Christmas in a motorhome, with a dog? Why not!
What our social media and blogging adventure has taught us so far is that what matters most is to be together, and have fun.
The humans grew a bit tired of the shopping frenzy around the holiday season (buy buy buy) and wanted to reconnect with the "true spirit" and values of Christmas. What better time to spend time with your loved ones (including the furry one), making them smile and realising their dreams?
Le Noël: When Dreams Come True
My late human granddad's dream was to own a motorhome and but sadly never got around doing it. So when Grand-Maman (that is my human grandma) announced she was to spend a week with us over Christmas 2017, we immediately thought of her telling us that she was keen to try out a camping trip, in his memory.
We've been camping, glamping and caravanning before but had never tried a motorhome!
The lovely people of the Caravan and Motorhome Club (CAMC) kindly stepped in and, together with Bailey of Bristol, helped us arrange the surprise for Grand-Maman by driving and installing a motorhome on one of their sites that is open all year round.
All CAMC sites are dog-friendly. They welcome dogs at no extra cost (just not in the camping pods). Many have on-site dog walks or exercise areas, provide leaflets (a doggy code of conduct and tips on how to travel safely and comfortably) and filters on the booking website to help canine adventurers find the site that is right for them and humans.
Providing a fantastic base to visit the scenic coastline of Dorset, at the edge of Wareham Forest, Hunter's Moon Carvan Club Site lies in Thomas Hardy country, and visitors will recognize many scenes described in his novels. It is ideal for dogs, families, walking and cycling.
From the moment we checked in until we checked out, the managers made us feel welcome and helped on several occasions with touristic information and how the electricals (and water works) function. We were surprised to see how many people spend Christmas in a caravan or motorhome, complete with trees, lights and ornaments.
The facilities are modern and very clean, and adapted to wheelchair users, with electricity and water throughout, several heated blocks across the site offering plenty of showers and loos, as well as baby changing, washing machines, and dishwashing area. Whilst TV and phone reception are poor (all the best for a relaxing family break) a paying Wi-Fi service is available.
I did get to meet many other canine residents during the stay and to play off lead every day in the large and secured grassy dog exercising area that was very well kept.
For those not wishing to cook on site (aka us!) a nice dog-friendly pub is situated within a minute drive of the site and we loved spending Christmas eve singing charols there.
(that's the French for Motorhome)
The Autrograph 75-4 is perfect for up to 4 adults and a dog or two depending on their size. It has two double beds: one in a dedicated bedroom with privacy curtain, whilst the other is foldable and doubles as the seats and dining area. The fully equipped kitchen features a large fridge (perfect as I have a grand appetite), gas cooker, oven, microwave and sink. The bathroom is compact with everything that's needed - sink, shower and toilet. Luckily for us everything has been plugged when we arrived (ah those city people!).
There is ample storage in the motorhome, and we even found out that Bailey of Bristol had left some essentials and board games for us (that proved handy when everything was closed and it was raining outside).
Le Woof: Corguide Approved
- The fenced off dog run so I could play without Maman and Papa worrying because we did not know the area and if it was safe.
- Being so close to gorgeous beaches, historical and natural sites (and pubs) where dogs are welcome throughout the year (more on this on a separate post).
- The advice the Caravan and Motorhome Club provides to dogs and owners on their website, from security tips to more practical - yet essential - ones (including making sure they stay hydrated).
- Seeing Grand-Maman's happy face when she realised where we were taking her, when she managed to make conversation with fellow campers (en anglais) at the site and sang carols at the pub.
Maman, Papa and I would like to thank both the CAMC and Bailey of Bristol for their generosity and helping us make a dream come true and put a smile on Grand-Maman's face. Despite the very British weather we absolutely loved Dorset and this first motorhome experience, and will definitely be back!
I give 5 Marchelin stars to this adventure!
Le Tips - Pets MUST be restrained when travelling by road: in a crate or with a safety harness. Not only are loose canines putting themselves and you and others at risk of causing an accident and getting hurt, this also invalidates car insurances.
- Always carry a bowl and water with you, in your vehicle and bag (the collapsible work great in a bag, whilst some are designed for no water to spill).
- Make sure to prepare a travel essentials kit with le dog’s usual food, wipes or shampoo, towel or drying coat, poo bags, a comforter or toy, and spare lead and collar. Get some walking shoes or wellies for those muddy walks too!
- When going away where there might not be shops nearby or when they are likely to be closed (like Christmas), make a list of what you might need ahead of packing to make sure not to forget your or dog’s essentials. This also helps us not taking too much!
- Last one! Whatever the weather and place you're staying at: have fun! :)
Le Style (& other accessories) - as worn on this trip
- khaki dog collar, adjustable harness and cotton lead by Hindquarters
- drying coat by Dogrobes
- Tux harness by The Very Distinguished Pug Company
- Wet wipes and dry shampoo by Hownd