First time MH user and Spain (1 Viewer)

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Realist

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I’m new to all this and not yet used our little Ford Squire Herald CK yes the old man is 20 years old, noisy but they last for ever...... well.

I’ve been thinking the same as others and drive to Spain I’m used to driving the wrong side of the road but what puts me off is the time it takes to get to Southern Spain, driving, costs, wear and tear, food, spends etc etc comparing it to just jumping on a plane and 2hrs later your there.

Having not done it before does anyone have idea of costs involved, how long for each journey there and back like what would you say is the minimum you would attempt to do the trip for example, 2 days to get there, 7 days stay and 2 days back that’s 11 and adding the costs is it worth it?

Brian
 
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Not sure about costs as there are so many variables : ferry route; tolls v non toll roads; how long you want to drive each day. On one of our first trips abroad we took about 10 days to get to the south of Spain and were away for a couple of months. I doubt if it would make economic sense for too short a trip. Driving abroad is surprisingly easy so I wouldn't worry too much about that aspect. Good luck whatever you decide to do.
 
Feb 9, 2008
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You may find this helpful. However, forget about southern Spain in 2 days. (Besides, for winter you only need go as far as Benidorm as it does not get much warmer and drier further south in the winter), more like 5 days steady driving, each way.

Firstly, routes and route maps for France and Spain. This first link is an award winning database about France. It has a host of information on best routes to many locations. I have selected the famous N10 route from Calais to Irun which is used by many motorhomes when travelling to Spain. It’s almost Toll free (more on that a little later) and almost all duel carriageway from start to finish with the exception of about 100 K. This route is great for motorhomes small, medium and large. Note: (HGV’s are not allowed on French roads, Sunday’s, so plan your journey over a weekend if possible).

https://about-france.com/tourism/no-tolls-routes.htm

Tolls: Avoid the toll road from Calais to Abbeville and save 12.50 Euros. The non-toll route is quite scenic and fairly straight forward, between Boulogne-sur-Mer and Abbeville.

At Abbeville, join the A28 and cross the river Sein at Rouen. We take the second exit immediately after crossing the bridge (about 50 m past the first exit at the end of the bridge), swing down and under the bridge you have just crossed and continue on this road and join the A13 motorway until the N154 which takes you down to Evreux. (Note: there are a number of different options for getting through Rouen and no doubt other members will have their own preferences. We find this very straight forward on both outward and return legs). Approaching Tours on the D910 join the A10 toll road at Jct. 19 and exit at Jct. 23. This will take you through the city via the toll road, (€1.80). At Jct. 23 take the exit lane for Montbazon which returns you to the D910. (Reverse for the return leg). That’s the last toll to pay until you hit the bottom of the A63 after Bordeaux.

To save toll fares on the A63 south of Bordeaux please read the route recommendations in the above link. Do not come off the A63 near the bottom as all roads will be heavily congested and it’s worth paying the last few tolls. (From Jct 6 €8.90 in total) (Fuel costs approx. €147.84 (Based on 1056 K @10K per Ltr. @€1.40 per ltr. 3.5T motorhome)). This route is also recommended during winter, due to its proximity to the Atlantic ocean, which means little to no problems with ice and or snow, unlike using the A75 to cross the Massif Central. Although the A75 is quickly cleared, it is advisable to have winter tyres fitted and there may be some small delays due to snow ploughs clearing this route.

If heading to the Mediterranean side of Spain, it’s worth taking the N121-A to Pamplona after crossing the Spanish boarder on the A63 at Irun. It’s clearly sign posted (Large white sign) about 300 m after passing through the last toll booth and crossing the river. Also here are Repsol fuel stations and shopping opportunities. You will find more details in this link for the N121-A and how to navigate Spain toll free.

https://about-spain.net/travel/no-tolls.htm

If you decide to pay Tolls in order to save time getting to Spain, your best route options are in this link.

https://about-france.com/tourism/routes-to-spain.htm

Should you choose to plan your own routes anywhere in Europe and also establish Toll costs, (or toll free costs) use this link. Under route options, select caravan then select toll roads. Toll costs for a class 2 motorhome will be calculated for the whole journey. You can also choose Non toll routes and other options. This is currently one of the best online free route planers.

https://www.viamichelin.co.uk/

As for stop overs on routes, you can’t go wrong using the App below which is free but I would recommend getting the paid version for about £6.00 which you can then use off line. You will find numerous places to stop along the above route and I have deliberately not made any recommendations so drivers can make their own choices. This app is also brilliant for finding other places too and highly rated by many users.

https://www.campercontact.com/en/content/app

There is another popular app/website that is used which you may also find useful if you’re doing a lot of wilding and looking for free overnight stops. It too is used by many motor homers in Europe. Get the paid version to use off line for around £9.00

https://www.park4night.com/

One of the best off line MAP ‘App’ and used by many. It also includes a sat-nav function which is quite good and can also be used off line. Again many motor homers use this, especially in Morocco.

