When Touring do people plan and book ahead or take pot luck???

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Paul an Jane MK, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. Paul an Jane MK

    Paul an Jane MK Funster

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    Hi All,

    We are waiting impatiently (four weeks on Monday) to pick up our 2008 Swift Sundance with the Fiat 100 cab (OMG we could not get over all the different layouts and were really struggling to find a layout we liked until we found our swift with a rear lounge which gave us the spacious feel we were looking for and our dog to move around.)

    So we have booked an EHC pitch for three nights the bank holiday weekend in the New Forest at Setthorns for our first trip which we are really looking forward to.

    That is fine for a short trip but for a longer trip say fourteen days around the Highlands it is 500 miles for us just to Inverness so would be good to split that up with at least one overnight stop and then who knows. I am not sure I would want to have to stick to a rigid itinery arriving at specific sites by a certain day and could even end up peeling off M6 into the lake district and staying there.

    Is it viable to stop the odd night in a decent lay by or Motorway services if you run out of time and options or do people find a camp site on route using good old google.

    How much do you plan ahead or just see where you end up????

    Final question, some site insist you have to be a member of camping and caravan club, is joining neccesary to gain acces to the best sites or not?

    Thank you, for taking the time to read and your thoughts would be appreciated.

    Regards Paul
     
  2. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Funster

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    A lot depends on the type of trip and if we have to be somewhere for a specific time / day when we are planning. Generally we book sites / stops (or plan where we will be if wilding or Britstop) en-route to where we need to be. If we are going to be helping out family we will book a site, if touring we look at the map and decide where we are going next and maybe book the morning for that evening. If there is plenty to do in the area or even if it's a nice place we'll then book another night or three. Travelling home we don't book as if the traffic is bad we'll just find somewhere.

    CC and C&CC sites you don't need to be a member to stay on their owned sites (cheaper if you are though) but you do need to be a member to use the CL / CS network of small sites. We are members of both because we like the CL / CS network - much quieter than the big sites and often in places we'd not visit otherwise.
     
  3. Bryden

    Bryden Funster

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    Don't motorway services have a 2 hour parking limit? Or can you pay to park longer
     
  4. denisejoe

    denisejoe Funster Life Member

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    We don't tend to tour in the UK and if we did we'd use a combination of Temporary Holiday Sites (THS) and CSs (5 van sites); both of which you need to be a member of CCC.

    We much prefer France with its' network of village aires with the odd night on a campsite to do some washing.

    Denise
     
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  5. Stealaway

    Stealaway Funster

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    We wing it.
    We always wild camp and always find some where to park up for the night.
    We never know how far we will travel on any given day and love to find secret places. You will eventually have a library of known good spots
    Our attitude is that it is only a van and you will find some where to park up.
    We start looking from about 4 pm and stop when we find a good spot.

    Motorway services will let you pay to stay overnight just like the truckers but its not cheap and them trucks make lots a noise when they leave at the crack of dawn.:Eeek:
     
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  6. Sabino

    Sabino Funster

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    When we first went over to Spain we booked the 1st night, just to be sure. But now we just hope for the best.
    We normally go during non-school holiday dates, so never much of an issue.

    Welcome and have a great time on your trip.
     
  7. sinbad

    sinbad Funster

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    If you are going up to the highlands then I wouldn't bother booking if you are happy to wild camp. There are loads of places and most of them have much better views than the campsites. We used campsites 1 in 3 or 4 nights to sort out services and never had any problem and this was during the summer months. I don't know if there is a legal reason for it but harbours and lighthouse carparks seemed to be the place for motorhomers. You can also go into a pub and ask them if they mind you staying overnight if you have dinner. The benefit of all of this is that you feel much more free. We did the Highlands and Islands as our first longish trip of about 5 weeks and would have easily went round again if I had the time.
     
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  8. Cyclewalkbob

    Cyclewalkbob Funster

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    Always book sites in UK, but when we go to France out of season we have never booked.
    However do book our sites in France in August, especially our night going down south.
     
  9. Mattyjwr

    Mattyjwr Funster Life Member

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    We only book if we're going to popular locations at peak times. We sometimes call ahead if we have a site in mind to check if they are likely to be full due to things such as beer festivals. We haven't been turned away from a full site in the UK and only failed to find a site once when travelling on the continent - it was a busy time and very few campsites in the area.
     
