To find the perfect motorhome layout, Jean Morrison and her husband decided to hire before they bought – and now their future is full of fun and adventure

Living in the Channel Islands, on Guernsey, means that we don’t get to see a motorhome on our narrow roads every day. If we do spot one it’s usually just on its way to the harbour to catch the ferry from here to the UK or France

Five years ago, the idea of buying a motorhome was something neither my husband nor I had ever considered, but on a visit to Scotland we kept passing them as we journeyed north, and this got us talking. When we next passed a newsagent we purchased a motorcaravanning magazine and were bewildered by the different types of motorhomes and layouts. 

We bought more copies of Practical Motorhome and other magazines and gradually began to understand the basics, until motorcaravanning became our favourite topic of conversation. We became hooked to the extent that when we next went to the UK mainland to see my husband’s family we arranged the timing of our visit to fit around a motorhome show!

By the time we left the show we were totally overloaded with information. We had no idea which layout would suit us best, let alone which brands were the best motorhomes to buy

We hired a motorhome to try it out

Many people had suggested that it was a good idea to 'try before you buy', so that's what we did. We wanted to hire a motorhome to see if we actually liked the concept and practicalities of a touring lifestyle. Practical Motorhome's essential guide to motorhome hire gives plenty of advice about what to expect from hire firms.

We chose a Trigano Tribute with a front lounge for our first foray into the pastime. We thoroughly enjoyed the motorcaravanning, but decided that a motorhome with a front lounge was not for us.

The following year we hired a Moovéo motorhome with a fixed bed, but it turned out that this wasn’t what we wanted either. 

Our last rental motorhome was an Autocruise Rhythm with a rear lounge, and we decided that this was the layout we wanted. In between hiring different ’vans we had visited motorhome shows in the UK, but we kept returning to one particular stand, because we'd found one company making van conversions that ticked all of our boxes. 

At last we collected our own 'van

In May 2013 we arrived at the Vantage motorhome factory in Leeds, where we were given an excellent handover of our beautiful new Vantage Neo. We proudly drove away to spend our first night close by, at Moor Lodge Caravan Park

Since owning our Neo we have spent time in North West EnglandNorth East England, Dorset, Cornwall and Scotland, and in April we joined an escorted tour to Holland. In the summer of 2015 we took another escorted tour to The Faroes and Iceland; it was thoroughly enjoyable and turned out to be more of an adventure than expected. 

As my husband heads towards retirement we are looking forward to many more trips together in our Vantage Neo, both abroad and in the UK.

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