Some things in life are destined to remain forever a dream unless you somehow find the ways and means of buying them – it’s not that money can buy you happiness, of course, but it certainly helps in making your dreams come true.

You don’t have to bank on the unpredictable British weather and expect a Summer that is dry, warm, and sunny. If you buy a motorhome, you’ll always have somewhere dry and cosy to see out the worst our climate may bring – or drive it over to the Continent, save on rising hotel costs, and have your own home away from home wherever you are.

What better way to enjoy the outdoor life and freedom of the open than behind the wheel of a motorhome? So, if you are thinking about buying a motorhome, what are some of the most important points to take into consideration?

New or pre-loved?

There’s nothing quite like knowing that you’re the first person to have taken your motorhome on its first outing, nothing like being the first person to have slept in it – so buying a new motorhome lets you in on all of that, together with the reassurance of a lengthy warranty.

The greatest obstacle, of course, is likely to be the cost of buying a new motorhome. Used motorhomes hold their value pretty well, but they do still depreciate, so one that is, say, three years old might offer a significant saving on the new price, if it still has a relatively low mileage.

To help you decide whether to splash out on a new motorhome or get a good deal on a pre-loved vehicle, here at Derby Motorhomes we have a permanent exhibition of both new and used models from which to choose – after you’ve had your own up close and personal inspection of as many motorhomes you’d like to try out for size.

Size matters

Probably the greatest feature of any motorhome is its versatility. You not only get to drive it from A to B, but it also provides shelter in which to take your lunch along the way and your accommodation when it is time for bed.

Versatility also gives you the choice between a motorhome that is a genuine home away from home – with all the creature comforts you might possibly want – and a vehicle that is agile and manoeuvrable enough for negotiating new and unfamiliar routes while still providing more than adequate sleeping accommodation at the end of the day’s touring.

Size, therefore, often represents a balance between manoeuvrability on the move and spacious comfort at the end of the day. Summing up the questions of size, therefore:

  • it is likely to come down to how you are planning to use your motorhome;
  • is your motorhome likely to be used mainly just by you and your partner or do you need the extra berths for a child or two;
  • are your outings and holidays planned mainly in the UK, or will you be taking your motorhome further afield in continental Europe;
  • the balance between practical manoeuvrability, weighed against all the space and comfort a larger motorhome may offer, is likely to swing your judgment;
  • however you choose, Motorhome Planet suggests that you keep a note in the cab of the height and width (metric and imperial) of your vehicle, if you encounter any road width or bridge height restrictions.

Whatever size motorhome you eventually choose, you might want to take advantage of one of the Manoeuvring Courses run by the Camping and Caravanning Club for its members.

Weight

Closely related to the question of how you plan to use your motorhome – and, in turn, its size – is the critical matter of its weight. The bigger your motorhome, of course, the heavier it is likely to weigh and the payload you can carry.

As a guide published by AutoTrader Motorhomes explains, weight is an equally important consideration, especially if you have chosen a vehicle in one of the heavier categories. You may then need to consider whether your standard Category B driving licence qualifies you to drive the vehicle.

The Camping and Caravanning Club explains that you currently need a Category C1 driving licence to drive a larger motorhome with an Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM, the technical term for the maximum laden weight of your caravan) between 3,500kg and 7,500kg.

If you passed your driving test before the 1st of January 1997, you are automatically entitled to this Category C1 licence, but if you took it after that date, you must take a separate driving test to gain the additional entitlement.

In either case, your current driving licence entitles you to drive motorhomes up to 3,500kg MAM – and the majority of motorhomes built in this country therefore comply with this weight restriction.

Layout

The design and planning that goes into the internal layout of every kind of motorhome – from a simple campervan to the largest of leisure vehicles – has become ever more skilled and innovative.

There are countless possibilities when it comes to the motorhome’s layout and you might want to give serious consideration to the one that best suits your proposed use.

If you are likely to be travelling alone or with your partner, for example, a simple layout that requires converting the seating into beds at night might suffice; if you are likely to be holidaying with the family or expect to be entertaining, then a layout that includes a more spacious lounge area and fixed beds may be more appropriate.

Budget

When you have made those necessary choices about the layout, overall size and weight of your preferred motorhome, the final decision might come down to the budget you have available or the motorhome finance that is available:

Your savings

  • some people are fortunate to have savings – and, especially as you approach retirement, you might be looking forward to ways of spending your pension’s lump sum cash pay-out;
  • by using your savings, of course, you avoid the need for finance altogether, so there are no credit repayments to find, no interest to pay, and your motorhome is 100% yours from the start;
  • unfortunately, though, many people’s savings do not extend to the amount necessary to invest in the motorhome of their choice;

Personal loans

  • even for such a relatively expensive purchase, your bank manager might still be amenable to granting an unsecured personal loan, which you repay in monthly instalments over a period of up to five or six years;
  • as it is an unsecured loan, however, with the lender having nothing to fall back on if you default on the repayments, you are likely to need a more or less perfect credit score to secure this type of borrowing;

Dealer arranged finance

  • if you are buying your new or used motorhome from a large and reputable, specialist dealer, however, you might need to look no further than the dealership itself;
  • making the finance available goes hand in hand with any dealer’s main business of selling you the motorhome you have chosen and his standing and reputation in the market is likely to mean that any finance partners are competitive, reliable and duly regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA);

Hire purchase

  • one method of motorhome financing almost certain to be offered by such a dealer takes the familiar shape of a hire purchase agreement;
  • this needs an initial deposit, typically around 10% of the purchase price, although you might be able to meet this requirement by trading in an older motorhome in part exchange for the one you want to buy;
  • repayments are by equal monthly instalments, and if you default on these, you risk the motorhome being repossessed by the hire purchase company;
  • that is because ownership of the motorhome is not transferred to you until the final instalment has been paid and it is illegal to attempt to sell your motorhome before that date whilst the outstanding finance balance remains;
  • because hire purchase agreements are effectively secured against the vehicle in question, financial confidence is generally sufficient for a competitive rate of interest to be offered;

Equity release

  • the website Out and About Live mentions the possibility of unlocking some of the capital value in the home you own by arranging an equity release agreement;
  • a so-called lifetime mortgage to achieve that equity release involves no monthly repayments of either capital or interest, which is paid only upon your death or when your home is sold (when you go into long-term care, perhaps);
  • however, you need to bear in mind that equity release is a major decision, which you may not want to take without first consulting an independent financial adviser.

