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Budget hints and tips. Might have to cancel my first road trip. Too expensive :-(

Perfectos

Perfectos

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Hertfordshire
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T6 Beach 150
Hi Mark I can vouch for this campsite on the North west coast


No road tolls en route, on the coast, Stand up paddle board and canoe hire on-site for use in the estuary immediately next to the site, takeaway on-site, shop and daily bakery, restaurant( didn’t try it) VR at kids club, soft play, fantastic pool inside and out, on-site laundry, plenty of clean facilities, really friendly staff ( good English) No problem with BBQ’s so you can be in charge of the cooking Budget, couple of good supermarkets a mile or so down the road,

About 5 hour drive from Cherbourg, 4 hours St. Malo, 3 hours Roscoff
The roads in general in France are fantastic, (not pot holes, easy to navigate, no fast lane hogging, all very courteous and make for a pleasant experience)

Plenty of other places to explore up and down the coast or inland, great coves and beaches, surfing, and other campsites up and down the west coast close to things of instrest,
go late August and things get a little cheaper and a lot less busy.
Ferry back September a day or so before the kids go back will save a few £’s
Go from Poole and you can stay at the ferry port the night before you travel, walk into Poole harbour area, not the best night sleep I’ve had in my Cali, but an adventure non the less and a free one at that.

Mont Saint Michelle, Normandy beaches, Bayer etc can be fitted into a travelling iteniary when working your way back to the ferry, is more quite at end of August ( if ferry from Cherbourg or StMalo)

A great app for planning a route, places to stay near places of interest Is Searchforsites.

Good luck in what ever you decide to do, the world is your lobster.

I’m sure you’ll continue to get plenty of support and ideas:thumb
 
MarkVw2017

MarkVw2017

Messages
1,271
Location
Wales
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Hi Mark I can vouch for this campsite on the North west coast


No road tolls en route, on the coast, Stand up paddle board and canoe hire on-site for use in the estuary immediately next to the site, takeaway on-site, shop and daily bakery, restaurant( didn’t try it) VR at kids club, soft play, fantastic pool inside and out, on-site laundry, plenty of clean facilities, really friendly staff ( good English) No problem with BBQ’s so you can be in charge of the cooking Budget, couple of good supermarkets a mile or so down the road,

About 5 hour drive from Cherbourg, 4 hours St. Malo, 3 hours Roscoff
The roads in general in France are fantastic, (not pot holes, easy to navigate, no fast lane hogging, all very courteous and make for a pleasant experience)

Plenty of other places to explore up and down the coast or inland, great coves and beaches, surfing, and other campsites up and down the west coast close to things of instrest,
go late August and things get a little cheaper and a lot less busy.
Ferry back September a day or so before the kids go back will save a few £’s
Go from Poole and you can stay at the ferry port the night before you travel, walk into Poole harbour area, not the best night sleep I’ve had in my Cali, but an adventure non the less and a free one at that.

Mont Saint Michelle, Normandy beaches, Bayer etc can be fitted into a travelling iteniary when working your way back to the ferry, is more quite at end of August ( if ferry from Cherbourg or StMalo)

A great app for planning a route, places to stay near places of interest Is Searchforsites.

Good luck in what ever you decide to do, the world is your lobster.

I’m sure you’ll continue to get plenty of support and ideas:thumb
Wow, thank you so much, only problem I am going to have now is choosing them, there's sooo many :)
 
S

SallyW

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48
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Sussex
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T5 SE 180 4Motion
We had a truly memorable holiday in the Austrian alps when the kids were young. In the summer you can buy cards giving access to lots of activities, chairlifts high into the mountains, amazing swimming pools and spas, attractions and lots and lots more. Ours was the Saltzburgerland Card. It was excellent value and we based our holiday around it. The kids loved it.
 
2haw

2haw

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1,316
Location
Essex
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T6.1 Beach camper 150
Another great campsite in Brittany we stayed at a few years back that the kids loved.
They’ve built a nice new dome over the pool now aswell so its ideal if the weathers not great.

