Set off well prepared, arrive relaxed

Checklist for mobile home beginners

What is important and which mistakes are better to avoid

Motorhome travel is booming, especially during the Corona period many people have discovered the appeal of their own four walls on four wheels. But every beginning not only has its magic, but also pitfalls. The motorhome couch reveals what you should look out for in preparation and during the trip.

1. Try it out

Before you embark on the big trip, you should first test travelling in a motorhome: take a smaller tour over a few days and see how you like it. And before you buy a motorhome, it makes sense to travel a few times in a rental motorhome, even if it seems expensive at first. This way you can take your time to find out which model suits you, what your needs are in terms of size and equipment, and what kind of trips you want to use your vehicle for in the future.

2. Driving licence

For motorhomes under 3.5 tonnes, a normal car driving licence, class B, is sufficient. If the motorhome is heavier, class C1 is required. This allows you to drive vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes. If you have the old class 3 driving licence, you may drive motorhomes weighing up to 7.5 tonnes. This size is perfectly adequate for the vast majority of motorhome enthusiasts; larger vehicles are often impractical in narrow cities.

3. Handover

When you rent a motorhome, have the vehicle explained to you in detail and try out all the facilities and functions before you take possession: Electricity connection, fresh and waste water, gas bottle, heating, kitchen, chemo toilet, shower cabin. Ask where it is best to stow what and how to secure the load properly.

4. Preparation

Take time to prepare for your trip. Make a checklist of what you have to do, e.g.: check tyre pressure, fill the water tank, charge the battery on the mains, replace gas bottles, buy groceries, etc.. By the way: only beginners set off with a full fresh water tank. Because every litre of extra load causes unnecessary fuel consumption. Professionals fill the tank only one third full at first. This is enough to wash your hands and use the toilet until you reach your first pitch.

5. Packing and loading

Motorhomes usually have plenty of storage space. Think about a system of what you stow where, then you don't always have to search in all the places. When putting things away, always remember to secure them so that nothing falls off or gets mixed up during the journey. Dishes are usually well stored in rental vehicles, otherwise there are many good storage systems on the market. And another tip: non-slip loading reduces annoying noise from the interior when driving.

Our packing list for the first time


  •     Passport or identity card
  •     Driving licence
  •     Insurance card
  •     Vehicle documents
  •     Health insurance card
  •     Credit cards
  •     Cash, coins for showers and toilets
  •     Emergency telephone numbers

Technical equipment

  •     Mobile phone, tablet, charging cable
  •     Navigation system
  •     CEE power cable, multiple plugs, cable drum, power adapter
  •     Gas adapter for abroad


  •     Plasters, bandages, wound disinfection, medicines for diarrhoea, pain and fever
  •     Sun cream, sunglasses, mosquito repellent


  •     Comfortable clothes, warm jackets for evenings
  •     Rainproof jackets and shoes
  •     Bathing clothes, bathing slippers
  •     Backpack
  •     Sun hat, sunglasses

Sleeping, showers, WC

  •     Pillows, blankets, covers
  •     Towels, bath towels
  •     Handkerchiefs, toilet paper, shower gel, shampoo

Kitchen and household

  •     Tableware made of plastic or melamine, cutlery
  •     Tea and coffee pots made of stainless steel or plastic
  •     Pots, pans, cooking utensils, knives, chopping board
  •     Bottle opener, corkscrew
  •     Washing-up liquid, dishcloths, possibly a second bowl
  •     Hand washing liquid, bin liner, washing line, kitchen roll
  •     Basic foodstuffs, tinned food, drinks
  •     Pocket knife, scissors, candles, lighter, torch, batteries,
  •     Small broom and shovel

For outside

  •     Camping table and chairs
  •     Lamp, lantern
  •     Guy ropes for the awning
  •     Barbecue
  •     Air mattress


  •     Jack
  •     High visibility waistcoats
  •     Warning triangle
  •     Watering can, water bucket
  •     Water hose
  •     Ropes, tension belts
  •     Steps and levelling wedges for level standing
  •     Floor mats
  •     Tape, string, scissors
  •     Work gloves
  •     Chemical for toilet

Make sure that you do not overload. With some models, there is not so much free load capacity left until the maximum weight is reached. Take into account the unladen weight of the vehicle and that of the passengers. In general, the following applies to weight distribution: Heavy loads on the bottom, light loads on the top. The ADAC has created a simple load calculator in the form of an Excel list, you can download it here.

