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Driving a MotorHome throughout Europe?

Travel Forums Europe Driving a MotorHome throughout Europe?

1. Posted by will13 (Full Member, 73 posts) 26 May '07 19:58

I am contemplating buying a cheap old motor home in the UK and from there, driving throughout all of Europe.

What exactly would this involve?

And, is it easy to drive between borders in Europe? How are gas prices over there?

2. Posted by Stockczech (Full Member, 30 posts) 27 May '07 00:04

Don't forget that a motorhome bought in the UK will be right-hand-drive!

Gas will be cheaper in mainland Europe than in the UK, but still more expensive than in the US.

Borders? What borders? Mostly, you will only know that you have gone from one country to the next by a sign at the side of the road.

Sheila

3. Posted by amorphis (Budding Member, 47 posts) 27 May '07 03:01

Discovering Europe by motorhome is a practical way to get a good impression of the cultural and natural variety of our small continent.
Perhaps better buy your vehicle on the mainland instead of in the UK (for reasons Sheila already mentions). Offers you can e.g. find on the site www.marktplaats.nl, a sort of local Dutch Ebay thing.
Gas prices are indeed much higher than in the US, but they vary enormously per country. Eastern Europe is on average cheaper than the west. Worst countries in that respect are Germany, France, Spain and Italy. Between many countries customs offices do indeed not function anymore, but they do still in ex-Yugoslavia and other non-EU countries (e.g. Albania, Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine). Be prepared for possible long delays at border crossings there.
You need (I think) at least 4 weeks to get a good impression of the whole of Europe by motorhome. I hope you will have that much time. Buy some good guides and maps, by the way. Have a pleasant trip!

4. Posted by Dominatrix (Budding Member, 43 posts) 29 May '07 15:43

Quoting amorphis

You need (I think) at least 4 weeks to get a good impression of the whole of Europe by motorhome. I hope you will have that much time. Buy some good guides and maps, by the way. Have a pleasant trip!

And I think that you need at least 2 years to get a good impression of the whole of Europe by motorhome -- especially if you have never been over.

In 3 months minimum you can catche a glimpse of it.

5. Posted by vxmike (Budding Member, 64 posts) 29 May '07 17:53

Will, I think gasoline in mainland Europe will be at least $6/gallon on average from what I can tell. I've been researching this since I'm going to rent a car for a bit on my upcoming European trip. The weak US Dollar doesn't help.

Given the very poor fuel economy of motorhomes this will be a VERY expensive endeavor if you're going solo. Now if you have a group of people to share the fuel cost it might not be a bad idea since you can sleep in the motorhome and save on lodging.

6. Posted by t_maia (Moderator, 3291 posts) 30 May '07 09:27

Having just been on a camping trip with a tent and a bike, I recommend buying an old car and a good tent (from 200 EUR on) instead of a mobile home.

A car is much easier and cheaper to get than a mobile home. You can load all your camping gear into the car and travel around this way. Staying with your car and your tent on a campsite is always cheaper than with a mobile home. (In Italy it usually was about 3 EUR per night cheaper.) A roadworthy car will cost you anything from 2000 EUR on.

I also saw a lot of people leasing cars from Peugot as sort of a long-term rental - you might want to look into this. You can get a fairly small and new car that doesn't use so much fuel this way and can still travel with (almost) the same comfort.

[ Edit: Edited on May 30, 2007, at 10:14 AM by t_maia ]

7. Posted by LittleHote (Inactive, 78 posts) 31 May '07 09:27

Very few motorhomes run on gas. They usually use petrol or diesel, but I'll suppose we'll have to excuse you since you're an American ;).

If I were buying a motorhome, I would spend several weekends chasing adverts and looking at vehicles, to make sure i was getting the right one at the right price. Being on holiday you won't have that luxury, so you'll have to expect to pay over the odds and make a loss when you sell it. Also, as you mention "cheap" and "old", what will you do if it breaks down? Finally, while I'm being horribly negative, you need to check out how you would insure it. I'm just wondering if you could get insurance on a UK (or wherever) registered vehicle and drive it on a foreign driving licence.

If you do decide to stick with the plan, think about which country you will buy and sell in. Somewhere on the continent will bring you the advantage of having the steering wheel on the right side for the majority of countries you'll pass through. On the other hand, the UK has a better developed market structure for secondhand vehicles so the process of buying and selling will be easier. (This last comment is largely based on my experience in Spain. Perhaps there are other countries which are like the UK in this respect.)

I can't help feeling that hiring may be a better and more reliable bet. It may not turn out any more expensive either. On the other hand the suggestion of a car and tent would seem to make sense if you're on a really tight budget. Buy something for a couple of hundred pounds, and if it breaks down, just dump it.

8. Posted by will13 (Full Member, 73 posts) 31 May '07 10:30

Quoting LittleHote

Very few motorhomes run on gas. They usually use petrol or diesel, but I'll suppose we'll have to excuse you since you're an American ;)

I am actually Canadian, you know, it is possible to live in a country other than that of which you are a citizen. But I suppose we'll have to excuse you ignorance since you're Spanish. ;)

9. Posted by pog (Budding Member, 9 posts) 6 Jun '07 04:50

Hey Will,

I'm an Australian that has been living in Manchester in the UK for 12 months. I've bought an old Kombi van (1985) off a friend, and am about to take it around Western Europe for 4 months.

I was able to get insurance and breakdown cover Europe wide, albeit a bit more expensive than normal. This was with an international driving license, although I had an address in the UK to use (which was also handy for registration papers) On top of this we have travel insurance, which all together should help us out of most situations.

I'd suggest getting an old Volvo station wagon (estate) or something similar and a tent and camping. It would give you freedom to go wherever you want, and if you couldn't find a campsite then you could crash in the back of the car. not very comfortable but it's cheap!

As for registering it and insuring it, do you have a friend in the UK who could help you out? It's a bit of a process getting a car registered/insured so i'd allow 2 to 3 weeks.

Anyway, good luck and safe travelling!

Cheers

Ben

10. Posted by majaDK (Budding Member, 20 posts) 19 Jun '07 07:45

hey.

i don't know if this has already been stated, but in a lot of big cities around europe, motor homes are forbidden, so you'd have to leave it outside the city to go in & see it. you also have to take special routes if you're going over mountains & often, during the summer, there are lots of traffic jams!
about the borders: the borders are open, meaning some places there will only be a sign telling you you're crossing into another country, but everywhere in eastern europe, there will be regular borders & you'll need to go through all that jazz to pass into the country & with a motor home, you'd have to wait in the looooooong line of trucks.
a positive side is that in a lot of countries (sadly not all), it's legal to park your motor home in a parking lot & sleep there, but for example here in denmark, you'll have to find a camp site & pay to stay there.
the gas prices, diesel is about 7 DKK & gasoline is about 10 DKK, which is around 2 dollars for gas & well less for diesel, lol! if you want cheap gas, you should head for eastern europe, where as for example italy, well you pay a prty penny for it there.

hope this helped, if not, a little bit. :)

have a great trip & remember you need insurance or you'll be breaking the law in a lot of countries. ;)

[ Edit: Edited on Jun 19, 2007, at 7:45 AM by majaDK ]