F7EBE9D6-7701-41DE-91BB-457103608403.png
 
Zebedee

Zebedee

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415
Location
SW London
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T5 SE 180
We are always on a budget but live like Kings! Our travels in the Cali led to my daughter developing a love of art and she now has lots of offers from top uni’s to study it. This is because we’ve been able to travel around eg Guggenheim in Bilbao, Toulouse/Albi. 2 weeks on a beach in the same place would bore the pants off her! We have done Le Letty in Benodet when she was younger but too many English people for my liking! Much better the municipal site in the Cote du Granit Rose with pools etc

We’ve gone down South and it is possible via Limoges on very limited tolls. Go for 3 star campsite with a pool. Rather than all singing all dancing 5 star jobbies!

Judge diesel price before you go and fill up here if cheaper. Don’t fill up on motorways go where the locals go. Municipal sites can be great and can be only €6 a night. If you need any suggestions just let me know. Enjoy....my daughter even mentioned her travels in her personal statement for Uni! 6 years of Cali ownership to thank for that. If travelling a lot a Club Voyage card will save itself in one crossing with Brittany Ferries. Enjoy yourselves they grow up all too quickly!
 
T

Tandt

Messages
83
Location
England
Vehicle
T4 PopTop
Dear Cali Gurus,

My hopes of my 1st European road trip in May might end before I have started due to overall costs already spiralling out of control and I'm gutted.

It's slowly dawning on me these road trips are an expensive hobby (I assumed Campervan, = low cost but fun hols)

My plan was a 3 week holiday/ road trip;
A ferry to Santander, then to Salou and then drive home via France but already I'm calculating I would need a budget of £3k and that seems bare minimum, possibly £4k.

Does anyone have any hints and tips to get this right down as might have to tell kids, sorry kids, road trip is cancelled. Back to camping!

Gurus, please show me your might and wisdom!

My basic workings on a piece of paper for two adults and two children;

£560 ferry one way to Santander
£180 4 nights in Salou
£350 petrol
£150 tolls
£100 AA COVER
£50 travel insurance
£1050 (£50 spends a day which includes food)
£600 (£40 a night campsite for 15 nights, rest stealth camp)
£80 Ferry Calais to Dover

Total £3,120k :talktothehand

Not even calculated any days out with my budget :sorry

For comparison, just looked at TUI, 2 weeks half board for 4 of us £1.7k in Spain in a 4 * hotel. What's going on? Are my road trip adventures dashed before theyve even started?

Any advice would be wonderful. It will be my only holiday so really want it to be like a lovely holiday as well, as I will be working my bum off to save for this money. I'm not even sure if £50 per day for food and spends would even be enough?
 
ChrisB

ChrisB

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228
Location
Torre Del Rico, Spain
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150 4Motion
Dear Cali Gurus,

My hopes of my 1st European road trip in May might end before I have started due to overall costs already spiralling out of control and I'm gutted.

It's slowly dawning on me these road trips are an expensive hobby (I assumed Campervan, = low cost but fun hols)

My plan was a 3 week holiday/ road trip;
A ferry to Santander, then to Salou and then drive home via France but already I'm calculating I would need a budget of £3k and that seems bare minimum, possibly £4k.

Does anyone have any hints and tips to get this right down as might have to tell kids, sorry kids, road trip is cancelled. Back to camping!

Gurus, please show me your might and wisdom!

My basic workings on a piece of paper for two adults and two children;

£560 ferry one way to Santander
£180 4 nights in Salou
£350 petrol
£150 tolls
£100 AA COVER
£50 travel insurance
£1050 (£50 spends a day which includes food)
£600 (£40 a night campsite for 15 nights, rest stealth camp)
£80 Ferry Calais to Dover

Total £3,120k :talktothehand

Not even calculated any days out with my budget :sorry

For comparison, just looked at TUI, 2 weeks half board for 4 of us £1.7k in Spain in a 4 * hotel. What's going on? Are my road trip adventures dashed before theyve even started?

