Campervans have their attractions and many love the freedom it brings to roam and explore the countryside. The benefits are many and enthusiasts can travel thousands of mile a year not just in the UK but in Europe and beyond.
But life in the confines of a campervan or motorhome is not all peaches and cream. There are a few things you have to get used to, a few lessons to be learned and some facts that have to be faced.
Not everyone is cut out for the living life in miniature and there are a few myths about the joys of travelling on the open road that could do with being punctured.
Freedom on the open road comes at a price. Life in a camper van can be quite regimented. Things have their proper place and need to be unpacked and repacked carefully.
There is little room for clutter and none for litter. Bedding must be tucked away neatly, dishes washed as soon as possible, water and gas checked regularly, toilets emptied – you get the idea.
Here are a few tips on staying sane on a long campervan trip.
It is impossible to tell what will work for you in a campervan and what will not.One of the best ways to sort out your preferences is to rent different types of campervan for a few days each. It may seem like an expensive option but it is still the only way you will get to learn what your preferences really are. And you get regular camper van holidays thrown in! Some people will long for a bigger table, others really don't mind a small one. Ironing our the small issues will help you to be sure of what you want before buying your very own.
Expect to spend a lot less time on your own in a campervan. Bunched together in close proximity for much of the day makes for lots more togetherness than you normally enjoy. There is nowhere to slope off if you are in a bad mood. At home you can 'disappear' for a while into the garage, shed or study but in a campervan there is no escape hatch. Being alone may be one of the first things you miss and you may not even realise just how much it counted.
Experienced campers pack light; it is something they will have learned from hard experience. The temptation for the newbie is to pack in as much as possible 'just in case'. They do not appreciate that stuff that is packed will need to be unpacked, then packed again, over and over. Storage space is tight anyway so be sure to pack only the things you know you will need . If there is some space left after that then it's OK to take the extra blanket. But take too much and you can be sure to be driven nuts. Not only can you not find what you want when you need it but you will spend lots of time trying to repack stuff as neatly as when you started out.
When you set out on your first campervan trip your head will probably filled with ideas about wild camping and parking up miles from civilisation. This is not a good idea for the inexperienced. Far better to have worked out how everything works first and a gentle introduction on campsites will serve you well. There are plenty of campsites in the UK and Europe. It's a good idea to book a spot in advance and make sure you can arrive at a destination in good time. You will soon get adept at picking good spots to park and practised at setting up quickly and easily. These skills can make a lot of difference when camping in wilder spots.