Overwhelmed...

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by topbrief, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. topbrief

    topbrief Read Only Funster

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    Hi Everyone!

    So here I am planning a family holiday in accommodation on wheels and I need some serious help!

    I am a complete novice; let's assume for the purposes of this exercise that I know very very little.

    I would really welcome any tips and recommendations to help make our holiday a success. But first I'm guessing you need to know a little about us:

    The non-negotiables:

    We are a family of four - me, and my two boys then aged almost 4 and 6. Wait, hang on, we've forgotten someone - oh yes, the wife. :Doh:

    For our first outing we are hiring a massive Burstner Elegance from a very nice lady in Harrogate. :thumb:

    We are holidaying in France for a fortnight in August 2012. Alas we can't do otherwise as both the oldest boy and the wife are in school - he as pupil, she as teacher.

    Up for debate:

    My initial thought had been to drive down - breaking the journey with stops en route (both there and back) - to Ile de Re. It is supposed to be lovely and the fact that we could cycle everywhere once there was very appealing. But I am wondering if this is too far to drive and whether a two site holiday staying a little further North (say around Normandy) would be better.

    I am minded to go by Eurotunnel as I believe that this is the most cost effective way of crossing the Channel in a campervan.

    I would really welcome the benefit of your collective wisdom. Recommendations on campsites (either en route to Ile de Re or as destinations in their own right) that are suitable for children, say with a swimming pool and some cycle routes and perhaps the odd day out within easy (cycling / walking) reach would be great.

    Because my children will still be quite young I am thinking that arriving at campsites after 5pm is probably a bad idea and I was hoping to keep the driving to no more than four hours per day with perhaps a rest day or two in between. I also don't think, as novices with young children, that a 'suck it and see' approach is sensible - I'd really rather have an itinerary and pre-booked stopovers (especially with it being the busiest part of the year).

    So, what do you think? Hints and tips most welcome.

    Oh, and Happy Chinese New Year....
     
  2. Hollyberry

    Hollyberry Funster

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    Hi and welcome from another novice.

    When you collect the van, get the owner to show you how everything works and write it all down--it's fine having a set of books but the owner will know of any oddities (I couldn;t lock the habitation door because I'd failed to write down "turn quarter turn only" Duhhh

    Headings would be:
    Water In
    Water out
    Elec in
    Toilet cassette
    Water heater use (I'm assuming you wont need heating!!!)
    Security.
    Make sure you know how to cut off the gas.

    I was told to do 2 "walk around" checks before driving--one inside to make sure all drawers are locked etcc..... and one outside to make sure the windows are all shut, bicycle rack contents secure, step up etc....

    There'll be lots of advice here about campsites vs Aires and places to stay. France is a huge country (I live in the Dordogne) so don't spend all your holiday driving.
     
  3. mikkidee

    mikkidee Read Only Funster

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    Hi smudgers and welcome to fun, sorry can't help with your question but there are lots of people on here with all the info. Yes it will be best to have an itinerary especially when you have children to think about and it being your first time.

    Don't you fancy trying out in the UK first?
    Mike:Smile:
     
  4. steveclecy

    steveclecy Read Only Funster

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    Understand your concerns about pre-booking in the peak (French) holiday but really there are innumerable sites in France and I would be surprised if you could not get in somewhere.

    One of the advantages of a Motorhome is the flexibility it offers - large sites are rarely full ALL of the time, and will have a pitch here or there for you for one night or two. What you won't be able to do is have a pitch for a week or more but what does that matter? I remember as a tugger (a word we use for caravanners) we arrived on a commercial site on the Med and got three nights on one pitch and four nights on another - just meant we had to move mid week.

    To set yourself a firm itinerary may mean missing so much. Avoid the Autoroutes if possible and let the fancy take you through small villages. Turn left here or turn right there. Go and look. Even an Elegance can be turned around!

    Yes, sometimes the fun is in the planning, but don't let the plan take over.

    Steve
     
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  5. Chris

    Chris Funster Life Member

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    Hi and welcome.

    The Elegance is a lovely van:thumb:

    You could have a week on the Costa Brava? Take 3 nights each way and 8 days on site?

    It's about 800 miles each way.
     
