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Subject Topic: Motorhome Advice - Please Help? Post Reply Post New Topic
Message posted by Dave1113/1/2022 at 1:10pm
Outfit:  Swift 645 Elegance - Range Rover Sport     Location:  Sussex
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We have had twin axle caravans for many years since our children were young enough to come away with us and are looking at either replacing our current Swift 645 Elegance at the show in February for a new caravan or making the move to a Motorhome?

My wife and I have been talking for many years of changing to a motorhome when we retired and now we have both officially hit retirement age are wondering if now is the time?

We are both semi retired now in that we can go away as often as we like now, whenever we like and for how long we like ands wanted to mix our breaks with more touring and stopping for around 1-3 nights at each place , then moving on .

However, that is not exclusive and will still mix with our usual type holidays where we will do a week or 10 days on a site if we want to explore the area or just relax.
Here comes the dilemma, for the change to a motorhome, the only way I would want to, is by maintaining full flexibility by towing a small car liken a Fiat 595 behind the motorhome to use when we have longer stays on a site in the UK so we can get around and explore for those longer same stay site breaks.

We go to Europe a lot with our caravan , but would not bother taking a car as I know A frames are frowned upon in most of mainland Europe and I don’t want to bother with a trailer and storing it.
This is where i can see more of a ‘touring aspect’ fore the shorter stays and moving on , taking e-bikes and using an Uber or taxi if too far intro the local town to walk, in UK or Europe.

A few people i have spoken to are saying if your going to tow stay with a caravan, however i was looking for the flexibility of a motorhome when the car is not required and yet take a car when it is , giving the best of both worlds.

I would have the full lightweight braked A frame conversion fitted to the car and it would be used as the daily run around at home for shopping etc.

I keep my caravan at home and because of the length of the van and turning into I the drive , I have to have an AWD mover fitted and disconnect the van across mine and our neighbours driveway which is a negative for the caravan and hassle , where with a motorhome , I would disconnect the car in a nearby lay-by just before home for the wife to drive back.

We would probably go for a van 7mtrs+ as we have really got used to the space for just the two of us and would probably opt for an end lounge layout to give similar seat layout to the caravan.

We are in a dilemma as we would like to have the motorhome with the ability to tow a car when needed, but the few motor-homers we have spoken to (that don't tow a car) have been putting us off from making the change, saying we wont want to tow a car, yet I see them often on our travels?

Are there any motorhomers out there on the forum that tow with the conversion and can give me pros and cons and their experience of towing a car, also would they still motorhome if they didn't have that option?

Thanks for any help, we have to make a decision before the NEC as it will be time to change our car too and I may not need a heavyweight 4WD?


Post last edited on 13/01/2022 13:20:03

Message posted by marg613/1/2022 at 2:21pm
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for us in your position, the only way we would entertain a MH is by having garage on it for a motorbike and use that for getting out and about. this would also save space and messing around when you arrive on a site.

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Message posted by Fiona W via mobile 13/1/2022 at 4:16pm
Outfit:  Autosleepers: Clubman > Nuevo.     Location:  Ayrshire
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I’m of the “tow a caravan” cohort, having seen the length of MH plus car on our rural roads and the faff of getting the set-up fitted onto a standard pitch.
That aside, can I suggest you cost the set-up. A new MH that suits you might cost £80K new - just for checking different layouts & prices, look at the Autosleeper range online. Add insurance for it, servicing etc. Add cost of tow car - and will this be your usual car at home? or will you need a second car that takes rubbish to the tip or grandchildren on day trips?
We tour in our MH or stay 7-10 days. It doesn’t take long to put stuff away & unhook the EHU for a day trip. If you’re wedded to having an awning, that does add a chunk of time (plus weight / volume). Yes, parking a big MH in a town is a pain, you’ll also need to pay for 2 parking spaces at 7m; so we use P&R if possible. We use the bus system a lot, but our passes cover the whole of Scotland.

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2022 - 3 sites, 8 nights / 2021 - 11 sites, 29 nights / 2020 - 4 sites, 20 nights / 2019 - 13 sites, 35 nights / 2018 - 20 sites, 33 nights / 2017 - 10 sites, 22 nights / 2016 - 19 sites, 33 nights / 2015 - 15 sites, 27 nights.