Broken Link Removed

Finally, for those looking for a data sim card for their ‘mifi’ unit or tablet (WiFi) this is the best deal in the UK and possibly the best deal in the whole of the E.U. at this moment in time. A massive 50GB of 4g data for only £30.00 a month on a monthly rolling contract. Cancel the contract after two months to get the full 3 months usage throughout the whole of the E.U. Other options also available.

(Tip!) (Go on their online ‘Web Chat’ and ask them to confirm the contract starts when you activate the sim and if they agree (they did with me) keep a copy of the Web Chat that they will email to you, otherwise the contract will start from the day your order the sim card). After two months contact customer services by phone and cancel the contract by giving them 30 days’ notice. This prevents their fair play usage kicking in after 3 months and you paying through your nose for Wi-Fi. If they say the contract started from when you made the order contact the complaints number and they will honour the agreement made with the Chat agent! (UK number is 03333 041 524 (standard call charges apply, they will even call you back if you ask them and they are very helpful)). The Wi-Fi coverage is exceptional.

https://www.vodafone.co.uk/shop/bundles-and-sims/sim-only-data-bundles/

Vodaphone APN settings for an unlocked MiFi.

https://search.vodafone.co.uk/search?proxystylesheet=default_frontend&q=APN+settings&x=0&y=0
 

MikeD

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The Bilbao ferry is the shortest route yes but god it’s expensive.


Someone will give you a Brittany Ferry "friends and family" discount code on here - save up to 10% on the ferry cost.

For us we almost always go to Spain on the ferry.

We don't like to drive to far in a day and France for us would be a week each way.

With the tolls and generally high cost of living in France its a no brainer for us.

ps: Spain is around 650miles from Northern ports to the Costa del sol.
 
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Chris

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We much prefer to take the ferry to Spain.

The main benefit is that you miss France completely:xThumb:
 
Feb 9, 2008
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But is it ? You work out the cost of 1000 miles travel, food, parking and a channel crossing, knock that off Bilbao and see what you get.

People never feed in the true cost of 1000 miles when doing this.
Not sure why you have arrived at 1000 miles when it's just over that in Kilometers from Calas to Irun (1056K) ? Anyway,let me try and answer your question. In my case, a 3.5 T motorhome 2.3 euro 4 engine, I have calculated the following costs. Ferry crossing, € 75.00 (Each Way), Parking is free, using Aires that are open and free along the N10 route. Fuel costs, Calais to Irun, approx. €147.84 (Based on 1056 K @10K per Ltr. @€1.40 per ltr). Toll fares. Jct 19-23 of the A10 to get through the city of Tours (€1.80) and a further € 8.90 for the A 63 toll road south of Bordeaux, from Jct 6 to the Spanish border. As for food costs we have a fully stocked motorhome and as we now regard the food & Drink in the UK cheaper than France, we eat and drink our own stuff. So, I estimate for the two of us, as we clear France in 2.1/2 days of driving, say €30.00. As for wear and tear on the vehicle I'm not sure how to calculate this cost. So, all in all I estimate the total cost is close to €265. each way.
What is the cost of the Ferry ?

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Chris

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You can sit on the ferry, have a drink, eat and sleep whilst travelling to Spain.

That’s worth a lot of money to me to avoid the drudge through France even if it might save €300- 500.
 

mikebeaches

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Ferry to northern Spain for us, because travelling all the way through France in mid-winter does not appeal. Fine in the spring or summer maybe...

But the OP asked the question about the comparative cost of jumping on a plane verses taking the van. Unless you are going on an extended trip of more than three weeks, it's almost certain to be cheaper to fly, provided you stay in equivalent level of accommodation.

Another important point to factor into the equation - travelling in a 20-year-old van - have a breakdown over there and it could start getting very expensive. In other words think about the liability risk of taking your van far away from home, particularly if time is tight and the trip length is restricted by the necessity to return to employment in the UK.

Obviously, anything is possible if you are determined - but consider your options carefully...

