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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've recently bought our first MH and are planning a two month trip down the West coast of France & over the Pyrenees to Med France & Spain (July/August)
I joined this site as I'm on a steep learning curve regarding pretty much everything to do with MH'ing (Benimar Europe 5000 by the way), & I have been reading many different sections, absorbing what I can.
I have been thinking about security a little bit but it was quite far down my priority list- UNTIL NOW! I've just spent about an hour reading this security forum & I'm pretty horrified!!
I was planning on using a mix of Aires & sites & have minimal (bog standard I guess) security at the moment.
I now want TWO Dobermans and a GUN!
Seriously though, I'm not soft, but I am taking my wife & 3 year old daughter and really dont want to put them in harms way at all (and it was all my idea!)
How bad is it out there? Should I reconsider my plans to keep safe?
What security measures do you consider essential? Ive just looked at some of the alarms & reckon I'd have to do a week less away if I need to spend that!
Any & all views would be very appreciated.
Thanks, Gary
 

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Hello Gary! Welcome to MotorhomeFacts. May your stay with us be a long and HAPPY one! :wink:

Security: All I can tell you is what AuntieSandra and I have learnt over the last 20 years of visiting France, and what precautions we take.

The major rule would be along the lines "If you don't feel comfortable, move on!"

We are on our way in 2 weeks' time. See the ticker below! We shall not be worrying at all about security. BUT... we shall be aware of the need for it.

To that end, we shall NOT stay the night on aires on autoroutes/ motorways. We shall seek out aires-des-camping-cars in towns and villages. We shall ensure we have the company of other motorhomers; safety in numbers.

We shall AVOID leaving windows open, even with blinds and fly-screens closed, whilst in bed. If ventilation is needed, we shall open skylights.

The first thing we did, when we bought this motorhome, was visit VanBitz to have a Strikeback alarm fitted. We did a 600 mile round trip and paid quite a lot of money for the alarm system, but the cost equated to 1% of the value of the MH. The alarm will be set each night when we settle down. It can be set with the internal sensors isolated which means the perimeter, including all doors and lockers, is armed but we can move about within. That's also handy if children or animals are left during service stops.

Money/Cards/Passports: we divide our cash three ways... some for AuntieSandra, some for me, some hidden away. A safe would be a good addition. But there are lots of places in the MH that can conceal property.

When we have to leave the MH, as at the Supermarche, we close screens to stop prying eyes... Some MHers leave one person in the MH whilst the other shops.

And so on... There's only so much that anyone can do to stay safe. Much commonsense has to be applied to any situation. But we feel so much safer when abroad... We'll be going to enjoy ourselves, please ensure you do the same. :wink: :D
 

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Hi Gary, and welcome too.

Very good advice from UncleNorm. Security wise, we do everything that he and AuntySandra does, and apart from a quick daytime fuel/refreshment stop, we never use the Motorway/Autoroute Aires.

At first Rita wasn't keen on the village/town Aires, but has come round to them now, and is happiest when there are a few MH's, ie, safety in numbers. A few of our recent favourites include, Mimizan Plage, Le Mont St Michel, Honfluer and Le Touquet.
She prefers the German Stellplatz, especially along the Mosel valley.

The only other addition security measure we have taken, is to add external locks to the MH, for when left unattended. And if using ramps to level off, reverse up them, as it is easier to drive away quickly, if needs be.

If you find that Aires de Camping Car are not your thing, then Municipal sites would be your next cheapest option, (apart from wild camping, often frowned upon), however most are only open from April to September.

Be sensible, take care, but most of all, enjoy yourselves.

Jock.
 

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Hi,
You will probably hear from the few who had a problem and not the thousands who travelled without seeing anything wrong.
I have done two three month trips recently and not had a problem but that is not to say you should not be careful.
Just heed the good advice on this forum and enjoy yourself.
 

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We have travelled extensively in France without any problems at all, as was said earlier - if you don't feel happy, move on - there are plenty more places to stop!

Our actions are very similar to UncleNorm's - except our van came ready fitted with a Toad alarm with internal sensors etc, not quite as good as a Strikeback, but as it was fitted we could not justify the expense of a second one.

We usually stay on small campsites - roughly equivalent to our CL's (Caravan Club) or CT's (Camping and Caravan Club) and have found that their isolation and talking to the site owner is usually quite OK - if the site owner has had problems they will usually advise you what to do / not do.

We felt much less happy in Spain - not sure quite why but possibly as a result of reading scary reports - which always seemed to refer to a friend of a friend or whatever, but for whatever reason we have never felt so relaxed as in France. The French seem to welcome MH's and their occupants big time! Not only are there numerous aires in towns and villages (often with useful facilities like water, electricity and dump points for grey and black waste) but also with large parking places reserved for "Camping Cars" - in some cases these are free whilst the car spaces around are all being charged!

So relax, take care and above all others enjoy yourselves - France is safe, inland is probably more quiet and more safe than the crowded coastal towns.

Hope this helps you to enjoy planning and carrying out your holiday - we would love to hear back afterwards!

