Top Tips For Your First Motorhome Trip

How thrilling that this is your first motorhome vacation! This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but it might be thrilling if you don’t know what to do. That’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive checklist of everything you’ll need for your first motorhome vacation. This is your guide to your first campervan trip, from selecting a campervan to returning it after your vacation.

take a Motorhome Manoeuvring Course

If you’ve never driven a larger, heavier vehicle before, motorhomes might be a major adjustment. Before you hit the road, enrol in a motorhome manoeuvre course, such as those given by the Caravan & Motorhome Club, which will teach you the fundamentals of parking your motorhome at a campsite, doing safety inspections, and understanding the regulations and norms of the road for motorhome drivers.

Do your research before hiring a motorhome

It can be intimidating to rent a motorhome for the first time, so do your research and learn what to anticipate before you step onto the forecourt. What size is best for you, your family, or your travelling companions? What features are essential, and which can be skipped?

Also, do your homework on the rules of the road. Where are the best spots to refuel and what are the speed restrictions for RVs along your intended route? It’s a good idea to know this before you go, because you’ll want to concentrate on the road when you’re driving the RV for the first time.

Choosing a Motorhome

There are various factors to consider when selecting a motorhome, and since this is your first time in one, you want to be satisfied with your choice! If you want to acquire a specific RV or campervan, you should absolutely travel in something comparable. Consider the following options if you’re not as loyal to a certain brand or style:

  • How many people will you be travelling with?
  • How much time will you spend in the vehicle?
  • Do you mind packing away a bed each day?
  • Do you feel comfortable driving a larger vehicle?
  • Will you be cooking often in the van, or mainly eating out?
  • Will you be bringing bikes or other large items?
  • Do you intend to drive large distances each day?
  • Will you stay at campsites or wild camp? (If the latter, you’ll have a larger need for a toilet, shower or solar panels)

Consider your needs in a car, whether they’re more space to move around or more room to pack, comfortable seats for long drives or a bed that doesn’t need to be packed away. Everything will be difficult to have it all, but recognising what is genuinely vital can make selecting an RV for your first trip much easier. This will also assist you in deciding whether to rent a VW campervan or a 6-berth RV.

If you plan to travel via ferry or tunnel, be careful to inquire about the motorhome’s size. Make a list of them and keep it with you when driving.

Pick a campsite pitch wisely

When driving a motorhome to a campsite for the first time, you may need to choose a pitch, and there are a few things to keep in mind. Will your motorhome get scratched or soiled as a result of overhanging branches? What is the distance between amenities, garbage disposal, play areas, and other motorhomes? Make your camping decision based on your personal likes and demands.

Whether you choose your location or are allocated one, it’s always a good idea to back into it so you don’t have to reverse to get out.

Determining whether there will be many destinations is a part of settling on a destination. This is dependent on the length of your journey, how much you enjoy driving, and where you plan to travel. In any case, remember to enjoy the route as well, as a motorhome vacation isn’t just about the destination. Depending on the number of campsites available and how much there is to do, you can also visit destinations but not stay the night. When deciding where to stop, keep the following in mind:

Aim for a maximum of three hours of driving every day. This ensures that you spend the majority of your time experiencing destinations rather than behind the wheel. This can also be well-timed to avoid traffic.

If you intend to stay at a campground, look into the options when deciding on your travels. Some places will lack good campgrounds, and if you’re near a city, the fees will be exorbitant. Wild camping is not always possible, so if this is important to you, look for areas that allow it.

Travel insurance

Get travel insurance before reserving a motorhome to ensure that any troubles with your reservation are also covered! We strongly advise you to purchase travel insurance in case of any problems, such as theft, during your vacation. Also, double-check the specifics of your medical insurance policy.

Packing

Packing for a motorhome vacation is both challenging and simple. You have significantly more space than if you were staying in a hotel or flying because you aren’t restricted to a suitcase or a certain weight. You have everything you need and can fully unpack because you won’t be on the run all the time. It’s easy to overestimate how much extra luggage you can bring, though. Campervans aren’t huge, and they only have so much storage space. Overpacking and carrying a bunch of stuff you won’t use will make your vehicle feel even smaller.

It’s critical to compile a list of everything you’ll need for your first campervan journey before you go. Then you may use it to pack and double-check everything before you depart. Consider the most frequently forgotten items as well. Take a look at our helpful ‘campervan packing list’.

Slow travel

Everyone must establish their own balance in terms of how much they want to drive per day, which can vary from day to day. Simply make sure you’re having enough fun in your current location and not just thinking about where you need to go next. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of checking off as many destinations as possible on your road trip, but is it really worth it if you didn’t actually experience them? The flexibility of a motorhome rests in its ability to depart a day early if you aren’t enjoying a location, or even a day later if you are. There will be no public transit or hotel reservations to bind you to a schedule.

We also recommend taking your time on the journey. Setting your Google Maps route to ‘Avoid Highways’ is an excellent strategy. This may add a few minutes to your travel, but you’ll be driving down gorgeous roads and having a great time. You may also use the ‘Avoid toll roads’ filter to save money on your journey.

