Escorted Motorhome Tour versus Independent Tour
We look at the cost of an escorted tour to Normandy with one of the main UK camping clubs and compare it with the alternatives.
Well you are the proud owner of your new motorhome and you want to make your first foreign venture, so do you choose an escorted trip with one of the main camping clubs or do you do your own thing. Or perhaps you are attracted to the added features of the escorted tour.
Well let’s have a look at what is on offer by one of the major UK camping clubs on its trip to Normandy.
Like all travel companies, it is in the marketing and bearing in mind that these are profit making organisations, you have to decide whether the added value excursions etc are worth the premium that you will have to pay. Gone are the days when these are organisations run by members for benefits of members, though this can still be found in events such as rallies and temporary meets, so I do not have to keep my cynical head on all of the time.
So what do you get for your 11 day escorted trip for just under £1000. For a starter you do not get your cross channel ferry fares.
You do get 10 days of campsite fees but given that you will struggle to pay over 20 euros a night, a total of £170 for the trip, this will be a small proportion of your £1000. The club makes virtues that it is using pre Brexit exchange rates but if you use a decent credit card, you can avoid fees and mitigate against these exchange rate movements, by getting the better exchange rates offered by Visa or Mastercard.
So let’s look at the added value trips, which in this case focuses on the Normandy battlefield tours.
The trip includes a shared tour of the battlefields which you should be able to pick up at about 110 euros each, total 220 euros or £187
If you want to do the British sector then try:
This will set you back about the same, 220 euros or £187
So for half the cost you can do it yourself. Sorry I forgot the welcome meal, well for 80 euros or £68 you can eat like a king.
Even more fun is to camp next to the landing beaches and do your own thing. Get hold of the ACSI guide from your camping club for about £13, which will give you a whole list of sites for under 19 euros a night. There is loads of information available without a guide and you will save nearly £400 for two.
Also France is motorhome friendly so for instance if you wanted to go to Pegasus Bridge there is loads of parking. You could stay at the campsites at Merville Franceville Plage and take the 30 minute off road cycle route to the bridge.
Or get it directly from www.campingcard.com
I get mine sent annually and it costs even less.
Campsite at Bayeux
This is a municipal site which often offer excellent value and good facilities and this one is no exception and the ideal base for the battlefield tours and of course a visit to the Bayeux Tapestry.
Campsite at Honfleur
Though this site is a little way from the centre it is a better site than the more centrally situated one and it is on a bus route to Honfleur. Moreover it is a low season ACSI discount site.
So the bottom line is do you want to pay £1000 for a trip you could do for half of that on a like for like basis or for £200 or less if you set out to explore yourself.
If you are still hell bent on an escorted tour check out the ACSI tours, which appear at first sight to offer better value than the main UK camping clubs.
Escorted or Independent Tour
The tour escorts will hold your hand
You will travel with fellow Brits, group camaraderie
All organised for you, campsites etc and added value trips and dinners
Coach trips possibly suitable for people with restricted mobility
Lack of flexibility, if you like somewhere or want to stay longer, you have to
move on with the itinerary.
Danger that you will not mix with other motorhomers outside of your group