Never used Aires so basic security advice please.

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Madmag, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. Madmag

    Madmag Funster

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    This is our first trip down through France into Spain in a motorhome. We have always been 'tugging' before so it was a case of find an open caravan site and go for that. Now we have our motorhome we intend to take a more leisurely drive down to the south of Spain using a combination of Aires and sites as necessary. Having seen all the motorway Aires whilst travelling down I had not realised they were not a safe option for staying, having read bits I realise they aren't. So what are the basic security rules please for staying on Aires. Is it go for the busy ones? I seem to remember reading somewhere about not putting the Silver Screens on, is this true, if so why? We have an alarm fitted and a dog! May leave his bowls outside. Any advice as to does and don't would be very welcome.
     
  2. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    You are safer in Spain and France than the UK. Don't worry about it!

    The CamperContact app is a good start on what you can or cannot do on an aire. If it says "no camping behaviour allowed" then that means you aren't supposed to put screens up, levelling ramps or even deploy the step. But take your cue from what others are doing, the French in particular don't always follow the rules. :)

    Commercial aires, of which there are many in Spain are different - treat them like campsites.

    Having said that, do use common sense. Generally, rural spots are fine but those in towns may need caution. If worried don't stop there but parking so you can drive away, not turning the driver's seat around and not bothering with external screens* are sensible steps in such circumstances.

    *We only use them when stopping somewhere for several days when it is exceptionally hot or cold.
     
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  3. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    Security wise no different to a camp site, basic rule is if it does not feel safe don't stop there. We don't use motorway aires as far nicer to stop an Aire in a nice village and go and explore also get a better nights sleep. We almost exclusively use Aires or wild camp never had any problems.
     
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  4. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    Most people avoid the motorway aires and most likely with good reason, the ones to stay on are the caping aires which you will find on campercontact as @DBK says. Put you iPad camera and Rolex out of right, set the alarm and dont feed the dog untill morning and you should be as safe as houses.

    Martin
     
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  5. Kirsten

    Kirsten Funster

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    Have used French Aires extensively and never had a bad experience- NOT the motorway ones tho- get the "all the Aires book' or an app and plan two or 3 possibles for each leg of your journey in case there is no space on the smaller ones or you dont like the look of one. We have put our silver screen on [outside one] to keep the blazing sun out and no problems but of course someone could steal it as it is just tied on...You may need to look at the info re using the water points/grey /black waste stations as some of them are a bit tricky [jettons not available- some dont take UK cards - many are free....] Dogs welcome on aires- good way to meet others....do as the french do- if they are outside on chairs BBQ-ing then the 'rules' about no outside camping are to be ignored..:LOL: We have also stayed on a high lonely aire where we were the only van- was lovely, trust your own feelings about the aire and be prepared to squeeze in as some are very cramped. But enjoy the trip xx
     
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  6. Madmag

    Madmag Funster

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    Getting exactly the sort of advice I was hoping for. We were at Malvern so bought All the Aires for France, Spain & Portugal. Really good intro section. Was really surprised just how organised some of the Aires appeared to be, I think I expected them to be just a bit of waste ground that people just pulled up on. Getting quite excited about the trip now.
     
  7. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    Don't confuse motorway Aires de service ('Aire' simply means 'area') with Aires camping-car which are provided by local communities in towns and villages. They're very different places. We don't use motorway aires to stop overnight, but have few worries about using the other type.

    For a feeling of security you might consider going for medium size to large aires that are busier, rather than those with only 5 bays but it's a lot more to do with location than size. Use common sense. If the French are using them, follow their lead.

    For physical security, lock all doors, set door alarms, don't leave low down windows open at night, make sure any accessories like chairs, bikes are stowed away or locked up. For additional security I've attached webbing straps with quick release straps to the insides of the doors to make opening them more difficult if a lock was picked, but that's just me. Our night time security measures are used everywhere, from small isolated continental aires to CCC campsites in the UK - we don't discriminate.

    I almost forgot to add that I have a cobwebsite on the subject, a panoramic photo gallery, and a short film at the links in my signature.

