We are planning a trip to France for the Rugby World Cup in October 2007 and we are looking for some advice from happy travellers that may have done this type of touring previously. We are a group of 3 couples aged between 35 to 50 looking to hire 3 mobile homes. We have looked at hire sites across the UK, France and Germany with mixed results. Rates vary quite a lot but Germany seems cheaper. If you have done this previously please let us know what you liked, disliked, if there were any pitfalls to be warned against or if you planned to go this way but found a different form of travelling better value. We like the option of the camper for the independance and flexibility it will give us. We plan to be travelling the UK, France, Ireland (not in a camper) and other countries in Europe for a period of approx 6 to 7 weeks.
We will look forward to any news you may have that will assit us in making this a trip of a lifetime.
Hi there. I would probably suggest that you buy or hire a car and take a tent with you. You can then choose to stay in the tent in rural areas or stay in hostels in towns and cities. A campervan won't be great in any of the cities as it will be very hard to park (multi storey car parks are a no no, meaning you'll have to park it outside and therfore in a high risk of break in).
Although a tent won't be as comfortable as a campervan you'll find some really wonderful camp sites all over Europe. You can even camp outside places like Paris in reasonably good campsites.
As for the hostel option you can stay in both private rooms and dorm rooms and in the UK there are now over 400 different hostels. Worth having a look at http://www.independenthostelguide.com for the UK, http://www.itnorfolk.co.uk for Norfolk specifically. There are even bigger websites that can give you loads of different hostels around the rest of Europe, I even think there is a link on this website to some of them, just click on Accommodation at the top of the page.
Campervans are very expensive and some companies stick on limited mileage per day that will really cost you a lot of money. You will also find that they will be equipped for the country you hire in, but you'll have to kit them out to meet the safety standards in the other countries you visit, there is no standard between European countries. A car will give you greater flexibility and if you buy it you'll be able to get some money back at the end of your trip.
Personally I would disagree with Jason, unless your budget is very limited. The issues he mentions about different regulations between countries are correct, but would be exactly the same if you went in a car.
He is right to say that campers are more expensive, but the benefit in convenience is overwhelming.
I toured Europe for 8 weeks with partner and 2 kids - with car and large tent. It was bloody hard work. 2 hours to pack up, a drive to wherever, look for a campsite and 2 hours to set up again. Makes for some long, arduous days. You also have to live out of your suitcases or rucksacks for two months. Of course, if you're not planning to move much, it will be fine and is certainly cheaper.
With a motorhome however, you unplug, drive to your destination, plug in and put the kettle on - that's it. We tried it in New Zealand and California and would wholeheartedly recommend it. But it will cost a bit more. And it's a big bonus to unpack just once, and to know where you'll be sleeping every night - on that comfy bed in the back of your van.
I would suggest you buy a few of the motorhome magazines and look out for rental companies. Do you want to hire one here and take it abroad, or hire a LH drive one when you get over the channel?