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Subject Topic: Europe for 5-6 months, what to know?
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Message posted by tjdixon on 11/12/2013 at 5:52pm
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Just been recommended this site from a post on Pistonheads, where I asked the following, hopefully some of you will be able to help us out.

Me and the Mrs are heading off for a bit of an adventure around Europe next year in our Campervan.

I have had a previous topic elsewhere on this but not one asking what I need to know?

We are both currently in Full time employment, I've been granted a Sabbatical and my other half will be leaving her job - do we need to do anything about this? Notifying HMRC?

Will there be any restrictions on our movements around Europe? We are hoping to visit the following countries;
Holland
Germany
Poland
Czech Republic
Austria
Hungary
Croatia
Italy
Switzerland
Belgium
France
Any other countries nearby...

Other things that need considering;
Insurances - Car / Travel
Money - best way to manage
What to do with our house - bills etc. Ideally we are going to get someone in short term.

I'm sure there are plenty of stuff to look at that I've missed...

Any advice, much appreciated.

Don't forget to leave a review of the French and other European campsites you have visited!


Message posted by Jack+Jon on 11/12/2013 at 6:23pm
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You need to pay extra to include continental comprehensive cover on your van, all UK car insurance includes third party cover in Europe by law but fully comp. is usually charged extra. Also most car ins. restricts continental cover to 60 or 90days per yr. So you need to find one that covers for a longer period. If you are over 50, Saga motorhome insurance covers all yr & so do some others.

All countries you mention are usually covered by your extra Europe cover but read small print. Non EU countries like Swiss & Andorra are included but countries sth of Croatia probably not. Ensure your van is taxed & mot'ed for whole trip. There is no provision in EU or UK law for driving with these expired on the continent.

You also need continental breakdown cover, you can add this to your existing UK cover. Ensure you get EHIC cards for reciprocal health cover in EU but you should also take out health cover as well.

As for money, UK credit/debit cards are widely accepted for fuel, supermkts etc so draw cash as needed from atm's. Inform your banks before you leave that you will be using your cards abroad. There is no need to carry wads of cash just ensure your UK bank accounts are full enough to cover for trip & put card payments & household bills on direct debit. Most household insurance only allows property to be vacant for 1 or 2 months unless you pay extra.

International driving licences or green card not required in EU countries & Swiss. No need to inform the taxman you are gone. You will need to take reg doc & ins cert. for your van. Its better to have a photocard driving licence & you probably have one anyway.

Campingaz 907 cylinders can be exchanged Europe wide so these are the ones to take although expensive. Calor is UK only.

-------------
Regards, Jack+Jon.

Message posted by DiPhil on 11/12/2013 at 7:13pm
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We have been to all those countries with our caravan and car with exception of Croatia.   There are no restrictions of movement in any of these countries.   We had no problems in any country except for roads in Poland and Italy are a bit rough.   You need to look on website tolltickets.com which will give you all info on tolls in all these countries .
Any more help contact me will be pleased to help.

Message posted by som1 on 11/12/2013 at 7:17pm
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In some countries you have to pay (before entering) for using their roads. Like Switzerland, Austria and maybe Germany by that time.

Don't forget to leave a review of the French and other European campsites you have visited!


Message posted by DiPhil on 11/12/2013 at 7:27pm
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Quote: Originally posted by som1 on 11/12/2013
In some countries you have to pay (before entering) for using their roads. Like Switzerland, Austria and maybe Germany by that time.



All details for Austria and Switzerland are on the website I quoted. Germany will not have tolls in place as early as next year I do not think. Nothing has been settled yet.

Message posted by Ninja 47 on 11/12/2013 at 8:56pm
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From my two years full timing though i purchased a house near Royan S.W.France as a winter base you will need half the clothes and twice the money you think.Europe is all very easy these days but money can go alarmingly quick.Enjoy.

Message posted by tjdixon on 12/12/2013 at 8:10am
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Thanks for all the comments / advice so far.

We are doing this in a 1970 VW Camper, so travelling light will be required and needing twice as much money as expected will also be applicable, if only to keep the van running!!! I'm quite tight so hoping to stick to a budget of 1000/month is this doable?

I have driven to Italy previously, I'm assuming the Road Tax in Austria is the same as Switzerland where you pay on crossing the border?

My insurance runs out almost in the middle of the trip, I have spoken to them (they provide 90days) about using the 90days at the end of the current policy and then 90 days at the start of the next, that should cover the time away which they seemed happy with but will speak again closer the time....

Don't forget to leave a review of the French and other European campsites you have visited!


Message posted by Jack+Jon on 12/12/2013 at 8:43am
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Unless you want to drive on Swiss motorways you don't need the tax, so touring in a camper you might not need it if you stay off motorways which is feasable if not in a hurry. Also same in other countries with toll motorways. Stay off them & you will save a packet. If your camper is over 2mtres high you pay class2 toll on French autoroutes & cost is considerable so at your pace stick to the N & D roads & enjoy the scenery.

As for 250 a week budget it would depend entirely on your lifestyle. The price of petrol & supermarket food does not differ that much throughout western Europe so you can work it out. Meals in restaurants are the real budget killers that you can avoid. At 6/gallon your petrol costs in your old VW are 25-30 every 100miles, yes? Cheap campsites average around 15/pn or less or much more depending on season & location but in most areas of Europe you can usually get away with no cost 'wild camping' on carparks etc provided you move van next morning.

