The 5 Worst Things About Living In A Motorhome

Well I’ve tried to come up with more ‘downsides’ to motorhome life but still could not make 10 so here is my list of the 5 worst things about living in a motorhome.

Grass pitches
Grass pitches!

1. Grass pitches. 

Not an issue when I’m wild camping and most of the time on campsites I’ve had hardstanding. However twice I’ve had a grass pitch and they just don’t make sense here in the UK! My first gripe is that whenever I step outside the motorhome I get mud on my trainers which is then transferred to the carpet. If dirty shoes were not bad enough I then have to unplug my hookup lead which has spent the night trailed in the mud and morning condensation. So I get dirty and wet reeling the thing in, usually after I’ve already had my morning shower!

2. Laundry.

Having downsized to live in a motorhome I don’t have the space for a washing machine and tumble dryer. Most campsites have a laundry room but they can be expensive. I still haven’t settled on how I will do laundry long term. A cheap option would be to use a large bucket with lid placed in the shower cubicle. Driving around would agitate it and wash it in the process. Drying seems a bigger problem and I might have to use campsite dryers.

3. Bathing.

Before starting this lifestyle I would shower more often than have a bath. Now I don’t have a choice. I have a feeling there will be times when I might crave a bath. As for showers I usually use the showers at campsites or work as they are more powerful than the one in the motorhome. I’d like to find ways to improve the shower in the motorhome and plan to possibly replace my submersible pump.

4. The sound of rain.

The past couple of weeks have been largely dry. Before that though it seemed to rain every evening. On a motorhome roof the sound of rain is much louder. It can be a soothing sound when you are just chilling out but when you are trying to concentrate on something it can be a real distraction.

5. Parking.

A larger vehicle makes parking more difficult. Most council car parks have height barriers which prevent motorhomers from using them. If you do find a space on the streets where you can legally park, chances are the space is too small for you to use. Three point turns are also harder. All in all it’s something you get used to and make allowances for.

Anyway that’s my list, if you live in a motorhome I would be interested to know what you think are the worst things about this lifestyle choice.

79 thoughts on “The 5 Worst Things About Living In A Motorhome

  1. Hi,
    I am now living in a camper due to splitting from my wife. I find that one of the best things about living on the road (no utility bills, mortgage, council tax) is also one of the worst. As I no longer have an address, dealing with anyone, particularly banks and government institutions, is nigh on impossible. Since being so skint and needing a loan for my work, I am finding it very difficult. I can’t give my wife’s address, as she is claiming benefits, and they will then assume I am living there. Same goes for friends. If I say I am living with them, they will be liable for council tax. Any ideas?

    Steve

  2. I love the sound of the rain on the van roof, parking not a problem as i have a Fiat Ducato SWB, they are surprisingly spacious inside and very good on fuel consumption. Laundry, I have to admit my friend does it for me.

    Negatives of living fulltime in a campervan; can be a bit lonely on your own, not having elec can be a pain – really can’t think of anymore

    Positives – freedom, low living costs – mean more savings, when I visit friends I have my own accom, live peacefully with the things I need, not what I want, work part-time and have more leisure time, not a slave to the system etc

  3. Hi Guys,

    I got round the address thing by getting a buy to let mortgage which costs me 170. 00 per month at the moment. I rent the flat out via a letting agent. They get 500 for the flat after which I get around 420/ I then use the address for my mail. And bank etc:

  4. Hi Shax,

    Yes great idea if you are already on the housing ladder. Most people that contact me though have no hope of getting a mortgage and are looking at motorhome life either as a way to escape the rat race or to allow them to save serious money for their deposit.

    The address issue is not that major and if you want to find a way you will. In an ideal world I would be like you and have a property that was earning me more in rental income than it cost me but not something I can see happening for a few years yet. I’d like to move away from the London area where prices and rents are at least realistic so that Ewelina and I can live together. If I did that I’d like to consider keeping the motorhome but maybe it would make more sense to rent one for those times I wanted to do a tour somewhere.

    Thanks for the comment
    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  5. Hi Gary and all

    I am going to start living in a campervan full time in the near future but I was thinking of starting out by ‘parking’ on my mums secluded and gated drive so I can get used to things. Does anyone know if this would be considered as living at the address or not? I dont want to effect my mum in anyway and she lives on her own and pays single persons council tax. I need to do a lot of research as I have no idea about the ins and outs of life in a campervan full time so Im not even sure if this is possible at all.

    Many thanks
    Miranda

  6. Hi Miranda,

    I’m not sure what the legal status of this would be but I seem to remember it being discussed on some motorhome forum. I know there was some rule about making it easier for a family member to live within a structure in the garden like a caravan as long as it was under a certain size, height and distance away from boundary wall. Hopefully someone else can reply to Miranda? If you have made the decision to buy a motorhome then the scary bit is over. Going to a campsite to try it out is really nothing to worry about. I note that you say your Mum lives secluded and gated drive and as such I think you are less likely to get trouble from ‘nosey’ neighbours. If this trying it out on her drive was just for a few weeks I don’t see that it would have an impact on her single persons council tax but are you talking about parking it on her drive for much longer?

    Good luck with it
    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  7. Hi Gary,
    I’ve just been eading through some of the postings here. One thing that caught my eye was the post from Steve Kerby about not having an address now that he’s split from his wife. I hope he’s got the problem sorted out by now but if others find themselves in the same situation they can get their post re-directed by Royal Mail to any address (PO Box, friends, parents?) without having to change existing details. I know that this service, which you pay for by the way, can be extended for a year allowing time to sort something more permanent out. With the popularity of on-line banking and e-mails an address is becoming less and less important these days anyway. Regards,
    Chris

  8. Hi Chris,

    Yes as you say you can get post re-directed by Post Office. I actually looked into ‘buying’ an address where someone would collect all my post and forward it but in the end did not need it. I’ve moved most things online but I do still get some advertising post from companies I’ve used before and of course I sometimes buy things online and need to quote a delivery address. I used to quote the work address but since being self employed I now quote relatives address.