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks UncleNorm! All you say makes sense, I think I just read all the bad posts last night, I feel a little easier about it today!
I am going to get an alarm fitted though & think we'll definately avoid Autoroute Aires.
Would you bother with deadlocks or not? I initially thought they sounded like a good idea, but have since thought it might just cause more damage to be done to the MH if somebody really wants to get in?
Can I just ask you another unrelated question if you dont mind. I read (somewhere?) that its difficult to get calor gas on the continent & that camping Gaz is the popular one. Is this true & if so do I need to take a different reg?
Also (sorry, last one)is my normal electric hookup & a two pin adapter going to be ok abroad?
Thanks for your help, and Iam (we are!) looking forward to it!!
Gary. (& Sam & Millie)
Thanks all who replied :D
UncleNorm said:
Hello Gary! Welcome to MotorhomeFacts. May your stay with us be a long and HAPPY one! :wink:

Security: All I can tell you is what AuntieSandra and I have learnt over the last 20 years of visiting France, and what precautions we take.

The major rule would be along the lines "If you don't feel comfortable, move on!"

We are on our way in 2 weeks' time. See the ticker below! We shall not be worrying at all about security. BUT... we shall be aware of the need for it.

To that end, we shall NOT stay the night on aires on autoroutes/ motorways. We shall seek out aires-des-camping-cars in towns and villages. We shall ensure we have the company of other motorhomers; safety in numbers.

We shall AVOID leaving windows open, even with blinds and fly-screens closed, whilst in bed. If ventilation is needed, we shall open skylights.

The first thing we did, when we bought this motorhome, was visit VanBitz to have a Strikeback alarm fitted. We did a 600 mile round trip and paid quite a lot of money for the alarm system, but the cost equated to 1% of the value of the MH. The alarm will be set each night when we settle down. It can be set with the internal sensors isolated which means the perimeter, including all doors and lockers, is armed but we can move about within. That's also handy if children or animals are left during service stops.

Money/Cards/Passports: we divide our cash three ways... some for AuntieSandra, some for me, some hidden away. A safe would be a good addition. But there are lots of places in the MH that can conceal property.

When we have to leave the MH, as at the Supermarche, we close screens to stop prying eyes... Some MHers leave one person in the MH whilst the other shops.

And so on... There's only so much that anyone can do to stay safe. Much commonsense has to be applied to any situation. But we feel so much safer when abroad... We'll be going to enjoy ourselves, please ensure you do the same. :wink: :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Jock, like the ramps idea & I'm considering extra locks. Which ones did you go for & are you happy with them?
Gary.
JockandRita said:
Hi Gary, and welcome too.

Very good advice from UncleNorm. Security wise, we do everything that he and AuntySandra does, and apart from a quick daytime fuel/refreshment stop, we never use the Motorway/Autoroute Aires.

At first Rita wasn't keen on the village/town Aires, but has come round to them now, and is happiest when there are a few MH's, ie, safety in numbers. A few of our recent favourites include, Mimizan Plage, Le Mont St Michel, Honfluer and Le Touquet.
She prefers the German Stellplatz, especially along the Mosel valley.

The only other addition security measure we have taken, is to add external locks to the MH, for when left unattended. And if using ramps to level off, reverse up them, as it is easier to drive away quickly, if needs be.

If you find that Aires de Camping Car are not your thing, then Municipal sites would be your next cheapest option, (apart from wild camping, often frowned upon), however most are only open from April to September.

Be sensible, take care, but most of all, enjoy yourselves.

Jock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, yes I think you're right. Two 3 month trips- thats excellent!!
Gary. :D
tombo5609 said:
Hi,
You will probably hear from the few who had a problem and not the thousands who travelled without seeing anything wrong.
I have done two three month trips recently and not had a problem but that is not to say you should not be careful.
Just heed the good advice on this forum and enjoy yourself.
 

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Hello again, Gary!

I'm so pleased that you've paid your subs to become a FULL member. If you want to do any of your own searches, just use the Google facility near the top of the page. Most questions have been answered many times before, so you can save time by searching out those answers.

In the meantime, you asked two questions...

Question Number 1: Can I just ask you another unrelated question if you dont mind. I read (somewhere?) that its difficult to get calor gas on the continent & that camping Gaz is the popular one. Is this true & if so do I need to take a different reg?

Answer No.1: YES, it's very difficult - practically impossible - to find Calor gas.

OPTION 1: Take two FULL cylinders, either 2 x 6kg or 6 + 13 or 2 x 13kg. Last year, I had a 6kg empty on me after ONE BBQ!! :oops: We still had a 13kg for the MH but it cost €50 :cry: to buy a CampinGaz 907 and regulator to go with the BBQ.

OPTION 2: Go down the road, as we are now doing, of using fixed refillable cyclinders such as Gaslow. It's a major expense 2 x 13kg coming in at over £480 through OutdoorBits (the owner owns this website). I intend fitting the kit myself and then have it checked by a Corgi/Gas Safety Registered engineer.

For a month's holiday, with a mixture of aires-des-camping cars and camp sites, where you're OFF hook-up, a 6 + 13kg Calor should last you well.

Question Number 2: Also (sorry, last one)is my normal electric hookup & a two pin adapter going to be ok abroad?

