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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Michael Jordan
enjoying a meal at sunset,
Zangskar Valley, India



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  #1  
Old 26 Oct 2008
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Sleeping in your car or camper in the UK and Europe. Is it allowed ?

Is this legal ?? No one I ask seems to know.

If i want to go somewhere, park up and kip in my car on a public road.. can I ?? If someone complained, could the plod move me on etc ??

I've always fancied getting a cheap camper van and tour the UK or Europe. Just parking up on a quiet road for the night..

Obviously, private land is fine with the owners permission.
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Last edited by *Touring Ted*; 11 Jun 2009 at 07:27.
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Old 26 Oct 2008
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Why not ?
When I lived in rural Blighty I used to fetch the cows in for milking in the morning and occasionally came across a car parked in a gateway with a slumbering occupant .They weren't doing any harm - so why worry ?

Sometimes I think the Brits are obsessed by rules, regulations and laws .
Just park out of the way and snore to your heart's content and bugger to anybody who says otherwise !
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Old 27 Oct 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodger View Post
Why not ?
When I lived in rural Blighty I used to fetch the cows in for milking in the morning and occasionally came across a car parked in a gateway with a slumbering occupant .They weren't doing any harm - so why worry ?

Sometimes I think the Brits are obsessed by rules, regulations and laws .
Just park out of the way and snore to your heart's content and bugger to anybody who says otherwise !
Why not exactly !!!

Thats my problem, everything seems to be illegal here now. Even if it wasnt, no doubt I would be offending somebodys religion or public rights if i parked up for a snooze in a beat up camper..
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Old 27 Oct 2008
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If you say

"I was too tired to drive on" what can they do ? Make you have a crash?!

Provided you are not close to a place to stay they should leave you alone.
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Old 27 Oct 2008
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I found parking late and flopping straight down, after I'd eaten and sorted my stuff out somewhere else, makes for a quiet night.

Service stations are good for the three esses, so worth the detour.

Ordinary car parks are ok, but many don't allow camper vans - and if they're within a few minutes from towns, especially the edges of coastal towns, they are often meeting places for young people during the evening and early hours.

My favourite place for motorised vagrancy is France, because of all the Air du Repose and Lidls.

Good luck with it.
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Old 27 Oct 2008
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Don't try it in service stations on the motorway, there's a maximum time you're allowed there before having to pay a parking fee.
I slept around in the UK for years, and in campers and cars, just give a bit of thought to picking your spot and drop off.
It's not illegal unless you're breaking some parking law somewhere.
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Old 27 Oct 2008
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To be fair councils have to restrict "overnight parking" otherwise they end up with 10 Gypsy caravans in a carpark and it takes them 28 days to evict them. This is probably why we don't have the right to roam in England. Scotland is a lot easier to wildcamp.
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Old 27 Oct 2008
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I spent 7 months last year travelling around Europe in a campervan and the only time we moved on after parking up was when some idiot was doing donuts in the parking area we chose.

France has it really sorted with a lot of Aires de repose, with water, power and often toilets or chemical toilet dumps. Wild camping is easy, just choose a quiet spot, off main roads, away from nightclubs and pubs, and dont block someone's million $ views.

The UK is the hardest in Europe to park up without a sign prohibiting everything except breathing, without having completed an environmental impact statement, health and safety study and got approval from the relevant departments from the Parish Council, County Council, Westminster and Brussels - probably the UN and Washington now as well!!
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Old 27 Oct 2008
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France...

Ouai, most places you're OK, there's a few places where you'll find a no overnight stays sign, or no campervans after a certain time, but that's usually either beaches or town squares. Lots of town/villages will have a municipal campground too, and they're only a couple of euros for a hook-up if you want it.
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Old 27 Oct 2008
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Look for ....

Apart from where it is obviously sign posted you should be ok to stop, however, you will find yourself being checked out by local residents/farmers etc and the police, they will wonder why you do not use the local campsite or B&B etc, but as has been said I do not think you would be breaking the law.
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Old 27 Oct 2008
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Its better just to have a MPV or a normal van, as many places have restricted parking for camper vans. On the westcoast of Jutland/Denmark, some counties have no parking between 9pm to 7am in the whole county.
I normally go for the parking on the harbour area, as they have a lot of space and always public toilets. I bought a VW Sharan/Ford Galaxy, as I can sleep in the back, but it looks like a normal car from the outside.
In Monaco they patrol all night and even check normal cars and send you away. In france, the police adviced me to park in a better lit place and in Germany, on the autobahn, the police just wanted to know, what went on, when we moved all the luggage to the front seats, at 12 o'clock midnight, to be able to sleep in the back.
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Old 27 Oct 2008
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Most towns in France have an overnight spot for camper vans free of charge. Often with waste disposal, water supply and electric hook up. Something to do with a law Napoleon introduced. I've only ever seen camper vans use them, not caravans. I've often thought you could live quite frugally just moving from one spot to another each day.
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Old 27 Oct 2008
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Make sure you don't this in the US, where there's even MORE rules. Having a van in the US means you're smuggling something or someone, and people will surely call the police. I had it happen countless times. :-( Which is why so many camp at parking lots like Wal-Mart. But who wants to wake up surrounded by bright lights and countless caravans???

Lorraine
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Old 27 Oct 2008
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Truck drivers sleep overnight in their cabs, so one option is to head for a truck stop. At least you'll be able to get an early morning fry up.

Tim
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Old 28 Oct 2008
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My two cents on this for France:

1. Truckers & campervan people can be in for a very hard time in France along the autoroutes, take care especially in the south. There's always been cases of gassing campervans & stealing things on offer afterwards. But earlier this year a friend of mine who drove between Italy & Spain parked up near Montpellier at an 'aire' & locked up for the night. In the morning he was feeling very woozy, found he was 600euros lighter & credit cards had gone missing!!! How they gassed the truck he's still not sure as he's a light sleeper, but they broke the door locks to get in!

2. Certain villages, like mine do NOT allow campervans etc to park up, it's a local by-law. Either go to the campsite & pay like the rest or park outside the confines of the village. To support each others businesses/livelihoods here we do go around knocking on campervans late at night to move them on ... sorry but if you knew the tax system in France you'd do the same!

Kira
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