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Need a bit of advice please

3285 Views 11 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  dinostar
We are hiring a motorhome at the end of July 2009. The Chunnel crossing is booked and we want to head down the west coast of France, across the piranees, up the med coast and into Italy, Switzerland and Austria.

Problem is do i book every campsite along a route and have a ridgid schedule or will we be ok just going and finding places along the way ?

Theres four of us 2 x Adults and 2 x Kids. Would be very grateful if anyone has any advice.
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Hello Dinostar and a very warm welcome to MotorhomeFacts. May your stay with us be a long and happy one, to the point where you BUY a motorhome!! :wink: :lol:

At the end of this month, Auntie Sandra and I are away to the continent... Norfolkline return at £52 for a 7 metre MH. We have ONE date and that is at Amboise for 5 - 7 June for a Brass Band Competition. Then it's anyone's guess where we'll go.

But I can assure you, we shall not be tearing around the place. We shall NOT be booking any sites in advance. Even when we travelled during school hols, we never pre-booked. Afterall, it's a motorhome. Home is where the handbrake goes on. YOU and your family decide that when you need to. If you like a place, you stop in an aire-des-camping-cars or you find the local municipal site. Whatever you do, DON'T stop on motorway aires, even the big ones!! In fact, I'd say "Avoid motorways!" There are so many GEMS in the villages and countryside. Please don't miss them!

You'll need to equip yourselves with various books from Vicarious Books or the Caravan Club etc... Maps of Europe will be helpful too.

So, there's your starter for ten. If you pay £10 to SUBSCRIBE to MHF, you'll be able to search fully, find info, get discounts on many aspects ot motorhoming... Go on, you know you want to! :roll:

Enjoy the MH, enjoy the holidays. :D
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Book the first night, just for peace of mind.

Buy the Caravan Club "Caravanning Europe" books (half price to members, so if you haven't yet joined ask a mate to order them) as these are arguably the best of the lot.

After that I'd suggest you use Municipal sites where possible as they are usually the best value and most of them are very good. (A few are a bit riffy, but if you arrive early enough you can move on after a quick look round.)

Aim to arrive on site by about 4.00pm and even at that time of year you will almost always be OK without booking ahead.

One of the great things about a motorhome is the freedom to do just whatever takes your fancy.

Don't throw that away by having anything approaching a rigid itinerary. As we come off the ferry, I sometimes say to Mrs Zeb, "Shall we turn right, left or go straight on!"

Hope this helps


P.S. And what Uncle says too - just saw his post as I submitted mine! :D
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hi unclenorm
what is wrong with motorway aires? I am also new to motorhoming, have just bought a hymer b584 so any advise helpful.
thanks tanktop
tanktop said:
hi unclenorm
what is wrong with motorway aires? I am also new to motorhoming, have just bought a hymer b584 so any advise helpful.
thanks tanktop
Prime target for theives. Really.
Best avoided.
LOADS of villages and small towns have nice aires worth staying at.
You're hiring a motorhome but you don't say for how long - I would guess that you're fairly new to continental motorhoming??

That's quite a long drive you have in mind so I hope your trip is 3 weeks+ or you'll be spending much of your time driving.

Unless you are planning to spend more than 3 weeks, bearing in mind you have two children with you, my advice would be to be less ambitious and either stick to France or stick to Switzerland/Austria.

Have you done a rough estimate of how far your planned trip is and what the average daily mileage works out at?

What you don't see this year will still be there next year.

Whatever you do - enjoy it.
If you go to Austria watch out for the go-box or road tax. It can be quite high depending on the size of your van. Also, very few Aires in Switzerland so you'll need campsites there. We are of next Wed for 2 weeks and have NOTHING booked! It's very very different over there to here, they welcome motorhomes everywhere you go (unlike the UK who seem to lump us in with pikeys or make us pay very inflated campsite fees) As has been said, don't try and do to much, sometimes little is best. The best 2 week trip we ever had involved less than 400 miles over there!!! The main thing is ENJOY the trip and then you'll want to rush out and buy a motorhome.

Good luck, Womble.
:p that sounds like a hell of a trip to me unless as the others say 3 weeks or so.

We did Normandy and Brittany last year and to be honest the only site we booked was a big mistake! Miles from St Malo even though we had done our research, how wrong we were. That was main two week hols and we dropped on another lovely site, two vans together accomodated no problem.

In March we went down to the alps for skiing, its 8 and a half hours solid from Calais! Try using viamichelin site for a route calculation, its very accurate (except it gives you the car toll rates - mh's are class 2)

Aires in towns are a great experience, would never consider motorway ones, they all look too foreboding and bleak to me anyway!
we never book sites but use the mhf campsite data base (but you need to be a member) and also see here and here and here and here and for your route see here
Yep. Failed to notice the distance involved. :oops:

With two kids I would suggest 200 miles per day will be more than enough, especially if you are not used to driving a motorhome. (It is for us without the little perishers!!)

Don't risk ruining the whole experience by being too ambitious. 8O

Your option of course, but we have 40 years experience of caravans and motorhomes, and we wouldn't contemplate the trip you suggest in less than a month . . . . not if you want it to class as a holiday that is. :D

Just did a quick check on Autoroute and you are planning on almost 2,500 miles from Calais and back.

In a three week holiday that's 360 miles every three days, or over 230 miles if you drive every other day.

That's not a holiday - or wouldn't be for us at least!! :roll:

Hope this helps

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must admit i wouldnt try to do what you have planned in less than a month. we usually go for 3 weeks thats me mrs and miss geordie and the most milage we have done is 1300 miles and thats from newcastle, we prefer to just drive find some where stop look around for a day or two and move on some times only a few miles rather than thrash down motorways and miss the best bits. but thats just my opinion
Many Thanks to you all

Thankyou for all the advice. We are going for three weeks, but as almost all of you said its probably a bit ambitious, so will have a rethink.

We're definitely not going to book anywhere, and will follow a rough route, but will definitely stay free of a ridgid itinerary.

Once again many Thanks and will keep looking in on Motorhome Facts.
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