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Living full time in a camper van or motorhome in Europe

Many people chose to live full time in a camper van or motorhome in Europe. Many sold their homes and possessions and now live their days in the warmer parts of the continent. Many planed on being away for the winter and have not yet returned home.

If you are thinking of doing the same you are sure to meet many other people for company.

Where to stay

Most people, living full time in Europe, spend the winter months in the warm Algarve of Portugal , or Andalucia of Spain . These are the warmest regions .

For summer, most people find these regions too hot, and move further north, to France , or Spain.

 

See the guides to winter in Europe and European weather temperatures .

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Comments (99)

  • al _UK's picture

    Hello, I just want to thank you for this amazing site. Its just full of excellent information, priceless.
    I want to buy a VW bay window camper van and travel around europe for as long as I can go for and this site has provided me with alot of confidence in making my dream come true.
    Thanks.

    Mar 16, 2009
  • Darren's picture

    Glad you like the site al_UK. Go for it with the camper van. One of the best traveling experiences I have ever had.

    Mar 16, 2009
  • Jools's picture

    Thanks on this amazing site its very inspirational and the tips are just great. I'm always the guy who forgets things before I set off somewhere so its just great to read guides telling what not to forget and what to watch out for. I will check out these locations you pointed out here. I definately want to be in a warmer place than England during the winter months!

    Sep 10, 2009
  • Jorge's picture

    How much could be the monthly cost of living in a motorhome in Europe for a couple? That means, gas, maintenance, insurance, tolls, taxes, parking, food, etc. I would like to live 6 months of a year in Europe traveling arround in a motorhome. Any help appreciated.

    Nov 29, 2009
  • Darren's picture

    I lived in my van for 9 months. I mainly free-camped, visiting a camp site maybe 1 or 2 days per week. I spent about €10 per day, so €300 per month. You could get by for less.

    Nov 29, 2009
  • Ed's picture

    Hey,
    Can anyone help me?

    I'm 21 and plan on buying a camper van with some friends within the next month, to tour Europe for the summer.

    I'm currently trying to find quotes online for a 3 month insurance policy on something like a Mazda Bongo, but I'm having no luck at all.

    Does anyone have a rough estimate of a quote or no somewhere that I could find one?

    Ed

    May 11, 2010
  • DJBullman's picture

    Hi

    Can anyone advise any unforeseen points we may have overlooked in our quest to live in a motorhome for 12 months in europe.
    All advice gratefully received

    Thank you

    DJB

    May 17, 2010
  • Kathy's picture

    Hi all, I am a single woman, ealy 60's, thinking of selling my house and buying a motor home, could I live on my pension? Which van is the easiest to drive on mountain / country roads all over Europe, I speak reasonable Spanish but no French or German, what about personal safety? Any opinions/ ideas/ experiences welcome

    Jun 14, 2010
  • Darren's picture

    Hi Kathy

    For most people it is quite easy to live on a pension.
    If you stay on a campsite each day you can expect to pay about €10 per day for the campsite and perhaps €10 per day for groceries, so that is €20 per day or €600 per month. Also factor in maintenance costs of the vehicle.
    Once you have bought the vehicle it is quite cheap to live in one.
    It is possible to live more cheaply than this.
    Wild camping allows you to park and camp for free. This is only allowed in certain areas of certain countries.
    There are also very cheap campsites throughout Europe. In Portugal during the winter the Municipal campsites charge just a few Euros per person per day, which is obviously very cheap.

    All modern vehicles cope with mountain and country roads well. If you want the most manoeuvrable of vehicles consider a van conversion, which is based on a conventional van, rather than a motorhome which has a custom made and bigger body.

    Cities are bad for crime, and I would suggest not leaving your vehicle unattended in a city.
    Campsites are generally very safe.
    Most wild camping areas are safe, but some caution should always be exercised.

    Please let us know how you get along.

    Jun 15, 2010
  • Brian's picture

    Hi Kathy
    I am also looking to travel Europe, and i am also looking for advice on the best van to buy.
    Most i have looked at seem to be good value for money, and if secondhand they all have been kept
    in good condition.

    As for make VW, ford look good.

    All the best in your search, and you never know we may meet driving along a French valley

    Cheers

    Brian

    Jun 28, 2010
  • Sarah 's picture

    Hi Kathy! I'm feeling just the same as you and am seriously considering selling up and going! Have never driven a camper van before and feel a tad nervous, especially as i am on my own, but also excited! be lovely to chat with you and share experiences!
    ~ Sarah

    Aug 26, 2010
  • antony's picture

    hi sarah and kathy just go for it,a small campervan is the best solution as there easy to drive and u have all amenities,u might consider letting instead of selling ,this way u can have your mail sent and get the tenants to hand your mail over to a relative or freind twice a month,a fixed tennancy for a 1 year period that way u can visit home check your property and renew the tenancy,have the rent paid into your accnt monthly also,me and my girlfreind and young son did this for 2 years without any probs,you wony regret a single moment and meet some gr8 people along the way,im in my late 30,s and plan on going again soon.best of luck.

    May 20, 2011
  • Pia Jensen's picture
    Pia Jensen (not verified)

    Hi Kathy, would love to hear and learn from your future experiences. I am 57 and live in Denmark. My camper van (Fiat Ducato) is being built by a professional over the next 2-3 month. The intention is to live in it alone full time if possible, but unfortunately I have to work until I am 65. Holidays are usually spent driving around in Norway and Sweden.

