We have just waved “au revoir” to a couple from the UK (they wish to remain nameless as this blog might give them a bad reputation!) who made it their mission to spend less during their motorhome trip than they would have if they had stayed at home.
They had some annual leave to use up but could only justify a spontaneous April/May trip if it did not eat into the summer holiday budget. Having looked at all the options, they decided a week in a motorhome (in this case one of our Euro-Explorer motorhomes), self-catering and not travelling too far was the best way to keep to a tight budget.
They decided to try some Languedoc wines but rather than buy in bottles, they went one step further down the budget ladder and tried the boxed versions. Cleverly, they bought one bottle and a rubber stopper at the start of their trip so they could decant a bottle at a time from their boxes and chill it in their campervan fridge (or in the case of the red, put it on the dinner table instead of the box).
They bought their Languedoc boxed wine from a local Carrefour hypermarket at just €8 for 3 litres and say it was perfectly drinkable. They liked it so much they literally filled their car boot with it so they could enjoy it all summer and supply the wine for a big family party in June!
A bottle of drinkable French wine in the UK starts at around £6 (much of which is duty) and this boxed version works out at about €1.75 per bottle so if you buy enough of it, you could return from your French trip with a net gain!
Here are their other money saving tips for British clients who can come by car (words paraphrased following a chat on their return):
1) Bring your car so you can take plenty of wine home! There is no limit to the amount you can take if it is for personal use.
2) Check all options to get the best deal on crossing The Channel. Ferries between Dover and Calais are usually the cheapest but Eurotunnel sometimes have great deals too. If you have a long drive on the UK side, consider crossing on an overnight ferry to avoid a hotel stay en-route (you also arrive in France very early in the morning so don’t waste any of the day on your crossing).
3) Hire your motorhome in a lovely area so you can explore locally. That way you won’t use too much fuel or pay expensive motorway tolls. France Motorhome Hire is in Burgundy which is very pretty with endless things to see and do.
4) Avoid campsite fees by staying on France Passion sites, they are often beautiful spots and are completely free.
5) Self-cater most of the time, the ingredients in France are inspirational, inexpensive and make for easy lunches and suppers.
6) Explore ancient villages on foot or by bike for an interesting and totally free day out. Toursim offices also offer all sorts of good suggestions on free things see and do.
7) A good motorhome is a comfortable living space so don’t forget to enjoy that too. Park up overlooking a nice view and plan a day of simple pleasures like reading and just lounging about.
Come and enjoy some r&r in a motorhome in France without really having to find the budget for a holiday!