Frequently Asked Questions
At Motorhome Holiday Company, we love it when customers ask us questions; it gets the old grey matter working. Mind you, there are an awful lot of questions we're asked repeatedly, so we’ve decided to answer the most frequent here in one go.
If you read though to the end, you’ll also find a glossary of some of our nerdy terms and jargon that most frequently makes our customers look at us quizzically.
We’re sure you’ll have plenty of other questions and we’d be delighted if you can think of a totally unique question as we love a challenge. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for or can think of other jargon we’ve missed, please email us at [email protected] or phone us on +44 (0)117 290 9000 and we’ll add to this list.
What’s the difference between a campervan, motorhome and RV?
It’s not cut and dried as the three terms have become interchangeable over time, but essentially it’s about size. Campervans tend to be smaller, are often van conversions, don’t usually have a divide between the cab and habitation area and have basic facilities for sleeping, cooking and washing. Motorhomes tend to be bigger, usually built on a chassis, designed as a self-contained living/travel vehicle, often have a divide between cab and habitation area and tend to have better facilities including toilet and shower.
RV or Recreational Vehicle is an American term. It is a general term in much the same way as they (incorrectly) use the term ‘turtle’, regardless of whether it’s a turtle, tortoise or terrapin. Nope, we don’t understand them, either. Just to confuse things, they also use the term Winnebago, though that’s a brand name, much like ‘Hoover’. Generally, we use RV or Winnebago to mean a BIG motorhome that often has extending sides and is pretty much like a small mansion on wheels. At Motorhome Holiday Company, we don’t agree that BIG is necessarily more beautiful and so we don’t have any on our fleet.
Berths vs belts – I’m confused.
It is often the case that motorhomes can sleep more people than they have seatbelt for and vice versa. This is all about the layout. i.e. we have motorhomes we refer to as 5 berth motorhomes but can sleep 6 people. We ALWAYS tie the berth number with the number of travelling seats. It is illegal to travel in a motorhome seated sideways or in an unbelted seat.
Which berth model should I choose?
When we say ‘berths’ we mean number of seatbelts. Some of our 5 berth motorhomes will sleep 6 people. If you are a party of four, you may be fine with a 4 berth. However, you might want to consider a larger motorhome with more space. Please consider the ages of children in your party and required sleeping arrangements – e.g. will you be sharing double beds or are single beds a requirement? This will determine the layout required and therefore the berths.
I’ve never used a motorhome before. Do you run through how everything works?
Yes. We suggest you allow up to 90 minutes for the handover of the motorhome at our collection point. We run through all the controls features and facilities as well as take you for a quick test drive, if required, with one of our team. We also provide detailed documentation on how everything works for easy reference during your holiday.
Where do I collect the motorhome?
You will collect from our main site located just outside of Bristol: A370, Hewish, Bristol, BS24 6RT. In some circumstances we can be flexible with the pickup location, so don't hesitate to ask us.
I am looking to arrive by air or rail. What do you recommend?
We are close to Bristol International Airport and there’s also a rail network nearby, too. We offer FREE transfers to/from Bristol Airport and nearby rail stations subject to availability. Read more about this here. We would be happy to discuss this further so please ask - and remember to book bedding!
May I leave my car with you during my hire?
Yes, and it’s free to do so. We have secure car parking with CCTV. We ask that you leave your keys with us for the duration of the hire. Whilst we cannot accept any liability for damage to or theft from your vehicle, we will ensure it is parked safely.
Is there a mileage limit?
No. However, we do ask where you are planning to go – more for our own records and security.
Is there a minimum hire period?
Yes: Three days. Even if you require a motorhome for just one night, the 3-day charge still applies. Our weekend rate is based on 3 days. Typically, you’ll pick up on Friday afternoon and return either Sunday or before 10am on Monday. If you want to extend this period, additional day charges apply.
During the school summer holidays we stipulate a minimum 7-day hire with collection on a Friday. However, we can be very flexible with this so don’t hesitate to enquire! This tends to be around June, when we are busy and have smaller gaps between longer hires. So, if you are flexible and can book late, then please do get in touch.
