Try Before You Buy Free Trial (Part 2)
This story happened on: 29/08/2018
Try Before You Buy Free Trial (Part 2)
This story will only make sense (I hope) if you read “Try Before You Buy Free Trial (Part 1)”.
Part 2 of this story starts a couple of weeks before departure date. I was contacted by Kevin Foulkes, general manager at SwiftGo Motorhome hire in Stockport. He tried ringing me personally but we were away in France for 3 weeks and mobile reception was poor. Kevin then made contact via email and we agreed a start date of 29thAugust 2018, before which I had to forward the following details;
Date of Birth
Driving Licence number
Contact telephone number
Details of any accidents in the past 3 years
I was also made aware that on the day of departure I would also need to bring with me the following;
Driving licence check code(s) – please log on to www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence
2nd proof of identity such as a utility bill or bank statement showing the same address as the driving licence
A Credit or Debit card to facilitate a pre-authorisation security payment of £250. This represents your maximum liability in the event of damage from a collision.
Kevin asked what model of motorhome from their fleet did I prefer. They have 4 options from the Swift range. Select 164 and Select 184 which are essentially campervans, or Escape 664 and Escape 684 which are coach built motorhomes. This provides you with choice relating to bed layout and size of vehicle, type of gearbox and the like. We opted to take the Escape 684 with its fixed double island bed at the rear and a manual gearbox.
The next paragraph of this story should start on 29thAugust, the date we were to start our Motorhome trial week, but it doesn’t. The reason being, that a few days before we were to start the trial I ended up in the A&E department in excruciating pain and unable to walk using my left leg. I was diagnosed with something called a Ruptured Bakers Cyst, which surprised me as tend to avoid the kitchen at all costs? The consultant explained this by telling me Baker was the chap that first diagnosed this build up of fluid at the back of the knee and had nothing whatsoever to do with kitchens and baking (whew). I was sent away with crutches, plus advice to rest the leg and keep it elevated. Whilst multiple drivers seemed to work well in Reach For the Sky, Barbara was not too keen on operating the clutch whilst I changed gear and steered the motorhome, so the planned trip was in jeopardy.
I immediately contacted Kevin at SwiftGo and explained the situation, he was very helpful, understanding and accommodation and with issue swapped our booking to an automatic transmission which I could drive with a dodgy knee.
29thAugust arrived and we drove down to the SwiftGo depot in Stockport, very conveniently located just off Jct 27 of the M60 Motorway. I was still wobbling around like a drunk sailor on a pitching deck but this didn’t seem to worry the reception staff.
The team at SwiftGo could not be any more friendly, helpful and professional. They are distinguishable from other customers and well presented in their clean high vis jackets. On arrival, you enter the clean, tidy and modern waiting room where you are invited to help yourself to the free tea and coffee.
You are then taken through the minimal paperwork, where you show a recent utility bill, your driving licence, and your dvla share code as mentioned earlier. You are then led out to your motorhome in their vast parking area where you will see not only your motorhome, which will be under a year old but also their huge fleet of Swift motorhomes, again all under a year old. (See Pictures below)
We were instantly impressed by the clean condition inside and out of our motorhome. Fully equipped with bedding, towels, outside camping chairs and table, levelling ramps for under the wheels and a wind out awning. The handover included instruction on the heating system, the water system and the appliances in the well appointed kitchen. Outside we were shown the electric hookup cable, the fresh water hose and their respective connection points. In order to get the real impression of what briefing would be given to a complete novice, we deliberately didn’t mention our 6 years caravanning experience. To be fair, even we learned a couple of things about motorhomes that we had not come across in caravanning, so it was a worthwhile exercise.
Briefing over, we were handed the keys and left to get on with loading our clothes etc directly from our car, into the motorhome. We were then able to leave our car safe in the secure compound until our return. We headed out feeling confident because of all the instruction, help and reassurance from the SwiftGo staff.
We highly recommend Try Before You Buy to anyone who just wants to experience a motorhome for a week or two. It is also great for anyone thinking about changing from a caravan to a motorhome, who is a little unsure if it's the transition they wish to make.
This is the end of part two, Please look out for part three which will include our experiences, findings and conclusions.