    Jan 24, 2011
  • Lorraine, Ireland's picture

    I too am facing another 15 years of working for a university. My choice is to sell up my home and buy a luxury mobile home and travel around Europe, chasing the sun. I just need the nerve to actually do it and try never to look back.

    Feb 29, 2012
  • Anonymous's picture

    Hi
    Your message struck a chord.
    I so want to campervan around europe. Would have a friend maybe odd month here or there to join me but mainly be on my own.I will be 55 soon and been talking about it long enough. Someone told me to read this site and must say does make you think yeh can do this.. Being female and single now I would need to be safe and didn't know if the cost of always booking in to places eat away too much of my budget. Chance of getting reemployed on return is a bit daunting in present climate and would have to stick to some sort of budget. But as one door opens as they say......Would be good to do some odd bits of work whilst travelling. Anything really, what are the chances of that being a more mature age even though young at heartband able - anyone know.

    Jan 02, 2013
  • Thomas's picture

    Hi Pia, I would be interestd to know who is doing your van conversion.I am thinking the same way.

    Thanks and good luck

    Apr 06, 2012
  • cazz1's picture

    Hi Kathy
    I'd be really interested to hear how you're finding things as I'm thinking of doing the same as you. Can you give an update and any tips you've learnt along the way please?
    Thanks

    May 26, 2011
  • The Nu's picture

    Me and my husband are selling our home, business and possessions to live life on the Road in a motorhome in the UK and Europe, we are concerned about a couple of issues, with no fixed address, what do we do about any post, Dr's and dentist etc?
    We will need to keep our telephones but with no fixed address, how can we do this and other similar stuff?

    Any ideas, tips, help please

    Aug 03, 2010
  • Darren's picture

    You will need to find a friend or relative who is happy for you to use their address as your postal address. Then the friend of relative will have to open any post addressed to you.
    I use this system, using my parents house,

    I get dental checkups when on the road. Most countries are cheaper than the UK, so not a problem.
    I'm not sure about Doctors. I never need to visit them. I did however, when travelling in Spain, get a infection and had to visit a hospital Service was excellent and i shoed my E111 card and it cost me nothing.

    Aug 03, 2010
  • Alan's picture

    Hi, my wife and i want to travel Europe for 6 months but are having trouble finding insurance for our Ford Transit. They will cover us up to 60 days if we return to the UK then go back to Europe. Has anybody had cover for longer than this? And if so, who was that with? Thankyou for any help. Regards, Alan.

    Feb 15, 2011
  • Canada's picture

    Hello, what a great site !

    I am looking at a couple of used van conversion in germany. They are both 9,900 euro and have similar miles on them

    One is based on 1995 mercedes sprinter 2.0 t 122hp

    secound is a 1998 ducato with 122hp

    Which vechicle you belive have better reliability ? Cheaper to run ?

    What are the cost of living and traveling slowly through out europe in a motor home will cost a year ? Food, gas, petrol, insurance, camp fee etc.

    Will a van based camper within 5.5 m be allowed to park on the street in a small town overnight ?

    thank you

    Apr 10, 2011
  • Darren's picture

    Hi

    The Mercedes will almost always be a more reliable van. The Fiat is popular as it it wider than the Sprinter, and cheaper to buy. But, people who have owned the Fiats for along time generally complain about their reliability.
    But, that's not to say they cannot be a good van. If you find a Fiat that has been well cared for, and driven well it can be a great can,
    Equally, the Mercedes can be bad if not looked after.

    Both will be similar in terms of running costs. The best way to get better mpg is to drive more slowly.

    Costs are up to you. For 1 month I spend €50 on insurance, €150 for diesel, €200 on food. I go to campsites about twice per week, costing €15 each time, so thats €120 per week.

    You can park a camper is lots of places. As long as you're not a nuisance you can park in most areas. Popular areas by beaches have many designated places to park, and some where it is forbidden.

    Europe also has Aires, which are special areas for motorhomes and campers.

    Apr 10, 2011
  • Simone Clark's picture

    We're a couple of 26y/o Aussies arriving in Denmark in December 2011. I'm hoping that my Danish relatives might allow us to register & insure a van in their name and we become second drivers.

    This is the first website i've found where the people are PRO buying a car/van. Other sights discourage it and recommend public transport. I'm aware that there is fantastic public transport available but I was hoping to camp, couch surf (www.couchsurfing.com), go to some forests and spend a lot of time in small towns. I want to travel slowly & cheaply. As cheap as possible. I still want to check out the big cities, but that's not all I want to see.

    Can I ask for some opinions and thoughts on the following?:

    Spending 1000 euros on a second hand van and putting a mattress in the back & buying some cheap second-hand camping equipment. Do you think this is wise? What condition do you think the van would be in? How much of a risks are we taking? Should we spend more?

    Registering and insuring in my relatives names. What risk are they at? If we have an accident can we take full responsibility and they have no negative side effects?

    Is it likely that we can leave the van unattended for days at a time whilst we head into a big city and use trains/buses. As in, leave it on the outskirts of town in the hope to save money.

    We're not you're typical young couple. We love living life at slow-pace, and really aren't in a hurry. If we run out of money we'll just try and get work somewhere. Don't know, don't care! Just want to travel. We're going to be starting out with about $25,000—$30,000 AUD and my partner will be taking half-pay from his work for about 3 months giving us about an extra $500 AUD per week during those 3 months.

    Really grateful for any thoughts, I'm struggling to find info.

