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Hi all,

We are getting close to jacking it all in, renting out the house and going full time. We were thinking of doing warden/assistant during the summer to get some cash saved then go to spain for the winter. Can anyone give me some honest tips on whether to get a decent motor home or a caravan/fifth wheel. Pro’s and con’s for either of these as well as what models please.

TVM Bill


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Hi Bill


We are some way away from doing this ourselves but we are planning too. Like you, the choice of 5th Wheeler, MH or Cvan is a big decision.


Chatting to a MH owner, the other w/e who was new to having a MH (our TA cvan is on a seasonal pitch currently as we looked after a sick relative for many years and ended up not being able to tour so used it as a holiday home - and still do! - long after we could have gone back to touring) - he said that he was frustrated by not being able to pop down the shops without putting everything away and when on the move every thing rattled.


I would be prepared to tow a big caravan down to a site in the sun and stay for a few months in the winter. But if I was to move about, then the benefits of a fifth wheeler is certainly attractive.


But then so is a motorhome.


So I am not being that helpful really (lol)


But we are considering this. Keep a caravan, rent the house out, buy a static.


Live in the static for most of the month, then have a nice w/e away during the days you have to not be on site. Similarly, when our site is closed Jan & Feb, use the caravan to chase the sun for a month or two's winter break. Sounds good to me!


A few couples do this and they say the pension and the rental income from their home makes for a very nice lifestyle indeed. And you still have that foot on the "property ladder".


Last year one couple did not use their caravan, preferring to leave it in storage and rented a small villa in Portugal. They still drove down but they took a small car, and the out of season 3 month rental for the Villa was less than the site fees and extra fuel costs would have been.


So touring/tugging is not that attractive anymore with fuel costs being what they are.


Let us all know what you decide on - that way, those of us that can't do so just yet can get properly envious of those that can.


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We inadvertently went full time a short while ago. To give a bit of background, we sold our house, and were gazumped on the new one - and again on its' replacement we found a few weeks later. With time running out, we had to look into renting. All the rentals now are through agencies, and they really are scamming a pretty penny! We had to pay just under £1000 in 'fees' to set the new rental house up, and just as we were waiting for the move in date - they called and said we would have to up the rental offer as someone else was offering more. I was pretty cheesed having already signed up for it - so told them to shove it.


We hired out motorhomes, so we went into one for a few weeks whilst we found a private rental...........we are no longer looking for a rental, and will wait until something special comes up at auction and buy that as regards to houses. Why are we no longer looking? Well the other half looked at me, and she said she had never felt so relaxed as she did full timing and was really enjoying the experience. I must admit, it is quite an easy life!


The changes we made, were firstly due to the business- we had to get the motorhome back on the fleet. Secondly, Making a bed every night if fine for a week or two, but give it a month and it gets tiring.


Motorhomes require the usual servicing etc, so a caravan looked like the best option. We definitely wanted a fixed bed! What we decided upon, having looked at the cramped British makes, was a German Dethleffs.


It was far more spacious, well planned, fully winterised and the build quality knocked the brit vans for six. Total luxury in there, the build is so good we cannot hear rain when it falls, doors and cupboards are severel inches thick, and very good quality. The interior leather is thick and seats comfy, the bed I struggle to get out of with it's matress being of the sprung memory foam type - This was someting I was quite surprised about as it is the same construction as our home one, which cost nearly £1000. It is all these small things that need to be taken seriously if you want it to last full time!


They say a year in a caravan/motorhome takes ten years off it's life span in terms of wear - so quality is paramount. Choose something that will work, and has a good build quality, with easily servicable parts.


I would also recommend something with a fixed bed, a lounge area, and the seperate dinette. This gives you zones, in which you can seperate like rooms if you are on the net, and your other half is in the lounge area, or even in bed.


Bathrooms are also important. Try and find one with space. I never appreciated a spacious bathroom and considered then a waste until I went fulltime. Try and find one with a full shower, rather than a wet room.


One other bit of advice...try a while in the UK before you go abroad - that way if it isn't comfortable you don't have such a drag to get home again. Rent the house for six months, and see how you go in the UK Good luck, you won't look back

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A good site with lots of info is www.motorhome365.com.

I have a van conversion at the minute but its too small for full timing. Some people manage in a small van but I couldn't. Its ok for a holiday or weekend away but as everyone says, making the bed every night is a pain. I also like a good sized loo and seperate shower and enough storage so as I dont have to keep moving stuff about to get to things.

We have had loads of caravans in the past so caravaning is not new to me so its a case of looking at other peoples rigs and what they get up to in them, then weighing up the pro's and con's etc.


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My suggestion to anyone thinking about this, is do your homework first and take your time. DO NOT JUMP.


You will need accommodation which will suit 24 hour/7 days per week living and will need sufficient space for all the things you will need and also to keep your marriage/partnership sane. Remember winter is not the same as summer. Nights are long and cool. Although some people use UK motorhomes and caravans, to my mind they are designed for holidays not fulltiming and the equipment is built accordingly. Therefore to do it properly you need to look at an RV or as mentioned a 5th wheeler. This raises the issue of actually buying one. A reasonable RV, even a very old one is going to be 20 grand or more depending on size. A 5th wheeler could be the same and you need the tug. Your Landrover Defender is not going to be suitable. Of course you can sell what you have and maybe balance the books there. You will still have insurance and maintenance costs if you wish to move from site to site. MOT's can be an issue to consdier. Renting out the house is fine but you may need to find storage for the bits you do not want to put in the skip, and cannot leave for tenants. Tenants have rights and you need to leave quite a bit of good equipment, so check with a renting agency as to what you may need to buy up front. If you have kids with big attics then you could be ok.


One assumes the idea is that all income from rentals etc will cover your costs so one assumes there is no mortgage to pay, or what you have left will be much smaller than you expect. You will have to pay site fees and if a 5th wheeler or RV you need to check what sites will actually take you. There are some but the choice is more limited than what you had with the old touring van. Costs may range from €300 per month upwards, but that includes your electric. I got the figure from 'permanents' in a site in Spain. However, they did tell me it rises each year. The other thing is to consider how long you plan to do this. Is it to be permanent, or merely for a year or so until you get bored/broke/homesick etc. If the latter then you need to assign some money to return your house to something you are happy to live in again. Don’t count on the deposit covering it all.


Once you have done the homework, figured out your costs, DISCUSSED IT WITH THE WIFE, then have a look at some of the websites for fulltiming and get some more information. Many have done it, many have enjoyed it fully, some have hated it.


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One other thing to consider is your family outside spouse. Many state that it will be fun to fly home to see the kids etc, but remember you have no where to stay, so your are staying with relatives. That may, or may not be a good idea. Having been an expat for many years I can confirm it was the one thing my wife hated, having to live in someone else's house. Also air fare are not as cheap as they were. " 'cheapo' tickets from Alicante etc may be in the region of €300 by the time you have paid all the 'extras'. How often can you afford this is something to ask yourselves. Also, the kids can come and visit us. Well, yes they can, as long as they can get time off work and do they want to spend their vacations with you every year? Also, who pays their flight tickets??


Again, I am not for a moment suggesting don't do it, but please take off any rose tinted spectacles and think carefully. We all have armchair ideas, actually putting them into practice is another matter.

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