Start of the season 2020 – LPG-chaos och Castle ruins

Start of the season 2020 – LPG-chaos och Castle ruins

In a way, perhaps a truth with modification, as we actually spent New Year in the Pearl this year. But somehow it still feels like it was this weekend that the 2020 season really started.

The first real trip for this year may, due to the circumstances, become a trip around the east of Sweden. Hardly negative from our point of view, as this amazing landscape has much left for us to discover. What has perhaps struck us in recent days is that the eastern plain consists of quite a lot more than just plain. We have had the privilege of seeing much of S:t Anna archipelago, which is amazingly beautiful. In our opinion, just as much nature experience and views as last year’s trip along the west coast, with the difference that you are welcome here with an RV almost anywhere.

The night of today we spent free camped in a parking lot belonging to an outdoor area in a nature reserve called Svartdalen (“Black Valley in English). Free camping really has its very special charm, and it’s a fantastic way to find peace.

What may not be quite as amazing is when the LPG bottle decides to run out in the middle of the night, and you wake up with the fact that there are almost sub-zero temperatures in the RV. The mental strength and impaled psyche required to deduct the duvet (and the little heat that is left), crawl out of the high bed, grope for some clothes in the dark and head out into the sub-zero temperatures and change LPG bottles… it would probably make Gunde Svan* himself jealous. *Gunde Svan is a famous Swedish skier, known for his incredible winner-mindset. Anyway, it feels worth it once the car gets hot again, and you get awake from a brilliant spring sun dazzles you through the roof hatch. Or…at least Linnéa, who remained in bed, thought it was worth it 😉

During the day we took aim at St. Anna, but on the way we saw that along the road was signposted to a castle ruin, which felt like a fun excursion. So we strayed from the main road a little bit and ended up at Stegeborg castle ruin. Stegeborg has a history of a fortress built in the 900s, and since then countless royals have housed the castle. Today the castle is clearly a ruin, but a bit cool is that the high tower itself is still there. 120 SEK costs a visit for the whole family, and although it is not a full day trip, it is quite cozy to walk around the castle area. Especially for someone who’s interested in history. Pay is done smoothly with cards in the machine outside. We also read that during the summer season it is possible to rent some kind of audio guide for 50 SEK per person, where Herman Lindqvist, a well known Swedish historian, guides through the ruin. I think this is a fun addition and enhances the experience somewhat.

The surroundings of the castle are fantastic, as the archipelago makes you feel like you are staring into a painting wherever you look. In the harbour area that is right next door there are also RV-sites , and also a camping on the other side of the cable ferry. We think that we may well come here one night, put the RV on the RV-site, and go to the harbour restaurant. It is clear that the season has not started yet, as everything is still closed for the winter. However, it was fun to see that there were many RVs that were already on the road, just like us.

Furthermore, the trip took us to St. Anna, and we visited some of the islands. Almost everything was closed, so there was not so much of a reason to stop anywhere. Maybe we’ll get back a little later when camping and boating season has started for real. Instead, we set our sights on Valdemarsvik, where the ambition was to get hold of a new gas bottle to avoid the same adventure as the night before. However, this did not go so well, as those who usually sold LPG down in the port also had closed for the winter. We therefore decided to spend the night in Valdemarsvik harbour RV-sites, which we, although it was closed for the winter to a large extent here too, are very happy with. A review on the RV-site comes as a separate post, but we can reveal that it was unusually high standard for a RV-site location. In addition, the staff seems to have humor, which is always a plus.

Now we take evening, and recharge both Pärlans and our own batteries for new adventures tomorrow.

Quick changes in the world of exhibitions

Quick changes in the world of exhibitions

Sannerligen, ibland går det väldigt snabbt i mässornas värld. Det är nästan så att man kan tro att Autohallen och Skokloster Husbilar med samarbetspartners läste bloggen och konstaterade att “Äh, vi kör!”. Dagen efter vårt förra inlägg så tillkännagav man att de ändå kör en mässa, om än under annan ledning. Vi blev såklart jätteglada, och ska se va vi kan göra för att komma dit. Detta tillkännagav Husbil och Husvagn idag.

Vi är såklart jätteglada, och ska göra vad vi kan för att planera om så att vi kan åka. Allt kommer att annonseras på husbilsthlm.se , och för den som är snabb ska tydligen inträdet bli gratis. Så helt klart läge att hålla utskik. Framför allt så är vi i detta läget intresserade av “kringprodukter” till husbilen, som täcken, stödbenssystem, tillbehör med mera. Detta gör att vi kommer att söka oss till dessa leverantörer i första hand.

Vi har även som ambition att testa att göra ett första försök till att använda film på bloggen. Kanske filma en husbil vi fastnar för, köra någon intervju eller liknande. Men vi får se vad det blir av med den idén.

