First sortie abroad

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by Norrie, May 25, 2010.

  1. Norrie

    Norrie Read Only Funster

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    Three adults and two scruffy mutts are going France and Spain for a 3-weeker in June.
    I've toured Europe on a motorbike many times now but this will be our first decent trip since buying the Scout last summer and we're hoping to do the whole thing without advance site bookings - using aires is in the 'plan' too.
    Anyone else tour like that - and any pitfalls?
     
  2. lebesset

    lebesset Read Only Funster

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    have no idea how you will get as far as spain in 3 weeks unless you want to spend 3 weeks driving

    france is no problem to stay anywhere outside big towns , even if aires are full you can overnight in just about any small place as long as you use your discretion...personally I usually don't bother with the aires when travelling except to pop in , empty loo etc
     
  3. tommytli

    tommytli Funster

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    we like to travel the same way:Smile: the only thing we book is the ferry normaly unless we have to be at a certain place we will book a site, we have been lucky so far and not come across any pitfalls, we are heading to croatia again this year and the ferry is the only thing booked:thumb:
     
  4. Norrie

    Norrie Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for that.
    I may be a little optimistic on the mileage front - I based it on us doing Amsterdamned to Perpignan in a day and a half on the bikes, and the motorhome taking only twice that.
    Since we'll have the dogs on board we'll have to use the Dover crossing and stop frequently for them but you're right - I don't want to spend the entire 3 weeks driving (unlike being on the bike when that's exactly what I want to do!).
     
  5. Norrie

    Norrie Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for that.
    So is it advisable to book the ferry, or can you just turn up and queue? Is it the same for the tunnel?
     
  6. chatter

    chatter Read Only Funster

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    its cheaper to plan and book your ferry crossings as a rule, its all i ever book then i sort out campsites if needed dependent on where the days drive has got us. This year im taking a family convoy over to spain and we will use a tent as well, so have made a list of campsites open in late september not too far off the route i am taking.
    I do book a campsite just out of calais for the last 2 nights as this allows us to get the dog seen by a french vet and wormed,flea treatment and pet passport stamped.
     
  7. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    My advice is to stay in France, Spain has few aires and sites are expensive.. and as already said with only three weeks you do you really want to spend a third or more of it driving .. ?

    There are no pitfalls touring France and using aires, it's what we did for eight months in 2008 and we only saw a fraction of it.. simply because it's such a big country with so much to see and do .. and moving on we only ever drove a short distance, sometimes less than 20km.
    There are literally thousands of great aires to enjoy and is the most friendly motorhome country bar none.. :thumb:
     
  8. tommytli

    tommytli Funster

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    im not sure if its the best opion to pre book but my ferry was only £50 return during the school hols
     
  9. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    with jim on that one .you cant find a better place than france, .look for a village go to the church ,you find a carpark normally with clean toilets and water. not enough hours in the day to see alot of france its huge. take the minor routes and relax.
    also stop at a les routierrre restaurants for plat de jour. cheap and so much to eat .you wont be driving after as the more wine you drink the more they bring. all inclusive .sleep in the carpark they dont mind. ha ha .
    got any room for a small one ?wish i was there.
    cheers alan.
     
  10. Freebird

    Freebird Read Only Funster

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    Touring France and Spain

    We've been doing that for the last 10 years, 2 or 3 weeks at a time.

    You can do both in the time but as others have said, you'll be driving a lot. I also agree that you are better off in France. A few years ago I wrote a program to download campsite addresses from a couple of web sites. I ended up with a database of 10,500 in France alone, so you can never be more than a few miles from one.

    Taste in campsites is personal. We like the quiet, natural ones that you get in France. Spanish ones tend to be full of static vans, owned by city living Spaniards who spill out of the towns every weekend. Delightful people but a bit noisy for us Brits. They cover every square inch of their plot with van, awning, shed, tent for the freezer and astro turf. They turn up on a Friday night, open everything up, turn on the telly and the radio, and start shouting above it all, bless 'em.

    I agree - book the ferry. I don't think you can just turn up and drive on. They tend to be full at the most popular times anyway. I think you would only have to book campsites in July and August.

    We are normally in our little Bongo, so we need campsites for all the facilities. We went to France in March this year, and knowing most camp sites are closed until Easter, we hired a bigger van to be independent. I had never really realised how many free aires there are in French towns. Not only that, we got free electricity at a couple.

    Trips are much better unplanned. There seems to always be something to discover in the most unpromising looking places. Have a great holiday
     
  11. Norrie

    Norrie Read Only Funster

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    Thanks to all.:thumb:
    This really is a great site.
     
  12. Norrie

    Norrie Read Only Funster

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    Thanks Jim, I hear what you're saying. Very bike friendly too. Maybe they're just nice people in general....:BigGrin:
     
  13. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Absolutely , and no maybes, I've always found them courteous and helpful if a tad reserved .. considering that they are invaded by armies of Brit motorhomers every year who take up places on their aires. I doubt if the Brits would welcome the French campers with such hospitality ..

    La France est grande :thumb:
     
  14. lebesset

    lebesset Read Only Funster

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    let us be clear about this ..... if you want a sensible price on the ferry you absolutely have to book ahead on the internet ...if you just turn up at the port the price they quote you makes it sound like you want to buy the boat ; often not much less if you phone ! not much you can do about getting ripped off over the dogs though

    off peak hours are much cheaper as you will see , if you arrive late in calais you can just stay in the port with all the other motorhomes [ you just leave , first exit towards the town , round the roundabout back to the port and follow the sign for people with no ticket ]

    arriving late at dover , towards folkstone , second left onto the promenade , free between 6pm and 8 am

    btw , my daughter takes the requisite medication for the dogs , tends to be rip off prices from the french vets , no doubt dog owners here could tell you more
     
  15. allie sommerville

    allie sommerville Read Only Funster

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    I don't think you're being too ambitious in wanting to get down to Spain!

    Our first trip abroad in the 'van took us down through France from Calais, via various stops including Rocamadour and Carcassone, then into Spain via Perpignan.
    We almost circumnavigated Spain - taking in amongst many other places, Barcelona, The Alhambra Granada, Seville, Madrid (well only the Reine Sofia gallery for Picasso's Guernika), Gibraltar, Arcos de la Frontera, Segovia.
    We then stopped a day in Paris on the way back.
    This took us just over 3 weeks - and we weren't driving all the time :thumb:
    Most days we were on a site by late afternoon after a day's sight-seeing.

    As you are experienced travellers already, this should be no problem!
     
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