Possible new year trip across the channel (1 Viewer)

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Nov 13, 2017
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Paul has started muttering about taking the van to France for NYE to visit some chums who have a small holding near Limoges. Then spending a few weeks driving to northern Spain and back.
We've done this trip several times by car but it's a different prospect in a motor home.
I'm thinking Poole- cherbourg as it has a shortish crossing in case the weather isn't nice. The tunnel is too far out of the way.
Then what? Can anyone recommend places to stay for a couple of nights on the way down or should we stick to aires for our first trip? Hoping not to spend too much time on auto routes but happy to do a mix of both.
I know there are various apps and books but I 'd rather go by personal recommendations where possible.
Thanks
 
Feb 9, 2008
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This may help!
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
 
OP
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It will be freezing. Give yourselves a chance and head for Benidorm, it's really not that far but your best chance of a bit of decent weather.
My initial thought was "I'd rather stick pins in my eyes", but to minimise consumption of popcorn I'm moderating my response to "it's not our scene, but thanks for the recommendation" ;)

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OP
OP
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Nov 13, 2017
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This may help!
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

Thank you so much, that's really helpful.
I'm very aware that seasoned motor homers must be fed up with being asked silly questions by newbies on a regular basis and, if i trawled through all the forums and threads, I'd probably find the info myself. But life is too short and you (mostly) seem like a friendly bunch so I thought I'd risk it. :wasntme:
 
Feb 9, 2008
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Thank you so much, that's really helpful.
I'm very aware that seasoned motor homers must be fed up with being asked silly questions by newbies on a regular basis and, if i trawled through all the forums and threads, I'd probably find the info myself. But life is too short and you (mostly) seem like a friendly bunch so I thought I'd risk it. :wasntme:
One of the reasons they call us Funsters.
 
May 31, 2015
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We've done this trip several times by car but it's a different prospect in a motor home.

Your right, it will be much easier and less stressful :D

Aires will be open but the water may be turned off so fill whenever you can and make sure you have plenty of gas....(y)
 
Sep 19, 2016
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Paul has started muttering about taking the van to France for NYE to visit some chums who have a small holding near Limoges. Then spending a few weeks driving to northern Spain and back.
We've done this trip several times by car but it's a different prospect in a motor home.
I'm thinking Poole- cherbourg as it has a shortish crossing in case the weather isn't nice. The tunnel is too far out of the way.
Then what? Can anyone recommend places to stay for a couple of nights on the way down or should we stick to aires for our first trip? Hoping not to spend too much time on auto routes but happy to do a mix of both.
I know there are various apps and books but I 'd rather go by personal recommendations where possible.
Thanks

Newhaven to Dieppe short and cheap crossing as well
 
Apr 13, 2012
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Thinking of doing something similar myself, heading for Spain, but will make my decision nearer the time when I have a better idea of weather and sea state.

If I go through France it will be a 'dash', it's too cold to hang about, same for Northern Spain - plenty of water and gas on board. I'll even use toll roads if I have to.

Depending on weather and cost my preferences are:
1. Direct to Spain by ferry (unlikely this time)
2. Newhaven - Dieppe then the route given in @PhilandMena s post ((y)) or toll roads straight through to Spain
3. Tunnel to Calais - last resort if Channel too rough - hate going anywhere near the M25 and longest journey for me

Safe journey(y)

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OP
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As we'll be using a few toll roads is it worth getting a tag for the peages? In the past, in the car, we've just stopped at the barrier and paid. I'm thinking using a tag may be quicker but I've read about motor homers being charged the wrong class, which we wouldn't know about until later.
Thoughts please. What do you do?
 
Feb 21, 2016
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Have you considered EasyJet?;);)
Or if you are desperate Ryanair.
 
Feb 9, 2008
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As we'll be using a few toll roads is it worth getting a tag for the peages? In the past, in the car, we've just stopped at the barrier and paid. I'm thinking using a tag may be quicker but I've read about motor homers being charged the wrong class, which we wouldn't know about until later.
Thoughts please. What do you do?
There will be a display showing you the class of vehicle you are. |If you want to dispute this, press the button and discuss with the operator. If you are unwilling to wait the 30 seconds or so (max) to get through the pay toll in the winter then go for tag.
 
OP
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There will be a display showing you the class of vehicle you are. |If you want to dispute this, press the button and discuss with the operator. If you are unwilling to wait the 30 seconds or so (max) to get through the pay toll in the winter then go for tag.

Yes In the few minutes since posting I've discussed it with the friends who we're visiting and don't think I'll bother with a tag.

Have you considered EasyJet?;);)
Or if you are desperate Ryanair.

No, but thanks for the suggestion
 

Trixie

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@PhilandMena .it might be worth getting a tag if you don’t want to get out in the cold to pay. Not always easy to reach the paying area.