Är det någonting ni läsare vill att vi kollar in extra och dokumenterar/recenserar å era vägnar så kommentera bara inlägget så ska det säkert vara lösbart. Sålänge vi faktiskt lyckas komma iväg då såklart 😉 

Caravan Stockholm canceled

Caravan Stockholm canceled

Till helgen skulle vi åka hela familjen på en liten utflykt till huvudstaden, och besöka mässan Caravan Stockholm. Jag fick nu en stund över att titta igenom utställarna, läsa på om vad som kändes extra intressant och förbereda mässäventyret litegrann. Tyvärr möts jag då av den tråkiga nyheten att mässan är inställd. Det är ju lite halvroligt, då mässan ställdes in i november, att man kan vara så galet sen på bollen emellanåt.

Arrangören låter meddela att “Vi tycker det är väldigt tråkigt att behöva ställa in, men vi är måna om att våra mässor och event håller en hög nivå och ställer hellre in är att leverera något som inte uppnår förväntningarna och absolut bästa kvalitet.” Vad detta exakt innebär är ju ännu oklart, men man kan ju bara gissa att de inte lyckats attrahera utställare i tillräckligt god utsträckning. Spontant känns det lite märkligt, då camping i stort verkar ha fått ett rejält uppsving de senaste åren. 

Hur som helst, ingen husbilsmässa denna vecka heller. Vi hade ju även planer på att besöka Husbilslandets minimässa för några veckor sedan, men detta blev inte av då hela familjen blev sjuk istället. Vi har ju som bekant aldrig gjort någon affär med Husbilslandet, men däremot har vi varit där och tittat och fått ett kanontrevligt bemötande. Därav besöker vi gärna igen.

Hur som haver, nu blir det att gå i ide vad gäller mässor fram till Elmia Husvagn i september. Så länge inte någon av er har något tips på någon liknande aktivitet vi kan besöka?

Det viktigaste nu är ju trots allt att vägsaltet snart försvinner, och vi kan ut på äventyr i Pärlan igen. Vad vi längtar!

Budget for RV travel in Europe 1.1

Budget for RV travel in Europe 1.1

One of the most difficult things about RV-travels, is to make a serious calculation of what a trip actually costs. Anyone who has been camper for a while knows about as much as that it is expensive, and always a little more expensive than you think 😉 Jokes aside, there are many parameters to be taken into account, and this will of course be especially important when planning longer trips. That’s why we were going to help you get your own budget for RV trips in Europe.

In an attempt to get to this problem, or at least get an overview of where the costs come from, I am trying to put together a travel budget tool for travel in Europe. The first draft is ready, and it would be great if more people could use it, so we do not have to invent the wheel twice. Excel is also a bit of a hobby for me, while I know that many others shun it like the plague. The idea is therefore that it should be a tool where the recipient can only fill in their own conditions, and not have to do a lot of calculations on their own. By filling in the template, you should easily get a budget for RV trips.

The tool itself you can download on the link below, and it is free to use for private use. Of course, as much input is desired from those of you who test it as possible, and I think that together we can build something that will be really good. Feel free to add a comment about what you think is missing or need to change, and I’ll look at it to the next update. You need Excel to be able to open the tool correctly, it is not tested with Open Office.

Changes in version 1.1
Corrected calculation error in the tab “Housing costs”
Added calculation for LPG costs under “Housing costs”
Corrected formatting after input from a user, to get a more consistent formatting.

Below is a short instruction on how the file works so far.

 

Basic info

When you open the file, you automatically enter the first tab called “Basic Info.” Start by filling in the data contained in the light fields (the whole tool then follows this model, you should only change the data that is in the lighter fields). Enter some basic information, which will then form the basis for the calculations in the file. In the “Akuellt Europris” field, enter the daily price of one euro in Swedish kronor. Information about this can be found at all the big banks, or on specific websites for the purpose for example here.

For our foreign friends it is perfectly possible to use a base currency other than SEK. You only need to enter the exchange rate for euros for your currency instead. In the tabs you need, simply enter the cost in your local currency instead of SEK.

Details of your insurance can be found most easily on your insurance company’s website. Information about the annual tax on your vehicle can be found at the Swedish Transport Agency here.

If you do not want to count on tax and insurance as an additional cost for the trip, you can set the tax and insurance cost to 0kr. Then this will not be included.

Enter the fuel consumption of your RV (in litres per Swedish mil, not the same as an english “Mile”), as well as an approximate fuel price in Europe in euros. Since this is updated on a daily basis, you may try to find some sort of average. A good source of an approximate price of both petrol and diesel can be found here.

Now you have entered all the basic information you need for your budget for RV travel to work properly.

Transport

When you click through to the next tab, it’s time to start adding the routes you plan to travel during your trip (in miles). You also add fees for tolls, bridges, ferries and so on. This tab specifies all costs in SEK. To calculate the length of the routes, I use Google Maps, which you can find here. Google also gives an indication of whether the itinerary includes toll roads, ferries etc, although this feature is not 100% accurate. The prices for the latter often need to take google to help you find and calculate for your vehicle. You will also get indications of whether you are crossing national borders. The mileage itself, of course, has a rather large impact on a budget for RV trips.

