What solutions to travel abroad by RV ?

Depending on the length of your stay, several solutions are available to you if you wish to travel by recreational vehicle. Let’s compare the options for an RV trip abroad ! 

1. Shipping 

By the word shipping, we mean importing your motorhome by sea transport. This option is often very long in terms of administrative procedures and above all, very expensive. To familiarize yourself with the terms of shipping, we distinguish the freight forwarder, who will organize the transport, and the shipping company which will actually transport your recreational vehicle. 

This solution is long because you have to organize it in advance. It is recommended to book the freight (the transport of your motorhome) at least one month before your departure on holiday. For transport, you will have the choice between : 

• the container: this solution concerns RVs of 2.30 meters in height and maximum length. This is the safest way, you will have less risk of theft or damage to your vehicle. 

• the Roll-on / Roll-off (RoRo) : this method is often chosen when the RV does not fit into a container. It is simpler and more economical but there is a high risk of theft and damage. 

• the Flat Rack: this is undoubtedly the least risky solution. Your RV is loaded on the open platform which is inaccessible during transport. 

Shipping costs between 1800 and 3600 euros approximately. The price will depend on the weight of your vehicle, its volume, the destination, the freight forwarder chosen and the shipping company. Added to this, you have the costs of port and customs taxes, the cost of maritime insurance for the crossing in the event of an incident, the cost of insurance once arrived on site… You may even have great difficulty in insuring your RV. For example, in the USA and Canada, very few service providers are okay to insure European vehicles. You will probably also have a hard time finding competent garages in the event of a breakdown or for the maintenance of your vehicle. 

2. Rental 

Depending on the length of your stay, a rental can quickly become expensive. You have to take into account the season during which you are travelling, the number of people, the vehicle chosen (age, size, engine, etc.), the equipment you choose as options… The rental price can go from single to double ! 

You can also have the choice between unlimited mileage and a package. Pay attention to the overrun and the supplement that you will therefore be asked for, at the end of the rental. 

Whether you go through a professional or an individual, you will automatically benefit from associated insurance. To avoid additional costs by taking out insurance, you can check in advance with your personal insurer if you can carry out a “risk transfer” to temporarily insure the rented RV.

A deposit will normally be required if you go through a rental agency and it is also possible that an individual will ask you for it. Be careful then to take good care of the vehicle during your roadtrip if you do not want to lose it.

3. Purchase and resale 

If you want to travel for several weeks, or even several months in a foreign country, you can choose to buy a second-hand motorhome or camper van. The goal is to make the most of it during your vacation and resell it at the end of your roadtrip. First, you will need to define: 

• your needs : how many places do you want? Type and number of beds? What equipment? Would you like sanitary facilities? 

• your budget : think about the purchase of the vehicle but also about the additional costs. If you have to change a part for example or if you have to integrate additional equipment. 

You will have the choice to buy this vehicle from a professional or from an individual. By going through a professional and if you do not know too much about mechanics and equipment, you will at least have the certainty that the recrational vehicle has been checked and that it is in good working order. If you choose to buy from a private individual, make sure you see the vehicle before any transaction and meet its owner. Check that the technical control has been carried out, the maintenance history in general, the vehicle registration document, the interior and exterior condition. Ask as many questions as you can to make sure you don’t get a bad deal. Of course you are not immune to falling on someone dishonest. We advise you to drive the vehicle a little to check if there is any suspicious problem or noise. 

For the transaction, it is better to be able to keep track of it and that is why it is better to favor the bank check. Regarding the price of the RV, beware especially of prices that are too attractive. Spend some time on the classifieds to familiarize yourself with the prices offered for used RVs. You can also take a look at official sites to see the current value of used motorhomes. 

4. Motorhome swap with SwapTheRoad 

What about opting for the simplest and cheapest solution to travel in RV to the other side of the world ? SwapTheRoad is a collaborative platform that offers to recreational vehicle owners the ability to swap their RVs, both reciprocally or non-reciprocally. Indeed, as an owner, you can provide your motorhome, your converted van or any other RV to other members of the community. 

Either you mutually exchange your vehicle with another owner (over the same period or later), or one of you borrows unilaterally the vehicle from the other . 

In the case of a reciprocal exchange, the concept is based on a win-win principle, one RV against one RV. In the case of a non-reciprocal exchange, the person who borrows the vehicle credits RoadPoints to the lender. RoadPoints are a digital currency, created by SwapTheRoad to allow vanlifers members to travel even more ! The exchange of motorhomes is done on the basis of sharing, in complete trust and transparency, and above all without any exchange of money. In addition to the interesting financial aspect, which allows you to save your holiday budget for the essentials, the administrative procedures are really simplified. Depending on the different subscriptions offered by the platform, you can opt for the guarantees that suit you, with more or less significant protection depending on your needs. Finally, regarding vehicle insurance, you will normally not have to do anything. Indeed, by borrowing the vehicle of another owner, you will be insured by their personal insurer. This is also an essential point that the platform encourages you to check when you borrow a vehicle, to know if you are well insured as a third-party driver.

If you own a recreational vehicle and are tempted by the SwapTheRoad adventure, join us !

 

Maureen C.

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