6. Driving

Motorhomes are generally very pleasant to drive. The high seat provides a good overview, and the large side mirrors make it easy to check the correct lane. Driving a motorhome decelerates you, you flow calmly in the flow of traffic.

Practise with your vehicle!

However, it is important that you practise handling the vehicle well before you set off for the first time. Motorhomes have different braking behaviour, a much larger turning circle and different visibility conditions than cars. Therefore, drive to a car park before your first trip and get a feel for your vehicle. Do a few laps in familiar surroundings, manoeuvre with outside help. Pay close attention to the height indications for subways, as well as protruding signs, balconies, prominent roofs and branches. You should repeat the test again when your motorhome is fully loaded.

Calculate your stages generously and take plenty of breaks. Try to reach your destination before sunset, because it takes time to park your vehicle at your destination and put it into living mode.And one more thing: Do not walk around in the motorhome while driving. That is forbidden. Not only the driver and passenger must wear seat belts, but also all other passengers: children as well as dogs. Children also need an age-appropriate seat in the motorhome, which must be fixed correctly. Under no circumstances may passengers lie down for a nap while driving.

7. Camping site or pitch

In most cases, you will park your motorhome on reserved spaces or on campsites. So first think about what you are looking for: Do you want to stay close to the city center or in the countryside? Would you like to go to a restaurant for dinner? Should there be a place to swim? Do your children need a playground? What facilities do you want on your pitch, what can you do without? Standard on all campsites and good motorhome pitches are fresh water supply, waste water disposal, waste containers and power supply. You will find more and more WiFi networks.

In order to find the right parking space for you, there are a number of portals on the Internet on which you can filter by country, region, rating, equipment and many other criteria. We recommend The well-known website is also available as a practical app for mobile phones. It is already preinstalled on the latest Alpine navigation systems.

How you book your pitch depends on you. Some motorhome enthusiasts book their whole trip in advance, others drive to a place spontaneously and then see what's available. Many check the availability of their favourites the night before and then reserve their pitch. For starters, we recommend travelling in Germany or neighbouring countries with a well-developed infrastructure.

Another tip: When you arrive at your pitch, check the sun's path and look for maximum shade for your vehicle.

One of the less pleasant tasks in a motorhome is the disposal of waste water: the so-called grey water from the shower, sink, washbasin, as well as the black water from the toilet. Especially the black water should be emptied frequently to avoid unpleasant odours in the motorhome.

Spending the night on the road?

If you do not want to spend the night on designated sites but on the road, you must observe a number of rules which we have summarised for you in a separate article. For Germany, the following applies in summary: You may generally park your motorhome anywhere where it is not expressly prohibited. According to the StVO, you may sleep there if it serves to "restore your fitness to drive". A normal parking time of ten hours is assumed for this purpose. This means that a night in a motorhome in a car park or on public property is generally permitted. But beware: if you place furniture in front of the car, you risk a fine for wild camping.

8. Departure

Take enough time to tidy up the motorhome and stow and secure all items well. Take your time to check the interior: Are the cupboards, refrigerator and skylights closed? A tour shows whether the power cable is disconnected and the windows and storage space flaps are closed.

9. Cost

The costs of a trip in a rented motorhome depend heavily on the vehicle, the travel period and the rental period. There is a wide range of models and equipment. A small mobile with four beds costs an average of around € 120 per day, a night at the campsite for two adults and two children from € 30. Motorhome parking spaces are cheaper, here the night costs from € 10. Then there are the fuel costs. Depending on the engine, driving behavior and load, smaller motorhomes need 9 to 13 liters of diesel per hundred kilometers.

10. Between trips

If you are deregistered in winter, motorhomes in Germany may not be parked in public parking lots. This is not the only reason why you should secure a parking space on private property or in a garage before buying a mobile home - the mobile home is then also protected from the weather and break-ins there.

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