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What is the difference between a campervan and a motorhome?

Whether you’ve heard the terms ‘motorhome’ and ‘campervan’ used separately or interchangeably, this is an issue that often confuses those new to the motoring world. 

The two vehicles have distinct characteristics, but what’s the difference between a campervan and a motorhome? 

Which vehicle is better for a short-term trip with one other person? If you’re planning a month-long holiday with four family members, why are motorhomes the best choice? Today, Melling Motorhomes is here to clear things up. 

What is a campervan? 

Campervans are self-contained vehicles designed for short-term living. 

Typically, they do not have a divide between the driving cab and the living quarters. With basic washing, cooking and sleeping facilities, most campervans can comfortably accommodate two people. 

If you rent a vehicle like the VW Camper Day Van, you can make use of its flat-screen colour TV, cruise control, air conditioning, two-way fridge freezers and outdoor chairs and tables. They allow for a fair amount of storage space, so travellers aren’t limited in what they can bring for the trip. 

What’s more, if you only hold a standard B1 UK driving licence, you’re already a fully qualified campervan operator! Drivers who passed their test on or after the 1st of January 1997 are legally entitled to operate vehicles up to 3,500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM). 

What are the benefits of campervans? 

1. Easier driving

Campervans, being smaller and more compact than their motorhome counterparts, offer a driving experience closer to a standard vehicle.

Their size makes them more manoeuvrable, easier to park, and generally more accessible to drivers who may not be accustomed to driving larger vehicles.

Whether navigating city streets, winding country roads, or tight camping spots, the campervan provides a less daunting driving experience.

2. Flexibility

If you’re the kind of person who loves spontaneous travelling, campervans will be perfect for your adventurous style. They can tackle anything, from urban areas to remote, off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Plus, if you’re looking for a site where you can spend the night, campervans meet most requirements for size-restricted camping sites. Just ensure your vehicle satisfies the rules before paying for a spot! 

3. Cost-effective

Campervans are a budget-friendly way to see more of the world. 

Due to their smaller size and engine, they consume less fuel and may incur lower ferry charges, tolls, tax, and insurance. 

Campervans can also be less expensive to care for in terms of maintenance and parts. While they may have fewer amenities than motorhomes, they are more suitable for smaller groups prioritising exploration and adventure. 

What is a motorhome? 

Motorhomes, also known as recreational vehicles (or RVs), are built on a truck or bus chassis and provide larger groups of travellers with comfortable, spacious living conditions. 

Unlike campervans, a motorhome’s driving cab and living quarters are two distinct areas. As motorhomes are more suited for long-term trips, this can give passengers a much-needed distinction between their travel area and home environment. 

Larger motorhomes are renowned for their luxury facilities, including showers, stocked kitchens, double beds, upholstered seating and extensive storage space. 

What are the benefits of motorhomes?

1. More beds

Given their larger size, motorhomes inherently come with more sleeping arrangements. They’re perfect for piling groups of friends and family into one place and setting off on the open road. 

Whether single, double or bunk beds, motorhomes offer room for all. Each passenger will have their own dedicated space to relax after a long day of adventuring. 

2. Take pets! 

Some motorhomes are pet-friendly! 

For example, you can rent the 5-berth Autoroller 747 at Melling Motorhomes. This spacious, 5-berth vehicle has more than enough space to accommodate your furry friend. 

So long as you keep them restrained while you’re on the move, your pet can indulge in the benefits of your motorhome experience, too. 

3. Luxurious facilities 

Motorhomes and luxury go hand-in-hand. From fully-equipped kitchens and spacious living areas to private bathrooms with showers and toilets, motorhomes provide an unmatched level of comfort.

In a vehicle like the Zefiro 675, you can cook your own meals, relax in a comfortable and private space, and enjoy the conveniences of home. 

Which is better: campervans or motorhomes?

So, who comes out on top? Truthfully, it all depends on the kind of traveller you are.

Busy bees who love short weekend getaways to the countryside will benefit most from a campervan. They’re affordable, compact and afford greater flexibility on spontaneous road trips. 

But large groups setting off for a fortnight of fun would feel much more comfortable in a motorhome. They’re more suitable for long-term trips with a diverse selection of berths and cutting-edge facilities. 

To learn more about the kinds of vehicles we offer, visit our website and browse our collection of luxury motorhomes and campervans! Check out our 2-berth, 4-berth, 5-berth and 6-berth vehicles.