    If you've got a SatNav go to the Camping-Car Infos website and download their free POI file about a week before you set off. We plan our trips with it.
     
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  8. Cat53

    Cat53 Funster

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    We had never stayed on Aires before, but they are great. We didn't use the motorway ones, but looked for those off the main roads. All were lovely. Some busier than others and we slept really well. My advice is....don't worry about it.
     
  9. The Dude

    The Dude Funster

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    I think the main reason for not putting your silver screens on is if you need to drive away quickly from whatever it is that seems like a threat to your security. Not recommended to try to drive away if you can't see through your windscreen. :D
     
  10. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    Some are! You need to be selective. If reading the book check the description, if it says it is by a sports stadium expect it to be busy at times. The CamperContact app (yes, I know, I am on commission for mentioning it) allows you to filter results based on the rating. This helps selecting a good spot but it isn't foolproof. Looking on Google maps in satellite view is a useful tool if you have Internet.
     
  11. Our Bumble

    Our Bumble Funster

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  12. Boringfrog

    Boringfrog Funster

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    As @magicsurfbus says, aire is French for Area, Aire de Service camping car is a specific parking place just for motorhomes to empty, refill and possibly sleep overnight. Not all are ideal for sleeping at, if it don't feel right move on, there's always another a few miles away. And as others have said get the Aires book or download the app. :)
     
  13. GAVLAD

    GAVLAD Funster

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    As mentioned previously, avoid overnighting on motorway Aires.
    My sister is currently in Spain and after driving down last month with the intention of stopping at motorway services, found that all were full with cars parked in the caravans & Motorhome spots. They decided to chance it at an aire on the motorway and were awoken during the night to someone trying to break in.
    Their habitation door lock was damaged but nothing taken.
    A few other vans were broken into whilst the occupants slept and even a car was broken into whilst the driver & passengers were having a kip.
    On the whole, an inconvenient experience which could have been avoided if they'd have pulled off the motorway and found an aire or a site, but that's hindsight.

    Aires in the All the Aires book are a different kettle of fish.
    We've just returned from our first trip overseas in our Motorhome (prior trip in an old VW camper staying on sites) and found the Aires to be great.
    I'm sure you'll be planning your route (as its part of the fun & excitement leading up to your hols) and your All the Aires will play a part of that as you'll see where you want to break your journey and what the aire is like.
    Do a search of the aire on here as chances are, someone may have been and stayed there and will be able to give you good advice (nearest fuel/shops etc)
    Everything else is common sense - things that you'd normally do like removing your sat nav and valuables out of sight.
    I've read things of not putting silver screens up to aid making a quick getaway but it makes me wonder just how many times someone has had to make a fast exit in the middle of the night. - I'm sure someone else will be along soon to shoot me down!
    I think you'll know as soon as you're pulling up to an aire if you feel it's not right for you. If that's the case, just move on to the next one.
    Most of all, enjoy!
     
  14. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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  15. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

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    Just 2 rules:

    Always, always have a Plan B - (nothing wrong with having a Plan C too)

    If, for whatever reason, you don't feel comfortable on an aire - move on - (Plan B/C)
     
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  16. Candapack

    Candapack Funster

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    We think the Aires network in France, towns/villages, NOT motorways, is just the best thing ever. Have never felt any less secure than on a campsite. OK, have turned up at a couple where we've thought, "hmmm, maybe not", but always been a good one nearby. Same applies to Germany, but that's the limit of our Aires experience.
    Just about to head off for 7 weeks in France, if we're staying put for more than 3 nights in one place we'll use sites, otherwise Aires every time. (y)
     
  17. DanielFord

    DanielFord Funster

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    I echo what every one has said already. We have just got back from a 3 week European tour, and this year we used many more aires than we ever have before. Use common sense and you will be fine, and follow the rules in Jims link.
    The big ones are:
    If you don't like the look of it, don't stay.
    Don't be a nosey parker, you may need to exit in a hurry.
    And most obvious, if you are parked on a street and you may want to exit, don't drink!

    We had no problems at all, met some truly lovely people on our travels. Go out and enjoy :)
     
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  18. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    The third rule is a bit of a bummer. :cry:
     
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