Reasons to camp on the Continent

It's interesting how many looks of surprise we receive when we explain our road trip holidays to people. The conversation usually going something like this:

"So, where are you off to on your hols?"


"Ooh! Where abouts?"

"Not really sure, yet. There's a vague route, but we're camping, so we haven't booked anywhere."

"Oh, nice.... "/"That's brave!"/etc.

The truth is that it's neither brave, nor as flippantly unplanned as it sounds. The idea of camping randomly for 2 weeks sounds like a nightmare for some, but we have our reasons for not making any bookings, and for camping rather than hotelling.

1. How do you know how long it will take you to travel between bookings?

The beautiful thing about travelling by car means you can deviate from the road as and when a road sign or view takes you. This could mean not quite making it to your hotel on the day you'd hoped, and thus being charged for a night you were not there.

2. What if you feel like moving on early?

This time around, we made it all the way to beautiful Montpellier in the South of France. We spent a day in the centre, but out by the sea where the nearest campsites were, was a little grubbier, and the overweight, half-naked men more plentiful. We decided to head back North again after just one night.

3. Campsites are everywhere in Europe.

Don't think for one minute that we're just lucky that we've always found a place to stay whilst driving through Europe. When driving in the country in the likes of France and Germany, there is plenty of choice. Don't worry. You'll find somewhere.

Camping is flexible and economical, and there has never seemed any point in booking. As long as there's petrol in the car and money in our wallets, we know we'll be alright. If we have to kip for a few hours in a lay-by at the foot of the Alps because we're tired and it's too dark to find a campsite, that's fine too.

The only times we would ever pre-book a campsite would be a) if we had a plan to be somewhere on certain dates, and it was important to us to be close by (such as a festival), or b) we were travelling with a larger group. Generally most campsites can squeeze in a car and a small tent, even when they profess to be fully booked.

Possibly you are thinking that 'roughing it' in this way means that we miss out on the finer things that people enjoy when holidaying on the continent. On the contrary; the shower blocks at campsites more than suffice for scrubbing up in preparation for ten courses at the Michelin starred restaurant in the nearest village.

Fling your tent in the boot and just go.