Camping or B&B Europe

Hill Wimp

Fair weathered,fair minded but easily persuaded.
I have done a fair bit of cycle touring in my short 47 years however most of it has been in India. The last time my bike and i toured Europe i was 18 and then i, in the nicest possible way, slept almost anywhere including propped up against a fountain in a little village south of Dijon and on a park bench in Potiers.

Anyhow @hopless500 and i are touring The Netherlands, Belgium and France for 4 weeks in July , 179 days to go :dance:and the initial plan was to B&B our way through.

Seasoned European touring workmates are starting to
A. Question if i have won the lottery and remind me i am not going to India for once
B. Question if i know the price of a pint of milk
C. Question my sanity

Therefore i deepened my research and :eek: at the cost of some B&Bs bearing in mind we are away for 4 weeks.

So what does this panel of seasoned tourers think/ advise ?
 

ThompsonCrowley

Active Member
Location
Barcelona
Hi Hill Wimp. Me and my wife did a tour of Holland, Belgium and France last summer, from Amsterdam down to Charleville. We camped our way through, trying our best to stretch small funds. The B and B's we came across were quite pricey, especially in Holland and Belgium, usually ranging from 40 euros upwards for a night. We had our dog with us on the back of the tricycle, and most of the B and B's were reluctant to let us in with him, which turned out to be a blessing, as we always pushed on to find a camp site. But the camp sites weren't that cheap either, sometimes costing as much as 20 euros for 1 night. That is until we got to France where it got ridiculously cheap, sometimes 3.50 euros a night for all three of us.
I would recommend camping, if you're willing to carry the extra weight. The weather probably won't be as nice as India, but comfortable enough to get a good night's sleep. What route are you taking? I would definitely recommend La Meuse cycleway which stretches from Namur in Belgium down to Charleville in France. It's a beautiful and quiet route away from the road (and hills!) and there are scores of cheap camp sites along the river to stay in.

All the best for your trip. Look forward to hearing about it.
Tom
 
OP
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Hill Wimp

Hill Wimp

Fair weathered,fair minded but easily persuaded.
We start in Utrecht for the TDF Grand Depart and then head across country to Germany and pop over the border so Hop can get her German beer in, iknow we are going to Belgium with all those fantastic beers and she wants to drink German beer :rolleyes: We then aim to drop down the border into Belgium and after your previous thread about La Meuse we will use that to head across into France to Champagne, then back up toward Ypres and Roubaix, onto Brugges and back via Calais.

That's the rough plan but to be fair we don't want to be too restrictive and if we come across some other recommendations we will certainly consider them. We are also not adverse to jumping on the excellent rail routes if we decide to go a bit further.

The lads here at work reckon that if we did B&B we would be looking at £50+ a day for food and lodgings, over 4 weeks that's not cheap and i haven't won the lottery. They camp and reckon £30 a day would be a good budget to live and sleep on.
 
I budget around £20 per day for me camping on tour in western europe.
But I tend to run slightly under that at around £17 per day.
About half on camping fees and the rest on food.
So I'd reckon the two of you will be around £25-30 per day.
Plus beer .......... :laugh:
 

Brains

Guru
Location
Greenwich
If money no object then credit card touring is the way to go.

BUT you will struggle on less than £100 a day for two of you, as not only are you paying for the B and the B you you are also paying for a nice evening meal out.

I have done both extensively, camping when with mates and B&B/hotels when with Mrs Brains
 

F70100

Who, me ?
[tongue in cheek] A pilot with a month off in July ???

You must fly for the RAF!! [/tongue in cheek]
 

F70100

Who, me ?

Honestly, I'm not bitter about my leave allocation. There's loads you can do with 2 weeks in november, especially when they're separated by a week back at work :wacko:.
 

steveindenmark

Legendary Member
Have a look at Airbnb.com

You can book a room in someone's house. It is often cheaper than camping and B&Bs.

We often use it and like it.
 

MarkF

Guru
Location
Yorkshire
For The Netherlands, Belgium and France I'd camp. Before deciding Spain was nicer, cheaper than camping to sleep in rooms, and go there.
 
