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Motorhome, RV, Campervan – What’s the Difference?

You’ll often hear the terms motorhome, RV and campervan (or camper van) used interchangeably, but in fact there are some important differences between these three kinds of vehicle. This gives a lot of options to the traveller, meaning you can easily pick the style that suits you best. Then head for a site such as budgetcampervans.com to find your ideal vehicle. Here’s a quick run-down of the similarities and differences.

Motorhomes – spacious and substantial

Some people use this term to refer to any vehicle you can use as a mobile home, but more usually it’s reserved for fairly big vehicles, large enough that some feature furniture such as double beds and wet-room showers. Layouts vary a lot, but any motorhomes are large enough to cater for five or six people and feature an extra cabin space above the driving cab. Although this can be very convenient, there are drawbacks. The weight of many motorhomes’ creeps above 3.5 tonnes, meaning that you won’t be able to drive one on a standard car licence. This heaviness can also make them tricky to manoeuvre and park if you’re setting up overnight on a grass pitch, especially if the weather’s been wet.

RVs – large and luxurious

RV stands for Recreational Vehicle, and the term usually refers to the very large vehicles commonly associated with American roads. There’s no doubt that you’ll be pampered in an RV, with almost every conceivable feature on offer in one vehicle or another. Whether it’s a fitted washing machine, leather furniture or even a bath, you can find them on some RVs. They can sleep as many as ten people and there’s no problem storing tons of stuff. All this luxury comes with drawbacks, though. This class of vehicle can’t be driven on a car licence, while you shouldn’t expect to get too many miles to the gallon. You’ll also need to find pitches large enough to cope!

Campervans – compact and cosy

If you’re after a mobile living space that’s small enough to be driven like a car and will fit in almost anywhere, then look into camper van hire. These vehicles are often derived from car bodies or from compact vans, though the classic Volkswagen camper is perhaps the best-known example. You’re likely to find a campervan easy to drive and quite economical, and since they won’t take up an entire pitch at most campsites, you’ll benefit from a bit of outdoor space while you’re parked up. It’s worth checking roof heights, especially if you’re fairly tall, as some campervans have raised roofs to allow you that little extra headroom.

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