If you have ever dreamed of owning a motorhome, there are a number of financing options available to you – and many dealers may be able to help you turn your dreams into reality. Those options tend to be increasing all of the time. One of the most recent developments, for example, is the extension of Personal Contact Purchase deals to financing the purchase of your motorhome.

For a discussion about any of these motorhome finance options simply contact us here at Derby Motorhomes. You can also read our Motorhome finance guide here for more information.

If you are thinking of buying an Auto-Sleeper motorhome, you are unlikely to find anything better when it comes to your choice of large or small, luxuriously spacious or nimbly manoeuvrable. Nor, for want of options when it comes to the layout of your ultimate leisure vehicle.

Indeed, you are likely to be so spoiled for choice that making a final decision seems overwhelming. So, why choose an Auto-Sleeper, and what do you need to consider when buying one?

Why choose an Auto-Sleeper?

This might be summed up in just three words – quality, design, and variety:

Quality

  • the whole point of a motorhome is to provide comfortable accommodation while you are out and about exploring the world at large;
  • as a result, you will typically want the accommodation component of your motorhome to offer the height of comfort, and be well equipped and spacious;
  • while no motorhome is likely to offer the same space and luxury as a penthouse suite in a top-class hotel, even so, Auto-Sleepers come close to achieving this in the vehicles they have constructed or customised;
  • this is partly about the quality of the materials used internally, partly about the design approach and most importantly, about the overall build quality;
  • it’s perfectly possible to have a great design using superb materials, but if they are poorly put together, the end result will be sub-optimal – that is not a mistake made by Auto-Sleepers, who consistently turn out widely praised interiors;

Design

  • there are certainly cases where it is evident the design of a motorhome has perhaps not been entirely well thought-through;
  • although the materials and build quality may be fine, that doesn’t count for much if you have to climb over a table to reach the WC or can’t easily open a cupboard door when sitting in the lounge because it jams against a piece of furniture;
  • Auto-Sleepers have clearly been impeccably designed with an emphasis on practical functionality – and the importance of that often becomes crystal clear during the first 24 hours of using your new motorhome;

Variety

  • not only do they vary based on chassis and engine but also in terms of their internal configuration – you could, for example, have near identical chassis and engines but with the accommodation configured for two, three or four-berth use;
  • the company also doesn’t restrict its activities to larger flagship motorhomes;
  • the manufacturer’s van conversions are innovative and display genius in terms of the utilisation of available space;
  • this means that recreational vehicle users of all types and budgets can usually find an Auto-Sleeper to meet their needs.

Meeting your needs and requirements

These three excellent reasons for choosing an Auto-Sleeper come to nothing, of course, unless the motorhome can meet your particular needs and requirements. However brilliant the motorhomes are, you will still want to exercise personal tastes and preferences to your own specification.

Whether you will be happy with a van conversion or a full-sized motorhome is very much a matter of personal choice. The same is true in terms of things such as the size of the shower room and the total number of berths. For example, some people may prefer to trade a berth if it means they have a larger shower and WC area.

These things need to be considered, and a general requirements list produced before you start searching the Auto-Sleepers range. It will help focus your attention on what’s important to you.

So, let’s take a closer look at what might appear on your list of sought-after qualities and features.

Size

Who is likely to be travelling with you on your adventures in an Auto-Sleeper motorhome? Is it just you and your partner or do you have children or maybe an extended family to think of?

The answer governs the number of beds you need in your motorhome and, of course, this determines, in turn, the overall size of the vehicle that may comfortably accommodate your travelling companions.

Weight

Closely related to the question of size is the overall weight and laden weight of your motorhome.

This may become more critical as you consider the largest of the motorhomes you might have an eye on. For the great majority of motorhomes, your standard driving licence allows you to drive vehicles of up to 3,500kg Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM), explains the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). For motorhomes above this weigh, however, you may need to pass and hold a supplementary Category C1 licence.

To complicate things a little further, your precise driving licence qualifications also depend on whether you took your test before or after the 1st of January 1997.

Where are you going?

Your choice of the size and weight of your motorhome might also be influenced by where it is you are likely to be going and how you intend to use the vehicle:

  • if you are planning to use it mainly for touring, with just overnight stops along the way, a smaller vehicle is likely to be more manoeuvrable along narrow winding lanes or congested city streets;
  • if you have a particular destination in mind and plan to use your Auto-Sleeper as a – somewhat luxurious – home away from home, then the extra spaciousness and higher standard of fittings and furniture of a larger, heavier vehicle may be more appropriate.

Seeing is believing

As you begin to lock onto the motorhome of your choice, there is nothing to beat the experience of ditching the brochures and magazines and getting up close and personal to the real thing.

Why not stop by our Auto-Sleeper exhibition centre and view the whole range on offer? Settle down in one of the comfortable seats in the cockpit or lounge area, bounce up and down on a bed or two, and get hands-on with the galley.

