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Summer and the Caravan Away to Europe

campsite at night abroad

The summer holidays are approaching (hurrah!) and you fancy venturing further afield.

Here are our Top 10 Tips for travelling outside the UK:

1. Where should you go?: For the first trip abroad with your caravan, or those with limited time; you can’t get much better than Brittany. Located in North-Western France, with excellent ferry links from the UK – Brittany boasts impressive coastlines and a (generally) sunny, dry climate. Miles of sandy beaches, a rich archaeological heritage, quaint towns and beautiful landscapes – need we say more?

2. Do your research: Find out as much as you can about the campsites that you are planning to visit. Are they suited to your needs? Do they take cards? Have metered electricity? Is there a separate place where you should park your car? Try and avoid any unexpected surprises!

3. Plan your route: If you are planning to travel around, make sure that you have given yourself enough time to travel between campsites and note places where you can fill up with fuel. Plan some sightseeing to break up the journey.

4. Lack a little driving confidence?: The Caravan and Motorhome Club offer ‘first time abroad’ tours. You can practice your overseas driving with a course here in the UK before you go and then get escorted to your chosen destination for a carefree holiday!

5. How can you save money?: There are lots of price comparison sites for booking ferries and if you are a member of the Caravan and Motorhome Club – you can book your campsites and ferry travel through them and get a great discount.

6. Ensure that you have all essential documentation:

  • Insurance Certificate for your vehicle(s)

    Proof of MOT (if vehicle is over 3 years old)

    Proof of Ownership (V5C document)

    Your Driving Licence (you will need a photo card licence to comply with EU standards – the green paper licence isn’t enough)

    Your Passport (obviously!)

    If travelling outside the EU (or possibly Post-Brexit) you’ll need an International Driving Permit.

    The EHIC Card (European Health Insurance Card) will give you access to any emergency healthcare. But it is advisable to take out additional travel insurance as this only covers the basics.

    Before you travel, it is prudent to confirm with your vehicle insurance companies if you are covered for where (and how long) you intend to travel.

7. Be prepared for all eventualities:

  • Receptions tend to be closed at lunchtimes, so plan your arrival around this as much as possible.

    Some campsites don’t allow long swimming shorts – so bear this in mind if you want to use the pool.

    Take extra toilet roll, as not all campsites provide it.

8. Learn the language: When travelling to another country, be mindful that - contrary to popular belief - not everyone speaks enough English to assist you in every eventuality. Try and learn enough to cover the basics and any caravan related questions that you may need to ask!

9. Familiarise yourself with the basic road rules: It is useful to have some knowledge of the highway code of where you are going – as there will be some differences compared to the UK. These can usually be found by a quick search on the internet.

10. Ensure that your vehicle is ready for a long journey:

  • Check the hitching gear and wheels for any sign of corrosion or wear and tear. Ensure that you thoroughly test the brakes. If in doubt, call in a professional.

    Make sure that the electrical and gas appliances are working correctly. Check the fire extinguisher and other safety items are in full working order.

    Give your caravan a good clean before you set off. This will prevent any dirt getting into the mechanisms and also make the holiday a lot more pleasurable!

    Ensure that you have enough battery, gas, toilet fluids etc for your trip. Take extra batteries (or chargers), fuses and bulbs and tools for basic caravan work.