Anyone done a Europe Motorhome trip?

Submitted: Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 18:10
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A little off topic here I know BUT our family is travelling to Europe in June and we have booked a Britz style motorhome/camper for 14 nights starting in Milan. By the time we pick it up we would have been in italy for almost 2 weeks so we were thinking of heading into France for some/most of that time though Switzerland is tempting as well.

Has anyone here done it before and could anyone suggest a guide? Google turns up lots of stuff so thought advice from here might help filter it a little.

Cheers, Terry
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Reply By: mikehzz - Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 19:50

Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 19:50
I have done it about 5 years ago in a VW Camper with the family. My first suggestion is that you have a gps with the Europe maps on it. I don't know what I would have done without that. Navigating through any of the big cities like Paris would be a lot harder without one thats for sure. You will find that a lot of the road signs mean zippo :-).
From Milan to France via Switzerland you can use the Mont Blanc tunnel. It's a bit pricey and they are strict on speed in it but the drive through Northern Italy into the tunnel and out into France then Geneva is very scenic.
If you are going to Paris then forget about trying to park a camper anywhere. The VW couldn't fit in any of the car parks. I had to leave it in long term out at Charles De Galle airport.
The motorways in France and Italy are toll roads that cost around 7 Euros per 100kms so it adds up. Switzerland costs around 27 Euros to use their motorways whether its for a day or a year. You pay at the border.
Have a nice trip, its fun but a bit hectic on some of the roads. Come back and realize what a big empty country we live in. Cheers
AnswerID: 481909

Follow Up By: Member - tdv - Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 21:11

Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 21:11
I was planning to download an app for navigating while there. thanks for the heads up re: tolls. I guess we will have to get used to sharing a campsite :-).
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Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 23:26

Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 23:26
Hi Terry

Many years ago my family toured around the UK and Europe in a camper van over six or seven months. Well before the internet, we collected travel brochures from tourist offices as we reached each country, and as when touring here in Australia, talking to other travellers helped us find the best places and side trips. As we started in England and departed from Genoa, we did a big loop through most countries in Western Europe. We drove through the Simplon Pass between Switzerland and Italy in snow - and we had no snow chains nor experience in snow driving. It was a magic experience. Switzerland is a delightful country i can highly recommend. With information overload on the internet, you should soon be able to find the websites most suited to your travel planning needs. Every country has so much to see that is so very different; i'm sure your will enjoy which ever one you choose to visit. In Italy, Firenze (Florence) was our favourite, with must see places of Venice, Naples and Rome memorable also.

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Reply By: Stevesub1 - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 09:33

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 09:33
We spent 2 months in Europe in April May 2005 in a leased car . Bought all our camping gear at a Hypermarket, cheap as and had a ball. However we found that it was not much more expensive staying in cheap hotels and houses than camp grounds. We bought paper maps before we went into each major city, used info centres and hijacked WiFi or dialup for the net where we could.

No free wifi or GPS and getting lost did not worry us, all part of the fun, except in Berlin and that is another story.

Would we do the same again, yes in 4 years time we are but we would forget the camping gear and go for the cheap hotels. We did not consider and would not again consider a camper, just too big in the cities. We had a Pug 206 and parked anywhere and I mean anywhere incl on the footpath, just like the locals and threw the parking tickets away.

Stevesub
AnswerID: 481951

Follow Up By: Stevesub1 - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 09:40

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 09:40
Forgot to say,we bought one of those 2" thick Lonely Planet Europe travel guides before we left and that was used daily and had all the highlights and we would do the same again. They have all the good stuff and you do not need to worry about getting on the net for info overload.

Also bought a map book of Europe that had detailed maps but would also take a GPS next time.

But the local info centres are the best, just don't have too tight a travel schedule. Most speak English.

Stevesub
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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 21:59

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 21:59
Yes, I agree with what you have said. Other times we have gone we leased a Pug as well and stayed in Formulae 1, or ETaps. Really cheap, a few years ago they were only $27 Euros a night for 3-4 people. You can't beat that price and they are new and clean with PARKING :-)
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Reply By: Lifethics - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 21:26

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 21:26
Hi, just saw your question- bit late but anyway;

We have done two trips in the last 3 years, the 1st from Germany and headed east to Poland and back thru Slov and Austria. Great but some places still suffer from the old commie mentality.

More recently we picked up the camper in Lyon (France) and did France, Spain and Portugal. The only place that crosses paths with you is France so here is some tips.

There are free camps in many of the towns. Some right in the town centers on the river. Just pay for power. Suggest you look out for them. Other than that found most of the caravan 'parks' good although because it is very seasonal some were in peoples back yards.

Be careful of GPS. On many occasion were led down very narrow non existent paths/roads. Having said that driving with a GPS is essential, particularly in Italy. We only had one prang. Silly me I stopped because someone was crossing the pedestrian crossing. The bloke behind me did not!

Secondly: advertise that you are Aussies ie flag and any other means. We only learnt this late in the piece and some situations were rather testing ie becoming stuck and causing a traffic jam in a little village.. people thought we were locals (in France) and French (in other countries). Other travelers recommended this.

Other than that we had a fantastic time and as you can see have done it twice.
Happy to help if you have any other questions. Oh yes... We also had a Britz but later we discovered that we only got it from an agent so did not get all the things that they said we would as advertised on the Web.

Cheers
Fred




AnswerID: 482002

Follow Up By: Member - tdv - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 21:34

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 21:34
Not too late. All the information provided so far has been great! I will take an Aussie flag for sure. Good tip!

We are a family of 2 adults and 2 kids 10 and 8 years old. Given we are normally remote campers with a camper trailer it is going to be weird travelling in a motorhome in urban environs!

I can't wait to emulate their behaviour up here in FNQ. Stop in the middle of the road with hazards on and read a map LOL.

T
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