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Thoughts of a newbie


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Hi Guys


Before we buy the "home" we have been advised to hire, just to check "It is for us".


We are just back from our first trip. We enjoyed it but the British weather has been very kind.


Our only concern is the cost implications of running the unit, staying at reasonable sites home and abroad and fuel. How does this stack up financially against conventional holidays home and abroad. We had hoped once we had made the capital outlay, day to day expenses would be limited but the trip was not inexpensive. We paid £22 and £25 for overnights


I'm sure the response will be the freedom of the open road and go where you want when you want but we would be grateful of any constructive thoughts and advice.


We need to be able to make the large investment of a motorhome with complete confidence.


We are sure many of you have struggled with the same dilemma so let us know your thoughts




Glyn & Wife




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You will get many views on this and some will be lengthy I can assure you.


For my 2penneth we also thought like you but once you get out of the mind set of always needing hook up and the conventional site with all singing and dancing facilities you will be able to see the real benefits of your van.


Joining one of the clubs opens up the option of the smaller CL's or CS sites, we use C&CC alot as they also have temporary holiday sites around the country which usually means no bookings and around £7 a night.


Europe you will need to check out the Aires as you will have read on here there are many views to the use of these but we love the freedom they give of moving around and not having to book. Bikes we feel are a necessity so you can put you van in its spot and explore more around you, buses and trains often on the doors step too. Municipal sites can also cut down on costs and give you a little more security and the ability to move off and on without loosing your plot!!!


Fuel is a problem in most cases not easy to avoid the cost of that other than drive slower, make journeys shorter and whatever you do don't buy it in Switzerland (1.95 euros last week) If you can go through Luxembourg to fill up as it is significantly cheaper there.


You will love the whole package once on the move, oh yes don't eat out unless you take your mortgage broker with you (lol) (lol)



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Cost depends a lot on what time of year you can get away.


As you are asking about 'reasonable sites' - with the Camping & Caravanning Club you can get lower rates if you are over 55 out of main season.

On the continent I would think you can generally pay less for sites, particularly in France, if you just want the basics. They have a star grading system which indicates what is available, from basic to all singing all dancing, pool + restaurant etc.


Once you have had a few trips you may find that the basic sites in GB ( called CLs' and CSs' which are set up by the clubs) are all you need.

On the continent 'aires' are similar very basic stopping places and a lot of people prefer these.


But, some of the 'aires' people often talk of the " freedom " of aires because you don't have to book and imply that you "have to book" sites.


That is NOT true.


I have been going to the continent for 30 or 40 years and have NEVER booked a site over there.

( In high season it might be a good idea - but again, even when we went in high season we never booked - but always turned up on sites in early afternoon ).


Fuel on the continent is generally cheaper than over here, but then you have the cost of the ferries or tunnel.


You also have the cost of running the vehicle but that's not necessarily much more than a second car. Some people with smaller vans just have the one vehicle.


My advice ( but I'm sure you will get a lot more conflicting advice !) would be to join a club, use their sites and see how you get on. If you find you are happy with basic facilities, try their Cl or Cs sites.


As soon as you can start crossing to the continent where motorhomes are much more welcome, and there is a lot more space for them.

Again, over there try out the sites and then the aires and see which suit you best.


My preference is a mixture of both when we are over there, but we usually use French municipal sites ( which are fairly basic sites run by villages and towns ) when they are available, and in the right place.


(But that is my preference - it may not be yours !)


Good luck with you travels - I hope you enjoy them.




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I will echo all of what Mandy has said. I have had a MH for 5 years now and it is great. At the end of the month we are off to France for two months on the aires and a week on a site as grandson flies out so need all singing dancing site with pool etc. During the year follow grandson doing karting so I do make full use of BigK.


Be prepared to spend spend money ongoing. My Kontiki is 5 years old and its been no bad up to now. This year had a new exhaust which as not too bad at £125.00. I also do my annual service with oil filter and oil change. Also looking to cam belt change which will be a few £100 but I suppose different MH may not have this. Next year it may well be all the tyres but we will wait and see.


All in all what you will have far out-way's the considerable benefits from just package type holidays as you can up and go whenever you like. In a few years time I may need to consider a change for a smaller MH due to coming to the 70s

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Hi, We have been through various caravans, and 4 different motorhomes over the 45 years or so of mobile holidays, and if you add up all the costs of maintenance, tax, insurance, fuel costs ,site fees ferry costs, holiday insurances,mot costs, new tyres club memberships, guide books .... the list goes on..., and include the capital costs of purchases, and losses of trading in when changing vehicles then you will realise that you have worked all your life and spent a lot of money and hopefully enjoyed your hobby, and enjoyed the lifestyle.


Compare this cost with hotel holidays, flights etc and associated lifestyle, and at the end of the day only you can decide which is better value for money. We have twice been to Australia each for a period of a month visiting relations and touring around with hire car and B&B, so have experience of airports, delays, etc, (fortunately no lost luggage).