Any advice would be wonderful. It will be my only holiday so really want it to be like a lovely holiday as well, as I will be working my bum off to save for this money. I'm not even sure if £50 per day for food and spends would even be enough?
Sorry, but your figures are correct. We live in the Murcia region of Spain and travel costs to visit the UK are even worse. Over the past 5 years we have been averaging £5000 a year. The low exchange rate and general increases in fuel, campsite and ferry costs have all risen dramatically. What is a total rip off is the excess charging on campsites for electric hook ups and awnings etc.
 
T

Tandt

Messages
83
Location
England
Vehicle
T4 PopTop
7
Hello Mark

Hope you‘ll find some good hints here!

As far as I see is the ferry crossing the most expensive part (and one of that parts that would show up staying at „home“?).
Where are your situated? Is ferry crossing to „lets say“ Calais a bit cheaper and then drive down a couple of days and spend some time wherever (in May you probably find some good places to go and not yet crowded).

Diesel is around 1.29€ in South Germany/Munich, in CHF 1.62 at the moment. We made the experience that Germany and Austria offer good value for the prices (food and campingwise). Also Croatia, Italy and Slovenia are always on our list, when we‘re looking for sun, sea and lovely food and people.

What about staying in the drive of some friends/clubmembers to save some €? I am pretty sure you would find a lot of members offering their parking in front of the house.

Would be a pitty if you have to cancel your trip. Maybe adjusting a little bit and off you go!

Keep my fingers crossed!
If you join ccc and go on a rally to Brittany or Normandy you would have a good idea of total costs. They are both great areas to explore. They also do helpful diy packages and have a good knowledge of sites. You dont have to travel miles to enjoy being abroad.
 
Borris

Borris

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Canterbury
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T6 Beach 150
Hi Mark,
One potentially money saving and very useful item to take touring is a thermal cooker. They are the modern equivalent of the hay box. You spend 15 - 20 minutes max prepping and heating a meal in the morning. You then seal it up in the outer container and forget about it. Whilst you drive it continues to cook slowly so by the time you park up serveral hours later you have a hot meal ready and waiting. Kids are always hungry so if you are able to instantly produce a delicious hot meal you will win maximum browny points all round.

Hot tasty meals can be made at the minimum of cost that will feed the whole family. Check out the many videos on YouTube on thermal cookers of which there are many different makes. We have a MrDs cooker and it's brilliant. It's so cheap to run as you only use gas whilst you heat it up for around ten minutes then the cast iron base plate ensures it continues to cook for hours and all in perfect safety.

There is of course the initial outlay to consider but once you have got one it must be one of the best and cheapest ways of cooking a great meal. You can even simultaneously cook two different courses/parts of the same course at the same time.
 
Last edited:
nickdrums

nickdrums

Messages
47
Location
Coleshill
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204
A couple of thoughts:

1. If you're happy being self-contained, try France Passion and its equivalents. I have found them much more varied and welcoming in France than Britstops in the UK which are mostly pub car parks. It's then free to stay, and a few Euros to support your host by buying a bottle of wine, cider, cheese or whatever they produce.

2. If you need to mix in some camp sites to access facilities, I did a trip last year booking everything on Pitchup as we had my brother travelling with us with his tent, and we never paid more than about €15 per night. In my view expensive camps sites are full of people I don't really want to be near, and ... expensive!

3. I agree with those who say avoid the tolls in France. In fact I would say just massively shorten your trip. Why drive for hours to get to somewhere far away when you can enjoy a short, pretty drive on back roads? When you're in a camper, for me a lot of the pleasure is finding new places, and even if you only move 30 miles a day it doesn't matter - you've found somewhere new and have longer to explore it.

4. Building on the last point, our last 2 trips in France we identified a "destination" and spent the first half meandering towards it, and the second half meandering back - all via Calais. Year 1 was the Verdon Gorge (it's beautiful, and the municipal camp site there is one of the best views I've had while camping), and year 2 was the town of Colmar near the Vosges mountains. Both pretty random, and both wonderful journeys there and back. On the trip to Colmar and back we paid no road tolls, and paid not once for staying overnight!
 
