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Anyone with Caravan/Motorhome experiences?

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wanderer
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Anyone with Caravan/Motorhome experiences?

Postby wanderer » Sat, 24 Sep 2005 11:15 pm

Hi,

I want to try taking my family (kids 9 and 6) on a motorhome vacation - possibly in ANZ or Europe somewhere. We love self-drive vacations and thought it would be fun to try renting a motorhome for a week or two. Does anyone have any past experiences or tips to share about caravanning? How easy is it for a novice like me to drive around? Recommendations on places to go or any things to try are most welcome.

Cheers.
-W
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 25 Sep 2005 12:47 am

wanderer,

If you are a Singaporean, I would highly discourage you from trying it. The driving experience that you have for the most part has ill equipped you for that kind of driving. If you have had experience in driving a bus, prime Mover, or 24 foot lorry with box sides on the expressways in Malaysia then I would say yes, give it a go. If most of your driving has been here in singapore in an automobile, you are asking for trouble. This is especially so if you are going to New Zealand where there are lots of mountains to get caught in strong crosswinds or if in Australia, where you get dozy after traveling several hundred km at a time and then get passed by a road train traveling at about 120 km/hr. the draft will push you off the road or cause you to flip over.

I don't want to be discouraging, but it's a fact that without out having sufficient experience in that type of driving it is criminal to take your family and delibertly put their lives at risk.

Over the past 20 years I've read about to many Singaporeans who have gotten themselves and their families killed when driving in Aus, NZ and the US (worse there because you are not used to driving on the opposite side of the road and opposite side of the car). Almost all cases were due to not being experienced in those kind of driving conditions.

Please don't put your family at risk.

sms

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Postby oNe » Sun, 25 Sep 2005 2:09 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:wanderer,

If you are a Singaporean, I would highly discourage you from trying it. The driving experience that you have for the most part has ill equipped you for that kind of driving. If you have had experience in driving a bus, prime Mover, or 24 foot lorry with box sides on the expressways in Malaysia then I would say yes, give it a go. If most of your driving has been here in singapore in an automobile, you are asking for trouble. This is especially so if you are going to New Zealand where there are lots of mountains to get caught in strong crosswinds or if in Australia, where you get dozy after traveling several hundred km at a time and then get passed by a road train traveling at about 120 km/hr. the draft will push you off the road or cause you to flip over.

I don't want to be discouraging, but it's a fact that without out having sufficient experience in that type of driving it is criminal to take your family and delibertly put their lives at risk.

Over the past 20 years I've read about to many Singaporeans who have gotten themselves and their families killed when driving in Aus, NZ and the US (worse there because you are not used to driving on the opposite side of the road and opposite side of the car). Almost all cases were due to not being experienced in those kind of driving conditions.

Please don't put your family at risk.

sms


..this coming from the same guy who feels sorry because people are not living enough.

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Postby beenhere10years » Sun, 25 Sep 2005 9:05 am

I have to agree with SMS here. It's not so much if you are Singaporean or not -- it's just that you to have driving experience you just can't get in Singapore: mountains, switchbacks, curves, ice, etc... If you have expereince like this, I say 'go for it'. And leave the DVD players at home.

Things have changed dramatically since I camped as a kid. We had a small pop-up trailer and took it everywhere. Then it cost $5- $10 per night, reservations were only needed at the height of summer in very busy places like the Grand Canyon. Now they are $50 and you need reservations everywhere I understand. Then there is the cost of gas to consider. Ay Curumba!

Consider doing a little ice breaker trip. Go somewhere easy like Australia and try it out for a week. Good Luck :wink:
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Postby tiki » Sun, 25 Sep 2005 9:41 am

Just realised my 'two cents' was deleted.

NZ- Drive from the Nth to the Sth Islands.

It is dangerous if you've no experience at all but there are routes you can take if you're a novice. Drop me a note of if you wanna find out more and I can help you out with markers along the way, after all it's the land of my birth.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 25 Sep 2005 11:06 am

oNe wrote:..this coming from the same guy who feels sorry because people are not living enough.


While you are trying you best to be cute/sarcastic, you are not succeeding very well as you lack basic common sense, My lifestyle never put my family directly in physical harms way. Financial harms way either before you even think about going there.

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Postby simchim » Sun, 25 Sep 2005 4:01 pm

Wanderer,

While it is good to listen to cautious comments but I think you must not get discouraged. I am saying this from my own motorhome vacation experience with my family.

I agree with 'beenhere10years' that it does not matter whether you are a Singaporean or not. It is a question of what, where and how you drive. It is wrong to generalize that driving motorhome requires special skills or experience. You don't need to be a "lorry", "bus" or "prime Mover" driver to use all kinds of motorhomes. It depends on the size of vehicle you use and your comfort with the terrain.

We rented a 4-berth motorhome and drove around for two weeks with family in Australia few years back when my youngest kid was just 3 years! It was a fab experience. Just to give you a perspective - if you can handle a large MPV on the road, chances are you will be comfortable in driving a 4-berth motorhome (yes, you can use your class 3 license). Even though it was my first time with a motrhome, it looks less than an hour to get used to maneuvering and handling it. Once on the road, just remember few common sense things...

1. You are driving a heavier/higher vehicle, so mind your speed.
2. You are driving on vacation, not doing a motor rally or body endurance test, so take breaks and avoid driving long distance every day.
3. Your motorhome is not just for driving around...it is meant for camping also, so do take your time to enjoy camping out in nature.

