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chris76

first trip abroad

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hi all im new here weve just bought a cruiser and am about to book the ferry to calais

 

im booking through the caravan club and am wondering are the vouchers worth getting?

 

were going for the full 6 weeks school summer holidays

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 You will need 2 vouchers per night in high season  so that is £50 plus the cost of any additional people on top of the two it covers so you have to weigh up the cost against the normal sight costs.

On top of this you are obviously limited to the sites it lists.

I get some as part of the ferry deal on Ports - Caen and have a job to use them. They last two seasons.

 

Edited by ascsbe
more info

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Chris,  With a ferry booking to Calais I doubt if the C&MC site vouchers will save you any money, so buy a copy of Touring France site guide from that Club,  pick your sites from that and pay without vouchers. As well as listing sites it's got a wealth of information and advice for a first trip overseas.  Good wishes.  

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Hi Chris,  The C&MC vouchers can only be used at the more expensive sites - and there are thousands of other sites in France where they won't be accepted anyway - and which can be very much cheaper, even during the school holidays.   Municipal sites (those run by the local town council) are almost always cheaper and don't need booking in most cases - the exception perhaps being sites in towns directly by a beach).  At the beginning and end of the school holidays you'll be able to use an ACSI Card on some sites, and this almost always offers a good discount over the site's standard tariffs.    You'll pay child supplements if you have children but these would be payable even if you were paying the full rate to the site.   Take a look at the ACSI Card website (www. campingcard. co. uk) to see if you think it would be worth your while.  

 However,  there are many other sites to choose from, such as municipal sites, smaller less expensive commercial sites, and if your 'cruiser' is a motorhome then you can use Aires which are provided in many towns and villagers for motorhomes exclusively.   

 

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10 minutes ago, WispMan said:

:goodpost:

+1

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yeah some good advice thanks for taking the time to reply.

 

i guessed we would be more limited. ... I'll just go ahead and book the ferry tickets without the vouchers.

 

Im getting a price of £287 with 12pm outbound and 2 pm inbound crossings,  im pretty pleased with that or are the prices likely to come down a bit in the new year?

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3 hours ago, chris76 said:

Are the prices likely to come down a bit in the new year?

My experience (with DFDS) is that the prices vary on a seasonal basis; that is, prices will be higher at times of peak demand. It does not seem to be the same as airline prices, which fluctuate as you get closer to the date of departure.

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27 minutes ago, Flying Grandad said:

. It does not seem to be the same as airline prices, which fluctuate as you get closer to the date of departure.

 

Over the last couple of years, cheapest flights are when they first go on sale, and then they  increase in price. ..

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i presume 287 is a good price though?

 

it was 900 from hull to holland or around 1800 down to the spainish ports:o

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Chris76m

just a thought - do you have any Tesco vouchers? You can use these against the cost of the Tunnel. We buy everything with our Tesco credit card and can get 2 caravan trips a year for free.

 

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£287 for a crossing to Calais sounds dear to me, but then I don't know the size of your outfit, the number of people and dogs going with you,   your actual dates, whether you are willing to switch dates, or go for a cheaper time of day, or whether you have a few Tesco vouchers to put towards a tunnel crossing instead of a ferry  . ..so I can't be sure, can I ?  

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yeah i pay for everything with a tesco credit card,the points  all get spent at pizza express though,lol

would be nice and more cost effective to use them on a crossing mind you

 

moorgate its a amarok so im entering 5. 5m lenght up to 8,5 for the van and 3. 2 and 2,8m high for them both as the pick up will have bikes on the roof.

 

there will be 2 adults 2 kids (11 and 8) and 2 dogs (hopefully, brexit allowing)

 

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i would say that with a vw amarok and the cruiser with bikes up top.£280 is a good price for end of july to end of aug.

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44 minutes ago, smino0_1 said:

i would say that with a vw amarok and the cruiser with bikes up top.£280 is a good price for end of july to end of aug.

me too, sounds more than reasonable

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That is a good price for school holidays. Just a word of caution if you want a site that is all singing all dancing with pools and slides and lots for the kids to do then it can be worth booking and some will give you an early discount if you book soon. I know of a couple of people who have tried to find sites near the sea or activity sites and have been disappointed. The site we were on in the Loire this year and Normandy last were both fully booked until the very last week of the school holidays. If you are happy inland with no slides then you'll be fine.  

Edited by Jiffy176

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38 minutes ago, Jiffy176 said:

That is a good price for school holidays. Just a word of caution if you want a site that is all singing all dancing with pools and slides and lots for the kids to do then it can be worth booking and some will give you an early discount if you book soon. I know of a couple of people who have tried to find sites near the sea or activity sites and have been disappointed. The site we were on in the Loire this year and Normandy last were both fully booked until the very last week of the school holidays. If you are happy inland with no slides then you'll be fine.  

You can do inland riverside sites, with a pool and sometimes on a very modest budget - and the kids will probably love playing in the river.   My sons never liked beaches, so we always chose inland sites  with river access - rocks to jump from, rapids to bodyboard down (on polystyrene boards), and later our own canoe.   We still like riverside sites and stayed on this one 'Le Moulin Vieux'  alongside the Cele river.   It has good facilities for smallish children, plenty of space, playground, and indoor games area, with some light entertainment in the bar.   The restaurant serves reasonably priced meals - and I had the best chicken with white wine and mushroom sauce that I've had in a long time.   A family of four could stay there in high season for around 25 euros per night (and a discount for longer stays).  We met two families this year who go back year after year.   The sanitary facilities are in two different blocks - quite old, but immaculately clean and pitches are level with no extra charge for being 'riverside'.  

 

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On 24/12/2018 at 14:23, Guzzilazz said:

 

Over the last couple of years, cheapest flights are when they first go on sale, and then they  increase in price. ..

There has been quite a lot of work on this, and 6-12 weeks in advance is considered the sweet spot for cheap flights.

 

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heads absolutely done in trying to decide which route to take.   the £287 crossing is still available but were not sure whether to go down to eastern then southern france/northern spain or over to the black forest/switzerland northern italy

 

bearing in mind were going for 6 weeks and i dont want to spend our holiday doing too much penny pinching would the second route be massively be more than the first? the missus wants to go to italy etc. but i dont fancy paying £10 for a glass of wine/coffee etc. but admitaddly id prefer the route, but im trying to keep the pennies in check with 2 kids/2 dogs

 

any advice please? i feel i need to book asap,lol

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Posted (edited)

Book the ferry, leave the dogs with the in-laws (passports, injections, vet fees, ferry costs and campsite costs will add £400 to your bill) - then  decide the route later. Take care.  

 

 

Edited by moorgate

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, moorgate said:

Book the ferry, leave the dogs with the in-laws (passports, injections, vet fees, ferry costs and campsite costs will add £400 to your bill) - then  decide the route later. Take care.  

 

£400 id snap your hands off, i reckon more like a grand and unfortunately i think the wife would rather take the dogs than me or the kids:unsure:

 

 

Edited by chris76

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Posted (edited)
On 24/12/2018 at 17:34, smino0_1 said:

i would say that with a vw amarok and the cruiser with bikes up top.£280 is a good price for end of july to end of aug.

Sounds like a bargain to me.  

I paid €250 on the tunnel for my UK visit this Christmas and that was without a caravan.

Edited by Borussia 1900

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I think only you and your wife and family can decide 'where' - every one has their own preferences - but my tip would be to avoid going to far for a first time trip.   As they say 'take time to smell the roses' .   Don't try to cram in as many places (or countries) as you can, just because you can.   Personally I would do just as we did for our first time with a caravan in France, which was a circular tour of France - down the 'east' (ish) along the bottom, and back up the middle.   We were never keen on the west coast after a camping trip there years before (before the caravan) so we didn't feel a need to go back.   We'd camped in France for twelve years before buying the caravan in 1993 so it wasn't unknown territory to us, but even so we found it a very different experience because we could just go where we pleased.    We still have a caravan and still tour each year, though we store it in France these days.

We didn't book anything apart from the crossing - and had a pile of maps and guide books, campsite information, and some idea of where we wanted to go but we waited until we were in France before making a final decision, based on the weather!!!  We had about five stops - some just overnight, some for up to a week - and two children - one 9 and the other 13 - and we wanted them to have time to make friends, get to know a place, and time for us to just relax.   Only later did we start visiting other countries as well as France.

 

There are more than enough places in France to keep everyone happy - beautiful towns and villages, fantastic river valleys, miles and miles of beaches (some of them still almost empty even in very high season) markets, vineyards, chateaux, museums, and national monuments, and the best thing is that many of them are free and parking is free in a lot of places, even the seaside in peak season if you choose the right places.   

Smaller inland sites will almost always have pitches even in high season.   This year we spent a lot of time in the caravan in July and August and had no problem whatsoever in finding sites with pitches free (and we like sites with pools, and a bar and restaurant).   The holiday hot spots will be frantic - but you can be a few miles away inland, and be on the same beaches as those who are on crowded sites, with just a short drive.

France  is also much more dog-friendly than some other countries.   Almost everywhere dogs are welcome - and in bars and restaurants you will nearly always be given a doggie bowl for the dogs when you sit down to order a drink or a meal.

Don't forget to get your dogs organised for their rabies injection, microchipping,  and blood tests (as required in the event of a No Deal Brexit).  There is plenty of government guidance on this but if you leave it much later you may not have time to comply with all the timescales.  

Otherwise, go for it, and have a great time.

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Excellent advice from Val -- as always!

 

We go to France without camping reservations and have never had a problem finding a site - even in high season BUT we do not go to the seaside hot spots.

 

We love touring in France because it is so free and easy for caravans.

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14 hours ago, chris76 said:

heads absolutely done in trying to decide which route to take.   the £287 crossing is still available but were not sure whether to go down to eastern then southern france/northern spain or over to the black forest/switzerland northern italy

 

bearing in mind were going for 6 weeks and i dont want to spend our holiday doing too much penny pinching would the second route be massively be more than the first? the missus wants to go to italy etc. but i dont fancy paying £10 for a glass of wine/coffee etc. but admitaddly id prefer the route, but im trying to keep the pennies in check with 2 kids/2 dogs

 

any advice please? i feel i need to book asap,lol

Be careful on length as using the website our total length exceeds 13m and you pay extra.   We have a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a Buccaneer Cruiser however the combined length is under 13m.   We have an air con fitted so have a height of 3m.   It is actually less than 3m however we have a roof box on the car so the vehicle is higher than the 1. 8m, but less than the 3m for the caravan.  

We only pay the extra once for the caravan height however many times they will charge you extra for the car even though the height is less than that of the caravan.   This can add on an additional £60- £80 unless you argue the toss with them.  

IMHO the website should be geared to total length of combination and not the current "up to" for it to be fair!  We have also notice that the charges for dogs has increased on Brittany Ferries from £17. 50 to £25 so quite a jump.   P&O are £15 per dog or pet.

BTW the best price we got was through CMC for Portsmouth - Caen return £400 including a day cabin.   Two people and 3 dogs.

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