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The Truth About Motorhome Wild Camping
In the motorhome and camper community, we often hear tales about wild camping; the practice of finding somewhere to park and stay in your motorhome that is not a campsite or aire and is free. For us, wild camping also means an awesome view and not many other vans around. A lot of stuff we hear about wild camping and its’ risks is just not accurate; here are eight motorhome wild camping myths…busted!
1. Wild camping is not safe…you will be gassed and robbed
This is so not true; we have wild camped in over 200 destinations over a year and have never felt unsafe. Yes, there is risk as there is with everything but you weight it up…if it doesn’t feel right, don’t stay. Don’t leave all your gadgets out on display. Don’t flaunt your jewellery or expensive watches if you’re out and about. Lock your doors, use your roof lights for ventilation. Carry something heavy and a pepper spray type product. Don’t stay at motorway services. But if you are in the arse end of nowhere, chances are robbers are not going to be bothering with you!
There is clear evidence and an expert academic opinion from the Royal College of Anaesthetists that gassing is an urban myth.
2. The locals don’t like it
In our experience, this is simply not true. Every local person we have ever met wild camping has been welcoming and delighted that we love their home patch enough to stay there and contribute to their economy…the key is to do so in a respectful manner.
3. You can wild camp anywhere
Not so. Most European national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty forbid any camping, including sleeping in your motorhome. There are also often limitations close to the coast and inland lakes. You can be fined and moved on by the Police if you wild camp in these places.
4. You’ll get moved on
They might if you are camped illegally, per point three. However, if you are camping out of high season and are discreet, don’t spend more than a night and are not a group of 20 vans having a party, they may tolerate it. We have wild camped like this and never been moved on but we are willing to take the risk and are always discreet and respectful. Familiarise yourself with the laws of the country you are in before wild camping.
5. The best spots will be too busy
Possibly, if you want to be by the water on the Costa del Sol although we have experienced amazing wild camping right in the high season and not seen another soul. Use Park4Night to find your spots and see what reviewers say about them.
6. A little bit of waste won’t matter…
It absolutely does matter, we should all try and leave no trace where at all possible. Never, ever leave rubbish behind or empty your black (WC) waste at a motorhome wild camping spot. Respect the local environment and the people and animals who live there as well as fellow motorhomes who will come behind you. It’s ok to drop grey waste down a public drain or a wild camping spot as long as you follow the guidelines here.
Remember also that the general public have no idea about motor homing. If you are in a beauty spot with your waste tap open dropping 100l water, then they will assume the worst. Be discreet and respectful at all times; if you think dropping your waste may be inappropriate or cause offence, then do it elsewhere.
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7. It’s just like being on a campsite
Nope again! It’s ok to have your chairs out and enjoy the sun during the day and perhaps hang your beach towels out to dry (but not a load of washing), but when you head in for the night, pack everything away and bring your step in. If you watch satellite TV bring your dish in/down before going to bed. This is respectful to the locals and helps to keep you safe.
8. The views will be amazing
Oh yeah, this one’s true!!
So, with our eight motorhome wild camping myths successfully busted, you can go off and enjoy those amazing free views, peace and a lifestyle that gives you flexibility and freedom….yay!!