Category: Motorhomes

Taking your motorhome abroad for the first time 

In this article, we explain how you can make the most of your first overseas trip in your motorhome – also covering some of the essentials that you should have with you.

In this article, we explain how you can make the most of your first overseas trip in your motorhome – also covering some of the essentials that you should have with you. 

Many motorhome owners relish the thought of discovering Europe in their motorhome. When it goes well, it allows you to travel at your own pace, absorbing the different cultures and landscapes. 

So, what do we need to consider before we set off and enjoy all of this? Firstly, the essential paperwork. 

Passports 

In most European countries, you will need to have at least three months remaining on your passport at the date of departure. Since Brexit, it’s much more common for this to be checked when you go through Passport Control, than it was before. 

It is worth checking at this link to ensure your documentation is all in order and meets the requirements of the countries you plan to visit 

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Driving Licences 

A valid UK driving licence is required for touring Europe, and you will need to carry your photo card driving licence with you at all times whilst you’re driving. 

If you do not have this, you will require an International driving permit available from https://www.gov.uk/driving-abroad/international-driving-permit 

Insurance is required and must be at least 3rd party European cover. There are many specialist motorhome and leisure vehicle insurance companies that can assist with this. Although we don’t specifically recommend any in particular, here are two that we know about:

https://motorhome.safeguarduk.co.uk

https://www.caravanguard.co.uk

If you are lucky enough to be travelling to Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia (excluding Kosovo) or the Faroe Islands, you might need to increase your insurance cover to comply with local insurance laws. Also, check with your insurer to see whether you need a Green Card. 

Health and Travel Insurance 

You should ensure that you have adequate cover in case one of your party becomes ill or, god-forbid, you are involved in an accident. 

Your EHIC or GHIC card provides emergency medical treatment both at the roadside and in hospital. 

The older European Health Insurance cards (EHIC) continue to be valid in an EU country until their expiry date – but if you’ve replaced once recently, you’ll have noticed that they are now called the ‘UK Global Health Insurance Card’. 

They are available free of charge to UK citizens here (UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). 

Both EHICs and the new GHIC provide the same access to emergency and necessary healthcare coverage for travel to the EU. 

Should you require more than emergency medical treatment, then that is where your travel insurance would normally kick in. 

As well as providing a range of other benefits, travel insurance will likely cover the costs of medical expenses and getting you home if you’re injured or fall seriously ill abroad. 

Again, we are not specifically recommending them – but you may wish to take a look at the offering by The Caravan Club 

https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/insurance/overseas-holiday-insurance/types-of-cover/ UK Stickers

A UK sticker must be displayed on the rear of your motorhome – replacing the old GB stickers (which are no longer legal/acceptable). 

Instead of a UK sticker, you can often get away with just having numberplates which display the letters UK (and possibly the Union Jack flag) on the left-hand side. 

However, these are not strictly legal in some EU countries. If you want to stay on the safe side, just go with a ‘proper’ UK sticker. 

European Breakdown Cover 

European breakdown cover is essential to avoid any unwanted costly surprises – and being stranded in a non-English speaking country when you break down out of office hours and ‘in the middle of nowhere’. 

One such provider is https://mbgdirect.com/breakdown-recovery.html Documentation checklist 

1 Passport 

2 Photo card driving license 

3 Motorhome Insurance certificate 

4 Travel insurance 

5 V5 log book 

6 European accident statement 

Where will you be staying in Europe. 

Once you have all your documents in order, you can then plan where you will travel to and where you will be staying. 

European campsites are no different to UK sites, with the same options depending upon on what you have booked. 

As with some hotels in Europe, you may need to provide ID on arrival or allow your passport to be kept during your stay.

If you are planning to travel around and only staying one or two days, ‘Aires’ are very popular in France or ‘Stellplatz’ in Germany. 

These are booked on a first-come, first-served basis, with pre-booking unavailable, and are approved motorhome parking spaces. 

Information about Aires in Europe can be found at 

https://www.eurotunnel.com/uk/holiday-ideas/the-best-aires-in-france/ https://www.vicarious-shop.com/collections/motorhome-aires-stopovers https://park4night.com/ 

They often have electric hook-up, waste disposal and chemical toilet points. 

Wild Camping 

Wild camping is another option however, it is essential to do your homework on the area you may be wild camping in first. 

Wild camping is tolerated in most European countries. However, there are different rules for each country – especially Portugal, where it is not straightforward to wild camp. 

When wild camping, the basic rules are to turn up late afternoon and leave by mid-morning. Do not light BBQ’s and have table and chairs out and try to stay away from residential areas and, most importantly, leave the area tidy. 

Park4night.com and searchforsites.co.uk are both great sources of information to help with this. 

Once you have decided where you want to stay and what type of travelling timeframe you have, it’s important to plan your route carefully – especially if it’s your first time abroad in your motorhome. 

Ensure your Sat nav has European maps. 

Be aware of toll roads. The Michelin website https://www.viamichelin.com/ is a good source of information on this, among other things. 

Other items to consider carrying are 

A First aid kit

Warning triangle (two in some countries such as Spain) 

A Hi-Vis jacket for each occupant of the vehicle 

Headlight/Beam deflectors 

All headlights require beam deflectors or adjusting if this is possible whilst in Europe. On some vehicles, you may have a switch to change your headlights for European driving. Check your owners manual for details on this. 

Taking your pet with you 

You must ensure that you have covered all the relevant steps before travelling to Europe with your pet. 

Your dog or cat will need to be microchipped and all vaccinations must be up to date. 

You will require an animal health certificate signed by a vet, and in some countries your pet will need to be tapeworm-treated. 

When you arrive in Europe, you will be required to go through a designated traveller’s point of entry. Visit https://www.gov.uk/taking-your-pet-abroad/travelling-to-an-eu-country-or-northern-irel and For more information.