RVing America versus RVing Abroad (16 variations)

RVing America versus RVing Abroad (16 variations)

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Next week, we jet throughout the pond to take our household of 4 on a month-long RV street journey throughout southern France and Spain. This can be our fourth and fifth nations to RV (beforehand: New Zealand, Canada, and Italy) and our first RV journey as a household of 4.

With journey restrictions winding down, Heath and I’ve mentioned at size what we wished to do subsequent. Should we RV full-time within the States once more? Or ought to we go on shorter journeys and hold working towards our purpose of RVing around the globe?

Ultimately, RVing around the globe gained out!

RVing America Versus RVing Abroad

Expanding our consolation zone and difficult ourselves is a large motivation for Heath and me once we take into consideration journey. We’ve visited each state (and 45/50 we’ve visited twice) and after six years of full-timing within the States, RVing right here merely doesn’t stretch our consolation zone anymore. I might navigate RV life in America in my sleep.

It’s one of many primary issues that makes RVing overseas interesting to us. It’s a brand new problem and it opens us to expertise so many lovely locations.

Beach tenting on the South Island of New Zealand

Every nation we’ve visited to this point has been completely different than the final, however I wished to share a number of of our ideas on what the variations are between RVing overseas and RVing right here within the States. Let’s begin with the plain.

1. You might drive on the incorrect aspect of the street.

As excited as I used to be to hire our campervan in New Zealand, I used to be equally afraid of driving on the left aspect of the street and the fitting aspect of the automotive. To add insult to harm, New Zealand has only a few purple lights and as a substitute has multi-lane roundabouts. Do you may have any concept how exhausting it’s to navigate a proper flip in a three-lane roundabout on the incorrect aspect of the automotive and the incorrect aspect of the street? I do!

Unsurprisingly, New Zealand has a really excessive accident fee, principally because of vacationers like us. They do a tremendous job of labeling the roads to compensate for this and our rental additionally had notes and arrows on the windshield to assist remind us to remain on the left aspect of the street. Perhaps most useful is that the gear shift, blinkers, and windshield wipes are on the identical aspect you’re used to within the States.

In many nations, you’ll be on the fitting aspect identical to within the States, however when you plan to RV within the UK, Australia, or New Zealand, you’ll need to be ready for this!

2. You might want to be taught to drive a stick!

Honestly, there’s no higher description than simply watching this video:

Heath knew how you can drive a stick…on paper. But in actuality? Not a lot. Many RVs overseas are guide transmissions, so studying how you can drive one is a necessity. In distinction, I’ve by no means seen a guide transmission RV manufactured within the States.

3. Everything is larger in Texas America

“You have a small rig then?”

“Uh, yeah it’s pretty small.”

The supervisor on the vacation park leaned over the desk and peered out the window. “Oi! That one’s massive!”

In America, the smallest RVs are about 21-24 ft lengthy. Even Sprinter vans might be this lengthy! Abroad, that would be the dimension of the largest RVs. This is a large adjustment for us mentally. A seven-meter (23 ft) campervan feels small as a result of within the States our final RV was 40 ft lengthy and had three slide-outs!

You undoubtedly gained’t be seeing RVs that huge overseas.

4. You can’t drive simply wherever.

In America, it felt like we might take our RV nearly in all places. Sure, there’s the occasional size restrict like Pacific Coast Highway’s 30-foot restrict and sure roads in National Parks. But usually, we run into few limitations. (The greatest ones I can consider are propane-free tunnels and low clearances round New York City!)

But the older the nation, the tougher navigating in an RV is. When I say roads are tiny, I imply TINY. And many cities and particularly cities gained’t permit RVs to drive in. In Italy, for instance, these are known as zona traffico limitato or ZTL. If we noticed a ZTL signal, we knew we couldn’t go that course… Or at the very least shouldn’t. Definitely ended up parked in a single within the video above 😂🙈

Before we RV in every nation, we Google search “tips for driving in ________” and might often discover an book or weblog put up sharing visitors indicators, what the roads are like, and issues to concentrate on earlier than we arrive within the nation. This is a large distinction between RVing in America the place you just about simply drive.

5. A rose by every other identify…

RV. Camper van. Caravan. Motorhome. Camping Car.

