You’re probably reading this because you’re interested, in principle, in the recreational options associated with buying a motorhome. However, you also don’t know much about them or the domain.
Here is a very basic beginners’ guide to motorhomes. It’s aimed at those with virtually no knowledge so, apologies in advance for anything that’s stating the obvious for you personally. To help with brevity, it’s also written as a series of statements!
Motorhomes are different to caravans and campervans
Caravans are usually separate accommodation on a separate chassis. They’re towed behind a vehicle.
Campervans are usually very compact and expandable vehicles often targeted at younger couples or young families. They’re lower cost (typically) than a motorhome and have a lot less space with fewer luxuries.
Those VW “hippy vans” popularised in 1960s are perhaps the best known examples of type.
Motorhomes come in different sizes
There are a huge number to choose from. Size though, isn’t everything.
Some larger vehicles might actually be less desirable or well-equipped than some of the more prestigious if slightly smaller ones. That might also be reflected in pricing.
When choosing your first motorhome, selecting one that’s the right size for you and your requirements is imperative. Too small and it might be an irritation in use. Too large and it might be intimidating.
Speak to an expert motorhome provider to take advice on how to select one that’s suitable for you.
You may or may not need to think about your driving licence
For example, if you:
- plan to drive a motorhome over 7.5tonnes, you will need to take a test and augment your licence categories;
- intend driving one over 3.5tonnes AND passed your test after 1stJanuary 1997, you may need to do likewise;
- are going to drive one up to 7.5tonnes AND passed your test before 1stJanuary 1997, then your existing licence may be fine.
Check your specific licence permissions on the government’s website here.
Motorhomes can have showers and toilets
No beginners’ guide to motorhomes would be complete without a word on the subject of “facilities”.
Many (though not all) motorhomes now come with a shower as standard. Water is typically a limited resource on a motorhome (it’s heavy to transport) so it’s used carefully. The shower will be perfectly adequate but don’t expect spa-like facilities.
There are several varieties of WC, all of which involve storing waste externally. Several types require manual emptying in an approved site location though some are automatic when connected to a site service facility.
Your motorhome will typically hold its value well
It’s often said, with some justification, that the first time you turn the key in a new car its value immediately reduces by 20%. This is called “depreciation”.
That is typically NOT the case with motorhomes.
Of course, that can be influenced by the marque and how well you’ve looked after it. You can get further advice from an established retailer of motorhomes.
Be cautious if importing from the USA
Many things in the USA are lower-cost than in Europe. That plus the iconic image of the motorhome or RV (Recreational Vehicle) on the US desert highways sometimes makes the idea of purchasing and importing an attractive one.
Care is required though. Some of the larger US models (those that have the greatest iconic associations) would be illegal on the UK’s roads.