by Rhonda Carrier
If the freedom to stay more or less where you like (sometimes right beside the beach) and the freedom from travelling to a strict itinerary appeals to you, it might be time to start thinking about a family motorhoming holiday.
This is one form of travelling that can allow for complete spontaneity, as well as being relatively inexpensive when you consider what you save on eating out, accommodation, car-hire and so on. We’ve shared our advice for those considering motorhoming or campervanning with kids.
• At least one parent needs to be a confident driver as motorhomes, and to a lesser extent, campervans can be unwieldy. Remember you might also be in a right-hand drive and driving on the other side of the road.
• Although it’s possible to go motorhoming or campervanning with children of all ages, those with babies who are active and want to move around (walk or crawl) might find the lack of space a problem, as well as the absence of a bath tub.
• Find out about local regulations regarding or sensitivities to those parking on the seafront, especially overnight. Residents or beach traders in more built-up areas such as the South of France may be sensitive to you blocking their views or impeding custom. Even if there are no signs about local laws, if police ask you to move on then it’s best to go along with them.
• Find out where you can park and spend the night. In some destinations, including New Zealand, you can spend the night in certain ‘freedom’ camping spots at no charge. In other places, including the South of France and the Isle of Wight, you may be restricted to designated spots, which may include aires (service areas), campsites or even farms. Many campsites have facilities for filling your tank with clean water, emptying waste and hooking up to an electricity supply, as well as launderettes and perhaps leisure facilities such as swimming pools.
• Find a good source of information on places to overnight – motorhome hire firms sometimes give out free maps of campsites with the relevant facilities but may not distinguish between good and bad. In France, the FNHPA’s Camping Qualité map (and website: campingqualite.com) of approved sites will help you to discriminate.
• Avoid small roads if at all possible, and also the centres of towns or cities – find somewhere to park on the outskirts and walk or take public transport in to see the sights.
• Pack earplugs! Motorhomes and campervans can be noisy when it rains on the roof, while in some countries you may be disturbed late into the night by mopeds.
• Fridges in motorhomes aren’t super-cold except when you are hooked up to the electrics, so don’t do a week’s shopping and expect it to keep fresh.
• If hiring, buy collision damage waiver (CDW), which will reduce your liability/bill if you have an accident.
• Travel with fully charged mobiles. Note that in some motorhomes, you may not be able to recharge mobiles because of the shape of the plug, so charge up whenever you can.
Read our features on motorhoming and campervanning with kids:
• A Family Motorhoming Holiday in the South of France.
• A Family Motorhoming Holiday in the Outback, New South Wales.
• Single-Parent Campervan Holidays with Kids.
• A Family Campervan Break in Skegness, Lincolnshire.
• UK Campervan Holidays with Kids.
• Top 6 Campervan Holidays in the UK.
Image © aviscaraway.com.