Motorhome Beginner tips

“You can learn new things at any time in your life if you're willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.” 

So said Barbara Sher, the author and  career coach, and her words certainly ring true when it comes to holidaying in a motorhome. The freedom of the ‘Great Outdoors’ beckons for those willing to dip their toes in the water and see where a motorhome could take them.

It’s only natural for those who haven’t bought or driven a motorhome before to feel like they are entering the unknown. So we’ve produced this guide for those of you asking yourself the question ‘should I buy a motorhome?’. It’s full of tips on choosing and driving a motorhome, rounded off with some advice from a motorhome expert.

If you are a motorhome beginner, we hope it can set your mind at ease, and equip you with the right knowledge to get on the road with confidence!

-          Know the motorhome market

From the wealth of information available online (including this very guide!), to the qualified advice you can receive at motorhome dealerships which are part of the National Caravan Council’s (NCC) Approved Dealership Scheme such as Salop Leisure – there are plenty of channels through which you can acquire knowledge of the motorhome market. That means checking out the various models available to buy and hire, noting the prices of new and used motorhomes, and getting a feel for the different specs which are available in the various price brackets.

If you are buying a motorhome, it can do no harm at all to take yourself along to one of the UK’s motorhome exhibitions, at which many of the leading brands will be strutting their stuff. You will have the advantage of examining the newest models for yourself, and asking any questions you may have directly to the manufacturers present. If you live in the Midlands, the West Midlands Caravan, Motorhome and Destinations Show, and the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show are two exhibitions worth a visit.

-          Define what you want

Once you’ve done your research, you’ll be in a good position to scour the market and find the right motorhome for you. Whether that’s a simple two berth model, or one of the larger, luxury motorhomes which are available – there has never been more choices.

If you are a couple or young family which is likely to need more space in the future, it could be worth buying a motorhome which is larger than you currently require. You’ll have a number of amenities to choose from, so it can be important to know which area of your motorhome is most important to you. Do you have your heart set on a quality kitchenette? Is the lounge area a priority? Or are you willing to sacrifice more space in the name of a king size bed?

-          Implement a motorhome ‘checklist’

So you’ve purchased or hired the motorhome which you want. But before you begin your adventure, as with any driving holiday, it is good practice to confirm that your vehicle is ready for the road before heading away. That means checking the tyre pressure and fluid levels, while also getting into the habit of tasks which are unique to leisure vehicles. Namely, ensuring that your step is up before you set off, and also that any cabinet doors in the rear are securely shut.

-          Baby steps

Where to go on your first motorhome break? While you might have been dreaming of conquering The Alps in your new motorhome, it can be wise to err on the side of caution, initially. That means taking a weekend break within your geographical region, no more than a couple of hours drive away. This will allow you to get a feel for the vehicle and the nuances of holiday park life, without the exertion of a long drive there and back to worry about.  You’ll have plenty of time for foreign adventures once you learn the ropes!

-          Don’t over plan

If you or your motorhome companion had previously planned your holidays down to the smallest detail, you might want to adopt a somewhat more relaxed strategy. That’s because for many, motorhome holidays are all about the freedom to roam, benefitting from the absence of the constraints often imposed on us by hotel breaks.

The chances are, you want to buy or hire a motorhome because it offers more independence, but it can be hard to break the habit of planning your entire holiday out by the day. By all means study routes, look at motorhome site reviews and have a clear idea of where you are going – but it can also work well to leave your plans a little open ended. That means not booking pitches for your whole trip, giving you the chance to stay longer at a holiday park you enjoy, or pack up and move on if you aren’t overly charmed by a location.

-          Make the most of it

If you’ve bought a motorhome, you can typically use it whenever you want, work and other responsibilities notwithstanding. So make the most of it. If you have a spare day and a half, you might be amazed at how much more a motorhome allows you to enjoy the free time, as opposed to a standard weekend at home. With the ability to decamp and de-stress on a whim, ensure you adopt an explorer’s mindset whenever time permits.

The same goes for the space within your motorhome. Remember that you aren’t living out of a suitcase anymore, so the utilise the extra room you now have for storage on your motorhome holiday. You’ll have space for board games, DVDs, food supplies and treats which it wouldn’t be feasible to take away on a hotel break.

-          Have a motorhome site routine

When you arrive at your pitch for the first time, there are some tasks to undertake before you can put your feet up, soak up your refreshing new surroundings and thank yourself for taking ‘the motorhome leap of faith’.

It helps to arrive at a motorhome site a couple of hours before dark, so that you can see what you are doing. Before you even park, watch out for any ground obstacles or low hanging branches which could obstruct or damage your vehicle. Once you’re out and about, ensure that you locate the connections for water, electric and sewage. Your appliances should be using the electric supply, rather than your battery. If you have an awning, you can extend it. After you’ve finished setting up camp, it’s time to kick back and enjoy!

-          Don’t fret about driving a larger vehicle!

In the last of our motorhome tips for beginners, we want to dispel any myths that motorhomes are impossible or dangerous to drive. There is no denying the fact that they are bigger than a car, but how often will that present a problem?

The answer is, rarely. You are far more likely to be driving along a major road than you are to be reversing into a narrow parking space. When tight maneuvering is required, like most things, practice makes perfect, and today’s motorhomes typically offer the benefit of a parking camera. On tight country lanes, remember that it is hard to go unnoticed in a motorhome, meaning other road users can be aware and alert to your presence.

What does the expert say?

Sarah Wakely, the Editor in Chief of Practical Motorhome magazine, has some parting advice for inexperienced motorhome owners who preparing for their first motorhome break.

Sarah says: "It is only natural to feel a little tentative before you set off on your first motorhome break, but in many cases, worries can be misguided. You can get the hang of the driving aspect in no time at all, and once you have become accustomed to the space and freedom of motorhome holidays, you might be amazed at how quickly you fall in love with the lifestyle!"

Looking for your first motorhome? Take a browse through the unrivalled new and used motorhome range at http://www.salopleisure.co.uk and call 01743 282 400 for guidance on the right model for you.