    Apr 11, 2011
  • Darren's picture

    Hi Guys

    Your plan about putting a mattress in a van is great, the sort of thing I'd normally encourage. But the only thing stopping this working is the temperature. Denmark in December is going to be very cold. The van will feel nearly as cold inside as it does outside.
    You could line and insulate the van, and then fit a heater that is safe to leave on at night, or use a thick down duvet.

    Or spend more money on a insulated campervan? You'll need what to do here. Just a quick tip, the more windows you have, the greater the heat loss, so a van is better than a mini-bus.

    But, the temperature aside.

    Yes, you should be able to get a nice van for €1,000. Lookout for an old Mercedes which will last very well, and be easy to re-sell. Or perhaps an LDV in good condition. These are generally reliable, but slow and cheap. Old Fords, Renaults, Citroens and Fiats can be considered, but check for rust and bad condition. Also make sure these later makes are low mileage.

    You are not at much risk camping in the back of it. I am not sure of the legality of camping at the roadside or in parks in Denmark.

    If you are a named driver on their insurance, the driver will take full responsibility in the event of an accident. However, your relatives may lose their insurance discount or no-claims discount in the even of a accident and claim.

    Leaving the van unattended should not be a problem. I have done this many times across Europe. They key is to make the vehicle look like any other, blend in. Park in a residential or other area where traffic is coing and going all of the time. Make sure the van will not be left with no other vehicles at night, such as a park, as it looks obvious. Residential housing areas are good. Try and park near other vans.

    You should be able to have a great time, and your budget sounds fine. You can get by on little money.

    My only comment would be on the weather. December is cold.
    If you want to travel in December in Europe, hear south to Southern Spain, Portugal, Italy or Greece. Or visit Denmark in summer (May - September).

    All the best

    Darren

    Apr 11, 2011
  • Simone Clark's picture

    Thanks Darren,

    Yes... I'm not sure I'm prepared for the cold. I've only seen snow a couple of times in my lifetime and I start complaining when it gets below 5ºC! I think what we will do is spend time with my family in Denmark for Christmas and then head to the warmer regions of Europe so sleeping in the van isn't such cold nightmare. When summer comes, we'll make our way up north again.

    Thanks so much for your information! It's the best info I've found so far. We're purchasing flights this weekend! So very very excited! It'll be the first time I've left Australia. Yay!

    Thanks again

    - simone

    Apr 12, 2011
  • Darren's picture

    Sounds like a good plan. If you head down to the Algarve of Portugal, or Andalucia in Spain, or southern Italy or Greece after Christmas you'll find living in the van a pleasure. By early March the weather is really warm down there.

    There are a lot of people doing that sort of thing down there, and you'll have no trouble.

    Apr 12, 2011
  • Chloe's picture

    Hi there

    Me and my boyfriend are heading off to New zealand in september and hoping to stay for about a year. We are planning on buying a campervan then travelling around and free camping for the majority of the journey.

    I was just wondering how much it would cost for the both of us each month, food, petrol insurance etc? We plan to live off the basics and not drive around too much as we have plenty of time to see the country.

    I was also wondering how easy it is to get temporary work in New zealand, such as fruit picking, farmwork etc, and how much we could earn from this work?

    Thanks
    i really enjoy the site :)
    Chloe

    Apr 11, 2011
  • Anonymous's picture

    Just a word of warning. My son hired a campervan through Backpackers. He had a bad accident and the campervan rolled over. The insurance they offer specifically excludes roll over (regardless of fault) through their awful insurance policy.

    If travelling around New Zealand make sure that you go to a campervan outfit which offers you decent insurance options. He now has a bill for thousands of dollars even though the accident was no one's fault and he was seriously shaken up.

    These 'insurance policies' only insure the company hiring the van, not you, so be careful. They don't cover damage to your property and the company staff will treat you like rubbish after the event. Don't be bullied into signing anything without getting advice first.

    My son has learnt a valuable life lesson so the rest of you don't have to. Check the insurance offered before hiring the van. My son paid extra to have their top insurance and it didn't cover him at all.

    Jun 23, 2011
  • tim's picture

    Hi, my partner an i are going to travel europe for 2 to 3 months in the next year and i was wondering where to buy a cheap van? websites or places when we get to wurope. we will probably be flying into dublin or london to start any help would be appreciated thanks

    Apr 25, 2011
  • Chris's picture

    Hello folks, we're setting off to travel Europe next March and are presently searching for the 'ideal' campervan. Our aim is to set off and travel as far and wide as possible - our problem is "What's the best campervan for our needs?" It's just going to be the two of us and we're hoping to take along a couple of bikes too.

    We've looked at a few Mazda Bongos as they're big enough for us and small enough to get around easily. We're really excited and would be very grateful for any advice you could offer in terms of the best camper to buy for our needs.

    Many thanks in advance!

    Jul 21, 2011
  • Darren's picture

    Hi Chris

    Let us know a little about your travels.

    How many people will be traveling?
    How long is your trip?
    Will you wild camp or use campsites, or both?
    Can you live with making the bed everynight, or do you want a permanent bed?
    Do you need to store any large items such as sports equipment?
    Can you store or park a large vehicle?
    What is your budget?

    Jul 26, 2011
  • Anonymous's picture

    We have an old Splitscreen VW Camper Van but sometimes its just not practical to use all the time ..So we also have a converted Transit van 2005 .. If I was travelling around Europe or staying in the van for a long period of time I would have to use the Transit or a converted Vauxhall Vivoro or Renault Trafic .. Not as expensive as other campervans ..And great vans .. When converted to a high standard..