From this you can see it is actually quiet easy to plan costs but for 250 a wk if you are moving about a bit your lifestyles will be quite austere

On an old VW, security is a big issue as they are simple to break into. It sounds a pain but in tourist areas, do not leave van unattended at supermkt car parks etc & hide all your valuables/cards etc in secret places around the van. For food shopping try to use smaller supermkts in quiet towns rather than hypermkts with large carparks which are a target for thieves. If you want to spent the day sightseeing in large city try to leave van on local campsite, ie have 2nts there.



-------------
Regards, Jack+Jon.

Message posted by Ninja 47 on 12/12/2013 at 10:00am
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That is quite a tight budget but doable if you are both frugle.My Mrs is a nightmare when it comes to spending so we went well over that,We done a lot of cable cars,mountain huts/climbing restaurant meals instead of Barbies etc and had a great time.

We had a preatty big motorhome should of been more security councious probably but never had a problem anywere.

I never got the Swiss motorway carnet when i was in the motorhome,just used smaller roads and took my time.I very rarely used motorways in any country except when i had no choice.

You will have a fab time and if like me will just follow youre nose and end up god knows were for god knows how long.i never booked any sites and never had to much trouble finding somewhere to stop.

Biggest thing for me on a long trip was just how annoying haveing to make up a bed each night can become.Ours was like a jigsaw puzzle and really really annoyed me after a few months.


Message posted by naturalblonde on 12/12/2013 at 10:30am
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Your campervan is a lot smaller than our motorhome, but make sure you read the small print v carefully on breakdown insurance. We found what we thought was the cover we wanted with the Caravan and Camping Club ( through I think RAC) but luckily I checked the 'European' countries covered and although they gave 90 days cover, Czech Rep., Slovakia, Slovenia , Hungary and Croatia were 'brown' countries and NOT covered!   I suppose this is because of the high cost of any possible repatriation.
We eventually found the cover we needed through Britannia Rescue, which also covers both our cars at home and in Europe.   They have been fantastic and when our 7m motorhome needed to be taken to the Peugeot garage recently they used the nearest ( and best) commercial vehicle garage to tow it.
We get around the 30day home ins clause by getting family members to have a free weekend break at our house.
Take a really good 'medicine chest' with you. Asprin/paracetamol, throat lozenges, indigestion pills etc etc can be very expensive and brand names v different!
Have a great time!

Message posted by franbee on 12/12/2013 at 3:13pm
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Although you are on a tight budget, it is sometimes necessary to pay a bit for 'touristy' things, entrance fees and the like, because you may never pass that way again, and it would be a shame not to have the experiences for the sake of a few euro. Better value than expensive restaurant meals.

Don't forget to leave a review of the French and other European campsites you have visited!


Message posted by old chap on 12/12/2013 at 4:29pm
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the one camping book you will need is the

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Camperstop-europe-2013-druk-motorhomeguide/dp/9076080313/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_2

this book lists all the free camping car aires in most of Europe & will save you a fortune on camp sites

another book to have is the ACSI camping card this will save you money if you want to stay on proper campsites
      

Post last edited on 12/12/2013 16:35:04

Message posted by chrisandsandra on 12/12/2013 at 5:05pm
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As you are bound to be away for at least some of the non peak season about 10 invested in an ACSI card will pay for itself in saved campsite fees.

As a money backup you might like to look at one of the pre loaded debit cards such as those here. Safer than emergency cash.

I would recommend copying all of your documents (passports, driving licences etc) and putting them on a usb flashdrive or cloud storage that you could easily access in an emergency. Also look into suitable ways of accessing the internet whilst away. This will depend on your circumstances and equipment but there are quite a few alternatives.

If you don't rent out your house be sure to tell your insurance company what you are doing or they may not pay up if something happens. We told our insurers and made arrangements to have someone go in at least weekly to check it was ok and for someone to stay overnight a couple of times and they were ok with this. Do leave written instructions re stopcocks, meters etc for whoever is checking the house, and make sure everything is serviced etc before leaving. Also ask a neighbour to keep an eye out for letters and circulars left poking out through the letter box as these are a dead give away that you are away. Make sure you are paying everything like gas, electric, phone, water, TV licence through Direct Debit before you go then you won't come back to disconnected services or worse.

I know storage will be tight but if you are not planning on taking bikes a Fiamma or Thule backbox or cargo bag on a bike rack will help a lot. You can always sell it when you get back if you don't need it.

Download plenty of music onto an MP3 player, books onto an ereader and stock up on travel games. With two of you sharing such a small space and being on a budget you will need to make your own entertainment and books, CDs etc are heavy to carry and expensive abroad.

Sorry for the lecture - I'll let you get back to planning now. :-)

Message posted by som1 on 12/12/2013 at 6:26pm
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In Germany a lot of cities have a low emission zone, where you will need an environmental badge:

http://www.environmental-badge.co.uk/en/environmental-badge.html

Message posted by DiPhil on 12/12/2013 at 10:58pm
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Quote: Originally posted by som1 on 12/12/2013
In Germany a lot of cities have a low emission zone, where you will need an environmental badge:

http://www.environmental-badge.co.uk/en/environmental-badge.html



You only need this if driving into a city. Best to do Park and Ride.

Message posted by Ninja 47 on 13/12/2013 at 7:00pm
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Or avoid cities if like me,in my two years full timing we done Venice,Rome and Barca.3days out of two years about right.lol.

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