    Thanks for the comment.
    Gary

  9. Hi Loren,

    Thanks for your comment. Your comment about being lonely really depends on a few things. If you plan to spend time at campsites you will bump into others at places like the shower block and washing up area and I find even short chats with others is enough. If you already have a good network of friends and make the effort to stay in touch then the fact you live in a motorhome should be irrelevant.

    As for driving a large vehicle I remember having the same concerns the first time I got inside my Hymer. The fact is the high up driving position helps and you get used to the length and width really quickly. I did have worries about low bridges and width restrictions and even bought an addon for a Garmin sat nav but in truth never really needed it.

    The only real difference to driving a car is that in busy areas you spend slightly longer looking for a parking space big enough and sometimes rather than trying a 3 point turn on a narrow street I’ll usually either look for a roundabout or wider street.

    Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

    All the best
    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  10. Reader of the blog Winston recently emailed me to suggest a couple of extra things to add to the ‘worst list’. He says:

    As a newbie …. I can offer a couple of items for your ‘Worst list’

    1. Always having to ‘collapse’ the whole vehicle’s contents before travelling.
    Everything that can ‘move’ has to go into a box, on the floor.
    I’m now getting good at this … and for an early departure … do all of this before you go to bed … then wake up … tea … and off you go!

    2. Selecting a Caravan Club site because it has a ‘WiFi’ icon … only to find that when you log on … the CC asks you to pay for it!!! Dick Turpin or what?

    Do you agree? If you have any other negatives to motorhome living feel free to suggest them.

  11. We live most of the time in our motorhome as we are retired. We have sold our house to our son but still have a bedroom and our furniture there. He has lived with us for about 12 years so it is not a new arrangement.
    When we are travelling, everything goes into the lockable cupboard onto non-slip mats and we have had no breakages in over a year.
    Our only grouch is emptying the toilet cassette. There are two of us and because we are older, our bladders work overtime especially at night, so it has to be emptied just about every day. If we are at campsites then we use their loo’s most of the time and their showers when we feel we need a real good heavy shower, although some of the campsite showers are not much better than the motorhome’s.
    Parking can be a problem but we seldom go into towns in our motorhome, only supermarkets, otherwise we get a bus, use our bikes, or get a taxi but this is very seldom unless we are touring big cities. We hate large towns and cities anyhow and are quite happy to stay away from them. We also do quite a bit of internet shopping if needed.
    We find the motorhome and camping scene very friendly, more so than suburban living. People are very helpful, love to share their travels and advice
    and many form permanent friendships meeting up regularly in their travels.
    As the van is parked out the back of the house, if we feel the need to escape the house, we have our own little studio flat on 4 wheels at the end of the yard.

  12. Hi Babs,

    What type of motorhome do you live in? I’ve only ever broken a china mug but that was not whilst driving. I don’t really use those non slip mats much. When I go round corners I can hear things moving around in the upper cupboards but most of my plates and bowls are the type that cannot be broken.

    Like you I use the campsite showers and toilets mostly except in the night when I use the motorhome toilet. My thetford cassette usually only needs emptying every 4 days when I am on my own but when there are 2 of you I’d say a day and a half (women just seem to use more water). Like many advise on forums I use the cheap supermarket washing detergent liquid which seems to make things smell nice. I don’t think the price of things like Elsan can be justified for fulltimers.

    I agree with you about parking but it’s something you just seem to get used to. When I visit my local supermarket I always head for the bays at the end where my overhang over the back wheels can be over the grassy area. The high up driving position seems to help with visibility and I generally try and think further ahead and anticipate more than most drivers.

    My circumstances will be changing soon and it looks like the motorhome might have to go. If it was possible to hire it out from time to time to pay for the insurance and running costs I would keep it but otherwise it might have to go. Ewelina needs to move and we are planning to rent somewhere together. If there were more sites in London and I had a larger, LEZ compliant vehicle I would consider looking for a seasonal pitch but as things stand it might be time to limit my motorhome travels to a few holidays.

    Good luck with your travels.

    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  13. Hi Gary,
    We have an Adria Coral with a fixed bed. It is not very spacious but fine for us. We love it and are leaving tomorrow for Europe once again. Sad that you might have to part with the motorhome, but I am sure it won’t be long before you find yourself travelling in a motorhome again.
    Take care and thanks for the tips.
    Babs

  14. Hi there, I am only 22 right now but for over 8 years or so I have been so passionate about living in a motor home for a long time. I have read through the comments here and all the posts, and firstly, I want to thank you Gary for all the information and all the people who have asked very good questions.

    I have 3 questions myself, I hope it’s not too much trouble.

    1. I am only 22 so fundings are very low. I do get DLA due to my autism however, is there any help/ideas you can get for the funding of a Motorhome?

    2. I am a passionate gamer. By the time I get a motorhome, mobile internet will be better, but my MAIN concern will be consoles. Is it easy enough to get a TV just for consoles and not worry about a TV licence? I just use DVDs and the internet myself.

    3. And finally, do you have any places/websites I can go to get information for someone who literally has NO idea what he is doing?

    Thanks for your time and sorry if any of these questions are stupid. Still young and they teach you nothing important in school! ^_^

    Thanks, Steve

  15. Hi Steve,

    OK here is my reply, I don’t think you’re going to like my answer. I was not sure what to make of your comment. You say they teach you nothing important in school, I’m not sure I totally agree with that comment. Sure society probably tries to use education to produce the next generation of pen pushers and does not fit well with independent thinkers. What do you think they should teach in school instead? There is nothing stopping you using your free time to educate and improve yourself.