    Sep 10, 2012
  • stickytoriaa2002's picture

    Hi I am looking to travel round europe next year, and want to know any thing about free camping. where they are if you can stay for longer than one day. any info would be really greatful. :)

    Aug 11, 2011
  • Anonymous's picture

    Hey
    This site is really good.my partner and i are planning on travelling around europe in a camper next year and my parents are moving out to spain by the end of this year.we have 2 dogs that we are planning on taking with us,can anyone advise if it will be safe to take the dogs.
    Thanks

    Aug 17, 2011
  • Darren's picture

    It is safe to take dogs. But be warned, there are stray dogs in Spain, and you should keep yours safe.
    See your vet to ensure your dogs are up to date with jabs, and their pet passports.

    Aug 18, 2011
  • Duc749r's picture

    Hi guys, just converted a merc 609d into a motorhome.
    Plan on leaving England. I have a plasma TV, Toilet, 1000kg water max,
    Power shower and sink, roof garden and hug Luton i made myself.
    Oh and a log burner and gas cooker plus Rinnai heater.

    Anything I should get more! Ha ha

    Oh dont have air con or a fridge yet. 17 mpg

    Would you prefer less stuff 4 better mpg?

    Sep 12, 2011
  • Darren's picture

    That sounds like a very complete vehicle!

    Sep 20, 2011
  • tonyBeatnut's picture

    from the UK going to travel round Europe in a van for an indefinite amount of time, and was wondering about insurance for the year and how to insure it from abroad? will be in France Spain, Italy south for the winters and Holland Germany Denmark north for the summers. may be Possible to get a temporary address in Holland.

    Nov 16, 2011
  • Darren's picture

    Are you from the UK?
    I am, and here's what I do.
    I insure my van in the UK, it is UK registered. I use my parents address to register the van, and also insure the van at the same address. So all legal.
    I insure the van for 365 days use throughout Europe. The policy is via this broker www.campton.co.uk
    I can go to any European country, and I'm insured to live in the van all year.

    Nov 17, 2011
  • Anonymous's picture

    Hi, can you please tell me what you do for an M.O.T. when it expires! I have asked the question if I could have the M.O.T. in Italy but they will not do it unless I register the motorhome there.

    Jan 02, 2012
  • Archie Andrews "britishroamer"'s picture
    Archie Andrews ... (not verified)

    Hiya Darren
    Can I ask you .. do you have a "camper" van or just a Van?
    I'm planning doing something similar .. as my insurer (chuuurcheell) only covers for 90 days in any calendar year of my auto policy.

    I'm actually looking at a VAN as opposed to camper, I have travelled a bit before so not worried about too many lavish items and a good running van will suit me with some minor mods.

    But I guess this insurance lark is going to be the biggest obstacle.

    Really need to find an annual option. Whilst I may return to UK, that might be a fly back home thing and a return to wherever I be so would like to leave the van at times.

    Cheers
    A

    Jul 23, 2012
  • Darren's picture

    Hi A

    The log book still says van. But I have it insured as a campervan, as I had it inspected by a local dealer, which the insurance company asked for.
    I will probably get it changed to a campervan with the DVLA this year.
    Insuring a van is tricky, for 1 year, especially if you are going to live in it. Insurance companies don't like that.
    I don't know of an insurer who does that.
    I have found www.campton.co.uk useful in the past. They are a broker who might be able to help.

    Jul 24, 2012
  • Anonymous's picture

    Hi everyone, can someone please enlighten me on a problem which I cant seem to find an answer for? I am going to register my english motorhome onto italian registration but the insurance there is very expensive, therefore, I am trying to find an insurance company in England who will insure the motorhome when it is re registered onto italian registration plates. I have contacted italsure but they will not insure a motorhome only a car. Any advice?

    Jan 02, 2012
  • Sue Dowdle's picture

    Does anyone out there know what the Portuguese legal requirements are for a VW Transporter van conversion into a camper van. We are living in Portugal and recently purchased a Portuguese registered VW Transporter van which we would like to convert into a campervan. We know that France is quite demanding on the legal eg gas, etc. But do not know what if anything is required in a
    Portugal.
    Any advise would be much appreciated

    Jan 19, 2012
  • Anonymous's picture

    Hi
    my partner and i have recently decided to buy a camper and travel Europe for a year. we have a 4 month old puppy who will be nearer 7 months old by the time we leave. my partner has anxieties about taking him as it may impede on our experiences. has anyone out there done this who can help to put his mind at rest please?

    Jackie

    Apr 07, 2012
  • Joanne's picture

    Hello, a couple of years ago we travelled for a year with our dog in our campervan and we are leaving for Eastern Europe this week for 6 months, again with the dog in tow. Having our dog with us has never been a problem and had no negative impact on our experiences.

    There are a few things you should condsider though such as buying a Scalibor collar against ticks and biting flies (£10 for 6 months) and if you are heading south towards the Med then Heartworm wormers (just pop into a local vets and buy some when you are there).

    The new and simplified pet passport rules which came into force this year has made things easier too. Check the DEFRA pet passport website for full details and not forums full of confused people.

    I intend to visit Berlin, Budapest etc and have no qualms about taking my dog into the city centre. Now is the time to acustom your young puppy to noise and bustle. Take him for a few walks around your local town (my country dog loves a trip to town as it smells really interesting) and on the bus. If he or she isn't sure about it then don't make a fuss or reassure- just carry on as you normally would when out for a walk.

    Obviously you can't take your dog into museums etc (if its your thing). When we visited places we can't take the dog (or don't want to) we've just left her in the camper (shock, horror). We mostly take the dog though.

