The one activity that brings our family closer and binds us together is travel. Visiting different cities, countries and exploring different cultures through food brings excitement and joy to our travel planning.
It has been almost one year since we started our European journey (June 2014), driving cross-country in “Homer” our beloved RV. We’ve grown to consider him part of our “family” since he’s been with us during the entire trip and has experienced all the ups and downs in the process.
We started our RV journey in Amsterdam and have since traveled and camped in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and Italy. As we make our way back to the Netherlands (by way of Austria and Germany) we are sad knowing our days of “camping” in Europe will soon be over in June.
There are over 10,000+ campsites scattered across Europe and we have camped at many different sites in our RV, (a total of 21 in all) spending at least a week or two in each city we visit. Using Euro Campings website we would check out different sites before making a booking online, sometimes we would even make a booking the same day to stay at a campsite in Europe. There are many different holiday themes you could choose from, such as; Campsites for Naturists, Campsites for the Disabled, The Beach Goers, Hikers, Winter Sports, Kid-Entertainment and Small Family-Owned campsites if you want a more personal experience.
Many of the campsites in Europe rent space for tents, caravans, RV’s and even have bungalows or chalets for larger families with their own kitchenettes. Check out our Europe Camping Guides series where we review each campsite we stayed at! Or alternatively, here’s a list we put together of Kid-Friendly Campsites in the Netherlands, Belgium and France.
This is great if you’re watching your budget and want to stay far from dining out at restaurants day and night, which cost a lot in Europe. This is why so many Europeans camp during the Spring/Summer holidays.
Don’t get me wrong, our family “LOVE” staying at hotels. But it can be a costly experience with a family of 4 and kids who are foodies. Some of the benefits of choosing a campsite for your European holiday instead of staying at a hotel include:
- Meeting new people and making new friends
- Camping is a much cheaper option than staying at a hotel if you have a large family
- Most campsites have playgrounds, indoor/outdoor pools, fish ponds, horseback riding, nature trails, entertainment for kids, kids clubs and sports activities which make for a wonderful family vacation
- You can find campsites very near to major cities or beaches with shuttles or bus/trains stops nearby, sometimes walking distance to tourist attractions
- If you plan properly, you can rent a bungalow or chalet during the low season and save loads of $$
- Experience the great outdoors and visit many beautiful cities you would normally never see
- Most campsites have WIFI along with clean shower and laundry facilities
- Many campsites have mini-markets that sell FRESH baked bread!!
- Children LOVE being outdoors! Giving them the experience to “survive in the wilderness”, where they learn how to respect nature is a life affirming and worthwhile experience for the whole family
- Families save $ by BBQing and preparing a home-cooked meals and have access to outdoor markets, local grocery stores, and supermarkets nearby
- Camping in general is good for your wellness
Although most of the RV’s and campers at the campsites were Europeans (we often found ourselves to be the only Americans at each campsite) this made each and every camping experience all the more interesting and fun. Jaf and Lou Lou made friends from Russia, Ireland, UK, Spain, France, Italy and Belgium. Watching them communicate without knowing each others language was incredible and watching them play outside for hours at the playground, pool or just outside our RV was something you rarely see at home.
Yes, you’ll miss the bathtub, comfortable bed and breakfast buffets hotels provide, but nothing compares to exposing your family to nature. Our cross-country tour has been unforgettable because we have met many new people and made many new friends, memories to last a lifetime.
Truly a learning experience for all involved.