RVing Europe

 Posted by at 3:02 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 252013

We spent yesterday at home, so I could get some writing done and Terry had an opportunity to cook a nice dinner at home and practice her knitting. We also had a quick visit from Tom and Margie Maloney, who are staying here at the Escapees Evergreen Co-op for a month. Tom was a huge help to Terry at our Yuma Gypsy Gathering rallies, taking on a lot of the work with morning coffee and donuts. It was nice to see them again.

Since we didn’t do too much away from the campground yesterday, I thought I would write about a different subject today; RVing in Europe. It’s something several blog readers have asked me about. While there is so much to see and do in the United States that we could never get it all done in one lifetime, many RVers we know want to broaden their horizons and explore other countries.

Mike and Terry Church from Rolling Homes Press are the recognized experts when researching European RV travel, and their guidebook RV and Car Camping Vacations in Europe is an excellent reference for anyone looking for an offshore RV adventure. They cover everything from renting an RV, the best times to go, and what you will want to take with you and what to leave at home.

Some RVers prefer to go it alone, shipping a smaller RV or Class B van overseas and arranging their own insurance coverage and travel schedules. But for those less adventurous, there are also RV tour companies that take a lot of the fuss and work out of it, with caravans all over the continent and beyond. All you have to do is bring your personal items, and they provide a motorhome or van and everything else you need.

Most of the RVs available for rent in Europe are much smaller than our typical motorhomes. Randy and Kim Fortnier have been e-mailing me about their European RV adventures this summer in a rented Globebus Scout, which they describe as more like a big van, 20 feet long, with a bed in the back, dinette, small stove and oven, a tiny shower, and toilet that Randy says “would not be comfortable for anybody larger than a dwarf.” But he said that it gets 20 miles per gallon, as opposed to the 7 his Newmar Dutch Star gets on a good day with a tailwind.


Randy said even the smaller Globebus can be intimidating on some of the narrow streets they have encountered in the small villages they have visited. He also said that finding campgrounds has not been difficult at all, nor has been finding places to boondock.

Personally, I would get in way too much trouble driving on the left side of the street. But, how about you? How many of you have traveled by RV in Europe, Australia, or some other country, or would like to? I think it would be a great opportunity for genealogists to expand their family history research.

Thought For The Day – Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life. – Sophia Loren

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  10 Responses to “RVing Europe”

  1. My friend Wolfgang Bock who manages the largest RV rental organization in Germany – Deutsche Rissemobile – has said it is important for American tourists to be aware that a vast majority of RVs available in Europe have stick transmissions. Less than 10% of his fleet of over 300 coaches has an automatic and require handicap status to rent them in busy periods. That is also the situation I found in my visits to China. It appears that only we Americans prefer the clutchless vehicles. Lazy drivers??

  2. After living in England for nine years, word of advice DO NOT plan a trip to Europe in the month of August. Most European countries close down most factories etc for the entire month, places are crowded with these folks and prices just like here in the states go up. Gas is extremely expensive, we just heard from our English friends that Petrol is almost $9 an imperial gallon. Also the only country that you have to worry about driving on the left is the British Isles. We would love to go back and see the country in an RV unfortunately it is way down on our bucket list of things to do.

  3. We have rented RV’s and toured New Zealand and South Africa, each for over a month. Both countries were RV friendly and we felt that it was the best way to visit these two special places. While our RV’s were advertised for a family of five, they were just the right size for two somewhat overweight Americans who are used to a Newmar Dutch Star at home. In both countries we drove on the left with manual transmissions. Once we got over the jet lag, following the other traffic kept us on the correct side of the road.

  4. Before retiring, my job gave me the opportunity to go to South America, Australia and Spain a lot on business. On two of the later trips to Spain, I took Patsy with me, and we stayed an extra 10 days on vacation. We kept a rented car and circled Spain on one trip, and on the second, we went to Paris and circle much of Europe……… mainly to quickly see it! We did not get to England. We made no reservations, just started looking for a motel in the evening. No problems!

    I saw all of the RV’s (called caravans), and have been wanting to go back on a cheap flight, rent an RV for a month or so, and take a slower tour. As you said, campgrounds are easy to find, and we drove through several of them.

    I am curious if any of your readers know of blogs of RV’ers who are or have done this. I would like to read them.

  5. While we have not RVed abroad we have traveled extensively and noted that almost every Caravan park in Europe, Australia, & New Zealand was right next to a railroad track. Must be some sort of International law…

  6. We lived in Europe for 13 years while in the military. We had a European travel trailer and pulled it all over the continent while there, in fact some of the best times we ever had was camping in Europe with our two young ones. It seems like ever time we get together as a family, one of those trips will come up, and the fun starts all over again. Campgrounds are aplenty, if you get the chance give it a try……

  7. This is only slightly related to Nick’s request. We drove a very small car in Ireland and I was intimidated the entire time. Never again. And not in an RV.

  8. We toured Scandinavia with European Motorhome Tours (rvtoureurope.com) in 2011. Deiter and Gabby Weigelt run this small family business.They are super. If you book with other RV companies for a European tour most of them contract with Deiter and Gabby to take you on one of their tours.

    We also toured New Zealand and Australia (eastern side and Alice Springs) for 60+ day in 2012 with Fantasy RV. In both cases the RVs were Class C motorhomes, 22 ft long, Scandinavia was stick shift, New Zealand & Aust was automatic. All were diesels. If you know Class Cs, then you understand the “small” issue.

    We also have toured B&Bs in Britain driving a car, many times. We love Britain and you will too. We investigated RVing and know they have small class As and many campgrounds. There are camping groups like Thousand Trails in Britain who have campsites (hard pitches) for larger RVs than caravans (trailers). Example Camping and Caravanning Club. And driving on the “wrong” side of the road just needs some practice. In Brtain at age 70 they will no longer rent you an RV. However you can rent an RV in say Germany and ship it to Britain and drive it there.

    We also suggest Worldwide Travelers (escapees.com/worldwidetravelers/) a BOF of Escapees. They have a newsletter and have LOTS of information on traveling around the world in RVs. If you are interested in Mexico, then Chapter 8, the Mexican Connection is good. We went once with them south of the border.

    The most important thing to know is that EVERYTHING is more expensive in Europe, New Zealand and Australia. Think 2 to 3 times as expensive. But it’s worth it. I can say we love Britain, New Zealand and Scandinavia. Just beautiful and worth every penny.

  9. About the genealogy part of traveling. I meet two third cousins in Sweden and had meals with them. Sonja brought out the family photo album from long ago and I now have a picture (hubby brought a scanner) of both parents of my great grandfather (an immigrant to the US). I did not have these photos before and these people never left Sweden. We also went to a number of churches and farms my immigrant Swedish ancestors were baptized in and lived on. WHAT A THRILL!!!!!!!!! Worth every penny. Even though we were on a tour, Deiter and Gabby were OK with us departing from the tour for several days and doing our own thing. I just can’t tell you how amazing it is to see where your ancestor lived, went to church and to understand why they left. In my case, rocks in the fields, they couldn’t own land and overcrowding. That’s so easy to understand when you are there, up close and personal.

  10. Talking about RVing in Euorpe.We are here right now and and return to the states in Aug. after our 3 months are up.Last year we bought a used rv from turner Campers in the NL.We spent 6 months last year in Europe and the U.K. This year we did E.Europe and are back in Hollnd getting ready to come home.We are returning our camper back to Turners campers for her to resell.Roads in villages can be small but we have managed.All over Europe they have Motorways as well and small back roads as we call them back home.We have enjoyed our travels around Europe but we’re ready to get back home.
    Sam and Carolyn Kidd

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