Did you just get a new motorhome and you want to dive right in and enjoy every bit of it? If you don’t know how motorhomes work or you are part of those motorhome owners that need refreshing, you have nothing to worry about as everyone lacked this knowledge at some point and had to discover it.
There are different types of motorhomes, with the two most common being coachbuilt motorhomes and van conversions. Regardless, you would still need campervan tips for any motorhome you end up choosing.
This guide to motorhomes contains top motorhome tips and tricks for beginners to help you learn all that is needed for motorhomes.
Our List of 36 Motorhomes Tips And Tricks For Beginners
Most new motorhome owners always feel like there are some tips and secrets that are being kept from them. There are not a lot of essential guides that help beginners master their new motorhome, which is why we hope you appreciate the quality information in this article.
After buying your new motorhome, you would be left wondering about a few things like how to move the van out of the car park or what next to do after you have gotten it home. The reason you need these free motorhome tips before your motorhome trip is that it makes you aware of the dos and don’ts, among other things.
Before you take your first trip, ensure you thoroughly read through these best motorhome tips and tricks;
Read The Manual For Your Motorhome
Modern motorhomes always come with a set of instructions included, so ensure you take out time to go through all the systems in the motorhome and know-how every part works. Most motorhome dealers would provide you with this booklet. Generally, this lets you operate your motorhome better and have access to all the important parts.
You should know where to locate the fuse box, where the locking wheel nut and spare wheel are, how to switch the lights on and off, how the control panel works, and many other things. This will help you in cases of motorhome breakdown. Cover everything you need to know in the guide before taking your first trip.
Never Put Fuel In The Fresh water Tank
The majority of beginners are known to mix up the fuel filler and water tank filler. Ideally, the fuel tank should have a black or yellow cap, while the fresh water tank should have a white or blue screw cap. If you mistakenly put fuel in your water tank, you would have to drain it out in the right containers before you drain off the fuel.
Don’t forget to clean your fresh water tank after this. You can get technical help or use a tank cleaner to get the job done. If you make the mistake of adding water to the fuel tank, the best advice is to call motorhome breakdown services.
Know Your Weight Limits
This is one of the most important points in the motorhome tips list. Before buying a motorhome, you have to pay attention to its payload. This is the difference between your motorhome’s weight at the time you bought it and the limit it cannot exceed (this is a general idea).
The payload of your motorhome increases with each item you place into it, including water, motorhome books, clothes, passengers, and so on. You can easily go wrong with this. Also, note that you foil your motorhome insurance by driving a vehicle that goes over its legal weight limit.
Get Used To Your Motorhome Dimensions
Being new to the motorhome life, even as an experienced driver, you might not be used to driving something so huge. So, you need to spend time getting used to the dimensions of your new caravan. You can decide to go for a sizable motorhome if that’s what piques your interest or you have a large family.
Understand How Does Your Electric System Work
In most motorhomes, the 230v electrical sockets are not going to work unless it is connected to the mains power. You can do this with mains hook up products. Even at that, you are not supposed to use your electric hairdryer, microwave, toaster, and kettle simultaneously, or you might end up overloading the campsite electricity; it’s motorhome basics.
It is advisable that you get a gas kettle if you possess a gas hob to allow you to brew while disconnected; for example, if you choose to go wild camping or if you are, you are at a car park for lunch.
Organise Your Motorhome And Keep A List Of Everything You Take
Some motorhome travel tips include making an extensive list of all items you take with you on your trip. To organise your van, ensure you pack light, utilise any unused space, and use equipment like the wastebasket and hooks. Make sure you keep a record of all items you carry along.
Don’t Forget All The Essentials
Sure, road trips are fun, but you don’t want to be stuck camping without some essential gear. While planning your motorhome road trip, you have to ensure some important things are packed. You might not regret forgetting things like an electrical cable or a hose for your fresh water if you are just going for some light camping. However, these are some essential gear your motorhome needs;
- Toilet cassette and toilet essentials
- Tyre repair kit
- Mud Mats
- First aid kit
- Gas bottle
Ensure you only carry along with you the things you need on your trip as you have to save weight and extra cost. If you plan to stay overnight, then you can pack things like a microfibre towel, melamine plates and mugs. Whatever you decide to carry when packing, ensure you always consider the weight.
