Before embarking on a motorhome holiday, we often make a lot of lists - what clothes to pack, what food to take with us, what books we plan on reading, and of course, a list of things we want to see along the way.
But sometimes in the hustle and bustle of pre-holiday planning, we forget about safety and preparedness – when these should be at the forefront of our planning routine.
Here are some tips from us about what to consider when planning a motorhome excursion - whether it’s a weekend getaway or a long journey.
Plan a safe route
Although most of us do nothing more than to find a destination and press “directions” on Google Maps, a motorhome trip takes a lot more planning than that.
Consider the route. Depending on how large your motorhome is, some roads might just not be suitable for a massive and clunky piece of machinery. Have you ever been stuck behind a motorhome that is very much out of its element? Don’t be that guy.
Here are some absolute musts when route planning - remember that you’re basically travelling in a (very small, admittedly) house:
• Measure how tall your motorhome is. That’s right - bridges, overpasses and tunnels are now officially something to worry about.
• Find out the motorway incline if you’re travelling through mountainous regions. Can your motorhome handle gravity not being its friend on a steep hill?
• Plan on stopping at campsites that can accommodate a motorhome. This is no tent! You will need enough room to park for the night, and if you are using your onboard facilities, you will also need a place to pump water in, and… pump unnecessary ballast out.
• When travelling a UK route, find out where the free overnight campervan sites are. There are a surprising amount in some beautiful places like national parks and by the coast.
• The last thing that you want to do is to be stuck in traffic when all you want is to be out of the city. Time your arrivals and departures away from rush hour - not everyone is on holiday, you know.
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Inspect your motorhome to avoid surprises
Whether you are renting a motorhome or you own one, make sure to thoroughly check it before you depart. Looking for seemingly banal things might save you a lot of precious time in the long run. You should have a list ready for every trip you make. Most motorhome dealers will have a check-list of things to do before departing a campsite and before you leave your garage. Always keep the original booklet for your motorhome in the glove compartment.
• Check all tyres, and know where you keep the Stepney. Make sure you know how to change your tyre, and have all the necessary safety equipment like a safety vest.
• Make sure all the cupboards are safely locked, and all movable objects are stowed away. We cannot stress this enough. There is nothing like a teapot headed your direction at 80 miles an hour.
• Make sure your toilet cassette is empty before you start, especially when renting.
• See that your gas is turned off at the cylinder, and any gas containers are properly stowed away.
• Make a to-do list of the things you should check every time you depart a campsite, and go over it every single time. Mistakes happen when you rush it.
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Bring the right documents
This might seem like an obvious thing - within the UK, you will need your driver's licence, registration and insurance papers. But a lot of people are blindsided when travelling abroad.
Here is a short but important list of often-forgotten things we need when caravanning abroad:
• Travel documents for your four-legged family members. Too often we remember our own passports, visas and insurance that we forget about our pets. Maybe it’s because they feel like a part of our little travelling home and not as intrepid adventurers? Most countries require some form of travel papers for them as well as you.
• If your vehicle is older than three years, you will need to bring proof of your MOT.
• Pack your proof of insurance and proof of ownership (your V5C). Double-check that your insurance covers you abroad.
• If you’re travelling outside of the EU, it may be a good idea to bring an international driving permit.
• Get travel health insurance for yourself and your family.
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Plan for the unexpected
Even the worst misadventures will not seem as bad when you plan ahead of time. Printing lists and checking them twice will keep your mind free of stress. It will also reduce obvious mistakes that are usually made when your routine gets the best of you. Better safe than sorry.
Even if you have to be like a certain Welsh lady who would take a picture of her closed gas valve every time she would leave the campsite - this way, every time her mind began to wander she could look at the photograph and feel relieved.
Article written in conjunction with omcmotorhomes.co.uk