What are your collection and return times?
These vary and we try to work around you.
During bank holidays and school summer holidays we request a Friday afternoon collection.
There is some flexibility depending on availability.
Returns are usually Friday mornings in the school holidays based on a week’s hire. Through the rest of the year we can facilitate more flexibility with returns on a Sunday afternoon before 6pm or later subject to a fee or Monday mornings before 10am.
If you are hiring for additional days we will discuss, agree and detail on your hire agreement the collection and return times.
It is very important you note this and are on time. Being early or late has an impact on you, our team and our other customers. Please keep us fully informed and discuss any change.
May I collect on a day other than a Friday?
Whilst we prefer Friday collections, for most of the year we are able to be fairly flexible. During our peak periods (summer and Christmas) we need to be fairly strict with our Friday collections due to the volume of bookings and turnaround. That said, we will try to accommodate your needs, so please do ask.
What time can I collect?
Through most of the year we are always happy to be flexible. Our typical operating hours are from 9am to 6pm. However, during peak holiday periods such as school summer holidays and bank holiday weekends, we need to have more of a structure in place. For example, in the months of July and August we offer collection from 2pm and return by 11am. A collection time slot will be given to you, which is a 90-minute period to allow for the handover process. The collection (and return) time will be agreed with you at time of booking and detailed on your hire agreement.
How high and wide is the motorhome?
The height, width and length of the motorhome you book will be communicated on confirmation enabling any ferry booking to be made etc. We also state the measurements of the motorhome on the dashboard.
What interior layout do you recommend?
There are many types of layout available in motorhomes. Our hire motorhomes have seatbelts to match the number of sleeping spaces. You’ll need to consider the age of any passengers travelling in the back and whether they require car seats. Again, please call us for more advice.
Do child seats fit?
Yes. Standard seatbelt are fitted in the rear with 3-point belts on forward facing seats and lap belts on rear facing seats. The 3-point belts tend to be longer to accommodate car seats. If fitting a rear facing car seat (baby seat) in the front, the passenger airbag should be disabled. This can be done in the vehicle’s computer or by the ignition key. Please ask for assistance when collecting your motorhome.
How many miles to the gallon will we get?
We’re often asked this. The simple answer is that the way you drive really does affect the outcome. Anything from 21mpg to 28mpg is typical. One customer achieved 34mpg and took a photo of the readout to prove it, as they were convinced we wouldn’t believe them!
Where can I stop overnight?
In Scotland, the right to roam exists entitling you to stop anywhere legal. However, throughout England and Wales this is not the case and not recommended. Many laybys and car parks are privately owned or the parish council will not allow overnight stopping. Please use common sense. If it feels unsafe, it probably is. We recommend using established campsites or approved overnight stopover spots – sometimes called Aires.
Do all campsites admit motorhomes?
Different campsites have different rules depending on the style of pitch they allocate to a motorhome and the length of the vehicle. The overwhelming majority of campsites will accommodate most vehicles but it is always worth informing the campsite of the length of the motorhome when booking.
Where do I book my campsite?
There are lots of websites that facilitate this such as www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk
Or just Google the area.
How much are pitch fees?
It really depends on what sort of campsite and the time of year. A remote farm site with few facilities will be cheaper than a popular Haven Holidays site near a beach with club, bar and swimming pool. Typically, smaller sites are anything from £10 to £20 per night whilst bigger sites are up to £100 per night. We suggest budgeting around £35 in the summer.
On the continent there are lots of locations known as ‘Aires’ where you can stay. You’ll find plenty of Aires guidebooks on Amazon.
When I arrive at the campsite pitch, should I drive or reverse on?
We’ve been asked this many, many times, and it really is entirely up to you, but you might consider the following: Which side does the habitation/caravan door open? (We’d suggest opening out onto the widest part of the pitch.) Which side has the best view? What is the pitch gradient? Regarding the gradient, the motorhome generally sits lower on the front axle, which means it slopes toward the cab when parked. This can be addressed with the levelling ramps we provide, but you can also offset this by taking the pitch gradient into account.