Aidy P

Aidy P

Don't play that 'What If?' game, you'll never win!
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We've had our van for nearly four years now and are planing our fourth European adventure. My kids are now 12 and 10.

The memories we have banked are priceless. Many of these have been the things that have cost us very little including cooking local sausages by the side of the road with stunning views, stopping to paddle in streams, standing in fields of lavender and eating cheese and baguette for lunch every day. We’ve all become obsessed with cheese!!

We've found smaller cheaper sites were actually better. More intimate. Friendlier.

Waze is a great app for finding cheaper fuel.

I always buy the wine from the area for a few €‘s and have never had a bad bottle. Always buy extra as meeting new friends on a site and having a glass together will lead to more memories (as the kids play together).

Sites with rivers and lakes provide hours of cheap fun in the sun.

Buy boxes of lollies from supermarkets rather than from shops.

Challenge the kids to a daily ‘cook off’ rather than eating out. You have to pick local ingredients (and ideally ones on offer).

We drive less now and try and stay a few nights extra if we find a site we like. Whilst it’s fun to tick of countries it uses fuel and the kids don’t get much from the long drives.

The discount from the Camping and Caravanning Club for ferries and insurance pays for itself.
 
billyhedge

billyhedge

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34
Location
Clitheroe, Lancs
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T5 SE 180
We’ve been going to France for the last 5 years, usually in peak season as my wife’s a teacher, and we’ve never spent anywhere near that. Definitely ditch the Santander ferry in favour of the tunnel, using Tesco vouchers usually brings our ticket down to about £120 in August. Tolls are dearer heading down the east, cheaper west of Paris. We don’t plan a thing till we’ve looked what the weather’s doing. You could head to Annecy, though not lakeside as the campsites are awful, crowded and full of Brits but message me directly if you’re interested cos there’s a few stunners. Children generally love the alpine adventure - you don’t need to spend much, wild camping, swimming in the lakes, wood fires and marshmallows , hunting for butterflies etc etc. Failing all that, your £500 ferry price would put alot of diesel in the van for a trip up to Scotland and some stunning white beaches...
 
Nick Stubbs

Nick Stubbs

The Rodent.
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Derbyshire
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As you’ve booked the ferry...
Reduce trip by a week.
Travel up the west coast of france.. visit
Biscarrose Plage and lake (lovely beach)
Dune du Pilat (my kids were amazed by this and loved it)
Ile de Oleron (went on ptit train, my kids loved this)
And visit Puy du Fou (absolutely amazing & worth the expense)

Eat beans on toast most days and you’re kids will have a holiday they wont forget!
Also Carnac, think stonehenge only bigger...
 
W

Winterrai

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Hereforf
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T6 Ocean 204
I totally understand the expense part. As our first road trip last year took a lot of getting used to, with the daily paying for things. When you are on an all inclusive holiday you pay upfront whereas with a travelling holiday you're paying out what seems all day long. However this said you would not get the experience, the views, the knowledge, and the quality family time whilst in the van. Therefore to us this is priceless good luck.
 
ThomasHJ

ThomasHJ

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Netherlands
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T5 SE 140
Toook over 3 months travelling Europe in our van recently. Stayed on camp sites. We spend less money then we normally do at home during 3 months. One part of the problem seems to be that you are on an island, so you always have the expense of ferries. :(
 
Amarillo

Amarillo

Tom
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Toook over 3 months travelling Europe in our van recently. Stayed on camp sites. We spend less money then we normally do at home during 3 months. One part of the problem seems to be that you are on an island, so you always have the expense of ferries. :(
We spent a full year touring Europe. We weren't on a particularly tight budget - but by no means an unlimited budget. I think that our total expenditure was about £50,000 - for everything including things like replacement clothing for us and the boys (I even had my mum bring out to me a four pack of M&S underpants when my parents came to visit us for Christmas in Sicily). That figure excludes vehicle depreciation but includes insurance etc. It also includes Clare's three return flights home and car hire.