We enjoy the motorhome outings, (although it is fair to say that the other half misses the microwave we used to have in the last caravan but my efforts on the barbie are some compensation !).



You must weigh up having the money in the bank versus enjoying the freedom a motorhome can give you , and decide whether the resultant bills are too much to pay


Recommendation. Go for it, you only live once, and why give it to the taxman when your time is up.



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Guest JudgeMental

To justify having a motorhome I think you have to have the leisure time to make decent use of it......Have seen some saying they have 2 weeks in the summer and heading to south of France. well that is 3-4 days travelling and 10 days there...Hardly worth it IMO.


But if you have decent holidays its a great way to holiday, and while the costs are rising along with everything else..you only live once!


EDIT: just saw that Tony said exactly the same above ..great minds lol

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Sounds like you are not too worried about the capital investment which is probably the right attitude as you are buying a lifestyle.


I don't see why you are worried about fuel costs, we find using the Motorhome works out far cheaper than taking the car. With a car you tend to base yourself in one or two places and drive out to the days venue and return, with a Motorhome you drive to your venue do your sight seeing/bike ride/walk then spend the night or carry on to the next venue. On an average three week holiday we reckon we do a 1000 miles less in a Motorhome than a car & the Motorhome only does 3-4mpg less than the car.


As for site fees it's down to you, last year in France for 22 nights our site/Aires costs were £60 & 11 nights in Ireland £18. Just been to Scotland for 15 nights total cost of camping was £67.60 & that included 2 nights on a very expensive CL at £15 night (wife decided she wanted to visit Liverpool on the way).

France we used Aires or wild camped did use 3 Municipals but most sites were closed as it was September, Ireland spent 1 night on a sight wild camped the rest of the time. Scotland we had 3 nights on CL's on the way up, wild camped in Scotland apart from 2 nights in & spent 3 nights on a CL in the Lake District on the way back (£4 a night).


We didn't worry too much about making a "confident investment" if we had done that we would have never brought a Motorhome, we have always camped & caravanned so we knew we like the lifestyle so we just blew a big chunk of the life savings and have never regretted it.



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If you forget the capital investment a M/H is pretty cheap way to holiday. Last year, my wife keeps a diary which includes costs, we spent about £200 a month more on holiday than we do at home. We never camp in laybys/carparks and always use campsites/aires but our costs in Europe last year averaged around £11 a night using mainly sites. In the UK we try and use c.c. sites which are as good as any in Europe and out of high season are a lot less than your £25 a night. If budget is tight you can use the CL system or the aires system in France, personally we would not consider this unless just for a quick overnight stop.


One thing to consider is the van you buy and its depreciation. A lot buy LHD to use in europe, personally I would not do this unless you are prepared to take a hit when you come to sell. The exception is if you buy and resell in europe. In the UK market dealers do not like LHD and in truth their is no great disadvantage in driving RHD in europe

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I agree with all that has been said and in the end it comes down to a decision of wether you want the freedom of travel with a motorhome or hotels and being waited on and cooked for.

As for fuel costs, whatever you get to the gallon when the tank runs dry you have a choice of two, either fill it up or park it when you do not use fuel.


Personally we have 6/7 weeks on the continent in April/May and Sept/Oct with a month in a hotel in Spain in Feb because we don't want to travel in the snowy weather. Plus UK in the summer.


Good luck with your final decision and I hope you join us Motorhomers.



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Nothing is cheap these days however as with most "pass times" you can make it as cheap or as expensive as you like. As mentioned above CL's are from £6 per night which is cheaper than some holiday destinations charge for car parking so thats about as good as it gets other than wild camping (thats a whole new thread lets not even start on that one)

As judge says you only live once and after all "its only money"

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Guest pelmetman

Why invest a lot of capitol 8-) .................Buy a old van.............Try the lifestyle.............If you like it trade up to a newer van...........If you don't then sell it and you will probably get back what you paid B-) ...............No loss of capitol and you find out whether you really like it ;-)


As for how cheap :D ...........currently sat on a CL at Ticknall £5 per night, just been to Calke Abbey best NT house we have seen B-) .....Sausage baguettes £4.50 each 8-).......Had sausage sandwiches in the van and a nice cup of tea :D

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Plenty of good advise already posted, so only a couple of comments to add.

If you are retired or close to retiring. - It's the opportunity to just "take-off"when the mood takes you, in the Motorhome or when there is an unexpected good spell of weather. If bad weather is forecast, you don't have to go & have your holiday spoilt / ruined.


If you have to visit distant relations at short notice, no having to find a Hotel at whatever cost. You have your accomodation with you.


As Dave (Pelmetman) posted, you don't have to go for a New Motorhome, if concerned about the high capital outlay.


Enjoy which ever van you go for & the outlay recedes into the background.

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