How easy is it to take a large motorhome abroad?
Large motorhomes have huge appeal for families and groups who wish to travel on the continent.
Large recreational vehicles offer great versatility and independence which adds to the ease in taking it abroad. However, be mindful it will not always fit through those windy roads, some limitations on the campsites may exist and weight restrictions apply on some European routes.
How restrictive is it to have a large motorhome?
Below are some possible restrictions and how to tackle them:
- Get your motorhome serviced before you set off. Problems will be addressed there and then, giving peace of mind
- Weight restrictions apply on some European roads. For large motorhomes, weights average from 6,804 kg to 13, 608 kg. Make sure you know the exact weight of your vehicle loaded and unloaded
You will be restricted by low and narrow bridges and roads on some routes. When journey planning, use online truckers’ maps to highlight many of the size and weight restrictions. If you are uncertain of a particular road or bridge then research it specifically beforehand. Height restrictions on car parks can also apply in some locations
- The steep inclines and erratic temperatures of some European destinations mean your RV can be put to the test. E.g. coolant systems can overheat and tyres can blow: get these checked in your service
- Toll charges vary depending on which country you are in and often if your vehicle exceeds 3.5 tonnes. It is possible to avoid some toll roads but if not you will need to have the correct money when you go through
- Check your maximum weight tyre pressure limits (Load index) which is usually moulded on the sidewall of your tyres with maximum weight
- Correct tyre pressures are vital for large motorhomes. For extra peace of mind take your tyre pressure gauge with you as some gauges in European garages only display Bar not PSI
- The European tyre tread limit is 1.6mm but it is recommended that you have 3 mm before you start your journey
- Speed limits abroad often vary depending on the weight of the vehicle. Look out for roads signs, similar to the weight restriction signs we have in the UK. Limits are usually 7.5 tonnes and it can be 3.5 tonnes in some places
- You must carry your driving licence and photo ID while travelling abroad. On your licence it must stipulate that you are permitted to drive a Category C licence if your vehicle is over 7.5 tonnes and a Category C1 if it is under
- Carry your insurance certificate detailing your permission to drive your specified vehicle abroad as well as the MOT and V5 registration documentation
- Road etiquette is different in each country. Adjust your driving technique in line with local customs e.g. it is not considered acceptable to remain in the overtaking lane on a German Autobahn
- Make sure that your GB sticker is displayed and you have headlamp adaptors to prevent dazzling headlights. You will also need a first aid kit, a bulb kit, extinguisher and warning triangle (x2 in some countries). Breathalyser kits are now compulsory in France
- If your motorhome uses them, carry spare British headlamp bulbs. These are not easily obtainable abroad and are essential for night driving
Do all European campsites accept large motorhomes?
Most campsites do accept motorhomes. The number of pitches available to accommodate the size can be limited, particularly at busy times of the year.
The number of stopover sites for motorhomes has steadily increased in Europe over the years. These can be restricted to 48 hours in some areas.
Where possible when using large motorhomes abroad you should phone the campsite before your arrival and find out the limitations. The size of pitch you need is larger which could can availability issues.