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The Ultimate Guide to Renting a Motorhome
For some, renting can be the best way of sampling the motorhome experience. Maybe you are a touring caravan or campervan owner who is keen to try a different set of wheels. Perhaps you have grown weary of the traditional ‘hotel by the beach’ holiday formula. Or you could be a prospective motorhome buyer who wishes to try before you buy.
In this guide, we take you through all the ‘need to knows’ when it comes to renting a motorhome for your holiday. Whether it’s a weekend saunter along a magical coastline, or the month long exploration of a country you have always wanted to visit – there are some things which you need to consider if you have never driven a motorhome before.
So read on for key information on whether you are legally permitted to drive a motorhome; how to choose the best motorhome for your needs; the full picture on parking a motorhome; exclusive advice from an expert; and some top tips on picking the right motorhome rental provider.
Can I drive a motorhome?
When renting, it is important to know which models of motorhome you are permitted to drive. Some models can be driven by those with a standard UK licence, while others carry certain restrictions.
Let’s have a look at some important regulations for driving a motorhome in the UK:
· If you passed your driving test after 1st January, 1997, you are covered to drive a motorhome of up to 3,500kg. For this reason, many modern motorhomes possess a Maximum Allowable Mass (MAM) restriction of 3,500 kg. If you want to rent a larger motorhome, of anywhere up to 7,500kg, you need to take and pass a test to achieve the C1 category on your licence.
· If you passed your driving test before 1st January, 1997, and are under the age of 70, you will already have the C1 category entitlement on your licence. That means you can rent a motorhome of up to 7,500kg without needing to pass an additional test.
· If you have reached, or will soon be 70, you should be aware that the C1 category entitlement will be taken away from your licence. So in order to rent a motorhome upwards of 3,500kg, there is a requirement that your doctor provides a medical report to support your ability to drive larger motorhomes. This can be submitted via the D4 form which you can read about here.
REMEMBER: If you aren’t sure which categories your licence holds, you can check by looking at the back of your pink photocard.
More information on licence categories in the UK can be found here.
Which is the right motorhome for me?
When selecting a motorhome for rental, you will be faced with a series of important considerations which can help you reach a sound decision. Give the process due diligence and you can arrive at the perfect holiday vehicle! Here are some key questions to ponder when renting a motorhome:
- How many berths do I need?
How many people you are taking away on holiday is a key factor. The number of berths or sleeping places can be a good starting point when assessing motorhome size. Typically, couples or individuals are best suited to two berth motorhomes, while for large families and groups which expect to host guests, four to six berth motorhomes can be a wise choice.
- Which type of motorhome is best?
You are likely to be faced with the choice of three main types of motorhome:
1) Coachbuilt motorhomes - are converted commercial vehicles which offer a streamlined structure and space for a double bed above the cab.
2) A-class motorhomes - are built with a purpose built caravan shell and can provide the advantage of a larger interior which can accommodate a full size, double bed which drops down from the cab area.
3) RVs - are largely found in North America and are typically the largest variety of motorhome; offering facilities which are domestic quality.
- Which brand?
There is no right or wrong brand of motorhome per say, but it can help to equip yourself with a basic knowledge of the leading motorhome manufacturers with a presence in the UK. These include the likes of Auto-Trail, Elddis, Peugeot, Swift and Trigano.
- Add an awning?
Awnings can be a great way of economising on room within your motorhome, by giving yourself an extra living space which can be used for a number of purposes. If you want a sheltered outdoor extension which can be used for relaxing, having a barbecue, or as a children’s play area, consider renting a motorhome with an awning. Caravan parks such as Love2Stay can offer you a hardstanding pitch with ample space for the easy set up of your awning.
- Amenities galore or ‘basic is beautiful’?
Motorhomes can vary greatly in terms of the amenities which they offer. If you plan on holidaying in a rural area with little in the way of local restaurants or supermarkets, you might want to choose a motorhome with more kitchen appliances. Alternatively, if you are likely to eat out more, you could opt for a motorhome with a smaller kitchen area and more living space.
Be a prudent parker
Motorhomes might be easier than caravans to park, but that doesn’t mean you can park them anywhere!
There are important regulations pertaining to the activity known as ‘wild camping’. This refers to a motorhome being parked overnight on private land, without the expressed permission of the landowner. In order to avoid being considered to be trespassing, you should not stay overnight in cark parks at privately owned locations such as supermarkets or pubs without permission.
Motorhomes are certainly more manoeuvrable than caravans, and this helps with parking. Even so, parking a motorhome in congested urban areas is typically more challenging than a car, and this should be factored into your choice of parking spot.
Time for some expert advice
Harvey Alexander of the Caravan and Motorhome Club is a firm believer that renting a motorhome is a fantastic ‘entry level’ option.
He said: “Renting a motorhome is the easiest way to find how the touring lifestyle can give you the best holiday in the great outdoors, offering a fantastic try-before-you-buy opportunity. I think travelling by motorhome is a great way to mix outdoor holidays with hotel-based city breaks, cruises or any other kind of holiday, as well as probably being the only way you’ll get your own toilet at festivals such as Glastonbury!”
Choosing the right rental company – top tips
You have a wide range of potential sources for your rented motorhome; from multinational rental giants to independent outfits and private individuals. Let’s finish off with some quick fire tips on how to pick a motorhome rental company:
- Google it! – the internet is a fantastic resource to check the reputation of a motorhome rental company. So take a look at the reviews left by past customers.
- Travel light – your motorhome holiday can be made easier if you choose to hire from a rental company based in the area which you are touring. This allows you to travel to the area by car if you wish, potentially saving on fuel and time... not to mention hassle.--
- Shop around – once you have decided on your budget, take a look at a range of rental prices in order to gauge the market rates.
- Consider hire brokers – hire brokers can offer a motorhomes from a broader range and wider geographical spread, acting as a middle man between you and a private individual who is offering their motorhome for rent.
That’s the wrap on our motorhome rental guide. Once you have signed on the dotted line and grabbed the keys, why not head to Love2Stay in the Shropshire Hills for your motorhome holiday? Situated next to the border between England and Wales, you can expect superb facilities across the 120 fully serviced pitches at this 21st Century caravan park.