Experienced Based Tips

Last Update: January 2010

This page is based on tips that we have picked up over the last year – hope they are useful and frugal!


Maybe its us, but some things we need and can’t get abroad.  Also – a lot of items are very expensive everywhere else.  We also seem to find Asda/Tesco etc in the UK have many more offers on than the continental shops.  So we do tend to stock up when we see things on offer and take them wish us.  We always take a stock of:-

  • Squash
  • Biscuits
  • Breakfast cereal (okay – I’m very fussy!)
  • Options hot chocolate
  • Bargain toilet roll from Asda, Tesco or Wilkinson works very well with the Thetford Blue chemical and dissolves as quick as the expensive camping stuff.  Apart from being cheaper, the rolls are bigger and stronger – so pay 50p for 4 rather than £3!

At Aires etc

  • Always wear gloves when handling tapes etc near waste facilities.  You may be clean – but not everyone is….
  • There is always a free supply of gloves at petrol stations when you fill up with Diesel – so, erm, keep a stock when you fill up!
  • Keep disinfectant wipes handy and use one on all fresh water taps to make sure they are spotlessly clean and run some water through before using.
  • Keep a selection of tap adapters – push on, as well as multi size-thread ones.  Some releasable cable ties are also useful as you may need to bodge something up, such as holding in a “push button” for a while.
  • There is NO complete guide – so if you know one let us know.  Keep eyes open, look at what books you have, and look at POIs available on the internet and stay up to date!
  • Always have a plan B in case the only local Aire is no longer there or is faulty!
  • Be aware most “pay” aires we’ve seen are broken…. The free ones seem to work.  So much so that when we’re low we tend to aim for free ones as we can’t trust pay ones especially in France


  • Almost everywhere is chepaer than the UK for diesel!
  • Gibraltar is cheapest
  • Luxemburg is cheaper than its neighbours – worth a detour when driving home
  • Belgium is cheaper than its neighbours for LPG
  • Spain is cheaper than its neighbours for diesel
  • Supermarkets, e.g. Intermache, SuperU are a lot cheaper than others.  Much more differential than UK – so always look for them


  • We tend to park in supermarket car parks for free when going to major towns, and virtually never pay for parking.  Sometimes its a short walk, but its how we explore!  TomTom POIs are great as you can search for supermarkets and petrol stations and work out where the big stores are – normally within 1-2km of centre.
  • Europeans bump-park – so park wisely
  • Always check for height barriers on entrance AND exits as some let you in but not out…


  • If you use a WiFi scanner on a mobile phone, it is almost certain to get free WiFi in any small town with ease.  OK you may have to sit outside someones house – but hey – be discreet and don’t get your laptop out
  • McDonalds give McWiFi free in a load of places – very useful.
  • A lot of hotels and some bars give free wifi – so its worth scanning all the bars before picking one for a beer!

What to take

  • Less than you think!  We always take too much!
  • Take less clothes than you think
  • Don’t bother with satellite TV – we love not seeing the UK news and naff TV, though we do admit to taking a few DVDs and recordings or our core programmes to watch!

Eating / Drinking

  • Take decent crockery and glasses.  Beer, wine and food doesn’t taste half as good from plastic.  The “camping crockery” sets are really a bit pointless – whats wrong with real?
  • Wilkinsons do a range of saucepans with a solid base but made of aluminium with a glass lid.  Not only are these dirt cheap, but they are very light and despite our abuse come up spotlessly clean every time!  Even after heavy use they are pristine and actually in better condition than our home quality set.


  • We do not have an inverter and do not need one.  They are unnecessary for most things.
  • We have 12v adapters for everything, and considering we’re highly gadgetised, its not actually that many.  All our gizmos charge from 12v through a selection of special adapters picked up for a few quid from ebay.

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