    The campervan is well insulated (if you are going away for 12 months then this is essential for yourselves not just the dog), has a roof vent which we leave open, all windows have total black out blinds and the cab windows have a silver wrap. Laika has a nice bowl of water and generally has a nice snooze. We park in the shade. Just make sure your van stays reasonably cool in the sun before you do it.

    A dog is also a good prop for meeting and chatting to people. I can safely say that not having our dog with us would be detrimental to our enjoyment of our trip.

    Take your dog and have a wonderful time.

    Jo

    Apr 21, 2012
  • Martin's picture

    Dear Jackie,
    first of all you have to make sure you have a valid rabies vaccination for your dog and a check for antibodies so you can return to UK with your dog and travel in Europe with him! We have always taken our dog with us when travelling abroad in our campervan and even though he has a liver disease he has always been fine and have not needed a vet apart from returning to UK check. We take a large supply of his medicines and food( special liver diet)with us and make sure we use advantix flea and tick treatment to protect him from leishmaniasis if we go to south europe. To us our dog is a part of our family and where we go he goes, and if he can't go we won't go either! We have never had any problems but we have only travelled in Shengen countries in Europe. Good luck!

    Jul 24, 2012
  • jfazz2's picture

    Just finished converting an ex library truck into a motorhome and plan to take it down thru Europe and eventually into the Canary Islands. As this will be an extended trip what do I do about keeping the van legal, namely tax,MOT and insurance, any help will be much appreciated,plus can anyone reccommend any books that I can use for information.
    Many thanks, John

    Apr 16, 2012
  • Darren's picture

    Hi John

    How long will your trip be?

    tax - ensure your tax doesn't run out whilst you are away.
    mot - if it runs out whilst you are away, renew before you leave
    insurance - ensur your insurance covers you in Europe, and for the full length of your trip. A lot of policies only cover trips of 90 days, so make sure you are covered there.

    Are you looking for travel guide books?

    Apr 17, 2012
  • jfazz2's picture

    Hi Darren,
    Thanks for your prompt reply, great site by the way loads of excellent information, well done.
    Essentially the plan was that my wife and I would travel Europe in the truck this year( when I get a moment I will upload some pictures) but due to NHS/pension changes she won't be able retire for another 2/3 years which means that I will be travelling alone,
    so new plan is that I wend my way thru France, Spain and Portugal (should take at least a couple of years) and then ferry across to Tenerife where I may permantly base the truck (use it like a holidy apartment) on a site near Megano, in the south of the island. The DVLA say with a trip of that length it would be better to export the vehicle (to which country ??) and then reimport it back into the UK if I choose to return, surely there must be a better way to keep legal ??

    Best regards, John.

    Apr 17, 2012
  • Darren's picture

    Hi John

    Sounds like an good trip.

    If the vehicle leaves the UK for more than 1 year you have to export it. You wont be able to renew the MOT whilst it is outside of the UK, and therefore you wouldn't really be able to drive it abroad after one year.

    It's a tricky one. You can't even MOT the vehicle in Gibraltar, as only Gibraltan vehicles can be MOT'd there.
    You'll have to import the vehicle into another country, or probably much easier, drive it home for a few days to renew the MOT, and drive it back to Europe.

    Importing a vehicle, especially in a country which speaks a foreign language, is no easy task

    Apr 18, 2012
  • Anonymous's picture

    I lived in spain, and you can ITV (mot) an British vehicle in spain. There are some british mechanics over there who will help you with it. Quite a few people I know have done it. It lasts for 2 years.

    Aug 17, 2012
  • starbug's picture

    What if you SORN your vehicle while outside the UK? You can still insure it but not tax it. Would that get around UK law?

    Oct 07, 2012
  • Spadj's picture

    I am in agreement with every one of you beautiful people on here, GREAT SITE!!
    I've just read the whole thing. Anyway Im 26 been moving all round the world the last 6 years, but since my first ahuayasca experience my goals, thoughts and dreams are radically different. But you don't want to hear my story so my question is do I need to be insured if I'm parked up in the campsite for a week or few at a time and use day insurance when I'm moving locations to save A LOT of money?
    I'm looking for my camper now and the other pieces of the puzzle are gravitating towards me but again they cost money and I am juggling my limited financial situation. So I need to save the pennies!

    Thanks

    May 31, 2012
  • BabsT's picture

    Hi all. I am 70 years old and am seriously contemplating changing my life for ever! Currently living in Scotland (which is not a friendly place for English people), and am in the throes of selling my house.
    I would love to buy a campervan and travel with my two dachshunds to Europe. I have lived in Spain before and have owned a campervan before, so it wouldn't be that strange for me.
    Just need some advice on whether it would be viable. Hope to get some feedback!!

    Jul 04, 2012
  • Darren's picture

    Hi Babs

    Great to hear of your adventures.
    Sounds like a great plan. Living and touring in a van is a great experience. Doing it permanently is a great experience. One has to work out where to spend summers and winters. Which countries interest you, and how hot you like the weather.

    Jul 05, 2012
  • Lisa's picture

    Hello, My husband and I are seriously considering selling up and travelling round Europe in a Camper Van / Motor Home. We both work and will be working for the next 10 years plus before we can afford to do anything with our lives, I am in my late 40's and my husband is early 50's and we are sick of the rat race and the cold British weather!! We have a two year old dog so want to take him with us, are there any countries that you can actually live in permenently if you want to, in your camper van? We are looking at buying a Camper van with the proceeds of our house sale and living off the equity. Any help or tips would be very much appreciated. Thanks.