How do I reserve my pitch if I go off for the day?
This can often be a challenge when you return! Some people make a little sign or leave something of little value on the pitch indicating that it is taken. The campsite reception or wardens often manage this, but on smaller sites this isn’t the case.
What is the privilege club?
All our motorhomes are members of the Camping and Caravanning Club. This is known as the Privilege Scheme. It entitles the motorhome user to use any Club Site or Forest Holiday Site without the need to buy membership. Campsite pitch fees do still apply, but at member rates, which are often discounted. For full details of the offering from the scheme go to: www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk
Do you have recommended routes?
We can certainly help with this from our own extensive knowledge and first hand experience. We have motorhome holiday experience throughout the UK and across Europe, so please do ask for help and tips.
May I take the motorhome abroad?
Yes. But please tell us when booking. There is a small charge per week, for insurance and breakdown cover in Europe. We DO need to know when you book so we can organise the EU cover and prepare your documentation. Travelling around England, Scotland and Wales is straightforward, but please note that our insurers consider Northern Ireland as outside of the UK.
May I book the motorhome onto a ferry?
Yes. Just let us know if you are heading out of the UK as you’ll need different insurance. You will need the length of the motorhome and the registration to book. We can issue these details at time of booking.
What happens if I break down?
We provide comprehensive breakdown cover for the UK and Europe. This cover ensures that you have roadside repair and relay to a garage, or can be brought home from anywhere in the UK or Europe.
What if I lose the keys?
Call us immediately! We’ll make sure you get replacement keys as soon as possible. Please note: there is a charge for lost keys.
What if I have an accident?
In the unfortunate event of an accident you should call us and we’ll discuss the process. We can recover the motorhome anywhere in Europe and bring it back to the UK. Please note: accidents will result in the loss of, or a deduction from, your security deposit. You will be charged only for the cost of the repair.
What do you provide with the motorhome?
We have a video and long list of everything we include in the motorhome from the essentials like toilet chemicals, gas and hook-up cable to tableware, cookware and bakeware. We even include some basic cleaning materials, tea, coffee and sugar. Please refer to our website for more info.
Does the motorhome have heating?
Yes, and they are toasty warm!
If you are planning a winter adventure then talk to us about the best motorhome for your destination. We have had customers go skiing in -18 degrees and sit in the motorhomes in short sleeves!
May I use the motorhome without an electricity ‘hook-up’?
Yes. Our motorhomes all have heating and cooking systems that run off the integral gas. The electricity hook-up on campsites means the batteries charge, and the electrical sockets in the motorhomes work. In some motorhomes, you’ll need this if you wish to use the TV and DVD. It is possible to camp for a few days without an electricity hook-up and operate purely on the battery power. Please ask our team for more advice, if required.
How long can I stop without electricity?
This is known as ‘wild camping’. The motorhome systems are all 12v. So, if you stop without hooking up to mains 230v electricity, everything will still work EXCEPT the mains sockets. The lights, the water pump, the heating and the fridge all work without electricity. You can survive like this for several days, which is ideal if you’re at Glastonbury or exploring the wilds of Scotland!
Do the electric sockets work all the time?
As mentioned above, they work ONLY when you plug the motorhome into mains. Our most frequently asked question from holidaymakers whilst away is, “How do I get my hair straighteners to work?” It’s true! For them to work - assuming they are on a mains plug - the motorhome MUST be plugged into the campsite’s mains electricity, thus making the sockets live. There is no magic inverter to create 230v from the 12v battery. We know it’s obvious, but it’s easily forgotten!
Do you supply the electric hook-up cable?
Yes! We will provide your electric hook-up cable. If you are planning to connect up to a house, please tell us, as we will provide you with an adapter.
We do not permit using a generator. These can cause damage to the motorhome electrics, which will result in the loss of your deposit.
