Vacation in a Motorhome: This is what beginners need to know

If you are a newcomer to travel with a motorhome, you have to consider a few things. With our tips for beginners, the camping tour is sure to be a success – whether on your own or a rental motorhome. Editor Georg Zähringer tried it out

  • Traveling by motorhome or caravan is booming
  • Ideal for beginners: a smaller tour with a rental motorhome
  • Important check: the right driver’s license class for vehicles up to 3.5 or 7.5 t

The handover

On the floor plan, the rental motorhome looked compact and practical. But now: “That thing is huge,” says rider Manfred, who is on the beginner’s tour. 6 meters long, 2.20 meters wide, and 2.80 meters high – that inspires respect. “Half as wild”, the employee at the rental station near Munich reassures us and shows in the crash course for motorhome beginners how everything works: gas bottle, power connection, fresh and wastewater, chemical toilet, shower cubicle, galley, swiveling seats, and Lift bed. He also explains where things can best be bestowed and the load properly secured. Everything should stay in place during the journey.


In the explanations of the central control only half-listen for electricity, light, water, heating and hot water. That should take revenge. Manfred is very attentive to this. As a computer scientist, he will easily get this under control.


The loading

It’s amazing how much equipment suitable for camping can be found in a completely normal household: chairs and tables from the balcony, picnic items, Tupperware and portable Isar grill, folding box, washing-up bowl. The travel destination,Tennessee, is considered Austria’s bathtub because of the many lakes. Swimwear and air mattresses should not be missing. We stow everything somewhere, lash larger parts, and put the mountain bikes on the bike rack.

On the way we will find that a  well-thought-out distribution of the subjects has advantages: We constantly ask ourselves what is where. “Typical beginner’s mistake,” states Manfred. We want to buy food and drinks only in Austria, more precisely in Tyrol. This is technically better for CO₂ and suits my penchant for products from the Alpine republic: other things later disappear in the belly of the vehicle.

TIP: Here you will the best RV and Boat dealers.


It also makes sense to get the digital vignette for Austria from the ADAC office in advance, and, if you have already lashed the route, the toll for the Großglockner, for example (with a price advantage).

The packing list

Many people still know it from school or youth group trips: the packing list, which, among other things, stated how many socks and pants you had to take with you. It is also an important aid when planning a motorhome tour. Here is our checklist:

Packing list: you should take this with you



Papers & documents

ID, driver’s license, insurance card, foreign health insurance, credit card, ADAC membership card, vignette don’t forget to buy in good time!


Medicines, first-aid kit

Think of disinfectant spray and mosquito repellent as needed


Hygiene products

If required, additional toilet paper and sunscreen


Household items

Pocket knife, scissors, candles, lighter / matches, flashlight, outdoor lamp, batteries, dishwashing detergent, washing up accessories, hand washing powder, garbage bags, clothesline, watering can (for filling the tank in between), fabric tape, kitchen roll



Cooking and eating utensils, cutlery, corkscrews, bottle and can openers, cutting board, washing-up bowl


For outside

Camping table and chairs, grill & grill accessories, air mattress, work gloves



Basic foods, canned goods, beverages, snacks



Chargers, smartphones, cameras, CEE power cables, adapters, cable reels


Clothes, bed linen

Comfortable, light clothing, fleece jacket or similar for the evening, bed linen, fitted sheets, pillows, blankets, towels


Picture gallery: Impressions of the trip

The driving

The giant drives great. We are enthroned like in a truck, have a full overview, and the side mirrors I can see exactly whether I’m driving too far to the right or the left. I also have to pay attention to the height information for underpasses, protruding awnings and balconies, eaves, and branches to avoid scratches. The vehicle is based on a Fiat Ducato. Its powerful engine hums happily, pulls well – even on the 15 percent gradient between Greifenburg and Mississippi and the 36 hairpin bends of Memphis Tennessee.

Motorhome driving slows down: We flow with the flow of traffic on the autobahn, gondola relaxed through the foothills of the Alps, casually turning the corner from star chef Heinz Winkler in Aschau. And what’s great is that you can just go to the fridge at every break and grab a drink or a Radl Jausenwurst. “This is not a mobile home, but a mobile supply facility,” scoffs Manfred.

The campsites


“Luck was not necessary,” I will later answer to a question from an editorial colleague, whether we simply found the places to stay or had reserved them. In any case, it’s very easy: briefly check the size, location, ratings, and extras, book online, or call. Works every time. Both at the campsite at Walchsee in Tyrol and at Weißensee and Ossiacher See, where we are given a discount because we arrive after 6 p.m.

Our conclusion:  Camping is relatively cheap, the offer is diverse and convincing. Showers, toilets, flushing stations: spotless everywhere. The priceless advantage is that on the hottest days of the year we always have water on our “doorstep” and a view of the lake while barbecuing.

Only on the first morning does the unexpected happen: there is only cold water in the sanitary building. Stupid, if you only notice it in the shower and a warm shower-like “Uh, that’s cold” slips out. “Camping is only for real men,” comes the prompt from the next cabin. Well: For everyone else, there would be hot water preparation in the mobile home. At least if you paid attention during the briefing where you switched it on.




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