    I’m not aware of any funding available to help with purchasing a motorhome. Maybe getting a job or starting your own business to save for a motorhome might be a good start? I’m sorry if I’ve not read this correctly but from what you have written I get the sense that you want a motorhome to live in with super fast mobile broadband so you can play games all day on a console attached to a TV that you don’t want to pay a licence for. Did you know that the UK happens to be a world leader in game design? If you are passionate about gaming why not do something productive about that passion? Please don’t let a tough climate for young people and autism be excuses for not trying in life.

    If you want a motorhome badly enough you will find a way to work for it. If you don’t want to work for it then life will not present you with easy answers.

    Good luck.

    Gary

  16. Hi Miranda,

    I believe that it is totally legal to sleep in a camper or caravan on the driveway of property so long as the vehicle is used as an annexe to the property. IE Meals and washing is done in the house and the camper is a bed.
    I found this info on a website called hippy.com in ‘nomadic living’ section.
    Its a good website in terms of legalities and the general practical issues of well..nomadic life. This site is a the other end of the hippy.com spectrum, without meaning any disrespect this site is a bit more conventional, but that’s the great thing about nomadic living, it is a great leveller in demographics, politics, culture, age and gender. The benefits of nomadic living and camaraderie that it creates, doesn’t follow the same social code as the government would have us believe.

  17. Hi,

    Thanks Fran for replying to Miranda’s question. As you say the information is often out there even if society or government would rather we did not know. In my experience most who want to follow a nomadic existence are friendly, welcoming people which is not always they way they are portrayed in the media. I’m not talking about gypsies who occupy land and leave the place in a total mess when they finally leave either. I’m talking about people who are fed up with working hard with nothing to show for it who just want to look for something different where they feel they are ‘living’ again.

    Thanks for the comment and if Miranda has more questions I hope she feels able to ask them.

    All the best
    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  18. hello all
    ive been looking to get out of this commercialized world.. my husband and I thought about going off sailing into a sunset… we have a 10 yr old and a 9 yr old who we are happy to home school as the school system sets them up as the government sees fit. my thoughts were if stuck on ocean it is a small space for 2 kids to get along all the time. I want off the beaten track and have been looking into mobile homes for awhile, but hubby thinks it will be expensive…petrol!
    love reading what everyone else thinks, very helpful. we have a house that we can rent out. but need to get rid of some other debt I think before we go. so there would be four of us in a motorhome…anyone got or had experience on that amount of people in a motorhome?
    excitedly waiting
    jennifer

  19. Hi Jennifer,

    Funny you should mention sailing off into the sunset as I know someone who bought a boat rather than motorhome and sailed to all sorts of exotic places. He did it cheaply too but then he was a marine engineer and could maintain his own boat. I think he’s looking at getting motorhome now though and driving around Spain and Portugal mainly. Personally I would say a motorhome would be a better option than a sailing boat unless you have lots of sailing experience. Diesel motorhomes are pretty economic fuel wise so it would not be that expensive. I also think a motorhome gives you more options in terms of where to go, at least within Europe and North Africa where you can explore coastal areas and inland. Most who sail permanently tend to stick to coastal areas.

    I met a family of 5 who travelled for a year in a motorhome and there was someone who replied to a blog post on here who in a smaller motorhome than mine with a wife, 2 kids and a dog and I did wonder how they did it. Hopefully some people will reply to you via here with their thoughts and experience. I would say look at some motorhomes first to see which models give you most of what you want in terms of bedroom layout and space. Whilst living in a motorhome can be cheap, the initial purchase of one certainly isn’t so think carefully about it. If you look after it well and buy something that has already depreciated somewhat but is known to be popular and reliable you should recoup most of the initial investment when it comes to selling it on.

    Anyway good luck with your search!

    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  20. Re: the post about feeling lonely. Without my little dog I think I would be lost. Having him means I have to get out and walk – which is feelgood in itself. Nearly everyone we meet seems to love and fuss him – he’s a great ice-breaker for talking to people – and of course – great company for me in the motorhome!

  21. Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for the comment. I personally don’t have a pet but I know many motorhome owners do and for many the decision to buy one was so that they could holiday with their pets. I agree a dog is a good ice breaker and there have been numerous studies to say that they can help with loneliness and other conditions.

    Are you a fulltimer as well? There are not too many female fulltimers but I know lots think about doing it but worry about personal security when not at campsites. Would be good to get a female point of view on fulltiming.

    Thanks
    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  22. Hi Gary,

    Great site, it’s so much better to read actual replies to specific questions rather than lists of what to do and what not to do.

    I’m currently thinking of giving up work, renting the house out and living fulltime in a motorhome. My wife and I have just had enough of the monotonous production line of suburban life and want to change our lives. We’re hiring a m/h for a couple of days next month to just get a real feel for how life might be and then if all goes well we’ll get going next summer sometime. It’s a massive decision to make though and choosing which one to buy is huge. The only thing I am really nervous is overnight costs and wildcamping. Everything else is fairly easy to estimate I think.

    Any advice on the best places to stay, wildcamping, useful websites etc would be most useful.

    Thanks
    Jon

  23. Hi Jon,

    Firstly great decision to rent a motorhome first to see what it’s like to be in one for a few nights before taking the plunge. If you are thinking about doing it for financial reasons mainly then you have a few things to consider. Firstly you need to work out how much rent the house will provide for you. Then you need to decide how much the motorhome will cost and how much it will depreciate in value over the time you plan to keep it.