I disagree with sms about Singaporeans being ill equipped. People who get into trouble while driving outside often forget common sense (besides being plain unlucky). If you are not familier with driving on other side of the raod or mountain tarrain, try breaking the icebreaker trip some suitable place in Australia (as beenhere10years suggested).

For my family, the motorhome vacation was one of the best vacations ever. I wish we can do it again. Wonder if someday it becomes possible to do it closer to home (say, in Malaysia or Thailand)!

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Postby oNe » Sun, 25 Sep 2005 5:48 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
oNe wrote:..this coming from the same guy who feels sorry because people are not living enough.


While you are trying you best to be cute/sarcastic, you are not succeeding very well as you lack basic common sense, My lifestyle never put my family directly in physical harms way. Financial harms way either before you even think about going there.


You know what they say about empty vessels. This goes for your other post as well, about having bungee-jumped bla bla and bla.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 25 Sep 2005 8:41 pm

oNe wrote:You know what they say about empty vessels. This goes for your other post as well, about having bungee-jumped bla bla and bla.


I don't know oNe, why don't you tell us what they are saying about you? So far you haven't contributed anything in any of your posts. #-o
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Postby wanderer » Mon, 26 Sep 2005 9:27 pm

Thanks all of you for the many inputs. We have a done a great deal of car driving in many countries and terrains. If the 4-berth motorhome is not all that big in size and I am inclined to try.

tiki...would love to go to New Zealand - it is such a beautiful country! However, looks like it might be better to start with a short motorhome holiday in Australia. Have you done any motorhome trips in Australia?

Anyone else has any motorhome experiences in Australia? Love to hear where you have been and how was the trip?

simchim - many thanks for your excellent sharing. I feel comfortable in going for it. Good to know that regular Class 3 driving license will do. Btw, I found out on internet that motorhome rentals are now available in Thailand and China! Amazing - isn't it? Yep, would be fun if it was available in Malaysia as well.

Cheers,
-W
If you are in a hole, stop digging!!

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Postby dot dot dot » Tue, 27 Sep 2005 10:39 am

Motorhome might be a good idea for Australia, depending on the size it is quite comfortable driving.

In Europe the Dutch are infamous for their idiot summer holidays habits. Us Dutch will take a caravan behind the car and head down to France, Italy and Spain, the caravan stacked with all the Dutch food ('hagelslag' chocolate, peanutbutter and nutella for breakfast and about a 50KG of potatoes), as they will wanna have their own homecooked food.

Driving 70 km/hr on the highways in Germany, everybody hates us for this idiocy. As a result, below is the latest in 'Dutch holidays'...

Image

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Postby Vaucluse » Tue, 27 Sep 2005 3:09 pm

Eric said it all . . . .

Where the Germans are (in)famous for their beachtowel shit, the Dutch are (in)famous for their 'let's not spend a cent and create our little Holland in Germany/FranceItaly' caravans . . .

Aaaargh, the Autoroute Autobahns were/are always blocked with the black on yellow plates . . .


I'd also recommend Australia - start off in Brisbane though, no need to hassle through Sydney or Melbourne and head off - sounds really nice, just take it easy the first few days until you get the feel of the vehicle.

It is true that a few Singaporeans had accidents and died, as well as killed other in NZ recently - here you don't have little country roads and druving a big-arsed campervan is not like a car.

Driving from Christchurch to Wanaka/Queenstown is not something you want to do in one of those things.

Try Oz first, stay up north, and enjoy the freedom.
......................................................

'nuff said Image

wanderer
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Postby wanderer » Sun, 02 Oct 2005 2:15 pm

Thanks folks. So Australia is the place we will try motorhome first. Vaucluse, any pros & cons of going to WA instead of Brisbane? Flights to Perth are cheapest so wonder if it would be worthwhile to try there.

Looks like some of you may have actually used motorhome/caravans.

Love to hear if anyone can share any personal experiences from the motorhome/caravan holiday (s) you have been to. What you liked best and what you didn't? What was most memorable part and what was the most uncomfortable part for you? How did you go about planning your trip? Any tips on things to watch out for kids? I believe it should good fun but just trying to get a first hand feel from those who have already "been there, done that".

Regards,
-W
If you are in a hole, stop digging!!

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Sun, 02 Oct 2005 2:59 pm

wanderer, i'm glad you asked the question. i've never been caravanning either though would like to some day so reading this has been enlightening. think i will want to go with somebody with experience for my first time. maybe you could go with a family that has done this before? it helps no end to have someone tell you beforehand what to expect or to read the road conditions and tell you what to do.

in any case enjoy your holiday!

oNe wrote:..this coming from the same guy who feels sorry because people are not living enough.

and to sms's troll: i think the unspoken and unwritten assumption that any sensible person would make is that 'living enough' requires one to stay alive, hence not to put lives in danger...
:???:

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Postby simchim » Sat, 08 Oct 2005 11:20 pm

Wanderer,

You already have my earlier inputs. Here are some additional suggestions.

- Ensure u rent picnic table & chairs from the motorhome rental guys.
- Check if awning is pre-fitted. Though not a must, awning can be useful.
- Keep some family recreational options on hand. Beach ball, frisbee or just a pack of cards can add considerably to the family fun. We even managed to take bikes onboard our motorhome and that was fantastic!
- If you can avoid peak season, you may not need to pre-book caravan parks. This will give you lot more flexibility and make the overall experience more enjoyable. For me, a truely free and easy schedule is what makes caravanning such a fun thing.

If you or anyone else wants more tips or specific info about caravanning, please feel free to ask. Enjoy your trip!


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