Taking a campervan or car around Europe can really show you a different side to this amazing continent. Travelling under your own steam around the highways and byways of our European neighbours holds a certain additional level of satisfaction over packing into a jet plane and being dumped in another country.
However, a European road trip is not something that will happen by itself.
Planning such an excursion takes some organisation and attention to detail, and the more effort that goes into the planning, the better chance you have of being able to thoroughly enjoy yourself while you are away. Here are some key elements to your planning you should consider.
1. Know what your budget is
The amount of time and money you have to spend on this road trip will dictate how long you can be away for and where you can go. Firm up how much you have to spend before starting to make any plans.
2. List the places you want to visit
No doubt you’d like to go everywhere, but of course that isn’t usually possible. Pick one or two ‘must see’ destinations, and work the rest of your itinerary around that. Figure out how much it is going to cost you in fuel and overnight stays to get to your must-see spots, and see what budget you have left for other excursions.
3. Get out the map
If you know you are heading to Paris, for example, you could look to visit somewhere in Northern France on your way over to Paris from your ferry crossing. Instead of Dover to Calais, you could take the ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg, for example, and visit the sights of Normandy on your way to Paris.
Develop a logical order of the places you want to visit, and draw lines on your map of Europe so you can see what other places you will be passing by that you might like to make a stop at.
4. Book your stopovers
Now you know where you will be heading, you will have an idea of where you want to stop. If you are travelling in a car you will be able to find plenty of local guesthouses and hostels that offer cheap accommodation, and if you plan to take your motorhome you’ll find lots of campsites on the outskirts of towns and villages. Not all campsites accept motorhomes so be sure to check out their admissions policy before making a booking.
5. Sort out everything else
Now you’ve got your route, booked your stopovers and allocated your budget, most of the hard work is done. Now it’s time to sort out everything else, including European breakdown cover for your vehicle, passports for everyone going and adequate medical cover for your party. Don’t forget to check if your mobile will work abroad, and whether your Sat Nav has European roads installed.
A road trip to Europe can be a truly memorable holiday, and with a little forward planning you can ensure it is remembered for all the right reasons. Don’t forget to check your vehicle thoroughly before leaving and ensure all routine maintenance is carried out in good time.