Your budget

As with so many things, your final decision may come down to the hard realities of your bank balance.

Once again, though, Auto-Sleeper build motorhomes to suit many a pocket – and reputable dealers such as ourselves here at Derby Motorhomes offer access to finance specialists who may advise on the ways to finance your purchase – including the Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) similar to the deal with which you might have bought your last motor car.

Hand in hand with the business of selecting a motorhome goes the need to decide how you will pay for it.

The first is typically something that most people find extremely exciting. The latter is sometimes more daunting for some buyers. The good news is that, in the vast majority of cases, the process is relatively straightforward and not one to be feared because here at Derby Motorhomes we can help make it an entirely smooth process.

There may be a number of options open to you in terms of funding your motorhome – and we are always keen to try and ensure that you understand the pros and cons of your various choices of finance. That’s why we have produced the following brief motorhome finance guide.

So, let’s take a closer look at what is involved in motorhome finance and just what are your options.

Using your own capital

For many of us, this might be intuitively attractive.

In some respects, it is the easiest option and the one that offers you the least amount of work. Some buyers also prefer this method because it means they are free from a debt and more independent as a result.

While we would never argue against that, it is worth keeping in mind, though, that it isn’t always necessarily the most advantageous route. For example, if you suddenly needed cash for an emergency, having your money tied up in a motorhome or any other asset, may mean you’ll require some time to free it up.

That is because spending your savings on the purchase of a motorhome removes liquid capital from your financial reserves.

That simply means that once you have invested your capital into a motorhome, if you need cash in a hurry to deal with an emergency, it is no longer available to you at the stroke of a pen on a cheque. While good pre-used motorhomes are typically always in high demand, it may still take time for you to convert your vehicle into cash should an emergency arise.

It’s therefore worthwhile thinking a little about whether using your own money is the most sensible or prudent option – or whether you might want to consider borrowing the necessary funds.

Borrowing

Borrowing the money to purchase your motorhome means finding a lender prepared to advance the loan or extend the credit.

Perhaps the first point to keep in mind is that lenders are keen to find reasons to say “yes” to any financing application – that is their business, after all. But that business interest means, first and foremost, their determination to recover any finance that is lent.

While a lender is going to welcome an application, they will invariably require a credit history check – for confidence in your ability to make the necessary repayments. Credit checking is also a condition of the lender’s authorisation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

This validation process is also known as a credit risk assessment, though having a few minor problems on your credit history is not always a showstopper. Some of the brokers we use understand that very few people these days have an entirely blemish-free credit history record. That said, any motorhome finance provider will reserve the right to decline an application if they feel it is not in your best interests.

The vehicle’s valuation and sum requested

As you might expect, any provider of motorhome finance will need to protect their interests in terms of being sure that the sums they are advancing make sense against the value of the asset concerned.

What this means is that they will be reviewing the price you are proposing to pay for the motorhome against their own industry-standard valuations of such vehicles.

This is rarely a problem and exists for the protection not only of the potential lenders but also the applicant in terms of avoiding you paying more for the vehicle than it is worth.

Our services

We work with some of the leading motorhome finance providers (insert link to: and funds brokers in the UK.

Thanks to that network of contacts, we offer a wide range of finance options – each of which have their unique advantages and issues. A solution that is suitable for one buyer might not be optimal for another.

We would be happy to sit down and discuss just what your options are in a given situation. We will then typically be able to assist you in finding a motorhome loan package that’s both suitable and cost-effective.

Motorhome finance options

So, let’s take a brief look at some of those different finance options:

Personal loans

  • this involves you borrowing a sum of money from a bank or other funds provider;
  • you then purchase a motorhome using that loan and the vehicle is immediately and legally yours;
  • you repay the loan over the period of time that you have agreed with the loan provider;
  • personal loans may be secured or unsecured – and if security is required, this typically takes the form of a charge over the motorhome itself in favour of the lender;
  • that allows the lender to repossess the motorhome (or whatever else you have used as security) in the event you defaulted on your repayments.

Hire purchase

Hire Purchase (commonly shortened just to HP) involves the lender purchasing the vehicle and then allowing you to use it as if it were your own – under the auspices of your designation as the “registered keeper”:

  • typically, you’ll need to find a deposit as your contribution towards the overall cost – the amount of the deposit is likely to be around 10-15% of the purchase price;
  • you will also need to demonstrate to the funds provider that your overall financial position is such that you will be able to comfortably afford the monthly repayments – and that is usually done by way of the credit risk assessment to which we have already referred;
  • each month you will make a regular repayment to the provider of the funds – with the term of the agreement typically extending over a number of years;
  • once you make the final repayment, legal ownership of the motorhome transfers to you.

There are typically very few restrictions on what you can or cannot do with your motorhome when purchasing it under HP – but you cannot sell the vehicle without the advance permission of the provider of the funds because it really isn’t yours to sell until you’ve made that final repayment.

Personal Contract Purchase (PCP)

  • PCP is where you put down a deposit (which can be cash, part exchange or a combination of both);
  • although regular monthly payments are then made, they effectively represent only the value of the lease of the vehicle;
  • the lender defers, until the end of the agreement, an amount roughly equal to its future value and guarantees to this (subject to you meeting the pre-set terms of the agreement);
  • so, if all terms are met, you can simply hand the vehicle back to the lender at the end of the agreement or pay the lump sum to own the vehicle outright – or part exchange it for another.

Equity release

In some circumstances, you may be able to borrow money against equity that you have in another asset.

