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Old 03-12-2007, 09:48 AM   #1
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1998 31' Excella 1000
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Euro camping with an Airstream

I've started to look at my next camping adventure and this time I've got might sight set on Europe. I'm still only in preliminary planning stages, but I thought I could start an infrequent thread here and tack on notes to it when I learn something new. This is for a few summers away, so I still have time to iron things out.

I've started to look a bit at shipping. In my case, it would be a two way ship. One shipper in Sweden quoted me around $9,200 one way for a 31ft plus an extended cab long bed (all included except insurance) for NYC to Gothenburg. That seemed very steep. It was amusing to see that there was a 32% fuel surcharge!

I've also spoken with a forwarder in Atlanta. He suggested that there were three ports in Europe he'd recommend taking it into: Bremerhaven, Le Havre and Amsterdam. Does that match your experience? Going out, he said it was the same price taking it out from most ports in the north east and mid Atlantic. In my case, New York City is closest. I'm still waiting to hear from him, since he mentioned it would take a while to work out the return portion of the journey.

One thing that concerns me is shipping itself and how risk prone it is in various ways. Most shippers will likely separate the trailer from the truck and park them on different decks. And that means I've probably got to temporarily remove the Hensley and use a plain Reese setup, at least until I get to the first campground.

My preference would be for a single leg. I am not looking forward to anyone trying to restow things, so that speaks in favor of taking as straight of a route as possible. I've already got personal experience with getting my truck and trailer into a tight, side loaded, ship in Alaska and the low clearance of an Airstream will definitely cause scraping (front or back) going on/off the gangway.

I've looked a bit into the drivers license issue and it seems like the US license would do fine, even though the combination weight exceeds 3.5 metric tons. I am unable to get an "E" license in Europe without becoming a resident for 180 days. But I might look into the training material just to become a bit more familiar with the rules.

Anyone else on this board who's gone both ways?
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Old 03-12-2007, 08:56 PM   #2
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Iíve done quite a bit of camping in Western Europe: Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland. Campgrounds in Europe donít have the typical delineated ďsitesĒ we have here. Camp sites are flexible in size depending on the needs of the campers. Caravans (travel trailer) are typically 22í or less and 7í wide max. I donít think youíll find too many campgrounds that can accommodate your 31í AS. Campgrounds are plentiful, but different than in the U.S. You wonít find full hookups or dump stations. Also, you might want to consider a diesel TV as gasoline is very expensive. There is a market for modestly sized American Airstreams in Europe, so you may want to consider shipping over a 20í-22íer and selling it there after your travels are complete. Checkout the Airstream Europe web site and youíll see what is sold at the upper end of the spectrum in Europe.

Good luck with your plans!
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Old 03-12-2007, 10:47 PM   #3
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Are you sure that Amsterdam was a port? I'd guess Rotterdam was what was meant. I've been in Amsterdam several times and do not recall a shipping harbor there, but there are lots of canals.
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:37 PM   #4
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Thanks for those good tips. What did you use for a guide to campgrounds over there? Are you familiar with any GPS based map programs geared for commercial trucks?
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herrgirdner
Are you sure that Amsterdam was a port? I'd guess Rotterdam was what was meant. I've been in Amsterdam several times and do not recall a shipping harbor there, but there are lots of canals.
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I am sure you are right. Perhaps the freight forwarder I talked with got a bit confused. There is a link, though:

http://www.portofamsterdam.com

It looks like they have taken in container ships up to almost a 1000 feet. I just scanned their anticipated arrivals and see no ships from the US (although there are some from central america and China). Plenty of ships from Europe, though. I may have to take that one off my list since I do not want a re-stow.
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Old 03-13-2007, 09:42 AM   #6
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Get a pre 1980 TV ( there is no road tax on old cars here ) and sell tv and trailor here .
I paid about 1500 usd for shipping a couple of months ago 32 ft exella.
pm if you need asistance
Remco
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Old 03-13-2007, 04:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remcolent
I paid about 1500 usd for shipping a couple of months ago 32 ft exella. Remco
Wow, $1500 is more reasonable than I would have anticipated.

On the TV: How about doing a European delivery? By a Volvo, Audi or Mercedes at a US dealer, pick it up in Europe and use it as a TV there. The shipping of the TV back to the US is included in the deal. Ship the AS to Europe and leave it behind with a happy buyer.

US trailers have higher tongue weights than European trailers, which tend to be single axle and nearly center balanced. I think US trailers have less of a tendency to sway due to the different weight distribution. I mention this because it may be difficult to get the proper weight distribution system installed on a European delivery TV to be compatible with a US spec travel trailer.

While Amsterdam has a port, from the North Sea Canal, I think you would most likely ship into Rotterdam.
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