Just Kampers Guide To European Travel

Day dreaming of travelling into Europe?
Too scared to give it a go?

 

We’ll show you how a little bit of preparation can make your dream road trip become a reality.


You own a Camper and that means you look for adventure right? The thrill of the open road, sleeping in a different location every night, the sizzle of bacon or halloumi in the morning. That’s what’s it’s all about. Well Europe is but a small step away, so what’s stopping you?

Type 25 Camping


First things first - Planning your trip

If it’s your first trip across the channel, keep it simple. As beautiful as somewhere like southern Italy is, we’d suggest something slightly closer to home to begin with, so you can find your feet and get accustomed to travelling and camping in Europe.

Having said that, if you do want to be a bit more adventurous, Northern Spain is within easy reach for the first time European road tripper. Simply catch the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao. In 24 hours you feel like you’re a million miles away from good old Blighty.

For your first trip we’d recommend Brittany in north west France. You can catch a ferry from Portsmouth directly to St-Malo in Brittany or use the Channel Tunnel / ferry to Calais and drive along the north French coast. Brittany has some lovely beaches and it’s famed for being a great family holiday location. Take a look at www.brittanytourism.com, it’s got a comprehensive list of campsites with helpful star ratings and places to see and go.  

Europe Map


Service

The most important part - Preparing your Camper

This might sound like an obvious thing to say, but not only is your Camper your home while you’re on holiday, it’s also your transport to and from your destination and how you’ll get around during your holiday. Basically it needs to be in tip top mechanical condition, the last thing you want while you’re trying to relax is the stress of a breakdown.

If you’re not the type of VW owner who works on their own Camper, we always recommend a specialist garage. The reasons why are simple really, they work on Campers like yours all the time. Therefore, they know which problems to look for, they know which parts fit and where to get them from. This specialist knowledge will save you money as you’re not paying your local garage extra costs in labour charges while they work out what they actually need to do to your pride and joy. Ultimately you’ll get a better overall service from a specialist garage as they’ll share the same passion you have for your Camper, and won’t just treat it like a soulless company car.

If you do work on your own Camper, spend a day checking it over a couple of weeks before you set off (not the night before!), that’ll give you time to order parts, fit them and test the Camper before you head off. A full service would be a great idea, but if you’ve done that recently and are confident that things like brakes are properly adjusted, give your VW a simple pre MOT style check, check the lights are working, fan belt is adjusted, oil and coolant levels are correct, tyres are properly inflated etc. Fixing any problems before you leave the UK will be a damn sight easier than on the side of the autobahn, at night, in the rain. Okay that’s a worse case scenario, but you know what we mean.


Don’t forget - Take some spares!

Do yourself a favour and take some spare parts with you. “I have no mechanical knowledge” we hear you say, “why would I take up precious space in my Camper if I can’t fix a problem myself?”. Quite simply, if you run into trouble and need mechanical assistance, the European equivalent of the AA / RAC is unlikely to carry anything that’ll fix your Camper by the side of the road. If you’ve got a fan belt or a set of points with you, you stand a good chance of being back on the road quickly. In fact, this advice is relevant to travel in the UK as well, it doesn’t cost a lot and in reality with a bit of careful packing, these parts don’t take up much space. We suggest you keep these parts in your Camper at all times.

  Spare Parts

Spare part check list

 

Tool check list

Oil - 5 litres
2x Rocker cover gaskets
Oil strainer gaskets
4x Spark plugs
Points
Condensor
Rotor arm
Distributor cap
Fan belt
Clutch cable
Accelerator cable
  Socket set
Spanners; 8-19mm
Screwdrivers;
big & small Flathead
big and small Crosshead
Hammer
Feeler gauges
Pipe grips
Side cutters
Pliers
Knife
Wheel brace
Jack

The boring bit - Legal requirements

We’re pretty lax in the UK in terms of things you have to carry in your car. Get across the channel though and it’s a whole different ball game. Read on to make sure you’re on the right side of the law as you don’t want to get caught out. Wherever you are heading you’ll have to pass through France and the Gendarmerie love an on the spot fine, but it’s a pointless way to spend your holiday money. So forewarned is forearmed.

 

Documents you must carry

Valid full driver’s license
Registration document
Insurance certificate
Passport(s)
Travel insurance documents

Must be in your Camper

Warning triangle
2 x high visibility jackets
Replacement bulb kit
Headlight beam converters
GB sticker
First aid kit
Foil blanket
2x NF approved breathalysers

 

Travel Kit 

We've got a kit with everything you need all in a handy carry bag.


JK Staff’s advice

Tolls; Most European countries have toll roads or toll bridges and tunnels. Be aware of this and make sure you’ve got Euros or credit on your bank or credit cards. Check your route before you leave the UK so you can budget for these. Also, don’t forget the toll booths will be on the wrong side, unless you have a LHD Camper, in which case, happy days!

Toilets; You will have to pay for toilets in service stations, so keep some loose change on you. Also campsites don’t provide toilet roll so make sure you bring your own.

Eurotunnel vs ferry; They both have their pros and cons. Taking a ferry is cheaper, but the tunnel is much faster. The tunnel is much better if your Camper is lowered as it doesn’t have steep entry ramps, but the ferry is a more scenic way to reach the continent.


And finally...

...HAVE FUN! With a Camper there’s an adventure around every corner. Get out there and see Europe, there’s nothing stopping you.

We’d love to hear your travel stories and see pictures of your adventures. Contact us via Facebook and hash tag your photos on Instagram #justkampers 

 

T4 Sunset