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Ten Top Tips | First Time in a Motorhome with Kids

Thinking of hiring a motorhome for the first time? Here are Ten Top Tips for your First Time in a Motorhome with Kids.

We’ve wanted to holiday in a motorhome for some time. We chatted about a week in the Lake District, a road trip to Cornwall, a month in New Zealand (ever optimistic about holiday time) and in the end settled on a weekend in Staffordshire near Alton Towers.

Ten Top Tips | First Time in a Motorhome with Kids www.minitravellers.co.uk

The reasoning behind Alton the Star Campsite was that if the weather was terrible, then we could spend our days at Alton Towers and would only need to hibernate in the motorhome in the evening. As it turned out we were lucky, very very lucky with the weather. The first weekend of April brought with it wall to wall sunshine and so our time in the motorhome was a glorious success. Although if I’m honest I find most holidays a glorious success, if the weather plays ball.

Having never rented a motorhome before there were a few things that almost tripped us up and are important to check out before you book and when you have:

1. If you can, rent a bigger motorhome than you strictly need and one with a bed over the cab. More space is good. With kids a bed over the cab is a real treat, it also means that you don’t need to take that bed down every day to eat your meals. it can stay set up! My three aged 6, 5 and 5 shared that bed and loved it!

2. Work out with the hire company where everyone is going to sit when you drive it and where the 3 point seat belts will be for your car seats. Talk to them about practically where everyone is going to sit. Motorhomes don’t legally have to have seatbelts unless the seats are facing forwards but you will want your children to be in car seats. We had two in the back and one in the front seat next to the driver, and I sat with a lap belt facing backwards.

3.Read the Terms & Conditions for the Motorhome before you book. The excess for the insurance will be high. I was initially surprised at the excess of £1000 with Freedhome but it appears that this is low for the market. We chose to get excess insurance and reduce our risk. The one we bought was £53 for the year and this covers excess on all car hire for the year too.

4. Consider hiring your motorhome for longer than your trip, particularly that first time. We started our motorhome rental the night before we were due to set off and it was so much easier to collect the motorhome, bring it home and pack it up outside our house. That way we could check exactly what was in it, what would fit in, we only needed to carry things out of the house once and we didn’t need to try and pack it all in the car. It also amused our neighbours who asked whether we were actually going to go anywhere in said motorhome or simply park it on the road for 4 nights!

5. Think about where you are going to drive to and choose carefully. Motorhomes are big and not suitable for all roads! We had to drive down some roads that weren’t really motorhome friendly in Alton and I know roads that are a lot smaller than those. Also remember that you are going to have to drive your camper van when you go out for the day from wherever you are parked so check you can take your motorhome with you and park it in the car park. We could park it easily at Alton Towers but definitely worth checking.

6. Set aside time when you collect the Motorhome to listen to the handover instructions – it will take around an hour if they know what they are doing and are thorough. Ask where things might be kept, motorhomes (Like caravans) have amazingly clever (possibly secret) storage. For example we couldn’t find the dustpan and brush and only when cleaning it out did we find the toilet roll in the bathroom!

7. Ahead of the hire you will need lots of documents with your names on for insurance companies. This is worth thinking about a few weeks before you need to send it in (unlike me who did it the day before) as we don’t get a lot of these standard documents through the post anymore such as bank statements or utility bills and I had a last minute scrabble around for documents.

8. Think about what you are going to eat for your meals, create a dinner plan. You won’t have loads of room for storage but you’ll have enough for a few meals as long as you pack it all up well. Think about the fact that if you take your motorhome out for the day you need to know how it hooks up to the electric and keeps cool– We didn’t know how this worked.   Take freezer packs and a cool box to move fridge items into to keep them cool whilst you are out for the day if your fridge doesn’t keep cool for long enough.

9. Relax bedtime and put the kids to bed when you are all tired. I wondered what we were going to do quietly in the evening when the kids were asleep but we all snuggled up, watched the tele and pretty much all went to sleep at the same time!

Ten Top Tips | First Time in a Motorhome with Kids www.minitravellers.co.uk

10. Most importantly. Have fun, relax and enjoy. You’ll have a great time. Next time we would like to hire for a week!

Facts: We were loaned a Marco Polo High Profile 6 Berth Motorhome from Freedhome Motorhome Hire for 4 nights which would have been £125 per night.

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Ten Top Tips | First Time in a Motorhome with Kids www.minitravellers.co.uk

Mini Travellers

Mini Travellers

Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

24 Comments

  1. barjerow
    April 6, 2017 at 8:51 am — Reply

    Great tips for first timers. I’ve always wanted to travel in a motor home so this will be very useful.

  2. April 10, 2017 at 7:10 am — Reply

    Great tips I’ve never been in a motor home but if I do I will be returning to his #mondayescapes
    Wandermust mummy recently posted…Carrier or Stroller? The great baby travel debate! My Profile

  3. April 10, 2017 at 7:21 am — Reply

    We haven’t hired a motorhome before but absolutely love the idea and sure we will do this at one point in Europe. Your trips are invaluable, thanks #MondayEscapes

  4. April 10, 2017 at 8:22 am — Reply

    Some really useful tips here thanks – I wouldn’t know where to start with renting a motor home!

