Pure freedom, simply travelling on when you no longer like it, exploring foreign countries away from mass tourism: There are many good reasons for a holiday in a camper or caravan. Would you like to know how you can save money and explore the world on a small budget? We recommend you to plan well and therefore to save right from the start and have put together the best tips for you!
At today’s fuel prices, each tank of fuel tears a more or less large hole into the travel cash. But if you compare fuel prices and also plan your tank fillings, you can save here. So there are many neighboring countries where the fuel costs even more than with us. Therefore it is advisable to fill the tank before crossing the border. The ADAC has compiled a good overview here. There are also apps that not only show you petrol stations nearby but also the petrol prices so that you can immediately see where you can fill up cheaply.
Renting and letting campers
You don’t (yet) have your own motorhome, your own caravan? Then renting is a good option to get to know camping itself or different types of vehicles. Why camping on trial can be a good idea, we have summarized here.
There are numerous commercial providers in every city, especially for rentals. But it is cheaper from private to private: Camper sharing is the keyword. So why don’t you just check out your acquaintances or take a look at the website of the Berlin start-up Paul Camper.
The advantage of camper sharing: Unlike commercial rental vehicles, private campers and caravans are usually fully equipped and have everything on board that you need for your camping holiday. So there are no extra costs for camping furniture, crockery or gas cookers.
When renting a caravan, make sure that you have the right towing vehicle and don’t start too big on both if you don’t have any experience. Driving a 12-meter team or a WoMo of American dimensions through an Italian mountain village can be very nerve-racking – even if you already have experience. It is also important that you inform yourself about the legal regulations before starting your journey, which are much more extensive than driving a car. Here the ADAC is a good source, which also offers special driving trainings for team drivers.
Of course, if you already have your own caravan or camper, you can rent it out via one of the above-mentioned camper sharing platforms such as PaulCamper and refinance part of the costs. Or, if you don’t want to rent out but don’t travel much, you can get a season number plate. We have also put together some tips on this, as well as on pension insurance, which you can find here.
They are as big as a credit card and open the way to the pitch but also to discounts or other benefits: The Camping Cards. The most important in Europe are the Camping Card International (CCI), the “ACSI Club ID” (ACSI) and the “Camping Key Europe” (CKE) of the ADAC. Some campsites only accept campers who can present a Camping Card. It is therefore best to enquire before starting your journey. Often you will get discounts on the campsite or from cooperation partners when you present your Camping Card.
Search and find cheap campsites
Spontaneously driving off and staying where you want is a nice thing. But if you want to travel cheap it helps to find cheap campsites in advance. The Internet offers numerous possibilities for comparison, for example on the websites of PiNCAMP, Park4Night, CampSpace, Campercontact or ACSI Camping. Of course, the venerable ADAC camping guides are now also available as an online version and you can also find tips here.
Basically you can save a lot if you consider the following tips:
#1 Travel, if possible, in the low season. The prices for rental vehicles and parking fees at campsites are much lower.
#2 Choose sites that are not directly on the coast and cycle to the beach if necessary.
#3 It is also worthwhile on a city trip to look for a parking space outside the city and use public transport to get to the city centre.
#4 Pay attention to the category of the pitch. Smaller pitches close to nature are often cheaper than 4-star pitches with pool and animation.
#5 If you travel with your caravan: Park your towing vehicle outside the campsite if necessary. On some sites this is even free of charge, while fees apply for the site next to the caravan. So you can save 5 to 7 Euro per night.
#6 Also pay attention to additional costs! On some places the overnight stay is quite favorable, but there are high extra costs for showers, hot water, visitor’s tax, electricity as well as fees for the disposal of dirty water etc..
Do you have a Facebook account? Then there are – in addition to our own CamperStyle Facebook page and our beginner group – other exciting groups where you can drop by: For example Einfach Camping, where the almost 20,000 members exchange information about simple and inexpensive campsites, or the group your tent in my garden, where private people make their plots available. And of course you can simply ask the farmer on the way if you can spend a night on his meadow. In fact, I was only rejected once and only abruptly.
A few words on “wild camping”: This is forbidden in most European countries and is more or less severely punished. In the Scandinavian countries Sweden, Finland and Norway the “Everyman’s Right” regulates that staying overnight in the great outdoors outside of regular campsites is allowed – but only in tents and not, as is often wrongly the case, in campers or caravans.
But: On public parking lots, which for example in Sweden have a view of the lake, benches, dry toilets and open-air showers, campers and trailers are tolerated. It’s a matter of honour that you take your garbage back with you and do nothing else that could annoy or endanger others.