First visit to the Continent

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by nic, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. nic

    nic Read Only Funster

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    I am venturing abroad for the first time (in fact it is my first serious camping trip off the Island)

    I have a couple of questions that I have tried to google the answers to and have got confused.

    EHU on the Continent;

    Is there more than one type of adapter for the continent, I have seen references to the Schuku but am not sure where in Europe these are being used ?

    Assuming I get a polarity tester how do use it, do I plug the Schuku adapter into the socket at the campsite then use a uk ehu to 13 amp socket convertor then plug my tester into that, if it is ok I replace the UK EHU to 13 amp socket adaptor with my cable that feeds the motorhome ?

    if it fails can the Schuku be inserted upside down to reverse the polarity? google images of the Schuku do not appear to showed it keyed in any way ?

    if not that is not the case then I assume I will need a small crossover cable to reverse the polarity ?

    Question No 2 :Smile:

    Is there a checklist for camping abroad, I guess I am looking for a list containing foregn stuff and items that I may not usually have for my normal weekend camping, eg international driving permit, green card, log book, insurance, EHU adaptor etc rather than stuff like corkscrew,( this should already be in the can as its not UK specific !)

    Hope you can help and thanks in advance :)
     
  2. JayDee

    JayDee Funster

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    Hello Nic,

    You've come to the right place for answers (though not always the ones you would prefer (but that's what friends are for, ain't it?))

    As far as I know, the majority of continental sockets are the 'Euro-plug' (the round blue keyed three pin affair, same as we use in UK; but I know there are different sockets out there (I just haven't come across any in the last half dozen years or so). Never heard of a Schuku - I'm sure somebody else will give you better answers.

    For a few quid a plug-in polarity tester - for example [ame]http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mains-Polarity-Tester-240-volt/dp/B002QW3SL8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=diy&qid=1264090549&sr=8-1[/ame] but there are other makes. Simply hook up to the EHU and plug one of these devices into one of you 13 amp sockets in the van. If all the lights show (if that's how your particular model works) then everything is fine. If not then you will need to correct it. A reverse polarity link (mine is home made) will sort out reverse polarity (yeah really :Doh:).

    What do you need when driving on the continent?
    Let's start with insurance and breakdown cover. Does your insurance cover you for driving abroad. If so what are the limitations (countries, duration, etc.). Does your breakdown cover work abroad? Any limitations on it? Does it cover glass? Most insurances incorporate a Green Card. You driving license is a EU recognised license. Outside EU might need an IDP. You will be expected to have your ownership and insurance documents available for inspection. Tell your insurance company where you plan to go.

    Your vehicle will need it's headlights modified with stick-on beam benders (a few quid at Halfords) or masking of the 'dip-to-the-left' portion of the headlamp glass (depends on the age of the vehicle). If your gross weight exceeds 3.5 tonnes you will need speed stickers on the back in some EU countries (but not UK). In France (and some others) you will need a high vis jacket for each occupant, readily available for donning without exiting the vehicle. If you wear glasses to drive, you will need a second pair in Spain. You will need a full replacement bulb kit appropriate to your vehicle. You will need a warning triangle (two in Spain) and unlike the UK where you are not allowed to put them out on motorways, on the continent you must (I think it is 50 metres, but I could be wrong). If you're driving in snow you may need to have snow chains to use some roads.

    You will need to have up to date E111 cards to cover medical costs that you may incur. Your passports will need to be up to date. It is probably a good idea to advise your credit card company that your going abroad - they stopped my daughters card when she was in France "just in case" - damned nearly stranded her in Paris!:Eeek:

    What else? 2010 ACSI card will give significant out-of-season discounts on a good selection of sites in Europe. You buy the book (£11.50) and the card is part of the cover. As a seperate item the ACSI DVD (£11.99) is very good for camp sites and includes the discount sites, but without the card (buy the book) you can't get the discount. Good maps are essential. Rough guides have their uses. Don't forget to set up your mobiles for roaming otherwise you won't be able to pick up any voicemail.

    Be aware of your weight limits. Do Not exceed your gross weight. Monsieur Gendarme or Senor Guardia will be under-amused. Load up and take it to a weigh bridge before you go.

    A useful book is called European Union Travel Guide. There is also useful info on the Caravan Club and C & CC sites, also here http://www.motorcaravanning.com/

    Someone else will be along soon to confuse you even further (in fact I've been composing this for so long they're probably already here :BigGrin:)

    Anyway...
    Hope this helps.

    Good travelling


    John
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  3. geoff1947

    geoff1947 Read Only Funster

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  4. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/16-AMP-INDUST...al_Components_Supplies_ET?hash=item2ea3a261bb

    just carry a set of these above with the between them reversed and a polarity tester

    these are all I have and they are fine ( I am in france)
    the blue 16amp.......and the french white plug...(could be black)


    the one at the bottom would do it all if you already have a 16amp plug on the lead you already use as it will covert it to the french plug in needed

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/caravan-hook-...ervan_Caravan_Accessories?hash=item2c52b846f4

    Mel
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  5. big map

    big map Funster Life Member

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    Hi Nic.

