A good preparation for full time RVing in Europe is vital to its success. In this step by step guide, you’ll find everything you need to know and do before heading of to Europe.
1. When, Where and How long
Your preparation starts with answering the when, where and how long questions because things like your insurance and what to pack depends on this.
Take into account:
- different climates
- seasonal variations
- visa rules
Plan your itinerary
Start planning your itinerary. You can find my tips about traveling in Europe here.
2. Get your RV
Do you already own an RV suitable for the European roads and campsites, then you have to decide if you ship it overseas. Renting or buying one in Europe might also be an option considering the cost of shipment, or if your RV is too big for Europe.
Read more about this here.
3. Make your RV baby and toddler proof
In general, RV’s are made for retired people or couples exploring the world without kids. And even when there is a bunk bed, it might be suitable for older kids and not for babies and toddlers.
Here’s how you can make your RV baby and toddler proof.
4. Make your budget work
Now on to the financial part of RVing. Europe is a diverse continent and you’ll notice that countries have different price levels. Want to know more budget tips? See this blog post.
Do you live off your savings and want to work location independent?
5. Check your insurances
Checking your insurances is probably not your favorite activity, but it is so important to do it right! You don’t want to end up in a foreign hospital having to hassle about insurance issues. So, get up and check it right away!
If you or one of your family members need immediate care in a foreign country, your health insurance probably covers only a part of the costs. So make sure you have a decent travel insurance. If you are going to do some outdoor activities like diving, surfing or skiing, make sure this is included in your travel insurance.
Also, check if the insurance company will cover any costs after a given period. We discovered that our travel insurance only covered the first 180 days of travel. The company would just end our coverage after that period. We found another insurance company that also had a 6 months period, but after that, we pay €25 per month. Although this is an expensive way of keeping ourselves insured, it is better than having none at all for half the year.
Currently, we don’t have a travel insurance anymore. It is a constant balance between what you can afford and what you need to ensure. We decided not to take on the travel insurance, as our basic health care insurance covers like 80% of our possible health costs. Note: this is our situation and you should double check yours.
6. Packing clothes
When RVing long term in Europe, you’ll encounter all sorts of weather. Even when spending the winter period in the warmest areas (South of Spain and Portugal), you can expect it to be only 10 degrees during the day (and beneath 0 during the night).
And even within countries, the differences are huge! In short pants in the south of Portugal? Travel only 20 miles further north and you’ll need a pullover and socks.
Moreover, during the summer, if you think you go to a place with a steady hot temperate, you might be surprised about the rain.
There are several websites for checking general information about the climate of European countries. But these are only averages, so don’t rely on them entirely.
So what to pack then? Read my packing list for kids and babys.
7. Set up a first aid kit
RVing with kids means little injuries. There is no doubt about that. Scratches, bruises, cuts, you will see it all. So you need a first aid kit. Well, I even advise you to take two packages; one in your RV and one in your daypack. Just make sure one is always nearby and easy to grab.
First aid kits come in different sizes and some include more than 80 things. Make you sure you bring the essentials and not the unnecessary burden.
See my blog about safety tips for more details.
8. Plan travel entertainment
My very first advice is to slow travel. Cover only 3 hours of driving per day (max 250 kilometers).
But even then, your kids might get frustrated with sitting still. Read more tips for roadtripping with kids here.