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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 
Only a few years away from retirement and always planned to buy a motorhome to drive off in to the sunset Covid 19 has made me think about buying earlier than planned cant see me sitting on a plane for some time yet Just want to ask what the pitfalls and benefits of a motorhome are I have no idea of running costs other than insurance and tax what fuel consumption can I expect from a 2.3 or 2.5 engine is it economical to travel to Europe based on package holidays we used to caravan years ago so I know there are great locations in the UK but would like to travel abroad but is it going to cost me a fortune. Hope someone can give a motorhome newbie some advice

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Posts: 1,017
Reply with quote  #2 
How long is a piece of string?  It can be as expensive or as cheap as you want to make it. I would suggest that you hire one first to see what layout you want, how many seat belts (not berths), how much gear you are going to take, do you have a C1 on your licence, if not you will be limited to 3500kgs maximum. How much payload is on the van. They are just the basics
Plus Alfie (Yorkshire Terrier - supposedly)

Dukinfield, Cheshire

2003 VW T4 Crusader Hightop Leisuredrive campervan
Pudsey Bear

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Really should get out more
Posts: 12,350
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Salty and welcome to our little forum.

MPG, I expect to get around 30 if driven carefully, that's with the 2.8Jtd or the 2.2 Citroen relay, I can't comment on Europe as we have yet to go there, more replies will follow on from this.

Kev [comp] 

Warning, might contain an opinion [nono]  

If you're not the lead dog, your view never changes.

Don't force it, use a bigger hammer. Semper ubi, Sub ubi. 

Link to self build pictures

Link to sort of blog on facts


2002 Bessacarr E745 Ducato

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Posts: 6,090
Reply with quote  #4 

Welcome to the site Kevin. 

as we are all committed motorhomers, we are well suited to answering any and all questions you can come up with. Firstly there are no stupid questions, bar the ones you don’t ask. We all started from knowing nothing, and in all likelihood have made lots of mistakes we can get you to avoid. 

I think we really need to know a bit more about what you would like to do. Is it you, or is it you and a boss, and do you have a dog that could want to travel with you. Have you any idea where you’d like to go? Do you want to use campsites or use your own facilities and camp off grid?

From my perspective package holidays are a real no-no, I want to go in my direction, at my speed, for as long as I want. We have members on here who have almost encyclopaedic knowledge of Europe, several of them live there and are able to give even more detail if you have questions. 

Europe is far more sensible to motorhomes than England & Wales. We are actively welcomed over there with a range of cheap or free overnight stops, some with facilities  

Taxation rates are comparable with an average car, and in some cases cheaper. Insurance is best obtained from one of the specialist companies and also tends to be similar to a car and often will come with European breakdown cover included. Fuel consumption is like most things governed by engine size, weight and your right foot. e.g. my 2.3ltr Ducato based MH weighs 3500kg loaded and averages 28mpg. 

therefore as an example, 2500 mile trip abroad @ 28mpg = 400 litres-ish and @ £1.25 a litre = £500.  You can substitute your own numbers to give a clue on longer or shorter trips.  Factor in the cost of ferry or tunnel to get where the people are friendlier, £300 return-ish from memory. 

one of the biggest pitfalls about MH purchasing is firstly not doing it ‘years ago’ but additionally DO NOT PURCHASE BLINDLY there are a lot of sharks out there in the motorhome selling game. You MUST take someone knowledgeable with you to temper your judgment and to show up any problem areas. You’re in Manchester, there’s bound to be be someone in your vicinity willing to help you, perhaps even willing to wander around a dealership with you pointing out amenities.

there are so many decisions to make, based on your licence, is it C1 compliant as that will allow for a wider range of vehicles. C1 allows you to drive over 3500kg MHs until you’re 70 when it must be renewed. Bigger isn’t always better, but can allow for a greater range of layouts, fixed beds, make up beds, bunk beds, pull down beds. How many do you want to sleep? 

There’s rather a lot of questions you need to ask which will give us a better idea of what you want.

for now have a look around the site, ask questions, and get ready to properly enjoy your holidays - they will be “yours” and not just something that fits in with what‘s in a package trip. 