At home we spend ~£42,000 per year, ~£25,000 excluding mortgage costs.
 
mountainman

mountainman

Messages
172
Vehicle
T5 SE 180
Dear Cali Gurus,

My hopes of my 1st European road trip in May might end before I have started due to overall costs already spiralling out of control and I'm gutted.

It's slowly dawning on me these road trips are an expensive hobby (I assumed Campervan, = low cost but fun hols)

My plan was a 3 week holiday/ road trip;
A ferry to Santander, then to Salou and then drive home via France but already I'm calculating I would need a budget of £3k and that seems bare minimum, possibly £4k.

Does anyone have any hints and tips to get this right down as might have to tell kids, sorry kids, road trip is cancelled. Back to camping!

Gurus, please show me your might and wisdom!

My basic workings on a piece of paper for two adults and two children;

£560 ferry one way to Santander
£180 4 nights in Salou
£350 petrol
£150 tolls
£100 AA COVER
£50 travel insurance
£1050 (£50 spends a day which includes food)
£600 (£40 a night campsite for 15 nights, rest stealth camp)
£80 Ferry Calais to Dover

Total £3,120k :talktothehand

Not even calculated any days out with my budget :sorry

For comparison, just looked at TUI, 2 weeks half board for 4 of us £1.7k in Spain in a 4 * hotel. What's going on? Are my road trip adventures dashed before theyve even started?

Any advice would be wonderful. It will be my only holiday so really want it to be like a lovely holiday as well, as I will be working my bum off to save for this money. I'm not even sure if £50 per day for food and spends would even be enough?

My rule of thumb on insurance is this. If you can afford to take the hit and the inconvenience, don't insure it and take the risk. Presumably, you will have a van-based holiday in UK if you don't go to France? which would incur food, campsites and fuel? In this case your real incremental cost of your French jaunt is only the ferries, £640?
 
RodCouncil

RodCouncil

A Brit in Sweden
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Messages
635
Location
Sweden, Stockholm
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T5 SE 140
Good tip on food is if you have left overs that can be reheated on a stove, tuppawear it then freezer, I live on left overs for weekend trips and saves hassle and money, plus the van is always ready to roll with some stock in the cupboards for weekends
 
shudycamps

shudycamps

VIP Member
Messages
348
Vehicle
T5 SE 140 4Motion
Dear Cali Gurus,

My hopes of my 1st European road trip in May might end before I have started due to overall costs already spiralling out of control and I'm gutted.

It's slowly dawning on me these road trips are an expensive hobby (I assumed Campervan, = low cost but fun hols)

My plan was a 3 week holiday/ road trip;
A ferry to Santander, then to Salou and then drive home via France but already I'm calculating I would need a budget of £3k and that seems bare minimum, possibly £4k.

Does anyone have any hints and tips to get this right down as might have to tell kids, sorry kids, road trip is cancelled. Back to camping!

Gurus, please show me your might and wisdom!

My basic workings on a piece of paper for two adults and two children;

£560 ferry one way to Santander
£180 4 nights in Salou
£350 petrol
£150 tolls
£100 AA COVER
£50 travel insurance
£1050 (£50 spends a day which includes food)
£600 (£40 a night campsite for 15 nights, rest stealth camp)
£80 Ferry Calais to Dover

Total £3,120k :talktothehand

Not even calculated any days out with my budget :sorry

For comparison, just looked at TUI, 2 weeks half board for 4 of us £1.7k in Spain in a 4 * hotel. What's going on? Are my road trip adventures dashed before theyve even started?

Any advice would be wonderful. It will be my only holiday so really want it to be like a lovely holiday as well, as I will be working my bum off to save for this money. I'm not even sure if £50 per day for food and spends would even be enough?
We use the Frequent Travel plan with Eurotunnel - min of 10 single tickets at £48 each. Valid for 1 yr. I sell 4 tickets to my girlfriend. 6 dogs at £18 per head each way. Belong to ACSI and use discount card in low season. Give up my Cali way of travelling???? No way!
 

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