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Motorhome virgins - advice please!
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userbunty
Posted: 21 May 2007 4:03 PM
Subject: Motorhome virgins - advice please!
 
Just joined

Posts: 2



Hello!
My husband and I have decided to quit our jobs and take our 2 little boys travelling in a motorhome in Europe for 6 months to a year.
Some people think we are mad but we just want to spend more time with the kids before they start school.
We have never been in a motorhome so really just wanted any tips and hints about the whole thing really. We have a max of £12k to spend on a second hand vehicle. I have heard the Hymer is a good one but has anyone else got any recommendations? Ideally we would like one with a sofa/bed arrangment at the back of the van for the kids.
I really hope to hear from some of you as it is starting to dawn on me that we are going and I realise I now nothing!!

Many thanks
Jess
userTony Jones
Posted: 21 May 2007 4:22 PM
Subject: RE: Motorhome virgins - advice please!
 
Forum master

Posts: 3210
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Location: France, or in our 2005 Burstner Privilege t585


Hi Jess, and welcome.
We've never done the long-term thing, just normal holidays of up to 4 weeks at a time, but no doubt others can tell you more on that score.
As far as choice of van is concerned, you'll find that some of the big dealers don't really want to know with the sort of budget you've got, but don't let that put you off. Get hold of both MMM & Practical MH (new issues of both just out - "June" MMM & "July" PMH).
You'll see there are plenty of vans for sale privately, and quite a number of dealers who do deal in vans in your price range.
Since it's going to be your "home" for quite a while, I'd suggest you make sure your van has plenty of "daytime" living space. That may mean looking for a 6-berth rather than 4.
I think your rear-lounge idea is sound, as it will allow people to sit in different places, giving choices about being together or apart.
For some years in the '90's (when the kids were with us) we had a Glendale with that layout - excellent van, with some clever storage & worktop ideas. There are still quite a few of them on the market (I think I saw a 6-berth one in the "small ads" of a mag just a few days ago) and because of their age (and the fact they're not made anymore) they tend to be realistically priced. But tha'ts just one among many.
Get the mags, look at as many kinds of van as you can "in the flesh," and gradually draw up your own list of "must-have" features.
Then read all the hints and tips you'll get on here from people who've done full-timing, half-timing, etc. You're all going to have a great time!

Tony


Edited by Tony Jones 2007-05-21 4:23 PM
userTony Jones
Posted: 21 May 2007 4:42 PM
Subject: RE: Motorhome virgins - advice please!
 
Forum master

Posts: 3210
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Location: France, or in our 2005 Burstner Privilege t585


Me again - just found the ad I mentioned for a Glendale - it's on p.232 of the new (July) Practical Motorhome.
On the same page there's a "Machzone" which looks a similar layout - they're supposed to be pretty good vans too, but this one's only a 4-berth so I don't know what the living space will be like.
Previous page has a nice-looking Elddis Autostratus, but it's petrol-engined and diesel is MUCH cheaper on the continent.

The other mag, MMM, has far more "small ads," so have a good look through that too.

Tony
userDon Madge
Posted: 21 May 2007 4:56 PM
Subject: RE: Motorhome virgins - advice please!
 


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Posts: 1869
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Location: East Yorkshire. Timberland Freedom. 2.8JTD


bunty - 2007-05-21 4:03 PM

Hello!
My husband and I have decided to quit our jobs and take our 2 little boys travelling in a motorhome in Europe for 6 months to a year.
Some people think we are mad but we just want to spend more time with the kids before they start school.
We have never been in a motorhome so really just wanted any tips and hints about the whole thing really. We have a max of £12k to spend on a second hand vehicle. I have heard the Hymer is a good one but has anyone else got any recommendations? Ideally we would like one with a sofa/bed arrangment at the back of the van for the kids.
I really hope to hear from some of you as it is starting to dawn on me that we are going and I realise I now nothing!!

