This information is prepared by the Caravan Club as part of its
services to members. The contents are believed to be correct at the
date of publication.
Approximately 80% of campsites in Europe will have the same
three pin CEE17 hook-up that we have here in the UK. If the
campsite has two pin hook-ups they are normally able to lend or
hire an adaptor, however, they will only have a limited number
available. We would recommend purchasing a continental two pin
adaptor before you travel. Most caravan/motorhome accessory
suppliers will stock adaptors.
You will find that European campsites have lower amps that you
find in the UK. Caravan Club sites in the UK have an average of 16
amp electricity, the majority of campsites that we work with
overseas have three to 10 amps. To work out how many amps your
appliances need, you can do the following equation:
wattage ÷ voltage (220 in France) = amps
800 watt hairdryer - 800 ÷ 220 = 3.6 amps
650 watt kettle - 650 ÷ 220 = 2.9 amps
600 watt microwave - 600 ÷ 220 = 2.7 amps
If you are staying on a site that has 6 amp hook-ups you would not
be able to use all three electrical items at the same time. The
kettle and microwave could be used at the same time, as the
combined amps of both of these items comes to 5.6, however if you
wanted to use all three items together you would need a minimum of
Reversed polarity can be found on nearly all campsites outside
of Ireland and the UK. This occurs when electricians on European
sites swap the live and neutral wiring around in the bollard where
you hook-up. Instead of the electricity entering your caravan down
the live wiring it enters down the neutral wiring instead.
Reversed polarity will not stop your appliances from working or
damage them, but it does mean that if you switch off your lights,
kettle, iron or any appliance in your caravan the wiring behind the
socket will still be live.
You can buy a polarity tester from most caravan/motorhome
accessory shops for under £10.00. You plug the tester into any
socket in your caravan once you have hooked-up, and it will tell
you if you have reversed polarity, if the test is positive there
are a couple of options:
- Try another socket (you could find a hook-up post that has four
sockets and only one or two have reversed polarity).
- Buy a spare connector before leaving home, switch the
live and neutral wires around, and mark it clearly as
- You can switch the live and neutral wires around when you
arrive on site (very easy to do) just remember to swap them back
before you return to the UK.
- In some cases you can turn the plug the other way up (if you
are using a two pin adaptor) and this will sometimes reverse the
polarity back to normal.
A lot of caravanners are happy to use their electrical equipment
when reversed polarity is present without any concerns, however,
you should take note of the following:
- If you want to replace a light bulb, disconnect from the main
bollard beforehand, as even though you have turned the light switch
off, the wiring behind the light fitting will still be live.
- If you switch off electrical sockets the wiring behind the
socket will still be live, if you want to do any work on your
electrics disconnect from the main bollard first.
It is not possible to exchange or re-fill Calor gas bottles
outside of the UK, so if you are not able to take enough gas for
your trip you have the following options:
Hire or purchase the local brand of gas in whichever country you
- France the popular brands are: Primagaz, Le Cube, Totalgaz and
Butagaz, at the time of purchasing/hiring the bottle you will also
need to buy an adaptor or regulator.
- Spain the popular brands are Repsol and Cepsa, but again when
you hire/purchase the bottle you will need to buy an
Gas bottles that you hire or purchase overseas will not be
exchangeable when you return to the UK.
Campingaz is available and exchangeable in nearly all European
Countries (including the UK), but the largest bottle available is
only 2.8kg. You can find Campingaz stockists at www.campingaz.com
(click on 'retailer locator').
We would advise all members to carry a Campingaz adaptor/regulator
because if you do run out of gas, you should be able to find a
Campingaz supplier where ever you are in Europe.
For help and advice regarding adaptors and regulators please
telephone: 0845 4000 600.