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towing a smart car!!


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Hi there everyone, we are new to this game so need some advice from other motorhomers!! We purchased a motorhome in November last year and as we speak we still haven't made our maiden voyage yet because we have had a few problems that needed to be sorted first but we are planning a couple of short weekends before we go on a 6 week tour of Ireland!! Our problem is that we dont know whether to buy a smart car and trailer before our visit or wait and see if we really need one. I have limited mobility ie cant ride a bike and find walking too far (more than a few hundred feet) a struggle but also we are not ones for just sitting about and relaxing. We will probably be staying at each site for at least 3 nights and at most 5 nights so will obviously want to be out and about most days exploring therein lies out dilemma!! What do most motorhome owners do if like us they like to get about - take the motorhome off site everyday or use public transport if its available or as we are contemplating, or getting a trailer and car?? The other problem we have is that I only drive automatic (our motorhome is manual) and I dont drink but my husband does and he is a guiness drinker after all which would seem a shame not to partake whilst in Ireland and if we were to get a smart car obviously it would be an auto making life so easy or will it? any advice would be welcomed
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Guest JudgeMental

welcome to the forum!:-D


we walk, use electric bikes, buses, trains and at times have hired cars.... I would not entertain the hassle of towing. we now have a panel van which is much easier to park and get around in...

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Welcome jojofoy !


I think you have answered your own question - don't buy one until you see if you really need one.


As Judge says, electric bikes may be a good idea, especially if you are not too mobile on your pins.


I suggest that your first trips shouldn't be too far from home - so if you do have any problems - or have forgotten essentials - it's not too far to go and get 'em.

You will also find out what your own particular " essentials " are.


Best of luck with your trip !




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Hi Joanne, and welcome.


Malc is right - have a go first, and use those weekends to see what you actually need. That applies to all sorts of other kit, not just transport! For instance, we've gradually built up duplicates of all the kitchen utensils we use in the van, so we don't have to remember them each trip. Toiletries, too, are "cloned" in the van as far as possible.


As far as the smart car thing is concerned, I'd agree with Eddie ("Judgemental") that if you can possibly avoid towing that's best, but it really does depend on your "touring style."


You seem to fall between two types of motorhomer:

The one like me, who travels a bit each day, stopping DURING the day to do or see things, and only wants sites as places to sleep. No secondary transport needed, because we usually only arrive on site (or aire, or carpark!) in time to have a meal and turn in.

The one who wants to settle on a site for a week or so, using the van on site as a holiday home and wanting secondary transport to explore from "base." (this person would really be better off with a caravan).


You're neither of the above, so in view of your mobility issues you MAY find you need a car with you, but do experiment before you buy!


And whatever you end up doing, enjoy your motorhoming for many years ahead!

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A few hundred feet is a very short distance indeed. Even visiting museums, galleries, or stately homes (or getting out of some campsites!), would generally require a longer walking range that that. If you are really that restricted, I would have thought a mobility scooter (but watch weight!), or even a folding wheelchair, might be the best, relatively simple, solution.

Towing a car would obviously increase your range, but you'd still have to get to wherever from the car, and not that many car parks are reliably within a few hundred feet of attractions or town centres. Have you checked the towing limit for your van? Many are limited to around a tonne, and a small car on a trailer is a tight fit, even with a Smart - that are not that light!

Electric bikes could work for you, but you will need to sort the wheat from the chaff, especially with regards range. If you run one flat before you get back to your van, you'll either have to push it, or pedal it and, because of the additional weight, neither is as easy as with a normal bike.

We do pretty much as you propose doing, and make shortish stops as we go, taking in attractions, supermarkets, or w.h.y, as we travel, and using public transport to get into larger towns. However, it involves many times more than a few hundred feet of walking, usually several miles.

Guiness is quite a lot more expensive in Ireland than in UK, though it does taste better! :-)

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From our experiences of South West Ireland, there are not that many places to park a Motorhome in small villages and at attractions, as most of the car parks have 'Height Barriers' presumably to stop 'Travellers/Gypsies' from 'setting up home' in them ? So a small car would be handy. especially if staying in one place for a few days. All that Brian says re. Weights etc., is true, Have you considered an 'A Frame' rather than a trailer ? that reduces the 'all up' weight, and the towed weight. Using one in France/Spain is illegal though. We have considered the same thing, as 'Mrs Ray' is disabled as well, although we would be towing her 'Coverted' car, not a 'Smart' (there have been some 'incidents' towing Smarts with auto boxes, not being in neutral properly.). Good luck Ray


ps She cannot ride a bike either, so electric bikes are out.

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Hi Joanne & welcome to the forum

I agree with previous posters regarding wait & see what you need.

A Smart Car & Trailer will pay for a lot of Car Hire as & when needed.


IMO Motorhomes are the most practical means of transport for anyone with reduced Mobility.


Regarding your mobility, I would not recomend a manual wheelchair if you intend doing any reasonable distance. My wife uses a manual wheelchair in the home, but they can be tiring (her wheeling or me pushing) outdoors. They are also (IMO) useless on caravan sites where you will encounter grass or gravel surfaces.


Prior to my wife's mobility deteriorating, (now having an Electric Wheelchair) she used a Mobility Scooter, for 3 years, which dismantled /assembled easily & was easy to accomodated in the Motorhome.


See link for example (but do check the web as prices vary greatly) although there should be a local supplier where you can view them.



These would give you the opportunity to use for travelling any distance from Site to local Towns & Attractions, etc., but to walk the shorter distances i.e into a Shop.


Good luck with whichever way you decide & enjoy your new Motorhome.

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Personally I would never tow a car behind my Motorhome, I would revert back to a Caravan first, we ride bikes and use our bus passes to get around, but that is us, Have you considered a  Motability  Scooter ,if that is what they are called, you know the four wheeled  buggies like they use on a Golf Course only smaller, that option would be much cheaper than a car and  trailer  and could solve your problem ?
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Hi jojofoy,


You haven't said what van you have and you need to check the train weight, that may provide you with an answer before you go any further.


We have a 8 mtr motorhome and until recently a large dog, plus my wife enjoys French antique markets so we always tow, either a box trailer or a car on a trailer.


So for us the van becomes a hotel room and we use the car to get around. Some will say why not get caravan, well we actually got into this game with a caravan but I did not enjoy the towing experience one little bit. First of all I found other road uses cutting you up with a desperation to over take you to sometimes the point that it was extremely dangerous for them and us and further more due to the caravan being a lot larger than the tow car, I found that apart from motorways it didn't make for a relaxing drive. Also the setting up on site and the constant fill of water a pain.


With the van, if the motorhome goes through a gap the trailer will follow, being a lot smaller. Also other drivers especially HGV's on the whole treat you with a lot more consideration and of course the setting up thing is a lot more easy. When towing the box trailer we tend to use aires, which on the whole are not available to caravans.


We also have a tow bar on the car, so if I have to move the trailer around on site then I will use the car to do so. I have to say that if my mobility became severely reduced, then we would have to pack up the French furniture buying and I would look to a van small enough that the average car park could accommodate.


Look at your Vin plate so you will know what weight you can tow, if you are unsure post what it says on the forum and someone will come along and tell you.


Best of luck Roy

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