Traveling by motorhome is quite the trend and the number of motorhomes has been steadily increasing in recent years. In Germany, there were around 332,160 registered mobile homes in 2011. By 2020, the number had increased to approximately 590,000. Traveling by motorhome has many advantages. For some beginners this kind of travel proves however as disadvantageous and the dream of the vacation on four wheels crumbles not rarely already during the first route.
Traveling with a motorhome – flexibility and other advantages
The biggest plus points of touring with a motorhome are:
- High flexibility
- The home is always with you
The motorhome is, so to speak, the second – and for some people also the first and only home. It can be furnished according to personal preferences, with self-contained units offering even greater freedom for individual arrangements. On every trip everything is on board that is important and dear to you. No matter where you stand and camp – you do not have to adjust to a foreign accommodation.
A trip with a motorhome also does not lead to only one place. This type of travel allows a lot of flexibility. In addition, spontaneous changes of course can be made, for example if the former destination does not meet your own ideas and demands. Then you can just get behind the wheel and drive to another place.
Getting to know countries, people and cultures
Compared to a vacation in a hotel or apartment, a motorhome trip gives you much more opportunity to get to know the country and its people. This only works, of course, if the camper actually stays on the road and does not specifically head for a particular campsite. Who travels open, friendly and curious, will come into contact with different people. In addition, if you move away from the tourist centers and park in or next to small villages, you will learn much more about the customs of the region or country than when vacationing in fixed accommodation. “As one calls into the forest, it resounds back” – it is said so well. If you approach the locals in a friendly and respectful manner, conversations quickly arise and sometimes real friendships develop from them.
Choice between free camping and camping
Free camping, i.e. away from pitches or campsites, is becoming less and less possible within Europe, but there are still plenty of opportunities to simply pitch up at the edge of a forest, on a hikers’ parking lot or in a quiet spot by the sea. Some rules should always be observed: Do not disturb anyone, not even nature and take your own garbage with you.
It is simply good to camp alone, to enjoy nature to the fullest and to experience true silence.
Who lacks the courage to do so, will find almost innumerable pitches or campsites. For example, France is very well adapted to motorhome travelers. In this country you don’t have to drive long to discover the next pitch. Also Germany created in the last years very many places and thus the selection is quite large. In addition, there is something for everyone: for city travelers as well as for nature lovers.
Motorhome travel – ideal for dog owners
Dog owners often have the problem of finding suitable vacation accommodation where dogs are allowed. Most hotels do not allow dogs and, depending on the size of the dog, many owners of vacation homes or apartments are also against bringing their four-legged friend with them.
In addition, the environment must fit. Walking the beach with a dog – this is not allowed on all stretches of coastline.
To be on the road with a dog in a motorhome is more than beneficial. The four-legged friend has his home with him as well as his human being. So he does not have to get used to a foreign accommodation. There’s a place for him in the motorhome, and four-legged friends are usually very comfortable in their rolling home.
If the area you’re heading for is unsuitable for dogs, you don’t stay long and pick the next stopover destination.
Traveling with a camper – there are also disadvantages
Everything has two ends – and thus there are a few drawbacks:
Purchase price and running costs
A motorhome is associated with a relatively high purchase price. Even for used mobile homes a few thousand euros must be put on the table. More inexpensive are under circumstances self removals. The cost of the interior depends on the particular claim. If you want to travel as self-sufficiently as possible, you also need solar panels, a high-quality battery and other accessories such as power converters, etc. In addition, there are costs for refrigerator, stove top, lighting, etc.
The acquisition costs for a mobile home – regardless of the type – are in any case considerably higher than for a caravan, for example.
In addition, the running costs should not be underestimated: Car taxes, insurance and every now and then minor or major repairs as well as new tires and other expenses.
Who has no place at home to park his motorhome, must also calculate the cost of a shelter.
The investment in a mobile home does not pay off if you only go on vacation once a year for two or three weeks. If you want to travel often and for a long time, you are well advised to buy a motorhome. In this case, the cost of accommodation, travel and possibly rental car would be higher than the cost of traveling with a camper.
Small space and room for oneself
Traveling with a camper means living in the smallest of spaces. This is exactly the point that leads to frustration – and sometimes marital crisis – for many beginners. As a couple, you have to be able to do one thing above all: Give your partner space in a small space. There must be the possibility to withdraw also once, for example, in order to read in peace or simply to be able to hang after the own thoughts.
Those who like to retreat to their own room at home will have a hard time in a motorhome. In sunshine and good weather this is still relatively problem-free. But if it rains a few days in a row, then it becomes apparent whether the motorhome is the appropriate means of travel.
Narrow alleys and other challenges
Sometimes you get into real quandaries, for example when you drive into old villages in Spain or France and are faced with rather narrow streets there. Sometimes the roads end in dead ends and that without prior signs. Turning with little space lets one or the other gray hair grow from time to time.
City visits are also a challenge now and then – if parking spaces for larger vehicles are lacking or only available in small numbers.
Some destinations are difficult to reach with a motorhome. In some countries, parking lots are equipped with barriers of a height that only passenger cars can pass under. This is to prevent the parking lot from being used for overnight stays.
In other places the available pitches are so crowded that you could spit on your neighbor’s plate. Then traveling with motorhome no longer has much to do with freedom – unless you leave the destination on the left and just keep on driving.
At the moment traveling with motorhome is in trend. In the long term, it is highly likely that many people will change again and prefer to vacation in fixed accommodation or drive to a campground with a caravan.
You have to like this travel option with all its advantages and disadvantages. In addition, a couple traveling together in a motor home should be able to talk openly with each other so that both can feel at home. This also includes fair compromises. If one wants to listen to music and the other wants to read in peace, headphones are just due, so that both get their money’s worth.
Flexibility and spontaneity are also necessary, because sometimes the stage destinations are not as advantageous as you had imagined. In order to continue to enjoy the tour, a new destination should be selected and not to stay long at the unloved place.
Another point is the fear that spoils RV travel for some beginners. Fear of burglars and theft is common among mobile travelers. This leads to too much concern for perceived safety, and the trip is only moderately enjoyable.
Traveling with a camper can be very rewarding if you are prepared for all eventualities and brave to try new things.