    As you say costs like MOT, tax, insurance and even diesel and gas for cooking and heating can be estimated pretty accurately. Overnight costs will depend on how much you stay at campsites and how often you wild camp. In the early days I used to wild camp mostly and found a visit to a campsite every 3rd or 4th night was enough to charge leisure batteries and empty chemical toilet and grey water. However if you are planning to do this with your wife I would say you will need to empty the chemical toilet every 2 days. If you want to avoid visiting campsites too often then maybe buy a 2nd toilet cassette and empty 2 at once when you visit a campsite. Grey water can be emptied over drains if you are discrete and you can add fresh water at a petrol station. What I used to do was use ‘non drinking’ water in my freshwater tank which was just for washing up and showering etc and then have large 5 litre bottles of drinking water for drinks and brushing teeth.

    Wild camping is not for everyone and there is lots to consider. If you live in built up area you ‘may’ attract attention if you stay in the same place and may be asked to move on. Having 5 or 6 wild locations sorted out helps so you can move between them. Next you need to think about power. If you and the wife like to watch lots of TV then you will need a solution. If you drive during the day it will charge the leisure batteries. If not then the leisure batteries alone are not likely to last long. Solar panels are ok but not great in winter in the UK. Generators are popular if quiet but you need to think if it’s for you. I would recommend switching to LED bulbs for lighting to reduce power consumption. There is lots to consider. Once you understand what’s involved you will be able to make the right decision for you.

    Good luck with your decision!

    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  24. Hi Garry. We have just bought a Hymer CL698 & plan to tour france early next year. Having read a lot of the comments on gas bottles / systems I am undecided which way to go on this. We owned a narrowboat for 8yrs (now on sale) which had calor gas bottles. These lasted around 8 weeks per bottle. I realise that the heating on the motorhome is gas. As we are going to be touring france for possibly 5/6 months, do we change, hope you can clarify & help a tough decision

  25. Hi Bill,

    It’s hard to give a 100% answer unless you know someone’s gas usage. If you don’t use gas for heating then 2 large Calor bottles can last a long time just for heating water for the shower and cooking with. However since you are in Europe in winter and assuming you will not have access to electricity every night then gas for heating would mean Calor is not your answer. You won’t find Calor in Europe. The only universally used system is camping gaz and the largest bottle they sell is still pathetically small and ridiculously expensive. If you plan to stay in only one European country you might find using their version of Calor the cheapest option. Otherwise you are looking at refillable bottles like Gaslow which along with a couple of adaptors will allow you to use LPG fuel stations throughout Europe. Gaslow is not a cheap installation if you get a qualified installer to do it. If however you have access to used bottles and kit and are happy to install yourself you could save lots of money.

    Maybe not the answer you were hoping for? One thing to consider, even if you pay for the Gaslow kit to be installed, the kit would have a decent used value when you returned to UK if you wanted to recoup some of your investment.

    Good luck

    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  26. Hi all,

    I am seriously thinking of buying a camper for the purpose of possibly long term living as my circumstances have dramatically changed. The reason I want to buy one is that I genuinely do not know where to live if I’m honest. I have to start again from scratch. I used to live in SW London but sold my house. This is apparently a mammoth task buying a camper, don’t know where to start although this site has been so helpful in addressing things I had not even considered. I have a very healthy budge as I sold a house but I do not know what type to buy. I’m a car driver so am very scared about large vehicles (never even driven a 4×4 or a hire van before). Looked at the best motorhome 2013 site but have to be honest looks a bit dodgy although I’m sure it’s not! Any advice here please? Oh I don’t have any pets by the way.

  27. Hi Tracey,

    Sorry for delay in replying. I’ll give some general advice myself but for anyone else reading this article please chip in and help Tracey with your input. Before rushing in and buying a motorhome you ideally need to draw up a list of ‘must have’ and ‘would like to have’ things the motorhome must have / do. So for example when living in a motorhome a durable interior was a must have for me as was decent insulation for winter use. A permanent bed rather than one you had to make up each night was also high on my list.

    It would make sense to visit as many new / used models as you can to find the layout you think suits your needs the best. It would even make sense to consider hiring one for a weekend to get a better idea how they work and what it’s like living in a smaller space.

    You say you don’t know where you want to live and as such a motorhome makes a lot of sense as you can move on to wherever you desire. If you think you would like to spend time within the M25 then make sure you look at newer motorhomes than are LEZ compliant. Personally I would not buy new as the depreciation would be too great for me. By buying at the right age you should be able to get a vehicle that will careful treatment will see you recoup much of your outlay when you come to sell.

    As to the size of the vehicle, most people get used to this. Mine was 6 metres long and you could not park it in tight spaces but otherwise it was easy to drive. Again by hiring one for a weekend or going on numerous test drives you should quickly begin to see if larger vehicles are for you.

    Good luck with your decision and hopefully some others will comment too and add useful info for you to think about.

    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  28. I am new to motorhoming. husband and I bought a secondhand 7.3m long 3.3 high van on 1st August and left the uk with the dog a couple of weeks later. We left our house in the hands of a rental agency and haven’t looked back. We love it. Currently we are wintering in Portugal and deciding where to go next. With regards to driving the only advice I can give is – just do it – I was terrified to begin with but after a couple of hundred miles you learn how the van drives. I will say that having a camera fitted that shows the view behind when driving is a god send, as well as another one that shows the ground close to the back when reversing. I wouldn’t want to be without these. If you are thinking of driving long distances I would suggest considering cruise control for the boring motorway journeys, as well as having a good size Diesel engine. The only tip a lorry driver gave me before I started off was – you don’t have to go like the clappers you will get there just doing 50mph. I was frightened to drive it to begin with, but now I jump in it most days and really think no differently that when driving my golf. Just remember the overhang at the back when turning a corner and you will be fine. Take it easy, remember others can overtake you if they want to!