Many thanks
Jess


Jess,

Two things to do before you do anything else buy Go Motorhoming Europe at http://tinyurl.com/3b5tpp read it from cover to cover twice. Then look at http://www.magbaztravels.com/ you will then be totally confused that's when you start asking questions.

Good luck.

Don

userBrian Kirby
Posted: 21 May 2007 5:37 PM
Subject: RE: Motorhome virgins - advice please!
 


5000500050001000100100100100
Location: East Sussex. Motorhome: Knaus Boxstar 600 Street


I assume you're not contemplating doing this in 2007?  If you are, I'd suggest you put it off till Spring 2008, because the best van bargains are liable to be around in September/October, just before the new stocks begin coming through, and dealers need to clear their old stock, and because half this year has now gone!  That gives you around three/four months to sort out the right van, and then time to make sure it all works properly and you're familiar with it before you leave.  As Tony says, vans aren't cheap, your budget is unfortunately modest, and you'll want something reasonably dry, warm and reliable, since you're bound to encounter at least some cold weather in Europe over a six month period.

Forget Hymers for the moment.  Just do as Don suggests and get the books and read.  You've got a very steep learning curve to ascend on vans, dealers, and equipment.  After you've climbed to the knowledge summit is when you should start choosing one van over another.  Hymers are generally good, but they are also popular, so often expensive - or wrecks if cheap!

Happy reading!

userVixters other half
Posted: 21 May 2007 8:02 PM
Subject: RE: Motorhome virgins - advice please!
 


Keeps coming back for more

Posts: 155
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Location: Mainly airport lounges and France


Hello Jess

I would seriously recommend you read up on the aforementioned books. My wife and I are nearly through our first year of full timing and even with our frugal life style, we need about 28 feet of living van. This is quite big and consequently not cheap. We need the space for all the additional clothes we need for different weathers and climates. Tools and maintenance materials. Camping chairs and tables all take up space and sods law says its always the thing at the bottom you need first. You are going to take you children with you - you havent mentioned how old they are but they will need their own toys/books etc possibly more things than you could get by on.

Its not easy and we have had more cold wet miserable days than we have had nice sunny ones. Your budget is quite small ( without sounding demeaning) and if you do find something within your budget you may have to do a lot more running and preventative maintenance, than on a younger more expensive model.

If you want to send me a private mesage I can give you some insight in the problems and near misses we have had so far.

Regards
VoH
userThai Bry
Posted: 22 May 2007 11:21 AM
Subject: RE: Motorhome virgins - advice please!
 


Treasured contributor

Posts: 907
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Location: West Yorks & Thailand-Hymer S 700 G


Hi Jess

I'm sorry to maybe rain on your parade a little, but I would concur with the sentiments of the people on this forum.
It needs to be looked at very carefully. Do not just buy the 1st van that you fall in love with. It copuld be a very expensive mistake.
Secondly, you do not say whether you've also sold or are looking to sell your home to finance this trip. If you are about to, then again think very seriously as getting back on to the property ladder might be difficult. It might be advisable to rent your home for a short period of time, this will at least give you some kind of income whilst you're away.
But again this option needs to be looked carefully, due to there being bad lodgers out there, get it done legally if you're looking at this option.
Not maybe what you wanted to hear, but do take the others advise and look at the books and read up on what you can.

If you've deceided that this is what you want to do, and you've looked at all the other options, then I can only wish you good luck in your adventures.

Thai
userBeetle
Posted: 22 May 2007 3:20 PM
Subject: RE: Motorhome virgins - advice please!
 
Having a look around

Posts: 21

Location: on a white horse in wiltshire!


Take note of most of what has been said, but the big thing, if you are the sort of family who can take problems in their stride, is to go ahead and do it. Its so much fun and you will find that on the whole people are so friendly. Take all the normal precautions like insurance and breakdown cover and you'll be OK. I do it though the Camping and Caravan club Carefree service, they are excellent, and it also means that you have someone to fall back on if necessary. To find the right van, go around the dealers and nose into as many as you can to get the feel of the layouts, Dont buy until you're sure of what you want. When you get one, do a few weekends locally first to work out what you need to take with you, If possible talk to someone who has done it. Do keep us in touch with how you are getting on.
Trev.
userDon Madge
Posted: 22 May 2007 3:48 PM
Subject: RE: Motorhome virgins - advice please!
 