  • let’s say, for example, that you own a property realistically valued at £200,000 and an outstanding mortgage on it of £30,000;
  • that means, broadly speaking, that you have £170,000 equity in your property;
  • some lenders may be prepared to advance loans, using your property as security, providing the equity exceeds the amount you are looking to borrow;

It is worth remembering that your property may be at risk if you are unable to continue the repayments against any loan secured against it.

Derby Motorhomes for motorhome finance

Thanks to the in-house expertise and experience we offer here at Derby Motorhomes, there is no need to look any further for your specialist motorhome finance. Not only are we one of the leading dealers for Auto-Sleeper motorhomes in the UK but we also aim to arrange the finance you need with any number of reputable lenders.

If your personal financial status is backed by a healthy credit history, so much the better. But even if it less than perfect – and you have experienced difficulties with borrowing or credit in the past – we may still be able to find the finance deal that puts you behind the wheel of your new motorhome in no time at all.

We are FCA registered to advise customers on all aspects of motorhome finance. Why not get in touch today to see how we can help?

What’s the most important feature of a motorhome? It’s one of the frequently asked questions we’re asked at Derby Motorhomes.

It’s also one of the most difficult questions to answer, of course, since so much about choosing your motorhome is down to personal taste and preference. There may be many different aspects of a motorhome that might lead you to decide either for or against a given model.

In fact, there are so many things to consider that a single article of this nature just cannot cover them all. So, here we will concentrate on just one of the features we are asked about most often – the internal layout.

Think numbers

The optimal motorhome layout might depend upon just how many people there will be on your trips.

In situations where there are four adults (or grown-up children) regularly aboard, you may really appreciate fold-away beds and much more dining space in the living area.  On the other hand, if you are a couple with perhaps the odd trip involving your grandchildren for example, then your motorhome layout thinking might be quite different.

True, you shouldn’t size your motorhome and select configurations based on perhaps one trip every 12 or 18 months with others aboard. But if you’re planning to invite other people with you on a regular basis, it should be taken into account in your configuration design and selection.

Your home on wheels

The precise layout of your motorhome will go a long way to maximising the usable space within the vehicle, the way you intend to use it, and the number of people you expect to accommodate.

A motorhome is your home on wheels, says the Camping and Caravanning Club, so there is an inevitable trade-off or compromise between interior spaciousness and the need to negotiate the vehicle on the roads – which might often be narrow, twisting, or occasionally congested city streets.

Just remember that even motorhomes that are a similar overall length – points out an article in AutoTrader Motorhomes – may differ in both height and width to allow a layout which offers more in the way of usable space inside.

So, whether you are looking for a sufficiently agile and manoeuvrable motorhome to use for touring off the beaten track or a sufficiently spacious and luxurious second home which to which you return as your base each day, there are plenty of layout options from which to choose.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the considerations involved.

The overall size of your motorhome

Remember that the smaller the motorhome you select, by and large, the more compromises you might have to make on internal living space. That’s something that might affect aspects of your motorhome layout.

For example, some motorhome owners prefer lots of living room and kitchen space but are more than willing to compromise on sleeping area dimensions. That’s fine but in the case of say over-cab sleeping accommodation, keep in mind that headroom will be restricted and also one partner will have to climb over the other if they need to get up in the middle of the night.

Sleeping arrangements

The degree of flexibility that now exists in terms of choosing sleeping layouts is phenomenal. Even so, not all of them will necessarily appeal to everyone.

For example, if you have two smaller children or grandchildren you take on trips, then you may be very attracted by the idea of bunk beds. If you don’t, then that type of sleeping accommodation may be largely irrelevant in terms of your requirements.

Things you may wish to consider might include:

  • how many berths;
  • single or double beds;
  • where the sleeping areas will sit in your motorhome (at the rear, central areas etc.).

Some options may allow you to keep the bed permanently in place whereas others will allow it to be converted into additional seating accommodation in your living area.

Although tastes and preferences obviously differ, it’s probably fair to say that many people would suggest that fixed beds are more comfortable than those which fold away.

If you are someone or a couple who really values the ultimate in comfort for a great night’s sleep, then it might be better to opt for fixed beds. On the other hand, if you can sleep on the head of a pin, then folding beds may give you much more legroom during the day.

Kitchens

The size and configuration of kitchen areas may also vary considerably between models.

The equipment level contained in many motorhome kitchens is now staggering.

There are often quality appliances and ones which would grace even a conventional kitchen in a main home, as well as specially-designed motorhome gadgets that are economical in their use of space.

If you are someone who really enjoys cooking, wherever you are, then you may be prepared to sacrifice something like fixed beds or larger sized shower facilities in order to have a substantial kitchen.

On the other hand, not everyone goes on a motorhome holiday with the intention of cooking cordon bleu cuisine. It may be that you prefer eating out or preparing basic meals on minimalist kitchen equipment. If that’s the case, picking the right motorhome for you might involve deciding to reduce the amount of floor space allocated to your kitchen and deploying it instead to living or sleeping areas.

You might also want to think about where the kitchen sits in your motorhome. Some people like it at the very back, well out of the way of everything else, whilst others prefer it conveniently located mid-vehicle near the main sitting area.

WC’s and showers

This is one of the areas where individual requirements are most likely to vary. It’s not unusual to hear people say they’ll go for the smallest option possible and use the space saved elsewhere. In practice though, that doesn’t necessarily suit everybody in real life.

Some people just don’t like cramped spaces when they are trying to take a shower and very restricted spaces in these areas can be an issue for larger people. It’s certainly possible to opt for smaller solutions but think it through first and be sure that it’ll result in something you’ll be comfortable with.

