Mainland Europe is a popular destination for many motorhome owners. But while short trips across the Channel to France, Belgium or the Netherlands are easy enough, what if you fancy a bigger challenge? Perhaps a longer trip over several months exploring a wide range of countries.
Sounds exciting doesn’t it? But before setting off on your European tour, it’s important to consider how much it will cost.
While everyone has different spending and saving habits, our guide will give you an insight into how much life on the road is likely to cost. We’ll also give you some top tips to help keep the budget under control. And remember, no matter where you go, you’ll need motorhome insurance in place to cover your vehicle and its contents for all eventualities.
Counting costs in Europe
Fuel for motoring
Whether petrol or diesel, your fuel costs will be substantial if you plan on exploring even a small part of what Europe has to offer. How far you plan to travel, which countries and the types of roads you’ll take will all affect your ultimate fuel bill. Your motorhome’s age, engine size and the way you drive will also radically affect fuel consumption. If you haven’t yet purchased the motorhome you plan to use for your European trip, check the fuel efficiency first.
In terms of costs, if your motorhome averages 30mpg then it will cost roughly £20 per 100 miles. So, if you’re looking at travelling over several months your fuel bill will soon get into the thousands.
Depending on the model of motorhome, length of trip and weather, don’t forget the cost of gas for any heating, hot water, cooking, and refrigeration.
Eating out and in
Along with fuel, food is undoubtedly one of the costliest parts of any European travel budget. Depending on your approach to travel, the costs of this can vary greatly. What country you’re in, how often you like to eat out and how big your wine bill is will have a big effect. If you want to save the pennies or make your budget go as far as possible, van-made meals are probably the best way to go. Expect to spend around £100 a week on groceries for two people.
Local transport costs and ferries
While your main means of transport will be via motorhome you may wish to use local buses and trains to get into cities and experience another side of European life. In general, these charges will not impact your budget too much. However, if you plan to travel through Scandinavia or around the Mediterranean countries then you may need to take ferries and these can be expensive.
European road tolls, vignettes and emissions stickers
Roads attracting a toll in Europe are mostly motorways or those which travel through tunnels or over bridges. In most cases, tolls are paid in proportion to the distance travelled and this is particularly so in Italy and France. Other countries that have toll roads include Croatia, Greece, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and Republic of Ireland.
Switzerland and Austria don’t have tolls but these are just two of the countries that require motorists to purchase a vignette, a pre-paid sticker you affix to your windscreen. The vignette acts as proof you have paid to use the roads for a certain period.
The Swiss vignette is valid for one year and costs around 40 Swiss francs, while the Austrian vignette can be purchased for periods of 10 days, 2 months or 1 year (costing around €9, €27, and €91 respectively). Heavy fines apply if you are caught travelling without a vignette, so make sure you purchase one at your point of entry into the country.
Many cities and towns in European countries have introduced low emission zones to combat pollution. Vehicles with higher emissions either can’t enter the zones or need to pay a fee or register their vehicle before doing so. Belgium, Germany, Italy, Denmark, the Czech Republic, France, and Portugal are just some of the countries that do this.
Your choice as to whether you use campsites, aires or free overnight wild camping spots will impact your costs significantly. If you use campsites, then the price can vary hugely depending on what country and what season you’re travelling in. On average, a couple staying on a campsite in Europe during peak season for one night will pay anywhere between €11 and €36 for the pitch, electricity and local taxes.
5 ways to save on costs
- Wild camping. Camping for free in nature is a great way to save money. However, not all countries or areas welcome wild campers – check the local rules or you might receive a visit from the local police.
- Avoid toll roads. The cost of toll roads can soon mount up. Avoiding them will mean you travel slower but you’ll also have more time to enjoy your surroundings!
- Cook your own meals with local produce. Eating out anywhere costs. You’ll save a lot by cooking in your motorhome and nothing beats buying fresh produce at local farmers markets. What a great way to get to know the country.
- Stay where it's more affordable. The cost of living in some countries is simply a lot higher than in others. For example, the costs of living in Spain are half that for Norway.
- Get insurance. A long trip around Europe will bring hazards for your cherished motorhome. Having motorhome insurance in place means you’ll be protected from the financial costs of any mishaps.
Before heading off on your European tour, don’t forget to arrange motorhome insurance. Getting in place early means there should be no nasty additions to put your budget in jeopardy.
Policies arranged by the specialists at Motorhome Protect come with a range of benefits including:
- Unlimited cover across the European Union
- Cover of camping personal effects for up to £3,000
- Cover for motorhomes with a value up to £150,000
- Unlimited mileage cover
- Discounts for club members
- Consideration of all claims and convictions
Get a quick quote for motorhome insurance today.
Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.