First timers touring on the continent

Skydog1

Free Member
May 4, 2013
14
2
WestGate on Sea
MH
A Class
Exp
3 years
Hi, we are new to motor homing having our first one just over a 15 months,we have travelled extensively in the UK but now want to travell down to Spain in late September.I have driven a great deal in France and Spain but not with the motor home ,is there any body that is going down there at this time that we could tag along with to show us the ropes
 

Steveth

Free Member
Mar 29, 2014
56
113
Wherever We Are Parked
MH
Swift Esprit462 (Freddie)
Exp
Since 2014
I am sure there are others with much more experience than us who will offer better advice in the next few minutes. We are like you in that have driven extensively in France & Spain but not in a Motorhome.
We collected our first Motorhome on the Monday, arrived in France just after midnight on the Friday, and took 5 days to reach Alicante. Dolly who had not driven anything bigger than a Galaxy (towing son's racecar) before, loves driving "Freddie." So just go for it, you know you can do it.
Just search the site for the do's and don'ts and you will be fine.
 

sedge

Funster
Jul 7, 2009
4,779
4,726
Nr Jct 3 M6
MH
C class
Exp
Aug 09 to date 9,000 miles!
What are you planning on doing? Motorways everywhere, or non-motorway, are you thinking of taking to the Aires, or wanting to stay on campsites, or wild camping, or what? Pete's just asked as well, ferry to Spain or to France?

In the absence of a travelling companion if no-one else is going then (we aren't LOL) I would suggest you take it gently. Perhaps stay on a couple of Aires or campsites not too far from your chosen landing spot - what do you actually need - walking or biking or bus distance to the nearest place/beauty spot/ancient monument/town/shopping centre/ supermarket/bar/pharmacy/tabac - what? You'll soon get the hang of it and if you had a route (or even direction! they are both such LARGE countries LOL) in mind, then everyone could soon jump in and say don't go on that particular road or do go on this one, or that's a nice campsite of horrible place etc.

It's quite difficult when you don't know! LOL

If it's any help, we've stayed at one heck of a lot of aires on the north coast quite handy for Calais, and they are certainly all different but none have been vile, so far - else we wouldn't have actually stayed there ! LOL

Your started for ten anyway, are the Aires books for the appropriate countries which are in English from Vicarious Publications
https://www.vicarious-shop.com/All-the-Aires-France-edition-4.html
which in our van, usually are VERY well used by the time the next edition is published.
 

sedge

Funster
Jul 7, 2009
4,779
4,726
Nr Jct 3 M6
MH
C class
Exp
Aug 09 to date 9,000 miles!
Ditto Steveth - we'd camped both by car and motorbike all over the place so we took delivery of our first van on the Monday, Pete fitted Gaslow on the Tuesday morning, then on Tuesday afternoon took the big bottles back to Gaslow as they wouldn't go through the gas locker door, so finished fitting on Wednesday morning. In between and on the Thursday we packed the van exc fridge. On Friday and Saturday Pete went to work, pugged the van into the elec at home for the fridge to cool down, went to work Sunday. I filled the fridge and icebox on Sunday afternoon along with the bread and fresh veg and stuff. He came home from work at 6.30, jumped in the shower etc and off we went to Dover. Late night ferry, spent the first night on Auchan carpark at St Martin Boulogne, fresh croissants for brekkie on Monday morning and orf we jollywell went.

If it went wrong we'd react accordingly. It didn't that much though of course there are teething problems with anything new, it doesn't wreck your holiday if you don't let it - life's too short, isn't it?

We still love it just as much as the first time.
 

tambo

Free Member
Jun 21, 2014
875
640
Dunfermline fife scotland
MH
a class
Exp
MH Since 2008, ex tugger and vw campers since 1992
We're in the middle of our first driving trip in france ( I was here 22 years ago in an old vw camper but can't remember any of it lol ) like you I was a little nervous driving a 25 ft van on the other side of the road etc ...i have to say it's went pretty good so far a few little teething problems getting used to the road system as unlike the UK they aren't keen on listing onward locations on the road signs etc and the signs in general are pretty rubbish I've found so have had to do u turns a few times lol ....but really within a few hours I was used to it and only drove on the wrong side 4 times so far :p ....The aires book is definately invaluable but i also found following french vans very helpful near popular places as they always seem to know the best spots to camp up we stumbled over some really lovely places ....only 3 days left here now it's gone so fast and so so much left to see
 
Feb 9, 2008
5,257
6,412
Corby, Northants
MH
Coach Built
Exp
Since 2007
This may be of use to you.
http://about-france.com/routes-from-calais.
http://about-spain.net/travel/map.htm

For your first trip in a motorhome, I would recommend the N10 route which is fundamentally Toll free to the bottom of the France. A few tolls to pay on the bottom of the A63/E70. This route is used by many motor-homers as it is mostly Toll free and nearly all duel carriageway/Motorway.

Getting through Rouen (France) is a doddle if you use A150/N1338, then onto the A 13 (about €2.50 in Toll fares)

Not sure where your heading in to in Spain but assuming your heading somewhere in the Benidorm area (long way to go for just one month but doable!). Then I would recommend N121-A to pamploma and then Zaragoza, Valencia and down to Beni, all Toll free.

If your interested in this route there is more detail in the links and there's plenty of good stop overs on the way down.
Happy Trails.
 
Jun 30, 2013
4,543
6,396
Cotes d'armor, France
MH
Burstner Harmony TI 736 G
Exp
Since 1987
Have a great time. My only bit of advice would be to have a reserve aire ( if you are using then for night stops). We have been all over France in the last few months from the med to Western Brittany and we have noticed an awful lot of aires that are in the All the Aires book have either closed or been reduced in size, meaning less space.
Allan
 
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