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traveling Europe in a camper van

cotsinhostels

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Joined: November 29th, 2007

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Tags: wester europe, eastern europe, asia
  • Added on: November 6th, 2008
My husband, daughter and I will begin a RTW trip in March 2010. We are planning to start in Western Europe and have thought of purchasing a Volkswagon Westy when we first get there and travel with it for as long as we are able (until they don't let us take it across a border). We are hoping that this will greatly cut the costs of transportaion, lodging and meals.

Does anyone have any thoughts/advice about the money saving benefits, and logistical issue (border crossing problems etc.)about this?

Our trip will encompass Western and Eastern EU, Asia, and Australia/NZ.

Eppyboy

Sells Travel by the Gram
 
Posts: 2081
Joined: June 20th, 2005
Location: New York

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  • Added on: November 6th, 2008
sounds interesting, do you think you will try and drive it from western europe to asia or just for the europe part of your trip? I just ask because that would be cool! I think depending on fuel in western europe (which I hear ain't cheap), still driving yourself should still probably save you money because while a tank of gas might cost 100 bucks lets say, taking a train for three of you might be double that or more. So i think you can save there.

Lodging the obvious answer is yes, granted it might be cramped for 3 of you, I guess you will really get to love one another if you don't already :-)

In terms of logistics crossing borders obviously this won't be a problem in the EU states as there really aren't borders..if you blink or fall asleep you will miss when you have entered germany and left switzerland! I think your problems will arise in eastern europe with having to have visas.

Also insurance on the westy might be an issue. Not sure what sort of international insurance you can get on the Westy and if you need that, maybe there is a policy that covers you in the EU states, but not sure about the others and that would be an issue i think.

Meals - I'm assuming you can cook in the westy and have some sort of a gas stove...Again I think this should definitely cut your costs of meals considering they aren't so cheap in europe. A big family night out wouldn't hurt every once and a while though...

Good luck
Josh and Nicole aren't going anywhere for a while, but you can still read about their past trips herehttp://blogs.bootsnall.com/eppyboy

cotsinhostels

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Posts: 8
Joined: November 29th, 2007

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  • Added on: November 6th, 2008
Thanks for the encouragement. We are looking forward to it. We are hoping to take the van into Asia, but are prepared to sell, or donate to another broke traveler at any border. We are looking into insurance and think we can get coverage from the US to cover us there (it's spendy though).

Islandia

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Joined: September 3rd, 2008

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  • Added on: November 7th, 2008
Good luck with your trip! I have done some caravanning in Europe and loved it, and travelled by bus (complete with beds and cooking equipment) all the way to India. Great way to travel.

There are countries that will not let you in without a Carnet de passage, which is like a passport for your vehicle. Having one can make travel easier for you, especially in Asia, but of course it means that you can not sell the car in any country that requires it without losing your deposit.
---

I was with a group that took a private bus to India, which requires the carnet. In Pakistan on the way back our dear leader discovered that to get a visa back into Iran would take a minimum of 3 weeks (he had gotten us single-entry visas), so to speed up our journey we ended up selling the bus and using the money to fly home, but we had to take it to Afghanistan to sell it, because had we done it in Pakistan (which also requires the carnet), we would have lost our deposit.

static

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  • Added on: November 7th, 2008
As a 30+ year owner and enthusiast of VW Campers, I must warn you that there are much better-suited vehicles for such travel. If I were doing that trip, I would want something based off of a Mercedes Sprinter. No way would I take a VW bus on that trip.

cotsinhostels

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  • Added on: November 7th, 2008
Thanks for the good info. I have never heard of a Mercedes Spinter, but will look into it. Why do you say you wouldn't take a Westy? Should we be looking for a gas or deisel powered van?

static

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  • Added on: November 7th, 2008
Well, because for what they cost over there, it will be thrashed or too expensive. Also, the Sprinter has more room, has better service options and runs on Diesel (which is available everywhere). There are VW buses that run on Diesel too, but mainly the LT35, which would be OK too. Anyway, start here.

cotsinhostels

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  • Added on: November 7th, 2008
Awesome tips. Thanks so much!

Malene

Holds PhD in Packing
 
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Joined: September 9th, 2008

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  • Added on: November 7th, 2008
I think its an awesome idea and way to travel. Make sure to time it with the seasons though - otherwise could be really, truly cold. Brrr

You wont have any trouble with border crossings in Western Europe. I am not so sure about Eastern Europe - that would merrit some more research, and maybe a call to their respective embassies.

Gas is hellishly expensive in Europe. I know in Denmark they right now pay $10 - 12 per gallon. But the train is expensive too. Some countries you will be able to find places where you can shower for a fee - but not other places. That would be something to consider. Maybe a hotel once a week?

Make sure to know where you can park and camp and where you cant. Each country will have different rules. Also, make certain that you know which areas / countries it is safe to park and camp and which arent.

Good Luck.

Malene



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