Kiri and


Left or right hand drive?

January 27th, 2013 (by Steve)

This is happening! We’ve been cultivating the idea of a road trip in Europe as our honeymoon for a long time now, and the planning is starting in earnest (ooh, possible name for our motorhome if it had a slightly different spelling…?). For several months we’ve been scouring the “interwebz”, keeping an eye on what we should be looking for when purchasing a motorhome and along the way putting together a list of useful links (incidentally is at the top of the list). We’ve also had invaluable help from a good friend who knows about these things!

Some of the key points about buying a motorhome that came out of our research were:

  • We need a fixed bed – we’ll be living in this van, and we don’t want the hassle of making up a bed every night. A coachbuilt MH (see, we’re using the lingo already!) looks like the best option for this.
  • It needs to have a MAM (maximum authorised weight) of less than 3.5 tonnes – both of us have a category B driving licence
  • Our budget for a van is around £6000 – this was set through a combination of advice from the Europe by Camper buyer’s guide, but also by having a look around online at what was out there, and what we would be able get for different budgets
  • Left hand or right hand drive should have no bearing – we’ll explain why in more detail below


There are a few other things that are on our list, such as a reversing camera, LED lighting (uses less battery), carbon monoxide detectors (essential with gas in a small space), bike rack (we intend to cycle to get around towns and cities) and an awning, but all of those are things that we can fit ourselves. Mechanical soundness goes without saying as essential (although we just said it…so obviously it doesn’t!).

All that is great in theory though, and you can spend hours looking at pictures on a computer screen, but nothing beats getting up close and personal with a real live van. Well, some things beat it, but not in the context of searching for a future home! So yesterday, accompanied by our motorhome expert, we had a mini road trip around West Sussex and Hampshire looking at a few contenders. We were really surprised at the variation in quality of the vans we saw within our budget – some were in great nick for their age (all were from the late 80s or early 90s) and others were…well…let’s say I wouldn’t want to spend a night in them! Whilst we were looking at size, comfort, bodywork and potential quality of living, our trusted friend was looking at engine, chassis and other mechanicals. Of the 6 we saw, 1 stood out, which we’ll hopefully head back to for a second date…we mean viewing at some point to look in a little more detail!

So, the LHD and RHD (left hand drive and right hand drive) debate…! When we started our search, we were adamant that we would only look at LHDs for safety and visibility reasons. I (Steve) have experience of driving several LHD vehicles on the right hand side of the road, so thought it would be best to stick with what we know already. Having then spoken with a couple of friends who have motorhomes which they’ve driven on the continent, it became clear that actually it’s less of a safety issue, and more like a minor inconvenience to have a RHD. If you’re in a LHD on the “wrong” side of the road, that’s two things that are “odd”, which in an emergency situation might not add up to a happy ending. If you’re in a RHD on the “wrong” side of the road, your visibility at junctions will obviously be an issue, but then we both drive, so we can just act like rally drivers…in terms of having a co-driver, rather than speed!

In any case, yesterday’s viewings were useful and we’re not going to jump into anything quickly or blindly.

2 Responses

How exciting! It’s always nice to see people follow their dreams :-). Hope you get one to your specs and looking forward to hearing and seeing all about your adventures together :-).

Yay – all sounding very exciting 🙂 I personally find driving on the right much more natural than driving on the left. Look forward to you coming to visit ;o)

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