Planning the “Big” Holiday

The “BIG” holiday is our main 2 week break far away from our normal lives, and when I say far I mean Far! A little over 1000 miles away.

This will be our 3rd trip to the south coast of France to Argeles Sur Mer in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. It’s only a 10 minute drive to the Spanish boarder.

We have known about this trip since August last year when we booked the day after our return. In fact we would have booked while we were there last year but we didn’t have the details of Halys’ holidays with us. So it’s been booked for ages and you would think we have it all sorted? Well not quite.

Our last trip was with a tent. We drove overnight and through Friday to Perpignan where we booked a hotel for the night. We learned from our first trip, it’s not easy to find a hotel at 9pm in Perpignan in the summer holidays. This year will be different again. We spent most of the trip home last year discussing the pros and cons of upgrading to a caravan. The long and short of it is that by the end of August we had bought a caravan which we collected on the 1st October.

We love our van, but it’s been a learning curve, and we have needed to buy new and replace old stuff that is basically the same item but more suited to a caravan rather than a tent. It was a bit frustrating to replace certain items that we had just because it didn’t quite fit in a cupboard or something. Anyway we are pretty much there now but we now need to make sure that the pitch that we booked for a large tent is going to suit our caravan, and that we have everything we need.

First the pitch: Well that should be fine it’s a standard pitch that was booked for a tent of 5.5m x 4.5m so our van should fit on that ok. The pitch has electric hook up and that’s it. Last year we had a full service pitch with water and drainage, which we didn’t really need last year. We could have used it better this year but it’s not an issue.

Travelling South across the Milau Bridge

Friday Night Stopover: Our 1st trip we had planned to stop at an Aire and put up a pop up tent, we didn’t. We made it all the way to the site had a nosey around and went to find some food. Then a hotel. That was a pain and we ended up paying rather more than we had planned. Last year we booked ahead. This year we are dragging our bed behind us. So do we just jump up bed at an Aire when we are shattered or do we book a campsite?

The problem with pre booking an overnight campsite is that you either play safe and book a site not too far so that you don’t have to worry about getting that far or you are over ambitious and book a site too far away.

Our Pitch in 2016

The closer site leaves you a longer drive in the morning and means you may arrive later and rush setting up before dark. The further site means you may not make it, or may arrive at site over tired and irritable which can be an unpleasant experience for everyone travelling with you. The Aire option receives quite a bit of negativity amongst internet types on forums etc due to the “dangers of sleeping away from a proper site” and try there are some bad news stories but millions of truck drivers do exactly that every night of the year, some for weeks on end. Did I mention I’m a truck driver?

The Beech just outside the campsite, see why we’re going back?

So the first part of our trip is planned. Or is it?