Myself and my girlfriend are leaving sunny england in August to head off to Europe in our camper van for about 3 months. We have joined this site to get as much advice, support and knowledge as possible! We have started to research into routes, countries, and other general travel bits but we believe the best way to get clued up is to talk to people who have done it themselves...so please please get in touch, we have got so many burning questions such as which is the best route to follow if we want to reach as many countries as possible? what to take with us? how much money should we take? and many many more
We look forward to hearing from all you travelling guru's soon!
Scott and Lucy
well ... leaving Sunny England is never a good idea. (I mean if the sun shines, you should take advantage of it , and leave when the weather is bad.)
I think most people here travel light, and use public transport and planes, so it will be harder to get information about travelling with a van, but you need to be aware that in some countries, you need to pay fro using the motorway, some tunnels and some passes.
What is your plan so far? Leaving in August tells me that you should go to the northern parts of the route you want to take, so that you can be in the south (Italy, Spain, Portugal) when the weather there is still nice, and autumn has already begun in the northern parts of Europe. So my advise would be to make a giant circle (as much as possible, anyway), go north first.
Are you planning to go to campingsites, and stay there for a couple of days and then continue? If you do be aware that you need transfers to and from the cities. I am not that aware of big cities that has campinggrounds near to the city.
For the rest it depends a lot on what you guys want to see. Are you going for the big cities, or do you want quiet places to go hiking, the beach, little towns?
we want to reach as many countries as possible
remember put quality above quantity. Europe is not running away, so there is always a new trip in the future.
Where do you want to go to? If i was you i would catch a ferry up to norway, drive across and then head down whilst the weather is still good in the north! What sort of itinerary are you thinking of?
Actually, a camper van is one of the best and cheapest ways to see Europe! We are 16 months into a multi-year, open ended trip around the world and have had a fantastic time thus far all over Europe as well as Turkey, Morocco, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and more. Have a look at our blog on our website ( click on the blog link, then at the bottom you will see the total archives) :
We try to list all the campsites and other places that we have stayed. You can see every city and every important site in Europe by campsite ( and tens of thousands in other places as well). We are a family of 3 and only spent 25 thousand dollars for our first year and could have done it for a lot less as we had MANY splurges and stayed at some fine hotels too ( and some small pensions). There are also many places that one can camp for free in Europe, so you can help your budget that way. If you take ferries ( very easy to do, we took one from Venice to Athens, Barcelona to Rome, Italy to Croatia,Athens to Santorini etc etc) you can save a lot of money ( sleep on deck or take one that lets you camp on board).
It is a GREAT idea to follow the weather...it is not an exact science but go to warmer places in the colder months and cooler places in the hottest months. I would also try to avoid the most visited place during holiday times ( I suppose it depends on when exactly you are leaving in August....things make a drastic change to calm as Sept rolls in). Head for the sun when it starts getting cold and rainy as that takes all the joy out of camping.
And DO take your time.....traveling slow makes it much more enriching. Don't just click off countries, get to know them.
Do you know about motorhome facts? http://www.motorhomefacts.com/ You should be able to get lots of been there, done that advice there. Here is a good article too ( although it applies more to Americans in some ways and not as geared to the Brit): http://www.transitionsabroad.com/publications/magazine/0411/motor_homing_in_europe.shtml
You will have a wonderful time...carpe diem!!
Regarding the motorway thing, as far as I know you'll find tolls in Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Poland and Croatia, while to get into the C.Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland, Austria and Hungary you'll need to buy a vignette which will cost you from 6 euros on, depending on the country and the amount of time you'll spend there. Germany has free motorways.