Want to tour Europe in your motorhome? Why wouldn’t you? There is enough culture, nature and diversity in Europe to last a lifetime; touring round in a motorhome seems like an awesome idea! We’re here to help you research your motorhome tour of Europe with practical motorhome information, destination specific advice tailored to motorhomes, tips and hacks about motorhome life on the road and loads of other useful stuff!
How to Tour Europe in a Motorhome - Getting Started
Whether you are new to motorhoming and heading off to Europe on your first adventure or planning on full-timing in Europe, we have loads of specific information and support for you. Skip on if this doesn’t apply to you!
Probably the first thing to consider is whether you have the right kit on your van; I’m talking about air con, solar panels, awnings and so on. Things you may think are an extravagance for a two week annual motorhome holiday may be essential for a three or six month tour. Of course, it depends on how you want to tour; whether you will wild camp or stay on sites, how off-the beaten track you want to be and whether you are touring in summer or winter, or both!
Different countries use different connections for gas for example, so you will need to also think about this. We would definitely recommend a refillable Gaslow or Gasit system which can be filled in any EU country using a set of special adaptors. It is illegal to re-fill Calor gas type bottles in the EU and each country has a different connection to your system, which means they are impossible to swap or change.
Have a look at our equipment and options list, which will give you some ideas about what is available and whether you would benefit from it on your motorhome tour of Europe.
Depending on how long you are going to tour Europe…I am guessing more than a few weeks…you will need to really think about what to take with you. You will need more kit than for a holiday, especially if you are going to be in Europe across several seasons and travel across several countries.
Have a look at our kit list below for an idea of what we think is essential. Of course, this will also depend on the gross vehicle weight of your motorhome and how much storage space you have…as a general observation, if you fill your storage space you are likely to be overweight. Read our easy guide to understand how motorhome weights work and don’t forget to include your toys; bikes, kayaks, gadgets and so on when thinking about weight.
You also need to consider how you’ll get out and about, especially if you intend to remain static on a site or an aire for more than a few days. If you are in an urban area, the public transport may work; it’s defiantly the best way to get into cities. More remote and you’ll want to be able to get to the nearest village or head off for a day out. We take bikes and a scooter in our garage, some people use e-bikes and others tow a car or motorbikes. We cannot advise on towing, the law about a-frames in Europe is not very clear but you may find some helpful information on the various Facebook forums.
Make sure you have a sat nav that has European mapping, or use a mapping app. Yes, it’s possible to use a paper map but ideally you want up to date information and in a perfect world, to be able to set your dimensions in the sat nav. This avoids the inevitable detour of miles when you reach a low bridge and contemplate for 15 minutes whether your 3.1m high van can fit under a 3.1m low bridge. And yes, we speak from experience! See our comprehensive sat nav guide and comparisons here.
Also check out which apps to use to find overnight stays and decide whether you want to join ACSI for example, a scheme which gives discount on site fees in low season. It’s worth getting all this sorted before you go away as some schemes will provide books and cards for which you need a postal address and others require a good broadband connection to download apps and maps. Talking of which, have you thought about staying connected when you’re on the road?
What about insurance, permits, visas and so on? At the time of writing, Brexit is yet to take place so things remain as they are. You will need a passport and UK driving licence but a visa and International Driving Permit are not yet requirements. We will update information as and when it is announced and on our Facebook group…if you haven’t already joined then head on over!
Check out this post on staying safe and legal in your motorhome during your tour of Europe. It has a list of documentation you need and advice on insurance and finances. Also check out the AA’s country by country guides for up-to-date information about what you need to carry in Europe. It’s boring, but it needs to be done before you head off!
How to Tour Europe in a Motorhome - Destinations
How on earth do you choose where to go? How do you fit it all in? You could spend literally years in Europe and not see it all…so if you don’t have that long, you need to decide what to prioritise. Is this a break from work to chase the sun and chill? Are you a culture vulture looking for Roman ruins and ancient worlds? Or, like most of us, looking for a bit of both? This is where we come in!! Check out our destination guides for motorhome friendly places with information about sites and wild camping spots to help you out. Be inspired by stunning landscapes, mountains and coasts and incredible road trips to take. Europe is your oyster, you and your motorhome just need to go and travel it!
Ok, so now you’ve got some ideas about where to go you need to actually plan your trip. Check out our essential country guides for specific information about culture, food, driving and overnight stays including wild camping.
Planning a motorhome tour of Europe can be as complex or as simple as you want! Some people like a clear plan with overnight stops booked or planned in advance, others like to just go with the flow and see what happens…it’s why we fall out every time we look at a map! Check out our road trip planning and wild camping resources for loads of tips and information to help you on your way!
How to Tour Europe in a Motorhome - Life on the Road
You’ve done it…you’re on the road and starting your European motorhome tour, although adventure is probably a better word! Whilst we all have views about motorhome life and how we want to live on the road, there are some topics that crop up time and time again! See our post about the questions we always get asked, if your burning question is not there then feel free to contact us at [email protected]…we’re always happy to give an honest answer if we can!
Sometimes, things can go wrong. We had a disaster with a bed and drove around for weeks with acro props holding it up, you can read about that here. The point is that most things can be overcome, sometimes with a little bit of ingenuity, sometimes with patience and usually with a large wad of cash…make sure you have emergency funds accessible to you, whether that’s cash stashed in a secret place (not our recommendation) or an emergency credit card. What, shoes aren’t an emergency??
Prevention is always better than cure. These two posts discuss how to manage water and waste and deal with smells in your motorhome, in our experience the two areas where people have most problems. Often it’s a simple issue, but if you don’t know you don’t know!
And what about being with your other half 24/7? This may come as a shock if you’re both used to rushing in from work at 6pm, collapsing in front of the tv before bed and then repeating for five days of the week. Read our guide on relationships on the road, the things we have learnt after living together in a tin box for the last 18 months. You might also want to check out how to get tv in your motorhome for when you just need an hour of something other than each other!
And finally, because we always have more to say, read our post on what NOT to do in your motorhome ..I wrote it three months in to our first motorhome tour of Europe, when we’d had our fair share of mishaps and surprises about motorhome life on the road!