    Jul 15, 2012
  • Darren's picture

    Hi Lisa

    Are you from the UK? If so you are able to live in the EU. You don't even need a visa for EU countries. Some countries ask that if you are staying for more than a few months that you should report to a police station, but few people do that.
    You can find inexpensive campsites where people stay for long periods of time.
    You can even consider buy a cheaper plot of land in a warm country.
    If you intend to live in your vehicle for a long time I would suggest getting a big vehicle. Especially if you intend to move it infrequently. You need to avoid feeling cramped inside your vehicle in winter time.
    For winter head south to Portugal, Italy, Greece. For summer head north for cooler weather.

    Sounds like a great adventure!

    Jul 16, 2012
  • Lisa's picture

    Hi Darren, Yes at present we both live in the UK and are British Born with UK passports. Thanks for the useful information. I personally think this website is great and invaluable whether your an experienced traveller or just starting out. Thanks again.

    Jul 18, 2012
  • Anonymous's picture

    Hi Lisa

    How great to find another British person in my age range thinking of doing the same thing! Only difference is i'll be doing it on my own, so that is a (only small) concern. I've worked abroad before but always had my house to come home to but I thought if I put the some of the profit from my house in an ISA, at least if it all goes pear shaped I can buy another house! Would love to hear your plans and progress, it might just give me the push I need :o)

    Annette

    Aug 04, 2012
  • Anonymous's picture

    I have just come back from months six months in Greece with my van and there are few places to free camp and it is now illegal in many of the places you would love to stay in Greece. However, there are one or two beaches we camped on and no one bothered us. Infact we cleaned up the beach for them removing rubbish and burning driftwood. You can also consider asking the owners of the land where you want to stay. This works and certainly gets youan overnight stay if you park next to a Taverna.
    I found Italy very expensive to camp and eat out compared to Greece.
    I have an Insurance with a company with European Underwriters. This means I can stay out of the UK for 364 days of the year. Thevan requires a UK MOT ticket each year. Insurance companies easily found in a good motorhome magazine.
    Our dog comes with us and she is six. Just follow the guidance for taking pets abroad and make sure you comply with the requirements to return your dog to the UK as ours was checked last week when we came back.
    Some ferry companies from1st April to October 31st allow camping on board so this can bring your travel costs down.
    Have fun,
    Andy

    Nov 05, 2013
  • Ksm202's picture

    Hiya

    Me and my partner are quiting our jobs to leave for Europe in the new year. We have been squirrelling away our pennies since last September, but im now starting to worry we will not have enough for our trip. Can any one suggest a monthly budget...

    We hope to stay in one place for at least a couple of weeks, we are filthy ;P so will only be bucket showering (a trick learnt in Africa) We wanted to do a lot of free camping and we will be mainly climbing so hopefully we will be in an area for up to a month at a time.

    can any one suggest some handy money saving ideas.

    cheers

    Jul 21, 2012
  • Darren's picture

    It's fairly easy to set your budget. If you never eat out, you can probably eat for €3 per person per day. Aim or local markets to save more money.
    Keep travelling to a minimum and you can spend only €50 a month in fuel.
    If you always free camp that costs nothing. You can get water from fuel stations and public taps.

    Jul 24, 2012
  • George's picture

    Hello all - Great site, great comments.

    My story?

    My wife and I (and our 2 year old) have had it with "hard work". It seems that's all we do. Its like the sickness of the western world, overrated at the very least, at most downright destructive to your health!

    So we sold our house, put the money in a interest account, and are now looking to travel through Europe for a year in a motorhome (!!!)

    Can any experienced campers/travellers/fellow free spirits comment on our plan? Looking to buy motorhome in Germany and start from there.

    Our main concern regards registration and insurance. I am an EU citizen (Greece) but my wife isn't.

    Aug 09, 2012
  • Darren's picture

    Hi George

    Great to hear of your plans.
    Germany is a good place to buy, as they have good used vehicles, fair prices, and you should be OK finding people to speak English to help with the buying of the vehicle.

    As an EU citizen you can go to any of the EU countries, as you know, without a Visa.
    However, you wife is going to need a visa. I would recommend you check the availability of 12 month visa for your wife.

    I believe you can register the vehicle at any address in Germany, maybe with a hotel. You will need to do some investigating about the insurance. I know Downunder insurance insure visitors from any country, so maybe it's worth trying them.
    http://www.campervanlife.com/go/downunder-insurance.php

    I have travelled many times in Europe, and always have a great time. I am sure you will too.

    All the best

    Darren

    Aug 09, 2012
  • Ksm202's picture

    Hiya this site is brilliant.

    Can anyone help with information regarding how to MOT a campervan. Once the van is MOT'd we really dont want to return to the UK to get another MOT. I have read about the Spanish IVT, but do we have to regiseter the veichle to Spain in order to get an IVT, and also can we then drive the van in any other country with the IVT.

    Thanks in advance.

    Sep 14, 2012
  • Anonymous's picture

    hi this is a big problem for many uk full timers,i know over the border in portugal many take tere vans with uk plates to the portuguese itv test(mot)and have been told that the police in portugal accept this,but of course you need to see what your insurance will say.some unified europe!

    Oct 06, 2012
  • Mandy's picture

    Hi
    Can anyone give me some advice please. Im in my late 40s', single,kids grown & flown & have a 30ft left hand drive motorhome, I havent driven it yet!
    I want to go travelling & thought i might start off with some fruit picking in France, then the world! I have no idea what i need to do, where to start and how to go about it. Any advice would be greatly received.
    Thanks

    Sep 14, 2012
  • Darren's picture

    OK, exciting times.

