Campervan holidays can be a joy to discover. Packing up and hitting the open road with a whole world to explore can be an exhilarating experience whether you plan to be away for months of for just a few short days.
Campervans have their limitations with space and comfort at a premium, but these are problems that can easily be solved with just a little planning and some common sense,
Experience is a great teacher. Seasoned campervan owners will know how to overcome the difficulties and make the most of their opportunities.
Whether you're a long-time campervan traveller or just starting out on the journey of a lifetime, here are some tips and advice that should help you get the most out of your holiday.
Remember it's a campervan, not a storage depot. It is so tempting to pack the van full of everyday items. But whatever you take will probably need to be unpacked at some point, and that can cause problems.
So take only the essentials and leave the rest at home. It's a good idea to make a checklist and put items in order of importance.
Clothes obviously come high on the list but keep clothes light and comfortable. Always pack some rainwear even if the forecast is sunny. Make sure you have nightwear that keeps you warm as a campervan can get very chilly at night. Food is essential, but keep it simple, and make sure any use-by dates expire before the end of your camping trip.
Other useful accessories to pack in the van are a flashlight, a lightweight rope and some simple tools like small hammer, adjustable spanner and pliers. You never know when something needs fixing. Remember to take a first aid kit, phone charger, matches and some sunscreen. And remember to double-check everything before setting off in your campervan.
Experienced campervan owners appreciate how quickly the mess can build if you don't keep things tidy. It can make things so much better in a small space if you clean up as you go. Ensure every item has its place and return it after use. That way, the campervan will not become cramped and cluttered.
It's a great temptation to leave the washing up until the morning. But it can put a damper on the following day when you spend the first hour cleaning up instead of enjoying your day. Clothes left around in a small space can make thing messy very quickly. Essential things like keys, wallets and phones can soon get buried in the mess. Keep it simple and keep it tidy should be ever campervan owners' motto.
Campervans give you the freedom to take off anywhere, but it's a good idea to choose your parking spot carefully. It is always preferable to use sites designed for campervans where you get to have access to water, toilets and hopefully a powerpoint.
But whatever the landing spot the seasoned campervanner will seek out a flat parking space to ensure a good night's sleep without the duvet sliding off the bed. A neat tip is to park facing east, so the front of the van gets the morning sunshine, warming the cab before you rise. And don't rule out pub car parks for an overnight stay. Check with the landlord first and perhaps get a drink and a meal before bedding down.
Many campervan owners shy off making detailed travel plans and prefer to 'go with the flow' and welcome the adventure.
Always be alert to occasions when on a campervan trip. If you see a petrol station and the tank's half full, pull in and fill up while the going is good. There is nothing worse than setting off to the desired destination and having to turn back for lack of fuel.
While you are there, remember to stock up on fresh water, check the tyres and use the toilets. If the garage has a small shop, then take the opportunity to stock up on things that may be running low. The idea is always to be fully equipped to set off an explore wherever you are. If a campsite has shower facilities, park up an grab a towel. You never know when you will get the next chance. Long-distance driving can be both tiring and tiresome so remember to park up an take a short walk every day, even in the rain.
Campervan owners generally prefer to escape the crowds, but that doesn't mean they have to be antisocial. Although regular campsites can be crowded in the summer, there is nothing to lose by being friendly to your neighbour.
Especially so when another campervan parks up in a nearby spot. Your neighbours will most likely feel the same way about crowds. But they will also have plenty of exciting tales to tell, traveller tips to pass on and news of interesting places to visit.
As a campervan owner, you will have the freedom to follow up on any advice. If your neighbours tell you about fabulous walks nearby, you are free to extend your stay and check them out. Without a fixed itinerary, you are free to take on new ideas and adventures at any time.
The great advantage of driving a campervan is the ability to make up plans as you go along. Make the most of all worlds by having a travel plan that allows for the serendipitous. Holidays may go wrong, plans can change, or you might meet people that could end up being long-term friends. Allow time to spend a few extra nights or to move on early and plan to be flexible.
If you allow yourself plenty of time to get to your next destination you can respond to any chance events and reap the rewards of an unexpected stopover in beautiful surroundings.
Try laying down a yoga mat under the mattress. It will help you stay warm even on the coldest nights.
If you prefer crockery plates to eat from, then lay paper plates between them to prevent breakage while on the move. Store breakable pots and bottles in large (and empty) ice cream cartons to prevent breakage on the move and tuck bubble wrap or cheap washcloths between them for added security.
Keep a durable doormat near the entrance to keep muddy shoes away from the carpets.
A solar-powered garden lamp can be useful for trips to the bathroom at night as well as for a security nightlight. Foldaway bikes are a great way to explore local areas when you park up, and they help you keep fit too, Keep your smartphone fully charged and emergency numbers on quick dial just in case things go awry.