It’s entirely possible to have a fully functioning WC contained within your motorhome. What is less commonly known, though, is that it’s also possible to have a normal shower too.

Some people prefer to have the WC and shower room as two separate units. That takes up more space, of course, but it does mean that the two can be used simultaneously.

Still others are less concerned about having a full-sized shower and would prefer instead to use that space for other purposes within the motorhome, being happy to use the communal shower facilities on the campsite.

Once again, your individual requirements can almost always be accommodated providing you select a motorhome provider who is able to offer the appropriate design flexibility.

Popular layouts

With some of these design and configuration considerations firmly in mind, therefore, let’s see how it all translate into practice, so that you are ready to pick your way through some of the most popular types of motorhome layout. And, once again, it is worth stressing that the imagination and ingenuity of contemporary designers, gives you an amazing selection of different motorhome layouts to suit a variety of personal preferences and uses:

Campervans

  • as the smallest in the stable of motorhomes, campervans are perhaps the most challenging for layout designers;
  • typically, the forward driver’s and passenger seats swivel around to face the interior, there is a bench seat at the rear – which converts into the bed – and a small galley and cupboards arranged along the side;
  • yet even within the relative confines of a campervan, there are variations on the theme – explains a guide produced by Out and About Live – and you have a wide choice when it comes to selecting the layout that suits your purposes;

French bed layout

  • also designed to maximise space in smaller motorhomes is the so-called French bed layout;
  • it is smaller than a regular, fixed double bed because the corner is rounded off to allow greater access around it – it is also an alternative to an island bed when space is at a premium;

Fixed bed layouts

  • as you move up in the overall size of your motorhome, it becomes possible to have fixed beds rather than those which pull down or convert and which you have to make up at the end of each day;
  • fixed bed layouts may feature a double bed or two singles – depending on the layout – and are prized for the comfort and convenience they bring to life in your motorhome;

End kitchen layout

  • if you are looking for a motorhome that serves as a home away from home, you might want to consider the luxury of a spacious end kitchen layout;
  • by putting the kitchen across the rear of the vehicle, you may achieve a fully-fitted kitchen – with an oven, multiple hobs, workspace and room for a fridge;

End bathroom layout

  • perhaps even more luxury can be found in having the bathroom at the rear of your motorhome;
  • it makes room for the toilet, hand basin and walk-in shower – all creature comforts that are likely to make your motorhome a comfortable yet mobile second home.

With layouts for all occasions, uses and personal tastes, choosing the one that suits you may be as important as picking the motorhome itself.

So, it’s that time of year again – you know the one, the one where we sit down together as a family, group of friends or couple, glass of chilled sangria in hand, holiday brochures or i-pad at the ready and try to decide where we fly off to for our annual holidays this year.

Only, this year things are going to be a little different and I don’t know about you, but for me, I certainly won’t be boarding a bargain, budget or charter flight with 200 hundred other excited souls, potentially coughing and wheezing in all sections of the cabin whilst sharing the same recycled air and occupying the very same seat that, less than an hour previously, was vacated by goodness knows who!

Finally, after a an hour and a half of what I like to call “sight-seeing” (which is in fact sitting on a cramped, baking hot coach with fifty other assorted families and couples, tired, frustrated, bursting for the toilet and praying that your name isn’t called out for this particularly grim looking destination), you arrive at your hotel only to find the room isn’t ready yet and when it is, it looks out over the next-door building site (they’re never quite like the picture in the brochure).

The water is undrinkable, the beer, cocktails and house spirits worse, the bed uncomfortable, the air conditioning doesn’t work, the neighbouring room houses a family of banshee’s who never seem to sleep; the hotel food is usually lukewarm and finally, when you take a closer look, the bedding doesn’t really seem that clean after all and the room – well, it doesn’t look to have had a thorough clean in decades!

The lifts are crammed full of holiday makers from all over Europe, all happily touching every button and surface while breathing across everyone within close proximity and then you’re left wondering what hygiene standards the chefs, waiters, reception, pool and bar staff apply and then, to top it all off, social distancing is itself a very distant memory once the beer and sangria kick-in.  Happy holidays everyone!

In fact, whilst on this subject, the very last place I could consider for a well – earned vacation right now would be aboard a cruise ship for that matter – luxurious as I’m sure they are, I couldn’t possibly imagine spending all of that time in such close proximity to a couple of thousand other poor souls also with no escape and all of their associated germs to dodge for a week or more whilst most of the above still applies!

And then there’s the excursions to worry about; a coach here, a taxi there, tours around the local must-see’s and snacks and drinks in lovely little tavernas and bars who’s owners and staff possibly think more about tips and profits than anything else – after all, you’re going to be a distant memory in an hour’s time!

I’m sorry if this paints a pretty awful picture but tell me this hasn’t happened to most us at some time or another – or am I just being cynical?

Anyway, enough of my hand-wringing doom and gloom, but I’m just saying, there must be an awful lot of other folks out there, also of a certain age and disposition thinking exactly the same as me – come on, I can’t be the only miserable git out there who’s really concerned about catching something incredibly nasty and shuffling off this mortal coil way too early (my opinion, not necessarily that of the current lady of the house).

So, with all of this to the fore of my reasoning, one – word springs to mind – staycation!

However, even that has some drawbacks; where to stay-cate for example, with whom and for how long are just a few of my thoughts.

But it doesn’t have to be that difficult, not when you could buy a motorhome and have as many holidays as you and your spouse could possibly ever desire.

If you think about it, it’s almost the perfect solution – your very own personal space, (or isolation pod as I like to think of them), closed to everyone but you and those lucky enough to be invited in, after thorough vetting that is.