  10. TUCANO

    TUCANO Funster

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    I never plan ahead because I never know where I will be. If I am travelling long distances in the UK I always turn off whatever main road I am on well before it gets dark and look out for likely overnight spots wherever the road takes me, last year a garden centre suggested I stay overnight in their car park, would I mind if they locked the gates they asked (y)
    Have fun whatever you do.
    Norman.

    P.S. :welcomesign:
     
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  11. Paul an Jane MK

    Paul an Jane MK Funster

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    Thank you, everyone for your ideas. I do like the idea of smaller sites so it looks like ccc membership is on the to do list although maybe next month after buying and kitting out our new chariot.

    I am also inspired to try a few impromptu stops as well so your encouragement is appreciated.

    Good News it is nearly ready to collect, apparently just waiting for some external locker door frames as they were not sealing properly. Cannot say I noticed anything wrong when I peered inside them. Hopefully a good sign that there workshop is thorough. We live in hope.

    So we can collect on Tuesday I will be like a child in a sweet shop Load up and Friday morning head of to the New Forest.
     
  12. Langtoftlad

    Langtoftlad Funster Life Member

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    I maybe being foolhardy but I'm planning a trip in the UK in June, by not planning nor booking more than a day or so ahead.
    I have a rough idea of where I want to go - but until I get "there", I won't know what's to see/do or how long.

    I'm hoping a mix of Britstops, CL's & last minute sites will work - but I guess I might end up going somewhere I never intended - or simply coming home and thinking again.

    I'm lucky inasmuch as I don't have to fit my travels into work, weekends or holidays.
     
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  13. Stagman

    Stagman Funster

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    Yep would definitely recommend CCC membership as they offer the facility of a short stopover to offload grey and black waste and refill with water plus use their showers. They only charge about £6 or £7 for that, but you dont get electric. That frees you up to wildcamp for longer as well. We used them a lot when we toured Scotland for a month.
    We plan to tour cornwall for a month and wont be pre-booking, but will avoid peak school holidays. As said above we also ring ahead on the morning we wish to stay somewhere if we suspect a site may be busy or in a popular location.
     
  14. jockaneezer

    jockaneezer Funster

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    Hello and welcome, as a fellow dog owner, I just wanted to make you aware if you didn't know about the fatal dog illness thought to be Alabama Rot that can be picked up in the New Forest ? On a lighter note, there's lots of nice places around here and in the Scottish Borders to break up the long journey north (y)
     
  15. Kool Kroozer

    Kool Kroozer Funster

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    The only thing we plan when going over the channel is the tunnel or ferry.. Everything else after is unplanned and spontaneous
     
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  16. Revolvor

    Revolvor Funster

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    Paul, @Paul an Jane MK - see link below. When we drove to Orkney last year, we left home in Wiltshire about 9:00 pm and drove until we were tired, and then stopped at a Motorway Service area, and got a few hours sleep before continuing our journey. We also stopped twice more going through Scotland, but only booked a day ahead.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/usuuzyacfla0kk6/Motorway%20Service%20Areas%20with.....%20Night%20Halt%20Permission.docx?dl=0

    John
     
  17. peterc10

    peterc10 Funster

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    Us too. Not long back from a 5 week tour mainly of Italy without booking once. Occasionally phoned ahead in the morning, but mainly just turned up.

    The last UK tour we did not plan and just played it by ear. Use a combination of Britstops, campsites and wild camping. Much more fun.

    Would never recommend Motorway services - noisy and expensive for bugger all.
     
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  18. Khizzie

    Khizzie Funster

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    I tour the uk most years for about four months ,and still visiting new places,always book my sites and plan ahead to the majority of things and places I want to see,that's my way of whiling the winter nights away ..i am member of both clubs and use their sites extensively,as a single camper over a certain age it works out quite price wise quite reasonable..also ensure that there is good public transport nearby .which I always use ,saves buggering about with van and parking ....not been abroad yet but will be doing so in September and in this case have only booked the one site,the other days it will be Aires....Roy
     
  19. buttons

    buttons Funster

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    Hi P&J and Welcome. My idea of touring is more not knowing where we will be staying until we arrive but if you are heading somewhere then booking ahead on route is worthwhile.
     
  20. StitchesnFluff

    StitchesnFluff Funster

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    Plan to stop at certain Aires, with a few alternatives but always end up changing!
     
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