Whether you're stationary or on the move, there are some rules of thumb that motorhome owners need to observe.
We know we have to follow specific regulations when driving our motorhome, but there are also some equally important rules for parking and stopovers.
Here are the Fiat Professional for Recreational Vehicles tips for avoiding mistakes.
Overnight stopovers in a motorhome
If you decide to stop for the night, evaluate the parking area in advance and make sure it’s sufficiently quiet, rather than a meeting place that we may not feel comfortable in. In the latter case, this will leave us time to move elsewhere. Places that are too secluded or isolated, however romantic, are not recommended. Also be careful of places that are too crowded or near to potential sources of disturbance (car parks belonging to nightclubs, stadiums, etc.).
Motorway lay-bys are gradually losing the appeal they once had: increasingly congested and noisy, they are worth considering on a case-by-case basis. It may be preferable to keep driving a few more miles in the direction of a quiet village, where you can find a suitable spot to camp overnight in your Ducato-based motorhome and rest easy without attracting attention.
Of course, when parking we need to avoid causing damage or disturbance to people around us, whether they are campers and motorhome owners in the same parking area, or local residents. If we want to be respected, we must first show respect to others.
Motorhome stopovers on authorised sites
It might sound obvious, but always remember to go slowly when driving and manoeuvring on authorised stopover sites (rest areas, campsites, holiday farms or car parks), for the safety of everyone—especially children who will certainly be present—and to avoid unnecessarily kicking up dust, mud or getting other holidaymakers dirty. Furthermore, if there is sufficient space on arrival, don’t park too closely to other motorhomes, so as to avoid invading others’ privacy and living space.
If appropriate, and provided that the site host allows it, you can hook up to the mains supply to recharge the motorhome’s batteries and use 220-volt appliances (such as a hair dryer).
For this purpose, you will need a three-core cable of sufficient length and some plugs so that you can connect it to the hook-up socket (you can also purchase multi-plugs with adjustable prongs that can be used in many different countries). Important: for safety reasons, avoid makeshift and improvised connections, which can easily cause a short circuit in rainy weather.
You should also keep noise levels down for the sake of your neighbours on the site. In particular, portable generators should be used very sparingly and only when they don’t disturb others nearby.
Non-campsite stopovers in a motorhome
Note that overnight parking other than at approved stopovers or campsites is not permitted in all countries. It is advisable to read up on the regulations in advance and plan your stopovers accordingly: being woken up in the middle of the night by a police officer is not an experience anyone looks forward to!
In countries where non-campsite stopovers are generally permitted (such as in Italy, in accordance with article 185, paragraph 2 of the Highway Code), they may be subject to local or temporary restrictions, or limited to specific categories of vehicle (not motorhomes but, for example, all vehicles over 2.5 tonnes). Therefore, also in this case it is advisable to find out in advance, perhaps by contacting the local law enforcement agency.
Please be reminded that in these places, it is not permitted to use wheel levelling chocks or folding steps, or to leave outward-opening windows or doors open.
Finally, you should try to park your Ducato-based motorhome on a level surface: you will sleep better, there will be no problems with sink or shower drains and the fridge will have the ideal working conditions. If possible, point your vehicle so that the sun never shines directly on the external fridge panels. That way, you can help the fridge to work more effectively.
We hope these Fiat Professional for Recreational Vehicles tips come in useful. Happy parking! And bon voyage, of course!