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RV Travel in Europe: Comfort, Convenience and Cost Savings

Follow your heart, not an agenda, with RV travel in Europe


Couple in campervan, woman reading
Image Source/Getty Images
Is it cheaper to tour Europe than to sit at home watching travelogues on TV?

Well, no, not quite. But Adelle and Ron Milavsky have shown repeatedly that you can be a world traveler for not much more than it costs to be a couch potato.

Their secret? They took their own RV to Europe.

For Long Trips, RV Travel in Europe Can Save Money
In 2002, the two adventurers spent 83 days traveling in France and the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg) for less than $4,000—not much more than it would have cost them to stay at home for the same three months. They did it again in 2003, when they spent 77 days touring the British Isles.

“If you want to tour Europe comfortably for six weeks or more, there’s no cheaper way than taking your own RV,” according to Adelle and Ron, who say they have the receipts to prove it. “And you can’t beat the comfort and convenience of traveling in your own home on wheels.”

RV Travel in Europe: An Idea Born on the Road
The couple says the idea of RV travel in Europe occurred to them after their first RV trip in 2001. They took their 21.5-foot RV on an 11,000-mile trek across the U.S., from their home in Florida to their summer place in Connecticut and back again.

“We had so much fun, we wanted to do it again,” Ron says. “The question was, where?”

It wasn’t long before Ron and Adelle started thinking seriously about taking their next long RV trip in Europe, where they could indulge their love of good food along with their passion for history and culture.

“We’d been [to Europe] before,” Adelle says, “but always on vacation trips of two or three weeks, staying in hotels and eating our meals in restaurants.”

Planning an RV Trip to Europe
The more the couple thought about taking an extended RV trip through the heart of Europe, the more attractive the idea became. But there were a lot of unanswered questions. Should they rent an RV in Europe, buy a rig there and then sell it back at the end of the trip, or take their own? Could they afford it? Was it even feasible to take an RV to Europe?

After weeks of research and scores of phone calls that were often fruitless, the two gathered all of the information they had collected and compared the costs. They were surprised and delighted to discover that shipping their own RV was the least expensive option. So off they went.

“[RV travel in Europe] was so much more convenient than we imagined,” Adelle says. “There seem to be RV campgrounds everywhere, even in the Bois de Boulogne, which is in the heart of Paris.”

With RV Travel in Europe, Follow Your Heart—Not a Schedule
By taking their RV to Europe, the couple found that rigid tour schedules went out the window as they followed their hearts from romantic castles to rural markets. Some of their fondest memories came from unexpected discoveries made when they indulged their curiosity or followed tips from fellow travelers.

“On the way to Paris, we stumbled on the site near Peronne where the armistice was signed after World War I and decided to explore it for a few days. We never could have done that if we’d had hotel reservations,” Adelle explains.

The couple says one of the best parts of RV travel in Europe was finding local food specialties in open-air market stalls and cooking their own meals from the best local ingredients.

“Europeans, especially the French, take their food very seriously,” Ron notes. “The only problem was that we couldn’t eat or drink nearly enough of the wonderful things we saw for sale.”

RV Travel in Europe: A Very Affordable Vacation
The sky-high cost of gasoline in Europe was initially a concern, but European geography worked in their favor.

“Europe is so much more compact,” Adelle says. “We wound up spending about the same on gas as we had on our cross-country trip back home.”

The Milavskys were meticulous about tracking the costs of their adventure. When it was all added up, eleven-weeks of RV travel in Europe cost almost exactly $100 a day for the two of them. That included the cost of airfare, shipping their RV to Europe, and all of their expenses while in Europe.

“Then we figured what it would have cost us to stay home,” Ron adds. “After we omitted expenses like mortgages, which you pay whether you’re away or not, we determined that going to Europe cost only about $40 or $50 more per day than we would have spent staying home, kicking around the house, and going to the occasional movie.”

Learn More about RV Travel in Europe
The Milavskys share their hard-won knowledge in their book, Take Your RV to Europe: The Low-Cost Route to Long-Term Touring, which includes detailed price breakdowns, contacts, and worksheets to help people who are interested in following the same road to RV travel in Europe.

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