    If you intend to stay on campsites a second 25m hook up lead is handy as sometimes pitches are not that close to eletric points.

    As already stated you must carry the original copy of your vehicle documents and insurance, we also keep photocopies of all important documents in case of the worst scenario.

    Mike.
     
  6. Bulletguy

    Bulletguy Read Only Funster

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    A point worth mentioning here is to also check with your bank if they make any charge for foreign currency withdrawal. Some not only make a withdrawal charge but also rate conversion....and that adds significantly after a few withdrawals!

    If they do charge (as mine did).....change Banks and take your business to one that doesn't. It's easily done and very quick too....the Bank does all the work for you. I moved my account to a Bank which made zero charge on foreign currency transactions just two weeks before going away.

    Use the Credit card for purchases, fuel, food etc, the Debit card for cash withdrawal only.

    I'd also recommend you to apply for one of these which won't cost you anything;
    http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/1073.aspx?CategoryID=68&SubCategoryID=159
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  7. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    should have read wire between them ....(just carry a set of these above with the wire between them reversed, and a polarity tester).......but my dinner was on the table ...sorry:thumb:
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  8. gogocrosby

    gogocrosby Read Only Funster

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    Buy an Aires book and give one or two a try. We used campsites exclusively for four years before picking up the nerve to join in with all the continental campers using aires. We only use campsites occasionally now.
     
  9. wkdtroll

    wkdtroll Read Only Funster

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    Saga Visa (for the over 50's only - sorry) is brilliant no surcharge for purchases abroad AND you get full exchange rate NOT tourist rate. We did the 'Scandinavia Loop' last May-July and I reckon we saved around £300 in surcharges and rates of exchange!

    Obviously as it is a credit card don't use it for cash withdrawls. As with most card providers it is prudent to let them know when and where you are going abroad.

    Have a great trip:thumb:
     
  10. barnybg

    barnybg Read Only Funster

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    What to take?

    Open a Nationwide account and card,can be used in any 'hole in the wall' £200-£300 a day and no charge,automatically paid out in countries particular coinage and rate.
     
  11. barnybg

    barnybg Read Only Funster

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    To add to this,anything you can conceivably take,if enough room and weight,like by law, vissie vests,warning triangles,spare bulbs,first aid kit,headlights,new spare ,a heavy duty jack or 2 !(and for towed vehicle)everything checked over before leaving especially the lights.
    Stuff you wished you'd packed,Mozzie spray/cream,sun cream,antiseptic,suntan lotion,headache tablets,torch,toolkit,rope,old carpet*(for under wheels)fire extinguisherx2,maps,printouts(12v cable for laptop??)a jumper and coat !bikes,(a large dog)or the motherin law :Eek!: spare battery,oil,water,brake fluid,fan belt/belts(diesel filter) fold up chairs and table,wind break,pull out awning or pub umbrella thingy....you got the idea/!make a tick list,some things you'll think nah !but wish you'd taken,things for the kids boredom(if your taking them :RollEyes: or things to help you conceive kids wink wink :Eeek:..........:thumb:
     
  12. Losos

    Losos Read Only Funster

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    This is very good advice, you will find that you might be able to use your card ONCE and then if you try again the same day it will be refused (Very embarrissing :Blush:)

    The banks make a judgement on the country and the level of fraud, so for most of the Eastern EU countries the card will be cut off after just one use, or in the case of Czech Republic even not allowed on first use :RollEyes: (depends on the retailer but most Czech ones are crooks so you don't stand much chance!!)

    Definately write to your bank, letter not e-mail, and tell them where you are going and when and what maximum level of transactions you might be making.
     
  13. barryd

    barryd Read Only Funster

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    Great idea this Nationwide Flex account. The exchange rate is always very good as well.

    The only thing I saw being used regularly when abroad was the hi vis jacket which are about £3 on Ebay for two. I suspect the great big long list of carrying spare bulbs, specs, warning triangles etc etc are simply not enfourced assuming you actully ever see any coppers. If you drive around France between 1pm and 4pm everyones either having Lunch or Making Lurve! anyway. Well they dissapear for 3-4 hours so thats what I assume they are doing.
     
  14. barnybg

    barnybg Read Only Funster

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    European driving...

    Barry D,and anyone travelling in Europe,definately take the expected items in the list as they are law and if an accident or stroppy police ask to see them and you haven't them then your gonna pay an on the spot fine,maybe waste more time and be messed about with,not only that the list is made for a reason for travellers,especially bulbs vissie vests triangles and first aid,friendly advice but some just need to ignore.
    p.s Dont overload as we were pulled in Austria and taken off the motorway into a compound place,onto a weighbridge ! also checked tyres,lights,paperwork etc etc,definately be legal out of the country,if not in.. :thumb:
     
  15. Onderweg

    Onderweg Funster

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