From the land of ‘super-size’ come these mammoth holiday homes on wheels – American ‘Recreational Vehicles’, or RV’s for short.
These motorhomes are typically far bigger than traditional European motorhomes, but what they lack in subtlety, not to mention fuel economy, they more than make up for in space, comfort and luxury. Often including full sized refrigerators and ovens, as well as king sized beds and washrooms with domestic spec fittings, they represent the very best in true on-the-road home comforts.
Traditionally American RV’s have been favoured for long tours or full timing around Europe, but they are now increasing in popularity in the UK and becoming a more frequent sight at holiday parks up and down the country. If you’re looking for a way to travel in the UK or Europe, without leaving your home comforts behind, then an RV could be just the ticket.
The first thing to remember is that with added luxury, space and spec comes added cost – expect to pay between £100,000 and £200,000 for many new models, though the huge range of high end RV’s on offer mean the sky’s the limit in terms of price. Compare this to the top end European style motorhomes, which rarely reach the £100,000 mark, and it’s easy to see that an RV is a huge investment that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
There are a surprising number of dealers dotted around the UK, so once you’ve had a look at a range of models online it’s worth a trip or two to visit various dealers and get a feel for the various layouts and features before you commit to a certain model.
There are a wide range of features available, from automated slide out living spaces and bedrooms which greatly expand the floor space, to built in showers and flat screen TV’s – so once you’ve viewed a number of RV’s with different features write a list of key features you’d like, in order of importance, then refer to this when making a decision.
The key is knowing which features and layouts meet your requirements best and keeping an eye out for a good deal, take your time and keep an open mind, sometimes the model you thought wasn’t for you turns out to be perfect when viewed in person.
Insurance is obviously a legal requirement for motorhomes, so before you hit the road with your new RV make sure you’ve got yourself an insurance policy that includes cover for everything you need. Due to the value of most RV’s, and the host of gadgets inside, its essential you get a solid insurance policy that covers the motorhome and its equipment – this includes gas bottles, security equipment and spare tyres, but also things such as flatscreen TV’s, audio equipment, microwaves and DVD players.
As well as a first-rate insurance policy it’s worth protecting such a high value vehicle with the very best in security. Satellite Tracking devices and Thatcham Category 1 approved alarms (widely accepted as the industry top standard) should certainly be considered. Not only do they provide fantastic security for your investment but you may also find that specialist RV motorhome insurance companies will reward you with discounts of as much as 30% for their fitment.
Breakdown cover can often be included with your insurance policy, but it’s vital that you find out from the insurer whether the breakdown company they use is capable of towing away your RV for repair. Some recovery companies have weight or length restrictions on their recovery services, and therefore can’t cover all sizes of RV, so make sure you check before you take out a policy.
If you intend on travelling in Europe as well as the UK make sure you check your insurance policy will cover you, and for an adequate amount of time – furthermore, some insurers will allow you to add European cover as an optional extra at anytime during your policy.
Making sure you have the right type of driving licence is another legal requirement, and the size of many RV’s dictates you need up to a Category C licence to drive them, so make sure you find out the weight of the RV’s you wish to purchase and get the necessary licence before you buy.