10 mistakes novice motorhome owners should avoid

A flexible holiday with as much freedom as possible has not only been popular since the Corona pandemic. Interest in holidays in a mobile home is increasing. But a lot can go wrong. You should avoid these mistakes.

Going on vacation without giving up your own four walls: More and more vacationers are dreaming of this – and not just since the outbreak of the corona pandemic.

However, the boom also means that many holidaymakers are spending their holidays in caravans for the first time. And a lot can go wrong. t-online names ten mistakes that beginners should avoid.

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Error when loading the motorhome

Secure the interior: heavy things go down, light and soft things go up. The table is cleared before the start. (Source: Sunlight)

Vacationers often overestimate how much luggage they are allowed to load, because the permitted load (including the weight of the traveler) is quickly exceeded.

Heavy luggage is stowed below if possible. The load is placed in a non-slip manner and secured separately if necessary. Only put light objects or soft materials (e.g. laundry) in the upper cupboards.

Heavy pots, canned goods, and bottled water go in the lower cabinets. After a long drive, open the cupboards carefully so that nothing falls out of your way.

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Too little driving experience

Accelerate, brake and turn at the traffic light: Of course, a mobile home drives very differently from a car. That’s why beginners should carefully familiarize themselves with the dimensions of a caravan before their first long journey. Practice parking and maneuvering – both are particularly difficult at first. In doing so and in narrow streets, you always have to consider protruding parts such as awnings or bicycle racks.

Many mobile homes now have a reversing camera. Nevertheless, let your fellow travelers help you to get a good all-round view.

Camping free

Free camping: The regulations for this differ from country to country.  (Source: Karin Wasner)Free camping: The regulations for this differ from country to country. (Source: Karin Wasner)

The big advantage of a caravan: You can spend the night where it is most beautiful – many newcomers believe. However, that is not entirely true. In many countries, free camping is not allowed – or at most for one night.

In Germany, campers are allowed to stay for one night where there is no express ban – as long as they do not behave “camping-like”. So they shouldn’t spread too much. You’ll find more about it here.

Almost everywhere in Europe there are not only campsites but also parking spaces where you can officially park a mobile home. Often they even have a power connection.

Campsite and parking space – what is the difference? Here’s the explanation.

Drive off without checking

Air pressure and oil level are also important in an RV. The refrigerator and heating are switched to driving mode before the start. And before you leave the campsite, double check:

  • Have cables, furniture and awnings been removed?
  • Is all luggage stored in the storage compartments, are these and the windows closed?
  • Are cupboards in the mobile home closed?
  • Are tables cleared?

You should also empty the tanks for waste water and the toilet before your return journey.

Choose the wrong place

Choosing a pitch: An ideal pitch not only offers sun – and also not only shade.  (Source: Sunlight)Choosing a pitch: An ideal pitch not only offers sun – and also not only shade. (Source: Sunlight)

Campsites cater to different needs. Some are particularly family-friendly, others offer a lot of peace and quiet. Service, size and equipment also differ greatly. That’s why you should think carefully beforehand about what you expect from your holiday – and which campsite suits you best.

Once there, choose the best possible pitch. It should not only offer sun, but also not only shade. Consider the distance to the washhouses or the baker, for example. It may be less quiet near a swimming pool or shopping area than in more remote areas. Ideally, there is not only enough space for the mobile home, but also for tables and chairs.

Disregard the (unwritten) campsite rules

In addition to the written rules, there are also unwritten ones at the campsite. Quiet times are of course observed, including the closing times of the barrier. And if you’re not allowed to bring animals, you’re not allowed to. It’s not always that easy with the unwritten rules. It is best to use how experienced campers behave as a guide. You will notice: People greet each other, keep to the dimensions of their parking space, and treat the fresh water and waste water stations with care. And no one shortens the path by crossing other pitches. In short: Mutual consideration is very important among campers.

Unplanned travel in the high season

Anyone leaving in the high season should book their pitch in advance. In popular camping countries such as France, Italy and Croatia in particular, it can otherwise be difficult to find a free pitch.

Incidentally, this also applies to ferry trips if you want to vacation on an island.

Unsecured while driving

All travelers spend the journey buckled in a seat – and not in bed or on the sofa. Going into the kitchen, for example, is also forbidden while driving. A sudden maneuver could otherwise result in serious injury. Only as many people are allowed to travel in each mobile home as there are seats with belts. Children will be accommodated in a child seat or with a booster seat.

Ignore the street signs

Certain traffic signs are even more important for a caravan driver than in a car. Bridge height, lane width, maximum weight on bridges – these signs must be observed. Otherwise you can get stuck in a narrow alley or worse can happen. The signs for environmental zones, the permitted speed and parking are also important, since the rules are often different from those for cars. You can also find out in advance about toll regulations and driving bans.

Long distances without a break

The same applies to caravans as in cars: Regular breaks are important. You will quickly notice that you will make slower progress in a mobile home than in a car.

You should therefore plan the daily stages less ambitiously. The individual stages should not be more than 300 to 400 kilometers long. Those traveling with children should leave at night. Then the offspring can still sleep in the child seat and later you can start the actual day with a relaxing breakfast.