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A motorhome away from home: The essentials to holidays on wheels

It might feel like you're just taking the pandemic-era stay-at-home mentality on the road, but motorhomes do bring a much-needed sense of adventure during a time of ongoing lockdowns.

A motorhome away from home: The essentials to holidays on wheels

A boom in the caravan industry has been a somewhat unexpected but logical consequence of the coronavirus. Families everywhere want to explore the world while keeping outside contact to a minimum.

A motorhome away from home: The essentials to holidays on wheels

And yet the price of a new motorhome still makes it an unrealistic option for many, as even good second-hand vehicles cost many multiples of a family holiday package.

Experts say renting or sharing a motorhome – either privately, or commercially – is the ideal way to test whether a motorhome holiday is for you, without investing too much.

Thomas Schmies, from the German Caravanning Institute (DCI), says it will be obvious to you whether you are cut out for a mobile-home holiday after a fortnight’s trial.

Constantin Hack, from the car club Auto Club Europa (ACE), also believes that renting or sharing is a good alternative to a purchase you might quickly come to regret.

“When renting, you rent a motorhome on a commercial basis from a professional provider, just as you would with a hire car,” he says. However there are more and more option to hire a shared motorhome, where you rent from a private person who makes their own motorhome available to others to use for a fee.

More individuality with private renters

With both options you should bear in mind all the practical things that also apply to car rentals. For example, you will need sufficient insurance cover, you will need to look after the vehicle and remember that it will have to be returned with a full tank of fuel.

Online platforms offer individually prepared motorhomes that are tailored to your specific needs.

In addition, Hack says that some prospective customers appreciate more personal contact. If someone wants to rent out their own vehicle, he argues, it’s likely that they will make sure that everything is in tip-top condition.

Shared vehicles sometimes come with basic equipment, such as cutlery, towels or even foodstuffs. There’s also a price advantage, albeit a small one, over a professional rental service.

Factor in additional costs

Insurance is particularly important. “Just as with a hired car, you will need fully comprehensive insurance,” says Thomas Schmies, adding that the cost of this can be significantly higher than for a car.

“A motorhome is different from a car because of its dimensions,” Hack adds. “It’s really easy to scrape the roof on a tree branch or bump against a wall or another vehicle when backing up – and then it gets really expensive. Many parts are custom-made and cannot be easily replaced.”

Both experts emphasise that it is also important to have an introduction to the special features of a motorhome. It’s also important to know things like where to fill up with water, or how the gas supply works – because it’s going to be annoying to work out these practical details when you are on the road.

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