  29. Hi Lorraine,

    Thanks for the comment. I agree with what you say. I never bothered with a rearview camera but my Hymer was only 6 metres long and it had a rear window which I preferred to side mirrors for judging distance at the back. Like you I like to take things easy speedwise. The difference between 60mph and 70mph can mean much better fuel consumption and even on long distances you only get there 30 minutes later!

    Are you using campsites in Portugal or wild camping? Also completely off topic, what breed of dog are you travelling with. Dogs love travelling with their ‘humans’ around them all the time.

    Enjoy the adventure!
    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  30. Hi Gary
    Sorry for the delay in replying, I have been enjoying the winter sunshine of the algarve. We are using campsites for most of our touring, with the occasional overnighter at an aire. However now that Xmas is almost here we have decided to stay put on one site for a few weeks as this gives us good discount rates and we feel that the algarve is the warmest place in Portugal.
    We are travelling with a parsons Russell terrier who has taken to this lifestyle, he has become calmer since we started travelling – which I never thought would happen considering he is a terrier. Maybe it is because now he is with us constantly. Also we have met a great many other motorhomers who are travelling with their dogs, and all the dogs seem to love it Also occasionally we come across people travelling with cats and we have even met a couple of parrots.

  31. Hi Gary,

    Great blog! I have a rather unusual question. What are the chances of fitting an upright piano in a motorhome? This would be 47′ x 22′, width 57′, weight 440lb. Any motorhomes in Europe to accommodate such a travel companion?
    Happy New Year!
    Bart

  32. Hi Bart,

    I’ve never heard of anyone who has an upright piano in a motorhome. For a start most habitation doors are fairly narrow and getting a piano in would I think be impossible. The weight would also mean you would have very little payload left for any other personal belongings. I know some people who live in motorhomes and like music who carry guitars or even electric keyboards.

    If anyone else reading this knows of someone with an upright piano in a motorhome feel free to comment as I would think it’s highly unlikely.

    All the best
    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  33. Hi Gary,
    Came across your really informative blog while I was trying to find out more about how I was going to survive adequately after splitting up from wife. We had bought a small Toyota Granvia campervan way before our marriage decline and now the campervan might be sold off, but I’m mulling over the idea of trying to live in it permanently. I’m retired on small works pension and living with my sister until house is sold…. funds from that direction will be very small, so campervan or residential caravan are worthwhile possibilities. Like all the other responses, I worry about parking, heating ( especially winter ) mail, internet, etc etc………The answers and opinions are probably spread throughout your blog, but I just felt as tho’ I had to fit something in as it was giving me such inspiration. One question though, would a Toyota Granvia be just too small?

  34. Hi Gary,
    Referring back to laundry, some friends of ours who have travelled widely in their motorhome told me they have a plastic bucket with a screw on lid (as you suggest), but they also add a couple of those hard rubber spiky balls used in tumble dryers. As they drive along this helps agitate the clothes and when they stop all that’s needed is a rinse in fresh water and hang out to dry.

    All the best,

    Paul

  35. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the comment. I’ve been told about a few people who do laundry that way. The agitation method in a bucket seems to work really well when the clothes just need a quick clean but I would imagine a ‘proper’ wash is needed if you actually get them dirty. I’ve also seen other fulltimers use these plastic portable washers that are relatively cheap and do a good job but are too small to take a large load.

    All the best
    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  36. Hi Michael,

    Sorry for late reply but been a manic time lately. Having read your comment I would give the following advice. I know the Granvia well as I’ve owned 3 Toyota Eatima models myself (though not campers). They are great vehicles for a weekend camping but I’m not sure I would want to live in one. I say this mostly due to their size, for example lack of headroom. I personally also prefer having a shower and toilet which most van conversions don’t have. Such vans usually have a large sliding door on at least one side and I would think this door is hard to insulate against the cold in winter.

    Living in a motorhome can be a cheap way to live but only if you do your research properly. You need to think about the area you live in and how possible wild camping is. If you decide you need to stay on a campsite most nights then this can add up unless you have some deal for long term stay. Staying on a farm for example can be cheaper even with electric hookup. Things like mail, internet etc are easy and can be sorted without any real problem. If I was in your shoes I would work out what various accommodation options are open to you. Rents vary hugely across the country, the variance is much greater than the variance in campsite fees for example. With a motorhome you don’t have some of the other fixed costs like electricity, council tax and other utilities. The problem is you need to find the right vehicle for living in and I’m not sure the Granvia is it. You might find the perfect vehicle for £10k which would be an older but reliable motorhome. An older vehicle would depreciate less quickly but you still need to accept that there will be some bills and it will need replacing sometime.

    Living fulltime in a motorhome might be the right thing for you but it does not suit everyone. I would try and maybe use the Granvia for a week or two long trip to see what it feels like on an extended trip. I would then look at larger purpose built motorhomes and speak to others who live fulltime this way.

    If anyone else reading this would like to chip in with a comment please do. I think we all wish Michael makes the right decision for him and the more information people can give him the better informed he will be.

    Good luck Michael.
    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  37. Everything about motorhoming is great.

    1. Negatives . Bloody councils ! everywhere is NO ! NO ! NO ! be it parking walking cycling swimming , smiling basically do not enjoy yourself we dont want you to !!!!!!

  38. Hi Gary,
    Just found your website and find it interesting.
    We are full timers but use a caravan instead of a motorhome so we spend most of our time on small sites. We have been living this way for 15 months and love it.
    My other half is a professional pianist and keeps a quality electric piano in our caravan for practice use. Hope this helps one of your other questioners.

  39. Hi, just found this page and have enjoyed reading your posts. Newbies and wannabes please, please hire a motorhome for a week at least, a very good friend of mine bought one for nearly 30k and hated it and it cost him 10k to get rid of it.

