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Anyone gone from Caravan to Motorhome (or the other way)?


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Posted (edited)

We started our mobile holidaying experiences in hired motorhomes (or RV's!) in the US, Canada and Alaska. That worked perfectly for us because we were on touring holidays not staying anywhere for long, the units were big and roomy and everywhere over the pond provides dedicated parking for RV's so getting around is not a problem.

When we decided on buying a unit at home we went for a caravan for several reasons.

  1. caravans offered much more space for money than MH's particularly if an awning is added. 
  2. in UK and Europe we tend not to tour as such but to set up a pitched base for a holiday duration and explore from there - packing up a motorhome each time you want to go out didn't appeal nor did the expense of towing a small car. If you are genuinely touring a sensible sized MH may make sense but you compromise on roominess. We've got to the stage where we will have longer periods away and  want luxury and room, and to get that in a MH becomes very expensive and the vehicle very big.
  3. At home we needed two vehicles, and didn't want a third - MH would not have worked as one of the two, a tow tug does.
  4. Our RV experience provided expectation of fully serviced pitches with individual hookup for electric, water and drainage and the RV's were designed for it. Having to move a MH to fill with water or dump didn't appeal. Given facilities generally available here and in Europe a cassette toilet is a better option.

So we decided a caravan suited our needs and we are now on our third and at each upgrade with experience we have refined our requirements so we now have a super twin axle van that really satisfies our wants. Interestingly we meet up with my brother and wife at various sites and until this year he had a MH towing a small car behind. But he became increasingly envious of the space our van afforded so he has just traded his rig for a twin axle van and tow car. I'm waiting to hear his views and whether he is happy with his decision!

I'm sure there are advocates of both caravan and MH and I think it really boils down to personal circumstances and anticipated use as to which is 'best'. Others can recount their experience and provide advice but in the end you have to decide on your priorities and make your own decision.

Edited by KnausCol

Life is not a rehearsal . . .:)

Porsche Cayenne S Diesel & Knaus StarClass 695. Previously Audi S4 Avant & Elddis Super Sirocco

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Some old friends of ours went from a caravan to motorhome and back. They felt there were too many inconveniences with the MH.

They have now sited their caravan  as they don't want to tow much. They found a really nice site to store it, pulled out and pitched for them as required!

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Caravaning and motorhome are exactly the same, just totally different. No right or wrong and cost is very similar.

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On 07/05/2021 at 09:27, Flatcoat888 said:

The odd occasion i have seen cars being loaded onto a trailer behind a moho has me thinking ‘life is too short’...... 

I am sure have all seen the inexperienced trying to hitch a caravan, and the same is true of some with cars behind their motorhomes but you would be surprised how stress-free loading a small car can be with a little practice. I can easily push ours onto the trailer by hand, the ignition key only being needed to ensure the steering wheel is free to move.

I find that using a trailer removes any concerns over the legality of A-Frames in any country, as the car is just a load on a trailer.  Our car below is only 400Kg so the car+trailer combination is under 750Kgs total and therefore could probably be towed legally by virtually any motorhome. 

image.png image.png

To answer the opening post. We have had a succession of touring caravans of various sizes and we also used campervans, prior to changing to a large motorhome back in 2010. We have changed to a second MH since then but still like caravans, so may well revert to them in the future but for the time being the MH suits us well.

Fourwinds Hurricane 31D Motorhome. Also MGTF135 1. 8i Roadster (fun) & Volvo V70 3.2Ltr LPG (everyday car)
Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan and Motorhome Talk.

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This is probably better than a moterhome or a caravan every day he use to go down to the slipway sail of for the day mind you it was in Queensland oz 

some times you have to think out of the box

😂

 

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Posted (edited)

we find that a lot of motor homes folk choose sites with the bus stop out side the camp , so they have transport that way

 

That's a great idea..........................except may sites, and especially those small out of the way, but en route to somewhere, sites that MHs use, often don't  have a bus service near them or, as happened to people on a rally we were on last September, they cant get on the bus as there are no seats as a result of Covid distancing measures.

 

"Just get the bus", is easy to say but, in practice, not that easy to achieve as often  as people may think.

Edited by Allan Guest
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We, like a lot of people, started with a tent them a campervan then motorhome, now we have a caravan at the moment the caravan is a good fit we love having  a car on site and returning after a day out to a caravan all set up.  There's a bit more faffing about with a caravan especially with an awning, but worth the effort.

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Posted (edited)

During the last year (when we were allowed to move about a bit more) we did wonder if a panel van conversion might have been a useful addition, for day trips .....when cafes and public toilets were closed or still considered  ‘areas of concern’ by senior management.  Having your own loo and eating/drinking facilities in the carpark did seem an advantage.
 

As our caravan is 10years old  but still in good condition, I still think such a ‘day vehicle’ might be useful .....but couldn’t envisage travelling all over Europe in it, as we have for some years, towing a much more capacious caravan.  If I win the lottery this week ..........

