Hit the Open Road! Our Guide to Touring Europe in a Motorhome
Exploring the highways and byways of the continental landmass is an enticing proposition. One of the best ways to experience this is by touring Europe in a motorhome (or campervan). The continent offers a level of freedom you simply can’t find in the UK. Many adventurers have already paved the way for travellers and explorers of today.
The only problem is that planning the trip can be daunting.
You have to face obstacles such as language barriers, driving on the right, and varying parking rules. But, if you do your homework, the endeavour will be much more enjoyable than scarey.
Here are some tips that will help you head over the channel and have a smooth ride.
The Boring Part: Paperwork
First off, you need to do some spadework, which in this case means paperwork.
Start by gathering all your travel documents. Obtain motorhome insurance for travel in Europe and bring the original certificate with you. Check whether you require an International Driving Permit.
It would also be wise to take health insurance as well. The reason is simple— you don’t want to spend a small fortune on medical treatment and care in a foreign country.
Other documents of interests are:
- Motorhome logbook
- MOT test
- Pet paperwork
- Trailer certification (should you need one)
This somewhat tedious prep stage will help you avoid headaches later. Namely, many motorhome travellers find out the hard way that fines for incorrect paperwork can be hefty.
Tool and Stock Up
The next order of business is stocking the motorhome with essentials, gadgets, and travel kits.
Here is a checklist of some of the things you don’t want to forget:
- Spare motorhome keys
- GB sticker
- Warning triangle
- Mobile phones & chargers
- High-visibility jackets
- Headlight deflectors
- Food and water
- Winter tyres and chains (if you’re travelling during winter)
How much stuff you bring depends on your storage space and the length of the trip.
Moving on, Wi-Fi is a must-consider, as it serves as your gateway to the outside world. For instance, it allows you to identify traffic jams and avoid related hassles. Installing a Wi-Fi dongle should do the trick in terms of speed, convenience, and coverage.
If you need a reservoir of juice, consider buying an inverter or power pack. These gadgets let you stay off the beaten path for longer. Just evaluate your energy appetites to make an educated buying decision.
Plan Your Route Carefully
A bit of spontaneity is always a good thing, but you can’t make important decisions on a whim.
At the very least, you should have a rough route in mind. Grabbing the map and pen is the old-school way to go about this task. But, the beauty of using technology is it helps you steer clear of errors of human judgement.
For example, you can avoid the roads (like tiny lanes) you don’t fit.
So, we would recommend getting proper satellite navigation for your motorhome. You just need to confirm you also have European mapping and you’re good to go.
A more frugal solution is a combo of a smartphone and navigation app. With up-to-date information, you shouldn’t face any trouble.
Bear in mind you can cross the channel by ferry or tunnel. Once you are in continental Europe, the spectrum of choice is as wide as the horizon.
Do realise that some urban areas are low-emission zones or involve congestion charges. That’s the case with Paris, for instance. Research the exact requirements before visiting such areas.
Where to Stay?
Europe is teeming with countless spots where you can pull in for free.
Wild camping opportunities beckon wherever you choose to go. This is a chance to spend some time in pristine nature, under the gleaming nite sky.
One usually doesn’t stay for long in these “unapproved” spots and quickly moves on. Just be careful not to run afoul of local laws and law enforcement. In countries like Italy, wild camping is basically illegal without authorisation from the local police.
Furthermore, you can visit motorhome campsites and caravan parks. They provide various amenities, such as electricity and running water. Some even possess facilities in the form of swimming pools, shops, restaurants, etc.
And the thing is they look very similar to the ones back home. When you show up, you either pick a pitch or you are assigned one. A simple ID is everything you need to gain entry.
Finally, it’s possible to find overnight motorhome parking spots in most countries. They operate on a first-come basis, meaning you can’t book them. Instead, use parking apps (Park4Night is a great one) to pinpoint where they are.
We should also point out most towns in Europe are welcoming to motorhome visitors. They even make provisions to encourage longer stays.
Eyes on the Road
For the most part, the safety and security lie in your hands.
Therefore, you have to stay vigilant behind the wheel. Have faith in technology, but also keep your eyes peeled for road signs and height restrictions. Learn which countries oblige you to switch on your sidelights and daytime lights.
Don’t ever lose sight of how much petrol you have in the tank. Remember some regions have different petrol networks than the ones you’re used to in the UK. Don’t get caught off guard.
Try not to leave your gear unintended to thwart any thieving attempts. In case of an emergency or accident, dial 112 immediately. This number works throughout the continent.
Oh and before you embark, do last-minute vehicle inspection and check-up. Make sure everything is in top shape, including your air conditioning, breaks, and awning. You can also hire a mechanic in case you lack the know-how yourself.
In any event, take precautions and stay on the safe side.
Touring Europe in a Motorhome Done Right
Touring Europe in a motorhome is a way to embrace mobile living at its most awesome.
There is enough culture, nature, and room to last many lifetimes. To maximise your experience though, start planning ahead of time. Heed the practical pieces of advice we offered.
Rely on technology to map out the route. Double-check if you have the equipment, documents, and the essentials you need. Get familiar with the legalities of different countries.
You can stay on busy sites or go off-grid, finding a pocket of peace and quiet just for yourself. Do whatever rocks your boat, as long as it’s safe and legal.
Get in touch with us if you seek motorhome finance options. It’s time to immerse in the great European outdoors.
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Lending £15,000 over 7 years with a representative APR of 6.9%, an annual interest rate of 6.9% (Fixed), would cost £217.57 per month, with a total cost of credit of £3,275.88 and a total amount payable of £18,275.88.
Rates may differ as they are dependent on individual circumstances. Subject to status.