Travelers | Joanne Crawford

When one thinks of traveling through Europe, it usually includes interrailing, hostels, overnight buses, or the dreaded Ryanair. But photographer Joanne Crawford and her boyfriend recently embarked on an epic road trip, as they camped and drove their way through Europe, documenting their travels in their blog Our Inflatable Home. We asked Joanne a couple of questions about their cross-continental travels–check it out! 

Tell us a little bit about your trip! Where did you go, what did you do, how did you travel?

My boyfriend and I decided to leave our jobs and rented flat in London and go travelling around Europe for a few months. We decided we were ready for a big change and figured that travelling for 3 months in our little 1.2 Fiat Punto and our tent would be the perfect adventure for us. We started off in France, worked our way around the coastline and into Italy, then up to Austria, Germany, Holland and finally Belgium.

how//why did you choose to do a camping trip as opposed to other types of travel? 

We love camping so for us it made sense to incorporate that into our travels. It’s also a much cheaper way of travelling around Europe as hotels and even hostels can be really expensive, it just meant that we were able to prolong our trip as we were paying a very low nightly rate – until high season hit of course!

what are the positives + negatives of camping? 

Camping has so many positives I don’t know where to begin! One huge one for us is that you are outside all of the time, it was so refreshing to wake up, open the tent door and eat our breakfast in the fresh air. After having a 9-5 office job it was such a different way of living and we really embraced it. Another positive as I have mentioned is that it is a much cheaper way of travelling – you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a tent and I’d say we were averaging about €17 a night for two people including amenities (out of season). You also get to see parts of the countries that you probably wouldn’t see if you were travelling by train or staying in hotels, we stayed in some really remote places up the highest mountains. It’s also very easy to pack up and move on, we had a set routine when packing up the tent and had it down to an hour at the most. It’s very freeing being able to move on when you want but still take your home away from home with you. I guess a negative would be the weather, the rain is fine (as long as you don’t have a hole in your tent) but when it’s really windy it can be pretty hard, one time the winds in the south of France were so bad it felt like someone had jumped on the tent and it folded in half!

what was your favorite moment from the trip? 

I have so many favourite moments its hard to narrow it down! As a whole Austria was our favourite country and everywhere we went we seemed to love – the views were just unbelievable! But I’d say the day that sticks in my head is when we went to Monaco for the day and didn’t realise the Grand Prix was on, we ended up going on the Friday and luckily got a seat in the stand opposite the Monte Carlo Casino and watched the Formula 2 race and then was able to walk on the track when they opened it up, more amazingly it only cost us €12 – the price of 6 hours parking!
Another day that sticks in my head is when we were driving in Italy to get to Opi which is in the Abruzzo National Park. The road just kept climbing up and up a mountain and I kept thinking that we surely can’t go any higher, but we did and then suddenly we were higher then the other mountains around us. Our little car did us pretty well that day!
what would you tell someone who wants to do a camping trip//what do you wish you knew before you embarked on your trip?
If someone wants to do an extended camping trip first of all I’d say go for it! But I’d also tell them to do some research before they set off. We researched campsites and obviously the rules of the road in each country but we completely forgot about tolls! And over in Europe they can be really expensive, there are often roads that run parallel with the toll road but they can be single lanes full of pot holes – and often take double the amount of time to get there. But it is such a great way of travelling and I felt more relaxed sleeping in a tent for 3 months then I have done on any of my 2 week beach holidays!

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