How does fridge work when we are travelling?
The fridges work on gas, 12v from the engine alternator and mains. Often the fridge will automatically choose the power source available. We will issue training as part of the handover and instructions in written form are also provided.
Does the motorhome have fresh water?
Yes. They all have fresh water tanks from which it is safe to drink. We regularly treat the tanks to keep them clean. Typically, a motorhome has a 120 litre fresh water tank, which equates to about 5 showers. The motorhomes also have an on board wastewater tank for the water that leaves the sinks and shower. This can be emptied over a drain etc. We’ll explain more detail on collection.
Can I drink out of the taps?
Yes, but we’d recommend using a glass. J. The water in our motorhomes is safe to drink and we treat the water systems regularly. However, the taste of the water will vary, depending on where you fill up. Please ensure you always fill up from a safe source of water and that it doesn’t state ’Not for Drinking’ on the tap.
Can I travel with fresh water on board?
Yes. Just be mindful of the additional weight. Also, if the tank is less than full, the load becomes ‘dynamic’ i.e. it moves around and could affect the vehicle’s stability on bends.
Do the all motorhomes have a toilet?
Yes. And a shower. We provide the toilet chemical and explain how to use them. It is very simple.
Does the motorhome have a TV?
Yes, all our motorhomes are equipped with TVs with integrated DVD players. Some have a TV aerial or facility to connect one to the outside. However, we NEVER promise that you can watch terrestrial TV. Receiving a TV picture in a remote campsite has become increasingly problematic since the move to digital TV. Therefore, we suggest you set your Sky+ to record your favourite shows whilst away and bring a pile of DVD’s with you.
Do you provide bedding?
Not as standard, but we can if requested at the time of booking. There is a nominal charge. Please let us know if you require single or double bedding. We can also provide bath towels, hand towels and a tea towel if requested.
Does the motorhome have a cooker?
Some of our models have a gas oven and a grill, others have only a grill. Where there is no oven or grill we provide a microwave oven. All of our models have gas hobs.
May I cook whilst driving
NO! The same rules apply in a motorhome as in a car. A passenger may choose to prepare a sandwich on the table whilst seated and belted in, but common sense prevails and we are not liable for illegal activities in out motorhomes.
What do I need to bring with me?
Based on our own years of motorhome holidays, we’ve produced a checklist of items you might consider packing. This includes the obvious like clothes, food, towels, bedding and wash kits and the easily forgotten such as phone charger, spare torch batteries, playing cards and sunglasses! We can supply full bedding sets and towels on request, which are particularly useful if you’re flying into the UK for your holiday. Please contact our team for more information.
Do you provide awnings/sun canopies?
No. Some of our motorhomes have them but we tend to not allow their use. They are very easily damaged in the event of being left unattended in wind. This results in your £1000 security deposit being deducted or lost in full and the next hirer having their holiday affected due to damage.
Do you have motorhomes with a tow bar?
Yes, but not every motorhome is fitted with one. Please request when booking. You need prior permission in order for your insurance to be valid, and we’ll need to know what you’re towing.
Do you provide a satnav?
At the present time we don’t offer satnav hire, but our Prestige class motorhomes do feature a TomTom or similar device.
May I take my bikes?
Yes, of course. All our motorhomes have either bike racks or a garage in which you can store your bikes safely.
May I take a dog (pets) with me?
Yes, in selected motorhomes. We love small dogs that don’t moult, but need to consider future hirers’ needs just as much as yours. We’re also happy to discuss other small pets if you can’t bear to be parted from them and have previously dealt with requests including cats, snakes, parrots and geckos! Please chat with one of our team for more information
When I return the motorhome do we need to fill up with diesel?
Yes, please. We give you the motorhome with a full tank of diesel and we ask you return it full. If you’re unable to do this, we’ll need to make a charge for filling up and for the fuel.
When do I get my security deposit back?
