What we learned during our holiday tour - and what we recommend
1) Always keep a good stock of toilet tissue ready to hand. Many public and camping / caravanning site toilets don't have any – neither do they have toilet seats – especially in France.
2) If you have a dog with you, get rid of the carpets in your caravan and replace them with a vinyl floor – much easier to keep clean.
3) If you want to save a fortune on site fees, use a van (or camper-van) and camp 'wild'.
4) Consider keeping a caravan on a European caravan site all year round. This becomes your holiday home. Make sure you can tow it off site for when you go touring. This will save you the additional cost of taking it across the channel on the ferry as well as all the extra fuel used when towing it. Your fuel saving could be in the region of £150 to £200 on a trip from the north-west of England to the Swiss Alps and back, for example. Add that to the ferry fare for the caravan and it soon adds up to a significant amount – especially if you go there several times a year.
5) If you intend taking your dog with you, make sure you start the process of obtaining the required documentation long before you are due to depart. Allowing for things to go wrong – like titre levels not being met initially, you should start the process at least 6 months before you leave. Also, make the appointment for your dog to see a vet whilst abroad (to obtain the correct medication and certification) before you leave home.
6) Get your car serviced and new brake pads fitted before you leave the UK – especially important if you're towing a caravan or going into mountainous areas whilst you're away. If your car battery is old, buy and fit a new one before you go away – they are much more expensive abroad.
7) Make sure you obtain any necessary permits that will allow you to drive in places abroad – such as a sticker (vignette) to drive on Swiss motorways and 'clean air' (Crit'Air vignette) permits for certain cities in France – and allow time to obtain them as some of these can take 6 to 8 weeks to arrive.
8) Make sure you have all the required documentation for making a trip abroad for all people and animals who are travelling as well as your car and caravan.
9) If you have sufficient space (and can carry the weight), stock up on food, drink and other household effects to take with you as these items can cost a great deal more in Europe. Wine is cheaper on the ferries than it is in France!
10) Don't keep moving! Stay on a site longer than you might have planned (unless it's a particularly bad or expensive site). This will enable you to:
11) Do some research about the places you intend to go. Find out if there are any special deals on public transport or entrance fees to places of interest.
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