Travelling in a campervan is a great option for groups or families who want to see more of the country without spending a lot of money on accommodations and transportation options. Although getting a campervan entails spending quite a lot initially (mostly on the acquisition of the campervan, and in furnishing and supplying the same), using a campervan in your travels is in fact budget-friendly and will allow you to save money in the long-run.
In addition, travelling in a campervan is a great way of travelling in comfort. Since you do not have to constantly move around luggage and you can furnish your campervan however you want, you do not necessarily have to travel light. This is a great advantage if you are travelling with kids.
In this article, we will talk about some pointers which you have to keep in mind before deciding to travel in a campervan. Keeping these ten in mind will help you make the most out of your vacation without any accompanying hassle or mishaps.
Here are 10 things which you should bear in mind before travelling in a campervan:
1) Know what kind of campervan to purchase
This is the most important factor which you have to consider before travelling in a campervan. Since your campervan will not only be your mode of transportation but will also essentially be your home for the duration of your trip, then it is extremely important to be discerning when it comes to which campervan to purchase. Campervans are not all that difficult to find today, and you may opt to buy campervans in websites or in physical outlets. Whichever option you might decide to go with, make sure that you are buying from reputable dealers.
A good tip to keep in mind is this: do not buy the first campervan you see. Look around first to have an idea of reasonable price points. This way, you can bargain properly, and you will not miss out on deals. Also, decide early on whether to get a 4-wheel drive or a 2-wheel drive. If you have plans of going off-road in your travels, then you should definitely consider investing in a 4WD.
2) Determine all upfront expenses
As with buying any vehicle, buying a campervan entails some upfront costs on top of the price of the actual campervan. Of course, you will have to get vehicle registration for your campervan which, depending on your area regulations, will also include getting insurance and/or securing roadworthy certificate. In addition, you will also have to prepare to shell out for routine mechanical checks (unless you have expertise in this area, in which case you will certainly save a lot of money). Remember that your campervan is both your transportation and your accommodation so do not scrimp on mechanical checks before your trips.
3) Furnish your campervan accordingly
A nice and comfortable campervan is one that is furnished in accordance to the needs of the people using it. Unless you are buying a furnished campervan, you will have to do most of the furnishing work yourself – from installing beds to finding storage solutions.
4) Make sure that you have the necessary gear and equipment
Your campervan will essentially be your mini-house for the duration of the trip, so it is incredibly necessary to make sure that you have all the necessary gear and equipment before heading out. Make sure that you have enough sleeping gear (especially if you are travelling with kids), the necessary cooking tools (make sure that you have something to cook food with, as well as something to store it in), as well as other necessities.
If you want your trip to be as comfortable as possible, then you should also consider investing in a composting toilet. Not only will having a composting toilet come in handy, especially if you are planning to take routes where camping sites are few and far between, but it is also more environment-friendly. In plain terms, a composting toilet is a type of toilet which turns human excreta into compost, all the while regulating odor. Many composting toilet designs use no water for flushing, making composting toilets the most viable option for campervan travelers. This way, you will not have to worry too much about your toilets using up too much water for the duration of your trip.
In addition to a composting toilet, another important equipment is a portable tankless water heater. If you want to enjoy comfortable showers while travelling in a campervan, especially during the colder months, then you should definitely consider investing in a portable tankless water heater. While a tankless water heater is slightly more expensive than those which come with tanks, going tankless remains to be the better option if you are travelling with a lot of people. This way, you will not run out of hot water and will not have to wait for hours before someone can shower again.Unlike tank water heaters, you do not have to wait for the water in the tank to heat up but, instead, the water is heated as it passes through the mechanism.
5) Make sure that you always have enough supplies
This goes without saying, but a lot of campervan travelers often rely on supermarkets and supply stores that they will find along the way. Unless you are very familiar with the routes you are taking, this is not a very good option since there is no certainty that you will be able to stock up on your supplies. Instead, you should make sure that you have enough supplies (and maybe a little extra) before heading out on your road trip. If anyone in your company has dietary restrictions, then all the more that you should have enough supplies. Also, do not forget to bring a first-aid kit with you, along with medicines. Hygiene products are also equally important so make sure to bring enough with you.