Burstner Nexxo T660 - family fun
1974 Norton Commando
1999 Suzuki Hayabusa
2000 Honda Blackbird
Molly - Chocolate Labrador 
only a biker understands why a dog hangs its head out of the window
Exeter, East Devon


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Reply with quote  #5 
Hi salty and a warm welcome from me as well as Simon says (pun there) ya figure out exactly what you want in the way of belted seats beds shower toilet etc then look at as many different makes and models as you can . If at the end you think you have found the perfect forever motor home for you, let us know and when we stop laughing we will either congratulate the first person on the planet to get it right first time or ask when are you trading it in for your next one. Best wishes and get out there and start hunting. Any questions just ask away we all started as newbies.👍

Alan    Ford transit pvc.

Bracknell forest Berkshire. 


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Posts: 1,017
Reply with quote  #6 
I am near Stalybridge if that’s any help to you. We were avid caravaniers but in 2002 bought our first Motorhome, 4 motorhomes later and now a Campervan (only because there is now only me and the dog😁) if I can be of any help just let me know. 
Plus Alfie (Yorkshire Terrier - supposedly)

Dukinfield, Cheshire

2003 VW T4 Crusader Hightop Leisuredrive campervan

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Posts: 5,653
Reply with quote  #7 

Best advice.....get it now, don’t wait to retire!

Travel in Mainland Europe when you can. - Much easier than in the U.K. 

As an ex caravaners, you will know the right layout is important. Go and look at loads.....and even hire one as Sylvia has suggested if necessary.

Payload is vitally important. Make sure you get a van with one that fits your requirements re what you plan to carry. 

Auto Trail Frontier - Mohawk.


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Posts: 2,661
Reply with quote  #8 
Hi Salty and a warm welcome here.

I also suggest hiring as what suits one doesn't another

If buying used get a damp meter, any van you are considering put a link to it here before you buy it so members can give their advice on what to look for. Don't just put a post on saying I have bought this as its too late then. Kev and Alan especially have built their own vans so there is plenty of experience on here.


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Posts: 443
Reply with quote  #9 
Hi Salty and welcome to the forum.

I start with a question: Are you thinking about a new or used motorhome?
If used, I would focus on a reliable brand.
I don't know the English production but the overseas one well enough.
Among the excellent German brands are the Hymer, very good Burstner, Knaus and Dethleffs.
Among the Italian ones, Laika is very good.
Fantastic but very expesnsive are the fiberglass monocoque by Wingamm.
Excellent products are the Slovenian Adria ones, recently bought by the French group Trigano.
But they are only few examples.

If new you have an almost infinite choice of brands and solutions.
The advice is to rent a couple with different layout for a weekend and check if they meet your needs and expectations.
Since some years, some brands have introduced the XPS technology, in practice they have replaced the internal wooden beams with plastic.
This does not exempt you from possible water leaks but at least you are sure that nothing can rot.
Not even the floor if properly protected.

Personally I have been a motorhomer since 1987, I have had Arca, Laika, a little-known fiberglass monocoque (AIEsistem) and I have just received a van Carthago Malibu.
I traveled 360,000+ kilometers and no particular problem other than some minor inconvenience.

Stove, boiler, refrigerator, windows, porthole, stove, WC are now standard on almost all motorhomes (Dometic or Thetford brands) so the problem of choice does not arise.

Fuel consumption:
Most depends on the weight, the front width and your driving style.
I speak of metric and non-imperial units (I am Italian).
Depending on the vehicle you can go from 6Km/Lt for a wide one to 10, even 11 for the smaller ones.

Travel costs:
I have traveled all over Europe, let's say that on average, for a four-week trip you can go from € 2,000 to €4,500 (the last in Norway where the cost of life and of ferries has a significant impact).
If you want to go to Greece or Sardinia you must also take in account roughly €800/1,000 for a return ferry in the high season.
Obviously one of the factors that change costs is where you eat.
On the vehicle or in a restaurant even if modest.
Restaurants are very expensive in Norway, affordable in Spain, France or Italy.

Almost everywhere cheaper than in the UK.
Perhaps Italy is an exception, but only in high season and in any case with prices equivalent to those practiced in your country.
Memberships (e.g. ACSI or camping-card-europe) give you some discounts but not in high season.

Rest Areas:
Very frequent everywhere, at least in France, Spain, Germany, Italy.
Often free or for a small fee (let say 5 to 10€/night).

Wild Camp:
Often allowed, in Scandinavian countries even by law (so-called allemanretten).
Internet is plenty of database and Apps (caramaps, park4night, campercontact, campingcar-infos, etcetera).

Feel free to ask questions and happy motorhoming

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