RVing in Europe

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Tom

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Since we have a number of UK and European members, I thought they might care to share some information about RVing "over there". Some questions that come to mind are:

  • What kind of RVs are bought/used?
  • Are European brands of RVs expensive to buy?
  • Do many people import RVs from the USA or Canada?
  • Is it possible to rent an RV for touring Europe?
  • Do many UK RVers take their RVs across the channel? If so, what is it like driving a wrong-side vehicle in Europe?
  • What kind of roads and road conditions should a would-be RVer anticipate?
  • What are the campgrounds like?
  • Does the very high cost of fuel limit the distances travelled?
  • What are the great European RV destinations?
  • Anyone have experience of RVing on both sides of the Atlantic care to explain some similarities and differences?
  • Lots more questions.

Thanks for any and all inputs.

If you haven't already seen it, Terry and Lilliane Nathan have posted a chronicle of their recent RV trip North to Lapland which makes great reading. You can view photos of their custom European coach by clicking Photos in the toolbar above.
 

JerArdra

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All,

When we were working in Spain we saw and later talked to a couple who shipped a new Lazy Daze 23 foot Class C to England (www.lazydaze.com).  That's about a $65,000+ coach.  They drove it around for two or three 4 to 5 month periods and, I think, sold it there.  We tried to rent it but it was in use when we had the time.  We still belonged to the "working class" back then.  I believe that the way to do it is to get a few "compatible" RV friends" together, ship a MH over or buy one there, get an inside storage place in England (English speaking country) for interediate storage, and split the usage over the next few years.  Diesel would be preferred because of the cost of fuel.  Also, get plenty of insurance because a poor decision by one of the owners can affect all the owners.  I have no idea of the shippng cost or other costs involved.

JerryF
 

Tom

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Thanks Jerry. If you were able to rent, were you planning on using it only in the UK, or were you planning on crossing the channel?

FWIW the Brits who have visited our forum recently (besides Terry Nathan) didn't appear to be sharing their U.S.-purchased RV with anyone else. OTOH they had sold or were planning to sell their homes and go fulltime.
 

JerArdra

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Tom,

We have discused RVing in the UK and all of Europe so we would cross the Channel.

JerryF
 

Tom

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Not much response to this topic other than Jerry's. FYI here's a photo of my parents' "caravan" (aka travel trailer) that they towed around the UK for many years before upgrading to something larger.
 

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terry nathan

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Tom

that's a huge subject, not sure how we should handle all that.  For starters, American motorhomes are very popular in Europe, mainly UK, Holland and Germany.  It became more difficult to import them into Europe once wide bodies (102") came about - that is too wide for European legislation.  However at the top end Monaco's are OK since they are 100.5 inches wide.  There has never been a better time for Europeans to buy US RVs because the US$ is so low against the UK pound and the Euro.  Fofr example, when I bought the Prevost in April 1992 the exchange rate was $1.42 = ?1.  Today it is around $1.83 to the UK ?, a huge difference (I wish I had waited!).

In the main the European dealers in American RVs have failed to pass on that saving - for example a Monaco Dynasty is priced in the UK in pounds what it is in dollars in the US, and it was that way three years ago.  The lesson from that it is way better to buy it in the US yourself, use it for a trip in the USA and then have it shipped to Europe.  Europeans also have to learn to shop around - it is too easy to go straight to Lazy Days - they are the nearest geographically to Europe and the sales people there know it.  When I was enquiring about the price of a Country Coach Affinity they told me there were no discounts but "they would throw in a CB radio so I could chat to my friends as we drive down the interstate".  The Affinity had a CB as standard! 

Terry
 

Tom

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Hi Terry, thanks for the comments. Yes, it is a big subject and one I hope others will add to.

So, 102" is the European size limit. Does that include saftey equipment such as mirrors and other stuff attached to the coach, such as awnings? Here it appears that width limits universally exclude mirrors that might actually stick out quite a bit.

Looks like we've had several visitors here recently who are in the process of taking advantage of the savings by buying in the USA.
 

terry nathan

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No Tom, the law in Euroland is "the maximum overall width for motorhomes is 2.55 metres.  Not included are any driving mirrors and any lamps or reflectors fitted in accordance with the lighting regulations.  Awnings would have to be included in the overall width of 2.55 metres."  2.55 metres comes out at 100.4 inches, so even the Monaco's fall outside that width limit.

Terry
 

Tom

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OK thanks Terry. I wonder if they actually take out a tape measure when an RV comes off the ship.
 

JerArdra

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All,

The second Lazy Daze Class C that we had was only 99 inches wide and "exactly 30 feet long".  It was configured like a Class A in that it had a rear bedroom (no climbing up over the cab).  The over cab area was for the TV entertainment system and other storage.  They use Ford and they might be putting them on a Ford Diesel chassis now.  This might be a good American MH for the UK and the rest of Europe.  Don't confuse the Lazy Daze MH manufacturer with the seller of MHs called Lazy Days, they are differnet.  They are at:  http://www.lazy daze.com

JerryF
 

terry nathan

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Thanks Jerry, I did know the two outfits were different; I have a high regard for Lazy Daze RVs, whereas the dealership ......

Terry
 

JerArdra

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Terry,

Lazy Daze has no dealerships.  People can only buy from the factory.  BTW, they are at http://www.lazydaze.com.  In my previous post I had a space between the two words Lazy and Daze.

JerryF
 

UK-RV

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Hi All (sorry Tom, only just found the post)

We haven't actually done our RV buying, touring, importing, etc etc as yet (roll on January 2006).

But, this is the plan :- we can buy our RV in the US, tour for a year (visa's permitting), import the RV into the UK and (taxes permitting) sell it at a price that covers our expenses for the year.

