with tips for cycling & hiking
Both schemes offer great value camping in the off peak season, so generally not available for the last two weeks in July and August, but availability does vary country to country and region to region.
So if you are looking for budget prices in August for the French Riviera then forget it.
They both generally offer a standard pitch, for 2 adults plus a dog, with 5/6amp electricity, but in practice many sites have a higher amperage rating than this.
Firstly Camping Cheques are prepaid so you have to fork out 15 euros or £13.95 for each cheque, plus a £6.50 admin fee if you do it online, so the more you buy the more cost effective they are.
When buying, consider using the European website as you will pay in euros and depending on the exchange rate they may work out cheaper. Certainly in 2012 this saved £1.50 a night and at exchange rates April 2013 £1 a night.
This assumes no credit card transaction fees – see ‘The Best Credit Cards to use Abroad’ on this website.
You do, however, have 2 calendar years to use them, so there is really a limited risk of having unused cheques.
There is a directory which you pay £3 for if you have a silver card or nothing if you have a gold card, more about this later.
There is, however, an online directory so you may not need a new directory each year.
With the ACSI scheme you do not prepay but pay £13.50 for the directory plus £2 for postage, you will see why when you see the size of the directories.
You then pay 12,14 or 16 euros per night depending on the site. So price wise no difference to camping cheque overnight stays.
Just because a site has the ACSI inspected sign at its reception, this does not mean it participates in its scheme.
Secondly Camping Cheques have 632 sites whereas the ACSI scheme has 2504.
In our view there is no contest here, though you can still get paper cheques, there is a slightly higher admin fee, the electronic method of buying is far more convenient and also offers the advantage that you can ring and preload your card. (they do speak English).
You simply preload your silver card with the number of cheques you want and when you arrive at the campsite they will deduct your stay.
There is also a gold card which is valid for 4 years and costs £41.85 and gives you a number of additional benefits such as a free directory and cheques valid for 4 years together with a free magazine 3 times a year.
Personally we are not convinced but then we are just looking at a cost effective stay per night.
We have used both schemes as they do what they say on the tin, as they both offer good value off peak camping and it does depend to some extent where the location of the site is.
Also one of the joys of motor homing is the flexibility offered and the freedom to discover that gem of a campsite at a ridiculously cheap price as the one at Lezinnes (Cycling in France the Burgundy Canal ) or at Joigny (see Motorhome Travel Blog). None of these will feature in a directory.
Also with a motorhome you have the additional flexibility of using aires or similar. (see' Aires,Municipals or Commercial Sites' on this website)
Camping Cheques seem very popular with caravanners , who prefer to stay at a site longer, particularly as many sites offer say 7 nights for the price of 6 or with those that preplan their trips.
Camping Card ACSI Available From