Good luck whatever you decide! :xThumb:
 
Jul 29, 2013
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Just driven through France from tunnel to Irun then on to Tarifa, the fuel alone cost through France was £280, 4500kg van towing car trailer GVW 6000kgby the I’ve you add tolls and food there wouldn’t be a big difference?
We like to drive and make it part of the trip to enjoy so we don’t rush and take around ten days to get to Tarifa.:xThumb::xThumb::xThumb: Horses for courses eh?
 

MikeD

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Return travel £550 next March economy service with club discount. One month in Spain so back in April. 7 mar motorhome x 3mtrs high

Seats on the way out, inside cabin on the way home.
(A cabin outwards would add around £100.) There were no seats bookable for the return travel but would save around £100 over a cabin.

so the journey could be around £450 return.

ps: I would not recommend a economy ferry in March. It may well rock and roll a bit. :)

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Realist

Realist

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It’s becoming a choice of drive the tunnel route with a 1000 plus mile drive or ferry over to Billy Bob and shorter drive to southern Spain.

Now me I think I would like the shorter distance but what put me off was the cost of the ferry with cabin and that worked out at close on £1000 return then a day or so drive south so it’s 50/50 for me.

Will I trust the Mah we have to do a 1000 plus miles possibly twice regardless of our euro breakdown cover I might stay to the UK.

Brian
 

mikebeaches

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It’s becoming a choice of drive the tunnel route with a 1000 plus mile drive or ferry over to Billy Bob and shorter drive to southern Spain.

Now me I think I would like the shorter distance but what put me off was the cost of the ferry with cabin and that worked out at close on £1000 return then a day or so drive south so it’s 50/50 for me.

Will I trust the Mah we have to do a 1000 plus miles possibly twice regardless of our euro breakdown cover I might stay to the UK.

Brian
I see you live not too far from Cardiff - at the moment, you could fly from Bristol to Alicante on 26 January and come back on 8 February for the princely sum of £39.38 return with easyJet. And if two of you are travelling, the price falls to £31.38 each return.

Could save a fortune going by plane. ;)

Our van is garaged there for the winter and we fly backwards and forwards to use it. :)
 
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Feb 9, 2008
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Return travel £550 next March economy service with club discount. One month in Spain so back in April. 7 mar motorhome x 3mtrs high

Seats on the way out, inside cabin on the way home.
(A cabin outwards would add around £100.) There were no seats bookable for the return travel but would save around £100 over a cabin.

so the journey could be around £450 return.

ps: I would not recommend a economy ferry in March. It may well rock and roll a bit. :)
That sounds like a great price, £450 return. Playing around with the Brittany website the cheapest I could find was around £300 each way. Do you pay extra to use this service or is it open to anyone ? I wonder how you get any sleep if your not in a cabin ? I thought the idea was to arrive rested. Lastly, assuming you eat and drink on the ferry how is the food and drink priced. My experience on the DFDS ferry is that food and drink is quite pricey.

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MikeD

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That sounds like a great price, £450 return. Playing around with the Brittany website the cheapest I could find was around £300 each way. Do you pay extra to use this service or is it open to anyone ? I wonder how you get any sleep if your not in a cabin ? I thought the idea was to arrive rested. Lastly, assuming you eat and drink on the ferry how is the food and drink priced. My experience on the DFDS ferry is that food and drink is quite pricey.


I personally would not travel on economy ferry and we always have a cabin but the price was straight off their web site with my club membership discount applied. (Which is about 30% if I remember correctly.) As a friend/family you would get 10% discount.

Most of the boats have more than one restaurant/cafe/self service.

You can eat for what I consider a reasonable price. Whilst you are a captive audience they don't really take a huge advantage of this.

I thought the price of a food/beer was about the same as in a bar in France.

It's a no brainer for us to travel via the ferry as I don't want to drive huge mileages each day and we tend to stay on sites.

So France would be near a week for us. We don't tend to cook on board much either so eating out for a week adds up.

Tolls in France are at a stupid price now and together with the 50mph speed limit on off motorway routes it does not add up anymore to visit France en-route to Spain anymore.

The post was to show u can travel economically on the ferry if you are so inclined.
 

Riverbankannie

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Having not done it before does anyone have idea of costs involved, how long for each journey there and back like what would you say is the minimum you would attempt to do the trip for example, 2 days to get there, 7 days stay and 2 days back that’s 11 and adding the costs is it worth it?

Brian
You cannot (would not want to) get to southern Spain from Cardiff in 2days which ever way you go. If you are looking at a week staying where you want to go it’s a no brainer, fly and rent an apartment.
 
