigger than you’re entirely comfortable driving, it could lead to a bit of a stressful trip.
For more information on choosing the right vehicle, check out our guide on the different types of motorhomes.
Deciding where to go on your staycation:
There are so many fantastic destinations right here in the UK that we can’t possibly list them all. However, we can offer some good general advice on choosing the right destination for a staycation.
The first thing to think about is how many drivers do you have on board? If there’s just one person who’ll be covering all of the driving, be sensible and don’t plan a trip that will require a large amount of driving overall or just to get to the destination in the first place.
The second piece of general advice is not to try and pack too much into your trip! With the freedom of a motorhome, it can be tempting to plan an itinerary with your whole UK bucket list. Our advice is to stick to an area, such as the North York Moors, the Lake District, or one of the other National Parks and travel within this. This means that you won’t find yourself on the road for a disproportionate amount of your holiday and gives you more time to relax and really soak up the atmosphere in each of your destinations. Of course, you can always pick a campsite and stay put for several weeks.
Put a ‘setting-off’ checklist together:
When you’re not used to motorhome trips, the 10-minutes or so before you leave home or leave a campsite can be quite stressful. We’ve put together a handy checklist of the things you should do before you set off which is worth looking through, especially if this is your first trip.
You might also want to put together a checklist or ‘cheatsheet’ of the little tasks you might forget each time you hit the road on your trip. These things might include:
Stowing away the beds and ensuring tables and worktop extensions are in the ‘locked’ position.
Switching the fridge from the gas or 230V to 12V while you're driving.
Ensure that all lockers, cupboards, drawers and doors are secured before you move the vehicle.
Ensure all skylights and windows are closed and in the locked position.
Check you’ve turned off the gas bottles and have disconnected and stowed the mains cable.
Empty the water tanks so you’re not carrying around unnecessary weight on the road.
Before you try to pull away, make sure the handbrake is on, raise the corner steadies and remove any chocks if you’re using them.
Work as a team:
Our final tip is to work as a team. Make sure the whole family is on-board with helping out and keeping the motorhome a comfortable home away from home. Help the driver out when it comes to parking the motorhome by calmly directing and hooking everything up. Make sure everyone knows what needs to be done with power cables, gas bottles and waste water tanks so you can share the duties and check that nothing’s been missed between you. If this is your first motorhome trip, these will all be tasks you’re not used to but if you work as a team, after a few days you’ll be working like a well-oiled machine.
As with many things, the key is preparation, but follow the tips above and you’ll be well-prepared for a motorhome staycation in the UK. Whether you’re off for a long weekend or a road trip covering all four-corners of the UK, a motorhome is a fantastic way to travel and really make the most of your destinations. Enjoy!