Every nation calls it one thing completely different and BONUS, in most nations it’ll be in a unique language. Don’t fear, we’ll put up footage on Instagram of our l’ autocaravane.

Similarly, campgrounds will all have completely different names. The UK and New Zealand have vacation parks, Italy has campeggios, and we have now RV parks.

6. Those campeggi although 😍

Speaking of campgrounds…

Campeggi are INCREDIBLE.

When you solely have a motorhome and no car, if you get to a campground, you’re sort of locked in. Italy understands that and the campeggio expertise could be very all-inclusive.


We stayed at an all-inclusive campeggio in Orbetello on the coast of Italy. There was a non-public seashore, swimming pools, a number of eating places, a grocery retailer, gelateria, a restaurant, a schedule of actions, a number of playgrounds, children’ loos full with toddler-sized showers, and so forth. They even had a senza glutine (GF) menu at meals so I might get pleasure from ravioli and eggplant parmesan like everybody else. (Okay, now I’m hungry.) Campgrounds like this appeal to households, making them much more engaging to us now. Ellie made mates (who solely spoke Italian) and had a lot enjoyable enjoying within the large toddler pool.

We camped underneath large timber, smelled saltwater within the air, and nonetheless had entry to all the pieces we wanted all week!

(The all-inclusive campground price about $100/night time for a two-bedroom cabin and meals, in case you have been questioning.)

7. Free tenting abounds overseas*

*not together with Canada, which is the toughest nation without cost tenting

Italy and all of Europe are identified for plentiful free in a single day tenting choices. (I do know what you’re considering—superior campgrounds and free tenting choices? Why am I not there already?!)

New Zealand has a repute for freedom tenting—what we’d name boondocking within the US.

To say it’s wonderful is an understatement. There is free tenting in all places.

Just one other attractive free campsite in New Zealand.

Free tenting within the US is virtually unique to the west coast the place there are extra public lands. And even then the lands are distant and sometimes troublesome to entry in bigger RVs.

In New Zealand, we had 30 MBs down as our web velocity and we have been camped on this large lake surrounded by mountains on each aspect. We stayed so long as we might earlier than we needed to dump our tanks..and promptly returned. It’s considered one of our favourite free campsites on the planet 🌏

8. Two phrases: Chemical bathrooms.

In all of our RV leases up to now, the RV has had a cassette bathroom. RVs within the States have them too, notably smaller rigs just like the Winnebago Revel. This means it’s important to dump your cassette bathroom nearly every day as a result of it isn’t very giant and can replenish quick.

However, you might not dump your cassette bathroom in the identical place as you dump your gray water. In Italy, we dumped our cassette in chemical bathrooms particularly for this objective. In New Zealand, I recall Heath rolling our cassette bathroom like a suitcase throughout the car parking zone to dump it in a public toilet.

I actually can’t let you know if this can be a professional or a con. But it’s undoubtedly completely different!

9. Hookups

All of the hookups can be fully completely different overseas versus in America. Different electrical cords and plugs. Completely completely different water hookup—i.e. no fixed water hookup, you’ll fill your tank and use your pump. No dump station at your campsite.

And, when RVing throughout Europe for instance, each nation could have completely different hookups and laws round propane, making this hookup notably complicated. There’s a entire web site devoted to determining propane throughout European borders.

(If you hire an RV, the rental firm will cowl all of this if you decide up your rig so that you’re not completely misplaced if you attempt to hook up for the primary time! )

10. Canada is mainly America however with cheaper healthcare.

There should not many variations between RVing in America and in Canada, although it’s technically “abroad”. I extremely advocate planning a visit throughout the border, when you can, as a result of Canada has a lot magnificence to supply and is filled with tenting alternatives.

Since it’s our neighbor to the north, you most likely will drive your personal RV versus renting, however RVs in Canada are similar to US rigs too.

(But significantly on the cheaper healthcare factor. Also after I was sick in Canada, I acquired a prescription for $80. When I acquired it refilled within the US, it was $400 and the bottle was half the scale. It would’ve been cheaper for us to drive again to Canada and get a brand new prescription than to fill it again up at residence and I take into consideration this on a regular basis.)

11. Public Transport 🚃

I don’t suppose I’ve ever ridden the bus in America.