6) Find good camping spots
Before driving off, make sure to find good camping spots along the way. Even if you have a toilet and a shower in your campervan, it is still important to find a spot where you can park safely and rest for the night. You can look for camping spots where you can restock your supplies or, if you really want to enjoy the outdoors, where you can set up a tent and appreciate the scenery. Some camping spots are free, but the better ones usually have a fee. If you want to use some amenities or want to stay somewhere more secured for the night, then it might be a good idea to shell out some cash for good camping spots.
7) Plan your trips well
This is not to say, of course, that you have to plan your trip down to the tiniest detail. If this is your first time to travel in a campervan, then chances are things will not go exactly according to plan. Deviations are inevitable and you might have to modify and readjust your itinerary every so often in order to accommodate last-minute changes and other unforeseeable occurrences.
Nonetheless, it is necessary to do some planning before heading out since being well-prepared can save you from a lot of headaches. At the very least, plan how long you will be travelling, which places you will visit, and where you will be camping out. This way, you can pack accordingly and get sufficient supplies before heading out. If there are activities which you want to do and require any special gear or equipment, making plans beforehand means that you get to bring all the necessities.
8) Plan your daily drive
Some flexibility is necessary when it comes to your trip in general, but your daily drive is a different thing altogether. Before driving out, make sure that you have a good idea as to how long it will take you from one point to another, especially if you are quite unfamiliar with the roads. As much as possible, aim to get to a camping spot before dark. For one, some roads are more dangerous after dark, especially if you are planning to go off-road. Also, it might be more difficult to ask for help after dark (you never know when your car might break down or you might have any other emergency), so as much as possible, try to set out early. Save long drives for the day and make the evenings a time for settling in, winding down, and relaxing.
That said, it is necessary for you to check routes beforehand so that you can have a fair estimate of how long it will take you from one camping ground to the next. As much as possible, plan your drives and routes around camping grounds and other destinations. It might be fun and quite adventurous to just drive off and see where your campervan takes you, but if you are unfamiliar with the area and you have limited supplies, it might not be the best course of action.
9) Always have a means of communication
This tip cannot be emphasized enough: it is incredibly important to have a means of communication with you at all times. Some travelers go travelling in their campervans in an effort to unplug, but while that is actually a good plan, make sure that you still have a means of communication just the same. For one, you cannot foresee emergencies, so it is better if you have a way of asking for help in case something goes wrong. Also, it is only wise that you make sure that someone always knows where you are.
Of course, you do not have to advertise on social media where you are at all times, but at least have a family member or a friend updated on your itinerary and whereabouts. This way, if something unexpected happens (say you get lost or encounter any emergency), then someone will come looking for you and will have the inkling that sending help is necessary. This is especially important if you are travelling to remote locations where signal might be intermittent. As much as possible, try to send a text to your emergency contact before heading out and another one when you get to your camping spot. This way, they will have a fair idea of where you are.
10) Be as flexible as possible
As mentioned earlier, no matter how much you plan your trip, unexpected things might still come up every so often. You might encounter detours and mishaps, so it is best to maintain a certain level of flexibility. That said, do not plan your drives and your activities to the minute and, whenever possible, have a couple of alternative routes and spots to visit at hand. This way, even if something goes wrong, you are still prepared and could simply do a last-minute change of plans.
Travelling in a campervan is something meant to be a little less structured and a little more adventurous, so do not be afraid of making changes to your itinerary. As long as you are well-prepared for your trip, you should be fine even if you will have to make a couple of changes here and there.
Travelling in a campervan might sound like a daunting task to some, especially those who have never tried it before, but it is actually quite enjoyable. You just have to be adequately prepared and have reasonable expectations of how the trip would be like. in fact, when done correctly, travelling in a campervan might even prove to be more comfortable and convenient, especially since you are not forced to travel light or to constantly lug around your gear and equipment.
That said, make sure to follow the 10 tips above before setting out on your first campervan adventure. This way, you can be assured that your trip will be as smooth-sailing as possible and you will be able to avoid any unnecessary hassle, problems, and inconvenience.