Total freedom and flexibility, the freedom to go exactly where you want and do exactly what you want to do and the flexibility to do this whenever you wish and for as long as you want to, too.

If you really think about this, a campsite could also be the perfect place to enjoy freedom and isolation.

You don’t have to use the site’s facilities – toilets, showers, shops, bars etc. because your very own motorhome usually comes complete with its own toilet and shower, kitchen with cooker and fridge (sometimes a freezer too), tv if you fancy that and they can even be fitted with wind-out awnings for additional sun shelter. Some can even have gas bbq points fitted for alfresco cooking.

You supply your own food and drinks so nothing you don’t really want passes your lips and the shopping, if you don’t take it with you, can be delivered directly to your door if the need or desire’s still there to socially distance.

Your neighbours are usually several meters away from your pitch with their door on the opposite side too, so social distancing, again, isn’t going to be an issue and camp sites are usually to be found close to beautiful countryside or coastal areas – some even have fishing lakes attached and most non-motor homers would very surprised at how good the vast majority of modern sites really are.

So, a motorhome doesn’t have to be huge, it can be and can also have every extra know to mankind too; but then there’s it’s size to consider, it can affect where you travel – too big and English country lanes could prove a challenge; too small and either you won’t have sufficient storage space for clothes and things or, more accurately, the love of your life will but you won’t or, joking apart, too small could potentially restrict the length of time spent away from home.

Well, a motorhome could be considered as “roughing it” by some I suppose but when you actually bother to take a closer look at some of them, well, nothing could be further from the truth.

Take Auto-Sleepers for example – they are the oldest UK motorhome manufacturer; every-one is hand built and quality oozes from every angle. Luxurious Belgian fabrics, quality furniture, kitchens a top chef would be proud of and space abound – even in the smallest of models.

Then there’s features such as solar panels, re-fillable gas tanks, built-in satellite navigation systems, air conditioning – cab and habitation areas too in their Mercedes range; there’s even the option of remote, self-seeking satellite TV systems if you really don’t want to miss anything.

What could be finer than sitting under your very-own sun awning drinking wine (or gin, beer, cider or any other favourite tipple for that matter) and simply “chilling out” whilst listening to your favourite music or reading the latest novel on your kindle?

If that’s not your “thing” then how about a day exploring the local countryside or walking and cycling to places of interest; maybe visit the local beach (social distancing permitting of course) or town centre for that all-important retail therapy hit, (if the shops are open again).

Then there’s galleries and museums to consider or the local country estate, farm shop or National Trust venue – really, the list of potential activities is endless as are the wonderful places one could pitch-up in the UK alone.

You never know too, the urge to go abroad could still prove too great to resist, in which case there’s always the “tunnel” for quick, easy access to France and beyond or endless ferry routes for a more relaxed trip across the water, assuming we are allowed to travel abroad any time soon that is.

Imagine, a lovely warm evening, the sound of the ocean in the distance, a great burgundy, fresh French bread, cheese and a salad and all right on your own doorstep, for as long as you feel like it……

Don’t forget, motorhomes are welcomed throughout Europe and Europe’s an awfully big continent to explore and finding beautiful, isolated spots to call your own for a few days before moving on, aren’t difficult to find and the driving is all part of the holiday.

Remember too, once you have a motorhome, you also have the potential for hundreds of holidays, long or short, here, there, anywhere in fact – even a long weekend or simple overnighter somewhere local or just a day out in the countryside for that matter, the choice is yours and endless!

So, I hope I’ve planted a seed of optimism for a brighter future this summer and holiday season; and don’t forget, a motorhome is nothing like a car in terms of residual value and if I’m honest, whilst they aren’t that cheap to buy initially, they should be considered an investment and once owned, they will retain a huge proportion of their original value and for a darned sight longer than your average family run-around or caravan and definitely longer than your two weeks package to the sun!

You’ll definitely have so very many more memories from a motorhome too so, when you sit down to consider the summer holidays, take a closer look at the motor home option and in particular Auto-Sleepers motor home range at Derby Motorhomes, you’re going to be very pleasantly surprised.

Staycation – happy holidays everyone.

There are motorhomes. And then there are Auto-Sleepers.

From the moment you toy with the idea of buying a motorhome, you begin to realise what a wide range of makes and models there are to choose from. As you start to take the notion more seriously and look more closely at your options, you realise that one marque consistently stands head and shoulders above the rest. That is Auto-Sleepers.

Why Auto-Sleeper?

A thoroughly British success story, the Auto-Sleepers name and reputation has been built up over many years as a family-oriented business. With beginnings traced backed to 1961, that reputation has been founded on the time, effort and care that goes into making every motorhome that emerges from its factory in the Cotswolds.

From van conversions to coachbuilt models, that care and effort shines through in the design, quality and innovation that goes into every motorhome the manufacturer produces.

That range of models is constantly expanding. There are currently eight Peugeot-based campervans, six Peugeot coachbuilt models, two Peugeot AL-KO coachbuilts, and six top of the range Mercedes coachbuilt models from which to choose.

The designers and production crews live and breathe the motorhome, ensuring the highest of hand-built standards and the maximum benefit from every cubic centimetre of space within each vehicle – turning out motorhomes that have become the envy of any aspiring owner. And that is reflected in the growing list of awards consistently won by Auto-Sleepers.

But the company is never content to rest on its laurels. Every year sees the introduction of new models and refinements to proven favourites – and 2020 is no exception – as the display of new motorhomes at the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show at the NEC in Birmingham in February will go to show.

Why Derby Motorhomes?

Conveniently situated in Derby, in the middle of the country, Derby Motorhomes has established itself as probably the leading dealer of Auto-Sleepers motorhomes. We are the place to come if you have an interest in an Auto-Sleepers for sale – whether that’s new or pre-loved.

