Kiri and


While the van’s away, KIST will play…?

September 20th, 2013 (by Steve)

We fear that we may have given the wrong impression on this blog about our trip; it’s not all about Bertha. Yes, our world has been quite van-centric as we’re depending on her to carry us several tens of thousands of miles (that sounds scary to put it like that!), but there’s been plenty of other stuff going on behind the scenes that we’ve had to think about and work on before we leave. It’s almost quite good that she’s been with the mechanics for over 3 weeks in total in the last month and a half, as it’s given us time to focus on this stuff.


  • Insurance – as we’re travelling for a year, we’ve got to think about not only vehicle insurance for the motorhome, but travel insurance and cover for any other equipment that we’re taking that’s not covered by travel insurance. All of them have to cover us for long periods at a time and in Europe, so we’ve gone for Safeguard for the vehicle insurance, have yet to decide on travel insurance provider and are using Photoguard for our camera.
  • Breakdown cover – with a 23 year old motorhome, it’s inevitable that something mechanical is going to fail at some point, so this is essential. ADAC is recommended highly by a lot of European motorhomers, but we were nervous about the language barrier (they’re a German company), so instead went with Britannia Rescue who cover 180 days at a time in Europe.
  • Campsite discounts – although we intend to “wild camp” a lot of the time by the side of the road and in car parks, we will need to use campsites for their utilities, but also in countries which don’t allow wild camping. Most campsites require identification to be kept at reception and in order to avoid having to let our passports out of our control, we’ve bought a Camping Card International, which not only can be used as ID, but also to give discounts and third party liability insurance. With the addition of an ACSI card for discounts at other campsites, hopefully we won’t have to fork out too much when we’re not wild camping
  • Vehicle tax – this expires whilst we’re away. We really should have bought just 6 months, then bought another 12 when we return to the UK in March, but I goofed. Instead, we’re going to have to buy a further 12 months when we return in March, then fill in a V14 form and get a refund on the remaining months we have left on our current tax disc. We’ve also discovered that the 25 year old vehicle tax exemption doesn’t apply any more, so when Bertha hits 25 in February 2015, we (or the next owners) will still have to pay tax.
  • MOT – this also expires whilst we’re away, but we tried to have the MOT as late as possible before we left. We’ve checked, and as long as we have one booked for as soon as we get back to UK and we drive straight there from the ferry, we’re covered.
  • Navigation – as we travel round, we don’t want to rely on just a sat nav, so we’ve purchased a Philip’s Multiscale Europe 2013 road atlas which should help too. We have loaded lots of POIs (points of interest) onto the sat nav though to help us find Lidl (they are friendly towards motorhomes), McDonalds (they have free wifi!) and camping spots
  • Health – after accompanying my brother to hospital when we were in Belgium, we both know the importance of having an EHIC each – it’s also been recommended by the local doctor’s surgery that we have the tick-borne encephalitis innoculation. It costs quite a bit, but you can’t really put a price on health
  • Money abroad – we don’t want to be stung by high card charges when travelling and we don’t really want to open a bank account in every country. After quite a bit of research, we decided upon the Halifax clarity card which has no fees for use abroad, including withdrawing cash. The only fee you pay is interest on cash withdrawals, but we intend to transfer money across to pay it off within a day or two of withdrawing money from a machine, thereby minimising the interest.
  • Communications – this has already been covered in a blog post about connectivity – the only thing to add is that we’re backing up all of our important documents on “the cloud”, within encrypted volumes to keep them nice and safe. Oh, and we’ve installed Prey on our laptop so that if it does get stolen, we can track it!

So that’s been quite a lot to think about, as well as making sure we’ve got the correct lightweight cooking equipment, clothing and entertainment stuff (paints, games, radio etc – we’re not taking a TV).

Oh, and another thing that we’ve been able to get done in this time is our wedding video, including the time lapse that we shot at our own wedding:

3 Responses

I can see me.. I can see me.. I can see me.. I can see me.. I can see me.. I can see me.. I can see me.. I can see me.. I can see me..

Yes, good to hear of something other than the van…

How’s Bertha, and whats happening to her?

Well, we’d hate to spoil our next blog post, but she’s back with us now, the fridge is working on gas and we’ve just got a few cosmetic things to do now in addition to getting the boiler fixed and getting our gas safety certificate.

Rock on!

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