Setting up at campsites

Always arrive at campsites before sunset, not only to take advantage of the beautiful scenery, but also to ensure proper set-up. Arrive early, especially on the first night, in case there are any problems. If you’re not familiar with electricity, connecting to it can be difficult, so you’ll need plenty of light and time to get it right.

To avoid getting tilted in the vehicle, make sure to park on level ground. To offer yourself a little more solitude, park your van away from other vehicles, but leave enough room to set up the awning. Make sure the fridge is connected to the power outlet and not the car battery! This holds true for all electrical outlets, since failing to do so will result in a terrible surprise when you try to restart the van…

Even on shorter visits, try to unpack as much as possible to keep things orderly and prevent the extra effort. Fill up on clean drinking water at each campsite, and keep some on hand for while you’re on the road.

Before leaving a campsite

  • Close all drawers and cupboards securely.
  • Nothing is loose and could fall or injure someone.
  • Turn the LPG gas off.
  • Turn the water tank off.
  • Verify that the external footstep has been retracted.
  • Make sure all windows and vents are securely shut.
  • Make sure the pop-top is in place and securely fastened.
  • To avoid grey water leaking and generating a terrible stench, make sure all sink and shower drain plugs are in place.

Talk to people

There is a fantastic community of motorhome owners, and you’ll meet a lot of them on your journey. Start a conversation to obtain some wonderful holiday advice. Tips for getting around in your car or in the neighbourhood. Never be frightened of appearing foolish because you don’t know something about the vehicle; instead, ask someone, message the owner, or consult the manual.

Evenings in your campervan

If this is your first time travelling in a motorhome, you may be wondering what to do after you arrive at the campground. Here are some of our favourite things to do in the evenings in a campervan:

  • Play board games or card games, which are both old school and a lot of fun!
  • If you’re bringing a laptop or iPad, have a few movies downloaded in case the weather turns bad. It’s never a bad idea to have a back-up plan.
  • Enjoy your cooking by taking your time, making it a social activity with your other travellers.
  • Try several brands of beer or wine in a beer or wine tasting. A cheeseboard is a must-have accompaniment.
  • Play a chat game with your friends.
  • Take walks, but make sure your motorhome is properly locked behind you! Also, make sure you don’t get lost.

To Plan or Not to Plan

That is the issue! This is purely a matter of taste. Some people prefer to plan everything ahead of time so that they can relax and enjoy their trip because they know where they’ll travel and what they’ll do. Others, on the other hand, choose not to stress about their vacation and instead enjoy it as it unfolds.

Planning ahead
  • You will be able to relax more on your journey.
  • You don’t require WIFI at campgrounds to look things up, and you don’t have to worry about printing tickets or receipts.
  • Setting a budget ahead of time makes it easier to stick to it.
  • You can cram everything into your trip and yet have time to see everything.
  • You won’t forget anything vital or make major mistakes because this is your first RV vacation.
Taking it as it comes
  • The time leading up to your journey should not be made any more stressful than it needs to be.
  • You’re taking advantage of the flexibility that comes with owning a motorhome.
  • You don’t lose out on remaining in the moment and discovering new activities along the road.
  • You will incur fewer cancellation costs if your trip is cancelled.
  • You can adjust to changes in the weather or the mood of the day.

What is our recommendation? A little bit of both! Plan a few days at a time, rather than the entire trip in advance. Allow time and room for new chances, but make a list of your trip’s top priorities.

The Necessary Apps

Don’t wait till you’re on vacation to check out the several road trip applications available. There are a plethora of road trip applications accessible nowadays, so have a look at this list to see which ones you should install.

As a backup, bring a power bank and keep it charged at all times. This is especially crucial for women who are travelling alone because it assures that support is always available. Inquire about the sockets and carry any necessary adapters. You may also want to pack an inverter, especially if you plan on charging a laptop.

Also, keep a list of emergency numbers for true peace of mind.

Returning the motorhome

  • What exactly is the cleaning contract?
  • Have you checked to see whether the water tank is empty?
  • If you used the toilet, did you empty it?
  • Have you double-checked all of your cupboards to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything?
  • Notify the owner of your expected arrival time.
  • Fill the tank to the agreed-upon level.

Motorhome toilet training

To be blunt, you should stick to liquids in your chemical toilet to avoid unpleasant odours and make the cassette easier to drain and clean. They can handle solids, but if you can, use the campground restrooms. If you don’t have another option, clean your toilet cassette every day. For liquids, most loos only need to be emptied every two or three days, depending on tank capacity.

Familiarize yourself with how to empty the toilet while it is empty. After releasing a lock, most cassettes easily slide out and can be pushed or transported to campsite waste station. To drain any liquid, you usually have to twist a nozzle, unscrew a cap, and then press the air pressure release button.

Return the cassette to your van after rinsing it with new water a couple of times. It’s easier to add fresh toilet chemicals while the tank is removed from the van, but if you forget, you can always add it from the top with the slide door open.