The fact that Europeans love to camp has made it a caravan trippers heaven. There are camping grounds everywhere which may range from resorts with tennis, swimming pools and restaurants to more rustic campgrounds with fewer amenities. Almost all European campgrounds have basic necessities such as showers, dishwashing facilities, electrical hook ups and chemical toilets.
So if you are planning a caravan trip to Europe, here are 10 things to think about with planning your adventure:
It shall be wise to have an idea of the cost of the trip by adding the cost of the caravan (less the buyback price or resale price), campground fees, registration, insurance of the caravan and gas, getting the caravan serviced at a place like National.co.uk beforehand. When I explored Europe at leisure in around 245 days and approximately 16500 kilometers, the estimated cost of gas was around 1,678 Euros, insurance costs were 1,452 Euros and registration put me down by another 932 Euros. Campgrounds charged an average of 15 Euros per adult per night for electric hookup and ground. Additional cost per adult was around 5-8 Euros per night and 3-4 Euros per child.
2. Buy Maps
As a part of your preparations, catch hold of a map or two of the areas you intend covering in your caravan. Most tourists rely on Michelin Maps for almost every European country however it is recommended that you use the atlas by Geo Center Euro Atlas to navigate through Scandinavian countries.
3. Learn from others
Caravanning has created a unique community all its own – search for other travelers’ stories, tips, routes and advice to help shape your own trip and connect with like-minded caravaners.
4. Have an electric heater
You would certainly have a propane tank with you to keep you warm in those chilly nights but it is still recommended that you carry an electric heater that can be plugged in the camping ground to save you some propane.
Will you be using cards or cash? What do you expect expenses to be like? And always make sure to factor in surprise or unexpected costs – you never know what the road will throw your way! One way to guarantee that you won’t be short on cash on your trip is to open up a line of credit for emergency use. For example, if you are a homeowner you might consider opening a home equity line of credit that you can access should your cash run out. However you decide to finance your trip, make sure you aren’t caught overseas without enough money to get by.
What electronics and gadgets will you take with you? Most campsites have WiFi connectivity besides a number of stores that provide internet access allowing you the ability to remain online all the time while in Europe.
Make sure you have a few good books on caravanning in Europe accompanying you. A few suggestions include David Shore and Patty Campbell’s, “Europe by Van and Motorhome” and Mike and Terri Church’s “Traveler’s Guide to European Camping”.
8. ASCI DVD and ASCI Camping Card
It shall be wise to travel with a laptop so that you can make use of the ASCI DVD. For all those travelling in low season, an ASCI Camping Card is a must-carry item since it allows you to get discounts at campsites.
9. Know standard phrases for other countries
It is beneficial to have a cursory knowledge of the basic phrases used in European countries. Can you survive without Thank You, Sorry and Excuse Me?
10. Follow popular caravanning circuits
Those who wish to have a short road trip of around a week can plan to have a circular tour of France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany. This trip of culinary countries will include Bruges, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf and Lille. This circuit is a must for all beer and chocolate enthusiasts. Make sure you have enough space in your caravan to bring some of it back for your folks at home.
Another good route is to head through France to Pamplona in Spain to witness the running bulls in July beginning. From there head toward Lagos in Portugal which is known for surf waves and sandy beaches. If you are an adventurous lot of campers, head to Morocco and then drive around the Mediterranean to Italy and Croatia. Finally make a move to Germany in October for Oktoberfest.
Europe is undoubtedly a paradise for anyone who plans to explore it in a caravan. Europeans being a friendly lot of people, socialize pretty easily even with language being a barrier. You will be amazed to see how kids communicate without talking with body language alone. Expect to be invited to a glass of wine at the campground by fellow caravan trippers.