RVing America versus RVing Overseas (16 variations)

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Subsequent 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 will probably be our fourth and fifth international locations 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 needed to do subsequent. Ought to we RV full-time within the States once more? Or ought to we go on shorter journeys and hold working towards our aim of RVing around the globe?

In the end, RVing around the globe received out!

RVing America Versus RVing Overseas

Increasing our consolation zone and difficult ourselves is a big motivation for Heath and me after 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 essential issues that makes RVing overseas interesting to us. It’s a brand new problem and it opens us to expertise so many lovely locations.

Seaside tenting on the South Island of New Zealand

Each nation we’ve visited to this point has been completely different than the final, however I needed to share a couple 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 flawed facet of the street.

As excited as I used to be to lease our campervan in New Zealand, I used to be equally afraid of driving on the left facet of the street and the precise facet of the automobile. So as to add insult to harm, New Zealand has only a few purple lights and as a substitute has multi-lane roundabouts. Do you might have any thought how laborious it’s to navigate a proper flip in a three-lane roundabout on the flawed facet of the automobile and the flawed facet of the street? I do!

Unsurprisingly, New Zealand has a really excessive accident price, principally as a consequence of vacationers like us. They do an incredible 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 facet of the street. Maybe most useful is that the gear shift, blinkers, and windshield wipes are on the identical facet you’re used to within the States.

In lots of international locations, you’ll be on the precise facet 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 will have to study to drive a stick!

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

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

3. Every thing is larger in Texas America

“You may have a small rig then?”

“Uh, yeah it’s fairly small.”

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

In America, the smallest RVs are about 21-24 ft lengthy. Even Sprinter vans may be this lengthy! Overseas, that would be the measurement of the largest RVs. It is a enormous 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 positively received’t be seeing RVs that large overseas.

4. You possibly can’t drive simply anyplace.

In America, it felt like we might take our RV nearly in every single place. Positive, there’s the occasional size restrict like Pacific Coast Freeway’s 30-foot restrict and sure roads in Nationwide Parks. However generally, we run into few limitations. (The largest ones I can consider are propane-free tunnels and low clearances round New York Metropolis!)

However the older the nation, the harder navigating in an RV is. Once I say roads are tiny, I imply TINY. And plenty of cities and particularly cities received’t enable RVs to drive in. In Italy, for instance, these are referred to as zona traffico limitato or ZTL. If we noticed a ZTL signal, we knew we couldn’t go that route… Or not less than shouldn’t. Positively ended up parked in a single within the video above 😂🙈

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

5. A rose by another title…

RV. Camper van. Caravan. Motorhome. Tenting Automotive.

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

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

6. These campeggi although 😍

Talking of campgrounds…

Campeggi are INCREDIBLE.

While you solely have a motorhome and no automobile, whenever 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 personal seashore, swimming pools, a number of eating places, a grocery retailer, gelateria, a restaurant, a schedule of actions, a number of playgrounds, youngsters’ 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 enticing to us now. Ellie made buddies (who solely spoke Italian) and had a lot enjoyable enjoying within the big toddler pool.

We camped below big bushes, smelled saltwater within the air, and nonetheless had entry to every little thing we wanted all week!

(The all-inclusive campground price about $100/evening for a two-bedroom cabin and meals, in case you had 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 recognized 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 status for freedom tenting—what we’d name boondocking within the US.

To say it’s superb is an understatement. There’s free tenting in every single place.

Simply 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 infrequently tough to entry in bigger RVs.

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

8. Two phrases: Chemical bogs.

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 implies you must dump your cassette bathroom nearly every day as a result of it isn’t very giant and can replenish quick.

Nonetheless, you could not dump your cassette bathroom in the identical place as you dump your gray water. In Italy, we dumped our cassette in chemical bogs 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. Nevertheless it’s positively completely different!

9. Hookups

All the hookups will probably be utterly completely different overseas versus in America. Totally different electrical cords and plugs. Fully 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 rules round propane, making this hookup notably complicated. There’s a complete web site devoted to determining propane throughout European borders.

(For those who lease an RV, the rental firm will cowl all of this whenever you choose up your rig so that you’re not completely misplaced whenever you attempt to hook up for the primary time! )

10. Canada is principally America however with cheaper healthcare.

There should not many variations between RVing in America and in Canada, although it’s technically “overseas”. 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 stuffed with tenting alternatives.

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

(However critically on the cheaper healthcare factor. Additionally after I was sick in Canada, I bought a prescription for $80. Once I bought it refilled within the US, it was $400 and the bottle was half the scale. It could’ve been cheaper for us to drive again to Canada and get a brand new prescription than to fill it again up at dwelling and I take into consideration this on a regular basis.)

11. Public Transport 🚃

I don’t assume 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 Nationwide Park, we’ve by no means used public transport as a part of RV life both! We nearly at all times had a automobile.

Driving the vaporetto in Venice

Overseas, this has been a fixture and one small factor that stretches our consolation zone on an nearly every day foundation after 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 best ways to get out and discover.

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

12. Thanks for delivering my package deal, Amazon.

So this may be doable overseas. I haven’t bothered to strive it as a result of I don’t assume it’s. However usually within the States, we’ve 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. Within the States, we anticipate issues to open after we need, ship straight to us regardless of the place we’re, and arrive quick. For those who put “the massive gray motorhome with the silver Honda in entrance” into the outline on UberEats, you anticipate your tacos to be delivered straight to you. That is so particular to America.

Overseas, we’ve struggled to seek 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 usually 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. However 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 trade, 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 is usually a distinction, however not as large of a deal as you may assume.

14. You spend more cash.

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

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

On high of the RV rental, you’re in all probability going to pay for flights and motels as properly. We’ve taken 3-4 nights in a resort or Airbnb to regulate to jetlag. I extremely advocate this if in case you have the time, however it’s a further expense. Visiting cities in RVs is tough, so this can be a nice technique to discover a metropolis, modify to a distinct tradition, and really feel energized earlier than you hit the open street.

As a result of RVing within the States was at all times full-time for us, we knew it wasn’t trip. Internationally, it’s laborious 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 price it.

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

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

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

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

Like mountaineering at evening suspended on hanging bridges that join a forest of redwood bushes.

16. And lastly, every little thing 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 offers you an opportunity to be captivated by on a regular basis experiences.

Getting ice cream.

Grocery buying.

Going for a stroll across the campground.

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

Nevertheless it makes every single day just a little extra memorable.

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


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