Our extensive exhibition centre offers the opportunity to get up close and personal with different Auto-Sleepers models and to see for yourself why this is the outstanding marque in motorhome manufacture.

Like many another dealer, we have discounts and special offers from time to time – but few others are able to match our current deals (as at December 2019) which represent savings of up to £2,500 off the list price of some Auto-Sleepers. Add to this our range of finance options and the chance of owning your dream motorhome may prove well within your grasp.

As a main dealer for Auto-Sleepers, Derby Motorhomes of course ensures that every motorhome we sell has been the subject of thorough and rigorous pre-delivering checking and servicing. It also means that any optional packs and accessories are expertly fitted and installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s requirements and warranty conditions.

Our expert team of engineers is also on hand to carry out after-sales servicing, repairs and warranty work, using genuine approved parts – even on Auto-Sleepers which you might have bought elsewhere.

So, you’ve succumbed to the lure of the open road – the freedom to go where you like, rest and stop wherever you choose – and decided to buy a motorhome.

But where do you start looking for that purchase? Let’s take a look at your options. They immediately fall into one of two broad sources – do you buy privately or from a dealer?

Private sales

One of the attractions of buying privately is that you are buying directly from the vendor and can tell yourself that you are avoiding the commission or profit that needs to be made by any third-party agent such as a dealer.

A private sale is also more likely to involve a used motorhome, of course, so you may be able to take advantage of the depreciation already reflected in the value of a second-hand vehicle. A buyers’ guide published by Out and About Live claims that the savings on buying second-hand, rather than new, might be considerable. Although it also concedes that the slower rate of depreciation on a motorhome compared to ordinary cars might keep prices rather similar.

Thanks to the internet, your search is no longer limited to class advertisements in your local newspaper or trade journals. Online listings give you the chance to search across the whole of the country for those looking to sell a used motorhome.

Just like buying any vehicle from a private seller, however, it is very much a question of “buyer beware”. You must be prepared to go over the motorhome with a fine-toothed comb – and in this case checking not only the mechanics, but also the exterior and interior integrity of what is going to be your second home.

Your scrutiny also needs to extend to the seller’s legal capacity to sell the motorhome. Do they have title to the vehicle? Is there any outstanding hire purchase or other finance on it? Has it been classified as an insurance write-off?

The Camping and Caravanning Club points you in the direction of an organisation called MINDER which specialises in helping you to check the possibility of any fraud on the part of the vendor – but the responsibility is very much your own.

Buying from a dealer

Instead, you may avoid much of the doubt and anxiety by buying your motorhome from a reputable dealer. Whether you are buying brand new or second-hand, you have the reassurance of knowing just where to go if you later discover something wrong with the vehicle you bought.

A dealer is responsible for conducting all the financial checks on any pre-owned motorhome. They are able to stay in business only by ensuring that any vehicle has been thoroughly checked inside and out, mechanically and accommodation-wise, after a full service.

Any optional extras or accessories for your motorhome may also be supplied directly by the dealer and properly fitted or installed.

Any new motorhome is going to come with the manufacturer’s warranty, but many established dealers are also likely to extend a guarantee even to used vehicles.

Many dealers are also able to arrange any finance you may need to purchase your motorhome.

Here at Derby Motorhomes, we pride ourselves in the reputation we have stablished as a leading dealer in all makes of motorhome – specialising in Auto-Sleepers. Thanks to our location in Derby, in the Midlands, we are likely to be reasonably accessible wherever you live in the country – and look forward to the opportunity of demonstrating first-hand a wide range of new and used motorhomes for sale.

Whether you are looking or a campervan or the luxury of a fully fitted and furnished motorhome, Auto-Sleeper has long been a peerless marque. Its factory in the Cotswolds has been turning out motorhomes that are the envy of existing and prospective owners alike.

The company’s reputation has gone from strength to strength through successive releases of improvements to its existing range and the launch of new models. So, what’s to look out for in the 2020 Auto-Sleepers range?

Campervans

Fairford Plus

One of the hottest additions to the 2020 Auto-Sleeper range comes in the shape of the Fairford Plus.

The Fairford itself was launched a few years back in 2016 and the “Plus” in the New Year’s model is thanks to the development of a new Fairford that is now based on the extra-long wheel-base Peugeot Boxer van.

That additional length makes it one of the few campervans that manage to squeeze in comfortable sleeping for four people, including two in the double transverse bed at the rear of the motorhome. In the lounge area to the front of the van, a dining table drops down to convert the benches either side into another double bed.

Peugeot coachbuilts

Also built on the extra-length Boxer van is an ever-popular Broadway FB.

The clever, coachbuilt design allows not only for a fixed double bed at the rear but also a separate shower and washroom to the side, a fully equipped kitchen in the middle of the motorhome and a spacious lounge area at the front.

All in all, it remains amazing just how much has been fitted into this handsomely proportioned coachbuilt Peugeot.

AL-KO Peugeot coachbuilts

The lighter weight of the AL-KO coachbuilt motorhome allows a still higher degree of finish for the same level of performance and manoeuvrability.

With the choice of two Corinium models, the FB version delivers an extremely spacious lounge area and well-equipped kitchen. The real delight – and impressive for a motorhome of these overall dimensions – is the enclosed bedroom to the rear with its own ensuite shower and bathroom.

Mercedes coachbuilt

Maintaining its position in the height of luxury and comfort is Auto-Sleeper’s range of Mercedes-powered coachbuilt motorhomes.

