On paper, it sounds fantastic. You, your partner, and your own little motorhome touring world’s most picturesque wine regions in France. You stop when you want, you sleep where you want, and take home a lifetime of #winelover memories!
If you don’t heed our advice however, the reality could be a completely different scenario, testing even the strongest of relationships. We recently travelled the length of the Loire Valley (and back again) with our partner tagging along for the ride – in 4 days!! The trip was amazing (albeit exhausting), and yours will be too, so long as you follow our tips below.
7 essential tips to surviving a wine holiday in a motorhome
- Go with a reputable company like we did. Francemotorhomehire.com is run by English husband and wife team, Phill and Hannah Spurge. These guys have the most amazing customer service and will go the distance to ensure your holiday is memorable. Think of Hannah and Phill as your personal concierge on the road, always happy to answer your questions over the phone! All vehicles are new, everyone speaks English, and all guides and recommendations are also printed in English. Perfect for simpletons like us Wine Wankers!
- Plan your winery stops accurately so you’re not travelling all day and running late for each visit. This was our major issue – The Loire Valley is VERY long, and we covered it in both directions over 4 days; leaving us exhausted at the end of each day. BIG MISTAKE! In hindsight, we should’ve concentrated on one section only- the Upper Loire and the wine regions of Sancerre and Pouilly Fume – spectacular scenery and wines to match, and it’s a mere spitting distance from Sens, where we picked up our vehicle from Francemotorhomehire.com.
- If you love your creature comforts (like electricity that can charge your mobile phone and laptop), make sure you plan to stay in a caravan park as the power outlets inside a motorhome only work when you are hooked up to a mains supply. When you aren’t, only the hot water, toilet and lights will work. Which is fine for some, but for others, a real relationship tester when your mobile phone runs out of juice, you can’t update your Facebook and you actually have to talk with each other!! Another plus, you also get to use the caravan park’s bathroom facilities etc and meet other travellers. Costs approx. US$30 per night. Expert tip: Never use your motorhome’s toilet to do a number 2 – that’s what petrol stations and restaurants are good for! J
- Make sure you plan at least a couple of nights where you’re in complete isolation with an amazing view. This is where a motorhome comes in to its own – find an isolated spot at the top of a hill, with an amazing vista of your wine region. Grab your favourite bottle of wine you discovered that day, and watch the sun set. With a view this spectacular, you won’t need a fully charged iPhone to read your Facebook feed. Although you will need to capture that moment and share the fuck out of it in order to make your friends insanely jealous!
- Don’t over commit your winery visits – especially if your partner is not a wine geek/wine wanker and will lose interest after 15 minutes at a cellar door. My partner enjoys wine, but they also enjoy the Real Housewives of Beverley Hills (I do not judge…). While cramming six wineries into one day’s schedule seems like bliss to you, it will be hell for them. Plan two winery visits per day at the most and get their buy in on the itinerary so there are no surprises during the vacation.
- Pepper your trip with interesting non-wine activities. Even the geekiest of wine geeks cannot live on wineries alone. The Loire Valley is teeming with amazing chateaus and castles along the way – the whole place is just so god damn Instagrammable! Sidenote: after you’ve been inside one fairy-tale chateau, they are all the same!
- When researching which wineries to visit, check out the local vineyard association for completely unbiased opinions. They also give you a stack of other information on things to do in the area as well. This is the link for the Loire Valley. And if you’re still stumped on which wineries to visit (because there are so many to choose from – narrow it down by looking for recommendations from reputable wine sites like Decanter, Wine Spectator or Jancis Robinson.
Where we visited – as told through Instagram
Disclosure: While The Wine Wankers did pay for the hire of their motorhome, they did receive a discount from www.francesmotorhomehire.com.