What is Spanish Snowbirds?

Canalsman

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What fab timing, today I logged in to get advice on travelling to Spain with two dogs. I am very interested in hearing about people's experiences of driving through France on toll free roads,
attitudes to dogs in France and Spain
Availability of drinking water
suggested itineraries for a three month trip starting in November
I have purchased a Spanish gas cyclinder and have been told I need to buy a pigtail, I don't know why or where to buy it, any ideas?
I'd love to hear your advice, thanks,Trishie

I travel everywhere with my two Lurchers ...

There are no issues with dogs in either France or Spain. Some access to beaches is restricted but this is clearly signed.

I never use toll roads and navigate with the satnav set to avoid them. It takes a bit longer and there's a lot of slowing down and speeding up for the many small towns en route. But assuming that you're not in a hurry, and I never am, you see so much more and have many more options to stop for a break when driving.

Water is widely available at aires, though in France many taps are turned off in Winter. (I have been known to look for the stop cock and turn the water back on pro tem ...) Cemeteries are a good source for water, as they are here, but again taps are often isolated in Winter.

I'm uncertain what the situation is in Spain at altitude but by the coast the taps remain on all year.

I can't advise about the pigtail - I have a refillable system.

I'm sure some will suggest itineraries, but don't forget to use the POIs to find overnight stops. There are over 3,300 spots in France, and over 1,800 in Spain and Portugal.
 

neildenise

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We go to Spain and Portugal frequently for Winter so would be happy to give any advice I can, what are the general plans are you interested in using camp sites or pay Aires or wilding, all is very easy in Spain and Portugal and can be done on a low budget or a bigger spend as you wish.

hi we are going to algarve for winter looking for campsites and aires any help would be very grateful
 

Deleted member 54605

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Snowbird wannabees

We want to be snowbirds! We have used our moho all around England, Scotland and IOM for two years. We live in the north of Scotland and have promised ourselves we will spend three months seeking some sunshine in the New Year. I keep reading blogs and looking at weather maps and aire maps and maps and guides and I still can't make my mind where to go. Our van is quite old (1997 Fiat powered Hymer B564) and we do not like driving more than 200kms in a day and by that reckoing it will take a couple of weeks to get to better weather. My question is how far south do you reckon we need to go to get decent weather? We do not expect to swim or sunbathe but we want to avoid frosts and rain and strong winds - all of which are plentiful at home!!

I know January is a bad time to heard south from here but we need to be here for Christmas and we have to be back by April so that sets the limits. We also need to keep our costs down so now expensive toll motorways either and the cheapest possible ferry crossing too.

Any thoughts or experience of winter in Europe would be really useful.
 

Canalsman

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I am about to embark on my fifth Winter escape.

Three previous trips were spent in the south of France, and the last one took me round most of the coastline of Spain and Portugal.

This Winter I am returning to France. Personally I prefer France and the weather along the Med is, in my experience, almost as good as the Costas.

It has the added benefit of being almost deserted as far as motorhomes go at this time of year. No Brits go there at all! By contrast it is very busy in Spain, but still perfectly viable to find places to park overnight.
 

John Thompson

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We want to be snowbirds! We have used our moho all around England, Scotland and IOM for two years. We live in the north of Scotland and have promised ourselves we will spend three months seeking some sunshine in the New Year. I keep reading blogs and looking at weather maps and aire maps and maps and guides and I still can't make my mind where to go. Our van is quite old (1997 Fiat powered Hymer B564) and we do not like driving more than 200kms in a day and by that reckoing it will take a couple of weeks to get to better weather. My question is how far south do you reckon we need to go to get decent weather? We do not expect to swim or sunbathe but we want to avoid frosts and rain and strong winds - all of which are plentiful at home!!

I know January is a bad time to heard south from here but we need to be here for Christmas and we have to be back by April so that sets the limits. We also need to keep our costs down so now expensive toll motorways either and the cheapest possible ferry crossing too.

Any thoughts or experience of winter in Europe would be really useful.

We did six years of full timing in a Hymer S700 1992 (Merc based). We tried the med coast of France but had minus 11c temps. So bad the waste water tank froze and didn't thaw until we got back to Birmingham. We had gone to Bologna where we had knee deep snow and minus 15c temps. It was a freak year but you cannot say anywhere on the med coast will be frost free. Inland Spain gets heavy snow and low temperatures, however the Costas tend to be the warmest and driest. Portugal is influenced by the weather from the Atlantic so can get some very bad storms.