Use A GPS
The latest motorhomes come GPS enabled, and it is a very important feature. It ensures you don’t go off-grid as it makes arriving at your travel destination a top priority. It also lowers the amount of city traffic you get caught up in and at the same time helps you conserve fuel as it limits the frequent starting and stopping of your motorhome.
Use An App Or Software Where You Can Map Your Journey And Interest Points
Let’s say you are going to a new state or country and you don’t happen to be ready to explore on your own, or you miss your way (imagine you leave home and get stranded at night time).
Alternatively, you can find lots of apps or software that help you navigate through your trip. You can also use these apps to save places you like, such as gas stations, restaurants, and so on. There is a navigator on these apps you can use to avoid toll roads and stick to a more pleasing route.
Consider Investing In Solar Panels If You Don’t Have Ones Already
Having a solar panel installed on your motorhome sees that your battery is charged for free anytime the sun shines. One of the top tips to follow before heading out for your adventure with your motorhome is to purchase a solar panel, as it helps cover the cost of running some electrical equipment. Using a generator at a campsite can be noisy, which is why most people prefer using solar panels.
Check your Leisure Battery
The best motorhome tips list cannot be complete if we don’t add this one. It is necessary that campers test their leisure battery before they head out and replace it if needed. One big and common issue in most motorhomes that have been winterised for storage is that they end up having a flat leisure battery. Also, ensure everything stays tip-top shape by performing motorhome habitation checks on a regular basis.
Plan your route
You can easily get overexcited about an adventure that you forget to plan your journey well. Before departure, make sure you do some pre-trip checks and see that your route is well-planned. Some motorhome departure checks you can do includes;
- Close the glass lid
- Turn off the gas
- Ensure all overhead cupboards are shut properly
- Lock the fridge
Make Sure To Shut All Windows And Hatches Before Driving
A great motorhome tip that should not be overlooked is making sure all hatches and windows are shut before you zoom off. You obviously don’t want to have a window banging in the back, a hatch flapping, or notice that your motorhome TV satellite was left up. The windows of a motorhome are very vulnerable, which is why they should be improved.
Don’t Forget Speed Restrictions
When going on a road trip with your new motorhome, don’t forget the speed restrictions placed by many countries. European countries like the UK limits campervans that weigh over 3.5 tonnes to drive at 60mph on dual carriageways and 50mph on single carriageways.
Get Wing-Mirror Protectors
Wing-mirror protectors are one of the essential tools you can buy. Of course, you would not deliberately clip your wing mirror against other heavy vehicle drivers or a wall, but accidents happen. Make sure you get the right protectors as there are the ones for long or short arms (of the motorhome). It will also be cool if you paint the wing mirrors bright pink or yellow or place a reflective stripe.
Try Not To Drive In The Dark
Whether you are visiting the best campsites or heading back, ensure you dont arrive late. This is because every activity automatically becomes harder, settling down and gaining access to the campsite. There are campsites that don’t allow entry after a stipulated time, and you will be forced to stay outside, which would leave you open to the risk of theft or acts of vandalism. If by chance, you are required to drive in the dark, you can invest in decent headlights to help you see better.
Be Aware Of How Much Fuel, Gas And Water You Have
Part of the van lifestyle is using the resources available sparingly, things like gas and freshwater. When in a van, we tend to pay more attention to how we use these resources than in a house.
That said, you should always remember to refill or replenish these resources as much as you can, particularly if you will be taking a tour to remote areas such as the North Coast 500 route in Scotland. These places tend to have few gas stations restaurants, and most motorhome campsites there get closed for winter. Fill up your refillable gas bottles often because you will need them.