I’m scratching my head, however since I don’t reside in a significant metropolis, it has by no means been part of my life. And aside from the shuttle bus in Glacier National Park, we’ve by no means used public transport as a part of RV life both! We nearly at all times had a automotive.

Riding the vaporetto in Venice

Abroad, this has been a fixture and one small factor that stretches our consolation zone on an nearly every day foundation once we journey overseas. Since many cities are inaccessible by RV (to not point out, I don’t need to drive an RV in Paris!) public transit is one of the simplest ways to get out and discover.

We did additionally hire bikes in New Zealand and Italy, which was one other nice approach to navigate.

12. Thank you for delivering my package deal, Amazon.

So this would possibly be doable overseas. I haven’t bothered to strive it as a result of I don’t suppose it’s. But typically within the States, we have now had Amazon packages, DoorDash deliveries, and extra arrive straight to our campsite.

I’ve by no means tried this overseas principally as a result of comfort like this can be a very American idea. In the States, we count on issues to open once we need, ship straight to us irrespective of the place we’re, and arrive quick. If you set “the big grey motorhome with the silver Honda in front” into the outline on UberEats, you count on your tacos to be delivered straight to you. This is so particular to America.

Abroad, we’ve struggled to search out eating places open earlier than 7 PM and out of doors of cities, virtually nobody delivers. It’s one thing we didn’t understand we did so typically within the States till we went overseas and didn’t have the choice.

13. Languages, clearly.

This felt so apparent I wasn’t positive if I ought to embody it. But even in Canada and Mexico, you’ll be confronted with needing to grasp one other language. In all of our travels to this point, since tenting is a tourism business, workers at campgrounds converse a number of languages.

Signage is sort of at all times additionally in English or makes use of symbols/footage which might be universally understood. So language could be a distinction, however not as huge of a deal as you would possibly suppose.

14. You spend extra money.

The greatest, most blatant con to RVing overseas versus the States is the associated fee. Cost of dwelling (I’m speaking fuel costs, meals, eating places) will differ broadly by which nation you’re RVing in, however on high of that, you’re paying for an RV rental. This is usually 1000’s of {dollars} a month.

When we determined to spend two months campervanning throughout New Zealand, we obtained a quote for over 10,000 New Zealand {dollars}! We acquired artistic and labored with the rental firm to create content material to offset that invoice, however nonetheless ended up paying effectively over $5,000 for our rental.

On high of the RV rental, you’re most likely going to pay for flights and motels as effectively. We’ve taken 3-4 nights in a lodge or Airbnb to regulate to jetlag. I extremely advocate this if in case you have the time, however it’s an extra expense. Visiting cities in RVs is troublesome, so this can be a nice approach to discover a metropolis, alter to a unique tradition, and really feel energized earlier than you hit the open street.

Because RVing within the States was at all times full-time for us, we knew it wasn’t trip. Internationally, it’s exhausting to not consider your journey as a trip—even when it’s long-term. We at all times find yourself consuming out extra and paying for extra experiences overseas than we’d in America.

italy gelato
Gelato is at all times value it.

15. We strive issues we wouldn’t in any other case expertise.

Have you ever heard of jetboating? Ridden a cable automotive to a mountain peak? Made your personal scorching tub on the seashore? Seen a mud volcano?

I undoubtedly haven’t executed any of these issues within the States…besides journey a gondola or two. (But the one in Italy was NEXT LEVEL.)

I like how journey continually exposes you to stuff you wouldn’t or couldn’t in any other case expertise. We’ve seen wonderful issues within the States…however there are some issues that merely don’t exist right here.

Like mountaineering at night time suspended on hanging bridges that join a forest of redwood timber.

16. And lastly, all the pieces is an expertise.

I began this put up by sharing that one of many issues that Heath and I like about journey is the way it stretches our consolation zone. It additionally provides you an opportunity to be captivated by on a regular basis experiences.

Getting ice cream.

Grocery procuring.

Going for a stroll across the campground.

Yes, that does imply some issues are further difficult like discovering fuel stations and refilling the propane tank.

But it makes on daily basis just a little extra memorable.

Have you ever considered RVing overseas? What nation is on the high of your listing? Comment and inform us the place, then let’s all go! 🌍


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