Examples of where to find the data in Google Maps (the data we’re looking for is circled in red):

Housing costs

According to what we have been able to read ourselves to, this is something that varies extremely much from place to place and from country to country in Europe. In general, however, prices for RV-sites should be lower than in Sweden. Here, too, it is important to find an approximate average. Then you will make an estimate of how many nights you plan to stay in each form of accommodation. After all, your budget for RV travel is a budget, not a fact sheet for the exact costs you will have on your trip. The tab will also warn if you indicate too few overnight stays in relation to how many days you have at the beginning that you should be out on the road. However, this is just a warning, and the rest of the excel file will work great even if you choose not to enter the “correct” number of overnight stays. The image below shows what the warning looks like:

From version 1.1 there is under the housing costs tab also with a calculation for LPG costs. Provides a space for you to specify how many units you calculate that you consume (for example, 1.5 bottles) and how much a unit costs. The gas cost is then added up with other housing costs in “Total cost”.

Spendingmoney

Here you simply enter an average of how much spending money (in euros) you expect to spent per day.

Food

Start by specifying an approximate average of what each meal costs when you are away (in EUR). The sheet will then count on you to eat all meals once a day. Therefore, you do not need to change the number of meals for “Breakfast” and “Supper”. However, you need to make a breakdown between how many lunches and dinners you plan to eat at home in the RV versus out at the restaurant. You will also receive a warning here if you count the wrong number. But if for some reason you want to do it, all the calculations work anyway.

Activities

In the activities tab, enter the additional costs you plan for. Examples of this can be visits to a fairground, a daily activity you expect to be a little more expensive. Or perhaps a more expensive purchase of equipment you plan to make before, during or after the trip.

Budget

Here you will then get the final result of your travel budget. You can also add an estimated exchange fee to switch from SEK to EUR. Your travel budget is now ready! 🙂

My hope is that you will benefit from this little tool to get yourself an approximate of what your next trip costs. The idea is also that the said is updated continuously to be able to give as accurate a picture of the final cost as possible. Feel free to test it, and bomb the comment field below with ideas and feedback so the tool can be even better. I will also test the tool on our travels going forward, and reconcile against actual costs. Here, of course, each family needs to adjust to actual results in order to get as correct numbers as possible. Everyone has different habits when we’re away.

 

Please enjoy!

RV to Paris

The planning for the summer has just started here, and we all have such a crazy desire to get out on the road with The Pearl. Sure, there will be several small excursions with the camper van to matriculation, weddings and other things. But what is above all heron is of course our first “big” trip. The trip has a definite goal: RV to Paris, with Disneyland as the main goal. A childhood dream for me that it is simply time to fulfill, and we find it hard to believe that Noomie would disagree. But how do you get by motorhome to Paris?

We expect 2 days at Disneyland and 2 days in Paris. Rumor has it that Disneyland should be expensive, and if you look at their website, it seems correct. But as some kind of “once in a liftime” we still want to try. I usually say that the “Donald Duck and friends” magazines were the ones who in the 90’s taught me how to read, and in every issue they finished the magazine with some kind of advertising for Disneyland in Paris. Even today I can remember the fairytale castle that was always in the pictures, all the competitions I participated in (and never won), and the fantasy world that was created around this amusement park. If we get the opportunity… Then we have to go there.

But what else could you be doing in France?

But then what? There is quite a lot left of the at least 3 weeks long holiday. We have managed to read ourselves to the fact that if you like Champange and bubbly wine (which both I and Linnéa do… like crazy)the town of Epernay in northern France is a given goal. Maybe you can spend a day here. Normandy and Omaha Beach are also in the plans, to see the historic site of landing that marked the beginning of the end of World War II.

Some of the destinations we have in mind so far:

1. Paris
Disneyland is, as I said, the main destination of the trip, and in addition to that we expect another 2 days in Paris with the Louvre, Triumphal Arches, Eiffel Tower and more. It should be no problem to pass a week in this undeniably mythical and special city.

2.Epernay
If you like bubbly wine and especially champagne, then you seem to be obliged to visit Epernay. Good thing the new camper has large cargo space and high load weight 😉 The French wine production is unique in the world, and few drinks are as famously luxurious as champagne.

3. Omaha Beach
Of course, we want to see the historic landing site and the beginning of the end of World War II. Europe has a tense, sometimes frightening story where it would be cool to actually see the place that is illustrated in both books and films.

Do you have any other tips on what to see in France? The return route we planned to take via Brussels and then on to Amsterdam. What is there to be discovered? Help us with ideas, we are open to all suggestions and preferably a bit half-odd / wacky stuff 😉

We would also like to tell you about the super Youtube series “Gone Camping” made by camping.se

(For those of you wondering, no there is no collaboration between us, we just like the content as it is very good and inspiring clips)

Here we found the inspiration for the visit to Epernay. A super format with small short clips that inspires and triggers the travellust, but still leaves a lot to explore. There are many sections, both about Sweden and Europe, and highly recommended. Fantastic for those of us who plan to travel by motorhome to Paris and the rest of France.

We have also started sketching out a tool to calculate the cost of travelling by camper van to Paris and other trips in Europe. You can also try it. You can find it here.