Upon the safe return of the motorhome, and assuming all the contents are still in place and the vehicle is clean and undamaged. If all is in order, your deposit will be returned within 48 hours. It may take a few days to reach your bank, but we’ll email you once the deposit has been refunded.
Are there any extra or hidden costs?
Absolutely NOT! We believe in a pricing structure that is simple, easy to understand, inclusive and clear. There are a few items you can invest in should you choose to do so. These are entirely optional and include: additional drivers, bedding, European travel, car seat hire, pet surcharge and late returns or early collections. Full details are available.
Can anyone drive your motorhomes?
Yes, providing they have held a full UK driving licence for 2 years and meet our insurance criteria (Aged 25 – 76). We need to know the names of all drivers and receive ID for each in advance of your trip. We also accept EU and non-EU driving licences. Please note that an increase in insurance excess applies to some non-EU countries.
What age do I have to be to drive?
Drivers must be between 25 and 75 years and 364 days years of age. To be precise, your 76th birthday is our insurer’s cut-off date, so if you celebrate your big day during your hire period, you won’t be insured.
I’m over 70. Can I drive?
Yes, providing you are no more than 75 years and 364 days years of age. If you celebrate your 76th birthday during the hire period, your insurance will be void.
May I add additional drivers?
Yes. We require ID and have the same set of questions for them as for other drivers and they MUST sign and return the hire agreement too in order to be covered by our insurance. There is a daily cost for additional drivers. Please ask for details. No one else may drive the motorhome without our prior permission. In the event of an emergency we can facilitate short notice additional drivers with insurer’s permission.
What driving licence do I need to drive a hire motorhome?
All hire drivers require a full UK driving licence that is clean and been held for 2 years. We’ll accept 3 points in the last 5 years, but any more than this will require a conversation with our insurers. We will ask you to send us your driving licence details via the DVLA website.
Do I need a C1 licence? What is it?
To drive a motorhome over 3500kg you do need a C1 licence. However, the vast majority of our motorhomes can be driven on a standard car licence. You do not need a C1 entitlement. Please ask for clarification at time of enquiry.
Are the speed limits the same as for a car?
There are different restrictions for vehicles weighing over 3500kg. On single carriageways you may travel up to 50mph, on dual carriageways 60mph and on motorways 70mph. Please ask one of our team for more info.
I have some points on my licence. Is this a problem?
Not necessarily. Let us know the details and we can advise. There are certain endorsements that our insurers will not cover – particularly drink driving.
I have a criminal record. Can I still hire?
You must disclose all current criminal convictions in order for your insurance to be valid. We present the facts of any criminal record (past or pending) to our insurers for consideration, along with your driving history and current licence status. However, it is still possible you will be able to hire and drive our motorhomes with certain criminal convictions.
I don’t have driving licence photo card.
If you passed your driving test before 1997 it is possible that you have only a paper driving licence. This is still a valid form of ID but we will require a form of official photo ID, too. This could be your passport. If you passed your test after 1997, your paper licence is no longer valid and you should apply for a photo card licence.
I have a non-UK foreign driving licence.
This is OK. We will need a copy plus an additional form of photo ID, such as your passport and a form of address ID, such as a utility bill.
What ID do you require?
We need the following for all drivers:
Photo licence ID (Copy of paper licence if pre-1997 pass)
Online DVLA licence check for UK drivers.
I have diabetes. What is the impact?
We require you to declare any mental or physical condition, heart condition, seizures or diabetes. We then inform our insurers who make the decision. The general rule of thumb is that if your condition requires you to inform DVLA and they allow you to drive, our insurers will probably do the same.
What is the security deposit?
Upon collection, we charge £1000 to a debit or credit card. This is the insurance excess and is refunded to you upon safe return of the motorhome. In the event of any damage or loss we deduct the cost from your £1000 deposit. So, if you were to smash a wing mirror glass we would deduct only the cost of the replacement glass. You would not forfeit your entire £1000. Full terms and conditions apply and a copy can be sent on request or at time of booking.
Can I buy an insurance policy for the excess?
