Andrew McPheeSee other Advice articles filed in ‘Running a motorhome’ written by Andrew McPhee
So you’ve decided you’re going to sell up and go on the trip of a lifetime. Have you thought it through, though? Our guide helps you do just that.
Choosing the right ’van
Don’t buy a new motorhome before trying the full-timing lifestyle in your existing ’van for a few months. Then you’ll have a better idea of what you need and, what you don’t.
If you’re going to use sites a lot, a fan heater will cut your gas usage because you can use the site’s electricity. If not, consider buying an inverter, uprated batteries, solar panels and maybe a generator.
To keep in touch with home, a laptop PC can allow you to access email and to use internet telephone schemes such as Skype (far cheaper than your mobile phone). Resist the temptation of taking too much with you – you won’t need it. For example, a couple of pans and an oven dish, rather than a full set, will do.
Set aside funds for routine maintenance such as tyres, servicing and so on. Do weekly tyre checks (both tread depth and pressure), as well as oil, water, brake fluid, coolant and screen wash.
Keep spare parts such as a fan belt, clutch cable, and bulbs. Consider taking a vehicle maintenance course before you go. Also, have your motorhome professionally serviced before you leave.
Know how much cash you’ll have each month (e.g. from renting your house, or from your pension), then set a budget and stick to it. Adjust it from country to country (some are dearer to live in than others).
Also, doing odd jobs while you’re away can top up your income – this doesn’t have to be ‘real’ work, and can be fun. For example, you could work at a bar or café, offer mechanical skills or sell pictures you paint – really, it’s entirely up to you and the skills you have.
By law, insurers must insist that you maintain a permanent UK address – a relative’s is often invalid. So, the best advice is to either keep your home and rent it out or buy a small flat out of the proceeds from selling your home.
Also remember that many policies have restrictions on how long you can be abroad for – only 90 days is common. A few (Camping and Caravanning Club, Comfort Insurance and some others) offer up to one year’s, unlimited-mileage cover, but in all cases, breakdown cover is often not included, so be sure research this properly before you leave.
- Motor Caravanners’ Club
Tel 020 8893 3883
- Caravan Club
Tel 01342 326 944
- Camping and Caravanning Club www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk
Tel 0845 130 7631
- Go Motorhoming Europe by George Doree (published by Vicarious Books LLP, ISBN 0-9552808-0-X)