Camping for beginners – tips for vacationing in a motorhome or caravan

Camping for beginners tips

Caravan and motorhome camping is becoming more and more popular in Germany. As I myself spend my vacations in a caravan at the Baltic Sea, I noticed that especially the generation 50plus tends to this kind of vacation. I think the flexibility and the feeling of freedom are the main reasons, for vacationing in a small space.

But just get in and go is unfortunately not, because the vacation in the motorhome wants to be well planned. There are countless tips that you should take to heart as a beginner. I have summarized the most important ones for you in my little camping vacation ABCs.

Purchase or rent?

Let’s be realistic, neither a motorhome nor a caravan is a bargain. You can save money, however, if you pay attention to the right time when buying as well as when making a booking.

➔ Buying a motorhome – when is the best time??

In no case in the main season! Both used and new models are cheaper to have in the fall / winter. It is often the case that motorhome rental companies “sell off” older motorhomes in order to purchase new models. Here it is worthwhile to ask and also to compare different offers. Buying from private is also cheaper in the off-season.

➔ Renting a motorhome – when is the best time??

Generally, the earlier you book, the more attractive the deals and the greater the selection. So the sooner you plan your motorhome vacation, the better the chances are that you will get your dream model. Often rental companies also offer free additional services for early bookers. You should have decided by the end of March at the latest.

If you have no experience with this form of vacation, I recommend that you first rent a motorhome. The costs for this are limited compared to the purchase and you can test in peace, whether camping is something for you at all.

B ike and motorhome – simply inseparable

Motorhome bike

It is an unwritten law: If you go on vacation in a motorhome, take your bike with you! Because once the motorhome is set up including awning, you are unlikely to take it down again for a short trip to the bakery.
The most practical is a space-saving, foldable e-bike, with which you can also confidently manage longer bike trips. For “normal” bikes you always need a carrier, which is mounted on the trailer hitch, the rear or the roof of the camper, depending on the model.

C amping place to find – online and via app

Everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to choosing a campsite. While some prefer to go to the water, others are drawn to the mountains. Often both can be combined.

Find a campground

Whether it’s a short trip or a longer stay, if you want to stay overnight with your motorhome, you need an official pitch – because wild camping is prohibited in Germany. If your destination is not yet fixed, you can view online RV parks in Germany, or find a suitable campsite using the Stellplatz-Radar app.

D am I allowed to walk around in the motorhome while driving?

Contrary to the widespread opinion that you can move freely while driving in a motorhome or caravan, this is not true. It is forbidden to move around or even sleep in the motorhome while driving. Not only the driver, but also all other passengers must be seated and buckled up.

There is also no reason to expose yourself to this dangerous situation, after all, with a motorhome you can always stop and make a coffee, or just take a nap.

First aid kit& first-aid kit

Motorhome first aid kit

When planning a camping trip, people hardly think about the possibility of not feeling well or getting hurt while being outdoors. If you are traveling by car or caravan, there should be a first aid kit in the car.
In case of a rented camper, check if it is included, if not, upgrade it. Equally important is the first-aid kit, which should contain the following items:

  • Clinical thermometer
  • Tick and mosquito spray
  • Tick tongs
  • Remedies against itching
  • Painkillers
  • Plaster
  • Wound and healing ointment
  • Hygiene and disinfectant
  • Remedy for nausea / diarrhea / constipation

Do not store your first-aid kit on the dashboard or in other places where it can get very hot – most medicines are sensitive to heat.

Do not fill up the water tank to the limit

Motorhome water tank

The more weight the camper has, the more fuel the vehicle consumes and also the driving behavior changes with each kilogram. Therefore, it is important to fill the fresh water tank only up to one third and to empty the waste water tank before starting the journey.
If the fresh water supply is not enough until the next campsite you can fill it up at any gas station. In addition, more and more cities have set up special sites for RVs, where electricity and water can be refueled.

Equipment for the motorhome

Motorhome basic equipment

With a rented motorhome or caravan you don’t have to worry about the basic equipment, because the most necessary things are always available. However, if you are traveling with a newly purchased camper for the first time, you should create a checklist and work through it point by point.
In my following list I will not go into very personal clothing or hygiene items, I think these are self-evident.

  1. Dishes according to the number of people traveling with you
  2. Food for first aid
  3. Outdoor carpet (for the entrance area)
  4. Solar lamp or flashlight + batteries
  5. Travel detergent and clothesline
  6. Gloves (important for emptying the toilet)
  7. Table and chairs for outside
  8. Comforters, pillows, sheets
  9. Warning triangle and vest
  10. Toolbox
  11. mind. 2 drive-on wedges for safe standing of the motorhome
  12. Fuses and spare bulbs
  13. Cable drum and adapter
  14. collapsible water canister or watering can
  15. Hand brush and shovel

What you really need depends on your destination and the duration of your trip. However, you should never do without items that ensure your safety.

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