Roadtripping Europe is everything we thought it would be.
We have now been on the road for just over a month and feeling the groove pretty well by now.
Our pack down and set off routine is getting pretty organised and we all know our jobs to do so we get on the road quicker.
We try to free camp as often as we can, mainly to save funds but also they are some of the most beautiful locations. This has not been a major problem anywhere yet. Some of the Aires in France are amazing especially the one we stayed at before heading up to Mont Blanc.
We use Apps like Motorhome Parkings (Android name) part of CamperContact, (has map issues if not connected to wifi for location info, but has saved us the price of the app well and truly in places to stay), Maps.me is a MUST HAVE, free maps available offline both walking and driving this has been invaluable – Download maps before you go. There are others that have been recommended to us like SearchforSites and Park4night which we hold in reserve in case we need them.
We have found quite a few service stations with truck parking offer showering facilities for minimal charge, allowing you to then continue free camping for longer.
There are multiple springs that allow for easy replenishment of water.
Issues on the road
There will always be unforeseen issues that come up, one of which I (Leanne) caused (eeek), burnt out the 12V water pump in cabin by leaving on pump. I confess, it was me! We have been managing for the time being (as it is not the easiest thing to buy from the local shops on the road) with 2 litre water bottles that we refill regularly along with the water stored in the vehicle for washing up.
Another is the 3 way fridge, in older vehicles (and we have had a few) they are never perfect so we were pretty happy to begin with that it worked really well on power and 12V. It is a little less reliable when on gas and of course very important to have the van completely flat. This can be a little hard when free camping. We are trying to put up with it but will no doubt buy ourselves a Waeco/Dometic before we hit Italy (There are none in the whole of Hungary, not kidding. If we ordered it a two week wait).
Another obvious one would be getting used to blogging on the road! This being the first post since fulltime moving I think we all know how that is going! Facebook and Instagram are updated frequently though. This is more so because we are free camping so much, we conserve as much energy as possible for necessary charging of phones, tablets, cameras and so on when we are moving there is always something on charge.
What are the must haves so far
Scrubba washbag or similar, we have done all our own handwashing while driving (or if I’m honest Brett has – that’s one of the reasons why I keep him – LOL) These are also handy when going swimming to store your wallet and keys so you don’t have to leave on bank of river or swimming pool.
600W Inverter, while driving we can plug in our multiple USB port with travel adapters to charge all phones, tablets, camera, laptop etc
We also installed a cigarette lighter adapter that allows two plugs and a USB to run the Tom Tom and Driving camera and a constant charge source for phones. This was important.
Powerboard for your home country and adapters for where your going to, so when you do have power connected you can get everything charged up quickly and easily.
Mozzie and Sandfly repellent, when there are bugs about and you are enjoying outdoors boy does it make a difference!
Baby Wipes and Paper Towels. The baby wipes are great back up showers (the old face, underarms and bum between showers) and cleaners of nearly anything. The paper towels backup teatowel and cleaner of hands, tabletops etc.
There are minimum tools required to have for any quick fixes on the road. The old saying “If it moves and it shouldn’t gaffa tape it and if it should move and it doesn’t WD40 it” is a good reminder both of these are essential in your tool box.
Add to this a phillips head screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, spare bulbs for lighting, fuses, superglue, torch and you are at least part way there. Don’t assume these will be easy to find on the road if you need them.
We brought with us from Australia a new Tom Tom, which we downloaded Europes maps before leaving to ensure they were current as possible and we did not need to use data on the road. This was a very good idea and it has been a valuable asset. The model of our Tom Tom is GO 620.
The other essential is our Navman Driving Camera DDR 630 which is just a bit of extra insurance in the event of an accident.
A samsung tablet, which is too small at 16GB, we would buy the 32GB or bigger for next time. This allows us to load the PDF manuals and guides that we downloaded before leaving home for tours and sight seeing, making it more engaging or interactive learning for Miss B. Also we have our lonely planet guides on these.
Samsung S7 mobile phones, we upgraded before leaving home, and also bought 128GB SD cards which has been imperative for the amount of photos taken. Brett in particular is a keen photographer and even he, has been impressed with the quality and convenience that they offer for quick photo uploads to facebook, instagram and wifi searching.
Schooling on the road
We brought with us a large electronic library, A4 whiteboard, relevant year level Maths and Grammar workbooks. Multiple pre-downloaded youtube videos of places we knew we were visiting to discuss in further detail or in advance of our visit.
This has gone well, nice blend between electronic and hard copy learning. Of course there is a lot of, on the go learning, reading information boards, signs and listening to guides. Learning about fruits and food from foreign countries (a favourite subject of Miss B) especially from our friends in their local towns sharing traditional recipes.
Learning new words in foreign languages, seeing famous historical buildings, making new friends and meeting up with old ones.
So many wonderful memories have already been made Roadtripping Europe and lots more will follow.