A motorhome or motorcaravan offer the best in luxury and space. Generally fitted with everything one needs, including a shower and toilet. With a motorhome you are self sufficient and can do without campsites.
Choosing a motorhome
There are many to choose from, many are expensive, but there are some bargains also (see below). Most motorhomes are bought by wealthy retired couples who spend their time cruising around Europe. Initially costing at least £25,000 – £60,000, a motorhome will devalue fairly slowly, as long as it is maintained.
Older motorhomes, such as models 10 years old or more, can be bought more cheaply, and are a great option if you intend to spend a lot of time living in it. If you have mechanical skills you can buy an older model with higher miles, which the owner or dealer is likely to have trouble selling. Once you give the motorhome a good service, correct and problems with it, and source some essential spares to carry with you (radiator hoses, engine belts, etc.) you can have a bargain motorhome ready for the road. Older Hymer models, for examples, can be bought for £6,000. If 4 people are sharing the vehicle, this makes it good value. When you sell the vehicle you should get most of your money back.
If you don’t care what the vehicle looks like you can find even better value motorhomes. Many older motorhomes have repair patches to stop leaks, or where accidents have happened, or perhaps are faded. These motorhomes are not in demand and can be bought for as little as £2,000. You’ll need to be confident you can repair or maintain the vehicle yourself to make it cost effective, but these types of motorhome can be a real bargain to travel in.
Buying a motorhome
Unless you have experience of motorhomes, or are confident with vehicles and mechanics, and have some caravan or camper van experience, it is much better to buy a motorhome from a dealer. Motorhome dealers normally have lots of models to choose from, they know what they are talking about, and will have fixed any problems with the motorhome and will probably give it a full MOT.
If you are looking for a bargain motorhome (see above) then try the dealers, some will have old part exchanges they are trying to get rid off, but also try private advertisements. Be prepared to look at lots, and don’t buy the first one you see. You can always go back to it. Buying outside of summer will get you a better deal.
- Ensure everything works before you buy it. Get a discount for everything that doesn’t work. Don’t take the owners word that things do work, repairs can be expensive.
- Check the underside very carefully. Ensure the waters tanks and fuel tank are not leaking.
- Check the outside shell very carefully. Be confident any repairs are good before buying.
- Check the inside shell very carefully. Any discoloured patches on the walls or ceiling suggest a leak. Check the leak has been fixed properly.
- Check all the fixtures and fittings are there and working. If there is no has bottle, get one and try the cooking facilities and fridge. Don’t assume they work.
- Drive it thoroughly. Take it up to cruising speed (60 mph / 100 kph), take it down lanes, take it to a supermarket, park it somewhere difficult. Ensure you can drive it!
Parts can be expensive, but most motorhomes are built using the chassis of a panel van or pickup. Therefore most of the parts are readily available. Any parts that are not from the original vehicle, such as the exhaust, which will be customised for the motorhome, can be expensive and difficult to find.
The interior of motorhomes are built using the same technology and ideas as caravans, so parts and repairs are not normally a problem. A lot of motorhomes are made by caravan builders.
If you buy an expensive motorhome with service history ensure you maintain the service history, or else your vehicle will devalue. If you buy a bargain motorhome ensure you maintain it yourself regularly. Older motorhomes will need lots of love, but will last a long time.
The good and bad of motorhomes
- Lots of space inside
- Sleep many people
- Lots of storage – inside and on the roof
- Self sufficient
- Great for 2 couples or 4+ individuals
- Expensive to buy (some bargains around though)
- Can be expensive to maintain
- Difficult to park
- Target for thieves
- Use lots of fuel – cost effective for large groups of people though