How to tour Europe in a Motorhome-the ULTIMATE guide

Tour Europe in a Motorhome; Motorhome Europe Travel

Want to tour Europe in a motorhome or campervan? Feeling a little overwhelmed and not sure where to start? Here’s everything you need, from what kit to pack, what paperwork you need to carry, how to prepare your van, European road trip itinerary ideas and tips for life on the road.

Don’t forget to grab your free Europe motorhoming checklist below.

*We work hard to make this the best motorhome travel blog and road trip website possible, full of helpful content for you. The website is supported by our readers, so if you buy through links on this site we may earn a commission- at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain our own.

If you find this post useful, you can also treat us to a coffee – we promise to enjoy it while creating more useful content like this- we might even indulge in a biscuit (or two!)


Touring Europe in a motorhome blog- our story

I remember the first time we took our motorhome to Europe. There were SO MANY rules and things to pack and what the heck are aires and how do I book one and what route should we take and do we need…

To say I was daunted was an understatement. Everywhere I looked for advice had totally contradicting information. I spent the first few days of our Europe road trip feeling exhausted and terrified that I’d forgotten something vitally important.

If you’re also feeling intimidated by the idea of travelling Europe in a motorhome, camper van or even a caravan, don’t panic. Since that first trip, I quit my job so we could explore Europe by motorhome as often as possible (let’s just not talk about 2020…)

We’ve travelled nearly 60,000 miles and visited 17 countries. We have made many MANY mistakes… but we’ve also learnt a lot about vanlife in Europe and what NOT to do. And I’m going to share that with you today.

I promise- it’s not as scary as it feels right now.

Today I’ll walk you through the various steps you need to take to plan your own motorhome road trip to Europe and, hopefully, you’ll feel much more confident by the end of it.

Don’t forget to grab your free printable Europe motorhome travel checklist, which will help you remember everything you need.

Unsure what you need for your Europe road trip?
Worried you’re missing something important?

Grab your FREE Europe Road trip Checklist NOW- everything you need: essential kit, paperwork and useful gear to take.

    This form subscribes you (free!) to the Wandering Bird mailing list. We share tips, itineraries, and helpful guides like this for road trippers and motorhomers.

    We never spam (yuck) and you can unsubscribe at any time.

    How to Tour Europe in a Motorhome, campervan or RV – where to start

    Let’s start with the basics. Before you can head off to Europe in a motorhome, you need a motorhome or camper van! You can either buy one or hire one and there are pros/ cons to both.

    TOP TIP: If you’re planning a 3 month or more trip to Europe, definitely buy a motorhome- it will be MUCH cheaper. Here’s our complete motorhome buyer’s guide to choosing the camper for you.

    If you don’t already own a motorhome and are considering getting one, hiring a motorhome or campervan for at least a weekend, preferably a week, is the perfect way to know if motorhome life is for you, before you spend a lot of money on one.

    Also, if you are looking to buy a motorhome for the first time, hiring one is a great way to learn what layouts work for you, what you like and dislike and what you’re looking for in your own vehicle.

    Having said that, we bought our first motorhome with no experience and no planning and set off to tour around Europe after only 15 days… So do whatever feels right for you.

    Motorhoming in Europe- 25 Essential things to know

    Watch this video for 25 things you need to know about touring with a motorhome or campervan in Europe:

    We hope you found the video useful. If you did, we’d love it if you followed us on Youtube. New videos with tips for motorhoming and campervanning in the UK and Europe are released weekly.

    Motorhome Touring in Europe- where to stay?

    Once you’ve got a vehicle to tour around Europe in, the next thing to consider is how do you want your trip to Europe to be and where are you going to camp/ park overnight?

    • Do you want to stay at a campsite with pitches for motorhomes, campervans and caravans which has loads of facilities and activities for the kids to do?

    Deciding the type of holiday you want to have will make planning your motorhome trip a lot easier. Here’s a bit more information about the types of motorhome parking available in Europe to help you decide.

    Motorhome campsites in Europe

    Campsites in Europe are very similar to ones in the UK; you arrive, are given or can select a pitch with or without electric (depending on what you booked) and that’s it. Often, you will need to provide ID when you arrive and some places even keep hold of your passport while you stay.

    Campsites often have great facilities- like swimming pools or a beach on a lake, watersports, play area, restaurants, fresh bread delivery, shop etc. Dogs are normally always welcome, but there isn’t always a dog walk/ run where they are allowed off lead.

    One of the many incredible motorhome, campervan & caravan campsites in Europe
    One of the many incredible motorhome, campervan & caravan campsites in Europe

    European motorhome travel in the school holidays- or not?

    If you’re travelling in the school holidays, you’ll want to book up the campsite (if you’re using one) asap- the best ones get booked up months in advance.

    If you’re NOT travelling during the school holidays, you might want to consider getting an ACSI camping card– you’ll save a lot of money on campsite charges.

    Aires in Europe

    For us, we prefer to travel around Europe in our motorhome and explore different places during our trips instead of staying in one area. We generally stay only one night in a place (unless we’re planning to ride the motorbikes, in which case we find somewhere for a few nights.) 

    There are two types of motorhome overnight parking options instead of campsites. The first are approved Motorhome parking places, which are called Aires in France, Stellplatz in Germany and Sostas if you’re campervanning in Italy. They’re all pretty much exactly the same!

    Motorhome Parking Tips for Aires

    You cannot pre-book Aires- they operate on a first-come basis. We found people tended to move on about 10-11am and most were parked up by 4pm, so try and move within that window for the best chance of finding a space. When we toured Italy, we left a little earlier (around 9ish) and aimed to be parked for lunchtime-ish, which we think helped us get in where we wanted without problems.

