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Jan and Dave park up their Blucamp Sky 20 motorhome at the port in Antwerp, ready to ship it to Halifax

Tour Europe then tour North America in your French motorhome!

August 21, 2019

Most of our clients are pretty adventurous travellers by nature but fearless Kiwis, Jan and Dave have set a new benchmark in bold campervan journeys by taking a break from their European tour and shipping their Blucamp Sky 20 motorhome to North America!

Jan and Dave park up their Blucamp Sky 20 motorhome at the port in Antwerp, ready to ship it to Halifax

Jan and Dave park up their Blucamp Sky 20 motorhome at the port in Antwerp, ready to ship it to Halifax

We had heard of people doing this before and making claims you can travel in your European motorhome for up to a year without having to register it in the USA but we were not sure it was actually legal. Well, it seems it is and Jan and Dave’s plan to visit Canada and the USA took a big leap forward when they discovered this specialist company who ship motorhomes from Europe to Canada or the USA:

> www.seabridge-tours.de

SeaBridge claims to have shipped over 70000 motorhomes and their website gives you the feeling they know what they are doing and will guide you through the process. They offer to help to overcome many obstacles involved in taking a European motorhome to North America from providing gas and electricity adaptors to accessing road insurance for your time there. The SeaBridge website also gives you useful tips such as visa advice for the USA and Canada and explains the “Tempory Import” rules which permit you to use your European motorhome there without falling foul of the regulations.

Under the temporary visiting vehicle regulations in the USA you can visit for one year without having to register you vehicle

Under the temporary visiting vehicle regulations in the USA you can visit for one year without having to register you vehicle

Jan and Dave have kindly agreed to write about their experience of transporting their campervan to and from North America and they recently shipped their Blucamp Sky 20 from Antwerp to Halifax. Here are their first words on the experience so far:

Drop Off

“On July 14th we headed for Antwerp for our arranged delivery of the van to the port. We chose to stay at Camping de Molen despite its poor reviews (it was not as bad as people said) as we thought it would be easier to clean the van there using more facilities. We spent a whole day cleaning much to the amusement of our fellow campers who thought we had gone slightly crazy! We don’t know if we over cleaned but we did see vans with different coloured stickers on the wharf at Halifax and other people we spoke to who cleaned thoroughly also had no problem. It was also nice picking up a lovely clean van in Halifax.

One hitch we faced was the strict emissions policy of the city of Antwerp and I ended up applying for a permit on the motorway before we entered the city. It is free but you need to apply beforehand or face a large fine. You can also buy permits for a day-use but these are about 30 euros per day. Antwerp is actually a really nice city and there is a cool tunnel (complete with large bicycle lifts) so you can cycle or walk under the river to the city centre just a few hundred metres from the campground.

The drop off was easier than expected but don’t forget your high vis vests as you will not get onto the wharf without them. It was a little unnerving leaving Sky unlocked on the wharf with her keys dangling from the mirror and we were glad we had taken all our valuables as instructed by Seabridge. We also took lots of photos of the van before we dropped her off especially of areas we thought may be easily damaged. The port is unfortunately a long way from town but the nice security man called us a taxi and 50 euros poorer we arrived at the railway station where it is very easy to get to all the main cities nearby. We chose to fly from Amsterdam to spend an amazing two weeks in Iceland which I would recommend but start saving now as it is a very expensive country to visit.”

Why not take your  French registered motorhome to North America after your European Tour

Why not take your French registered motorhome to North America after your European Tour

Pick up

“The van arrived unscathed and we were very happy to see her sitting on the wharf at Halifax. The pick up went well thanks to Seabridge’s instructions even though it was a bit like The Amazing Race trying to find the Canadian customs who had moved a month prior so Google maps hadn’t quite caught up.

Also on the day, the freight forwarders credit card facilities went down so luckily we had $150 cash but some people then had to run around to find an ATM. The boat did come in two days late so we did have a bit of a hassle extending our hire car and finding an extra nights accommodation so I would recommend having plenty of spare time for the pick up as you need a vehicle to get around to the three places you have to visit to get clearance.

So we drove away happily, first stop Walmart to pick up a gas cylinder (propane tank or they don’t know what you are talking about!). A full one cost $72 Canadian and they are $28 to exchange once you have one. Relief when the gas connector purchased from Seabridge did the trick and we now had cooking, fridge and hot water.

We headed to a campsite for the first two nights and were a little dismayed when we tried to plug in our step-up transformer also purchased from Seabridge and found the plug did not fit. We found out a 30 to 15 amp adaptor was required and luckily the campground had some for sale at $15 so finally we were all powered up as well. The transformer is supposed to be only 1500 watts but we happily charge our house battery, have the fridge going, charge a phone or two and can boil a small electric jug at the same time.

One challenge we didn’t expect was with water as our hose attachment did not fit Canadian taps but $5 and two stores later that was resolved. We managed to purchase an attachment and some drainage pipe that has sorted out our grey water disposal as well. Toilet disposal is fine and is just done at the dumpsite where they have taps/hoses to rinse. We found the Canadians very interested in our venture and helpful with any of our minor problems.”

Highly recommend Seabridge they also help organise Maritime insurance for the voyage about 350 Euros and also Canadian/American Insurance US$ 2200 for the year.

Jan and Dave”

We’ll publish later instalments of Jan and Dave’s North American adventure as it unfolds and come up with a “Top Tips” blog when they have completed the journey and returned to France next year.

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