How to plan a motorhome holiday.
Updated: Mar 22, 2021
If you’re here then you’re probably ready for a break, probably in a motorhome or campervan, just a hunch. It’s the perfect holiday to enjoy your own space, a huge choice of destinations and almost as many vans to choose from. So here’s the thing, do you plan the perfect motorhome break or does it just happen and at the end of the day that all comes down to who you are.
Are you a planner or a winger? (no not a whinger, that’s completely different.)
We have one of each in our merry little party, two very polar opposite ideas on how a holiday should go. On one hand we have the planner, the person who likes to know at the earliest opportunity where we are going, who’s coming, when we are leaving, what we are doing AND who is sleeping where...I kid you not. On the other hand there is our resident winger, the person who knows we have holiday time booked and will decide right at the very last moment (and sometimes after we should have departed) what kind of holiday they want. The person who has been known to book flights and hotels at midnight then get on a plane the next morning. I fall somewhere in the middle, I like to know we are definitely going and roughly where to because at least that helps with packing. They can both be incredibly rewarding ways to travel.
The very first decision is who’s going. If it’s your first time hiring a motorhome or campervan you want to be comfortable with your fellow travellers, you are going to be spending the weekend, week, or longer sleeping, eating and relaxing in the same room. If one of them happens to be the current All England Nocturnal Wood Sawing Champion, that needs consideration, hence our planners' preoccupation with who sleeps where...you see where they are coming from now. If Uncle Bob does like to rattle the windows at night, there is always the option of hiring two vans and making a convoy, you’ll probably still hear him sawing away as will anyone pitched nearby but it shouldn’t fray your nerves. It’s also going to influence your choice of van along with where you are going and who’s driving. The options are endless from big motorhomes to small campers, fully equipped luxury high spec to basic babies. The choice is yours but make sure you are comfortable, both inside and on the road. We are all used to a certain amount of personal space but if you’re heading down to the narrow roads of Cornwall in the 6 weeks holidays you might decide against a huge motorhome. Parking needs a little more thought in a larger van but staying on the outskirts and walking or cycling in is a great option especially when most vans come equipped with bike racks. Equally you might fancy going down the campervan route, super cool, and awesome for nipping around in but if your tweens can’t walk past each other at home without starting world war 3, maybe you need a little more elbow room. For the sake of your sanity consider a motorhome with an over cab bed. It gives them a space of their own and hopefully you’ll get a little peace. Don’t forget Lord Woofington Dogchops too, you’d be surprised how much floor space they use when it’s in short supply. Whichever you opt for you’ll soon settle in and remember, it doesn’t matter if it was bought or hired, everyone was a newbie once.
So now the vans decided, book it, make sure you know what documents you need, check your driving licence is up to date and you are good to go. This is where planners and wingers part company.
If you are by nature the kind of person who likes to know where they are going and what they are doing then get to work. This is the exciting part, we are members of The Camping and Caravanning Club Privilege Scheme and also Brit Stops, if you’re booked in with us you can have a look at those books ahead of time (you will also find them on board when you depart). Have a look on TripAdvisor, the tourist information pages for the area you are going to and of course Google. Don’t be put off by the odd bad review, everyone has a very different idea of the perfect campsite and you might just find your perfect little happy place We managed to grab a few days away last autumn and found ourselves at Trefalen Farm Campsite, this site didn’t have a full bevvy of 5 star reviews and proves my point exactly. It’s a belter, right on the beach, 5 mins walk from Bosherston Lily Ponds, get up early and you might catch sight of the otters. We also had a ringside seat for the night time live firing exercises at Castlemartin, it was definitely one to remember. If you’re browsing through local events pages and come across a festival or large event happening when you plan to be in town it goes without saying that you’ll want to book a campsite asap. That also goes for destinations that are traditionally popular, whether you want to visit one site for 7 days or bounce around a little...BOOK.
What if you don’t want to book anywhere, what if you just want to pick up a van and head off with a just rough idea of where you are going. Because after all that’s the beauty of a motorhome isn’t it. It’s the freedom to explore, to find your own special place. You can take each day as it comes, just wandering and exploring. So one of the questions we get asked most is “Do we need to book on campsites in advance, can’t we just stay anywhere?”. Our answer is no and no. You absolutely do not have to book sites in advance, you can book each day as you travel with just a couple of things to bear in mind. At the height of the summer season you may not get on your first choice of site and you might struggle for electric hook up. This was especially true during the 2020 summer season, with more people than ever turning to camping for a safer vacation. None of that should put you off, it’s all part of the adventure and your leisure batteries will top themselves up nicely while you travel. With the rise in popularity of motorhomes and campervans there has also been a rise in wild camping and don’t get us wrong, waking up on your own miles from anywhere is amazing and there are places where it’s completely acceptable and appropriate. Social media makes it easier than ever to share amazing spaces but it comes at a price and what looks like a heavenly little hideaway feels very different with 10 other vans parked up. It has also been marred by the actions of a very small minority, who’ve come into conflict with other space users either by overstaying their welcome or leaving behind waste and damage. This has led to more restrictions on where you can stay overnight and as self contained as you are, there comes a point where waste needs offloading, fresh water refilling and your bins emptying. There are so many amazing campsites and stopovers just waiting for you to visit, they have all the facilities you need. So get yourselves out there and see where you end up.
Whether you plan it or wing it,