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Old 07-17-2015, 12:52 PM   #1
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RVing in Europe?

While watching the Tour of France on TV, I can't help but be amazed at the 1000s of motorhomes along the route. The bike race may be the main attraction, but I also enjoy seeing all the small towns and villages along the way, not to mention all the compact motorhomes so popular there parked along the side of the road.

I'll assume most are privately owned just like in US, but know that motorhomes can also be rented in Europe.

So I'm curious if anyone here has rented a motorhome in Europe, has looked into it, or has thought about it.
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Old 07-17-2015, 01:14 PM   #2
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There was a user on here that imported Vegas/Axis units for sale in Europe.
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Old 07-17-2015, 03:37 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
There was a user on here that imported Vegas/Axis units for sale in Europe.
Jamie, from what I've seen on TV during de Tour, an Axis/Vegas would be at the upper range of size. Most motorhomes appear to be smaller, with many based on front-wheel-drive Fiat Ducato chassis. The little research I've done suggest they often have small 4-cylinder Diesel engines and 6-speed manual transmissions. There seems to be a good combination of Class Bs, B+, and Cs and small Class As too (small by US standards).

My wife and I can both drive manual transmissions so renting smaller motorhomes may be a possibility someday. Beyond being able to rent, I'm curious how traveling by motorhome there would be different than in the US.

I should probably do more research -- there has to be a lot of information on internet. Do they honor our drivers' licenses, are there campgrounds like in US, is navigation too difficult without knowing the language, etc...?

At a Lake Tahoe campground we saw some German families in Cruise America rentals, but I don't know if it's as easy for us to go the other way.
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Old 07-17-2015, 04:55 PM   #4
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I've spent a few weeks in Germany and England for various jobs. For driving cars a US license works fine--I don't know if that carries over to something bigger like an RV (although as you mention RVs aren't as big over there).

I didn't notice a lot of campgrounds but then I was working in cities (likewise you don't notice a lot of campgrounds in US cities either)--I was looking for them though.

There seemed to be a class of "gypsy" (especially in England) that would find any open space and plop down their trailer, live for a week or two, and then move on.

The RVs can't be as big over there because their roads are older and smaller than ours. On one trip to Germany I saw someone with a GMC 3500 pickup with dually's and a crew cab--I have no idea how he got it into the parking lot he was parked at! LOL
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Old 07-17-2015, 09:05 PM   #5
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I have travelled to Europe quite a bit and one thing I always did was before departure I would go to AAA and get an International Drivers License. The IDL is nothing more than a foreign translation of the information on your US drivers license. Some countries such as Germany do not require it at the airport rental counters, however, if stopped by local authorities they may require a license in the local language along with passport. I had to have this a couple of times during border crossings since we cannot cross borders in Europe as freely as citizens of countries within the European Union.

Germany has a bunch of camping fields, their translation for camp sites for tent and RV camping in the countryside. As a general rule of thumb their RV full hook sites are water and electric only. Sewer is generally a pay as you go dump station.
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Old 07-17-2015, 11:08 PM   #6
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Thanks Dave. Had never heard about such a license.

By the way, did you get to camp in Germany?
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Old 07-18-2015, 01:25 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chance View Post
Thanks Dave. Had never heard about such a license.

By the way, did you get to camp in Germany?
When I was stationed there (2 tours) many, many moons ago whenever I went to a Volksfest or Rock Festival (almost every weekend during the summer) my preferred lodging was a tent. RVs were not all that popular in Germany back then.

Most of the time I would talk to the local Forest Miester and he would direct me to a spot in the woods suitable for primitive camping. When that didn't work I would find a camping field on the outskirts of whatever village or city I was visiting.

Folks thought I was nuts. We would come back from a deployment along the border (before the wall came down) and I'd go camping for a few days. They couldn't understand the less money I spent on lodging the more money I had available for good German beer.

There are organizations that sponsor RV Caravans through Europe. Some are a little pricey but probably worth every penny.

Here is the link to one that will give you an idea of what happens.

Airstream's oversees RV camping experience in Europe
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Old 07-18-2015, 02:35 AM   #8
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I propose Dave start his own forum!! He has a great answer for everything. Thanks Dave and thanks for your service!
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Old 07-18-2015, 03:32 AM   #9
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If I had the answers to everything I'd buy a lottery ticket for next week's drawing.

It was my pleasure and I'd do it again.

It is interesting that while I was on active duty I saw quite a bit of Europe, the orient (Southeast Asia), the middle east (Southwest Asia), and some of South and Central America. I estimate I have seen less than 20 percent of what this great country has to offer. That is why I bought the motor home a few years ago. I told my wife this morning we need to start rolling them wheels.
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Old 07-20-2015, 05:54 PM   #10
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I was also stationed in Germany, but that was a long time ago.

On my last trip to England (back in the 90's) we saw a few campgrounds,
mostly with TT and also from a magazine I had picked up while there it
seems most of their TT & MH did not have bathrooms and you would just use
the facilities provided by the campground.

But probably by now amenities in the TT may have improved.

But at 5'-11" and 240 lbs I do not fit into a small toilet stall anyway.
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Old 07-20-2015, 07:31 PM   #11
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One thing I've learned while looking into European motorhome rentals is that trying to rent during one of the main bicycle races like le Tour de France may not be a great idea. One site stated that all the motorhomes in this picture were parked close to one of the race climbs in the Alps a week before the riders would be passing by.

I'm sure during that week they probably use the RV as a base camp to hike and bike ride some of the best cycling roads anywhere. Still, that's a long time to sit put to watch a few minutes of racing.
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