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Feb 9, 2008
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@PhilandMena .it might be worth getting a tag if you don’t want to get out in the cold to pay. Not always easy to reach the paying area.
My wife pays at the toll booths. She steps out of the cab, inserts money obtains receipt/change and back in the cab within 60 seconds. I've never come across anyone yet who has an issue with the cold when paying at a toll booth. Bet your not from up North ? There all hardy souls from up there.
 
Apr 13, 2012
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You can't beat approaching the toll booth, hearing the bleep, green light and off you go

- get a tag(y)
 
Jul 5, 2013
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How much do you pay for your tag and how long does it last?
£20 refundable deposit for tag. Then £12 per year. Plus the cost of the tolls. Well worth it. We have got 2, one for France and the other for Spain and Portugal, so £24 per year.

As we'll be using a few toll roads is it worth getting a tag for the peages? In the past, in the car, we've just stopped at the barrier and paid. I'm thinking using a tag may be quicker but I've read about motor homers being charged the wrong class, which we wouldn't know about until later.
Thoughts please. What do you do?

They only ever check the height. As long as your motorhome is less than 3m high you will be charged category 2.

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Feb 9, 2008
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£20 refundable deposit for tag. Then £12 per year. Plus the cost of the tolls. Well worth it. We have got 2, one for France and the other for Spain and Portugal, so £24 per year.



They only ever check the height. As long as your motorhome is less than 3m high you will be charged category 2.
Thanks, that is reasonable I guess if your using a lot of Tolls. We pay about 10 euros on tolls from Calais to I run and it's mostly motorway dual carriageway for the whole journey so not of any value to us but might be to others who use long distant Toll journeys with lots of booths to negotiate.
 
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£20 refundable deposit for tag. Then £12 per year. Plus the cost of the tolls. Well worth it. We have got 2, one for France and the other for Spain and Portugal, so £24 per year.



They only ever check the height. As long as your motorhome is less than 3m high you will be charged category 2.
£12 for a tag,,,don't spend that much on tolls,,BUSBY,,
 
Oct 21, 2017
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We use the same tag for moho, car and motorbike. The correct vehicle class has always been recognised.......amazing.
Cheap n easy.
 

klaatu

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Considered getting a tag as we tend to just know where we we are going and want to get there regardless of whether it involves tolls. Now that we live in France I think we will probably get one. Never needed to get out of the van at a toll booth in either of our vans that we’ve used in Europe (both LHD).
 
Apr 13, 2012
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Considerations on not using toll roads should be the new lower speed limits, possible speeding fines, the excessive road calming, wear and tear on vehicle and driver constantly changing speed and gears, fuel consumption...........

............as opposed to cruising at a steady speed if all you need is to get somewhere quickly

I've always found that using the 'scenic' route takes 50% longer than shown on the satnav

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Dec 24, 2014
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If you go Newhaven to Dieppe book by phone because if the person booking the ticket is 60 or over, a student, or registered disabled (it doesn't have to be the driver) you get a 20% reduction on the standard fare.
 
Feb 9, 2008
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Considerations on not using toll roads should be the new lower speed limits, possible speeding fines, the excessive road calming, wear and tear on vehicle and driver constantly changing speed and gears, fuel consumption...........

............as opposed to cruising at a steady speed if all you need is to get somewhere quickly

I've always found that using the 'scenic' route takes 50% longer than shown on the satnav
Consideration for avoiding Toll Routes, could be, Huge savings on toll fares. (e.g. Return toll costs from Calais to Benidorm €378.50 for a class 2 vehicle). Ability to use toll free motorways and dual carriageways for most of the journey. Not having to exit a toll road to go looking for cheap fuel when on your route. Ability to use many free Aires and overnight stops not freely available on Toll routes. Ability to travel at a safe constant cruising speed, obtain good fuel consumption and use of cruise control when on toll free motorways/dual carriageways. Ability to make a significant saving to the same destination verses Toll Routes. Save up to 50% of your journey time with an updated decent Sat Nav as apposed to a cheap Chinese piece of shit.
 

hilldweller

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My initial thought was "I'd rather stick pins in my eyes"

A quite common reaction. Usually by people who have not been there for a few days.

Peace and isolation it is not, full of life, full of good food and drink it is.

The main thing is the micro-climate that is just about as good as it gets in winter. Which, of course you can enjoy either side of it. L'Albir is much quieter.

The choice is yours, freeze or fry.

PS: The Picos is a glorious place in May onwards.
 
OP
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A quite common reaction. Usually by people who have not been there for a few days.

Peace and isolation it is not, full of life, full of good food and drink it is.

The main thing is the micro-climate that is just about as good as it gets in winter. Which, of course you can enjoy either side of it. L'Albir is much quieter.

The choice is yours, freeze or fry.

PS: The Picos is a glorious place in May onwards.

We spent January and part of Feb in Seville a couple of years ago so we're well aware of the climate at that time of year.
But we aren't going for a sunshine holiday; we get plenty of sun on the boat in Greece during the months we are there. The purpose of our trip is researching in more detail potential areas in which we hope to buy a property in the next year or so.
Which definitely won't be in Benidorm! But each to their own.
 

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