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robf1234

caravan to france ?

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hi i am thinking about taking my caravan to France this year, ,and was thinking, ,is it cheaper to take my caravan or just rent a static there bearing in mind fuel,ferry costs etc any thoughts from people who have done both would be great . ..thanks 

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If you rent a static you are stuck in one place, so if the weather is bad, you don't like the site, or you have noisy neighbours you are stuck with it.

Take your caravan and you can just pack up and move on.

Simples?

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IMO it will depend on factors like when, where and for how long, plus the route you have in mind. In the slack season when they can't fill the cabins then it can be attractive, the more so if the journey is particularly long.

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I think most caravanners who cross the channel do so for the same reasons that they use their caravans in the UK. They love the freedom and independence and that they have their own living quarters which isn’t used by others. Personally I doubt that caravanning is a cheap activity any more.   I refer to all kinds of caravaners.

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I know that there are certain factors to consider but personally I go along with Woodentop's comment. There have been may times when we have stopped at sites that people rave over but one night there was enough for us and of course you can hopefully chase the better weather if you are not tied to one site, if and when the weather throws a wobbler.

Alan 

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It depends when you go, and what sort of site you're looking at.   If you travel in peak season, and want five stars, a pool complex like an aquapark, and a bar and restaurant, then you'll be paying a lot for both a touring caravan and renting a static.   If you're travelling before the second week in July and after the third week in August, and are happy with a simple municipal site, then you can find sites for as little as 10 euros for a pitch, two adults, car and caravan,, awning and electricity.    Municipal sites can be very cheap. .... but don't automatically expect them to be reasonably priced.   Some in popular areas will charge as much as a commercial site, and even have the same pools, bars, restaurants, etc.   The ACSI Card (www. campingcard. co. uk) will give you discounted sites, from as little as 11 euros per night for the same 'package' as above, and some of them are really good value, with lovely pitches, a nice pool, excellent sanitary facilities, and in good situations.   For 13 euros you get an every bigger choice of sites - in many of the 'smarter' and usually more expensive parts of France.

So you take your choice.   As said, in peak season if you want to stay somewhere all-singing, all-dancing then you'll have to book, and then you're stuck with the weather.   If you go outside peak season you can really go as you please and follow the weather,  moving on if a site, your neighbours, or the weather doesn't suit you.

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It very much depends on season.

Our last static holiday (early August 2016) was for ten nights - we used the Chunnel (free on Tesco vouchers) but stayed in Le Mans on the way to the Charente Maritime which cost about £80 and the caravan (Al Fresco) was £1,650 for 11 nights (which included a regular customer discount). I can’t say we itemised the costs of travel but from memory we spent about £140 on peage and the car did 38mpg (130km/h with a roof box takes its toll!) for 600 miles each way so about £150 (total) with some bought in the uk and some in France. So 12 nights was just over £2k.

Last summer we had some issues which inflated the cost but on that basis I can work out this summers expected costs;

Ferry £730 (out overnight Portsmouth - St Malo with cabin, return Caen - St Malo), 10 nights on the Vendee and 3 in Normandy about £700. Fuel 30mpg but less miles so about £120 and peage again less at about £80. All in just over £1600 and, of course, 2 extra nights.

If we were doing the Chunnel (again free on Tesco vouchers) and longer driving I reckon the whole lot would be about £1200.

Before FB Junior was at school we would use statics in June - the same holiday in my first description would be about £550 for 11 nights so the whole trip was barely £900.

Each of these are going to family friendly sites that are not as cheap as it can be done, but then I’m on my holiday and it’s the sort of site we want.

This summer we are going back to Sequoia (where we went in 2016) and frankly I cannot wait as it’s superb!

Next year I think we will try the Chunnel for a bit of variety - we are further restricted in the summer holidays as my sons birthday is currently around the weekend we historically go away, next year the school holidays ‘move’ a week which frees our options up.

Hope this helps a little.

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Depends how long you'll be there and how many different sites you plan to visit and if it's peak season.

Travelling between early July and late August will require booking in advance for the decent sites and you therefore won't have the flexibility to come and go as you please if you don't like the booked site.

So not a lot of difference renting a pitch or a static regards flexibility.

I would budget 60 quid a night for the van and double that for a static. Maybe a bit less but check out the websites.

Offsetting that is the increased cost of tugging a van down.

If I had a fixed 2 weeks vacation taking a couple of kids I'd go the static route. Longer and no kids I'd take the van.

We've done both and there's nothing at all wrong with any of the statics we've hired. Clean comfortable if perhaps a little basic.  