 

Edited by ericfield
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26 minutes ago, ericfield said:

During the last year (when we were allowed to move about a bit more) we did wonder if a panel van conversion might have been a useful addition, for day trips .....

 

 

A friend of mine has a caravan and tows it with a VW Caddy camper.  This gives him the best of both worlds, the VW is ideal for day trips (being able to make a coffee, shelter from the rain etc) with the caravan used as a "base".

 

We're all different but for me I couldn't justify the expense of a motorhome for the amount of use I would get out of what is essentially "another vehicle".  For the same money I could get a new car/caravan where the car gets used daily as well as for leisure purposes.

 

The popularity of motorhomes means that some folks clearly see lots of merits with them and if it gives people freedom then that's fine.

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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There is no one size fits all, there is compromise with both. Road tax for a motorhome and little car is less than for a big car and caravan. If you needs big car to travel the rest of the year it’s no good, but if it’s only taking you to work or shopping a big car is a waste.

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26 minutes ago, Odd days said:

There is no one size fits all, there is compromise with both. Road tax for a motorhome and little car is less than for a big car and caravan. If you needs big car to travel the rest of the year it’s no good, but if it’s only taking you to work or shopping a big car is a waste.

Unless you like driving a big car. 😆

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The bottom line is you pay the money you make the choice 

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19 minutes ago, ericfield said:

Unless you like driving a big car. 😆

I have a V8 Range Rover heart but a Vauxhall Cora’s pockets, 😄

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49 minutes ago, Odd days said:

I have a V8 Range Rover heart but a Vauxhall Cora’s pockets, 😄

Stick with the Vauxhall....LR technicians would drive you RR more than you. 😂 

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10 hours ago, joanie said:

we find that a lot of motor homes folk choose sites with the bus stop out side the camp , so they have transport that way

 

From personal experience (having been a MH owner) I can tell you that far more campsites don’t have a bus stop nearby than those that do. 

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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14 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

 

From personal experience (having been a MH owner) I can tell you that far more campsites don’t have a bus stop nearby than those that do. 

you are probably right, but we find that there are more motor homes  than caravans pitched up where there are bus stops nearby.

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7 hours ago, Allan Guest said:

we find that a lot of motor homes folk choose sites with the bus stop out side the camp , so they have transport that way

 

That's a great idea..........................except may sites, and especially those small out of the way, but en route to somewhere, sites that MHs use, often don't  have a bus service near them or, as happened to people on a rally we were on last September, they cant get on the bus as there are no seats as a result of Covid distancing measures.

 

"Just get the bus", is easy to say but, in practice, not that easy to achieve as often  as people may think.

I think I would argue with that point. Lets us put COVID to one side as that has clearly interrupted  lots of plans and hopefully things will get back to normal so I don't think one should put restrictions as result of COVID for suggesting bus services won't be available in normal times. Especially as the Government has indicated that it wants to invest in bus services, although we will have to see how that works out in reality. 

 

We have been on many sites with local bus services, sometimes they are very frequent but at other times not so. I reckon we can manage perfectly well with an hourly service, afterall you wouldn't expect a local train service to run several times an hour outside of commuter areas?  There are lots of sites in the UK where you can manage with local transport but sometimes it requires some research before arriving at your destination. This link http://www.davidklyne.co.uk/uk_campsite_new_2_index.html is from my website and reviews lots of UK sites. As can be seen the ones with the little motorhome symbol have either easy access to towns and villages by foot or by public transport so such sites do exist and they are probably more numerous than thought. 

 

I think people who are either buying a motorhome as a first step into camping or are thinking of changing from another form of camping to a motorhome are seeking reassurance rather than suggestions of why they shouldn't do it?

 

David

 

 

David - Milton Keynes

Bailey Alliance 66-2 Motorhome for holidays and a Kia Venga for home.

 

Caravan Travels

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Posted (edited)

No, they are seeking advice and people’s experience.,

 

There certainly are a good few campsites that are on bus routes or have easy access to them, but a huge  number of them don’t.

 

The OP has asked for views and experiences,  and that’s my experience of being a M.H. owner of many years.  

Edited by Mr Plodd

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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39 minutes ago, klyne said:

I think people who are either buying a motorhome as a first step into camping or are thinking of changing from another form of camping to a motorhome are seeking reassurance rather than suggestions of why they shouldn't do it?

Hi David, I can do no more than state my experience.
The OP did not ask for reasons why they should get a MH but rather if people had changed and, as I had not but recognised the situation they were in, I responded as requested.

As you mention it I would say that saying “you can manage with local transport” sums up my view that getting a MH would have been a compromise for us.

 

We don’t want to “manage” but that’s our choice however, there are people who have had a MH that have also said public transport is not always available.

 

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On 06/05/2021 at 17:49, Rael said:

We both love the idea of a long trip abroad, 6-12 months.

Don't forget 6 months will be the maximum and it will have to be split into two trips leaving Europe between them unless you have residency in the  country you select..