And top of that range, the superlative Burford Duo offers two fixed single beds in a spacious room at the back, where there is also a fully equipped shower and bathroom.

2020’s new look

Exterior detailing across the whole range of Auto-Sleepers makes it crystal clear that these are the latest models for 2020.

Inside, you have limewash furniture as standard, the choice of five different fabric options, chrome fixtures and fittings and LED lighting.

In their latest incarnation, all Auto-Sleepers now also come with Whale heating and hot water systems, Sargent EC700 electrical systems, Dometic microwave ovens, in-built Wi-Fi routers, Cat 6 Trackers – which are said to provide the highest levels of security for any vehicles – and further security chipping and window etching with your CRiS registration and membership (the Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme established by the National Caravan Council in 1992).

Buying any motorhome represents a more significant investment than buying a runabout car. Buying a motorhome in the distinguished class and luxury of an Auto-Sleeper is likely to be a still bigger investment.

So, how might you go about financing your Auto-Sleeper purchase?

Savings

If it has long been your dream to own a motorhome, you might have been saving over the years for the tidy sum likely to be required.

Even if you are among the fortunate few who have savings enough to purchase an Auto-Sleeper, however, you might be spending the entire amount in one big hit, with no further savings to fall back upon at any later stage in your life.

Equity release

For homeowners who have reached the age of 55 or over, the dreams they nurtured in owning a motorhome might be realised through equity release.

Typically, this involves a so-called lifetime mortgage on the home that is owned, so that you have the cash released through its equity but make no repayments on the loan until the property is sold, you go into long-term care or you die.

According to a story in the Financial Times on the 4th of April 2019, a staggering £1.08 billion had been raised by homeowners in this way during the final quarter of 2018 alone.

Auto-Sleeper finance

Auto-Sleeper finance, on the other hand, helps you avoid having to do anything quite as drastic as blowing your savings or unlocking the equity in your home in order to purchase a motorhome.

A reputable Auto-Sleeper dealer is almost certain to be able to offer a range of finance options – and, to do so, must be registered with and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Those options might include:

  • a personal loan – for the whole or just part of the purchase of your Auto-Sleeper – with repayment terms spread over several years;
  • hire purchase – which typically involves you paying an initial deposit of around 10% of the purchase price – and equal monthly payments until the final balance is cleared; or
  • Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) – the widely popular method of car finance which has also been extended to the purchase of motorhomes and which leaves you the option of returning the vehicle at the end of the contract agreement instead of paying the final “balloon” instalment to complete the purchase.

As with any finance credit agreement, of course, the terms of your Auto-Sleeper finance is going to depend on your creditworthiness – the healthier your credit score, the more favourable the rate of interest you are likely to be offered and the better your chances of securing the credit you need.

In many instances, the lenders have user-friendly online calculators that help you decide how much you need to borrow, the repayment terms and any other conditions that may be attached to your Auto-Sleeper finance deal.

Specialist Auto-Sleeper dealers – such as ourselves at Derby Motorhomes – are likely to have close working relationships with several major banks, brokers and financial institutions, offering you a wide choice of different types of finance to suit your particular needs and circumstances.

Whether you are looking to buy your first motorhome or wanting to trade-in, renew and upgrade your existing leisure vehicle, one name is likely to crop up time and again. And that name is Auto-Sleeper.

Whether you see it in the magazines for motorhomes or hear it from the lips of motorhome owners, the name crops up because of the status and reputation established by Auto-Sleeper. It is a reputation for building high-quality, luxurious and artfully designed motorhomes that are built to last.

You may be in a position to buy your motorhome new or you might be looking to buy a pre-loved leisure vehicle.

Like any other vehicle – and even though an Auto-Sleeper holds its price better than any other motorhome – its depreciation over the years means that buying second-hand is a cheaper option than buying brand new.

But how do you go about finding an Auto-Sleeper for sale?

Use the internet

This is the age of the internet. Most of us are more than accustomed to browsing for the things we need, doing the appropriate background research, and making a final purchase online. It’s a way of viewing probably the widest possible market for whatever it is we want to buy.

And that goes for motorhomes, too. Tap into your web-browser “motorhomes for sale” or even refine your search by specifying “Auto-Sleepers for sale” and you are likely to come up with countless online listings from both dealers and private individuals.

If you press ahead through an advertised private sale, of course, there is a whole list of checks you need to make before buying any motorhome this way. In an article updated on the 1st of July 2019, AutoTrader magazine detailed some of those checks, such as:

  • making sure it’s not stolen;
  • ensure no one has tampered with the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or weight-plate;
  • check the registration details and the existence of any outstanding finance;
  • check carefully for damp or the ingress of water into the interior; and
  • ask for proof of the motorhome’s service history – both mechanical and habitation servicing.

Even though you have taken every reasonable care and conducted the most rigorous checks on the motorhome, you have little come-back on any private sale if you subsequently discover something wrong with it.

See for yourself

For an investment likely to be quite as important as the purchase of an Auto-Sleeper motorhome, you might prefer to sidestep the convenience of the internet and instead rely on the more immediate and convincing satisfaction of seeing for yourself.

That means visiting a specialist Auto-Sleeper dealer, getting up close and personal with the model or models of your choice, and seeing for yourself why this is the marque that tends to be on everyone’s lips when finding an Auto-Sleeper for sale.

When it comes to checking the motorhome – whether you are buying new or second-hand – a specialist dealer will have done all the work for you.

You can be certain that ownership is not in dispute, that there is no outstanding finance, and that your motorhome has been thoroughly checked, serviced, and delivered to you in tiptop condition. And in the unlikely event of your finding fault with the motorhome you’ve just bought, you know just where to go to get it put right.