Rookie Mistake #1: Completely filling the water tank before heading out
A motorhome’s water tank can hold between 95 and 170 litres of water. Each extra litre means additional weight, and that means poorer fuel efficiency for your motorhome. Experienced campers only fill their tank as much as they’ll need for the trip itself. They then fill up either at the campsite or at a petrol station shortly before arriving at their destination.
A full tank = A heavy motorhome, Image: camping.info
Rookie Mistake #2: Bringing anything and everything that fits
A toolbox, extra chairs and half of your wardrobe: Although you may be tempted to pack everything you could hypothetically need — leave it behind. Tonnes of stuff also weighs, well, tonnes! And just like a full water tank, it weighs down your motorhome.
Not only will that use up more gas, but it can even be dangerous: Overloading makes it more difficult to steer and stop your motorhome. That’s why you should only bring along as much as you need without throwing off the vehicle’s stability. You should also pack smartly and securely, in order to reduce the risk of incidents when slowing down or stopping. That means:
- Always store heavy objects underneath and around the axles; you can store lighter things in cabinets and drawers.
- Don’t leave anything out on the shelves.
- Close all compartments and doors, and cover the stove burners.
- Properly secure everything, so nothing falls over, slides around or breaks.
If you need a bit of help in deciding what to bring and what to leave at home, you can take a look at all the essentials we put together for you on our packing list here.
Rookie Mistake #3: Picking a sunny pitch
Everyone loves soaking up some extra rays on holiday, but only beginners park their motorhomes in the sunshine when there are shaded pitches available. Your motorhome will heat up quickly under the blazing sun, and you won’t be able to get a good night’s rest at the end of the day. After all, once your motorhome heats up, it’ll take a long time for it to cool back down.
When the weather is warm, look for shaded pitches, Image: pixabay/CosmoShiva
Rookie Mistake #4: Not bringing any small change
You almost always need coins when you stay the night at a campsite or motorhome stopover. Whether it’s for electricity, showers, washing your dishes or using the washing machine, many campsites have older coin-operated machines, and nothing is more frustrating than having to run around to get change. Camping experts are prepared and make sure to pick up a few rolls of coins in varying denominations (a roll each of 50 cent coins, 1 and 2 euro coins, for example).
Rookie Mistake #5: Not keeping an eye on your energy and water usage
How often can you shower on a full tank of water, how much electricity do you use each day and when is the waste tank full? Water and electricity are limited resources in a motorhome. It’s important to always know how full your battery, tanks and gas cylinders are, so you know when to fill them.
To get a better idea of how much water you use, fill your freshwater tank completely, then shower, do the dishes, etc. and measure the amount of water you used. Then you’ll know exactly how much you use and when you’ll have to refill.
Fill 'er up! Image: camping.info
Rookie Mistake #6: Not emptying your greywater and blackwater tanks before departure
You should always try to empty your greywater and blackwater tanks before you head out on the road. Again, part of the reason for this is the weight issue; but poor mileage is nothing compared to the smell of blackwater spreading throughout the motorhome as you drive, or worse, having blackwater slosh out of the toilet as you drive up and down steep mountains and around sharp curves!
Empty your tanks before you leave! Image: camping.info
Rookie Mistake #7: Not checking everything before departure
Believe it or not, most campers keep a checklist or a post-it note on the steering wheel to remind them of the most obvious things: Is the awning retracted? Have you packed up the jacks or levelling blocks? Have you disconnected the electricity?
Yes, other campers have also forgotten to fully retract the antenna or have headed off with their stairs lowered. Mishaps like that are not only embarrassing, but they can also be expensive if something breaks. So make a list for yourself, and make sure to check everything around your motorhome before you head out on the road!