Thursday May 16, 2019
If the idea of road trips, surfing and getting away from it all appeals to you, then so too will the idea of owning a campervan or motorhome.
The question then, is which to choose? To the uninitiated, the difference between the two can seem confusing. Is a campervan a motorhome? What’s the difference between a motorhome and an RV? Or the difference between an RV and a mobile home? And is a luxury campervan the same as a motorhome?
In truth, campervans and motorhomes have a lot in common: they sleep multiple people, are bigger than the average car, and you need specialist motorhome insurance or campervan insurance to drive. However, they are two very different beasts.
Here’s a closer look at both…
A close-up on campervans
What images do you conjure up when you think of a campervan? Probably a VW van with a pop-up roof, possibly with a view of the sea or mountains behind it. However, the reality of what constitutes a campervan is much more varied – and this variety makes campervans hard to define.
The main two types of campervan are low top and high top and they are made by a number of vehicle manufactures aside from VW (namely, Ford, Renault, Hyundai and Toyota, among others). Most models sleep between two and five people – and some even have a toilet (although you have to pay more for the luxury).
The low top versions will generally fit under most car park height barriers. And because they are about five feet in length, most campervans will also fit into your average parking space.
In terms of living space, a campervan is not overly spacious – there is enough space to cook and eat, but not much else. However, you can get a drive-away awning which attaches to the campervan to create more living and dining space.
They offer you more flexibility, and with specialist campervan insurance you can stay safe while you satisfy your wanderlust.
A close-up on motorhomes
Compared to campervans, motorhomes are much easier to define. Saying that, there is still a huge range of sizes and weights on the motorhome market.
There are essentially two types of motorhome – one has a body built on a chassis behind a cab, the other is known as an A-Class with a full body structure over the dashboard and engine.
Motorhomes built on a Fiat Ducato cab are probably the most common you see on the road, but the Peugeot Boxer or Mercedes Sprinter are popular alternatives.
In terms of luxury, motorhomes range from alcove (with additional sleeping above the cab) to integrated (where the body connects with the cab to create a solid structure). Motorhomes also come fitted with a bathroom (including a toilet) so you are more self-sufficient when travelling in one.
Weight is an important issue when choosing a motorhome. You will need a driving licence with category C1 entitlement to drive a motorhome weighing between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes (if you passed your test before 1 January 1997 you will automatically have this on your licence). To drive a motorhome of 7.5 tonnes or more, you need a category C licence.
And let’s not forget micro-motorhomes – vans for one or two people that have been converted from the VW Caddy, Nissan NV200, Fiat Doblo, Renault Kangoo, or Citroen Berlingo/Nemo.
Just as with any other vehicle, you will need to insure your motorhome. Specialist motorhome insurance can help you enjoy every holiday moment to the fullest.
Tips on choosing a campervan or motorhome
If owning a camper van sounds like a dream you want to pursue, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages before you take the plunge.
Pros of owning a campervan
1 Simple to drive: The main reason why many people choose a campervan over a motorhome is the convenience of driving it. A campervan is more manageable and less bulky than a motorhome. Its streamlined dimensions make it easy to pass under height barriers or manoeuvre around small roads and busy city centres. Campervans are also fairly fuel efficient so they can be used as day-to-day vehicles.
2 Easy to park: Parking a campervan is surprisingly simple. Whether you need to squeeze into a tight space at the supermarket or parallel park along a busy high street, it’s no hassle.
3 Affordable: Campervans are generally cheaper than classic motorhomes – although the price does depend on the model and features. Remember that travelling in a campervan requires specialist campervan insurance.
Cons of owning a campervan
1 Short on space: There are no two ways about it – campervans don’t offer a huge amount of space, but there’s enough to make your getaway go smoothly.
2 No toilet or shower: Unless you go for a top model, most campervans do not have a toilet or shower so you will have to find other facilities.
Pros of owning a motorhome
1 Everything in one place: A motorhome comes fitted with pretty much everything you need in terms of features. Cooking, eating, showering, sleeping and using the toilet – they’re all covered. Because motorhomes come fitted with so much, it also makes packing and getting away super speedy.
2 Lots of space: Motorhomes are more spacious than campervans so you can pack more, have more room to relax, and sleep more people. Some models are almost as big as a small studio flat.
3 Added luxuries: Motorhome living can be truly luxurious – king-sized beds, full-sized fridges, TVs, music systems, and plenty of home comforts. Smart owners make sure their vehicle and its contents are covered – just in case.
Cons of owning a motorhome
1 Large to drive: The sheer size of a motorhome is enough to put many people off wanting to drive one. They can be difficult to park and will not fit under some height barriers.
2 Greater cost: Some of the larger models of motorhome are significantly more expensive to buy than campervans. They also use more fuel, so add to the cost of a trip.
Still deciding between a campervan and motorhome?
If you can’t make up your mind, the best way to get a feel for driving a campervan or motorhome is to hire one for a week or weekend. This lets you try before you buy.
And remember: whether you choose a campervan or motorhome, you’re investing in a lifestyle. Every time you tour the UK or Europe, you’re breaking from routine, meeting new people, enjoying more of the outdoors and making new memories.
Keep your campervan and motorhome travel stress-free by getting the right insurance for your vehicle.
At Lancaster Insurance, the benefits of motorhome insurance can include 90 days EU cover, new for old replacement if a vehicle is less than one year old, and £1,000 audio cover. And when it comes to insurance for campervans, we will always do what we can to meet your individual needs.
Now all that’s left to do is take to the road!