This is often referred to as a CDW or Collision Damage Waiver. You can purchase such a policy from a number of third party insurers. We are happy to offer details on request.
You have been doing your research into the wonderful world of motorhomes and have stumbled upon phrases, terms and acronyms that seem like another language... sound familiar? what do they all mean?
Below we explain some of the commonly used terms in more detail.
This refers to the bed over the cab. Often referred to as a Luton-style layout.
A lounge layout that features a forward and rear facing seat. Often they have seatbelts. A table forms part of the layout. Ideal for maximising the number of travelling seats and for eating. A less lounge-like area for stretching out.
A number of our motorhomes feature a double bed that is stored in the ceiling. It comes down electronically on the press of a button. It maximises space and keeps the motorhome more aerodynamic. You can leave your duvet and pillows on the bed and raise it out of the way to create a lounge space in seconds.
Motorhomes have a flushing toilet where the waste drops into a unit called a ‘cassette’. The cassette can be removed and emptied into a sewer or toilet.
This refers to the power sources the fridge can operate on i.e. electricity, gas and alternator 12v.
A term used for wastewater that has left the sinks and shower. A grey water tank is under the motorhome and can be emptied in the UK in any gutter or drain. It is common to drive with the drain tap open allowing the dirty water to empty on the ground whilst moving. This is not permitted in France and some other European countries. Grey water can start to smell after a few hot days. It commonly contains body fat from hand washing and showering, soap, food waste and liquid waste, particularly milk that starts to go off. It is therefore advisable to empty the grey waste regularly.
This is the type of gas we use on the motorhomes. Usually a Calor bottle(s) is included. LPG is in a red coloured bottle and has a lower freezing point than the blue bottles known as butane. The gas valves are different for each type of bottle.
This is the term used for the rear entrance door or caravan door.
The area at the rear of the motorhome usually under the rear bed. It can be used for storing bikes, chairs, table etc. It’s like a naughty step. But darker! Please note: There is a weight limit on what can go in the garage and it must be offset with any bikes on a rear rack or weight on a tow bar if fitted and in use. The limit is typically 150kg – 200kg.
Some of our motorhomes are fitted with a floor containing heating resulting in under floor heating. A double floor results in a warmer living and sleeping environment. Hence the term double floor.
A term used to describe the body of the motorhome. Usually they are wider then the driving cab and offer more living space in the rear.
A motorhome or camper van where the original van body on which it is built is retained. The body is therefore all the original metal. Usually features a sliding door on the side(s).
In many motorhome layouts, the front driver and or passenger seat rotate to face backwards. These are known as swivel seats. They must NOT be rotated whilst driving!
Plastic ramps that allow you to drive on and achieve a level motorhome. Very useful to ensure a good night’s sleep, that the sinks drain properly and that you don’t spill the wine!
A term used when plugging the motorhome into the mains electricity. Doing so allows the batteries to charge, the sockets to work and the appliances to use the electricity rather than the gas.
A unit that allows the 12v batteries to power a 240v appliance e.g. powering a hairdryer from a battery.
The living area of the motorhome.
The process a motorhome goes through prior to registration when new. It determines the number of seats for travelling and number of seatbelts.
Seats that can be used for travelling with a seat belt.
The total weight of the motorhome i.e. the maximum weight the vehicle may weigh when loaded with people and equipment. Usually this is in the region of 3500kg.
This is the gross weight (see above) less the weight of the chassis. For example, a motorhome may have a gross weight of 3500kg. It’s net weight is 2900kg. Therefore the payload is 600kg.
The net weight usually includes a driver, tank of water, tank of diesel and a bottle of gas, but manufacturers do often vary the specification. Please check with them to be sure. The payload needs to be sufficient to cover the weight of your passengers, luggage, food etc. If it is greater than the payload the gross weight will be higher than permitted. This is illegal and dangerous.
A vehicle’s gross weight is usually printed under the bonnet on the crash bar at the front.
Still confused by something? Drop us an email with your query. We’re proud to be nerds!