Message posted by MrWez13/1/2022 at 5:56pm
Outfit:  Bailey Autograph 79-4i MH     Location:  Wessex
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I can't answer the question on towing, we went for a motorhome because I hate towing, it's not that I can't tow, I was taught to tow whilst I was in the military, I used to instruct towing and I'm quite good at it, I just really don't like it.

We tour in our motorhome, the longest we'd stay anywhere is three nights, we provision and sightsee on the move and make good use of public transport, bikes or shank's pony to explore. Caravanning on the other hand I'd suggest, generally lends itself to setting up in one place as a base and using the car to get your provisions and go sightseeing. I don't think you get the best from a motorhome by using it in the same manner as a caravan (which was what we did when we first had a motorhome because the kids were coming with us, they weren't too happy at moving on all the time), we're certainly enjoying our motorhome now it's just us and we can move on regularly like we do now.

A couple of friends of mine have bought motorhomes at the show, they got great deals but the dealers were hundreds of miles away from where they lived so collecting the motorhome from the dealer, taking it to and fro for warranty fixits were major expeditions. On the other hand we've always bought locally (we're on our 5th motorhome), but we're fortunate in having a great choice of dealers within a 25 mile radius of where we live, it does mean that taking the motorhome back to the dealer is not the faff it could be.

I would recommend hiring a motorhome and doing a tour with it, see how you get on with it before you decide. I'd also look at as many layouts as you can before you decide (which is one area where the shows are useful - so many options to look at in one place). Practical Motorhome often has a section at the back of the magazine which lists all of the different types of motorhome and layout, it may be worth a look, it may give you some ideas and help you make a short list of motorhomes you want to look at.

Message posted by David Klyne13/1/2022 at 8:19pm
Outfit:  Bailey Alliance 66-2 Motorhome     Location:  Milton Keynes
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We changed from a caravan (after 30 years) to a motorhome nine years ago. I don't think I would want to go back to towing a caravan as we find life with the motorhome much simpler and less stressful. I would be happy to tow a car but my wife is not keen and I have not persuaded her yet!!! I expect quite a few caravanners will say to you stay with a caravan if you are going to tow a car. I will admit that was my view until I started to motorhome. The point about towing a car is that it does give you choice. If you are going to be pitched near where you want to explore then leave it at home. On the other hand if you are going to pitch more in an out of the way place the car would be an advantage so you get the best of both worlds?

On size just be careful about trying to replicate what you have in caravan as that could lead to you having a larger motorhome that you really require. Our first motorhome was 7.5 metres long which we kept for 6 years but the one we have now is 6.6 metres long and easier in lots of ways but we we do miss the storage and the big fridge/freezer! Good luck with your choice.

David

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Message posted by AUSTINS14/1/2022 at 1:25pm
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You write a good description of things you used to do in your C.van. Gave us all the info you had, for us to help your decision on your next spend. Thank you for that.
You are correct in saying about the a frame option and the position abroad. It is not legal to use an a frame and as soon as you land over the 'other side' in France. Unfortunately get 3 miles out of port and they will stop you. My nephew is a lorry driver, he sees this every day. He also owns a M.H. I will ask him about a trailer for carrying a car. A different thing altogether and I am not sure at all about the trailer option. I will get back to you as soon as I can as he is in France at this moment.
A few years ago we bought him a trailer for his motorbike...it is no longer being used. He finds it to be so much faffing about. He now has a big Burstner M.H. and if he needs to so do...the bike goes in the boot. I will come back as soon as I can.

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Fish like a matchman <*))))><

Message posted by blueexpo9714/1/2022 at 4:45pm
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Strange you say that about France, as upon disembarking, I have followed numerous motorhomes with an A frame pulling a car for hundreds of miles without seeing any given a tug by the boys in blue.
As for seeing this every day, well.

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Message posted by David Klyne14/1/2022 at 7:53pm
Outfit:  Bailey Alliance 66-2 Motorhome     Location:  Milton Keynes
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Regards A frames and Europe. I don't think the French police are as strict as they are in Germany and Spain as I think towing using an a-frame is becoming popular with French motorhomers. Spain you are more likely to get fined, in German they are likely to stop you and ask you to uncouple. To be universal you really need a proper car trailer.

