When we bought our Adria we didn’t want to sacrifice our trips to Europe, so decided we would combine the two and looked forward to travelling abroad with the caravan. This partly influenced our choice of caravan and choosing an 8ft wide model for touring. The Adria Isonzo offered plenty of space, reputable build quality and lots of storage. The great thing about taking the car and caravan to Europe is that Fudge, our dog, can come too. Caravanning in Europe seems very popular and with so many countries to choose from it leaves you a bit spoilt for choice.
When we began planning a trip to Europe we decided the best way to do it was to break it down in to sections and thats what we did.
Our first consideration was how long did we want to go for, for many people two weeks could be the most time their holiday abroad will be, fitting in with work and school. We are fortunate enough to have no limit on our time and to make the most of the trip we decided to travel for six weeks. The amount of time you’re going for will influence how far you travel in to Europe, we didn’t want to spend all our time on the road towing, we want to relax and enjoy our holiday and take in the sights. Having six weeks meant we could plan to travel further afield and spend longer at each camp site.
The next decision is where to go, we are travelling in July and August which means hot weather in France and Spain, with having our dog Fudge in tow we didn’t want it to be too hot for him. Its also a busy period for tourism in France and Spain and sites can be very busy. We discussed where we wanted to see in Europe and we both agreed it would be lovely to explore and discover Denmark and Sweden. These are countries neither of us have visited and offer great scenery, coastlines, lakes, walking, outdoor activities and sightseeing.
Once we decided on where to travel our next part of the planning process was how best to cross the water to mainland Europe. There are many choices available and we found it could become quite confusing as to which method of travel to use. There are two ways of crossing the channel with a caravan or motorhome, either by ferry or Eurotunnel.
The Eurotunnel has one route, folkestone to calais, the tunnel is the quickest way to get to France and trains run throughout the day and night making it easily accessible. The Eurotunnel is also well priced and convenient. If taking pets the train is a good choice as you remain in your car and are in France in about forty minutes.
The ferry offers a wide variety of crossings, from various UK ports and sailing to various ports in Spain, Holland and France. The crossings are throughout the day and sailing times depend on where you are heading. Prices of the crossings vary greatly depending on the size of your outfit, the route and the time of year. Some sailings offer cabins and there are kennel facilities on board for pets.
For us, we weighed up the speed of the Eurotunnel to France or a direct sailing to the Hook of Holland. We used the Caravan and Motorhome Club website to get the discounted member price, which was considerably cheaper than booking direct. The ferry from Harwich to Holland worked out very well priced at £274 for the car, the Adria, two adults and Fudge. The Eurotunnel was more expensive and also meant a long drive lay ahead. Although the Adria tows very well it is still a large caravan to have to tow on unknown roads and the cost of fuel soon adds up. We decided the ferry to Holland was most suitable for our trip.
Once the ferry was booked we looked at our route which will take us through Holland, across Germany and on to Denmark. From Denmark we plan to drive across the road bridge to Sweden. When planning the road route we used the Michelin website which also gives you an estimation of fuel costs and tolls for the route. Our drive will see us using the main routes through the countries we visit, like we do in UK.
Routes planned we discussed which campsites to stay at, like the UK, there are hundreds of sites to chose, all offering various facilities.
With this being our first trip to Europe with the Adria we wanted to make sure it was as enjoyable and worry free as possible so we looked at the best type of campsite to book. Obviously you don’t have to book far ahead but we like to have a travel schedule when we go on holiday, thats just a personal choice. From research we decided to book sites with First Camp, a company with sites across Sweden and one in Denmark. They offer a good standard of camp site and for us its reassuring to know there will be a level of security and safety. Although travelling in Europe is very safe we would rather know our Adria is on a larger touring site, maybe when we build our confidence caravanning abroad we can use smaller sites.
Sites across Europe chosen we next looked at planning the practicalities and first on the list was Fudge. Thankfully Fudge is a good traveller and not a nervous or anxious dog. To take him with us he will need a Pet Passport. Full details of the requirements of this are on the Government website. We have booked Fudge in to have a rabies injection and be issued with a passport by an authorised Vet, we have been quoted £95 for this.
Fudge sorted we checked the terms of our caravan insurance to make sure our cover was suitable for our time away and the countries we are visiting.
If you are planning a trip to Europe make sure you familiarise yourself with the road traffic laws of each country and any requirements they have, such as hazard triangles and fluorescent tabards.
We are hoping for nice weather when we travel so we have been thinking about swapping our large air awning for a canopy instead. With the Isonzo being so long it’s fantastic for taking any size canopy. A canopy with give us some shade and cover for enjoying barbecues outside, and also reduce our payload when we travel as we can leave our awning behind.
The next consideration is making sure your caravan is ready for the trip, our Adria was serviced in March. Other things on our plan list are breakdown cover, caravan security, currency, travel routes, pet insurance, travel insurance and our european health card.
We are really looking forward to setting off on our European tour, it will be a new adventure for us in our Adria. Im sure there will be lots of things for us to learn as we go. Hopefully we can report on this when we return and help other people who are planning a trip to Europe. The great thing about the Isonzo is it makes a fantastic base to explore from, there is plenty of space in the wardrobe for all our holiday clothes, the external gas point is perfect for cooking outdoors and it tows so well for a large caravan. We will be towing a few thousand miles on our trip so that’s important. Its fair to say we are excited, very excited, about our holiday to Europe with the Adria.