* Try the Channel Tunnel, you can to save money on your crossing to France, we booked in advance and got a one way fare for just £27
* LPG is common in France and Portugal but difficult to find in Spain, if you fill up on any motorway service station it can get pricey just like diesel, remember some LPG stations in Spain close at 1.00pm for siesta and reopen around 5.00pm you can only get LPG in Spain at Repsol garages, each garage will have a free map of the Repsol stations that sell LPG across Spain. Don’t forget the LPG brass filling adaptors for France, Spain and Portugal before you leave the UK there are 3 different adaptors you can get that will cover most countries in Europe.
* If you are planning to drive many miles half way through your trip get your front tyres swapped with the rear tyres as the front ones will wear out much quicker than the rear ones thus saving you money.
* Carry a few Euro coins with you for the aires water point, you can buy the jeton tokens for just €2 at camper car showrooms because some service points will now charge you €3.5 for a jeton for water.
* Lidl is great for shopping and great for wine! in France and Spain they sell local regional wines from £1.50 that really taste good, you cannot get a massive selection but they are all you need when travelling around and counting the pennies.
* When travelling around France, Spain or Portugal get the Aires book http://www.vicariousbooks.co.uk/ some Aires cost as much as a campsite at least with the book you can avoid the costly ones in advance since they tell you the price. We have stayed on free Aires which have great locations and paid €11 to stay on Aires that are out of the way and not that good value for money, the book in invaluable for Aires lists and there coordinates.
* Missing UK television whilst abroad you can allways get yourself a proxy server to watch ITV, BBC, Channel 4 players , sign up is easy and only £5 a month, you will of course need a decent internet connection. Here is the link http://www.my-expat-network.co.uk/index.html
* When driving around France buy the Michelin Route Planning Map available from all petrol stations costing €4.30, its a very easy to read road map with a clear layout between the toll roads and free motorways this map will save you time and trouble deciding which is the best route to take.
* Travelling through Portugal in the winter look for the Municiple campsites , they are open all year and are cheap, paid on average 6 Euro including electric a night and they have everything you need and tend to be quiet.
* Avoid Northern Portugal’s IP2, IP3 and IP4 unless you like lot’s of road works and detours through small villages with windy mountain roads
* Stock up on water if you are spending some time in France during the Winter, they turn the taps off due to freezing and this is widespread.
* Use Tarax Bio (available at all Carrefour French supermarkets) for your toilet cassette, about €4 it’s much cheaper than the normal chemical stuff, it works better and has a nice pine smell as a bonus.
* Install a CB Radio in your motorhome, i have wrote a separate blog about the merits of having a CB Radio (Please see my blog entry to read more about CB Radios in Motorhomes)
* When you get LPG or Autogas as it’s called in Spain ask the garage for the free map that gives you all the LPG stations in Spain including the GPS co-ordinates.
* Need Internet access in your motorhome, get yourself a Yagi antenna (or something similar) for your laptop to gain free wifi. These aerials plug into the usb port on your laptop and open up a world of connections that your laptop is not strong enough to receive alone. There are many free wifi access points now including Tesco’s, MacDonald’s, KFC in the UK, France & Spain with an aerial booster you can pull these connections in from a fair distance without actually been there and they help your reception whilst on campsites that have poor wifi signals no more having to park next to the campsite office to get a signal.
* Cigarette smokers, stock up on cigarettes or tobacco if you are staying in France for some time as it’s a pain finding them when you run out! We went to a shop in Adinkerke, can’t remember the name but it was easy to find just off the motorway, just use these coordinates to get you there N 51’ 04.299 E002’ 36.056 You can save time and fuel buy getting the ferry to Dunkirk instead of Calais if you do the cigarette run first!
Average price below for pack of premium cigarettes in Euro, Tabaco is about half the UK Price