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Motorhoming Travels in Europe

June 06, 2012

Camping Europe - fun for families!


Motorhoming around Europe is the very best way to see and explore it in my opinion, particularly wonderful if you are traveling Europe as a family or want to get to know Europeans. Why? Cheap, no packing and unpacking, save a bundle on food by cooking most of your own, being outside, living a resort life, have a never ending supply of friends for the kids and fun things to do when not touring like pools, playgrounds, free kids clubs etc..

There are 10,000 -plus campgrounds in Europe, so not a city or site that doesn't have one nearby as it is the preferred budget way to vacation or "holiday" for middle class Europeans. This photo was taken at one of our visits to Vienna, sharing favorite travel toys with two brothers from the UK.

We tend to stay in campgrounds, but one can save even more money by wild camping. If you are outside the high season, even luxury campgrounds can be very cheap like eight euros a night in June or September in Portugal or eleven for Barcelona at the beach, even less for a long stay. Put bikes on the back for even greater freedom and fun like biking the vineyards of Bordeaux!

I love this positve motorhoming Europe article from Transitions Abroad written by a tour guide who has tried every possible way of travel. Cynthia Harriman, author of Taking your Kids to Europe also highly recommends this route for families. Surprisingly, the small space is not that hard to adjust to since you have the outdoors as your living room, and if you go slow, it is also not very expensive for gas as one is usually parked, taking mass transit, bikes, even long ferry rides which saves tremendously.

One of our best decisions on our around-the-world trip as a family, was to buy a small European motorhome that we have used now for 6 years and plan to continue for many more. It's easy and cheap to keep there and gives us a perfect home/vehicle/storage unit for Europe that is also green and sustainable. If you explore our site by places visited, we almost always list the campsites we stayed at.

Here are more tips and articles about the benefits of doing a European road trip:

Camping Europe in a Motorhome

Camping Europe - Best Books

Camping London

Camping Around the World With Kids

Tent Camping in Europe

What Camping in Europe  looks like

Road Trip Europe

RV in Europe: Camping European Style


What else would you like to know about camping in Europe?

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Melissa Read (readontheroad

Yes, motorhome, or what we did, shipped our Toyota over, bought a caravan (trailer), enjoyed it for 2 years then sold it and shipped the car back. So much better to have your own moveable home than staying in hotels or even B&Bs. Both a richer and less stressful experience!

Sonja

In another lifetime, I will do this with my young children. So awesome.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

That is a cool way to do it too @Melissa! You guys were one of our big inspirations..so helpful to know someone else has done it before you begin!!

Sometimes we wished we had a caravan and I know sometimes you wished you had a motorhome. Both similar but different pros and cons.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

You will LOVE it @Sonja..one of our best decisions ever!!

Violeta

Hopefully this won't be a double post as I started commenting and then lost the text.

We have been entertaining the idea of buying a RV for the time when we will eventually be in Europe, for the reasons you listed here, but when we started researching prices we were very surprised what a big investment it would require. We even visited a dealer in the US and looked at various makes and models to get a better idea what we would like, afford etc. But still the prices (to rent or buy) seemed steep. Thus, if you have any information, sites, recommended dealers on this topic, it will be great. The buyback info we found was also not appealing (get half of what you paid for after one year of use) again because of the initial purchase price. I would also love to know more about the nitty gritty details, eg where it is best or possible yo register the motorhome, how much registration and annual fees for insurance would be expected to cost, maintenance expenses, how easy or difficult was to find repair shops when things broke down, etc. Lastly, you once mentioned in a previous post that one can camp in the French vineyards, and I wonder how does one go about finding out in advance which owners would allow that. I can of course think of a lot more questions, but I have bombarded you enough for now. Many thanks and I look forward to your future posts on this topic.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Always interesting comment Violeta..as usual. I will write a post answering this as I am sure you are not the only one and too many words to answer here.

We thought the prices were steep when we first looked to before we bought. BUT it depends greatly on how long you use it and for us, spread out over 6 years and available for MANY more as a home/car/storage unit in Europe, we now think of it as one of our best bargains.


I've also known people who bought second hand in the USA and sold in Europe when done. It is quite easy to sell there and we have been approached by many to buy our RV. I know one person who sold hers on ebay in UK in a few days when she was done.

It should all be even easier for you as you have a European passport ( I believe)which makes things easier.

Also you could look into a caravan ( which is cheaper) and ship your car as Melissa did. They are hard to set up, so not good for fast travel, but the car looks handy. So pros and cons.

Insurance, registration, maintainance, storage have all been very easy for us and cheap.

France Passion is the organization that does the camping in vineyards so google that for more specific info. One buys the pass there ( we have not done that).

Another post coming on this top with more answers! Thanks for the questions!

Violeta

Many thanks for the quick reply. Yes, the issue seems to be how long will we want to use the RV, plus we have family and friends scattered over Europe with whom we can store things and even live with them if so desire. But it is still very tempting because of the camp environment (no struggle for the kids to make friends) and no unpacking for us. Great to know the other expenses have not been high. Thanks again and I look forward to your future posts on this topic.

Ruth  Johnston

how do you manage a 6 year visa? I am 50 yr old single Mum about to head off traveling overseas with 7 year old son on a budget - tips are great but visas seem the issue in Europe and $$ - tips please

jeanne @soultravelers3

Good for you Ruth! We got a long stay retirement visa for Spain ( which was not easy and one has to show lots of money in the bank etc) but that made things easier for sure.

MANY do it without the visas though and that is easier than it looks... with a bit of planning and flexibility.

Some people use places like Andorra or Gibraltar for Spain, but others go to Morocco, Turkey, UK etc

We live very frugally and travel slow ( thus things like gas cost us very little as we are mostly parked and using mass transit, bikes or walking).

We still are wearing many of the basics we started with ( same laptops too) so we are fugal by nature and never waste money.

When we are spending more in one area, we find ways to take short cuts in others.

Common sense, just like at home. Not everyone in Europe is rich, so live like a local.

Make sure you follow the weather, because camping in cold, wet weather gets old quickly.

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