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A month around Europe camping with a 17 month old!

A month around Europe camping with a 17 month old!

Old Jun 28th, 2014, 11:42 AM
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A month around Europe camping with a 17 month old!

Hi all!! I need a little help please....! Looking to travel around Europe for approx a month starting this Sept. We will be in a transit van kinda thing so it would be camping/b&b's or maybe even the odd hotel! I've never done anything like this before and my primary concern is keeping my little boy safe and happy - is this a crazy thing to do? I'd love to travel through France ( quickly ) to Barcelona, Swiz, Venice, Italy, Greece...I've already visted Germany/Amerstamd ect... is this something that is achievable in a month? I've no idea how to put a route together but I'm the kind of person who needs a detailed plan down to hrs travelling and cost if fuel ect! Can anybody pls pls point me in the right direction as to how to start planning what I hope will be the trip of a lifetime? All info will be greatly received!!!
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Old Jun 28th, 2014, 12:06 PM
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You should post on a forum about RV/Motorhomes. in Europe.
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Old Jun 28th, 2014, 12:11 PM
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Camping seems like the ideal thing to do with a small child. I don't know about the other countries, but France is a camper's paradise.
kerouac is online now  
Old Jun 28th, 2014, 12:15 PM
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Five countries (plus a few in-between) in 4 weeks? Really? Wouldn't this be something like 4500-5000 kilometers (2800-3100 miles)? And can you drop the van in Greece, or do you need to return to France? Would there be a drop fee?

Viamichelin.com will give you calculations of drive times and fuel and toll costs, but you'll also need to consider overnight parking and/or camping fees for probably nearly every night.

Then you need to learn all about possible restricted driving zones in cities and towns you intend to visit. These are particularly prevalent in Italy.

If I were contemplating anything like this, the first thing I would do is slow down at the start and not rush through France to get to Barcelona. Let you and the toddler adjust. (Won't he/she get antsy sitting in a car all day?) Then I'd eliminate Greece altogether.

Or leave the toddler at home and travel as fast as you wish.
Jean is online now  
Old Jun 28th, 2014, 12:20 PM
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I have camped extensively by car, bike and by train - there are camps EVERYWHERE - all large cities have them - Paris has two rather close-in ones - in Joinville-le-Pont and in the Bois de Boulogne - public transit is great from most urban camps to the city centers.

You may want to get a Camping Carnet (if still around) as this may get a discount or you can leave it in lieu of your passport at the office (been a while since I've camped so things may have changed) - just google international camping carnet and see.

except in July and August you never IME have to worry about just popping into say Salzburg and finding a place on that nice town's camp right on the river Salz - ditto for any large city - Amsterdam, Paris even London has a well-equipped camping right in London - Caravan Harbour at Crystal Palace.

and Europeans even at times park their vans in a quiet part of towns and sleep for a night there - dotto for autoroute rest stops.

European camps are family-oriented - like moving into the neighborhood and well-equipped by bring your own TP - some have none or some have stuff more appropriate for wiping a stove down than your rear end. They all have showers and major ones all having swimming pools it seems and children's play area, a small store for food and essentials, a restaurant/snack bar and of course pub.

In September you never have to worry about just bopping into any camp and finding place IME.

camping - a great way to explore Europe and if you can get a good deal on a camping car then it can save a ton of money over hotels and again you never have to book ahead - the nice thing about camping (except in July and August and a few seaside places catering to the senior citizen crowd.)
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Old Jun 28th, 2014, 12:24 PM
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A camper van trip would be fun. A camper van trip covering half of Western Europe in a few weeks - would NOT be fun. A camper van trip covering half of Western Europe in a few weeks . . . w/ a toddler - would be crazy.

