Tips when planning a European Tour
Intrepid explorer and travel blogger, Marcus Leach gives some tips and advice to help you plan your touring holiday abroad.
There’s something uniquely exciting about sitting down to plan an overseas trip, a world of possibility at your fingertips, the promise of new adventures and experiences. However, if you’ve never toured abroad before, it can all seem a little daunting. But it needn’t be.
I remember when we first started to plan The Big European Odyssey, or at least the first few months of it, it seemed there was almost too much choice, too many places to visit and as a result there was a sense of overwhelm. However, when we broke it down and did it step-by-step the planning became hugely enjoyable, and we believe it should be the same for you.
With that in mind, we wanted to share with you a few simple bits of advice to help make planning and booking your first European tour a straightforward and pleasurable experience.
Once you’ve decided where you want to go, start to take a more detailed look at the region you have in mind. It really does pay to dig a little deeper and get to know the area, to see what the main attractions are, learn about the culture and discover what events might be happening while you’re there. It’s often what’s happening in the area that can make your time away so special. A prime example for us was coinciding our stay at Pyrénées Natura Camping with the annual transhumance festival, where all the local farmers take their sheep to the higher pastures for summer grazing as part of a celebration of pastoral life in the mountains.
Pyrenees Natura campsite in Occitanie, France
2) Channel Crossing:
When you have picked the dates for your trip get your Channel crossing booked as quickly as possible to ensure you can travel on your desired dates. There are pros and cons to both the Euro Tunnel and ferry crossings, so decide which is best for you and your outfit. For us, travelling with small children, we wanted to cross as quickly as possible, and so used the Euro Tunnel, arriving on French soil in less than forty minutes.
If you’ve never toured overseas before you will most likely need to update your insurance policy to cover you for European travel. We are insured through Red Pennant on a year-long Motoring and Personal Plus policy, which can be booked directly through the Caravan and Motorhome Club. Depending on the time of year you’re going, summer or winter, you will want to double-check that any additional sporting activities are covered; for example if you’re planning to go skiing or hiking at higher altitudes make sure you have the right insurance as not every policy covers more adventurous sports.
4) Book Your Sites:
It is highly advisable to pre-book your sites when heading to Europe, especially if you are going to be away during busier months or school holidays, when the best sites get booked up well in advance. The Caravan and Motorhome Club has an extensive network of sites throughout Europe, which while all different all adhere to the same high standards of their own sites in the UK. Again, research your sites so you know what you’re getting as not all sites are for all tourers. While we used bigger family-based sites in the summer with pools, activity parks and sports facilities, if you’re travelling without children you might want something more on the quiet side. The new, updated CAMC booking site makes researching and booking sites very very simple.
5) Get the Right Kit:
While touring in Europe is much the same as the UK in many senses, there are a few differences that you will need to be prepared for. You might not know but the Caravan and Motorhome Club has an online shop that offers an extensive range of products that can make your touring experience more pleasurable. While some kit items are down to personal preference, some are essential. Most sites will require a Euro plug to CEE socket adapter for electric hook up, and in France it is compulsory to travel with reflective jackets for all passengers (including children), a warning triangle and headlamp beam deflectors. If you are travelling in winter you might, depending on where you plan to visit, need to take a set of snow chains, or have winter tires fitted.
If you have any questions about planning your trip, or indeed want to know more about The Big European Odyssey, feel free to follow us on social media and get in touch. We will be happy to help where we can. On Instagram it’s @MarcusLeachGlobal and @our.roaming.odyssey and on Twitter it’s @MarcusGLeach