    We like aires, as we feel happier leaving our motorhome if we want to go off an explore, and don’t want to deal with the noise or expense of a European campsite. We tow motorbikes behind our motorhome and love being able to use them without worrying if the van is ok.

    You can find more on how to use aires and find motorhome parking around Europe here.

    Wild camping with a motorhome or campervan in Europe

    The other option for overnight motorhome stopovers in Europe is wild camping, which is staying somewhere that’s not an ‘approved’ place overnight and then moving on the next morning.

    motorhome and campervan wild camping in Denmark, Europe
    motorhome and campervan wild camping in Denmark, Europe

    Rules for wild camping with a Motorhome in Europe

    There are many different rules and different stories about motorhome wild camping across Europe. Wild camping is technically illegal in many countries, such as Switzerland – but we’ve stayed off-grid in our motorhome hundreds of times without any trouble at all. Heck, it was a night wild camping in the Alps in Switzerland in our motorhome which made us decide to change our lives and go motorhome travelling (almost!) full-time!

    Wild camping in France in a motorhome or campervan is tolerated, as long as you’re not near the coast or in a restricted area. Find out more about motorhome wild camping in France.

    My advice is to research the rules for the country you’re visiting, and then check out Park4night. Don’t park if it says ‘No Overnight Parking’. Also, always trust your gut. If you’re not sure and not happy, move on to an approved Motorhome stop point, so you can get a good nights sleep without worrying about being woken up for parking illegally.

    You can find everything you need to know about how to wild camp with a motorhome or campervan here.

    How to find free/ cheap Motorhome Parking spots in Europe

    So, HOW do we find these overnight stopovers in vans in Europe? There are three apps we use. They’re all great but work in slightly different ways.


    Park4night is what we mainly use when motorhome touring in Europe- and it is BRILLIANT. It’s both an app and a website- we tend to use the app most while travelling. There is a small annual fee but it’s well worth paying for.

    This is how we use it:

    • Drive to somewhere we want to explore- or a place en-route if we’ve got a long route planned.
    • As we get closer, open up the app on my iPad or laptop (read more about getting internet in a motorhome)
    • Put in the area you are heading for into Park4night and filter your options.
    • Look at photos and comments to remove any with bad reviews, or which are too small for your motorhome to fit into.
    • Check to make sure the place is open! A lot of places close between Oct- Apr.
    • Then I tend to go on gut feel. I might have two or three options at this point but if I’m honest I’ll know which one of those three I like the idea of most, and that’s the one we head for first. If we get there and it’s full/ closed/ turned into a building site (has happened twice to us!!) then we have other options we can fall back on and we can head to those next.

    We use Park4night as it tends to have the most options for places to stay in Europe. However, there are some other good choices too.

    Planning to take your motorhome to Europe?

    Europe Motorhome travel checklist- FREE

    GUIDE: Stop the overwhelm with our step-by-step guide. Contains eBook, checklists and more. Complete Europe Motorhome Travel Toolkit

    CHECKLIST: Don’t forget to grab your FREE Europe motorhome travel checklist HERE

    GEAR– If you need any motorhome gear for touring Europe, here’s what we recommend.

    Camper contact

    Camper Contact works in a very similar way to Park4night, however, the BIG thing it offers which we love is you can remove all parking spaces which aren’t suitable for longer motorhomes. We love this feature when we are towing a trailer behind our motorhome and want to make absolutely sure it’s suitable for a longer vehicle.

    Camper contact is free on the website but the app requires payment, which is another reason we prefer Park4night.


    Search for sites is another motorhome parking app but is better for in the UK. Again, it’s a really useful site and well worth checking as occasionally there are different places on here than on the other two. Pretty much all the reviews on here seem to be in English, which can help when you want to read what people thought!

    Between the three of these motorhome parking apps, we’ve travelled around Europe without any problems. Once, in Italy in August, our preferred Aire was full, so we had to move on elsewhere and a few times the place we’ve been heading for no longer exists!

    If you find out of date information, please take the time to update the app so other motorhomers don’t do the same thing. They are all great resources and, without them, motorhome road trips in Europe wouldn’t be nearly so easy.

    Dolomites with a motorhome
    Us touring Europe in our Motorhome- the Italian Dolomites

    Other parking schemes in Europe

    In Europe, there are several schemes similar to Britstops as a great source of free overnight parking stops for motorhomes. In France, France Passion is a similar set-up, and there are others around Europe.

    You can find a list of all the motorhome overnight parking schemes and how to find them here.

    Motorhome Route Planning for Europe trips

    Once you’ve decided where you’re staying, you can start planning a motorhome route in Europe. Obviously, if you’re just travelling to one campsite and back again, then the route will be fairly straightforward.

    However, if you’re planning to use aires or wild camping, then you can decide where you want to visit, what you want to see and if you’re going to be using toll roads or not.

    One thing to note is that we rarely plan an actual road route until we’re driving. or just setting off for the day. I don’t plan the roads in advance- just the places we want to visit during our trip. Everything else I do as we travel. If we want to visit a specific aire or campsite, I’ll note that in our plan. You can grab our free road trip planner and use that to help you plan your route and things to do.

    Unsure what you need for your Europe road trip?
    Worried you’re missing something important?

    Grab your FREE Europe Road trip Checklist NOW- everything you need: essential kit, paperwork and useful gear to take.

      This form subscribes you (free!) to the Wandering Bird mailing list. We share tips, itineraries, and helpful guides like this for road trippers and motorhomers.

      We never spam (yuck) and you can unsubscribe at any time.

      The other thing you’ll need to plan is how you’re going to get to Europe. If you’re in the UK, will you take the ferry or use Eurotunnel? There are pros and cons of both but it’s worth deciding quickly so you can book in advance and hopefully save some money.

      TOP TIP: If you want some ideas for where to visit, here are some of the best Europe road trip itineraries for motorhomes and campervans.

