The better half and I were toying with the idea of getting a motor home for several months, during which countless of hours were spent researching. Neither of us are the type who act on impulse (especially when dealing with such a large investment) so we probably went over the top in our research. As well as buying a selection of the popular motor home magazines we also read internet reviews, read motor home blogs (some of which were useful many of which were bragging about life on the road and travelling around Europe for several months) and kept an eye on the forums for things we needed to think about and consider. Yep, during that time we spent many, many…….. many hours researching.
In order to decide if a motor home was suitable for us, and if we could live with one once and for all the decision was made to hire a motor home for a few days and tour the UK. You know how I previously mentioned I am not the sort of person to act on impulse and jump in with both feet without doing at least a little homework first? Well….. this is not always true since once the decision was made to hire a motor home I tapped in “motor home hire UK” and hired from the first site I looked at, which ended up being Motorholme.
Looking back I realize this was risky, and immediately after giving my credit card details over the phone and booking the motor home I realized how stupid I had been, but it was too late. The booking was made and we were going to be hiring a Ford Chausson Flash from Motorholme regardless. Fortunately, the Motorholme experience wasn’t too bad, and we didn’t have the problems and issues other hirers seem to have had (if their reviews of Motorholme were accurate of course) so it worked out for us. If you are interested in our Motorholme experience check out my “Review of Motorholme” – It may help you make a decision if you are thinking of hiring a motor home.
Hiring the motor home was the best thing me and my better half could have done. We learnt and discovered more in the first four hours of using the motor home than we had done in the previous months researching. All those hours sat in front of the screen reading about different bits and pieces, as well as scouring motor home forums were pretty much wasted. Sure, some of the stuff I discovered on the forums I would have only got from reading the forum posts but the majority of it ended up being pretty irrelevant.
Hiring the motor home enabled us to see what driving (and reversing and parking) a motor home was like. During the hire we took it on motorways, narrow country lanes, twisty mountain roads and the standard size A roads in order to make sure we were happy in all situations. The only way we could have known what driving a motor home is like was to get behind the wheel of one, and I have to say that driving the motor home was easier and less stressful than I thought it was going to be. I initially thought that it would take several hours and many miles to get used to the Chausson, but within half an hour on the open road it felt ‘comfortable’ and after the first day it started to feel natural.
There are many Youtube videos about setting up a motor home and how the different bits and pieces work, however the only way to really see what to do is to get out there and do it yourself, and hiring the Chausson enabled us to do this. Before the hire I watched videos on filling the water tanks, emptying the grey tank, how to deal with the toilet cassette, what power settings configuration to leave the motor home in when parked, how to use the fridge/gas rings/oven etc. The videos were useful but they made me ask even more questions as some bits didn’t make sense, until we hired the Chausson and got to use everything first hand.
During the hire we (obviously) made some mistakes and faux pas, such as incorrectly loading all our kit (which ended up all over the floor whilst travelling between sites), not securing doors and the like before setting off, forgetting about the chocs before driving away etc. but these are all part of the learning experience.
Space was a big concern we had, and we needed to know if we could survive in the confines of a motor home when the weather turned rubbish and forced us inside. Our current ‘home’ on camping trips was a folding camper, which whilst packs up small is huge once the full awning is zipped on. We knew the floor space in a motor home wouldn’t be as big as that of the camper but we needed to know if we could live with it. Hiring the Chausson enabled us to do this.
Before we set off on our adventure in the Chausson we had a long list of questions we needed answering if buying a motor home was a goer or not. The majority of these questions couldn’t be answered from reading magazines or researching online and the only way was to have a trip out in a motor home.
Hiring a motor home isn’t cheap. In fact, I would say that hiring a motor home is stupidly expensive (once you have added hire costs, insurance excess, fuel costs, site fees) and if there are any issues, like you break something, have a prang, return it with too little fuel, return it without emptying the toilet cassette or waste tanks etc. there will be additional charges imposed. There are loads of additional charges that may apply, and reading the list for our hire was very worrying. The thing is, you have to sign up for them otherwise you can’t hire the motor home. If you get caught out with any of the additional charges your motor home hire experience could end up costing a small fortune.
Don’t let the additional charges put you off though. All of them make sense and they are there to protect the hire company, which is understandable. Providing you treat the hire vehicle as if it were your own (i.e. with care and respect), don’t abuse it and do everything on the list the hire company requests (would you want to clean out someone else’s toilet? I know I wouldn’t so to expect the hire company to do it isn’t on) you won’t suffer any of the additional costs.
Even without the additional costs hiring the Chausson was expensive but then given the cost of a motor home, and the potential financial loss we would have suffered had we bought one and decided we didn’t like it/couldn’t live with a motor home, the hire costs are well worth it.
If you are thinking of upgrading from a tent/folding camper to a motor home, or thinking of chopping in your caravan for a motor home or just thinking of buying a motor home I strongly recommend hiring one in the first instance.
About the author
A total motor home newbie with a six year camping background in a folding camper. A keen blogger sharing my experience of researching, choosing, buying and owning a motor home. and every thing that goes with it.
The Motor home