My twopennies-worth (with a major slight hangover, so please be gentle with me):
About 6 months back I was also considering the camping option, but decided not a good idea because.....

Camping gear is obviously going to add seriously to the weight. And I am slow enough without a tent, thermarest, sleeping bag and ancilliary items on top of clothing and stuff.

Packing up each morning (quite possibly with a wet tent, in rain) is going to take some time. Hunting down a campsite at the end of a day's cycling could also take quite some time. If it is anything like Scotland in places, it will be impossible. ( Last time up in the NW we gave up and slept in the car...)
Having to hunt for a particular campsite, if you know it exists, also starts to place restrictions on where you go when.

On the whole I would imagine b&bs will be much more prevalent than campsites. Should we get lucky and find lots and lots of campsites en route, from Google research, most in Europe appear to have static tents (and caravans) which would be a good alternative option - they don't charge a crazy amount and there is no faffing with wet tents. Also hostels will be cheap, and we have the option of that scheme that @Biscuit mentioned.

From the SE Asia tour, I know that at the end of a day when I'm absolutely knackered the last thing I would want to be faced with is fighting a tent. All I want is food, a beer, and bed :P

I'm sure I had other reasons that I will post when my hangover permits memory recall.
Oh, and @Hill Wimp, in a flash of almost brilliance (fuelled by beer :biggrin:), last night, I thought that maybe the other thing would be to get our ar$es out there sans tents, do the first couple of days as planned with the current accommodation booking and try the next couple of nights winging it as planned... and if it turns out to be an expensive nightmare, we can go and buy a tent and sleeping bag if we need to..... I'd need to buy a new sleeping bag anyway.
 
Ah...I have remembered a couple of other reasons

One is being able to wash and dry clothes overnight in a room.
The other is needing a power socket - my phone being used as camera and satnav requires frequent charging.
 

andym

Über Member
Hunting down a campsite at the end of a day's cycling could also take quite some time. If it is anything like Scotland in places, it will be impossible. ( Last time up in the NW we gave up and slept in the car...)
Having to hunt for a particular campsite, if you know it exists, also starts to place restrictions on where you go when.
On the whole I would imagine b&bs will be much more prevalent than campsites.

I don't have an axe to grind one way or the other - if I could afford it I would happily leave the tent etc at home and travel light, but:-

The Netherlands has thousands of campsites - more per square mile than any other European country. (I sometimes wonder if any Dutch person who doesn't camp is regarded as unpatriotic). France has more than you can shake a stick at. With websites like eurocampings.co.uk and Google it's really very easy to mark up a map with campsites (or store them on a gps).

Campsites will usually fit you in while in high season hotels may well be full or have requirements for minimum stays or half board only.

The UK also has an amazing number of campsites - especially if you don't mind poo-ing in a paper sack (aka a 'Loveable Loo' or compost toilet).

EDIT: don't forget warmshowers.org
 
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Hill Wimp

Hill Wimp

Fair weathered,fair minded but easily persuaded.
Im not sure that the weight of an ultralight sleeping bag and tent will make a blind bit of difference to cycling in the Netherlands being as it's so flat but @hopless500 you could always bring your butler to carry your stuff as you did in SE Asia :tongue:.:ph34r:

I am not planning on cooking anything either so there will be no weight added there and if i can't wash my smalls in the campsite showers and dry them in my string bag attached to my handlebars then i will be in trouble.

One thing i can certainly say for sure is that mainland Europe has thousands of campsites so we will never be without room to drop our stuff and worst case senario that we have to stop somewhere without a b&b we will always be able to find someone prepared to take a few Euros to lets us pitch our tents for the night. Friends of my parents who live just outside Rouen will never turn a desperate camper away from their paddock for Euros in the hand.

We still have a while to decide and perhaps we may go 50/50 with one camping and the other staying in the b&b but whatever happens i can guarantee that we will sitting somewhere at the end of the day with a beer in hand ^_^
 
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