  40. Amazing reading, loved gary s answer to young guy who wanted a free motorhome for gaming and chilling. As for my angle on the whole thing, im 60. love traveling, cooking and nature. I also feel restricted to be in only one place for a long time so as my forte is making absolutly anything i ve desided to build a stelth campervan based on a merc sprinter LWB. one that wont attract attention in a city or parked in any place unusual.
    Its going to be radical in layout.
    Amazing thing is, many on here want a motorhome as an optout for not affording a bricks and morter job, but i ve all the bricks and morter i could ever wish for and now just want the freedom, back to basics….. guess we all want what we aint got… Ian.

  41. I have enjoyed reading all these honest comments and well structured questions/answers.

    I can honestly say that I now have a dream and will start with a few weekend trips in smaller varient vehicles. Then I will (in trial and error) spread my wings and after some time/experience, live in my dream motor home.

    Keep the blog going pal, it’s a very enjoyable read. Take care to all!

  42. Grass pitches – I agree, even if not muddy but just mown – grass follows you! Wear Crocs?
    Laundry – drying is definitely the hardest. Solution; always visit friends and family when laundry bag is full!
    Bathing – I love showers. I decided to experiment and take a shower once every 2 days. I’m semi retired so I only make appointments every alternate day so as not to offend! When I go full-time I’m going to wash my long hair in one bowl of water, which I alreadybdo when camping, and only wash my body in the shower. Much quicker.
    Rain – I’m looking forward to this noise – hope it doesn’t wear thin.
    Parking – my biggest dread, hence I’m thinking I won’t get a large motorhome, just a panel van conversion or 5m motorhome.
    Sorted! Yes?

  43. Hi I am looking for help as I am thinking off selling my house in 2015 and just living in a camper for the remainder of my days I did come across a website relating to doing this but cannot find it again Wanted info on how do i have a home address etc Postal services getting stuff sent to me Any help and websites would be appreciated regards ronnie

  44. Hi Ronnie,

    There are lots of websites that discuss this. Many are forums and if you type fulltiming in a motorhome into Google you will find various forum discussions where the logistics are discussed and solutions given.

    All the best
    Gary

  45. Hi Lynne,

    Thanks for your comments to my ‘5 Worst Things’ post. Are you yourself fulltiming yet and if so do you use campsites mostly or wild camp? Most campsites have good showers but so did my motorhome so I always had a shower each morning. I like the idea of a panel van conversion and for weekend camping trips I think they are ideal. I’m not sure I could fulltime in one though. I would want a shower, toilet, bed and decent storage space. My Hymer was 6 metres long and had all I needed. The bed was drop down type which meant it was already made up but not taking up space during the day. These Hymers make great use of the 6 metre length and are ideal for one person fulltiming. Parking motorhomes is not that difficult once you get used to driving it but you do need to consider height and width restrictions.

    Good luck.

    Gary

  46. Hi James,

    Did you go for it? How is it turning out? I’ve not kept the blog going as I no longer live in a motorhome and have been busy with other things. I do still miss it though and have recently considered about living in a caravan instead as I have the perfect tow vehicle.

    All the best
    Gary

  47. My husband and I are hoping to sell our home and retire next year to start living and travelling in a motorhome, we are currently researching which motorhome to buy, we are asking ourselves if a campervan or caravan would be the best way to go, did anybody here consider a caravan, or has met anyone that has taken the caravan route? And what made you choose a motorhome over a caravan? I’d be really interested to hear your views. Gary this is the best blog I have read so far, well done and thanks for your interesting comments.
    Carol

  48. Hi Gary,
    I very much like your blog but I didn’t like that harsh comment to Steve. It was ages ago I know but he’s autistic and may not be able to work. You seemed to be so irritated that he wasn’t working but he is probably really struggling and living in a motorhome is his solution. You really have no clue about autism. You may have seriously upset him…. Autistics are very very sensitive.

    Penny

  49. Hi Penny,

    Sorry you feel my comments to Steve were harsh. His autism is not what caused my reply, it was when I read about his game playing. I’ve seen people completely addicted to games to the point where they can play one for hours on end, skipping meals, sleep etc. Some of the games are very graphic too in terms of violence and the way they portray women in particular.

    I get messages from people all the time who are considering living in a motorhome. Many are doing so for financial reasons, perhaps after a divorce, in order to save for a house deposit etc. Most are working, some are close to retirement. I have no issue with someone deciding to reduce the amount of hours they work or using assets they own to earn a small amount to live in a cheap way. What I don’t agree with however is someone living off the state and expecting hard working people to fund their addiction to games, cigarettes or whatever. I don’t think autism automatically prevents someone from working. Yes it might make it hard to get a ‘regular’ job these days but everyone has talent for something and that talent could be their income if they decide to follow it. That’s why I suggested looking at the game design industry which is huge in the UK.

    Maybe I’m wrong but when I read his comment it seemed to say ‘I get a disability living allowance and love playing games and would love to do this all day in a motorhome. I don’t have cash for a motorhome so how can I get one. Ideally one where I can have a wicked fast internet connection and great big monitor and speakers’? I’m not sure autism is the issue here. There are many things people suffer from. Some refuse to let it prevent them and get on with life, others use it as an excuse to do nothing. Having watched the paralympics and some of the things ex servicemen with lost limbs have done I’m in awe of what a positive attitude can do. I simply want Steve to be more like them.

