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How Do You Move a Motor Home?

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. What is a Motorhome?
  2. Types of Motorhomes
  3. Class A Motorhomes
  4. Class B Motorhomes
  5. Class C Motorhomes
  6. Truck Campers
  7. Fifth Wheel Trailers
  8. Preparing to Move Your Motorhome
  9. Consult the Owner's Manual
  10. Check Vehicle Weight Limits
  11. Prepare Belongings for Travel
  12. Contact Insurance Providers
  13. Ready Documents and Credentials
  14. U.S Plated Vehicles Abroad
  15. Choosing a Towing Method
  16. Final Thoughts
How Do You Move a Motor Home?

Purchasing a motorhome opens up a world of adventure on the open road. Before you set out on an epic cross-country road trip or an extended tour of Europe, there are some key considerations when moving your new home on wheels.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know, from understanding the different types of motorhomes, properly preparing for travel, obtaining necessary documents, and choosing the best towing method to transport your vehicle safely.

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What is a Motorhome?

A motorhome is a self-propelled recreational vehicle (RV) with living accommodations for travel and camping. Motorhomes come in many shapes and sizes, ranging from compact van conversions to spacious luxury coaches. At its core, a motorhome combines transportation and lodging into one mobile package.

These versatile vehicles can be used for various purposes, from family vacations to full-time RVing. They allow you to travel comfortably with home amenities like sleeping quarters, kitchens, bathrooms, and storage space. You can park and camp anywhere permitted, rather than relying on hotels.

Types of Motorhomes

There are several classifications of motorhomes, categorized by their size and body construction. This will help determine the best vehicle for your needs.

Class A Motorhomes

Class A motorhomes are the largest and most luxurious option, built on a bus chassis. They resemble tour buses in shape and size, typically measuring 24 to 45 feet long. Slide-out extensions create spacious interiors.

More extensive models feature king beds, full bathrooms with showers, washer/dryers, fireplaces, and residential appliances. High-end finishes provide an actual home-like environment. The major downside is the intimidating size when driving and parking. But for over-the-top comfort, Class A motorhomes deliver.

Class B Motorhomes

Class B motorhomes, called camper vans, are the most elegant option. They are converted vans like the Mercedes Sprinter, allowing easy maneuvering on any road. The compact size makes them fuel efficient and well-suited to exploring off the beaten path.

Floorplans creatively optimize small spaces, squeezing in sleeping quarters, kitchenettes, and seating. Though lacking large holding tanks, their adaptability and van-like driving dynamics appeal to adventurous travelers. Upfitting companies like Pleasure-Way offer numerous Class B variations.

Class C Motorhomes

Slotting between Class A and B, Class C motorhomes strike a balance of size and features. Ranging from 20 to 32 feet, Class C motorhomes have an overhang above the cab with a sleeping loft. The built-in bed frees interior space for convertible dinettes, sofa beds, and other amenities.

Though narrower than Class A rigs, the kitchens, bathrooms, and storage capacities are reasonably sized. The smaller footprint makes Class Cs easy to drive for new motorhome owners. Brands like Winnebago, Thor, and Jayco are Class C leaders.

Truck Campers

For maximum versatility, truck campers turn your pickup bed into a mini-RV. Hard or pop-up truck campers can be loaded or removed from the truck bed. Their lightweight and compactness allow you to access areas that larger motorhomes can't. When released, you can use your truck solo.

Though lacking capacity, truck campers offer the freedom to camp off-grid while still being able to handle practical truck tasks. Slide-in and pop-up variations from Lance and Northstar maximize space efficiency.

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Fifth Wheel Trailers

If towing, fifth-wheel trailers are a lighter motorhome alternative. Mounted in the bed of a pickup, these camper trailers connect to the truck via a gooseneck hitch. Their low center of gravity provides stability when towing.

Fifth-wheel layouts mimic larger motorhomes in a towable package, with ample living space and equipment. Setups vary from one-bedroom to four-season models. Brands like Keystone RV push fifth-wheel innovation. Fifth wheels can provide home comforts at motorhome parks once unhitched.

Preparing to Move Your Motorhome

Once you choose the motorhome type that suits your travel lifestyle, preparation is key before embarking on a big trip. Proper planning and packing will ensure a smooth journey to your destination.

Consult the Owner's Manual

The owner's manual provided by your motorhome's manufacturer is the ultimate guidebook to your specific model. Thoroughly read this cover-to-cover to understand the operational guidelines, maintenance requirements, troubleshooting tips, and safety information tailored to your rig.

Pay special attention to the weight limits, tire pressure recommendations, fluid capacities, appliance instructions, and any break-in suggestions.

Follow the manual's directions for your motorhome's first oil change and service intervals. Familiarize yourself with warranty terms as well. Keep the manual accessible in your motorhome at all times for quick reference.

Check Vehicle Weight Limits

Adhering to your motorhome's weight restrictions is critical for safe travel. An overloaded motorhome can experience degraded handling and braking, increased wear, and catastrophic component failures.

Every motorhome has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) - the maximum allowable combined weight of the vehicle, passengers, fluids, and cargo - and individual axle weight limits.

Consult your owner's manual to find weight specs for your exact make and model. You can also call your dealer or manufacturer. Weigh your fully loaded motorhome at a truck scale to avoid exceeding these limits.

Distribute weight evenly, and don't overload one side. Leave a buffer between your actual weight and the GVWR maximums. Passengers, gear, and supplies add up quickly. Check tire inflation pressures when weighed as well.

Prepare Belongings for Travel

Packing and securing cargo properly prevents interior damage and allows you to stay organized on the go. Remove any perishable food from kitchen cabinets and refrigerator to avoid spoilage.

Use luggage racks, bins, and closet storage for clothing and gear. Secure loose items that may shift during transit, like small appliances, dishes, and decorations.

Pack sensible shoes, weather-appropriate clothing, bath items, and electronics needed for your trip. Pack a suitcase with a week's wardrobe for long journeys and replenish as required en route.

Label moving boxes by room for easy unloading at your destination. Avoid overloading drawers and cabinets. Fragile items like framed photos should be carefully wrapped and stowed vertically to prevent cracks.

Contact Insurance Providers

Notify your auto insurance carrier about moving to a motorhome as your primary vehicle. Most standard policies only cover personal RV use for a set number of days annually. Switching to specialty RV insurance provides necessary protection like liability, collision, comprehensive, roadside assistance, and more tailored to motorhomes. Value-added features like vacation liability, full-timer coverage, and Mexico insurance are valuable additions.

If traveling abroad, look into international motorhome insurance to get suitable coverage overseas. This safeguards against risks like vandalism, natural disasters, and liability in foreign countries.

Review policy terms to avoid coverage gaps during international transit. Coordinate timing so policies correctly overlap.

Ready Documents and Credentials

Moving a motorhome domestically and overseas requires various documents to pass inspections and border crossings and comply with local laws.

For European travel, an International Driving Permit (IDP) translates your license into ten languages and is mandated by some countries. Apply through AAA or the American Automobile Touring Alliance. Update vehicle registration and proof of insurance papers as well.

Bring passports, visas, or work permits for all passengers. Kids need written consent from non-present parents. Have campground directories, atlases, and GPS units on hand. Print or download manuals and schematics for appliances. Gather vaccine records, pet paperwork, and supplement prescriptions for long trips.

Obtain temporary import permits where required. Carry the owner's manual, title, and customs forms to prove ownership overseas. Know in advance what documentation applies to your destinations. Leaving home unprepared can derail your travel timeline and budget.

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U.S. Plated Vehicles Abroad

U.S. plated motorhomes driven abroad require temporary import permits, compliance with destination regulations, and locally valid insurance/registration. Confirm your vehicle meets foreign road rules to avoid complications.

Choosing a Towing Method

Choosing the proper towing method is vital to moving your motorhome over long distances. Some options to consider include:

  • Removable Gooseneck Trailer: This specialized trailer allows easy loading and unloading of your motorhome with a detachable gooseneck. Pick a trailer rated for your motorhome's weight and dimensions. Properly securing the vehicle is critical.
  • RGN Trailer: Also called a Removable Gooseneck Trailer, an RGN can safely transport motorhomes and RVs with its gooseneck hitch system. Ensure your trailer's capacity, ramp size, and tie-downs are ideal for your vehicle.
  • Boat Trailer: You can also transport a motorhome using a heavy-duty boat trailer, provided it falls within its weight limits. Consult local regulations on registering and insuring a boat trailer for motorhome towing to stay compliant.

Final Thoughts

Now that you understand what goes into preparing your motorhome for travel, both domestically and abroad, the open road awaits your adventure.

However, transporting such a large vehicle long distances can pose challenges. Consider working with a reliable transportation company like A1 Auto Transport for hassle-free motorhome towing.

As one of the top motorhome shipping services in the country, A1 Auto Transport can quickly handle your transport needs. Their team of experienced drivers uses enclosed trailers specially equipped to haul motorhomes door-to-door safely. You'll enjoy peace of mind knowing your investment is in professional hands.

Get a free quote.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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