Pick one country (or 2 or 3 that are adjacent to each other . . . NOT Spain and Greece for example). Then start searching for camp grounds/camping resorts in areas of that country(s). France and maybe a bit of northern Spain, Or France/Northern Italy/a bit of Switzerland. Something like that. Be sure that there is easy public transport from the camp grounds to and nearby cities for day trips. You don't want to be driving a camper van in most European city centers.
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Old Jun 28th, 2014, 12:43 PM
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Just be flexible and prepared to cut things short and head home if you have too. Drop Greece from the equation
Remember camping is slow and fun. A camper like a Transit can't travel at great speed. Accept that and slow down a bit.
Your son will appreciate having time to play and explore a bit, not spend hours strapped in a seat. You will need to tire him out so you can get some sleep. Start early and drive until lunchtime/early afternoon then look for a spot to stay. Maybe stay a couple of nights in some places rather than moving on every day.
The good thing about a Transit sized camper is that you can drive it in cities easily, and usually can park it in normal carparks too.
Many cities have campsites quite near the centre which you could look into, and some countries have special camper parking on teh edge, near public transport. They offer very basic stuff, nowhere near as nice as a real campsite but will do at a pinch.
Are you on your own with your son? If so then definitely stay at campsites.
Be very careful at motorway service areas and do not be tempted to sleep at them - there is a huge chance you will be targeted by thieves.
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Old Jun 28th, 2014, 01:49 PM
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September in northern Europe can become quite rainy - muddy campgrounds are no fun - start in the north and head south.
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Old Jun 28th, 2014, 02:00 PM
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Way too much to attempt with a 17 month old. How much time do you realistically think he will enjoy being captive in his carseat? Besides roadways, what do you want to see and do on this trip?
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Old Jun 28th, 2014, 08:08 PM
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Do you have any idea about how your son travels in cars? I only ask because we know our daughter at that age was fine in planes but terrible in cars if driving for anything over 2 hrs. Hard when the in-laws live 5+ hours away by car. I don't want to discourage you but maybe you should test it out on home turf before you book the trip. In our case, on several trips with our infant daughter we had an apartment as a base and did small trips out from a central point, which worked pretty well for us. You can even have more than one base, if there's not too much driving between bases. Maybe you could do the same with your camping trip (i.e., limit the number of hours on the road and make a base).

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Old Jun 29th, 2014, 12:03 AM
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September in northern Europe is usually calm, warm and sunny. Serious rain doesn't arrive until October with autumn storms. More chance of a downpour in August than September.
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Old Jun 29th, 2014, 01:36 AM
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You have got good advice so far.

A few thoughts about the itinerary. The first thing is that you have to drop the motorhome in the same country where you picked it up. So, it must be a sort of loop that you drive. I would strongly suggest to take France as the pick-up/drop-off country. France has most campgrounds, southern France is beautiful in September and France will probably be cost-wise the best place. But check also northern Spain (Barcelona) for a motorhome pick-up. The rates might be even better.

Second, do not plan to drive too much. With you little one, you do not want to change campgrounds every day. At a beautiful place, spend a couple of days, relax and enjoy. The motorhome gives you freedom to do what you want. As said, in September, there is no need for reservations.

That said, you may pick up your motorhome in Lyon/France. You may drive through Switzerland into northern Italy. From there, you drive to southern France (Cote d'Azur). You may even drive to Barcelona and then back to southern France.

Highlights of this loop would be: driving along Lac Leman, the Swiss mountains, Luzern, Lago Maggiore, Milan, the Cote d'Azur, Provence, Carcassonne, Costa Brava, Barcelona, Bourgogne.

If you pick up your motorhome in Barcelona, you may drive the same loop in different order.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 07:40 AM
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My son is 17 months now. We have taken a few road trips with him, and we've found that everyone is happiest when we take it easy. We aim for two hours of driving max per day. So we'll wake up and have breakfast, play or hike/sightsee for a few hours, eat lunch, and then head out, hoping that he will fall asleep soon after we leave. He generally naps for 1.5-2 hours, so we're generally almost to our destination by the time he wakes up. Our worst days were those when we drove three or four hours - he hated sitting in his car seat for that long, and no one's happy when the baby's grumpy. So I think you'll have a great time, as long as you're willing to work around him.
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