    Gary

  50. Hi Carol,

    I recently considered a caravan but did not get one in the end. Generally the opinion seems to be it depends on your usage and some other factors. If you plan to stay in one place for extended period caravan might be better. If you move on all the time or want to take advantage of cheap or free Aires, Stellplatz and Sostas in Europe then motorhome is better option. Other things to consider is budget. Caravans are cheaper, especially if you already own a car which is considered good for towing. Need to travel within the London Low Emission Zone other big European cities that hate older diesels? If so you will need a relatively modern motorhome and if these are outside budget then caravan is the way to go.

    I’ve only owned a motorhome but I can certainly see some scenarios where I would use a caravan.

    Good luck with the choice!
    Gary

  51. Hey, thanks for all the useful stuff on your site! We are now a week into our trip and it’s a huge learning curve! Still seen so many amazing things so far, so maybe see you around.

  52. Hi Gary – we are preparing ourselves to be a ‘full timer’ in our Motorhome and have found your blog very helpful. One thing that concerns us is how to cope with muddy boots and wet clothes when returning ‘home’ in bad weather. Where do you store your boots and coats until dry and how do you prevent your carpets getting covered in mud?

  53. Hi,

    Sorry for late reply. Not sure what sort of grill you mean. Some motorhomers have a George Foreman type grill they use inside the vehicle and others have an external gas point so they can connect a more regular gas BBQ outside when the weather is good and you don’t want the smell and smoke inside your vehicle.

    Hope this helps
    Gary

  54. Hi Garry
    I loved reading your life in a motorhome, iv lived in my VW T5 high top now for 3 years after a hard divorce which I’m still going through, however I can relate with a lot of what you have said in your blog. My van comes in handy as I travel with my job as yes you need to travel light but I agree with you on not needing so much crap lol.
    I have considered a motorhome as iv had one in the past but I do wonder about the parking, but hey! Maybe I’ll pop out tomorrow and have a look at some.
    The only down side to living this way is I can’t meet a nice lady as they seem to think it’s not normal 🙁

  55. Hi Gary,
    I’m looking into getting a portable electric generator for my motorhome wild camping nights. Have you any experience / recommendations. I’m considering the Honda EU10i 1kw Petrol Driven Generator that has a low noise level.
    Your input would be welcome.
    Regards
    Chris

  56. Hi Baz,

    It’s more than the regular price yes but still relatively economical I would say. However it depends on where you live. For normal policies the postcode impacts the quote and my postcode was more expensive than most people I knew who also owned motorhomes. The fulltiming policy was not based on a postcode so might look expensive if you are normally get very cheap quotes.

    Hope that helps.
    Gary

  57. Hi, my wife and I are looking to sell up and buy a motorhome. We have been thinking about it for a few years now. We have just turned 50, still keeping fit and healthy. I have been researching the different types of motorhomes and what we would like. I’m very hands on, was in the building game for 20yrs and a motor mechanic for 5 yrs. What’s the most important things we should know. Thanks

  58. Hi Terry and Gloria,

    You say you are looking to sell up. I don’t know what type of property you have or if you are mortgage free but most who decide to move from living in a property to living in a motorhome have two options.

    Option 1 sell house, buy motorhome and invest difference to live on.

    Option 2 rent out house using the rental income to live on and using address for documents, post etc whilst enjoying the mobile lifestyle.

    Once you have decided you want to buy a motorhome and the search starts you will discover everything is a compromise. How much space do you need against what size of vehicle do you want to drive? For me I wanted clever use of space so opted for drop down bed that is permanently made up. I wanted shower cubicle rather than wet room. A 6 metre motorhome was ideal for me, I didn’t really want to drive an 8 metre long model.

    Once you have an idea of ideal layout look at models available. Most motorhomes are not built for fulltiming. You want an interior that will stand up to constant use. Depending on budget it’s better to buy older well built model than newer flimsy build.

    By looking at as many models as possible you will quickly narrow down what are your essentials and what are your ‘nice to have’.

    With your experience in both building and motor industry you are better placed than most to find the right model. You will soon see some differences in interior quality, especially in the used market. Some makes I looked at that were only 5 years old with low mileage looked really worn inside compared to the much older, higher mileage hymer I bought. Older hymers had firmer more supportive seats, better cabinetry etc.

    Good luck.

    Gary

  59. Thanks for the advice I found it very helpful. You seem to have answered all my questions. One good thing here in NZ there are plenty of hot pool around if I won’t a good soak in a bath. Also we are use to the sound of rain on the roof. Washing I guess hand wash what I can. Big washes at camp sites or laundrettes I am still looking at European design motor homes as they seem better insulated would love to know which would be best the Defthless or Bursena or Eura mobile

  60. hi
    me and my husband are considering of buying motor home
    how much does look and cost of having water supply ?
    and what about waste water and toilet waste ? where and how can this be sorted ?

  61. Hi,

    If you read through some of my posts you should get answers to some of these questions. Most motorhomes have a fresh water and waste water tanks. You can fill up the fresh water at campsites and also drain the waste water there too. The cost of water is included in campsite fee. In Europe if you visit an Aire which are sometimes free there will be a machine that dispenses fresh water, usually about 100 litres for about a Euro.

    Toilet waste again can be discharged at campsites. Depending on the sort of toilet cassette fitted to the motorhome you end up buying you should be able to wait about 3 days if there are 2 of you living in the motorhome. This means you would not have to visit a campsite every day if you didn’t want to.

    Hope this helps.

    Gary

  62. Hi Chris,

    Never owned a generator. The Honda ones get great reviews and are quiet. I’ve also heard good things about Kipor brand which are cheaper and still quiet.

    Good luck
    Gary

  63. Hi Phil,

    I think a panel van like yours is too small for me to fulltime but would make a great weekend camper. I now live in a bungalow so something smaller would appeal for weekend trips away etc. You are probably right that most women don’t think the lifestyle is normal but certainly not all women. Some are happy to forego some possessions and travel light once they see the benefits.

