Planning a motorhome trip to Europe? We love exploring Europe in our camper, but I remember planning our very first trip- and how daunting it was trying to figure out if we had everything we needed.
There wasn't an easy resource or checklist for a motorhome or campervan, which you could just work through, tick off and feel confident you weren't missing anything *cough, you know, like the one you can get below*
So, to make your life easier, here are our top motorhome accessories for a trip to Europe. There are some things you NEED to take with you (legally) and there are some you SHOULD take (because they make life more fun!) Don't worry- we'll tell you what the legal ones are first.
Before we get started, we're assuming that your motorhome or campervan already has all the basics. If not, here is the essential gear which every motorhome should have.
Essential Motorhome Accessories for Europe- what you NEED
I'm sorry to say that most of the motorhome accessories you NEED in your Euro travel kit aren't very sexy or fun. But they are aimed at increasing your visibility and safety and the police DO check if they stop you, so please get them all.
TOP TIP: Buy these accessories in advance on Amazon. If you use somewhere like Halfords or wait until you're at the ferry, you could spend two or even THREE times as much!
I've provided links to the kit we bought and use from Amazon to make it easier for you.
Top Motorhome accessories for safety:
- Hi-vis reflective jackets – one per person (These MUST be accessible without getting out of the vehicle- ie, don't keep them in the garage unless you can reach them from inside!)
- Warning triangle
- Headlight beam convertors– must be fitted before you drive in Europe.
- GB car sticker attached to the back of car or reg plates.
- First aid kit – compulsory in many countries, including France and Germany. Find out what we carry in our European first aid kit here
- Red/ white warning board sign – for bike racks or anything overhanging the end of the motorhome or campervan. These are not currently compulsory in France, but they ARE compulsory in Spain and Italy. Get the more expensive aluminium one, like this one– Italy apparently insist that the boards are aluminium… no idea why, especially as Italian motorhome shops sell the plastic ones!
Do I need a breathalyser to drive in France or Europe?
Repeat after me- I do NOT need a breathalyser. I do NOT need a breathalyser.
It was a law France passed a few years ago… and then quietly removed for whatever reason. Many posts ranking highly in Google still list a breathalyser in their essential motorhome accessories list, but I promise you you don't need one.
Other recommended motorhome kit to carry for safety:
- Spare bulbs for all lights in the motorhome
- Fire extinguisher
- Blanket- useful if your passengers get cold! (Did you know you can buy a 12v heated blanket? It's amazing!)
- Water and snacks- just in case you run into traffic or breakdown somewhere remote.
Motorhome Accessories you MIGHT need in Europe
The following kit are things you might need to carry in your motorhome or campervan, depending on when and where you are travelling.
- Snow chains/ winter tyres– check the rules on the country you are visiting and pay close attention to the DATES when the snow chain/ snow tyres rules come into force. If you're not sure, read THIS
- Clean Air tax in some French cities, called Crit'Air. Here's what you need to know about those.
- Motorway tax/ Vignette. These are enforced in several countries across Europe, including Switzerland and Austria. You must have them fitted on your vehicle BEFORE you cross the border. You can buy them in garages very easily.
- Beware of Portugal, where you need to carry a temporary toll device in order to use the motorways.
Motorhome Accessories we strongly recommend for touring Europe by motorhome or camper
We've been touring Europe for several years. We've tried all sorts of kit- some useful, some not so much. Here is a list of things we highly recommend, but are NOT essential.
- Motorhome sat-nav– get one you can enter your motorhome dimensions into, like these
- Refillable gas bottles– here's how we fitted ours. One of the best things upgrades we've done to our motorhome.
- WiFi– learn our favourite way to get internet on the road
- Toll pass (see below)
- ACSI card- sooooo useful
- Motorhome security camera– this thing is GOLD for allowing us to go exploring and leave the van for a short time.
- Solar panel- perfect if you want to wild camp in Europe
- Inverter- a wild camping essential
- An awesome road trip playlist!
Tolls in Europe
Most countries in Europe which don't have vignettes have tolls. Normally, the tolls are automatic and take card payments, but if you can carry change you'll find the queues for those lanes are generally shorter.
We LOVE our automatic toll pass (It used to be called Sanef, but now it's Emovis which allows us to breeze through the tolls in France, Spain & Portugal.)
It's a little box which sticks to the windscreen and each time we go through a toll it adds itself to our bill, which is emailed to us at the end of the month. Payment is taken automatically if that's what you prefer. They have similar systems for Scandanavia as well- we used BroBizz when we were over 3.5 tonnes in our motorhome in Norway.
It's not an essential motorhome accessory, and you can happily tour Europe without it, but it really does help.
Essential paperwork for driving in Europe
There are several things you need to remember to bring with you when driving in Europe, whether you're in a motorhome, campervan, car or motorbike. Here's a comprehensive list of what you need– updated to include post-BREXIT paperwork.
What to do if you are renting a vehicle for your European road trip?
If you are hiring a motorhome or camper in Europe, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure the vehicle has the required safety equipment. The on-the-spot fines apply to you as the driver, not the company. Check in advance with the company what kit they will provide with the vehicle and what you will need to bring.
Take a list of what is legally required with you and check it off one by one as you are given the handover. Do not drive until you are happy you comply with the local laws.
Make sure you have proof that you can take the vehicle across a border into another country if that's what you're planning to do.
I hope you now feel better prepared for touring Europe with a motorhome.
For more information, visit our Europe travel section for advice, destination ideas and more.