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Motorhome Europe Trip

Melbourne
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Motorhome Europe Trip

Hi all,

I am looking for some advice on hiring a motorhome for our trip in Europe next year and any recommendations you have in relation to our trip, possible destinations and also travelling with an 11 year old and a 9 month old bub!

My husband and I are planning a 4 week holiday in Europe in June and July next year with my 11 year old stepson and our bub (who will then be around 9 months old).

At this stage we think hiring a motorhome may be our best option as it may be easier than packing and unpacking kids and luggage each time we arrive in a new destination.

The quote we have received however is AU $290 per day for a 4 or 5 berth motorhome which seems quite expensive?

We were hoping to pick the van up in Paris and drop it back in Rome at the end of our trip. The travel agent I have spoken with has said that to drop the van back in any location other than Paris will incur a one way fee of $1386!

Does anyone know of any motorhome companies that are reasonably priced and that you can pick up from one location in Europe and drop off at another location without incurring a large fee?

Can anyone also advise on approximate costs of overnight campsite/caravan park fees?

Also I would love to hear any tips from anyone about our planned itinerary which is flying from Australia to London (with a stopover in Hong Kong for a day at Hong Kong Disney to break up the trip for my stepson). We’ll spend a couple of days with friends in London from when I lived there and then most likely get the Eurostar across to Paris to spend two days there.

We were then planning on picking up the motorhome and following the below itinerary:

Paris – San Sebastian – Barcelona – French Riviera (Cannes, Nice, Monaco etc.) – Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre, Tuscany, Florence, Pisa, Amalfi Coast then up to Rome for two days before flying back to Australia.

Thanks in advance, I would welcome any thoughts, tips and suggestions!

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Motorhome Europe Trip

If you rent any vehicle in one country and drop off in another, there will always be a very substantial one-way fee. In your case, the rental company would have to send someone from France to Rome to pick up the motorhome and drive it back to France.

That is an ambitious itinerary you have planned: you are going to spend a lot of time sitting in a vehicle looking at very boring motorways. I suggest you use www.viamichelin.com to get an idea of the distance, time, and costs of your journeys. However, the time given by this site is for someone who drives very fast without stops. In a motorhome with children, add another 50% to the time.

Tampa, Florida
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2. Re: Motorhome Europe Trip

You have an ungodly amount of driving included in your itinerary -- the fuel cost alone is going to substantially inflate your holiday costs, as motorhomes (called camping cars in France) are NOT terribly fuel efficient.

A motorhome will run close to 1000 euros per week or more in the summer-- that's a pretty average price. As mentioned above, one-way drop charges are extremely expensive.

Perhaps renting a cottage or two (they are rented by the week in the summer) and using them as a base to explore two or three different regions would be a better option, as it would drastically reduce the packing and unpacking, and give you a more relaxed holiday with the ability to explore, not just see, some of the wonderful regions of France.

You could combine a few weeks in France with a few weeks in Italy, but be advised that one-way drop charges will still apply unless you turn the car in in France, take the train or fly to Italy, then pick up another car in Italy.

Chesterfield...
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3. Re: Motorhome Europe Trip

To obtain helpful advice on Motothomes in Europe, and beyond, have a look at - www.motorhomefacts.com

The Members on that site have a wealth of experience of Continental travel and the £10 yearly membership fee will be money well spent.

Personally I think your itinerary is very optomistic in the amount of distance you intend travelling.

Unless you're driving flat out you'll be lucky to visit all on your list and you'll get no chance to 'enjoy' either the Towns, Cities, views, sites and anything else of importance to you and your family.

Even if you spend a month in either France, Spain or Italy you would have only scratched the surface of what each country has to offer.

We spent a couple of weeks in France this year and threw our own itinerary out of the window after the first day - there was so much to see and do.

There's too much to see, do and enjoy than to race around Europe - especially with a young child.

Have a look at the Motorhome Facts site, talk to the Members and possibly reassess what you want to do and see.

4. Re: Motorhome Europe Trip

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Bucks, UK
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5. Re: Motorhome Europe Trip

I can see the appeal of motorhomes in the wide open spaces of Australia, NZ and N.America, but never quite "got" them in Europe. They are big, thirsty, hard to park, and you have to pack up all your kit whenever you want to go anywhere.

Your itinerary is way too ambitious for the 3 weeks you will have left after London and Paris. Look at www.viamichelin.com for the distances and drive times involved; bear in mind that a motorhome will struggle to exceed 100kph and will gulp fuel at that sort of speed. Diesel costs $1.76AUD per litre at today's prices and exchange rates (currently low because of the Irish crisis). A motorhome will probably guzzle between 14-16 litres every 100kms and you have to add your camping fees on top of that.

I also notice that your itinerary is pretty much sticking to the coast, until you get to Italy - that's fine,but that will also be the busiest area in June and July and there is lots to see elsewhere if you wanted a bit more variety.

If I were you, I would look at choosing 3 "bases" for the holiday post-Paris and spend a week in each, staying in a villa or campsite; alternatively you could choose 2 bases for a week and spend the 3rd week touring, using hotels and guest houses; that way you limit the unpacking.

To get between the 3 bases I would look at low-cost flights or trains, and hire a small car locally if you need it, returning it to a location in the same country in which you hired it.

Besides villas, there are some companies that will rent you a tent or mobile home that is all set up for you at their campsites - companies include Canvas Holidays, Keycamp and Eurocamp. There are plenty of villa rental companies accessible via Google.

Where you go is obviously up to you but I would aim to prune your list of "must-sees" quite savagely.

Bucks, UK
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6. Re: Motorhome Europe Trip

Diz makes 2 good points - with a 9 month-old I'd want somewhere that can be kept reasonably cool - so scrap the tent idea - villa, or mobile home with a/c - preferably villa for me.

If you did base yourself mostly in Italy as per Diz's suggestion, you could get a low-cost flight from Italy to Barcelona with Vueling or another low-cost operator (easyjet fly there from Milan) or Alitalia/Iberia and treat that as a "weekend break" in the middle of your Italian holiday. San Sebastian is a long way from Barcelona and not really that exciting compared with other places on your list so I would drop that from your itinerary.

You could investigate the Aosta valley and Italian Alps (the Val di Cogne is particularly beautiful) and take the tunnel under Mont Blanc to Chamonix for a taste of "non-coastal" France; otherwise Nice and surrounds (Grasse etc) are well worth exploring.

Barcelona, Spain
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7. Re: Motorhome Europe Trip

I'd already replied to this on Spain forum saying pretty much the same as everyone here. I think sometimes people from other continents have these ambitious ideas for travelling in Europe because they know Europe is a comparatvely small continent; they don't seem to register that there's an awful lot to see and travelling around takes a long time.

Also to be borne in mind, the costs with high petrol prices and motorway tolls; viamichelin computes that but petrol costs are for a car.

I'd also said ditch San Sebastian, suggesting flying to Barcelona from Paris and also flying to Nice from here, otherwise it was 2100km driving to see just two cities and get to the third! Obviously Spain could be ditched completely from this trip and France explored en route down to the Côte d'Azur instead.

I also wonder why so much coast is included (and same kind of coast everywhere i..e. rocky) and no countryside destinations apart from Tuscany.

Edited: 26 November 2010, 08:12
8. Re: Motorhome Europe Trip

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Removed on: 26 May 2011, 05:16