First Trip To Europe Any Thoughts

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Dubiousp, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. Dubiousp

    Dubiousp Read Only Funster

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    Well now had three nice weekend trips with our van, keen now to try something further a field Europe.

    Ive only ever driven in France with a car so not sure how to approach the trip. Do I take the plunge and take a ferry say to Sandander or similar drive through Spain then France and ferry back from France

    Or may be do a short break to France Eurotunnel or something ??

    Ive bought the ACSI books and sort of tryed to bring a trip together,

    Looking for any advice
     
  2. Phill D

    Phill D

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    Just GO and do what you feel is right for you day by day. driving is no problem just take it easy until your in the swing, which will be after a very short time.

    most important enjoy ...:thumb:
     
  3. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    DO NOT GO straight to Spain... !!
    Go to France. first and experience the aires and campsites..It will give you a good insite as to what motorhoming is all about...
    Maybe turn right at Calais and just try the Normandy coast as a taster..
    However it does all depend on what time of year you are thinking of going..?
     
  4. Dubiousp

    Dubiousp Read Only Funster

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    Im thinking before the end of September for the first trip so Calais and right sounds like a start to the plan
     
  5. lorger

    lorger Funster

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    Hi I would just book your ferry or tunnel and then head where you want dont make to many plans then you cant break them. I would also buy the all the aires book for France this will give you a list of thousands of aires that you can stay for a night or two they range from a basic car park to lovely little secluded pitches. Everyone is different loads free and other have small charges depending on what facilities they have. An example we stayed at one in Hornfluer 10euro a night and this included hook up and we have stayed in others with hook up for as little as 4 euro.
     
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  6. iandsm

    iandsm Funster

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    ACSI

    Eurotunnel, usually fast and efficient and normally let on an earlier train. ACSI sites are great value, and if you need to use laundry facilities or you want a swimming pool. they are brilliant. We stick to aires most of the time and you would do well to buy the "all the aires in France" book, an invaluable guide with descriptions and photographs.

    Best advice is, don't book anything, just plan a rough route to a location you want to visit and use the aires on the way. You will find that some are great for just an overnight stop, others are great for a few days if you want to explore the local area. Do not stop overnight on motorway aires, you may be liable to travelling thieves, Official town aires are usually much safer because of their locations and you should always take a good look round before you decide to stop. If you feel comfortable and there are some other motorhomers you will be fine, but if in doubt just move on. It's probably best to limit yourself to say 2/3 hours driving a day and don't rush.

    Don't worry about not booking you will always find somewhere to stop but it's a good idea to pick two or three aires in close proximity just to be sure that if one is full you can go to the other.

    Buy diesel at supermarkets not main road filling stations as the difference can be a lot. Buy bread at the local boulangere, use local street markets for great quality produce but don't expect it to be cheap. Markets in the UK are usually a cheap option but this is not the case in France, there a market consists of mobile shops. Good quality but not cheap.

    Of particular importance is to learn and use a few French words and phrases. Please, thank you etc. and then try to learn a new one each day. learn to ask, "did I say that right" or "Was my french correct" and always ask, they usually enjoy correcting you and you tnd to learn faster that way. It doesn't matter if you don't get it right, the French will love you for trying and generally go out of their way to help. You can get very goo iPhone or Android translation apps and one of the best learning guides in the BBC languages website, an enjoyable course you leant t your own pace, and it's free.

    You will have a great time.:Smile:
     
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  7. Dubiousp

    Dubiousp Read Only Funster

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    Well some excellent pointers thankyou, I think im going to enjoy this
     
  8. WynandJean

    WynandJean Funster

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    I've transcribed this from a previous thread:
    I have to agree with all that has been said. It's much better across the channel, less traffic, less 'rip off' ,beautiful countryside and villages. We stay on Aires more than caravan sites - much more practical. Driving on the right isn't a real problem and doesn't take long to adjust to it. I think the biggest barrier is fear of the unknown but once you do it you won't regret it. Recently booked ferry Dover - Dunkirk for £39 via Caravan Club if that helps with an idea of cost (we'll book a return sailing when ready to come home rather than worrying about a schedule)


    It is really easy to go as you please touring from town to town as the mood takes you. It's what motorhomes are made for!