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I personally would not travel on economy ferry and we always have a cabin but the price was straight off their web site with my club membership discount applied. (Which is about 30% if I remember correctly.) As a friend/family you would get 10% discount.

Most of the boats have more than one restaurant/cafe/self service.

You can eat for what I consider a reasonable price. Whilst you are a captive audience they don't really take a huge advantage of this.

I thought the price of a food/beer was about the same as in a bar in France.

It's a no brainer for us to travel via the ferry as I don't want to drive huge mileages each day and we tend to stay on sites.

So France would be near a week for us. We don't tend to cook on board much either so eating out for a week adds up.

Tolls in France are at a stupid price now and together with the 50mph speed limit on off motorway routes it does not add up anymore to visit France en-route to Spain anymore.

The post was to show u can travel economically on the ferry if you are so inclined.
Yes, Understood and of course appreciate it's each and everyone to his own. How much is 'club membership' a 30% discount on top of the economy ferry price sounds substantial and would no doubt make a big saving on a return journey. I might look at that for the future, although very happy driving down through France and making what I believe is a considerable saving. Incidentally, the 50 MPH speed limit on A & B roads does not apply to duel carriageways and non toll motorways which make up the majority of the N10 route.......Thankfully.
 
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Not entirely sure to your situation @Realist but I myself have stored my van in Spain (Alicante in my example) This allows you to fly over when ever you want, pick up the van and travel to a destination of your choice. Only time you'll need to take the van back is for its MOT. Could be something to consider.

My van is gutsy as hell so I prefer to take the ferry to Santander or Bilbao. Each to their own of course.
 

MikeD

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@PhilandMena

We travel 4x per year so it pays for us but in the first year of membership there is not much of a saving as you have a £105 registration fee plus membership fee.

Each year after that costs £125 and the discount is only on the ferry fare not the cabin cost.

You get £8.35 off the cost of your breakfast on overnight sailings and 10% off on-board dining.

A lot of people just ask members for their discount code so they can travel as a friend or family member. That saves up to 10%.
On the sailing I posted earlier the saving was around £180. :xThumb:
 
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But is it ? You work out the cost of 1000 miles travel, food, parking and a channel crossing, knock that off Bilbao and see what you get.

People never feed in the true cost of 1000 miles when doing this.
I only pay for fuel so the 112 litres needed to get from Som Port to dunkirk ( approx. 1250 kms ) cost me c. 124€ I don't buy in France-.There is no cost for tolls as I don't use them nor parking or food as whatI'd eat would be from in the van.Ferry is usually around 80€ but that is a flexi & would include 18€ for the dog. So 132€


Another important point to factor into the equation - travelling in a 20-year-old van - have a breakdown over there and it could start getting very expensive. In other words think about the liability risk of taking your van far away from home, parti
Mines 30 years old & also something I worry about in France ,fortunately adac gives me the option that if I cannot repair it then it is shipped back to spain.

Return travel £550 next March economy service with club discount. One month in Spain so back in April. 7 mar motorhome x 3mtrs high

Seats on the way out, inside cabin on the way home.
(A cabin outwards would add around £100.) There were no seats bookable for the return travel but would save around £100 over a cabin.

so the journey could be around £450 return.

ps: I would not recommend a economy ferry in March. It may well rock and roll a bit. :)
That's ok if you can actually sleep in a seat ? I couldn't nor can I even sleep in a cabin as the vibration, however slight annoys me.

I wonder how you get any sleep if your not in a cabin
On the occasions I've used it you couldn't even sleep in a bed in a cabin.

Lastly, assuming you eat and drink on the ferry how is the food and drink priced.
Last time we used it we starved as the wife refused categorically to pay the ridiculous prices. Not good when you have kids:xlaugh:

You cannot (would not want to) get to southern Spain from Cardiff in 2days which ever way you go.

:sneaky: I left here one Friday at 12 noon . Spent 14 hours from midnight saturday at my nephews in Essex & was in North Devon at 6pm Sunday evening..:) 1510 miles. 2 drivers though from here to essex via ferry from dunkirk :xThumb:.
 

mfw

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If you really want to run motorhome to spain and are time limited you would have to get ferry to spain then meander on through spain at your leisure but it costs costs me 220lts of fuel from dieppe to bottom of spain and 4 days driving 2 days for france and 2 for spain and no toll roads cheapest would certainly be package holiday for a couple of weeks
 

P Jones

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You cannot (would not want to) get to southern Spain from Cardiff in 2days which ever way you go. If you are looking at a week staying where you want to go it’s a no brainer, fly and rent an apartment.
it looks like a no brainer to you,had look,pj

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