Equip Yourself With Safety Gear
Your safety is not something you should take lightly. Ideally, you should have a fire blanket, extinguisher, CO2 detection and fire detection units in your van. Keep in mind that most motorhomes now don’t come with a spare wheel in hopes of saving cost and weight. You should have a tyre repair kit instead, and it works by spewing the solution into the tyre before it uses a compressor to re-inflate it. If you need a permanent fix as soon as possible, you can take the repaired tyre to any garage near you.
Consider Your Motorhome Security
Security issues always arise when it comes to vans as they are popular targets for thieves on the road and at home. You need to ensure that your van looks like the most secured treasure vault in the world so that the burglars have zero motivation to rob you. Even bikes chained to a bike rack can be stolen, so make sure you secure your motorhome properly.
You can utilise devices like pedal or steering locks to prevent your motorhome from being stolen or additional motorhome door locks to prevent it from being broken into.
Don’t Let Any Unwanted Smells Take Over Your Motorhome
What you probably didn’t know is that the more you use a camper van, the more likely it is to retain smells you won’t like. You will notice that chunks of food might get trapped in the toilet or grey waste pipes; you have to make sure that these unwanted smells don’t characterise your motorhome.
Avoid Cooking Smelly Food
You shouldn’t prepare smelly foods in your motorhome as bits of the food could get stuck in the grey waste pipe, which will see that these smells join you on your trip longer than you can imagine.
Don’t Let Mold Conquer Your Motorhome
Mould can be a huge problem for your motorhome, and if this issue arises, it can be challenging to totally get rid of it. Generally, you should stop it from spreading at all. These are some tips and tricks to ensure you stop the growth of mould in your motorhome;
- Clean out your fridge: Always keep your fridge dry and clean when it’s not in use.
- Check for leaks and damage: Find and close any area water might leak from and cause damage.
- Regularly clean your motorhome: In addition to your comfort, a spotless motorhome is more likely to be free from mould.
- Ensure there is enough ventilation: Keeping your motorhome well ventilated is a great way to stop the growth of mould.
Don’t Take Valuable Items And Accessories
When going on any trip, it is advisable that you don’t take with you your valuable items like jewellery and the rest of them. You will definitely relax better if you have less to worry about. If you travel abroad, always make sure your wallet and passport are on you, especially if you are going to be doing some overnight parking.
For some of the other important accessories that you can’t leave at home, like your phones and laptops, you should position them in a spot that cannot be located easily. A thief won’t stick around for long if he doesn’t see any valuable item.
Prepare For All Types Of Weather
When going camping, you need to be sure your motorhome can handle any camping weather. To ensure your motorhome is ready for extreme weather, follow these tips and tricks;
- Scan your environment: Check around to see if there are any environmental hazards that could be headed straight for your motorhome if there is a storm.
- Be familiar with your motorhome’s capability: There are storms that could tip some motorhome models over, so learn about your particular motorhome and what it can handle.
- Follow the forecast: What’s a better way to prepare for the weather than knowing what is coming. The earlier you know of a coming storm, the sooner you can drop everything you are doing and prepare.
Consider How To Reach Places Without Your Motorhome
There are places in some countries where you just have to ditch your motorhome and opt for other means to get around. You can take along with you some bikes as it is fun exploring with them and can be extremely useful to get around town if you have your motorhome parked somewhere safe. Some people might also choose this option to help keep fit.
If there isn’t enough space in your payload or you don’t want to use bikes, you can opt for public transport. A plethora of campsites are situated near a train station or bus stop, but if you are left with no other choice, you can call a cab.
Get A Portable Fire Extinguisher And Install A Smoke Detector
Installing a smoke detector reduces your chances of fire damage. A smoke detector sounds an alarm if there is a threat of fire in your motorhome. It also rarely gives off a false response, which means you are more likely to investigate the cause rather than angrily turn it off.
The idea behind camping out with your motorhome is to enjoy freedom and relaxation, yes, but fire accidents could occur, and that is why you should be ready for this with a portable extinguisher to prevent significant damage.