 

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We have done both and now always use our caravan, we find that the cost of a static and the cost of getting by car vs our own caravan and towing is a lot more plus we know who's been sleeping in there and it is clean. We use peak times due to missus working in a school and our youngest being 15 on sites with pools & entertainment. Probably worth looking at the prices of both in the area you want to go then make an informed decision but I would find it hard to believe the static would come out cheaper.

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You can find a site like Le Vaudois at Roquebrune, near to the Mediterranean beaches, for 13 euros per night for car, caravan, awning, electricity, and two people, between 21-04-2018 to 04-07-2018 and then again from 25-08-2018 to 29-09-2018.   It's a family run site with good recommendations on other forums.   If you did fourteen nights there it would cost you just £161. 38 at today's exchange rate.   You could do the entire route down toll-free and only the towing mpg of your car will decide whether you pay a fortune in fuel or not very much at all.    Overnight sites can be had for the same price per night.    I would really doubt that you could get more than  four nights in a static, anywhere, for £161. 00!  

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From what I have seen of the French and Dutch on holiday they tend to live outside as much as possible so the statics are quite basic inside.   Also if you are not happy with it or the weather you are stuck. We haven't had to go in school holidays for the last twenty five years and it horrifies me the amount that apparently you need to pay then for a pitch. Off season we hardly ever have paid more than E20 and usually nearer E15/17. The other big plus for me is using my own facilities and bed.

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This year we got two weeks on a Castel site in August Ferry from Cherbourg with cabin both ways for £840 

The statics at Le Grande large were basic but it depends what you want and the cost was about x3 touring. Being stuck to school holidays and wanting sites with pools we have to book. A friend at work stayed in a tent at Sequoi  and I think he paid nearer a grand or more just for the week in August.

Touring is still the cheapest I think just not cheap anymore.

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Le Grand Large is yet another ACSI Card site, at just 17 euros per night out of high season ie between 07-04-2018 - 06-07-2018 and 26-08-2018 - 22-09-2018.   Also seven nights for the price of six, or fourteen nights for eleven.   It just shows how much more of a bargain you can get by holidaying outside peak weeks.   

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The only answer to this question is to do a lot of research in order to have as clear an idea as possible as to what the cost of the various options are. Then decide on what you want.

Over the years I have nosed around a fair number of “cabines” They tend to be very basically equipped (very thin mattresses are the norm) many only have a couple of hob rings and limited cooking utensils etc. I am not trying to influence you as it must be your decision, just passing on my experiences.  

You have not stated what time of year you are travelling. If it “off season” then using ACSI sites can save you a considerable sum.  

So it’s research, research and yet more research required.

Andy

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10 hours ago, PandR said:

Depends how long you'll be there and how many different sites you plan to visit and if it's peak season.

Travelling between early July and late August will require booking in advance for the decent sites and you therefore won't have the flexibility to come and go as you please if you don't like the booked site.

So not a lot of difference renting a pitch or a static regards flexibility.

I would budget 60 quid a night for the van and double that for a static. Maybe a bit less but check out the websites.

Offsetting that is the increased cost of tugging a van down.

If I had a fixed 2 weeks vacation taking a couple of kids I'd go the static route. Longer and no kids I'd take the van.

We've done both and there's nothing at all wrong with any of the statics we've hired. Clean comfortable if perhaps a little basic.  

 

Strange, we have traveled in that period for the last three years and stayed, in the main, on well equipped sites (most having an indoor pool and waterslides).

We mostly book the day before or check availability on the day we are due to arrive, so flexibility is good.

I don't think we've paid more than €35 a night, certainly not £60.  

We haven't been to the Med though. Maybe things are different there?

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Areas which we have been to which to be fair are probably close to selling out already are minimum 4 star with outdoor pool(s). Not sure why you'd need indoor. ..

Med

Biarritz region

Dordogne

La Rochelle / Royan

Ardeche

Verdon Gorge

To be fair, I should have said up to 60 Euros, not GBP

Edited by PandR

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1 hour ago, PandR said:

To be fair, I should have said up to 60 Euros, not GBP

About the same these days anyway!

Like you say, in my experience most good family sites for the summer holidays are booked up if you want specific days and/ or any period longer than a few days.  We booked Sequoia in September for 10 days in August and had the choice of 5 spots on a site which has 150+ serviced pitches.

However last summer there was a French couple moving around La Littoral with their caravan every 2-3 days and a few years ago there was a family doing the same in statics at Clarys Plage, but they did get a very big discount for a late booking (they were there 2 weeks and the total cost was about £700).