  5. April 10, 2017 at 9:52 am — Reply

    Great tips, especially getting it the day before you want to go away. It’s always good to get a bit of time to fill the cupboards and get to know how everything works. I’m still a bit unsure about how everything switches on in out caravan and we’ve had it years!! #MondayEscapes
    Claire at Tin Box Traveller recently posted…Monday Escapes 10/04/17My Profile

  6. April 10, 2017 at 11:09 am — Reply

    I saw so many motor homes over the weekend along the N Wales coast! Between them and this post…my need for one is getting quite bad, now!

  7. April 10, 2017 at 11:42 am — Reply

    We were only talking about this last night. We are a family 5 and we have been talking about staying in a caravan this summer. Thanks for the tips. Sarah #MondayEscapes
    Sarah Stockley recently posted…Happy Mallows – taste testMy Profile

  8. April 10, 2017 at 11:47 am — Reply

    That looks like it would be so much fun. Wished my parents hired a motor home when I was a kid.

  9. April 10, 2017 at 11:59 am — Reply

    Yes collecting it the day before the road trip is a great idea – we do that with just regular car rentals as well! Sounds like a fun way to travel with the littles! #MondayEscapes

  10. April 10, 2017 at 1:51 pm — Reply

    Great tips! Renting a motor home seems like a bit of work upfront but definitely very practical for some trips. My grandparents had a motor home when I was a child that they kept parked for most of the year and it was rather dangerous to move – I remember being inside the RV and drawers were flying open with utensils spilling out during the turns. Definitely a good idea to plan where everyone can safely sit beforehand! #MondayEscapes

  11. April 10, 2017 at 2:48 pm — Reply

    thanks for the tips!#mondayescapes
    Tanja (the Red phone box travels) recently posted…The ABCs of my travelsMy Profile

  12. April 10, 2017 at 3:20 pm — Reply

    I didn’t even know you could rent motorhomes! That’s an incentive to learn to drive – rather than buying one! Some fab tips for first timers, particularly about car seats and seat belts. #MondayEscapes

  13. April 10, 2017 at 4:47 pm — Reply

    I love it that you considered a month in NZ but went for a weekend in Staffordshire instead! That would be me I’d need to start close to home with things to do if bad weather. This advice is really good especially the practicalities like the excess and the handover. The girls look like they had an amazing time. My DH spent his childhood caravaning so over his dead body will he ever go in anything resembling one now! #MondayEscapes

  14. April 10, 2017 at 5:42 pm — Reply

    It’s a lot about getting prepared in advance, right! Great times here! Steakhouse review: Miller and Carter Bristol
    #mondayescapes
    Keri | Ladies What Travel recently posted…Steakhouse review: Miller and Carter Cribbs Causeway, BristolMy Profile

  15. April 10, 2017 at 7:05 pm — Reply

    Great bunch of tips! Especially hiring the motorhome a little earlier so that you can pack it all up at home and make sure you’ve got everything!
    I didn’t realise that they didn’t legally need to incorporate seat belts unless the seats were forward-facing, that’s a great thing to double check with the hire company! #MondayEscapes

  16. April 10, 2017 at 8:29 pm — Reply

    I’ve always wondered about a motorhome vs a caravan. Seemed the latter is so much easier as you can leave it at the campsite while you go exploring. Although I’m sure driving around in a motorhome is much more fun for the kids 😉 #MondayEscapes
    Lisa – FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com recently posted…Tulip fields in Holland, when and where?My Profile

  17. April 11, 2017 at 1:47 am — Reply

    I have never traveled on a motorhome (we call it camper or RV). We have thought about that forever (we are even considering to buy a small one). It would be could for a trip around the National Parks. Good tips since I have not thought about anything you point out in here. #MondayEscapes
    Ruth recently posted…Cheap Eats in Vienna: Festivals and MarketsMy Profile

  18. April 11, 2017 at 9:35 am — Reply

    It looks fab, you know my thought on camping but the boys and Chris would love this. My goodness that insurance is steep but with the excess insurance it makes is seem so much less risky x

  19. April 11, 2017 at 2:36 pm — Reply

    These are great tips, especially the seatbelt. We’d love to do a road trip in a motor home one day, it looks fab. So glad you had lovely weather as well
    #MondayEscapes

  20. April 11, 2017 at 7:21 pm — Reply

    These are really good tips. The main reason we bought a caravan instead of a motor home was the realisation that we’d have to pack up our things whenever we wanted to go anywhere. The rain usually follows us in our tourer so you did really well to have such nice weather. Are you converted? #mondayescapes
    Suzy McCullough recently posted…Southview Holiday park, Skegness – A reviewMy Profile

  21. April 11, 2017 at 8:07 pm — Reply

    I am still trying to convince manufacturers to build a 12 berth motorhome. No luck as yet but watch this space… 😉
    Tania recently posted…Setting Off on our Travels: Day 1 – GermanyMy Profile

  22. April 11, 2017 at 11:25 pm — Reply

    Super cool! I think I would have enjoyed traveling in a motorhome as a kid, nevermind the fact that even now it would pretty awesome thing to try.
    Adelina recently posted…Reflections and Lessons Learned From a Month in AsiaMy Profile

  23. April 14, 2017 at 5:19 pm — Reply

    Thank you for sharing your adventure and letting us know your top tips for travelling via motorhome. #MondayEscapes

  24. April 20, 2017 at 8:56 pm — Reply

    Very helpful tips! I have daydreamed about a motorhome family vacation for a while… but honestly, I am scared to drive such a big vehicle. Thus, we will probably just stick with using the minivan and sleeping in hotels for a couple more years. #MondayEscapes

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