 

We started with an ACE caravan in the seventies (gas lighting and a hole in the floor for a fridge!) Then had a panel van conversion (Danbury),  a demountable (Tischer), then on to a coachbuilt (Euramobil) and now back to caravans 43 years later!  The coachbuilt was fun and I would have another if touring but we like to arrive and get stuff out and get comfortable.  Packing up every time you wanted to go out just wasn't us.  We also found (particularly in the South of France) that nearly every nice beach car park had a height restriction and we clearly now more welcome than in a caravan.   I now tow a Lunar 520 with a panel van which accommodates the e-bikes nicely plus any other tables, chairs, cadacs etc we want, and like Mr Plodd, an inverter in the 30amp accessory socket keeps the bike batteries charged when away from a hookup.   

 

Interesting to hear all the different views though. :-)

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On 06/05/2021 at 18:00, Flatcoat888 said:

We are having exactly the same debate and will only resolve if and when we hire before deciding once and for all. However the one aspect we are both agreed on neither want to wild camp, especially in Scotland. Indiscriminate selfish Wild-camping is ruining the reputation of moho users and i dont want tarring with the same brush. 

Same problem on the Scottish highlands

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I have always wanted a MH, and planned like many people, to get one when I retired. I have had a van for 20 odd years.

I have been giving it a lot of thought recently, going through the pros and cons. 

 

I did hire one several years ago, for my 50th birthday, a Swift Escape, 4 berth, with over cab bed and rear kitchen. It was a bit of a disaster.

 

We went to France with it in June. It was the coldest June for years.

 

We had an old lab with arthritis who would refuse to get in it. As he loved the car we thought there would be no problem. Wrong, he hated it and I had to manually lift him in through the door, not easy as he was around 40kg and would resist by sticking his legs out to stop you getting through the door. 

 

He couldn't turn around between the dinette and side  bunk seat so had to reverse back and moaned all the time. 

My wife's feet couldn't touch the floor, as the seat wouldn't lower, so was very uncomfortable for her. Tried a cushion under but it was too soft. If I had more time I would have got something more suitable.

 

We ended up coming home early,   not a great holiday. 

 

Do I still want one, Yes, manly as I don't like towing much. But I think the transport issue when sited could be a problem, as our current dog wont do public transport. 

 

Will it work out, not sure but with the current prices, cant afford one at the moment. There is the advantage that they keep the price, so will be able to get some cash back if it doesn't suit us.

 

I will see what happens next year if the current buyers want to sell when they can jet off again to foreign parts.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks again, lots of great opinions there on the pros and cons of MH vs Caravans, which is exactly what I was hoping for. It's been very helpful in making our decision - we're not certain yet but I think we are leaning towards another caravan.

 

I will probably still be working for another five years, after that we are hoping to do some long trips round Europe, and I think for that sort of thing a motorhome is probably ideal. not least because while I don't hate towing, I don't love it either. A motorhome does seem to offer more options for stopovers abroad as well, which is really the clincher.

 

My idea was to buy it now and get the use out of it while I'm still working. Until I retire we are likely to only do frequent trips of no more than a week plus long weekends. We will be in the UK (or maybe Ireland) for these trips and have always used club sites with facilities, I don't think that is likely to change. We have two slightly elderly dogs, so parking a motorhome up and using e-bikes etc isn't an option, and would be tricky on public transport. That's probably the factor that swings it towards another caravan for us.

 

Madam already has a suitable towcar for pulling her horsebox. I'm not 100% sure the car (Audi Q3 Quattro) is big enough to be comfortable towing a twin axle van (that's probably another thread) but even at that we can buy a new caravan and upgrade her car to a Q5 or similar and still spend less than a motorhome which would have less space inside. We could tow a car behind the motorhome, but at 2 tons Madam's Q3 is too big for that and I need a reasonable sized vehicle for work, so that would mean buying another car as well as the MH, which doesn't seem like a great idea.

 

We are going to spend the weekend looking around caravans and motorhomes. On paper the caravan seems to suit our needs best, but I can't shake the idea that I *want* a motorhome. Might have to wait a few years before I scratch that itch.

Edited by Rael
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Posted (edited)

We are not dissimilar to your position. We have a 10 year old dog, for health reasons riding a bike is not wise for me. I am planning on retiring from full time work in 4 years but working part time or consultancy as long as i am able.  Driving long distance is certainly not a chore (i like driving) and we have taken our previous t/a caravan into EUland many times. We also have family in Scottish highlands, Czechia and Germany so the benefits of a moho are many. However........ 

 

My guess is a diesel Q3 will be around 1700kg assuming 4wd and auto? A Q5 probably circa 1800 (V6 might be more) and a Q7 north of 2 tonnes. I do know a full fat diesel Q2 just nudges 1600kg so in theory we could tow our van at 100% with one ( am not hung up on weight ratios, as long as it is legal). In the short/medium term we will probably revert to one car later this year and a Q3 will be on the shortlist.

Edited by Flatcoat888
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