Our second caravan trip was worth it. We went through tidy Austria, clean north and also wild south of Italy — 11 camps altogether. Traveling with family worked on a trip over 5.000 km long. Toyota did everything well.
30 days of travelling
The most important thing is to have conditions to be able to leave Czech for a month (wife on maternity leave, kids still are not in age to go to school, job over the Internet). Even though my conditions are close to ideal, I will experience a decline in invoicing anyway. The deepest cliff are the days spent traveling. I will do minimum of my work in the morning (I can hardly reply to my emails) and in the evening after full day of driving I am not capable of doing anything. Regardless of the fact if we arrive at four or eight PM. That's why we are taking it easy – more nights at one camp.
Costs of traveling
- Gas: €790 (5200 km; 9,5 l/100km; €1,6 per liter)
- Ferry from Villa San Giovanni to Messina: €80 (30min, shopping on the spot)
- Ferry from Palermo to Civitavecchio: €250 (12h, savings of 1 000 road km, bought at AFerry)
- 28 nights at campsites: €448 (roughly €18/night, all via ACSI card)
- Internet 2,56 GB for 1000 Kč/month (roughly €40/month)
- Total: €1 607 / 41 465 Kč (25,80 Kč per Euro)
- Food not included, we would be eating at home as well
More savings can be made by boondocking (wild camping) and staying at stellplatz locations (that's the name we call them in Europe) instead of camps. Another possibility is the right mix of traveling by car and ferries. We did a slow sightseeing going south and quick return going north. We used autobahn in Austria (vignette for personal vehicle is OK). In Italy we stayed away from toll-roads and they were good quality. Only around Pompeii there is a wilder part of 30km.
If that is expensive or not is up to you. For me it is a great value, considering we have two kids and we have been away for a month. The same trip in cheap hotels can be estimated for 64 944 Kč (€707,20 for diesel at 8,5l/100km, €50+€80 ferries, €1 680 hotels for €60/night). But in hotels reheating food for kids and cooking some special chew can be a challenge.
Things to note
- I updated my map of Visited campsites
- Toyota's mileage is 8,5l without caravan and 9,5 liters with caravan (BMW was at 8,9 and 11,2 respectively)
- Price for gas in Austria is €1.3-€1.4 and €1.6-€1.7 in Italy.
- The best search engine for ferries in Europe – AFerry
- You can find a full gallery in Traveling section
- The camp reception is usually open from 8 AM till 8 PM. Often you can find it on a website.
Somewhere on the Internet I found an information, that if you have camera on your mouth, you can stabilize the image a lot. I tried it a bit and it really works – ideal solution for driving a car if you want to look around.
Usual reception of a smaller campsite. The owner sometimes knows English more, sometimes less. Not much to talk about. I always write an email to the campsite in advance, but outside high season it is probably not necessary. If we were not alone in the camp, it was around 10-20% full. Southern camps mostly did not respond to the email – but on the spot it was all OK.
Truck washer was handy. For roughly 4 gettoni (around €4) we washed our entourage.
Kid's playgrounds. Basic element of a good camp, which we could not miss. A slide, sand pit, and a carousel are essential features of every campsite. Kids are talking about it and looking forward to it (apart from their requests to stop at every single one of them to have a slide).
Malls and bigger groceries are great for parking. Well, we occupy 4-6 places, but we don't mind the furthest place in the parking lot, where we do not disturb and are not disturbed. Stop with quick shopping takes 1-2 hours.
Food from trucks standing at a side we really love. For €3-5 you can get original and local mix. The owner do not bother with English or exact price. The same sandwich in the same car but a different price every day was no exception.
At gas stations with smaller parking lots it is good to move to section for trucks.
When waiting for ferry to Messina, a driver from Brno with Fiat stood in the queue behind us— he went to Malta.
The ferry to Sicily was expensive, but fast. Return ticket saves costs. I was afraid of boarding on the ferry, but if I don't go straight, the back of the caravan is OK with its height.
Classical situation when lady Snacks and Cook is in charge of keeping the team well nourished. My iPhone navigation CoPilot has great options for highways and you can set your own speed at different types of roads. Time estimation that matches reality. Every day our stops for snacks are 1-3x longer. If we are in hurry, it takes 1-1.5 hours. Ideal mileage is 300-350km/day. Our average speed: 53 km/h.
Caravan cemetery. If only they could talk…
April autumn on Sicily. Beaches are full of campervans and RVs, water is quite cold, but sun is heating the same way as in our summer. Place in the west of the island, close to San Vito Lo Capo, where we spent around 2 weeks.
Small help of the chytravina.cz website, who has a pro in the back-end and a variety of selected wines on the front-end.
This is how my office usually looks like when we settle for some longer time at one place. During the day it is mostly necessary to have a siesta, because your brain does not work in the heat, but it gets better in the evening. We are well equipped with insect-killers a these help to extend working hours.
In the pool, there was, quite unexpectedly, salt water. The lifeguard demanded swimming caps. Coincidentally he was selling them as well. So the hair got stuck into water filter only during a siesta – when he was not on duty and did not care about anybody 😉
Stress test of our Toyota in slightly rougher terrain went all right. It was a regular track to a vineyard. Our speed 5 km/h was not really a good cruising speed so we got back to tarmac.
Ship Splendid of Grandi Navy Velocci corporation, which we were going with, over the night back north. From Palermo to a port near Rome. We have not found a connection where you can camp onboard in a caravan, even though we heard rumors about that it is not possible.
One of the rest areas, which turned into a dead end of the road with one impassable lane. So I did some long distance reverse with caravan. For second time on this trip.
Northern Italy on our way back gave us some hints that we were almost home. More people, we heard some Czech at times, colder and huge premises of camp in Caorla.
Great start of summer
Same as our last trip and stay near Split, we enjoyed this trip, even though it was partly working trip. South from Rome it was comfortably warm, on Sicily hot at times, which is great in April to get into summer mood. Of course we have found some minor technical issues, which we discovered after winter (two faulty water valves etc.), but it was not anything that would compromise our trip.
Camps on our trip in Italy
- Sonnenland & Panorama 360° Austria
- Village Jolly & Panorama 360°
- Le Soline & Panorama 360°
- Smeraldo di Trevignano & Panorama 360°
- Spartacus & Panorama 360°
- Costa Verde & Panorama 360°
- Villaggio Marinello & Panorama 360°
- El-Bahira & Panorama 360° 2 weeks
- Podere Sei Poorte & Panorama 360°
- Villagio San Francesco & Panorama 360°
- Bella Austria & Panorama 360° Austria
What we have managed
We were in Pompeii, Rome and Palermo and went through north-west Sicily by car. Most of non-traveling days I spent in front of my computer to make it manageable. Internet worked everywhere (3G, roaming via Czech Vodafone) and in El Bahira camp was free WiFi in the restaurant. All in all, my feeling was that another trip is not a problem.
Kudos to your and our future trips!