25 April 2011
Well, we are planning nine months (although the way the money is going on campsites we’ll be back for Christmas) and so for a long term trip we have invested in the following:
A solar panel so our leisure batteries charge when we are not ‘hooked up’ to the mains (to avoid spending all our money on campsites, we plan on using France Passion – free nights on farms, and WOOFing – volunteering on small holdings in exchange for room and board)
AA Europe breakdown cover - majorly expensive but worth the peace of mind
Travel insurance - needed to check the small print to ensure that they covered belongings in a locked, out of sight area in a vehicle, because some don’t. Also that we were allowed a trip home each. We went for Infinity Insurance in the end, but it was down to that or Insure and Go.
A 12v invertor – allows you to charge laptops and phones off the 12v leisure battery or the car battery through the cigarette lighter. It is so we can use our computers mostly, as I will be working to set up my new business with my wonderful business partner Gayle and Alan will be working.
Additions if you have a bike rack - A trailer board with registration plate. Because our van is comparatively small, our bikes obscure the lights and the reg. plate, so we were obliged really. We also need to get a reflector board for the bike rake, for when we are in Italy and Spain.
Safety gear – by law you need two warning triangles, a reflector jacket per person, a first aid kit, two pairs of glasses if you have prescription glasses and are driving (just Spain I think) a GB sticker and light reflectors to change the beam direction.
Navigation equipment – We have an iTouch, thanks to a very generous work leaving present (thank you Mathew) and so got the Tom Tom Europe Application and then a GPS enabled cradle. It has so far worked excellently. We also have a Europe road map, which we could not rely solely on because it is such a large scale, but it does tell us where the toll roads are so we can avoid them. Supposedly, you can spend 70 euro on tolls to get to the South of France.