    Bear in mind that you will need to make allowance for the fact that supplies of bottled gas abroad are different from one country to another. You won't get Calor gas so will need to get a French gas bottle AND regulator. We use one of these:

    http://www.butagaz.fr/Solutions-Buta...be-butane.aspx

    and find them very convenient. You can get your gas at the petrol stations (usually at most supermarkets).

    Wyn
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012
  9. Dubiousp

    Dubiousp Read Only Funster

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    An interesting point is gas many thanks for the point, i did look at the refillable system but to be honest for the initial try its probally worth using the regulator.
     
  10. mikebeaches

    mikebeaches Funster

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    It is a good point about the gas. We generally go to France in September for about 3 weeks. We tend to stay on aires when travelling, but also stay on campsites too in the area we're visiting (ACSI mostly). The advantage of staying on sites is that you can run your fridge on the hook-up. And possibly use other electrical equipment to save gas too - travel kettle, hot plate, remoska etc. Even a fan heater, though shouldn't really be necessary in September, especially if you head south.

    Our van only has space for one gas bottle in the gas locker - and we just take a full 6kg Calor lite, which lasts us with no problem. We do have a small back-up cylinder just in case, but have never needed to use it.

    If you've got space for two gas bottles and make sure they're both full when you leave home, I reckon you shouldn't have a problem if you mix aires and campsites. Saves the hassle of messing with different regulators and French gas bottles. Just a suggestion. :thumb:
     
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  11. MHVirgins

    MHVirgins

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    We are also planning to go to France for the whole of September, but this will be our first trip abroad with the mh, so we're not too sure about the gas etc. Will just go with two full bottles and that should be ok for the month.
    By the time we get back we will have learned a lot for the next time round:Laughing:

    We have the Aires book, so are really looking forward to having a relaxing break in Normandy and Brittany and just chilling out.

    We will either sail from Portsmouth to Le Havre or Plymouth to Roscoff with LD Lines. We have family to visit in the Portsmouth area first of all and then will decide which route to do, however, we phoned LD Lines recently and they advised us to book in advance and not just turn up on the day. In fact, the operator at LD Lines suggested booking up 2 months in advance as they get a lot of freight.
    Bill
     
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  12. Dubiousp

    Dubiousp Read Only Funster

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    Some very useful information, I'm really looking forward to this. It seems Normandy is the place to start
     
  13. mike mcglynn

    mike mcglynn Funster Life Member

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    Europe trip

    Hi,make sure that you are well insured for breakdown and recovery I speak from personal experience :Angry:And yes France Normandy was lovely and I want to go back and try another 3 weeks next year :Smile:
     
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  14. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    Bill & Dubiousp....Depending on what size your bottles are , also the weather, are you stopping on Campsites or Aires, how do you use your gas..do you cook a lot or eat out, do you have the heating on a lot for warmth or for hot water... and depending on the size of van, what heating you have on board....example, some heating is gas/electric,some gas only, some have fridge and freezers some have just fridge,

    Do you have these size bottles,
    For a month in France with normal to good warm weather

    Campsites only.. 2 x 13kg YES..2 x 11kg YES..11kg + 6kg Yes ..2 x 6kg MmmYES..6kg No

    Campsite/Aires 2 x 13kg YES....2 x 11kg YES...11kg + 6kg Yes ...2 x 6kg MmmYES...6kg NO

    Aires only 2 x 13kg YES....2 x 11kg YES...11kg + 6kg Mmm maybe....2 x 6kg NO....6kg NO

    .