      Tolls in Europe

      Many people are concerned about tolls in Europe and like to plan their routes to avoid them. There are pros and cons to this. Tolls occur in nearly every European country which doesn’t insist on a vignette. If you’re motorhoming in Germany you can enjoy some free autobahns (same if you’re motorhoming in Holland.) 

      When you plan a route in a country without a vignette, you have two options:

      • The quick way (which uses tolls roads when necessary)
      • The cheap way (which doesn’t!)

      There is no right answer- it’s whatever’s best for you. If you only have a week for your motorhome holiday, many people will want to get to their destination asap, which means using toll roads.

      If you have more time, you may want to save money and take the slower, but usually prettier, back roads. Do whatever’s right for you.

      If you want to get an idea on how much a toll route might cost, use the website

      This site will tell you the approximate driving costs for your trip, both in fuel consumption and tolls. The fuel setting is annoying as you can’t select for a motorhome/ camper, although you can select the appropriate mpg, but the toll charges & vignette costs (as long as your motorhome is under 3.5 tonnes and 3m tall,) are very accurate.

      Motorhoming in Europe- paperwork you need to carry

      So, you’ve got a vehicle, a plan for overnight stays and the beginnings of a route. Now it’s time for the paperwork you need to carry, both for your motorhome/ campervan and also for you.

      Nobody likes this bit, because it’s pretty boring, but it’s also essential. We’ve been stopped twice, both times in France and both times near the ferry at Caen. The police seem to love waiting there and pouncing on Motorhomers and campervanners who might have forgotten something.

      In France, fines for speeding or incorrect paperwork must be paid in cash on the spot, or else you’ll be escorted to the nearest police station- not the most welcoming start to your holiday! However, if you have all the following, there’s nothing they can do except wish you a ‘bonne journee’ and see you on your merry way.

      READ MORE: Essential advice for motorhome touring in France

      Complete list of paperwork needed to tour Europe in a motorhome

      Here are your next steps for paperwork and staying organised (don’t forget you can download our FREE Europe motorhome travel checklist to keep organised)

      Europe Motorhome travel- free checklists

      Want to head to Europe with your motorhome?

      Grab your FREE (printable) checklist and discover 25 things you NEED to take with you when you travel in Europe. Make your life easier today.

      Motorhome Insurance

      You need motorhome insurance which covers travel in Europe (and other places like Morocco if you’re planning to venture further afield). You also might want to get Breakdown cover which includes recovery to Home- just in case the worst happens. Bring your original certificate with you, not a photocopy.

      Health Insurance

      The rules for health cover for UK residents in Europe have changed after BREXIT. You now MUST have travel insurance. Make sure you read the conditions carefully- many ‘cheap’ policies don’t cover you for more than a week or two at a time, so if you’re planning on going away for longer you’ll need to find an appropriate insurer. Ideally, get repatriation cover to the UK- just in case.

      Europe Motorhome Travel- Essential items you need to carry

      Unlike in the UK, there are some things you legally NEED to carry in your motorhome, campervan or car when you’re touring Europe. These essentials Europe travel accessories include: Road Legal UK Unit...Shop on AmazonRing Automotive RCT1 9 Piec...Shop on AmazonAA GB Plate AA0101 - Large ...Shop on AmazonAA High Visibility Fluoresc...Shop on AmazonAA Car Headlamp Headlight B...Shop on Amazon

      Useful kit for travelling Europe in a Motorhome or camper

      Assuming your van is already packed with these essential motorhome accessories, there are a couple of things which will make your life easier when touring Europe in a camper.

      Motorhome Wi-Fi

      Is wifi in a motorhome an essential? For us it is- we work from the road, so we need a reliable way to contact the outside world (and upload blog posts like this!) Our life just wouldn’t work if we didn’t have a decent Internet connection. 

      For years, we had a wifi dongle in our motorhome and, quite seriously, it’s BRILLIANT. We’ve travelled all around Western Europe and it didn’t let us down once. Oh ok, it’s failed to get a signal just once and we were parked on the top of a mountain in the Swiss Alps at the time- I’m not sure I can blame it for that!! 

      We use data SIMS with Vodafone, 3 and EE and we find EE and 3 to have the best coverage across Europe. You can buy Prepaid SIM cards of data from Amazon (like this one) or take out a monthly contract (which is what we did)

      More recently, we’ve installed this internet system in our van and it has been equally good, although we haven’t been able to travel much to really test it out.

      TP-Link 4G MiFi, Cat4 LTE W...Shop on Amazon

      Data Roaming in Europe

      If you are travelling outside your home country, you need to make sure that data roaming is enabled on your phone AND that you have a plan which allows you to use data in other countries cheaply.

      You will also need to know how to avoid paying high charges for data roaming in Europe.

      Also, be aware that the data limit you have at home will probably NOT be the same as your allowance abroad- so be cautious with how much you use. It’s hard to track data usage, but things like using maps, watching TV in your motorhome, streaming videos or putting photos on Facebook can all use up a LOT of data very quickly.

      Ever wanted to tour Europe in a motorhome but were unsure how to even start! This incredible guide had everything you need to know- all laid out in an easy to follow manner. It's HUGE and packed with information- perfect for planning your motorhome trip around Europe.
      Touring Europe in a Motorhome- wild camping in Germany


      We highly recommend investing in a proper motorhome sat-nav before your start driving around Europe, especially if you have a larger motorhome, RV or campervan. You want something you can put your vehicle dimensions into and be able to avoid narrow roads, low bridges or weak crossings.

      Here are some of the best motorhome and campervan sat-nav systems on the market- have a look and make sure you know how to use it before you set off.

