A motorhome holiday in the UK is one of the best ways to see the country at your own pace, setting your own itinerary and routes. Its best to plan ahead to make sure that all your papers and documentation are in order, and that you’re prepared to handle the UK rules of the road, which may be different from your country. You also want to make sure that your driving license is valid for driving the kind of motor home you want to rent.
Once you’ve tried the motor home lifestyle, you may just find that you’re hooked, and want to buy your own. You’ll find a wide range of styles available at OaktreeMotorhomes, and you can plenty of good advice on all aspects of ownership and travel as well.
I Use My Non-UK Licence to Drive a Motorhome?
The answer varies a little for different types of vehicles and licences. The situation is also complicated by the fact that the consequences of Brexit if it happens, are not clear at this point. If your licence is from Northern Ireland, the European Union or European Economic Area, you can drive any kind of vehicle that is listed on your licence in the UK.
For all other countries, and also for licences issued in Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man, you can use your own driving licence in the UK for up to 12 months from the day of your last entry into the country. But it can be used only to drive the types of vehicles listed on your licence. If your licence is valid to drive cars, you can drive motor homes in the UK, provided they fall within the specified weight limitations, specified below.
Will I Need an International Driver’s Permit?
an international Drivers Permit is not a licence but a translation of your own licence into foreign languages. Many travellers find it useful since it helps in dealing with police or courts in any traffic-related situations. It must be emphasized that the IDP is not valid on its own but it must be accompanied by your own valid driving licence. In general, if your licence is in a language other than English, it’s a good idea to get an IDP.
You will also need one if you plan to cross the channel via Le Shuttle or the ferry. Some vehicle rental and insurance companies may also require an IDP. Another set of cautions regarding IDPs is about fakes. There are all kinds of online scams, and you can only get a genuine IDP from the national motoring organization in your own county. In the US, that would be the American Automobile Association or AAA.
are there Any Weight and Size Restrictions?
Your driving licence is valid for driving the type of small vehicles listed on it, such as cars and motorcycles. If your licence is valid for driving cars, you should be able to rent a motorhome, provided it meets certain weight restrictions.
Motorhomes with a maximum permissible mass or MAM of up to 3500kg can be driven on a licence valid for cars. MAM includes the weight of all your belongings and supplies and refers to the total load the vehicle can safely carry. MAM is also known as gross vehicle weight (GVW) or permissible maximum weight and will be listed on the vehicle owners manual. It should also be shown on a sticker attached to the vehicle.
Most smaller motorhomes fit in this category and can be driven on a car licence. There are some things you should know about how motorhomes handle on the road, and we’ll talk about them below.
how do Motorhomes Handle on the Road?
Most motorhomes handle like cars and are not difficult to drive. They accelerate like cars too. US drivers should note that nearly all motor homes in Europe have a manual transmission, which may take some getting used to, for those accustomed to automatic gear changes. In general, you should take the same care in driving a motor home as you would when driving any vehicle in a new country for the first time.
Many drivers will need to get used to the rules of the road in the UK, such as driving on the left. It can be important to set up the mirrors and the driving seat correctly and maybe worthwhile to spend some time getting used to the vehicle in a parking lot or practice area. Make sure you know where the blind spots are in your vehicle.
While you can start your rental directly from the airport, it’s not a good idea to drive when you are jet-lagged. Give yourself a day to recover.
Once you’re sure all your paperwork is in order, and you’ve mastered the handling of your motorhome, you’re ready to take the show on the road. Happy travelling!