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Anyone been on a motorhome holiday?

(8 Posts)
Hulababy Mon 04-May-09 14:17:57

I quite fancy it for next summer. DD will be 8y by then.

Anyone done one who can share their experience with me? Where did you go? What was the van like? How far did you travel? What are costs like, inc campsite costs? How was it for the children travelling with you?


happynappies Mon 04-May-09 14:26:47

I did this a few years ago, before children. Pre-booked the motorhome through Canadian Affair, and picked it up in Toronto. If I remember correctly we drove up to Quebec, and stopped at various places en route. I think we mis-judged how slow driving in one would be, so we had quite an ambitious itinerary, and had to spend the last day driving for hours on end to get all the way back to return it! The van was a little cramped but the main problem was because the motorhome was part of a longer holiday we'd brought suitcases, and there was nowhere to store suitcases in the back of the van, so we had to move them around all the time when setting out the beds etc. In my mind I thought we'd be able to 'go anywhere' but once you've parked up at a campsite and connected the electricity etc you don't feel like dis-connecting it all to drive off to a restaurant or whatever, so we had to learn that we were effectively 'camping' and had to eat 'at home'. At the time petrol etc wasn't too much, and the hire of the van itself wasn't too expensive. I remember thinking that it would be a lovely way to spend a holiday with children - such a 'different' experience for them, lots of fun - one big adventure!

serenity Mon 04-May-09 14:47:34

Haven't done it with DCs, but travelled up and down the Eastern coast of Australia in one with a girlfriend many years ago. It was fantastic, and something I'd love to do again with the DCs.

The van we had was lovely, fairly expensive iirc, more than travelling and staying in youth hostels but probably a lot less than hiring a car and staying in hotels. It was roomy enough, plus we bought a cheap tent to pitch outside (for privacy when BFs aussie man travelled with us for a week or so) TBH, we could probably have got it cheaper if we'd booked before we came, but this was preinternet for us and we hadn't decided whether to hire or buy.

Australia's pretty well set up for this kind of thing though, From chatting to other campers it seems to be the thing to do when you retire - buy a motorhome and just follow the coast. The sites were really well set up (at the time far better than some UK ones are now) and many of them are in towns. We rarely stayed anywhere that wasn't in town, or wasn't served by public transport so you could easily get into town (the odd times we stayed in inaccessible places it was by choice)

There were a surprising amount of families, even though we were there in winter (June/July/August), and most places had children's facilities.

I loved it, I would honestly say it was the best holiday I've ever had (and that's including the fact that some fairly nasty personal stuff happened whilst we were there - I spent the last three weeks on my own!) I would be there in a flash if I could, even with the DCs wink

Costwise... it's difficult, I know we spent around £4k in 12 weeks, but that was hiring the van, petrol (drove from Sydney to Melbourne up to Cairns and back to Sydney), flying to Alice Springs and back, BF flying from Proserpine (I think) to Sydney, site costs, eating out pretty much all the time and large amounts of alcohol. It was a fair few years ago too.

Hulababy Mon 04-May-09 15:07:37

Thanks so far

If we go it'll be next year's school summer holidays for 1-2 weeks. So, Australia too far. So looking really at US or Europe I think.

MorocconOil Mon 04-May-09 15:35:41

We went to Scotland last summer. We travelled up the west coast, island hopped and then over to the east coast, then back through the cairngoms. It was really brilliant, and the 3 DC loved it.
It was amazing being able to drive upto a remote beach, open the door and let the DC play next to the motorhome while we cooked dinner. It felt like a real adventure, and we all enjoyed moving on every few days to explorer a new place.
The major drawback is it is difficult to go on little outings, as you have to pack up each time, and it gets a bit tiring having to rattle along little country roads.
I'd really recommend it though.

mumoverseas Thu 07-May-09 06:20:34

Hi Hulababy,
we did the camper van thing last summer in Florida. We hired a van through a company called El Monte in Kissimmee (they have offices throughout the states) and then drove down the east coast of Florida staying at a few campsites on the way down to Miami. Then went down to the Florida keys, a few nights in Key Largo, then down to Key West for a few days before back up to Miami and across the Everglades to Naples then up the gulf coast and back to our lovely comfortable villa in Orlando.

We booked most of the campsites via KOA (camp of america) online before we went. The sites ranged from around $60 to $70 per night for a pitch big enough for a C class 25 foot van.
The cheapest was $28 per night which was Pennecamp state park in Key Largo.
The campsites all varied greatly. We stayed in the West Palm Beach Lion County safari park which was literally right next door to the park and you could hear the lions roaring. Pennecamp had quite poor facilities, ie no pool, proper shop etc but it was a state national park so you could do diving and snorkelling there which was the main reason we went (although to my dismay I discovered I was 'cooking' DC 4 the day before we went on holiday so had to watch DCs 1 and 2 go off diving without me) sad
(lost of bloody mozzies and sand flies there though and I got eaten alive!)
Stayed at Boyds campsite in Key West which was nice and had a lovely pool. This was about 10 mins drive to downtown Key West which was lovely and worth doing if you have a few days.

In Naples we stayed at the KOA camp which again was nice and had a pool. We were due to spend our last night in Tampa/St Petes area but by then I'd had enough and we drove straight back to our villa.

I don't want to put you off but I'm not sure we'd do it again, at least not with 3 kids and whilst pregnant!

Our van was the smallest one they do (DH was not at that time confident enough to do a bigger one) There was a double bed above the drivers cab, a large single/very small double in the main part of the van where the table is during the day which you pull out and turn into a bed and a 'double' bed at the very back with a curtain separating it from the main cab. DS aged 15 had the bed above the drivers cab and was very comfortable, DD1 had the bed where the table was and DH and I (and DD2 who was then aged 20 months) all squished into the 'double' at the back. DH and I are not exactly on the small side so it was not particularly comfortable.
We had used this as a practice run for our big adventure travelling around Australia which we want to do in a few years and its made us realise we'd do things differently (ie not take the kids wink)
The van we had was not really big enough for us but would probably be absolutely fine for you. Also, it was very 'bouncy' when walking around the van and we'd often be woken by one of the kids getting at night so next time we'd get a van with decent suspension.

The van itself was good, although we should have booked a larger one. It had a tiny kitchen area, small shower/toilet (make sure you book a van with a proper shower and toilet as some have the shower OVER the toilet which is mad) What was nice was that the cab and living area were open plan (some are divided) so when we were travelling we were all able to talk and move around (ie I could make the kids lunch when DH was driving and if they needed the toilet on the go they could without having to stop in a layby) There were two seats in the cab and behind the driver there were seats for 4 (two either side of the table) and then one seat behind the passenger. DD2 was strapped into her carseat at the table which was handy as she could eat on the move, do drawing, colouring etc.

Hope that helps. good luck

mumoverseas Thu 07-May-09 06:21:22

PS, think the van was around $200 per day

burge1 Fri 05-Jun-09 21:33:52

Myself husband, boys aged 3 and 5 just returned from travelling 3 wks in 30ft C class motorhome in Central California. Amazing! Survived long flight. motorhome (RV) great, booked via a UK based broker. cheaper than booking direct. Try to get one with a bed over the front driving seats and a 'slideout' which means width of RV slides out when stationary giving alot more space. USA very geared up this, lots of great campsites to choose, people nice, easy to drive etc!!! Perhaps need minimum 2 weeks....

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