      Never, ever rely entirely on the sat-nav; keep an eye out for road signs and height restrictions as well. I also use my personal iPad or phone to find us an alternative route should we hit a traffic jam- both of those have ‘traffic’ setting enabled on them so we can see where the traffic is and how to get around it.

      I often end up navigating our motorhome down tiny country lanes in the middle of nowhere- after all, it’s not a proper adventure unless there’s grass growing in the middle of the road!

      Also, be careful where you mount your sat nav, especially if you’re using an ipad. Many countries now say it’s illegal to have the satnav mounted on the windscreen or blocking the driver’s view. We use this mount and mount our iPad on our dashboard, where it’s low enough to not cause any problems.

      Campervanning in Europe – POWER!!!!

      One of the joys of touring Europe in a Motorhome is the freedom that you can find on the continent which you just can’t get in the UK. Being able to stay off-grid in our van gives us that freedom. But, in order to do that, we need to manage our motorhome power requirements.


      The solution to this is an inverter (and possibly a power pack, depending on how power-hungry you are!) We are VERY power hungry- we have two laptops, two iPads and 4 phones! (Don’t ask!! Yes, I know there are only 2 of us!!)

      We charge as much as we possibly can whilst we are driving the motorhome, including the laptops. We do this by running the invertor as we drive. The inverter is connected directly to the motorhome leisure battery and then we added a 2-plug extension lead, which allows us to charge our laptops on a drive, saving our precious battery power while we’re camped. 

      We fitted and love this inverter but there are many other options out there if you need a different size/ power output.

      Motorhome Parking Apps for touring Europe in a motorhome. Ever wanted to tour Europe in a motorhome but were unsure how to even start! This incredible guide had everything you need to know- all laid out in an easy to follow manner. It's HUGE and packed with information- perfect for planning your motorhome trip around Europe.
      Motorhome Europe Travel- use motorhome parking apps to find some incredible places to stay!


      I didn’t want a generator on our motorhome. I didn’t want to be THAT van with the generator going all evening, ruining everyone else’s peace and quiet. But, as my husband said, if we’re going to camp in the middle of nowhere for days at a time, we need an alternative power source ‘just in case’.

      We’ve agreed that we will NEVER use it except in an emergency or for servicing, and we did a lot of research to find the best one for us in terms of noise levels and size. I have to say we’re really pleased with this one. It’s small enough to fit in a tiny cupboard under our seats and I can lift it with one hand.

      We’ve used it several times of the past couple of years, including while touring Norway and Austria. We’re really impressed at how quiet it is and how well it works even after months of not being started! 

      12v Hairdryer

      Whilst we’re on the subject of power, both Jade (our daughter) and I have long hair. We love letting it air dry on hot summer days, but if we’re motorhoming in winter it’s essential for us to have a hairdryer.

      RELATED: Planning winter motorhome living or a trip? Read this first…

      Believe it or not, we actually carry TWO hairdryers onboard (much to my husband’s ‘delight’…)

      One is a good, powerful but lowish wattage one we use when we have electric hookup, and the other is a 12v one, which plugs into a cigarette lighter socket in the cab. Honestly, it’s not the best hairdryer we’ve ever tried, but better than nothing on a cold winter’s day.

      Alternatively, a rechargeable hairdryer.

      Solar Panel

      We do have a solar panel onboard our motorhome- we believe it’s an essential motorhome wild camping accessory. It keeps the battery topped up whilst we’re camping and allows us to stay off-grid for a little while longer- at least if it’s sunny!

      Ever wanted to tour Europe in a motorhome but were unsure how to even start! This incredible guide had everything you need to know- all laid out in an easy to follow manner. It's HUGE and packed with information- perfect for planning your motorhome trip around Europe.
      How to Tour Europe in a Motorhome- us wild camping in Austria!


      One of our very first motorhome trips to Europe almost ended after 2 days due to…err… gas. Or rather, a lack of it and an inability to get any more! There are some important lessons we learned and things you need to know about how to find LPG (gas) in Europe.

      To combat that ever happening again (we hope!!), we fitted Gaslow refillable bottles. These went easily into our existing motorhome gas locker and we were able to fit them ourselves. We used them for the first time last week and we’re really happy with them. Filling took a little while to figure out- turns out you need to TWIST the nozzle clockwise, but so far, so good! We’ve now had these installed for a year and wouldn’t switch back- refillable gas is SO MUCH cheaper and easier while travelling Europe in a motorhome. 

      Planning to take your motorhome to Europe?

      Europe Motorhome travel checklist- FREE

      GUIDE: Stop the overwhelm with our step-by-step guide. Contains eBook, checklists and more. Complete Europe Motorhome Travel Toolkit

      CHECKLIST: Don’t forget to grab your FREE Europe motorhome travel checklist HERE

      GEAR– If you need any motorhome gear for touring Europe, here’s what we recommend.

      Motorhome Touring in Europe – Other items which might be useful

      ACSI card

      ACSI is a scheme you can buy a membership to (like a motorhome club), which then gives you massive discounts on campsites for motorhomes, campervans, RVs and Caravans- as long as you travel outside the peak seasons.

      Toll Pass

      We LOVE our European toll pass. It’s sooooooo satisfying being able to sweep past all the huge queues at some of the tolls and go through the automated toll pass lane in France. It also works if you’re motorhome touring in Spain & Portugal. The best bit for us is not having to worry to find the change at each toll- it just sends you a bill at the end of the month which is paid automatically by Direct Debit so its one less thing we need to worry about!

      We bought ours at Sanef Tolling, although they have now changed their name to Emovis-tag.

      Tyres & Snow chains

      If you are planning to go motorhome skiing or tour Europe in a motorhome in the Winter, think about your tyres and snow chains. It’s compulsory in most countries with Mountains (France, Germany etc) to have winter tyres fitted and to carry snow chains which will fit onto your tyres. This is usually enforced between 01 November and 15 April. This list by the AA gives a great guide for you.

