Driving Europe On A Shoestring

Ever wonder how you can traveling around Europe on a shoestring? The answer is easy. Just drive a van and go. We often get asked: what is the best thing about living in a van? Is it sleeping under the stars? Cooking outdoors? Camping way up in the mountains surrounded by only nature and wildlife? Or is it watching the sun rise over the sea, tinting the waves pale pink and orange, from the comfort of your own bed?

Driving Europe on a shoestring landscape

The truth is, it’s all of this and more. But for us it’s the raw element of the road trip itself. Setting off on an adventure with no plans, no ideas, just a map and a camera.

This has lead us to discover not only some of the most beautiful landscapes we’ve ever seen, but also some of the most breathtaking, awe-inspiring and often terrifying roads we’ve ever driven on.

Driving Europe on a shoestring topdrive

Driving Europe On A Shoestring – Sacrifices

The most important thing that allows us to keep on travelling for as long as we do is budgeting. We live on a £10 a day budget but have managed to scrimp and save this down to an average of £7.50 while we’re on the road. That’s food, fuel and van maintenance all in one, but sometimes this means making sacrifices.

driving europe on a shoestring interior

Sometimes we wanted to visit tourist attractions that just don’t simply fit into our budget, and at the time it can feel like a big loss, like you’re missing out. But there are always free alternatives which often turn out to be more incredible and unexpected than you think.

Driving Europe on a shoestring roadtrip


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Take this for example: we were roadtripping down the West coast of France last summer. We decided on a whim to spend a weekend driving round and camping on the Île de Ré after hearing good things about it from our friends. We got to the bridge only to find out there was a toll of €16 (that’s about £13). That was easily half a week’s fuel for us, which meant unfortunately we had to turn around, dismayed and disappointed.

Driving Europe On A Shoestring – Gains

But then we ended up spending over two weeks wild camping in the vast forest around Lacanau, sunbathing on some of the hottest, most secluded beaches we’d ever been on- it was so good we never wanted to leave. The roads were gorgeous, cutting a straight line through tall, dense pine with sandy tracks weaving through the forest just waiting to be explored. It was a home away from home for us, and we spent virtually nothing while we stayed there as we collected water for free, cooked on campfires in the evenings and had no need to refuel.

Driving Europe on a shoestring vantree


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This is what inspired us to write our article series about the top driving roads in Europe. Because nothing compares to that feeling of driving over the brow of a hill only to see an entire country laid out before you. Rugged mountainscapes, lakes that stretch beyond the horizon, vast, expansive forests, and the place where the land meets the sea at the edge of the world. City lights twinkling down below, your tires treading over clouds. Those moments where you scream with excitement and fumble for your camera, laughing and grinning at each other as though you can’t really believe your own eyes.

Driving Europe on a shoestring sunset

Driving Europe On A Shoestring – All About Experience

We wanted people to experience the things we have, and to know that it’s not all about the big price-tag holidays, that you can travel around Europe on a shoestring budget and still have the time of your life.

The thrill lies in driving to ever greater heights, chasing bigger and better views each time until you feel like you’ve got every penny’s worth of fuel in your tank.

Driving Europe on a shoestring Lucy and Ben


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About Lucy and Ben

Lucy and Ben are photographers and keen travellers from Cornwall, UK. Their Journey began a couple of years ago when they finished university and realised they weren’t ready to settle for the mundane 9-5 lifestyle. Instead, they decided to buy an old minibus and set off around Europe after months and months of designing and building their new home on wheels.

You can check them out at their biography, as well as on Facebook, Instagram @fromrusttoroadtrip, and their website www.fromrusttoroadtrip.com.

 

  • Goa Spirit

    Fantastic I’m still in the building stage of my van travelling adventure at the moment, but looking forward to getting on the road maybe I’ll bump into you and I can give you a tour of my van.

  • We have done road trips in Europe but never in a van. Must be fun to be able to park and camp at all these amazing spot with awesome views! We saw a few of them when we were in Iceland.

    • I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun trying it out during your next trip 🙂

  • Like they say, many of the best things in life are free (petrol is not one of them). There is plenty to be seen at all different budget levels. Sometimes, it’s a time vs money issue but other times, the experience has no price.

  • The Lavish Nomad

    I love the way you’re drying your clothes haha. Its a great looking camper van and has everything you need. It really looks fun.

  • Christine Messina

    Looks like a great experience! I did one small trip with a camper van, it was a lot of fun! But I could only do it for a few days. Im too much of a princess lol

  • Katie Dundas

    Great tips! I tended to mostly use EasyJet/RyanAir to get around when I lived in Europe, but a road trip would be an epic thing to try!