  6. Carol

    Carol Funster Life Member

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    Hello and welcome to Motorhome Fun, you are wise to start planning now if you are going to France in August, can thoroughly agree with the destination of Ile-de-Re brilliant place bikes are a essential part of enjoying it though.

    I can recommend L'Ocean at LaCouarde sur Mur.
    Tel 00 33 (0) 5 46 29 87 70. It is a shaded site, just 50m a really good beach across the road from the site.

    It has a outdoor paddling pool for children and a play area.
    also a adults pool, we have stayed there a few times and find ot a Central site for exploring the area, bike hire is available.

    We have always stayed out of season so of course it will be slightly different in August, but that will be the same as everywhere.

    Any questions ask away, some one usually has a answer sometimes not always what you are expecting but a answer :welcomefunster:
     
  7. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    France is BIG.

    Two weeks not long.

    Boats are usually cheaper than tunnel.

    Portsmouth - St Malo minimises driving.

    300 miles in a day is not a bad target.

    August will be busy and expensive.

    More camp sites in France than anywhere.

    If you buy the ACSI DVD you'll have a very good way of picking camp sites.

    A Good Plan, go for it.
     
  8. Hayleylulu

    Hayleylulu

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    HI and welcome :thumb::thumb:
     
  9. lorger

    lorger Funster

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    Hi Smudgers

    I have one daughter now 14 and we normally take her friend with us and have been going to France for about 6 years now. We normally go in school holidays also and last summer ended up in the La Rochelle area so not to far from where your planning. I would drive down to tunnel or ferry night before ferry is cheaper but if you have tesco vouchers you can use them on tunnel.

    I would say you could then reach the La Rochelle area with one over night stop without doing excessive hours as i think it was about 420miles. We have never booked a campsite since we got the motorhome and have never been turned away and we go high season as wife works at school. Also have a look at all the aires book or if you have a look on the left handside of front page of forum you will see a title French Aires these are place you can park/stay with your mh they range in price from free to about 12euro a night some are really lovely and some just a carpark in village centre.
    The most important thing is to remember the journey is part of the holiday so why rush if you feel like stopping then stop if weather is crap then drive further that day. If you need anymore info just ask hopefully will be able to help.
     
  10. thehutchies

    thehutchies Funster

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    Four hours is a reasonable day's drive with young kids.

    We can drive for an hour, with songs and games and jokes, before they become restless.
    Then put a DVD on for an hour and a half.
    A quick snack on the move and then they might fall asleep for a while. :thumb:

    If you try to do that for more than one day at a time, though, do expect all of you to hate each other, collectively and individually, for the rest of the holiday.

    Bear in mind that Leeds to Dover is a full day's drive. Each way.
    And a night stop on the way to your destination means half your holiday has been spent driving.

    The kids really don't give a damn whether they are in Skegness, St. Tropez or Swahililand as long as they can get out and play.

    As others have said, don't be too ambitious.

    As much as people glorify road trips, the real joy is found in the free time you spend with your family. :Smile:
     
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  11. f6c

    f6c Funster

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    welcome

    Welcome aboard:Wink:
     
  12. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    Hi Smudgers and welcome to the fun...

    I apologise in advance for any rude messages you get from me... they will be meant for my old mate Smudger and I will have added the "s" by mistake...:Rofl1:

    JJ :Cool:
     
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  13. topbrief

    topbrief Read Only Funster

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    Feeling better...

    A big thank-you to all of you who took the trouble to reply.

    I'll look again at the ferry options but the tunnel doesn't seem to penalise you for having such a large vehicle in the way that the ferries seemed to.

    I think I'll invest in the ACSI guide and DVD and maybe a 'Rough Guide' too.

    Oh, and as to the suggestion of trying it out in the UK we do plan to do that for a weekend in June. But only as a test-drive; I'm afraid after holidaying in this country for the last few years we really want the sunshine now.

    Off now to think more on this with slightly less anxiety...

    Thanks everyone! :thumb:
     
  14. sedge

    sedge Funster

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    Can I just point out that although ACSI is a good campsite guide, as you won't get a discount in high season, doesn't that make it a bit expensive just as a guide?
     
