Making Motorhoming in Europe easy with Hey Campers
Customers often ask us about motorhoming in Europe and whether it’s easy to do and something we recommend. And yes, absolutely it is! In January and February this year we chased the winter sun, spending a glorious seven weeks living (and working) in Bentley, whilst travelling into Spain and then across to Portugal and back through France.
Our top tips for motorhoming in Europe
1. Mind the rules…
2. Plan, plan, plan
As the saying goes ‘By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.’ So, the same sentiment should be followed when motorhoming in Europe.
We’re not suggesting every element of your trip should be planned down to the last second, but having an idea of where you’re going, what your budget is and how far that will stretch in some locations plus making some decisions on navigation options, will make for a smoother journey.
With COVID still disrupting the travel sector, getting your ferry crossing booked well in advance and arriving early to board, is a necessity. A quick tip for anyone struggling to find their sea legs, is to pack anti-sickness pills for the crossing. We travelled on an overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Santander, which took around 30 hours. Whilst there were loads of great facilities on board and we had a lovely and well-equipped cabin, it was a very choppy journey that left us feeling a little queasy!
If you are planning to buy anything special for your trip then our advice is to get a European roadmap to keep in the glove compartment. Whether you intend to use it or not, it may just be a godsend when the signal drops as you drive through rural France!
Also, getting a campsite booked for your first night or few nights stay is sensible – this gives you a base to work from and will be a well-deserved resting spot after travelling. We found the Park4night and Search4sites apps invaluable – they’re just a couple of pounds to download and are great for identifying sites and wild camping spots.
If you decide to travel in the low-season (November- March) get an ACSI card – this provides a discount of up to 60% at over 3,000 campsites in 21 European countries, during the quieter months.
3. Country entry requirements and health
Before arriving in a European country, it’s essential to familiarise yourself with the local government’s COVID entry rules and ensure you have the mandatory paperwork downloaded and to hand. For example, when entering France, anyone over the age of 12 must provide proof of vaccination status and complete an EU-PLF form. The best port of call is to visit the Gov.uk foreign travel advice page for more information.
If you still have an in-date EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) it is valid to use within the EU until it expires. If you don’t, you can apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which lets you access reduced cost or sometimes free, state healthcare. It is by no means a substitute for health insurance, so make sure you have sufficient cover, which includes overseas driving.
4. Driving abroad
Motorhoming in Europe is a real treat – there are so many wonderful locations to travel to and through, with the open road awaiting your adventure. However, switching from driving in the left lane to the right in a right-hand vehicle, particularly in a motorhome, can take some getting used to.
Getting off the ferry can feel like a scene from Wacky Races, with all the expectant drivers around you speeding off in all directions, so it’s important not to get too carried away with the excitement and remember it’s ok to take your time.
Before starting off on a long journey, pull over and check a few things. Do you need to adjust your mirrors? Do you have enough fuel? Have you adjusted your headlights? Do you have plenty of drinks and snacks for your journey ahead? Have you planned your route and given yourself enough time to get to your chosen location? Are you ready?
Taking the time to prepare before hitting the gas may seem like unnecessary dawdling but it can set a calm tone for your journey.
5. Picking the best sites for your holiday
Whilst it might seem like there is a lot to remember when motorhoming in Europe, the most important thing is to have fun. On our travels this winter we found some beautiful campsites and wild camping spots.
We enjoyed a mix of locations – sometimes we parked just on the edge of the road for a quick overnighter and then later would choose something more comprehensive that had better facilities for emptying our grey waste (the shower and sink water) and black waste (the toilet cassette) and getting on top of our clothes washing.
With wild camping we found you get to wake up with a view, park near towns for a night out and let your sense of adventure run free. Campsites are a good option if you want to leave the motorhome in a safe place while you go off to explore and as an added bonus, they often have a bar and restaurant on site. The standard of facilities and customer service varies, so read reviews before you go! RV parks generally have good facilities, but some don’t allow you to set up chairs and tables outside your van or cook outside, so check the rules before you arrive.
Campsites can massively vary in price, based on seasonality and facilities, so if there is somewhere you’re desperate to visit we’d also suggest getting something booked, in advance.
If you are thinking of motorhoming in Europe or in the UK, then choosing luxury motorhome hire through Hey Campers gives added peace of mind.
Anyone who is nervous about taking a motorhome break can also join one of Hey Campers’ forthcoming escorted tours. These include Stratford-upon-Avon in September, Spain in January 2023 and Scotland in spring 2023.