Choosing the place to stop to spend the night in your Fiat Ducato-based motorhome is not always easy! Between free areas, five-star camping sites and nature-based areas, deciding where to spend your hours of well-deserved rest after a long journey can be quite a challenge. Here's a quick guide to never ending up again in the wrong place.
Rules and regulations
The obvious way to start this guide is to mention highway codes. From one country to another, some rules remain similar, and you need to know them in order not to end up paying unexpected fines.
A lot depends on the type of vehicle.
Those with an integrated engine, unlike their caravan “cousins”, are classified as travel vehicles and so must not park in busy areas (such as roadsides), except for short stops.
Long live freedom... but with some rules! So, if we have to stop for a short time in non-designated areas, we must not use the areas outside our Fiat Ducato-based campervan, or do anything else defined as "camping": no pull-out ladders, no open windows (except sliding windows), and of course, especially making sure that the vehicle does not obstruct road traffic in any way.
Even dirty clothes hanging outside are prohibited in this situation, so be careful!
Rest points are all those places used for parking, either free or with a fee, where it is possible to stop, but where you will not have access to external facilities and services (including the possibility of filling with clear water or discharging grey and black water). These include outdoor parking lots, fields and so on. During these parking stops you must position the vehicle correctly, following highway code regulations and the internal rules of the parking space: the obstruction of a pavement or parking outside the permitted area is likely to lead to fines.
In other words, stops on-the-go are OK to rest after a long drive, but are almost never the definitive destinations of your adventure!
When we need to stop, but also to take care of our water systems, we should instead aim for a Camping Service area. These areas, either free or paid, offer basic services such as the availability of clear water and the ability to download grey or black water, but services are often limited to these two needs. This type of area is often present both as a public service (often financed by nearby towns or cities), and also as a private service, sometimes even in large car parks such as those in commercial centres, or adjacent to petrol stations and refuelling areas in general.
For those who prefer extra comfort, there are the equipped areas, which often offer additional services such as Wi-Fi, common areas, electrical connection and toilets. These places, a bit like hotels, vary greatly depending on the location: some offer a high-level experience, while others provide users only with the few simple services necessary for parking. Bear in mind that they often have a maximum number of hours of parking allowed (e.g. 48h or 72h). This happens mainly when they are located near urban centres, points of tourist interest or other reasons, so that they permit a continuous turnover of visitors, as well as allowing more time for careful cleaning of the area.
In this case too, you may find campsites that offer five-star services such as swimming pools, tennis courts, restaurants and private beaches, and others where the offer is much more limited. Choosing the perfect campsite for everyone is too subjective for this short guide, but we do want to advise you to always reflect about your perfect holiday concept: better to sip a glass of wine by the pool or to go for an adventure in the woods surrounding your Fiat Ducato-based campervan? The choice is yours!
Agricamping and Agricampsites
The last advice in this guide should concern new types of private structures, often made available by farmhouses or farms. The main difference between Agricamping and Agricampsites comes from the maximum parking limit imposed: the former follow the rules of picnic areas, with a maximum of 72h, while the latter have no limits and can offer stops for days or weeks. Here you will have the opportunity to thrill to unique and unusual experiences, combining the desire for freedom offered by our four-wheeled friend with the desire for an area perhaps less studied than campsites and equipped rest areas, but certainly more intimate and welcoming.
You can also take part in activities related to the farm, to practice local sports (such as horse riding, trekking or kayaking, depending on the location), but above all to get in touch with the people who work and live in the area you are exploring, and the opportunity to discover the true nature and humanity of your destination.
This guide to choosing the perfect parking area for your needs has also come to an end, we are sure it will be useful the next time you are ready to leave or, why not, when tired in the evening, you just want to find the ideal place to rest, ready for the next adventure!