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European driving stickers ("vignettes"), a real puzzle for drivers

Motorhomes travelling in Europe face a real problem. Contrary to what one might imagine, each country imposes its own "vignette" system. For this reason, before leaving, it is advisable to do some planning.


First, it should be clarified that the "vignette" is a sticker to place on the windshield of the vehicle that justifies the corresponding payment giving you access to drive in certain cities, highways (as in the case of Switzerland and other countries). Moreover, a good number of countries are being added and many more will be in the coming years, because many cities and regions will be requiring ecological taxes to comply with environmental plans.

Roads, pollution, access to restricted traffic areas... If you travel through Europe, your windshield will soon be dotted with stickers of all colours. This is the new reality that some motorhomers tell us when they travel on roads in different European countries.

And with these issues of the environment, pollution, etc., they have found the perfect excuse to complicate drivers' life, even more. Undoubtedly, the large number of vignettes that must be displayed, whether for the use of roads, for access to parts of cities called "environmental zones" or to have the right to circulate in case of maximum contamination is making life very complicated for drivers.

Obviously, the slightest lack of attention puts us on the verge of contravention. It should be noted that unless there is more information and it is multilingual, we will always run the risk of being persecuted for an infraction.
In view of the panorama, since Europe interferes with so many other issues, it would be a good idea to coordinate a solution to avoid all this confusion.

In short, we refer to a specificity of the administrative functioning of Europe. Contrary to what European detractors claim, Europe does not regulate everything in our daily lives. Each member state retains a certain number of prerogatives, restricted traffic areas and classification stickers are included, which explains why this is becoming the "babel of European madness".

First motorhomes in the world

A club affiliated to the FICC had motorhomes among its members in 1906

The British club, "The Camping and Caravanning Club", founded in 1901, was one of the founding members of the FICC since 1933, already had motorhomes in 1906. This club was the pioneer and one of the most representative in the history of motorhomes to this day. In addition, it also had among their members the first motorhomes in the world. A unique example of the true origin of motorhome in the FICC.


This motor caravan Cadillac 3,250 kg without load, had lounge / bed, kitchen, bathroom and WC. Average speed 14 km / h. Measurement: 6.50 m long. Price: 1,000 pounds sterling (a substantial amount in those days). Built for Mr. J.B Mallalieu (a member of the aforementioned club) by Belsize  Motor Co. If we go back to 1906 this vehicle represented the great beginning of motorhome.
Between 1909 and 1914 about 12 motor homes were built in the United Kingdom. Like, for example, the one below.


Since 1918, in the United Kingdom, motorhomes began to be built in greater numbers with the conversion of ex-military cars such as the Ford TS and Daimlers. Even before the Second World War some very luxurious and exclusive ones were made for people with high purchasing power.

The first meetings or rallies were held around 1932 in Maidenhead, United Kingdom, with the assistance of 91 units. From 1933 the interest in the motorhome declined until well after the Second World War.

Photos: Camping and Caravaning Club, United Kingdom

The Future of Motor Caravanning in Spain

I want to underline that the following article is not intended to reflect any lesson for anyone. Is just the opinion of a motor caravanner.

In recent times we are witnessing some confusion in the world of motorhome in Spain; it should be perfectly avoidable. What's going on? Naturally, without underestimating the efforts of some clubs (they try to do what they can, according to the actual situation), motorhomers are perceiving a sense of helplessness with excessive accusations by some sectors. Unfortunately, it only contributes to a regrettable and futile criticism; unjustly, motorhomers are being the target of campsites and other tourism sectors.

Disagreements
We could also make a parallelism with the history of Spain, continuous disagreements and very little objectivity for the ultimate goal that should be unite motorhomers: for the good of all Spanish motorhomers nationwide, not only in each region (or, if I am allowed the expression, let's move away from what would be small taifa kingdoms), as it is currently happening.

Joint projects
With a small analysis we realize that in order to have joint projects it is not necessary for an entity to be subject to another, contrary to what is generally believed and that, without a doubt, is proving so harmful for our interests. Obviously, alliances will not be less effective; on the contrary, these projects would be much more reinforced when negotiating with the authorities by a unanimous agreement common to all clubs. As long as we do not think at national level, we will only generate different regulations that will create more confusion for motorhomes. The result of these actions will be regulations in 17 regions with the consequent trouble for motorhome users.

In conclusion
I dare to say that the great change of motorhome tourism should be the task of the Federation that has the representation at national level, and I say "it should" because in the current circumstances it does not seem possible.
However, we can continue as before or take a step forward and become something serious and lasting. We must not forget that motorhome tourism is just beginning, there are still many projects, beyond the possible regional regulations. Let's get away from fears and do the job properly. Although what is stated here for some people may seem Utopian, no one can deny that it is desirable. I am sure that in the end motorhomers would appreciate that good management.