      Red and White reflective warning backboard for motorhomes/ campers

      If you have anything extending past the back of your motorhome/ camper (like a bike rack or a tow bar), you MUST have a red and white striped backboard on the back. Make sure it’s the aluminium one, not the cheap version- the cheap version is not legal in Italy.

      Travelling Europe in a Motorhome or campervan- Safety

      Here are some important things to know about travelling in Europe


      112 can be dialled anywhere in Europe in an emergency, accident or distress situation.

      Security and theft

      We have several things we do to protect our vehicle and our possessions whilst we’re travelling. We also have several things we do to safeguard ourselves if we’re back in the UK preparing for our next trip. Be sure to grab our FREE guide to motorhome security.  

      We have been lucky to have never been the target of theft, but it does happen. Most thefts are opportunistic- if you leave something outside unattended there’s a chance it will be taken- just like in the UK. Also, if you park in busy, built-up areas, there is more chance of ‘unsavoury types’ spotting the van and taking their chances- just like in the UK.

      We strongly believe that touring Europe in your motorhome is no more dangerous than touring in the UK, but common sense should be used. We’ve chosen to fit an additional motorhome door lock which can be locked from both the outside and the inside.

      Europe Motorhome travel- free checklists

      Want to head to Europe with your motorhome?

      Grab your FREE (printable) checklist and discover 25 things you NEED to take with you when you travel in Europe. Make your life easier today.


      Try and get your Euros in advance as you’ll get a better rate than if you use the ferry/ tunnel. You can get money out of cash machines abroad- but, of course, there are charges for that.

      Also, don’t forget that not every country in Europe uses Euros. Here are some popular ones which might catch you out!

      • Bulgaria – Lev
      • Croatia – Kuna
      • Czech Republic – Kurona
      • Denmark – Krone
      • Hungary – Forint
      • Norway- Krone (See how expensive our trip to Norway was!)
      • Poland – Zloty
      • Romania – Leu
      • Switzerland – Swiss Franc

      There are others in the East as well- make sure you check in advance- but nearly everywhere has a cash machine so you can always get money out if you need to.

      Spare Keys

      We think it’s sensible to carry a spare set of keys for the motorhome with us. We hope we will never need them, but a spare set is going to be completely useless sitting back in the UK. So we decided to bring them with us and keep them well out of the way.


      Make sure you’re carrying enough Medication for you and any pets you have. We always carry a little more than necessary- just in case! Be prepared to explain your medication and prove what it is with a doctor’s note or something similar- just in case customs question you.

      Mobile Phones

      Using a phone whilst driving is illegal in many countries. It is also illegal in some countries (such as France) to use a headset with an earbud whilst driving. Your phone must be completely hands-free.

      Ever wanted to tour Europe in a motorhome but were unsure how to even start! This incredible guide had everything you need to know- all laid out in an easy to follow manner. It's HUGE and packed with information- perfect for planning your motorhome trip around Europe. #motorhome #europe #roadtrip #travel #tips #hacks #ideas #touring #guide
      Travelling Europe by Motorhome- and staying in some stunning places!

      Driving in Europe- what to do in the event of a road traffic accident

      You should have a European Claim Form provided by your insurer before you leave. In the event of an accident, all parties complete and sign the form at the scene and then send a copy to your insurer for assessment.

      What to do at the scene:

      • Stop your vehicle immediately but safely- out of the flow of traffic if possible.
      • If a vehicle is blocking the road, use hazard lights and put the red warning triangle 30 metres from the scene to warn approaching traffic
      • Exchange your details with the other involved parties. Be sure to get:
        • Name and address of all the people involved in the accident
        • Vehicle registration numbers of all parties
        • Insurance company details of all parties
        • Take photos of damage using a camera, GoPro or phone

      For more details, read our step-by-step guide on dealing with a road traffic accident in Europe

      Motorhoming in Europe- Other Things to know

      Sidelights must be switched on in the following countries at ALL times: Croatia, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Sweden & Switzerland

      Daytime lights MUST be switched on for Motorbikes at ALL times in all conditions in ALL countries. Ours are wired so they automatically come on with the engine- saves us forgetting!

      On-the-spot fines are common in all countries, although if you’re campervanning in Ireland the Police are not authorised to collect fines. Some places, like Croatia, give you 8 days to pay. Other places, such as if you go touring in Portugal, equip their police officers with an ATM to ensure fines are paid immediately!!

      Be careful of low-emission zones and areas which require a congestion charge or something similar, such as Paris and London. These places are often clearly signed but it can be worth Googling requirements before you visit an area. Also, don’t forget you need a Vignette for Motorways/ toll roads in Switzerland and Austria. For a complete list of rules in each country, here’s the AA.

      Ever wanted to tour Europe in a motorhome but were unsure how to even start! This incredible guide had everything you need to know- all laid out in an easy to follow manner. It's HUGE and packed with information- perfect for planning your motorhome trip around Europe. #motorhome #europe #roadtrip #travel #tips #hacks #ideas #touring #guide
      Free Motorhome Parking in Europe

      Touring Europe in a Motorhome – Final thoughts

      Phew!!! There is a LOT of information in this post- and at first glance it can be overwhelming. None of it is ‘difficult’, but it will take up a bit of your time as you get it all organised. Here are some final tips to help you make the most of your big adventure!!

