Have motorhome, will travel – as far as the road may take you. And, if you are motorhoming across Europe, that might be a very long way indeed.

It’s that freedom of the open road which beckons many motorhome owners to drive aboard a cross-Channel ferry every once in a while, to make an extended trip onto the Continent.

If you are fairly new to motorhoming or have only ventured out on a few quite local weekend breaks, you might find the prospect of driving longer distances, far from home, in a country whose language you barely speak, more than a little daunting.

As the many thousands who have gone before you are likely to attest, however, it is really not so challenging as it might first appear – and the sense of first-hand adventure and satisfaction in discovering new and exciting places well off the beaten track are likely to prove their own rewards.

Nobody’s suggesting that you make a long marathon of it all – though a travelling life in a motorhome is recounted in the journals of the Wandering Bird – but there are still a number of things to take care of when planning your motorhoming across Europe.

Driving

If you can handle driving your motorhome in the UK, you are likely to feel just as at home on the roads and motorways of Europe.

Perhaps some of the variables that catch out many drivers are speed limits, which naturally change according to conditions in built-up areas, on country roads, and on motorways – and may depend on the size of your motorhome, specifically whether it is more or less than 3,500kg in laden weight (the Maximum Authorised Mass, or MAM, which you are likely to find printed near your vehicle’s VIN plate).

In built-up areas, the usual speed limit is 50kph but beware variations.

If you are driving a large motorhome of more than 3,500kg, the restriction on motorways might vary from as slow as 50kph in Gibraltar to 110kph in Portugal.

In some countries, larger motorhomes are prohibited from using the “fast” outside lane of three-lane motorways, so lowering the maximum speed at which you are permitted to drive.

In some countries, larger motorhomes are prohibited from using the “fast” outside lane of three-lane motorways, so lowering the maximum speed at which you are permitted to drive.

Onboard essentials

Most countries in Europe have certain safety equipment and warning devices that must always be carried onboard a motor vehicle such as your motorhome.

The list varies from one country to another but might include such diverse items as hazard warning triangles (two of them in some countries), a reflective jacket, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, spare bulbs, a breathalyser kit (in France), and a sticker on the rear of the vehicle denoting your nationality.

Although courteous, the naturally official tone of any police that might stop you along your way is of course likely to be off-putting, especially if your knowledge of the local language is sketchy or non-existence. A trusty phrasebook – or these days, a translation app on your mobile, is likely to prove a God send.

Tim Lemon
Sales Director at Derby motorhomes
Hello to all our old customers and a warm welcome to all you new ones. I am Tim Lemon sales director here at Derby motorhomes in the centre of Derby in the UK. We specialise in selling brand new and second home Auto Sleeper motorhomes and campervans. For a personal appointment please contact me on +44 (0) 1322 360222 option one. Kind regards Tim.