6 months off…. Tour round Europe?

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  • 6 months off…. Tour round Europe?
  • aphex_2k
    Member

    Got my ten year long service leave coming up in a couple of years – 6 months at half pay (it’s actually 3 months at full pay essentially, but I’m doing the longer stint).

    Wife wants to do Europe in a camper van with 2 kids (will be 7 and 9).

    We want to get some kind of camper van but not something huge, but wifey wants an actual bed and thinks the kids should have one too (I reckon a 2 man dome tent would be fine but for 6 months?)

    Dunno…. What would STW drive?

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    I guess you could get a camper with a pop-top and stick the kids up there, but I reckon it would get a bit claustrophic over six months. I’d maybe invest in some really good luxury camping mats and a biggish tent or an awning. That way you kind of use the van as a kitchen and somewhere to sit when it’s wet and for sleeping on short overnight stops, but for longer stays you use it as part of an extended tent/van combo living arrangement. You could always chuck in a pop-up two-person tent as well. Can you hire a van and do a weekend trip and see how it goes maybe, but we found having an awning complete with sleeping area, table etc made a big difference. It just gives you more options.

    Edit: a mate of mine ran a Mazda Bongo, which is on the small side admittedly, with a pop-top for himself, wife and two small kids. They ended up upgrading to a medium-sized mobile home thing.

    nickjb
    Member

    I reckon bwd is spot on for something flexible. I expect in that time you’ll spend some nights on campsites, some in a lay by. Sometimes you’ll set up camp, sometimes you’ll just pull up for a night. A tent or awning as an extra space you can expand into will help. And for the van, I think I’d lean towards something bigger rather than smaller. You will appreciate the extra space and the bigger size won’t be that much of an inconvenience on the continent

    IHN
    Member

    MrsIHN and I toured Europe for six months in a SWB T5 camper with a small porch awning, we rarely felt the need for more space. You have to remember that, bar the odd rainy day, you’ll be spending nearly every waking hour outside the van (assuming you’re heading to the warmer climes)

    Friends of ours (and he’s a poster on here) have a LWB T5 camper with a poptop for the two for them and their two girls, who are about the same age as yours, with a larger driveaway awning. Suits them down to the ground, and they do multi-week trips to Spain etc in it. That’s what I’d be looking at if I were you.

    From experience, on a long trip like that you don’t want something too big as, as well as the ‘holiday’ type stuff, you’ll also be doing some ‘normal’ type stuff, like going to the supermarket, parking in town centres, etc etc, where a big motorhome would be more of a PITA.

    johndoh
    Member

    Why not save the cost of a campervan, get Interrail tickets and stay in hostels? It’s a great way to travel and you all get to enjoy the scenery as you travel around.

    IHN
    Member

    Why not save the cost of a campervan, get Interrail tickets and stay in hostels?

    It’s worth remembering that you get to keep and use the campervan after the trip. We still have ours, eight years later.

    I would love to go Interrailing around Europe mind.

    Premier Icon FuzzyWuzzy
    Subscriber

    Nice, what job gives you 3 months off on full pay for 10 years service? I only got a £100 gift voucher and cheap framed certificate (since binned) after 20 years 🙁

    Can I come? I won’t take up much room.

    aphex_2k
    Member

    I work for the health service in Western Australia

    We actually have a scheme where you work for 4 years for 80% salary then take a year off paid at 80%. The only problem I see with that is going back to work after a year off! (Having said that, I’m probably going to feel the same after 6 months!)

    The van will be a purchase then sold after the trip.

    IHN
    Member

    (Having said that, I’m probably going to feel the same after 6 months!)

    Yep. I took a year out in total, and it’s ruined the world of work for me…

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    What exactly are you going to do every day ?

    gribble
    Member

    Well, I am not much help but I think the OP has got the idea spot on. I would put on a pot of coffee and get the atlas out.

    I would love to do something similar in both North America and across Europe. I can dream…

    johndoh
    Member

    It’s worth remembering that you get to keep and use the campervan after the trip. We still have ours, eight years later.

    Well yes I know that – I assume you could probably sell it straight after the trip on at little value loss too but I thought I would mention it as an option. And yes, Interrailing is great fun 🙂

    scruff9252
    Member

    We bought a Scudo camper for my (Now) wife an I to away with with an eye for using it for a month’s road trip round Europe for our honeymoon. Size wise this is the same size as a T5 and fits in a tesco parking bay.

    We’ve since found that for a weekend/long weekend it’s brilliant and have used it a lot over winter. However when we were away for over a week last year, we were looking forward to getting back to a bigger bed – ours is around 1m wide in our ‘van.

    In your situation I’d be actually looking more at caravans tbh – I can’t imagine with 6 months away you’d be wanting to move locations each & every day so with a caravan you get more space plus the ability to pop to the shops easier in the car.

    Alternatively I’d be looking at coach built motorhomes for the extra space.

    johndoh
    Member

    What exactly are you going to do every day ?

    If you don’t know what you would do with your family every day for six months as you travel around Europe exploring all the amazing towns, cities, lakes, mountains etc then travelling isn’t for you.

    I’ve got a LWB T5, and two young kids. I’m going to respectfully put my opinion to be considered alongside IHN’s.

    A t5 type is too small for this trip. Get something much bigger, especially for a longer trip. Fair enough loads of people, including me, have a t5 as a compromise for day to day life. But the idea of using it for a six month trip in preference to something that will do the job much, much better mystifies me.

    Get a heuge van. End of.

    munrobiker
    Member

    I’ve been away in a VW T5 camper and a couple of older coachbuilt ones and would say get a coachbuilt one. Setting up a bed every night and an awning regularly will be a pain in the arse for 6 months, and with four of you there’s no where for all of you to stand at the same time which will make rainy days or short stops without an awning unpleasant. If you don’t get a pop to you also can’t stand up straight.

    By comparison, you can get a coachbuilt one with a permanent bed, proper cooker, there’s space to walk around and you have a toilet for when you’re way out in the sticks and the 7 year old demands a dump. They come with their own disadvantages in terms of size and fuel efficiency but they’re much easier to live in. I know two couples who do van life – one in Scotland in a normal van and they tend to be grubby and the winters were tough for them, coming back from an adventure on a rainy day with nowhere to shower meant they couldn’t warm themselves back up and they struggled. The other are in a proper coachbuilt job touring Europe (they even caught the ferry to Morocco) and are really comfortable.

    Edit: What thegeneralist said.

    Edukator
    Member

    Six months means you’ll have seasons to benefit from or contend with. The Summer will be hot in the south (but you’re used to that) so the north seems a good idea. At the start of the season Spain is really pleasant.

    I’d buy a L2, H2 Fiat Ducato or Renault Master panel-van based camper with a fix bed at the rear and a convertible dining area. I’d throw a tent in for when on campsites for the kids. Don’t underestimate the time you are going to spend on campsites (and the cost). Camper vans are not welcome in many of the places you’ll want to visit and you’ll end up on a campsite.

    IHN
    Member

    when you’re way out in the sticks and the 7 year old demands a dump

    That’s what god invented hedges 😉

    aphex_2k
    Member

    weeksy

    Subscriber
    What exactly are you going to do every day ?

    Dude I’ve not decided on the vehicle yet, can I get back to you with the itinerary? 🙂

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