Answer Number 2: Your lead with blue ends that you would use at Caravan Clubs sites in the UK will give you a good start. But many continental sites use their own 2-pin arrangements.

OPTION: Beg, steal, borrow, buy or make a short converter lead with a continental 2-pin plug to connect into the site supply, and a blue socket to connect to your motorhome. (At this point, I shall not mention reversed polarity, so don't go opening any appliances whilst connected to the mains!)

How's that? Going abroad involves a steep learning curve. But there's lots of MHF members who have been there, done that... that will willingly give you a shove in the right direction.

Stay well and enjoy your MH. :wink: :D
 

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Hello again, Gary, and Sam and Millie! :wink: :lol:

Dead locks? Hmm... Some motorhome chassis already have deadlocks fitted to the cab doors. Ours is a new Fiat and DOESN'T seem to have them.

It's no doubt possible to retrofit them but we need to be wary... what keeps naughty folk out might also make it difficult for innocent folk to get out in an emergency.

There are many ideas around for keeping doors locked from the outside but openable from the inside. Chains and padlocks, ratchet webbing through door handles... Do a search for "dead locks" and see what pops up.

The habitation door can be made more secure when you're in the supermarche or restaurant by fitting another lock over the door lock. But that doesn't work if the occupants are inside!

No, we just rely on our Strikeback alarm, with lots of multi-lingual warning signs and flashing LEDs. If you go back to my original post, I mentioned the need for awareness... "Lead us not into temptation" means don't leave valuables on view! :roll:
 

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We are very happy using Aires for Motorhomes in towns and villages (NOT Autoroute Aires or rest-stops). We have also used town car parks. The attitude in France is very much more tolerant than in the UK.

We had Abus deadlocks fitted to all doors (including garage). Ours were fitted by Harrison locks (The top row of pictures on this web page). Expensive but worth it in my view. (There is an alarm on the van also.)

http://www.harrisonlocks.co.uk/deadlocks.php

For LPG I would strongly recommend the Gaslow refillable system. Easy to use and you will have no problems about changing cylinders.

Regarding hook-up. We rarely do - but then we tend not to stop more than 3 or 4 days in one place - often just one night. I would recommend adding battery capacity. We have 2 x 110 AH and that will last up to 4 nights even in the depths of winter in the UK. In France in summer, that should be ample for most needs. (I should say we don't have a TV, but use a Laptop / mains speaker system to watch DVDs - so probably similar consumption.)

Good luck - relax and enjoy.

Philip
 

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BENIMARBOY said:
Thanks Jock, like the ramps idea & I'm considering extra locks. Which ones did you go for & are you happy with them?
Gary.
Hi Gary (and family :) ),

Because we have an A class, rather than a Fiat/Peugeot coachbuilt, we went for the >>Safe Door Frame Locks<<, and there is a write up about them >>Here on MHF<< I applied a sealer before fixing them to the frames.

Re the gas problem, we are lucky enough to have inherited a 100ltr bulk gas tank, which we occasionally top up with Autogas, so as advised, your option is probably refillable cylinders if touring long term. Cheaper than a having new bulk system fitted.

On the blue menus above these posts, you'll see a search button. Try experimenting with that, and it will open up a whole array of posts and replies.

Happy searching,

Jock.
 

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Just returned from our first 3 week motorhome trip to France,took 2 6kg propane bottles and came back with one still half full and this was staying on a mixture of sites and aires and using gas for the fridge,hot water etc.I was exactly the same as you, the more i read the more frightening things seemed to get but honestly do not worry as others say if it doesnt feel right dont stay there but what you will probably find is that there will always be other motorhomes around so always a good sign (i`ve never seen so many motorhomes in my life as there are in France)
Have you tried when using the remote to lock your front doors click the button twice and you should hear a second clunk as the deadlocks engage (if fitted).....dont worry and have fun....and definitely make use of the aires you`ll save a fortune
 

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Gary.
Just go and enjoy yourself,France is a great place.
I never had any bother in 30 years,and if i had to fit all those security devises people are talking about ,i would give up.
Mind you,my wife looks after me,we keep a picture of her on the windscreen :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

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JeanLuc said:
We are very happy using Aires for Motorhomes in towns and villages (NOT Autoroute Aires or rest-stops).
We have used Motorway Aires and never yet had a problem.... or felt unsafe in anyway..

As has been said though go with your feelings....
 

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Security

It was not until i started to read about all these unfortunate people who have been gassed robbed hijacked that we begun to get nervouse, as you could say we are anti social because of staying in the most remote places and met charming people many of them mainland europeans in doing so.
 

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Re: Security

teal said:
It was not until i started to read about all these unfortunate people who have been gassed robbed hijacked that we begun to get nervouse, as you could say we are anti social because of staying in the most remote places and met charming people many of them mainland europeans in doing so.
Don't worry about gassing at all.... Have a look Here Just an urban myth...

Just enjoy your trips....
 

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I must have touched something as my post went off without completing. As i was saying in all the years we have been doing it there has been no cause for alarm in fact as been mentioned you only here about the ones who do have problems and some need believing. Go and enjoy.
 
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