Don’t Be Shy To Ask Questions In Forums If You Need Guidance
While you might feel like you don’t need help when it comes to motorhomes, you should not be shy to ask questions or request reviews in forums if you feel stranded at any point. You never know; somebody on there might just have the solution to the problem you are facing. There are different platforms you can ask questions and get the answers you need, such as Quora.
Take Short Hot Showers
Do you know how you take “several hours” to shower at home? Yeah, don’t do that in a motorhome as you risk draining all the hot water from the tank and also most of the fresh water in mere minutes.
Since you dont have an unlimited supply of water, you can wet your body with the shower, then lather up while it is switched off before turning it back on to rinse off. Some campers choose to utilise the campsite shower; if you are among them, don’t forget to take flip flops.
Be Prepared For Emergencies And Keep Documents At Hand
Most countries in Europe, unlike the UK, have strict policies as regards specific items you should have with you. You need to expect the unexpected, so make sure you are not without the following;
- Personal travel insurance
- International driving permit
- Hi-visibility jacket
- Warning triangle
- Spare Bulbs
- Green card
- Trailer certification
- Vehicle V5 logbook
- Motorhome insurance documents
- Driving licence
These papers should be kept in a place where you can easily access them if needed. You should also take some cash with you as money can be vital in crucial situations like if you are fined.
Encrypt Internet Connections
Due to a high number of profile hacks and email scams, people camping out with their motorhomes are left to wonder if connecting to the internet is safe. If you are scared of having your data leaked, you can encrypt your internet connection by utilising a paid VPN, as it creates an encrypted connection to the VPN company’s server. With this, your internet traffic is hidden from hackers and even your ISP.
Get A Spare Tyre
Spare tyres are a nice addition to your arsenal when travelling. While there is the fact that the tyre would increase your payload, getting a spare saves you a whole lot of stress. Imagine you get a side puncture, and it is not repairable; you would need to call for a breakdown truck to get it changed.
However, if you are with a spare tyre, you only need help from the motorhome breakdown professionals and not their truck.
Check Your Heating Controls
The indoor life is characterised by being warm, so make sure you familiarise yourself with the heating controls in your motorhome before you take off. Check if your diesel or LPG tank brimmed as well as the level of your gas bottle as you don’t want it getting exhausted in the middle of the night.
There are two colours in which removable gas bottles come; blue for butane and orange for propane. Propane is preferred in the UK because even at lower temperatures, it still retains its gaseous state.
Keep Track Of How Much Electrical Energy You Use
You don’t want your leisure battery going flat on your first night camping out. The leisure battery supplies power for almost all your electrical items. You can top up the battery juice when you plug it into a mains hook up. But, you must be careful and keep track of your energy usage if you are using your 12V items on the road or you are not on a hook-up.
One of the resources you should conserve the most is your battery, as no electrical product works without it. Locate your fuse box and identify the kind of fuses it utilises, making sure to take with you spare fuses.
Get 2 Gas Bottles
If you have enough space in your gas locker, then you should take an extra gas bottle with you to give you that added confidence on the road. Imagine your gas runs out when you are in the middle of cooking, and you dont have a spare one (food wasted).
Depending on the size of the gas cylinder and how far you are going to be travelling, one might be enough. But, if you are going overseas or spending multiple nights away from home, it is highly imperative that you take two gas bottles along with you.
Research The Rules And Laws For The Country You Plan To Visit
Before you visit any country, make sure you thoroughly research their laws and rules. Read all the latest news and keep yourself up to date with the latest posts. If it is your first time, you need to do research on the following;
- Rules for towing or utilising your travel drone
- Paperwork or other equipment needed
- Are there any restrictions
If this is your first time owning a motorhome, you don’t need to fret, as this extensive list of motorhome tips for beginners is sure to fill all readers with enough knowledge to fully utilise and enjoy a motorhome.
As one of the most trusted and reliable dealers in the UK, Oaktree Motorhomes know all about the industry. If you are on a quest to find your dream motorhome feel free to call us at 01159 303 140 and our experts will guide you through your 4-wheel journey.