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Buying a Motorhome with Hints and Tips for the Single Woman
If you are considering the purchase of a motorhome, campervan or RV you may find these tips helpful. Although, as the title shows, the tips are mainly for single women the information will be useful for anyone who is thinking about purchasing a motorhome.
As a widow, and once my children grew up and started going on holiday with their friends, I found that I was working longer and longer hours and taking no holidays. Recognising the need to sort out my work life balance I considered holidays which are advertised for single people. I have never been good at planning holidays much in advance, and so didn't get around to booking any of the holidays. I was really looking for a holiday home where I could take my 2 dogs for short weekend breaks whenever I could or the occasional week.
I also considered:
- lodges which I found to be too expensive
- static caravans which I felt could be a bit boring if on my own
- towing caravans seemed to me to be avoided as so disliked by other drivers
And so my thoughts turned to the possibility of owning a motorhome.
RV, Campervan or Motorhome
Many RV's are wonderful vehicles and give much space for living and entertaining, however, cost and practicality can be prohibitive.
I hadn't been aware that many standard UK driving licenses only allow us to drive vehicles up to 3,500kg . Keep this in mind if you do decide to buy a large RV vehicle, make sure you have the correct driving licence before you buy it, otherwise, you may find won't be able to move the vehicle.
Large RV's can be difficult to manipulate around narrow country roads and, of course, cost more per night to stay at holiday sites. In fact a number of RV owners place their vehicles at a campsite and never move it.
Campervans are at the other end of the scale and many are not much larger than a standard estate car with others approximately the same size as a motorhome. Newer models show much ingenuity with regard to use of the space available for beds, toilets and storage requirements. They are certainly not cheap and can cost as much and even more than some motorhomes.
The original campervans are much loved by enthusiasts, and bring back nostalgic memories of the seventies days of flower power when camper vans were covered in drawings of colourful flowers. Buying an old campervan and restoring it to its former glory may be an attractive option if this appeals to you.
I discounted campervans for my needs as I could just about imagine my 2 dogs and I squeezed into a campervan on rainy days. There would also not be much space for friends or family to stay overnight although the addition of an awning could double the space available.
In the end, I decided the motorhome would give me the freedom and flexibilty I needed.
When I first started looking at motorhomes my initial thoughts were that I would prefer to have a u-shaped lounge with kitchen, toilet and shower towards the front. This would maximise the available floorspace. The seating area can be turned into the sleeping area at night providing the equivalent of 2 or 3 beds. This caused me a problem as if my family were going to stay overnight there would not be enough beds. Possibilities were to have a tent which could be erected on those occasions when more than 3 people would be staying. This would mean carrying a tent or an awning. I wanted to be able to quickly go off in my motorhome without having to carry lots of extra equipment so decided perhaps a different layout would be more suitable for me..
Giving consideration to resale values seemed sensible, as after all, I didn't yet know if I really would enjoy motorhoming. With this in mind I tried to look at the best layouts from a resales perspective. I had been told motorhomes hold their value well but I also wanted to make sure I could find a buyer easily if things didn't work out.
I looked at motorhomes with 2 berths and 4 - 5 berths and also considered whether an over the cabin bed would just be for children. Some of the vehicles had large shower rooms to the rear of the van. This seemed quite luxurious but I read in a magazine they are not very popular. As a new driver to motorhomes I decided I'd prefer to see out of a window at the back and so discounted the layout.
Kitchen areas can be at the back, side or front. Some kitchen areas are located next to the door. Watch out for doors where there is a step down, just at the area you would be preparing food or washing dishes.
Somewhere in my thought process, or perhaps someone told me, that if a motorhome has 4 or 5 berths but only 2 seat belts then only 2 people should be in the motorhome when travelling. This made me sit up and take notice. It is logical of course to think that if a family of 2 adults and 2 children were going on holiday parents would want to know there children were safe and secure when the vehicle is moving. Updating my thoughts on layout, I then fully discounted most with u-shaped lounges as no rear seatbelts are provided or in some cases a 3rd seatbelt may be provided.
Now you would think there can't be much to choose from when it comes to toilets and shower rooms in a small space but you'd be wrong. I have already mentioned the shower rooms and dressing areas that extend across the full width of the motorhome. These can be lovely but this reduces the amount of living and sleeping space. Showers may be stand-alone or separated from the toilet by a screen which can be a flat door or a round enclosure. Sometimes the wall with the washhand basin swivels round to form a screen between the toilet and shower. Remember always to try these out. If you are on the larger side or have any mobility issues these may not be for you. Toilets may be designed to swivel when in use to give you room for your legs, otherwise, using the facility can be very cramped indeed.
Next stage of looking for a motorhome
During frequent weekends, for over a year, I'd visit motorhome shows and motorhome dealerships looking at all the different makes, models, layouts and prices.
This period was well worthwhile as I came across numerous options I had not considered.
Now I am not sure how many people find this sort of information useful but I will continue with more of my findings and experiences in my next page.
See you there!
Forgive me for not getting back to you for such a long time. You see I went out there and done it...............so to speak. I bought a motorhome. Having looked at so many models I decided to hire a motorhome for a week. The motorhome was hired from a company in Dorset and fortunately the staff were very patient and helpful. My daughter and I ventured through Dorset to Devon and then onto Cornwall. We had some hair-raising moments as we squeezed along the narrrow roads, but we made it with no damage and quite a lot of giggling on the way. Message to mums out there. This could be a way to repair broken relationships with daughters and perhaps even husbands, who knows.