Travels with Papillon
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Why tour Europe in a Motorhome?
You will get much closer to the inhabitants of the places you visit with a greater chance of meeting them. In addition, you will meet more travelers of different nationalities in a campground setting than in a hotel setting. It isn't just the buildings and the artwork that is important but also the cultural interaction with people.
||Secondly, you will learn a lot more about peoples and their history and culture out in the countryside and small towns. Yes by all means go into the capital cities which have (usually) the best exhibits in the best museums. But there is some pretty interesting and impressive stuff to see elsewhere.|
Thirdly, in the provinces you can usually park close to the venue and can return "home" in just a matter of steps and refresh yourself, either with a beverage, a meal, a potty break or even a nap. After a couple hours of museum crawling we very much want to relax in the comfort of our own "home" with our favorite beverage at a reasonable cost. In addition, in the southern climes many places close for an extended lunch and siesta break. What better way to refresh yourself than with a little nap while all the venues are closed.
Its not about the money!
In the grand scheme of things it is not cheaper. Campgrounds will average 15 to 30 Euros a night and your meals in will be considerably cheaper than restaurant fare. But you will have a huge initial investment. Papillon retailed in the mid $60K range, and that will take a lot of $200 a night hotel rooms to make up. European vehicles and other US makes can be purchased in the low to mid 40's and used can be had for less.
Transoceanic shipping was $3,000 one way and insurance is breathtaking - $3,000 for 6 months. And gasoline and diesel fuel are at least twice the cost in Europe as in the US. It is not the money - it is the convenience. (That is not to say that we will not use hotels at all. In very big cities they can be useful, and there may just be times that you get "cabin fever" or you are under the weather, etc.) Additionally, we believe that you will come in contact with more people faster in a campground enviornment. Meeting people and their culture are important travel reasons, as much as museums and theme parks.
So why not buy a motorhome overseas?
Because they won't let you.
Actually they will let you buy one, however they will not let you register a vehicle there because you do not have a permanent address in their country. Plus they will not insure you for the same reason. Therefore you can ship your rig over, and keep it registered in your home state, and AIG insurance (company) will write a policy at the above rate or higher. (Or you can find a local who will help you become a "resident" and use their address etc. and maybe get around the non-resident issues.)
I have also heard of a Dutch company that will "sell" you a rig but the registration will be in their name on your behalf, thus you can get insurance. They also have a program where they will "buy back" the vehicle at the end of your touring season. And of course you can rent an RV by the week or longer in most major western European cities, price varies by season.
Rent a motorhome overseas.
Absolutely. There are dozens of vendors who will rent you a motorhome for the week or the month.
Guided RV Tours
Just like tour operators in the USA, there are numerous guided motorhome tour operators who will lead you and you caravan mates throughout Europe for a fee. Many will also rent you the RV for the trip. Use your search engine to find a few. (There is a British tour that will lead you all the way across North Africa (west to east) and continue on through Jordan, Syria and Turkey). There are also tours in French, German and Dutch.
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