    1. Make sure it's good mechanically.
    2. Get used to driving it.
    3. Male sure all of the systems inside work, water, electrics, etc.
    4. Plan you trip. Get guidebooks, etc.
    5. Do some simple trips near home to get used to the vehicle and to see if you need to change anything.
    5. Go to Europe!

    Sep 15, 2012
  • Lena's picture

    Hi me and my partner are both kiwis living in the uk we both have our 2 year visas, we are heading off on a van trip across europe i was wondering if there is any thing other than mot, tax and insurance that we need before taking the van over. We are looking at starting in france and driving right round for up to a year. Is there a kind of check list that you could advise?

    Jan 26, 2013
  • Anonymous's picture

    hi firstly an awe inspiring web site,
    i would like your advice about as want to rent up my property and get buying a motorhome, i really like to first to see which continent to purchase from, north america or europe or even NZ (as there is o tax japanese imports) so the my next question is how to bring it from continent to continent which may mean import duties and registration in europe or is just cheaper to sell motorhomes and buy again, im really trying to save funds for the trip so a budget for the camper will be from £10-15K then spending each month £500 plus the roll or roll off ferry export import taxes will be extra any idea how much to contend with

    Feb 16, 2013
  • sacha's picture

    hi, an awesome site, i want to sell or rent my house but as i travel much as a backpaker i want to now do it with a motorhome.
    will it be cheaper to sell motorhome after each trip to keep the same motorhome in north america, NZ and OZ and then back to europe and keep the motorhome or buy again. i have no idea whats the cheapest way to avoid import/export, duties, frieght vs keeping the motorhome but i do intent to keep when i finally arrive back to the uk. any ideas with diesel motorhome that will usefull to purschase im 1 person but love the mod concerning a garage door for carring extra gear, mimnimum 3/4 bed as i use in festivals to make a chai stall as i will intend to live in full time from when i buy it.

    Feb 16, 2013
  • Darren's picture

    Hi

    I would definitely sell and buy a new vehicle when you get to a new continent. Each continent has different vehicles and importing a vehicle is no easy task normally.
    in the USA you are likely to want a bigger RV, whereas in NZ you are going to want a smaller more nimble vehicle.
    I have campervaned and backpacked in lots of places, and always try for the easier option.
    Buying and selling a vehicle registered in that country is easy in USA, Australia, NZ, UK, etc.

    Feb 18, 2013
  • sacha's picture

    hi, an awesome site, i want to sell or rent my house but as i travel much as a backpaker i want to now do it with a motorhome.
    will it be cheaper to sell motorhome after each trip to keep the same motorhome in north america, NZ and OZ and then back to europe and keep the motorhome or buy again. i have no idea whats the cheapest way to avoid import/export, duties, frieght vs keeping the motorhome but i do intent to keep when i finally arrive back to the uk. any ideas with diesel motorhome that will usefull to purschase im 1 person but love the mod concerning a garage door for carring extra gear, mimnimum 3/4 bed as i use in festivals to make a chai stall as i will intend to live in full time from when i buy it.

    Feb 16, 2013
  • John's picture

    Hi all, thought I'd chime in here for anyone wishing to camper van around the UK.

    I pre-rented a Renault Van new, for 4 weeks(Sixt rentals)from Australia before I left Oz.

    A plain commercial Van.

    Did all this using my Visa Debit card.

    Pre ordered from Oz an excellent foam matteress (new) and had it delivered to a friends house in Steyning, Sussex.

    Arrived in London, had a few days then cabbed it to the rental guys. All was good, drove Van to steyning, picked up matteress then went to a camping store and bought a V good warm sleeping bag, small fold up table and chair, metho and gas burner, handful of kitchen utensils, cooler bag, food, large water container with tap an spent 4 weeks from the tip of Scotty and all coastlines. Did around 5000km's. C

    Feb 20, 2013
  • Anonymous's picture

    Just a question did you meet anyone on your travels that bought a van.

    Which way do you think is the best - rent or buy and re-sell?

    We are looking to work and drive around Europe for six months and trying to decide whether it is worth kitting out a van and reselling it when we get back or hire.

    Let me know your thoughts please .

    Cheers : )

    Mel

    Oct 12, 2013
  • Darren's picture

    For 6 months you definitely want to buy.
    Renting will cost a lot, especially if you travel many miles. Also if anything breaks or gets damaged on the rental it will cost you a lot.
    Buying allows you more choice.

    Kitting out a van yourself is always the cheapest option.

    Oct 12, 2013
  • Daniel's picture

    Has anybody any experience of travelling beyond Europe? Say India, Africa, SE Asia or S. America? Is there any advice/tips/tricks/warnings/etc that can be given? Just lost my job and have been dreaming about travelling permanently for a long time. I'm hoping I can rent my house and get £600 to live on per month.

    Feb 28, 2013
  • Anonymous's picture

    Hi, great site and good solid info. But no one ever talks about taking a caravan abroad??? I am thinking of driving the car (from the UK) and trailing a caravan through Europe so I have a car abroad. Any comments?? Thanks Meca

    Mar 23, 2013
  • Darren's picture

    Not a lot of talk of caravans on this website. Mostly about campervans and motorhomes.
    Where are you thinking of touring and when?

