There are three types of places to park up for the night
- Campsite – most expensive
- Aire – reasonably priced
- Wild Camp – free
Camping Card ASCI
Campsites can be expensive especially in the height of season. We rarely use campsites unless we are in an area that states you must use campsites e.g. National Park. Campsites tend to be around about €20 – €50 per night and the charging structure can vary from site to site. Some have a simple fixed fee whilst others have a complex charging structure that leaves you scratching your head and wondering how much it will be.
We discovered the camping card ACSI and it is great. As we said we rarely camp but when we do we always use an ASCI site because the rates are significantly cheaper and the sites have all been wonderful. An ASCI card is a discount card which will allow you to camp for up to 50% off in the early and late low seasons. Upon production of a valid camping card at a participating campsite, you will be able to stay with two people for just € 11, € 13, € 15, € 17 or € 19 a night. This way you will always pay less than the campsite’s lowest rate in low season. You can find out which rate applies at the campsite itself, in the camping card guide when you purchase your annual card. in the app or on their website. The Camping Card ACSI is valid for one calendar year and it cost €14.95 (2016).
All the Aires
Stay on a dedicated car park for motorhomes for free or a small fee. France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Scandinavia all have forms of motorhome stopovers. These motorhome stopovers, known as Aires, are car parks and farms that allow motorhomes to stop overnight.
You are welcomed into local communities, where you can stay overnight at unique locations only available to motorhome travellers. These stopping points usually (but not always) provide service facilities such as fresh water, electricity, somewhere to empty your toilet and somewhere to empty your grey water.
There are several names you may have heard of, Aire, Bourne, Stellplatze, Aree de Sosta, stopover or camperstop.
Input the GPS positions in to your navigational system, so you can see if you are close to an aire.
Wild camping means different things to different people but for us it is parking up in the middle of nowhere with drop dead gorgeous views no matter where you look. There is nothing like just Bumbling along and pulling up on a secluded beach, a majestic mountain pass or in the middle of the countryside. It not only provides a sense of discovery but it really feels special and extremely unique.
We are sensible and sensitive wild campers, which means we are respectful to the environment and our surroundings. We never park in front of someone’s home and we always leave the spot just as we find it. Some countries permit wild camping and others don’t, so best to check out the legal do’s and don’t before you go.
As with most things, there are high’s and low’s and unfortunately when visiting cities or places of interest the wild camping spots can be limited and or not that wonderful. The key to wild camping in these situations is to park in a sensible place and sometimes that might mean a supermarket car park.