  15. wivvy's dad

    wivvy's dad Read Only Funster

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    Highly recommend you book a campsite ASAP on Ile de Re - it gets absolutely PACKED in August.
     
  16. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    The ACSI DVD and ACSI discount card are two different things.

    The DVD has far more sites and of course computer searching. It's a real bargain.
     
  17. FIDGET

    FIDGET Funster

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    Hi. We've been to the Ile de Re, fab place does get busy, we always use dfds ferry dover dunkirk about £90 return 2hr journey each way. we usually stop at Freshnay municipal campsite on the way down and back. it has a swimming pool and its a nice town
    Campsite: CG. MUNICIPAL DU VAL DE SARTHE

    BEAUMONT SUR SARTHE

    ADDRESS: RUE DE L'ARBREUVOIR, 72170, BEAUMONT-SUR-SARTHE
    TEL: 02 43 97 01 93 FAX: 02 43 97 02 21
    EMAIL: beaumont-sur-sarthe@wanadoo.fr
    FACILITIES:
    LEISURE: PLAYGROUND/ GAMES ROOM
    CATERING: SHOP (DRINKS)
    SERVICES: LAUNDRY/ MOTORHOME SERVICE POINT
    SPORTS: BADMINTON/ FISHING
    DOGS ALLOWED & DISABLED ACCESS
    LOCATION: URBAN NO. OF TOURING PITCHES: 73
    RATING: 3*+AR+ACSI
    PRICES/ RATES:
    PITCH: € 10 ADDL. PERSON: € 2 ELECTRIC: INCL
    CREDIT CARD ACCEPTED? : Y
    OPENING TIMES: 01/05 -- 30/09
    GPS COORDS: N48.22528 E00.13333
    DIRECTIONS: Exit A28 @ Jcn 21 & follow N138 NORTH into BEAUMONT SUR SARTHE -- turn RIGHT in town centre at LIGHTS & follow CAMPING SIGNS to site (well signposted).
    SITE DESCRIPTION: This is an immaculate municipal campsite situated next to the River Sarthe on the edge of this small town. Pitches are large, grassy, level, separated by hedges & most having shade from the many trees on site. Most pitches have access to electric & water is available nearby. The toilets & shower block is very modern & of good quality with separate male/ female sections, laundry & dishwashing areas.
    Leisure facilities include a large play area, volleyball, badminton & fishing in the adjacent river (some pitches being next to the river) -- as well as a games room. The town centre is only a short walk away where there are numerous shops, supermarkets, bars & restaurants plus a swimming pool.
    REVIEW
    2007 This place is excellent value; a lovely peaceful & relaxing site in an old French town on the banks of a beautiful river -- it's all I want from a site.
    Pitches were good; especially those next to the Sarthe. Sanitary block was immaculate. You can buy bread & drinks from the lady who runs the site & if you need anything else, the town is only 10 mins walk away.
    The river is good for fishing, the town has a swimming pool and there is a nice little playground on site.
    I thoroughly recommend this site if you are in the vicinity.
    2007 This is an excellent municipal site & although leisure facilities are limited the site itself is maintained to the highest of standards & therefore represents very good value for money. The sanitary block was quite new & had very good fittings, which were always spotless. The site itself was very quiet with no noise from any entertainment, etc -- just a pleasant riverside location with a good playground as well as grass areas for games & a modern games room. The campervan service point had a large platform drain with easy access & a separate chemical toilet point outside the toilets.



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    Val de Sarthe
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    Val de Sarthe
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    Val de Sarthe
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    Sans Souci
    [​IMG]
     
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  18. TDH

    TDH Funster

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    Welcome!

    Just to add to the confusion - you could think about ferry to Le Havre or Caen and then via Le Mans.

    It's a lovely route if you stay off the motorway and I can recommend the site at Camping Le Vieux Moulin at Neuville sur Sarthe, north of Le Mans.
     
  19. Ambilkate

    Ambilkate Funster Life Member

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    Welcome to Fun Smudgers

    Oh dear, i am confused i thought this was a thread Smudge (Derek) had started.
    will have to keep a look out who i posting too after a pims ot two:wine:, to many smudgers

    Kate x
     

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