To truly love and embrace the opportunities that motorcaravanning brings, first you need the right ’van.
It sounds obvious, but getting it right can be harder than you might think. Then you can just get on with enjoying yourselves!
We were lucky. You might've read before that we were fortunate enough to be able to buy our motorhome simply after receiving a family gift, and because we wanted to take our aunt out for day trips without the worry of finding facilities.
So if you're scouring the new and used motorhomes for sale pages, hunting for your first home-from-home, what can you learn from us? Hopefully we can help give you the confidence to find and buy the motorhome of your dreams!
Our selection process
Lowdham Leisureworld sent us emails after we made use of their free Wi-Fi months earlier, so that allowed us to browse without visiting a dealer.
We looked at lots of different types of motorhome online. Then we sat in as many cabs as possible, opened drawers, stood in showers and so on. We wanted to get to know the ’vans and discover what size and layout worked for us, which items of kit we wanted and so on.
We continually discussed our choice (which, amazingly, was the same!), and asked questions of the dealership sales staff – never be afraid to ask questions.
We decided not to go for a used motorhome because we liked the idea of owning one from new, and the additional premium for one didn’t seem excessive.
The layout, the level of fittings and the size of the shower all came together in the motorhome we eventually bought, the Chausson Flash 510. We took delivery in June 2015, then spent a couple of months taking short outings to get used to the touring lifestyle.
What we’ve learned
Buying a motorhome quickly – and enjoying the motorcaravanning lifestyle – certainly involves a swift learning process! Here’s our advice if you’re thinking of doing the same:
- Develop a checklist to follow before setting off. That should help avoid a thawed fridge, a shortage of water, leaving the gas turned on, drawers rattling or running out of fuel in isolated locations.
- Check your gas supply before leaving home. We ran out on an overnight stop and had to borrow a bottle.
- Take care when reversing, because having a camera does not mean that you will necessarily avoid an accident. You still have to judge the distances involved. (I have the photos to prove it, and am expecting to discover the cost of repairs for the damage – and the time required to do so – over the next few days!)
- A sat-nav unit designed specifically for camper vans and motorhomes will add to your enjoyment, because of the extra information available to you during journeys. We chose the Garmin Camper 600 LMT-D after reading a review, and have used it extensively on our travels – we will be keeping it up-to-date as necessary.
Warranty and recalls
Our vehicle is based on a Ford chassis, but the motorhome conversion was undertaken in France by Chausson.
We experienced damage to a cab door caused by wind, and were lucky to visit a main dealer who advised us of a product recall.
We were totally unaware of this, but were pleased to save up to £1000.
The verdict so far!
Since buying it, our motorhome has given us a lot of pleasure. Life is what you make of it, and enjoyment can come from many sources.
We have made more friends in our village since buying the ’van, and have been lent maps and books to supplement our travels.
Driving a motorhome really isn’t a chore, because the high driving position gives great visibility, and the ’van that we chose offers us a good level of comfort. And we share the driving.
Our enjoyment of visiting new places in our motorhome has been enhanced by the thrill of knowing we are avoiding airports and hotels. We still have air miles and hotel loyalty points to use, but they’re not a priority.
A trip to France is our next destination in the Chausson. And we can't wait!
When talking to other motorcaravanners it’s clear that we must still consider ourselves novices, despite knowing how far we've come in a relatively short time.
But we know that we’ll have many good times and create many wonderful memories. And we will keep on learning more and more with every adventure.
Does this sound like your cup of tea? Get involved! If we can do it, so can you. Motorcaravanning is a fantastic way to spend time and you don't want to miss out.