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Dear all,

My wife and I are currently caravanners but I retire in 22 months and we are planning on buying a motor home and travelling around Europe. Now having never owned a motor home and planning on doing a lot of touring, 1 yr plus, my first question is what is essential in a motor home for this type of journey? I mean do you need fixed bed, a rear bathroom, a decent equipped kitchen? What are the priorities?

I would be interested in your thoughts. I am sure I will have a lot more over the coming months but getting the right motor home I feel is essential.


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Guest JudgeMental

welcome Andy!


Large bed with plenty of headroom. Just decide what layout you want and what length you are prepared to put up with.... but rear transverse bed over a garage with plenty of storage makes a lot of sense IMO, or twin rear singles over a smaller garage, but this mean a longer van.


reasonable front lounge, kitchen/bathroom between axles make sense for weight distribution.


be very careful that you select a van with enough payload. anyway that's my take, I like the style and layouts on German vans..but a lot on here don't


Use the search function there is loads of threads where you can get info from, your final choice will be a compromise on things that you value most..we are all different

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Hi Andy .

We brought a Motor home after I retired some 3 years ago ,but first we had been to New Zealand and hired a Van there and did South and North island ,we had a van about 6.5 meters long with rear lounge and over head cab .Loved it

Six month's later we where looking around for a van about 25k ,we found after a hard search a 6meter Eldiss Sunseeker 200 04 plate 11k on clock ,with rear lounge and pull out bed, now after 3 years the mileage is 36k most of this done in Europe.We can have the bed ready to use in 4 minutes.

We found a lot of vans with seating behind the cab where very upright and uncomfortable,where as rear lounge is more relaxing .Over cab is great for storing bedding,small toilet and shower,but plenty of space to wash etc.We have just had two weeks 1500 miles in Germany stayed on one camp site with shower.

Would recommend if possible that you hire a van for week ,to get feel of what you want.Some places might even refund hire cost if you then buy a van!!!.




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Having had fixed bed would have to go for similar but would go for 2 singles that can be made into double, low enough down that you can use them for lounging in the day and be able to see out of windows. That way one of you can get up, get to kitchen and bathroom and sit at table while other one sleeps on.


Bathroom doesn't have to be huge as you don't spend a great deal of time in there, leg room is a bit iffy in some.


Would try to get a large fridge/Freezer rather than full oven but that could be harder.


We love the Cipro for this reason as it fits most of our wishes and gives you the storage space we would need.



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Motorhomes are no different to Caravans except that they propel themselves,so if you have been happy in your Caravan look for a similar layout in a Motorhome. my point of view having spent  many months touring extensively in Europe is this.
Fixed bed over a large Garage.
Full size shower separate from the toilet.
Plenty of payload and storage.
Largest gas bottles or refillables.
Large water tank.
Large fridge Freezer.
Good  heating system.
Double floor.
Solar panels .
Several Leisure Batteries.
No Telly. too busy for that.
Bike rack for two Bikes, in short my Hymer B694 Tag axle 7.9 metres a great van for long terming, lots of other choices out there though.
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Depends what you want, we imposed ourselves on a very nice couple in Italy when we were considering and looked at their van , rising roof, small one, then did a lot of looking at dealers to decide exactly what we wanted. We chose a La Strada Pronto which ticked all our boxes, small enough to be able to drive down little roads but also having fridge cooker loo and shower and we carry folding bikes inside the van. You really need to sit down and decide what you want the van to do before buying. Apparently the for sales are full of vans which people bought and then found didn't suit them.
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Hi Andy, and welcome.


Some people on here accuse me of always plugging the virtues of my own van, but if you're going to be touring for long periods a little panel van like mine is the last thing you need!! The most we've done (or would want to do) in ours was 5 weeks.


Generally, all the options are about what will work best for YOU, but two things will matter to you:

1) Can you LIVE in it for an extended period, with everything you need to take (which covers comfortable sleeping arrangements, showering, cooking etc, as well as adequate storage space and payload)?