      • Driving on the right is not as terrifying as it seems! Don’t forget- all the roads are set up for it- you don’t have to remember to go around the roundabout the wrong way- it naturally happens as that’s the way the road system works.
      • Learn a little of the language. In France, Germany, Belgium and Holland, English is widely spoken, but they love it if you make an effort. After al, you are in their country and if you show a little respect to them they will really help you when you need it.
      • Accept that you are a tourist- you will make mistakes and probably look like an idiot. But that’s part of the fun of travelling!
      • Learn to ‘slow travel’- travelling by van is about the journey as much as the destination. This can be hard when you’re on a tight schedule, but try not to overbook your time so much that you can’t relax a little or explore random things that you find along the way- like an ice cave we randomly found in France…??!!
      • Having said that, do a little research as you travel so you don’t miss some amazing places. We like to pick an area and then Google it to see what great adventures are waiting for us.

      New to motorhome or camper travel in Europe? You might find these posts helpful:

      Tour Europe in a Motorhome; Motorhome Europe Travel
      How to tour Europe in a Motorhome- step-by-step
      Beginners RV trip planner
      How to plan EPIC motorhome trips
      Free motorhome parking and overnight stopovers in Europe for motorhomes and campervans
      How to find Free motorhome parking and overnight stopovers in Europe for motorhomes and campervans
      10 essential tips for campervan and motorhome life. Whether you're plan a road trip or full-time van living, these hacks and ideas with help.
      Essential kit for Motorhoming in Europe (with free checklist)

      See all our Europe motorhoming posts here

      NEED GEAR? If you need any kit or essentials for motorhoming in Europe, here’s what we recommend and where to find it

      I hope you have the BEST adventures- be sure to tag me in your posts and show me where you end up! Let me know what you think of the guide in the comments below- I’d love to hear your thoughts.

      Want to save this list for later? Here’s the pin. Enjoyed this post? We’d love it if you shared it on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Thank you!

      Want to tour Europe in a motorhome or campervan? Feeling a little overwhelmed and not sure where to start? Here's everything you need, from what kit to pack, what paperwork you need to carry, how to prepare your van, European road trip itinerary ideas and tips for life on the road. Don't forget to grab your free 'Europe in a motorhome checklist' below.
      Want to tour Europe in a motorhome or campervan? Feeling a little overwhelmed and not sure where to start? Here's everything you need, from what kit to pack, what paperwork you need to carry, how to prepare your van, European road trip itinerary ideas and tips for life on the road. Don't forget to grab your free 'Europe in a motorhome checklist' below.

      Last update on 2024-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      Sharing is caring!

      Similar Posts


      1. Andrew Hoare says:

        Lots of great info there. Thank you. 🙂

      2. Andrea Balderstone says:

        This is fatastic Kat and very timely. We are travelling in September to France & Switzerland in a hired van (before we buy our own yipeeee) so we were just starting to get our heads around all the planning. This is perfect as you have done all the work for us, so thank you so much for that. You are a star 🙂 x

      3. Great information – thanks!
        When you were wild/free camping, did people have much camping stuff out in the off-season? As we’re going to be in a fifth wheel it’ll be a bit cramped if we can’t push a slide or two out!

        1. People happily sit outside and enjoy a campfire and dinner, but don’t get awnings and things out when they’re wild camping. Those places are more designed to be a one night stop. I think you’ll be fine with the slides, though I admit we haven’t seen any fifth wheels on our travels- you’ll probably have loads of people wanting to come and have a look inside!! 🙂 I think as long as it looks like you’re not planning to stop for a week, you’ll be fine. Of course, if you end up somewhere really remote,you won’t have a problem as no one will see!!

          1. Yes, we’re basically hoping that in the off-season it’ll be quiet enough to pop the slides out and the support legs down. We’re thinking that keeping the truck attached will make us a bit more ‘ready to go’ should the need arise on the aires – though as you say, if we’re somewhere remote and out the way we might stay a bit longer 🙂

      4. Thank you for sharing this journey with us! We would love to pack up and head off in an RV but were hesitant with (coming up) teenage children – I can’t wait to follow your journey and see how you go 🙂

        1. Hi Ange- thanks so much for reading and commenting. Honestly, if I had my time again I’d take my daughter out of school at 12/13 or maybe even a few years younger and travel with her- I think it’s such an amazing way for them to learn and grow. Hope you enjoying following our travels. 🙂

      5. Peter van Rooy says:

        Hi Kat

        We are from Port Elizabeth, South Africa. My family (me, wife two kids 11, 9) will be hiring a camper for 20 days in December in Munich and plan to drive the black forest route and down to Rome via Switzerland and back to Munich. Do you have any experience of the cold in that time and how hired campers hold up? Will we find sites open that time of the year and do you know if there will be any exciting activities for the kids, with exception of viewing architecture and views? Any other advice?

        Thanks for the awesome info!

        Peter .

        1. Wandering Bird says:

          Hi Peter,

          What an exciting adventure you have planned! Funnily enough, we’re going to Munich in December too! 🙂 As you probably guessed, your experience is going to completely depend on the weather and how much snow has fallen so far. You will DEFINITELY need a camper with heating, so make sure your rental has that fitted (you’d be surprised how many don’t!) You will also need snow tyres/ snow chains- even if it hasn’t snowed. This should be provided- but please check. Also, do you know that most hire campers don’t come with bed linen/ towels and sometimes not even pots & pans? It depends entirely on your rental company of course, but it’s something to check.

          If it’s a relatively modern camper with heating, you should be just fine in the cold. You are right that many campsites shut, but if you check out the sites I listed, you’ll be able to find the ones which stay open. Regarding activities for kids, it depends what kind of things they like. Our daughter is quite happy sitting in the van, listening to her music and watching the world go by. There will be plenty of walks- just be careful with the weather. Also, places like swimming pools, leisure centres and bowling alleys will all still be open, as will most theme parks- but please check in advance. You might find many roads in the mountains have been shut but there should always be an alternative route which is open. Hope that helps! Have a great time. 🙂

          1. Peter van Rooy says:

            Hi Kat

            So just a report back. We didn’t see you
            In Germany but what an adventure we had. Munich, Black Forest, rhine falls, Lucerne, Italy all the way to Rome and back up to Venice, finishing in Rome. 3300km.