    Mar 24, 2013
  • Anonymous's picture

    There's a clue in the name....."CAMPERVANLIFE"

    Nov 24, 2013
  • Anonymous's picture

    Hi there
    I have been thinking of buying a good campervan and travel with my lovely dog. The only worry is,how would my pension be paid? I am getting it via my Bank every week,but worried that I will not have a permanent address and would not get paid. Any tops on how to go about this would be appreciated.
    Thanks

    Jul 22, 2013
  • Stephen C's picture

    Over the past week I have been looking at sites like this and now I really want to do it. The only Problem is I'm only 18, nearly passed my driving test. But the idea of driving round the UK then europe and living in the van or camper is so appealing. The freedom it gives you. Unfortunately for now I need to find a job, probably temp work. Save up some money to travel and see how it goes. Do you have to be a certain age to drive in another country, because I know you can't rent a car until your 21.

    Aug 24, 2013
  • david de rijke's picture

    Hi there,

    anybody knows a reliable camper parking for the wintermonths in Greece? preferably Northern region.

    Thank you

    Sep 14, 2013
  • Anonymous's picture

    I know of a place in th ePeloponese which is open all winter and on the beach with good local facilities a five minutes drive. We came back from there a week ago. It is not in the North, butlet me kno if it interests you.There may be one or two others but we found none open near Kalamata.

    Nov 05, 2013
  • Paul Adams's picture

    I am interested to know where that is. I know most of the area as I lived in Kalamata for a couple of years. I drove there in my VW camper several times.

    Nov 10, 2013
  • Paul Adams's picture

    I am interested to know where that is. I know most of the area as I lived in Kalamata for a couple of years. I drove there in my VW camper several times.

    Nov 10, 2013
  • Sepi's picture

    This is a great site! My wife disabled because of stroke six years ago. I had just feeling to work still 10 years, as what else to do with her - usually she is just lying on sofa and wathing TV. We have lived 11 years in Kenya and UK and travelled before, but not recently. Suddenly I found myself understanding that we have only one life and now the decision is done to sell this house after 5 years, rent a cheap room for address and to be a kind of anchor here in Finland. I have been looking those 7 - 8 metres long 4 - 5 ton MB sprinter based Motor homes with a big garage for a scooter. It seems that from Germany good ones are around 70 - 90 K €. But the reason to ask is, do you know anybody travelling with a seriously disabled (but not in a wheel chair!) partner? My aim is to travel from village to village around Mediterranean area + Portugal years around. If that is possible, then we will travel other continents until someone guides us to some pensionate houses ;-)I prefer to be physically tired that mentally - that is the reason for this move. Tell me experiences, if any - or tell warnings, I might listen...

    Oct 28, 2013
  • Darren's picture

    HI, this sounds like a great and positive move forward.
    I have met a few people traveling with disabled partners, they always overcome any problems then encounter.

    Oct 29, 2013
  • Anonymous's picture

    For sure there will be plenty of challenges and even risks as my wife cannot communicate and her memory is like demended. But nowdays communication is easy and even those tracking devices fitted to our motorhome would give our children online connection to follow. Have anybody fitted such a bugs like these http://www.ebay.com/sch/Tracking-Devices-/73362/i.html Maybe such a things would be nice for insurance purposes as well, in case of thievery.
    As usual, I'm very early to prepare this new era for our life but when April 2019 will arrive, I'll be ready just to start the engine and drive away. It would be nice to share experiences with such a couple like us

    Oct 29, 2013
  • Norm's picture

    Ok I am 58 years old, and the wife is 68 years not too bad off with health, although as normal a few joined problems are slowly creeping up on us. Anyway, we have been living in Bulgaria for the past 8 years and most of the time it’s been sort of fun, but our house is now becoming too big and to much work and we are getting to that point of not wanting the agro anymore. Looked at moving back to the UK, too expensive, and we have 2 monster dogs which NO way we would ever get rid of, both around 160 pound each, Russian mountain dogs, and we love them to bits they are our kids. Not enough money to buy a house back in the UK, and not sure I want that prison style life anymore anyway, could not cope with it when we have had some freedoms. So we are a bit stuck, we have had an almost new 25ft Euro type motor homes before and lived in it for around 5 months, I used to be an HGV driver and class one PSV driver busses, coaches things like that, a long time ago,so large motors are not a problem for me to drive or control.
    Anyway one option I was thinking of is to look around at an American type RV, something with slide outs, mid to late 1990s in good condition, for about 30K pounds ish. The problem is, registrations, and documents if we have no address anywhere as such, and site and parking, of course I would be looking to buy a small car to tow behind, as too expensive and not practical to wander around with some 35 to 40ft RV. So thought we could park it up while living in it for 3 to 6 months at a time and do a little wandering around Europe. The idea is a home we can up stick with every 3,6 9, months and wander up the road 2 or 300 miles or so.
    Is this type of lifestyle feasible or practical, and what more achievable, any ideas or help thanks.

    Jan 11, 2014
  • Darren's picture

    Hi

    Sounds like a great solution.
    You could register and insure the vehicle using a friends/family members address in the UK.
    There are lots of campsites throughout Europe that accommodation large vehicles. You just need to ask around.
    There are also casual campsites such as old farms which can be cheaper for a big vehicle.

    Jan 11, 2014
  • Anonymous's picture

    Hello

    I'm moving to travel around Europe in a couple of weeks in my self built motorhome. It's proving impossible to find insurance just for the first year. What do people do about insuring their campers if they are travelling around EU?

    Please help.

    Caroline

    Feb 11, 2014
  • Darren's picture

    Hi Caroline

    Are you a European resident?
    How long will your trip be for?

    Feb 11, 2014
  • Greenjuice's picture

    No one has mention being online in a camper

    Feb 22, 2014

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