We tended to go south in October/November so avoided the snow on the high plains and Pyrenees. Its best to bite the bullet and use the toll roads over the Pyrenees less strain on your engine as the climbs are quite steep. We also tended to limit ourselves to about 200km a day in 2 hour driving spells with long breaks. We set of and park in daylight for easier driving/navigation. There are plenty of Aires in France but you may not always get water as they turn it off in the winter to avoid freezing. You can at a push get water an supermarkets in large bottles. We have seen snow on the mountain tops though even in November. This is to be expected as they have Ski Resorts in inland Spain not just on the Sierra Nevada. The Costa Calida lives up to its name as the warm coast but suffers from drought. It is also crowded out by northern European Motorhomes. Just a little inland from the coast or in urbanisations and you should have no problems. First line from the coast car parks, often ban motorhomes even in winter, you need to take notice of the signage. There are lots of Camper-stops and Aires appearing now but caravan sites tend to be heavily booked over winter. Authorities are clamping down on Wild Parking near beaches and existing sites. However it is lawful to park and occupy your motorhome in any place a car is allowed to park provided you park in similar manner and not sideways over numerous bays. Anything outside the vehicle changes its status from parked, to camping and camping off a registered site is not permitted. The high plains average 3000ft above sea level and rise steeply from the coast, so it is possible to stand in shorts and t-shirt on the beach and see snow on the mountains. It has in recent time been known for it to snow on the Costas and have snow lying in the beach. To guarantee snow and frost free you would need to go a lot further south.

The major roads are kept free of snow even on the high plains so you should have no problems even in January crossing them. Many are motorway standard and are toll free. Breakdown insurance is essential as it is against Spanish law to tow a broken down vehicle. We had insurance and RAC Continental breakdown cover through Comfort. ADAC no longer is available for non German based vehicles unless you already have it.

Vehicle wise you may experience breakdowns but the service is good at garages,
 

Ian Ruston

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Snowbirds

Hi,

I have had a request from one of our Full Members.



So here it is!

Not sure how to go about this. On the subject of Spanish Snowbirds. I very much fancy the idea. I have lived in the Almeria area of Spain a few years ago so have some knowledge of villages and beaches i the DEEP South which am happy to share.
 

Byronic

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What fab timing, today I logged in to get advice on travelling to Spain with two dogs. I am very interested in hearing about people's experiences of driving through France on toll free roads,
attitudes to dogs in France and Spain

Don't discount the possibility of using tolled roads just to get round many of the French larger cities. Over the last decade or so they've had a programme of
putting in roundabouts at just about every junction, makes what was once
a reasonable drive into real tedium.
 

billyhilly

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first timer for travel to spain advice

We go to Spain and Portugal frequently for Winter so would be happy to give any advice I can, what are the general plans are you interested in using camp sites or pay Aires or wilding, all is very easy in Spain and Portugal and can be done on a low budget or a bigger spend as you wish.
HELLO TO YOU ALL i am thinking off heading off to france then into spain maybe in march in our van for 2 months. we have never done this before so are very nervous
and would be grateful for any advice you can give us for our trip through france and into spain via the shuttle. we have a large 30 foot long autotrail tag axle motorhome.
obviously i know i will have to upgrade my van insurance and get European breakdown cover, but what ells would i need please.
 

billyhilly

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first timer for travel to spain advice

Hi,

I have had a request from one of our Full Members.



So here it is!
GREAT IDEA, there are a few off us that are thinking off heading off to spain in the coming months but would not know were to start , like knowing there
LAWS AND REGULATIONS for motorhome owners. for instance can you get free medical treatment in France and spain
 

Dogeared

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Ditto, leaving mid Feb, taking our time in case of bad weather en route. If the weather's bad, tips about where to stop for a couple of days, e.g. near somewhere of interest would be helpful.
 

billyhilly

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winter in spain

Ditto, leaving mid Feb, taking our time in case of bad weather en route. If the weather's bad, tips about where to stop for a couple of days, e.g. near somewhere of interest would be helpful.
hi there read your post Dogeared. would you be taking the shuttle (train) or the ferry over to Calais and then the toll-free route ( mostly) through west coast side off FRANCE
( OTHERS SAY its safer better roads avoiding steep mountain passes with winter weather over the Pyrenees by A16 TO ROUEN, NONANCOURT, POITIERS DOWN TO THE BOARDER CROSSING near Bayonne & Biarritz into spain ,good modern roads so faster route. have you been to spain before or is this your first trip. I MAY DECIDE TO GO in late February but not sure yet . was wondering if any one ells on here was planning a trip to spain in February or march



























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peter palance

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when

I have reposted this as I thought it relevant to this thread , and some may be thinking of costs.