            Your advice re the heating was spot on. I can recommend Indie Campers to your readers. They were amazing and friendly. The episode on the parking apps was a game changer. We used Park4night- amazing for piece-of-mind.

            Come tour South Africa! It’s great here. It’ll blow your mind!

            Keep on camping!

            Peter, Susan and kids

            1. Wandering Bird says:

              AMAZING! Thank you so much for giving me an update- it’s so fun to hear it’s all gone well. So glad you had a great experience. We would LOVE to tour South Africa- what’s the best time to visit to see big cats (a dream of mine!) Take care x

              1. Peter van Rooy says:

                No real best time, they are always around but June, July, August is great for Kruger Park (dry season) which is a must do. It’s a huge reserve which requires at least a week or two to properly see. There are many many sanctuaries though, where they have rescued cats and cubs (cheetahs and lions). Good opportunity to cuddle little hand-reared cubs. If you go camper vanning here, and you have the time, I would begin and end in Cape Town.

                Our Neigbours also offer a lot in spectacular views and wildlife. Namibia ?? , Botswana ?? , Zimbabwe ??, Mozambique ?? , not to mention the kingdoms of Lesotho ?? (incorporating the beautiful Drakensburg mountains) and Swaziland ??

                We live in Port Elizabeth which has amazing beaches and lovely world class private game reserves and is the gateway to the garden route which takes you back to Cape Town.

                I’m presently researching camper hire beacause I haven’t even seen a lot of what I’ve just described to you. I imagine a full round trip would require between 6000 and 10000 km so not for the faint hearted. We drive on the lefthand side (previously a British colony). Van Hire options seem limited (bobocampers, and Maui seem the best) and strangely more expensive than Europe.

                If we do take on the endeavor, I’ll let you know.

                Stay safe


      6. Peter van Rooy says:

        Great info, thanks for the effort. Lots of details still for us to consider and heating has now become an important one for me.

        I assumed the dashboard heater was the only one available and would require you to be driving or idling. What kind of heating is generally available which I should insist upon? Like fuel pellets or gas?…or electric heater to use when plugged in?

        1. Wandering Bird says:

          Most motorhomes have gas heating and this is preferable if possible. If you have electric heating you won’t be able to use it unless you are plugged in at a campsite- and not all campsites with electric will be open at that time of year. The dashboard heating at the front won’t be enough to heat the back so the kids will freeze- and it will be COLD in December. Like, really cold. I assume the rental company has modern (ish) vans, so they should all have heating throughout. Make sure you have the appropriate attachments to be able to refill with gas in the various countries you are going to- each country in Europe seems to need a different attachment!!

      7. Bella Philips says:

        last week i make a tour of europe and get guideline throgh this channel. that is best way. so here i will recommend to others also that before travel please read this article.

        1. Wandering Bird says:

          Thank you Bella- I’m so pleased to have helped you! How did you enjoy your tour??

      8. Thanks for this Kat – we are traveling from Paris to Rome in October. Our family (2 adults and 2 children who will be 8 and nearly 7) are flying in from Australia and renting a van from Indie campers. We want to stay at the cheaper aires in both France and Italy but we will need power/water, as the van only has 50L of water in it, and we’ll have our iPads and phones to charge and no inverter as we are traveling from overseas, is this possible? Can you suggest in particular?

        1. Wandering Bird says:

          Hi Heather- that sounds fun! You’ll find many aires/ sostas have fresh water available. Also, you can always pull into one during the day to refill, then drive off again. If you’re careful, 50L might last a couple of days- you may want to buy bottled water to drink. You should be able to pick up a cheap 12v phone/ipad charger- maybe from a garage or hardware shop- this should allow you to charge phones etc as you drive- leaving you free to camp wherever you like! Hope that helps!

      9. Hi, just a brilliant article for all all first timers. You covered everything that one needs to be aware of and I’m extremely grateful. Thank you.
        One thing though, what is the ‘approximate’ cost of taking this trip? I maybe missed this, so apologies if this was the case. Best of wishes and happy trails for 2019.

      10. Great blog… we plan to travel with 4 young kids for a year around Europe but scared we need a biig vehicle and don’t think it would take well to the roads in Europe

        Do you have any experience with American style winnebagos over 8m in length and if we could still get around without too much trouble?

        1. Wandering Bird says:

          Hi Devon. I don’t have any personal experience with Winnebagos but we have seen a few whilst touring. You’ll need to be very careful where you stop. Length isn’t an issue (we’re over 9m with our trailer), but width might be a problem at aires and even on some campsites. Also take into account toll costs- if you are over 3m in height it increases the toll costs considerably. Good luck!

      11. What’s up to all, because I am truly keen of reading this web site’s post to be updated
        daily. It consists of good information.

      12. Where the best place to buy the motorhome?

        1. Wandering Bird says:

          Hi Shon- check out our post on advice to buy a motorhome- you’ll find that helpful.

      13. Wendy Read says:

        Hi Kat ,
        It’s me again ….picking your brains !
        We are touring for a year but doing it in 4 and 3 month chunks , coming back for 3/4 weeks inbetween each chunk for Xmas and to see elderly parents and sons , grandkids , really struggling to find travel insurance for this type of tour , can you recommend a company that could accommodate us ?

      14. SyandLisa says:

        Hi, Really enjoyed reading the advice. We are planning a trip late summer 2020. What is the protocol/experience with a Motorhome for large cities. Where do you park, is it safe to leave at a campsite all day, should you find a campsite near a train station. Is this easy to do, or am I complicating the planning? Thanks

        1. Wandering Bird says:

          Hi! So pleased you enjoyed the article. We recommend not trying to drive your motorhome into a city (we did that in Edinnburgh- it wasn’t pretty!) Instead, find a campsite (or aire if in Europe) which is near a bus or train station and go in that way. Campsites are generally safer than aires, but take your valuables with you, including passports. We’ve left our motorhome in both campsites and aires all day without any problem whatsoever. Have a great trip!

