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Motorhome 1

For goodness sakes, don't call them 'campers' any more!, the vehicles that are owned by nearly a half a million Germans, are called 'motorhomes'. This actually expresses a double-mobility. Indeed, the residential character of motorhomes is becoming more and more, instead of less, somewhat however, at the expense of being not really suitable for traveling. One solution to the problem would be to take along a smaller vehicle, either 'Piggy-back', drive-in or as a trailer.

By the way, about twice this amount of Germans, prefer to use a caravan. One of the reasons for this is the difference in asking prices, in this part of the world, the average price for a motorhome would be a good bit more than €60.000. You could get a caravan for a great deal less, and the maintenance costs are much lower.

All this is not really worthwhile. If, e.g., someone is still working, one could afford to stay in the best hotels and still save money. Apparently however, there are some retired people, who no longer maintain a household at all and who live permanently in their motorhomes. In this case, the expression 'motorhome' would be more accurate and it takes on a completely different meaning.

So, that's enough about terms and concepts. Why do people go camping anyhow? One thing is certain, during the post-war years in Germany money was scarce. There was even a foreign exchange control and in the beginning, a permit to travel abroad had to be applied for. After that, coach travelling started. This by the way, boomed in the period between the two wars, because of the building of motorways, the coaches could travel much faster.

Then however, starting after 1950, the price was the deciding factor: From Germany to Spain for DM 35, including (soup) meals. That's when motorisation started, whereby, it was the four-wheeler that transported the masses to places like Italy, not the motorcycle. Still of course, with a tent and a supply of tinned food. The event of the folding caravan (see picture 4) passed over the German tourists (at least the west German ones), without them really taking much notice, as soon as they could afford it and the towing vehicles had sufficient torque under the bonnet, they moved straight on to the normal caravan.

For those who know what the handling characteristics of a car and trailer were like at that time, it's not surprising, that for safety reasons alone, the motorhome was being recommended. The desire for comfort was too great, which meant that more space was needed. Fortunately a number of campers simply stay at the same camping place forever, which in turn means, that the question of transporting is only raised twice a year at the most. In the meantime, the caravans of permanent campers are giving way to cottages and even mini-villas. 08/13

Travelling is the real significance of motoring for private individuals.

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