There are a lot of Class A's being driven along the motorway (M5) I regularly use - in a 40 mile run, I nearly always see 1 RV on every trip during our main 3 summer months (my record is 4 RVs in one journey).

I would have to say that owning (and operating) an RV in the UK can only be regarded as "showing off".

Unlike the US, we havent the space to store them, most campgrounds wont have them and the fuel cost makes it pretty insane to drive them.

Imagine paying $0.72 PER MILE just to drive an RV in the US, then consider maintainance, the actual purchase cost and depreciation - add to that roads that are virtually impassable and you would probably not drive one in the US either.

BUT - MORE AND MORE BRITS ARE DRIVING THEM (total madness).

So, we believe we can do our tour and will have little problem selling the RV upon our return.

As for the RV width issue, the limit is 100" (100.4) - it would be a brave person to import anything over that width. Whilst I haven't heard of any officials with tape measures, I wouldn't want to import a $150,000 RV only to have to ship it out again if things were ever checked.

Here are a few websites for the UK, should anyone care to take a look :-

RV Dealers
www.usrv.co.uk
www.freedom-motorhomes.co.uk
www.dudleys-rv.com
www.americanmotorhomes.co.uk
www.oakwellmotorhomes.com

European Model Dealers
www.marquismotorhomes.co.uk
www.donamott.com
www.brownhills.co.uk

UK Motorhome Forum
www.mmmonline.co.uk [update: dont bother, it's not that good]

Caravan Club
www.caravanclub.co.uk
www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk

UK Motorhome Shows
www.stoneleisure.co.uk
www.westernmotorhomeshow.co.uk
www.caravanandoutdoorshow.co.uk

Europe Rentals
www.abimo.be
www.easirent.com
www.elite-motorhomes.co.uk

Various
www.motorhoming.com/clubs.htm
www.practicalmotorhome.com
www.arvm.uk.com


 

Tom

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Thanks for that info and for those links. Lots to digest there.

With so few campgrounds willing to accept a large coach, I'm really surprised at the popularity of them over there. But, as you say, that popularity is what's going to make it easy for you to sell and get your money back.

Imagine paying $0.72 PER MILE just to drive an RV

Just for everyone's understanding, you're talking only of the fuel cost there.

along the motorway (M5) I regularly use

How well I remember my speeding ticket on the M5  - towing a trailer full of camping gear from our rained-out week of camping in Cornwall. Back then it was 45mph max; Tough to go that slow when cars were whizzing by at 70-100mph  :)
 

thenosyone

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Hi

It seems there is a misunderstanding on the popularity of American RV's in Europe, you don't see many of them overhere.
We travel  twice a year to France and /ore Spain and we don't pas many American RV's on a 3-4 weeks holliday.
I allways tought there where no more American motorhomes in England as on the Continent, however I can be wrong here, we tour England allways in winter...
On one occasion I arrived just behind an American RV on a campsite in France, he was not allowed in as the weight of his RV would damage the land.  When we did a trip the next day I saw him parked outside on another campside, so that was number two who didn't let him in. Most campsites just haven't the space for those enormous (for European standarts) rigs.
About there fuel consumpion, only the "happy few"  can afford to drive them.
To my opinion, for traveling and sightseeing on the continent, Americans,are  better off with a Continental (sized) motorhome, if they hire one on the continent the steering wheel sits, (for us), on the wright place.
 
The nosy one ;)  Antwerp
 
 

Ian H

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Hi all
the best forum i have come across for motorhomes in the UK is   
      www.motorhomefacts.com        like this forum these are the chaps
that can answer all your European motorhome questions
My opinion over the size restrictions in the UK is (not forgeting 12meter length ) if the American manufacturers dealers can import .sell and stand by the product to all the standards required ,thats good enough for me.Travelworld in Wolverhampton sells the Revolution LE 38ft their last listed price ?198,000 and don't think you get %25 off the price in the UK it doesn`t happen.When my trip is over i will be willing to share all my dealings from purchase to shipping to being fleeced by HM Customs to registering the motorhome in the UK. One thing for sure i am proud of what i own in the states and as i drive from Southampton docks to Cornwall i will be the biggest showoff on the road with a grin as wide as my RV
 

UK-RV

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;D

I can just see all the old camper vans chugging round Devon and Cornwall as you gleefully drive by.

Half of them shouting "flash git", but with tears of envy in their eyes.

I would love to be there to see that !!

Paul

BTW thanks for that link, I hadnt seen that one.
 

Jackliz

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Howdy, Paul.

Half of them shouting "flash git", but with tears of envy in their eyes.


What does "flash git" mean?

Thank you,
Liz
 

Tom

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LOL Liz, that's definitely a Brit term. From the Collaborative Online Dictionary:

"GIT: a person who is deemed to be despicable or contemptible; "only a rotter would do that"; "kill the rat"; "throw the bum out"; "you cowardly little pukes!"; "the British call a contemptible person a `git'" [syn: rotter, dirty dog, rat, skunk, stinker, stinkpot, bum, puke, rumb, lowlife, scum bag, so-and-so]"

I think that, in the current context of Paul's message, "flashy git" translates to a showoff.
 

terry nathan

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Hi Tom

I loved your translation of 'flash git' - but I think Jack and Liz were teasing you!  I have read all the comments about the difficulty in finding campgrounds in Europe suitable for large RVs, and I have to disagree.  Our Vario motorhome is 32 feet long and 100 inches wide and weighs in at 14 tonnes.  We've been on the road for the past four months in Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and the UK, and not once have we had difficulty getting access to a campground.  It does however require careful attention to the various campground directories.

In my opinion 32 feet is as long as anyone would want to go if the intention is to go touring - up to forty feet is fine for attending rallies and the like.

Terry (but I do miss my 45 foot Prevost)

 
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