2) Can you DRIVE it comfortably for long distances, sometimes several days at a time?


Bear in mind, that the main difference between a caravan and a motorhome is the way they're designed to be USED.

The former is at its best when taken to a "base" and left there while you explore by car. The latter is intended for moving on most days, stopping overnight and occasionally for slightly longer spells. If you stay any length of time in one place with a motorhome, you either need bikes or good public transport for local running around. (I'm assuming you're not thinking of towing a car - just don't go there!).


Whatever you go for, enjoy it!

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Hi Andy - welcome to the mad house! :-D


After owning a caravan you should have a good idea of what things are important to you so this should help you to narrow down the layout of the motorhome - what YOU need isn't necessarily what others need so these are just some things for you to consider:


Is a large lounge for sprawling important?

Do you need 2 separate areas, one for you, one for your wife, for some 'me' time each?

How important is a large kitchen/oven/grill/large fridge etc?

How important is a separate shower/large washroom?

Do you want to be able to have single beds (ie no climbing over each other to get to the loo in the night)?

Do you want a fixed bed(s) or are you willing to do without and have more lounging space (and possibly a shorter more manouvreable MH as well)?

Do you intend to use sites all the time, or use aires? Or intend to leave your MH on sites for a week or so at a time and if so, how will you get out to explore the area (bikes, car, on foot, public transport)?

What things could you simply not do without?


What caravan have you got at present? Is the layout right for you still? If so, looking for a MH with a similar layout may be a starting point.

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Two things that you will be doing for your years touring are driving and sleeping.

Make sure you are comfortable with the size of van first, remember that the length is relatively unimportant, if the wing mirrors fit through the gap the rest will follow! but lack of ground clearance can be a problem with extended rear overhangs. LHD for Europe!

Comfort in sleeping is supremely important, while people may say that they can make up their bed quickly , I have yet to find a bed , made from individual cushions, that is as comfortable as a pukka mattress. How the bed is arranged is another matter, drop down, central, lit a la Francais, double or twins……….. the list is long  :-)

Cooking is another matter, three ring hob plus an oven is essential unless you intend to eat out, and for touring in Europe a large fridge and a separate Freezer (say 150l) will pay dividends. Worktop space is always at a premium and we find that we use the Table as well so make sure the kitchen is close to the dinette.

I could never see why you would want a rear lounge, with twin swivelling front seats and an L shaped dinette you have a perfect lounging area and the advantage of a panoramic view through the windscreen.

The more water, battery and Gas capacity the better and storage for the hose, long lead and bikes (if your budget stretches to electric bikes…) barbie, easy chairs, table and I find that the side awning is indispensable under blue skies and 30°C+ weather.




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I'm probably biased but I would say that our bed is extremely comfortable, mind we did replace all the seats early on which we had already budgeted for. We always use campsites so don't use our shower and in our panel van we regularly tour for 10 weeks at a time no problem so I would say again to the people looking that each persons preference is different and what works for one is not right for another. We would never in a million years buy a large box with a fixed bed bu then thats why there's so many different vans out there because there's so many different people :-D
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Being ex tuggers our biggest hate of caravans was bed making. If you are going to use the van the amount you intend too a comfy fixed bed is essential and a good shower, also on our list would be a large fridge freezer. As Roger says look at the ground clearance a lot of new vans are low to the ground gives good roadholding but causes problems especially with a long rear overhang 'A' class vans tend to be a bit better.
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Hi Andy

Another consideration is where will you store the Motorhome when not in use, this may or may not need to be addressed regarding overall length.

Having towed a Caravan previously you will be use to a large outfit, so that should not be a problem.

Much will depend on your style of touring & use, if you want to go off the beaten track or park in city / town centres, length may be an issue.

I think this layout or similar:-


would make a suitable long term touring van for a couple, good front lounge & rear single beds. But as previously, much depends on your style of use.

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