David

Message posted by George-Mildred15/1/2022 at 6:52am
Outfit:  None Entered     Location:  Staffordshire
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Dave, reading your post is us 18 months ago. We swapped from a TA van and a big tug to tow to a 7.5m MH and have a city car on an A Frame. We wouldn't go back now.

We don't always plan to take the car, it depends on where we go and how near things are to site - we have a dog so need a car or walk, if it was just 2 of us we may have gone for bikes instead. Fitting the car is a doddle.

We can be gone from home in a flash with MH if it's packed ready - no faffing with steadies, towing mirrors etc. It seemed to take us hours to set off with the van.

My suggestion? Hire one to try it first, we're looking to change ours as not quite happy with the layout and you always realise this after purchase as you do with any van. Some of the Swift MH are just like a van with an engine in, so will feel familiar, which is what we like.

If the show is on next month - go have a look in some and get a feel for them, you will not de diappointed.

Message posted by birdman101 via mobile 15/1/2022 at 8:53am
Outfit:   Swift Archway Ruby & Santa Fe Auto     Location:  Milton Keynes
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We have caravaned for 49 years and now approaching 80 considering changing to MH for our last few years. Have been studying the options for last 12 months and we do not to consider towing car as we may as well stick with caravan. What we have found is that many models have no towing capacity at all and many a limit of well under 1000kg. Also our small car is an auto which would require a trailer hence increasing weight.

-------------
Now 49 year Caravanning completed.

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Message posted by spiritburner17/1/2022 at 12:58am
Outfit:  Citroen Dispatch Campervan plus tents     Location:  NE England
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When I retire fully in 3 years we're going to go from a 5m small camper to a 6m but wider & higher van. Still small enough for most places we want to go & room in the rear garage for 2 electric Bromptons.

Message posted by Lukeledge via mobile 17/1/2022 at 6:22pm
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The cost of fitting towbar, buying and fitting A frame for a wee car sounds like a lot for the occasional 10day stay in the UK?
Probably cost effective just to hire a small car for the 10 days from a hire place near the site.

Message posted by David Klyne17/1/2022 at 8:22pm
Outfit:  Bailey Alliance 66-2 Motorhome     Location:  Milton Keynes
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Quote: Originally posted by birdman101 on 15/1/2022
We have caravaned for 49 years and now approaching 80 considering changing to MH for our last few years. Have been studying the options for last 12 months and we do not to consider towing car as we may as well stick with caravan. What we have found is that many models have no towing capacity at all and many a limit of well under 1000kg. Also our small car is an auto which would require a trailer hence increasing weight.



Depending on how much space you want you could think about a 6 metre van conversion which you could probably park anywhere that you could park a car (height barriers allowing) Most Peugeot and Fiat base vehicles have a towing capacity of between 1500/2000 kilos. But if you can park in most places do you need a car? I can see A Frames being an issue in the future as more and more cars have automatic gearboxes.

David

Message posted by Dave1120/1/2022 at 12:12am
Outfit:  Swift 645 Elegance - Range Rover Sport     Location:  Sussex
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Thanks to all for some useful info , which will help with the decision making . I know you changed from a caravan to a Motorhome David, I have read most of your touring exploits and found them useful and helpful reading .

Ther difficulty however remains to a degree, I want a motorhome but increasingly the current manufacturers tend to be concentrating on middle lounges with limited space.

When we went to the last NEC show (prior to the pandemic) we had set our sights on a Swift Kon Tiki end lounge model that was perfect about 7.5 metres and we were going to change our town car Fiesta for a Fiat 595 manual and have an A frame conversion, for start of our retirement .

We have now reached the retirement part this year, but Swift have changed all the layouts and don’t make that configuration in the size MH we wanted, so back to the drawing board?

Message posted by George-Mildred20/1/2022 at 6:55am
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layouts - have a look here at the motorhome section, then search for the berth and layout you prefer, it might help with the search.

Message posted by birdman101 via mobile 20/1/2022 at 12:00pm
Outfit:   Swift Archway Ruby & Santa Fe Auto     Location:  Milton Keynes
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David we would be looking for as much room as possibles after a roomy caravan all these years. We looked at van conversions at White Arches but not appealing. Also my neighbour bought one but 12 months later went for a motorhome. They had never caravaned before and the van convertion was bought first when they retired as they could not get a caravan down side of house as we can.

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Now 49 year Caravanning completed.


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