    Do you still have the T5?

    Gary

  64. Hi,

    Sorry for not replying at the time, the blog was ignored for some time when life changed. Did you start fulltiming? I used to put wet things in my shower cubicle. I had a rubber mat at the habitation door too. Most sites I visited were hard standing so did not get muddy too often. It does happen from time to time but not the end of the world. My carpeting was dark green colour, not sure I would like cream interior even though they look lovely clean.

    What sort of motorhome did you end up buying?

    All the best
    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  65. Being autistic is a mental not physical problem. You cant just positive attitude it away! Like penny said your very harsh and judgemental on the lad. I have a grown daughter with autism, so know that acting normal to please others is very draining for her. My daughter loves to write and create art. She, probably like this lad, likes to game to relax. They prefer this to drinking as they are still in control. Please educate yourself by reading about autism as every case is not the same. Embrace the difference!

  66. Hi Gary
    I currently have a large property and a large mortgage. Child no1 has left home and child no2 is 16. When she turns 18 and goes to Uni I’m thinking of selling up and buying a motor home. I have a half acre of garden on the opposite side of the lane to my existing house which has a hard standing, water and access to electricity. I’m thinking of living in the motor home for at least part of the year there. It’s very rural, actually on the Causeway costal route in Co Antrim and is beautiful. The problem is that it’s a Greenbelt area, so I can’t build anything further hence the idea of the motor home. Does anyone know if this would cause an issue with the Planning Department? I thought that perhaps because it is a moveable vehicle they wouldn’t be able to say anything?

  67. Hi,

    You would need to check the laws in your location. Even then get independent advice too. It’s not uncommon for a council to give inaccurate advice, for example if they are not 100% sure or there is a grey area then they will sometimes just refuse to make their life easier. You would think that if you own the land and it’s also your motorhome you could park it where you like. However when it comes to living in it and not just parking there could be all sorts of restrictions. Looking at it from a logical point of view you can understand councils not wanting everyone to just buy land, live in motorhomes and then pay no council tax. If however you will be renting the home out to tenants and taxes will be paid you would hope there should be no issue.

    Best to get some advice.

    I’ve driven that coastal road from Belfast to Giant’s Causeway and it’s very beautiful.

    If anyone else has experience of planning regulations in this regard feel free to chip in with your advice.

    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  68. Hi,

    Yes I know some people with autism and know they they have different, often very special skill sets. You may feel I was being harsh and that’s your right. My point is that we seem to have a young generation addicted to gaming and their mobile phones. Some in this generation also seem to have a sense of entitlement as if society owes them something. As I pointed out in my reply the gaming industry is huge in this country and it can be a very well paid profession. I’m not aware that autism is a barrier to working. Yes not all employers are sympathetic but I would hope that we encourage autistic people to find their passion in life and make it pay rather than use autism as an excuse to drop out and sit around living on benefits.

    Neither us know this individual and whether the autism is the root of why he is not working or whether he’s just an example of too many of that generation. I’m living next to one such young person. No time for going out for job interviews or even volunteering or starting his own business but plenty of time to sit around smoking dope and playing loud music all day. People are free to lead their lives how they wish, I’d just rather not have to pay for it through taxation.

    Gary

  69. Hi Gary,
    having worked in the IT sector for over 25 years I can tell you that a hell of a lot of those working in it are verging on or are autistic as far as I can make out from reading the description of autism.
    Lots of conditions are worn as a badge of honour or “get out of gaol free” card in the UK, not only the fault of the individual but also that of the state. Travelling in other countries and seeing people having near normal lives without assistance (because they don’t necessarily get sympathy from those around them who also have difficult situations to deal with) is an eye opener. Those that jump to the defence of those who have disabilities are part of the problem, what they are really doing is creating an invalid – instead of thinking in terms of what they CAN do, they are conditioned to think about what they CANNOT do. Consequently, their lives are less lived! I have read or viewed many an example of a foreign child touted as an amazing example of what can be achieved with no feet or hands for example (they had no prosthetics so had to get on with “it”) and yet, oddly, if a parent in the UK didn’t take “advantage” on all that was on offer to make their child “normal” they would be portrayed as bad/neglectful parents, in fact, their child would probably be taken into care!
    When I was growing up there was always a “place” for the “odd” people in the workplace. One of my employers employed an old man who had always had a mental age of an eight year old, his mother made him go to “work” in the morning and he used to try to avoid doing most things, but it kept him busy, his mother from going mad, and brought a little money in to a home. This was a fairly widespread practice without any arm twisting from the state! Since all the health and safety, “equality” laws, benefits for disabiltiies, and state interference have been introduced, this practice has ceased denying so many dysfunctional people a meaningful and independent place in society while being sheltered by their family. Now, the family is nothing, the state is all, and so the order of the day is how much can we get for nothing!
    Such is life

  70. Hi,

    Thanks for your comment. Interesting to read your observation about how it differs overseas. I agree with your final comment about family being nothing and the state is all. About time this was changed.

    Gary

  71. I agree totally with bobette, and Gary, I’ve worked mailnly in IT for 40 years, and Im autistic, ( yep DX ) I never claimed anything, but I had the benefit of growing up with physically disabled parents who had it much worse than me, therefore I never Learned the helplessness displayed by the able bodied, benefit dependant gamer above.
    I expect W I am will be along shortly to ~ not ~ embrace my diference.

  72. Hi,

    Thanks for your comment. I don’t think the person who originally asked the question is by any means unique. In my opinion lots of young men / boys seem to spend way too long playing games for it to be healthy. Most of them don’t have autism either. I would have responded the same way regardless of autism. Many kids spend more hours playing on their games consoles than most adults do at work and that can’t be good.

    Gary

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