    This figures above are for normal use, from our own personal use and experiance ..when we had the 6.8 Mclouis motorhome......others may be different

    Now our new RAPIDO things are different..11kg last's 1 week Aires only on normal use... others may be different

    Also if you have the Butane Pigtail connection NUT/internal thread that couples to the gas bottle.(Blue bottle in the UK)...........That will work on all French gas bottles Propane / Butane...
    I have just done this for another Funster motorhomer....given him one of our French bottles to refill ....he already had the butane connections on the van,...so you could carry a spare butane pigtail or an adaptor to convert your propane to Butane pigtail as a last resort buy a French bottle if needed...I think the cube is another that can be exchanged over here in France ..but they work out more expensive..But Hey you would have gas...or the other route is refillables.
    How long is a piece of string.....springs to mind...so just use the above as a guide only..everybody and there use of gas are different
    Mel
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
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  15. joner8888

    joner8888 Read Only Funster

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    Passports, full gas bottles , hose pipe connections, ehu connector, map, satnav, pile of Euros, ferry ticket , insurance/breakdown cover, Google translate on phone app, sunglasses ---GO!:thumb:
     
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  16. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    If you come over and you go on Aires....Pick up some Jettons for the different types Bornes on Aires.
    Jettons are used on the Bornes... these are a coin of a set size...may have grooves on the face...for you to pick up Fresh water ,and also for the use of 1 but up 4 hours electric if needed
     
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  17. Roaminoff

    Roaminoff

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    Well done you. You will have loads of fun. Which area do you come from in UK?much depends on ferries in your area.
     
  18. maggio

    maggio Read Only Funster

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    Some thoughts

    Hi, whilst we dont have a great deal of experience of motorcamping, we have spent a number of years in France camping/caravanning. In general; the french aires are excellent, particularly given that many offer free facilities (water, wc emptying) wild camping is generally safe and tolerated. The book All of the French Aires, although written in French is self explanatory and indicates all of the free aires in France. I would recommend you get a copy! We have just returned from a 16 day break having spent 26 euros in total. Depending on your route, the A75 south of clermont to the south coast is useful given that it is toll free.
    Not wishing to raise any contentious issues, here are a few facts about the french you may like to consider (based on living, working and socialising with the French).
    During July and August the qualitity of the french holiday maker is different; by that i mean far more selfish than normal. As long as they are ok, bugger everyone else!! Although polite and seemingly helpful they are very much for themselves. It is very unlikely that you will be offered "aperos" or a social drinkie poos by a French motorcamper on tour. So dont expect social evenings with the french!! Businesses love the english whilst the wallet is open!! It is prob the same the world over but it appears more obvious here. When you visit an aire, Park exactly where you want, because if you dont, someone else will!! If you can avoid aires that are NOT in anyway associated with a campsite you will do better; We turned up at one on the swiss border to be charged 16 euros to be crammed into the carpark outside the campsite (normally used by night time late returners to the campsite). Needless to say we didnt stop; I general where Aires share campsite facilities you will "get your pants pulled down over the price and or facilities" Campsites will invariably charge for EVERYTHING. Pure greed would be an understatement!! It wouldnt be fair if the Dutch fraternity didnt get a brief mention; Second to the English, they are generally friendly and english speaking but unlike the english beware of offering hospitality. The Dutch will take what ever is going for free. For us, the english, no matter what time of the year, are the most sociable, helpful and thoughtful people to be around. Welcome to france!!!:Smile:
     
  19. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    I have motorhomed in France for many, many years so I think I know what I am talking about...

    1. Remember you are British. Maintain a stiff upper lip and a superior attitude at all times.

    2. If the natives don't understand you when you are giving them orders (in English of course), be considerate to their needs. Talk slower and louder to help them understand.

    3. If they don't seem to give you the respect you deserve mention key French words such as "Agincourt" and "Trafalgar." That should help.

    4. Take loads of decent British food with you... sausages, bacon, beans, sliced bread wrapped in plastic, proper processed cheese (again in plastic)... France only seems have tasty cheese rather than the delicious bland kind we Brits like.

    5. If you are stopped by the police and asked for things like yellow jackets, triangles and breathalizer kits do what the locals do... look confused, shrug your shoulders and grunt a little. That should sort it out... :thumb:

    OUCH!

    Sorry... got to go now... I just got a severe slap... :Sad:

    JJ :Cool:

     
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  20. joner8888

    joner8888 Read Only Funster

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    Help ! If feels like i am going off to war ,not on holliday :Eeek::Rofl1:
     
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