      15. great blog thanks for sharing.

      16. Kelly Roberts says:

        Thanks for all the info, really helpful. I am planning a trip through Europe August 2020 for my parents and I and we are planning on getting a campervan, we have one here in NZ so we are comfortable with the set up and all that. Just wondering what you think would be best for going into the bigger cities with a Camper, is it best to find a spot outside a city (Rome, Paris etc..) and then train/bus in to sightsee for the day of is it not too difficult to navigate and find parks in the city centres? I figure if we do this we would need to pay for a campgroud so the campervan would be secure while we are sightseeing…???

        1. Wandering Bird says:

          Hi Kelly! Absolutely- we try to avoid driving into cities at all costs. We went into Edinburgh with our motorhome and trailer… it was not pretty! Most cities in Europe have a campsite nearby or near a train/ bus station. In Europe you can probably find an Aire, where the van should be fairly safe (of course, nothing is guaranteed and read the reviews of the Aire first.) In the UK, you’ll probably need a paid campsite as there aren’t many aires sadly. I hope you have a wonderful time! Let me know how it goes!!

      17. This is so helpful to someone inexperienced (like me). Can you please tell me if winter tyres and/or snow chains are necessary to travel through France and down through Spain leaving before Brexit and returning in March? I am so confused.

        1. Wandering Bird says:

          Hi Debra, I think I already answered this in an email to you, but if you need more help please feel free to ask. 🙂

      18. Erick Johnston says:

        Looking forward to planning a year out around Europe in 2020/2021 and have already learned so much from your extensive information, thank you. Now planning to buy a motor home and will be taking all your advice. This will be our travel Bible.

        1. Wandering Bird says:

          Thanks Erick- let me know how it goes!

      19. Keith Hobson says:

        This has been a long read but very helpful, informative read it all dont skim through it.
        Brilliant every thing you need to know this is my first time , going to France I am 74 so
        have no worries now. Thanks.

        1. Wandering Bird says:

          Fantastic Keith. You will love France! Let me know how it goes!!

      20. Sal Milford says:

        Hey there! We’re about to embark on our first campervan trip in March driving from Tuscany through Italy and France to England. We were going to just use google maps, but do you think a sat nav would def be better? We live in Australia and have done lots of campervanning in Oz and NZ – but never in Europe / UK!

        1. Wandering Bird says:

          Hey- great question! I think it depends on the size of the campervan. If it’s a small van, no higher than 2m, then you should be fine with a normal car sat-nav or Google maps. If you want to avoid low bridges and tight roads, a proper sat nav is essential- especially in Italy where roads can be a bit… crazy!! Have an amazing trip!!

      21. Hi Kat,

        thanks so much for all this info, we’ve been on the road now for a few weeks and really enjoying it!
        Would you have any tips for insurers please? We’re currently on our basic insurance that allows us to go abroad for three months but we’re looking for an insurance to cover us for a year or more.
        We’ve tried Adrian Flux already, which didn’t work.
        Thanks 🙂

      22. Glen Younger says:

        Loved reading this and was hoping to get some help as you guys are pros .
        In a few months its tge euros football finals and I’d like to do so e of it by campervan.
        Passing through countries I never would before and watching random games to .
        Any thoughts on how to plan my route.

        I’m guessing get dates of games and do it that way but you might have a better idea,

        Thank you any help would be great

      23. moroco tours says:

        this is amazing post thanks for haring information with us

      24. Thanks for this. Great post- I learnt a lot

      25. What’s your opinion on motorhomes that have a place to store a motorcycle vs pulling a trailer?

      26. I have been reading several articles on this topic for a while now but the points on which you have built this post are totally awesome. Thanks for that.

      27. John Rawsthorne says:

        Hi, loads of great information which is really helpful to anyone setting out on the great adventure. We started out in 2011 and spent nine years full-timing in our Dethleffs Alpa (rear lounge and a garage!). There’s a couple of things which I think might be helpful. You don’t mention the Efoy system when talking about generators and off-grid power requirements. The Efoy is a silent running 12v generator which is completely “green” and runs on methanol. It’s an expensive initial outlay (about £3,500) but it’s a life-saver and allows indefinite off-grid living. Second thing is, open a Euro bank account with Credit Agricole. It’s called “Britline” and has English speaking helpers. If you don’t want to do that, use a UK credit card which doesn’t charge for foreign transactions. We use Nationwide. Of course, everything’s changed now with Brexit and the “90 in, 90 out” rule which will greatly affect people like us who want to spend most of the year travelling in Europe. If you’re interested in my way of avoiding this restriction just let me know.

      28. Your advices for tours in Europa are very good. We are from Germany and I think you have absolutely nothing forgotten in your guide.

      29. Nicky Coss says:

        Hi Kat

        Great article, we are following a very similar path to yours (living on a narrow boat, I have finished work and my husband is still working for now). Have you any thoughts on the 90 days in 180 rules post Brexit? We “were” planning to leave and not come back for a very long time!

        Thanks ?

      30. Giving up my job in London in April 2024 to re-start my life with my wife and our dog Dougal, i’m so depressed and need to escape. The work starts now clearing the house out for rental, saving as much money as possible and finding the right camper to buy, we might start off in the UK, travel up though Scotland and then hit Europe for the winter. Our parents are 70-80 and the thought of not being near them when they need us and been holding us back but I have to do it for my own sanity. Thanks for all the tips, I have a lot more reading to do!

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *