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What About The Camp Sites!


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I'm not a motorhome owner and have no argument with those who are.  (I have friends who own motorhomes). Certainly in Europe Aires are extremely popular and bring in a  bit of revenue to the local town I'm sure.  However, I do wonder if this is at the expense of camp sites?

 

This pic illustrates the dilemma - parked 50 meters from the entrance to the Municipal Camp Site Les Greves in Aixe-sur-Vienne.  Free to the motorhome and a loss for the site.   

 

I'm sure there are many who feel that "wild camping" floats their boat and that's why they bought a motorhome, and others who always  prefer to pay for  the security and facilities on a site.

 

 Aware of the popularity of motor homes and the number of Aires around I just wonder if there are implications for Camp Sites. 

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The only implication we have actually experienced of this type was, staying on a campsite which was quite full, we couldn't get into the showers one morning because it was packed with people who were free camping on the car park and waste ground outside the gate. Later, the site manager told me he had ejected one group because they had taken their dogs in the showers for a wash that day. The group remained on the car park for several days, regularly using the camp site facilities.

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I have been on continental sites where you are issued with a key to get into the sanitary blocks, to avoid this exact problem of cheapskates bunking in for a shower etc.

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fwiw ...

A widespread similar on-going problem in lots of the coastal areas on the Spanish Costa's - many efforts to stop it but usually fruitless. Not from eco-new age travellers in old buses but a big range of larger smart M/H's.

Sites with plenty of space needing the business and then remarkable to see some of the adjoining scruffy often fly tipped waste ground areas with rows of very posh M/Homes (some UK plated).

Seen owners then out on the road lifting manhole covers to do the toilet tip out (no rinsing) or in public toilets and at Garages filling water tanks at the air & water point.  Local Supermarket toilets often a favourite spot for a decent wash & brush up when in buying a whoops'd Baguette.

On our usual overwintering site some of the tribe of the great un-washed pop in for a single night to get a good shower, fully charge the batteries and do a fortnights washing 24/7 then back on to the wasteground adjoining. 

Strange economics and carry on given the reputation of similar situation in UK with Travellers etc.

Each to their own ....

M

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I recently stewarded a C+CC THS in North Wales, several Motor Homes were parked in the road outside our site, some even attempted to enter the site to use toilets and showers. When I aproached them they showed me an APP on their phone "QUITE SITES FOR MOTORHOMES" AKA Wild camping. So would you want to "Wild camp" in a dark lane for free or get the security of a locked site offering toilets and showers? We were charging £12 per night, If you've spent north of £40k why gib at £12 pun? Sorry Motorhomers I dont get it!

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well, they seem to have it all planned out, I suppose they don't need a site every night and  see lunarloopy above it goes on in the UK as well. 

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I have owned both motorhomes and caravans, so I can see this issue from both sides. I completely understand the desire for 'wild camping', so long as it is done with respect for the countryside, and after you depart there is no sign that you have visited. I have done this with tents but I confess, never with our MH as I prefer the added security of a formal campsite, even if I choose not to use the facilities.

I do however believe that site facilities should only be available to those who have paid to use them and while it's a bit cheeky to book in for one night just for that before moving on to another 'free site', actually no rules have been broken. Personally though I couldn't do it regularly with a clear conscience.

Parking near to a campsite and freeloading on the facilities, for me is a complete no-no, and I totally agree with 'paid up residents' being issued keys or a pass-code for the facilities to prevent this. 

I have only ever used the French Aires for a brief rest while 'en route' to a formal campsite. I have never stayed overnight in one.

Fourwinds Hurricane 31D Motorhome. Also MGTF135 1. 8i Roadster (fun) & Volvo V70 3.2Ltr LPG (everyday car)
Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan and Motorhome Talk.

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I don't think we are talking about Wild Camping in the context of the OP. We are really talking about organised parking for motorhomes which is very common in France and Germany. Motorhome Aires are generally designed for short term parking, one or two nights. Some are free but for many there is a modest charge, sometimes you pay to fill up with water although waste is usually free. Whilst Aires can be near campsites they are often not, usually nearer the town centre.  What must be remembered is that motorhoming, as a percentage of touring LV's, is far more popular in France than caravanning is in the UK.  The French have long recognised that it is a good idea to provide facilities for motorhomes as they help contribute to the local authority and to some extent controls where people park their vans although you will still see motorhomes parked off grid but clearly not as many if Aires did not exist. There is no shortage of motorhomes using French campsites but is suspect they tend to use campsites for longer stays but Aires for en route stops and short stays. The fact that we don't have a similar system in the UK probably contributes to people parking overnight where perhaps they shouldn't. A few Councils are waking up to the fact that it is to their advantage to provide space for overnight parking but unfortunately they are in minority. 

 

David

David - Milton Keynes

Bailey Alliance 66-2 Motorhome for holidays and a Kia Venga for home.

 

Caravan Travels

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I have seen more than a few French campsites that have Aires directly adjoining  them, as in actually alongside the entrance!!  Vendor being one, and I’ll De Offard being another. 

 

I have owned motorhomes in the past and I have used French  Aires, but only for the odd night when in transit preferring to use a site if staying for a few days. I  encountered a good few Brits who actually boast about the Aires they have found where they can sneak into a nearby campsite and use the facilities without paying. A MH is a little different to a caravan insomuch as they are totally self contained (fresh, grey and black water tanks) They also cost a lot more than a caravan does so it always amazed me the way some owners would try and save every last Euro. Some would not arrive until fairly late in the day to an Aire where there was a modest charge, and then depart early morning in order to avoid paying anything. Mind you the French, and particularly the Germans, seem to be the experts in not paying. I have even  seen them “tailgate” a legitimate Aire occupier through the entrance barrier to gain access without paying, relying on “fooling” the barriers sensor into stopping it from descending on their MH roof. 

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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We sometimes saw small areas in villages or towns where motorhomes and presumably caravanners can stay.  There was a barrier and a small charge.  There was a small toilet block, maybe shower so I guess there would have been water and chemical waste disposal.  They were clearly intended for overnight use as very basic and not like a full municipal town site.

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7 hours ago, meadowsweet said:

We sometimes saw small areas in villages or towns where motorhomes and presumably caravanners can stay.  There was a barrier and a small charge.  There was a small toilet block, maybe shower so I guess there would have been water and chemical waste disposal.  They were clearly intended for overnight use as very basic and not like a full municipal town site.

 

If in France then Those were Aires, and they are strictly for motorhomes only ! 

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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On 17/08/2021 at 19:49, klyne said:

Some are free but for many there is a modest charge,

Hi David, We are caravanners but our closest friends, and holiday buddies, have a MH.

They have said that over the years the availability of free aires has dwindled, they tend to use them as they transit from the port to their destination, and we hve seen a number on our regular routes where barriers and charging has come in.

I agree with many of the comments but whilst some may be a modest charge, so making a saving over a site, some are hardly any cheaper.

On our last visit to Camping Bella Italia we called to look at the Sosta just outside Peschiera and our friends thought it OK but commented that it was next to the railway line and hardly any cheaper than staying at BI.

 

I have had a look  today and, using ACSI, BI is €20 a day and the Sosta...................€18!

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