It wouldn’t suit me.

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We have done it 3 ways.

1 take the caravan. Get the best deals for ferry, sites, fuel and time taken!

2 static caravan, this was a package deal, via Eurocamp, with tunnel crossing.

3 rented a Gite, this was another package deal, this time with Brittany Ferries.

Out of the 3, most expensive was taking our caravan, followed by static, and believe it or not the Gite.

It does pay to shop around. As stated taking your own you are, your own boss and can move on, the latter two, you are restricted! 2018, we will be taking the caravan, as that’s one of the reasons we have it?

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4 hours ago, PandR said:

Areas which we have been to which to be fair are probably close to selling out already are minimum 4 star with outdoor pool(s). Not sure why you'd need indoor. ..

Med

Biarritz region

Dordogne

La Rochelle / Royan

Ardeche

Verdon Gorge

To be fair, I should have said up to 60 Euros, not GBP

Our experience (in recent years) has been Dordogne, Burgundy, Loire, Lorraine, Jura, Auvergne and Picardy. Sites generally seem to be 4* or above but we never pay that any heed as it doesn't seem to mean much.   The covered and indoor pools seem to come hand-in-hand with well equipped sites. I guess they extend the season and also provide shade. We usually seek out a decent toddler pool so maybe they also come with those kind of sites?

Here's two I picked at random from recent years, with prices off their website for this August.  

Les Ondines, Souillac, 152 Euros for 6 nights in August. This wasn't what I'd call five star, but had a pool and decent facilities.

or Castels La Grenouillère near Blois, 218 Euros.

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Having toured abroad for nearly 40 years I could be classed as an enthusiast but its my view that if you are restricted to no more than 2 weeks its going to be an expensive exercise, most of the costs of a long holiday are going to be exactly the same and just spread over 2 weeks. I would get some quotes for statics first before committing.   

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We are booking our son into a chalet at the same place we are going for one week and it costs the same as our 18 night holiday!

 

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A friend from work went to ille  de rae area last August and couldn't get a pitch anywhere near the coast, it was all fully booked. Considering the cost of a crossing i wouldn't fancy just rocking up with kids and having to choose a site with only a couple of nights booked, personally I and the boss want somewhere booked. If push came to shove we could always chase the sun if sites were available further south. However the minute we can go without kids and out of school holidays then I would definitely be  proper touring but at the moment we need the safety of holiday booked with facilities as a starting point. Each to their own though.

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1 minute ago, Jiffy176 said:

A friend from work went to ille  de rae area last August and couldn't get a pitch anywhere near the coast, it was all fully booked. Considering the cost of a crossing i wouldn't fancy just rocking up with kids and having to choose a site with only a couple of nights booked, personally I and the boss want somewhere booked. If push came to shove we could always chase the sun if sites were available further south. However the minute we can go without kids and out of school holidays then I would definitely be  proper touring but at the moment we need the safety of holiday booked with facilities as a starting point. Each to their own though.

+1 Sites fully booked at peak certainly my experience.

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I guess it depends on where you are going and how exacting you are in your requirements.

Île de Ré is a small area (though at 3 miles wide, wouldn't every site be fairly close to a beach?!) so only a limited amount of pitches. Same will apply for many coastal resorts, potentially.   

I can only go on my own experience, which is that, so far in France, every site we have phoned ahead to (either day before arrival or day of arrival) has had pitches free.

We always start our holidays with a booked site because it works out cheaper on the ferry. If we were absolutely set on a particular destination then I would definitely book and as early as possible. If for no other reason than to get the best deal or potentially secure a preferred pitch.

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2 hours ago, svimes said:

I guess it depends on where you are going and how exacting you are in your requirements.

Île de Ré is a small area (though at 3 miles wide, wouldn't every site be fairly close to a beach?!) so only a limited amount of pitches. Same will apply for many coastal resorts, potentially.   

I can only go on my own experience, which is that, so far in France, every site we have phoned ahead to (either day before arrival or day of arrival) has had pitches free.

We always start our holidays with a booked site because it works out cheaper on the ferry. If we were absolutely set on a particular destination then I would definitely book and as early as possible. If for no other reason than to get the best deal or potentially secure a preferred pitch.

He couldn't get on any site in the island at all, all full and there wasn't anything around the coastal areas nearby so they had to head in land. To be fair I don't think too much planning went into it other than a general direction to travel in and see what was free upon arrival there were no kids so I don't think a top notch site was on the list. But it could be potential hassle if unexpected.

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