What does it cost ?
People often ask about the cost of wintering in Spain /Portugal in a Motorhome, Well on our last trip I was determined to get an answer to what the actual cost of our trip was.I left home with a full tank of Diesel and filled up with Diesel when I was at Calais homeward bound so those costs are included as is the round trip Ferry fare,we had 250 Euros in cash when we sailed and returned with the same amount of cash Euros Everything we spent was on our Post Office credit card including cash withdrawals from the ATMs whilst away and interest that incurred.so our credit card bill reflects the actual cost of the trip.We were away from home for 102 nights, we used Aires and Wild camped, paid a few Euros for some of the Aires ,bought items such as clothes , a Spanish Paella type Barbi cooker, food,drinks and ate out a lot, bought fuel and gas refills .our round trip mileage was 4263 miles 2.8 Turbo diesel Fiat ,we lived really well food and drink wise and had a great time went short of nothing.and brought home a stock of wine and spirits which we always buy at LIDL in Calais, Our TOTAL spend was £2200 and that works out at about £21 -57 per day, I had to have the van fridge repaired in Portugal and that 380 Euros is also included in our costs.
I have just received a refund from Southern Electricity of £103 as I have overpaid on my Electricity bill because we weren't using Electric at home whilst away, or water or gas so there will be some credit there too.So is it cheap to be in Spain for the Winter, you bet it is!
when did you go and come back only roughly please happy new year as i like to pull a cork pj
 

peter palance

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please

Hi,

I have had a request from one of our Full Members.



So here it is!

please keep us, as in my wife and i, imformed as we as in the royal we would be please to maybe in cluded ? in one of the later trips bon voy arge pj
 

Compo

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spain

hi I went thru france into spain and then into Algarve oct /nov this year with my autotrail Comanche no problems getting it in at any acsi sites they just seem to accept large outfits as a norm
compo
 

billyhilly

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traveling to spain

hi I went thru france into spain and then into Algarve oct /nov this year with my autotrail Comanche no problems getting it in at any acsi sites they just seem to accept large outfits as a norm
compo
hello compo, long time since our last chat. how are you keeping.
ditto, we also have the same model van the Comanche but have not been abroad in it yet. we are looking at, me and my good lady, coming over on the shuttle euro star
in late February or early march through France with stopovers for a bit then into spain and probably over to the east coast between Tarragonna, and Malaga. but might change and try a different part off spain. still a bit up in the air yet. how long are you in Portugal for, is it warm there now. are you likely to be in spain in march. hows the van performing over there any problems. keep in touch paul
 

billyhilly

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traveling to spain

hi I went thru france into spain and then into Algarve oct /nov this year with my autotrail Comanche no problems getting it in at any acsi sites they just seem to accept large outfits as a norm
compo
hi compo, was wondering did you use the train Eurostar. do you know what the cost is on the train for a 30 foot van
cheers paul
 

Compo

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spain

hi no back home in uk now I found cheapest rates were with the caravan /motorhome club I travel over Dartford crossing after 10pm its free then down to dover 0030 crossing gets to other side about 3am travel for about 40mins or so then moor up at a service/aire then when you wake you are on holiday.i like the ferry as you get a nice rest and coffee.i am now looking at prices to travel in mid march with 9mtrx3mtr m/h no dog £43 quid ish I'm going over for a citys break in march,hope this info is helpful p.s. prices in april seem to be around the 70quid mark maybe more popular time for the ferrys
kevin
 

Compo

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spain trip

everything was fine with m/h whilst I was abroad I set off a month before in sept but broke down on a1 .problem with throttle valve my Comanche is 2010 I would recommend a mod if yours is the same .all in all it probably cost about a grand to sort it but now fixed it has done 4300miles perfect.
kevin
 

donrevy

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We normally head off in September/October and return March to May. Only book singles so no fixed timetables. We use Aires and Camper stops or wild park. We have been doing this since 2009.

We don't change our lifestyle as we full time in the UK. However we find we can live cheaper in Spain. VWAlan will contradict this.

Our insurance allows 182 days in any country, so no actual trip limits. We have to return for MOT.

Good breakdown insurance is a must from our experience. This is included in our insurance cover. (Comfort Insurance)

We avoid the Motorhome hot spots and crowded campsites. If Motorhomes start to gather, we move on, as this attracts the authorities attention. We do meet up with Alan from time to time. You can park but not camp, in most parts of Spain, if you stay 500m inland of the concrete coastal marker bollards (Ley de Costa). Remember that if you want to use an awning, chairs, tables, even raise a roof mounted satellite dish, the police consider this camping and you can finish up with an on the spot fine of up to 400 euro. If there are marked parking bays set 90 degrees to the traffic flow they expect you to use them not park sideways over more than one. Some places do not allow motorhomes on the car parks on the first line of building or seaward even if they are totally empty of other vehicles. We avoid staying in one place for too long and try not to stay in the place we overnight during the day. Move little and often. You can often get water or dump toilet waste at Aires or camper stops without need to stay the night. Water is also available at Fuentes (springs). If the locals get water from them so do we.

Inland Spain is nice up to Christmas, but can get cold at night.

Have a look at the N332 Facebook Pages. (Just enter N332) They are produced by Guardia Officers based on Torrevieja, and have good information for Driving in Spain and Motorhome use.

Hi John, I have been wintering in Spain since 2003 and I agree with your comments. I couldn't get away this winter for the obvious reason and I had a bit of a problem getting back last April cancelled ferries etc. I have noticed over the past couple of years quite a lot of the free parking spots have disappeared and there have been more restrictions placed on others. Portugal is always an alternative if you don't mind the state of the roads. Phil.
 

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