Epic contributor

Posts: 1869
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Location: East Yorkshire. Timberland Freedom. 2.8JTD


Hi Jess

If possible hire before buying

If you do, take it to Scotland, you need it to rain for a week, after a few days you start to suffer with "Van Fever" if you have not done yourself or anybody else any bodily harm by the end of the week, welcome to the club.

You don't have to be crazy to own a motorhome, but it does help.

If you ever need help, lift the bonnet, look a bit confused and you will have half a dozen well meaning souls there in seconds. They will most likely be as confused as you but it's nice to have company.

Go for it.

Regards

Don
userbunty
Posted: 23 May 2007 9:03 PM
Subject: RE: Motorhome virgins - advice please!
 
Just joined

Posts: 2



Hello everyone

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to my msg. I knew our budget was tight (whenever I started looking at the ads I would click on a £40k van and think 'I want that one and not some crappy 10k one!').

I am feeling like we are being a bit rash now but we still definitely want to go. We were planning on driving to a place and staying there for a month or so (whether it be in a villa, camping or in the van - yet to be decided!). I don't see us setting off every few days into the open yonder.

Our boys are 1 and 3.

re one of your comments, we are selling our house but buying a good rental place right near the school we want our eldest to go to next september. i would not step off the property ladder!! not that stupid!

hmmm, wondering now whether we should just get a good people carrier or van type thing rather than a motorhome - i want to have something reliable that will get us from a to b.

will let you know what we decide.

many thanks
jess
userTony Jones
Posted: 24 May 2007 8:50 AM
Subject: RE: Motorhome virgins - advice please!
 
Forum master

Posts: 3210
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Location: France, or in our 2005 Burstner Privilege t585


bunty - 2007-05-23 9:03 PM

We were planning on driving to a place and staying there for a month or so (whether it be in a villa, camping or in the van - yet to be decided!). I don't see us setting off every few days into the open yonder.

Our boys are 1 and 3.



I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say this on here, but quite apart from your budget problem, that sort of plan suggests to me that (just MAYBE) a motorhome might not be the best way to live your dream.

Remember, every time you drive off the site you're taking your home with you - no leaving the breakfast pots for later! That's fine if you're moving on most days anyway, but if you're using a site as a long-term base you'll want to put down some roots there.

Dare I suggest that a decent (=recent) car combined with a tent, trailer tent, or even a caravan might be better for you?

Heresy, I know, but people on here are always saying "each to their own!"

Tony
userBrian Kirby
Posted: 24 May 2007 3:24 PM
Subject: RE: Motorhome virgins - advice please!
 


5000500050001000100100100100
Location: East Sussex. Motorhome: Knaus Boxstar 600 Street


I agree with Tony.  Personally, with children so young, I think you'll all go mad in a motorhome.  You initially said you were thinking of going for about six months.  You refer above to staying put for around one month at a time.  Allowing a bit of flexibility, that implies in the region of six - eight desitnations. 

For the cost of a motorhome, you could hire property (flats, gites, houses) for six or so one month stays.  That would leave you a small, reasonably fuel efficient car for transport, plus no caravan to have to park on campsites, so no campsite fees, no gas to buy etc etc, and solid walls around you.  If you select with care, you'll have reasonable proximity to shops, chemists, possibly doctors, and most other desirable facilities.

Motorhomes are not the easiest things to "pop into town" with, they drink quite heavily, they lack security, you often have to park them some way from where you want to go, they are small when the weather is bad, and big when the village is small.  Oh, and Thetford toilets don't like disposable nappies!

If you think out where you want to go, and why, I think your plans will become far more realisable than they currently seem, and you might even stand a chance of enjoying yourselves!

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