Campervan Travel Consulting: Essential Tips Guide

Key Takeaways:

Main PointsDetails
Preparing Your CampervanConduct maintenance checks; refer to DIY conversion processes for custom solutions.
Packing EssentialsList of must-have items for journeys, including storage solutions.
Route Planning and Destination InsightsTips for planning routes and engaging destinations based on past experiences.
Campervan Safety and EtiquetteImportant safety practices and etiquette for a pleasant journey.
Embracing the Campervan LifestyleIdeas on activities and embracing the lifestyle to make the most of your adventure.

Introduction

I love the freedom that comes with campervan travels ‚ÄĒ conceiving trip ideas, embarking on adventures, exploring new places, and creating memories. This guide is designed to help fellow campervan enthusiasts gear up for their voyages, ensuring they are well-informed and prepared for the road ahead.


Preparing Your Campervan

Before setting out, it’s crucial to ensure your campervan is in peak condition. Here are some important considerations:

  • Conduct thorough maintenance checks to avoid unforeseen issues.
  • Consider DIY upgrades for custom solutions.
  • Cleaning – interior & exterior

OK so some of this stuff is the boring bit, but be sure that when you are underneath Dinitrol’ing that cross-member that your next trip will come with that extra added sense of ease that only good planning can account for! Plus, loose pipes or leaking fluids can lead to catastrophic problems, specifically if you drive an older vehicle, so do take extra precaution to seek 3rd party advice if you need to.

We all like a good modification. One school of thought argues that sticking to stock is key, but I honestly believe that any considered DIY upgrade that has a good rationale behind it (check with friends and family that what you are suggesting isn’t naff!) sells a vehicle when the time comes.

How many of you take polish, your favourite rag and a can of Armor All with you to the campsite?! I know I do, and I (like you I’m sure) am convinced that fuel efficiency increases with a highly polished brick! Whether it does or does not, pride in your ride is evident from the care you take of both the interior and the exterior of your wagon.

Links:
How to handle common campervan repairs yourself
Campervan mods (Youtube vid opens in another window)
Plumbing & water 2nd fix – Self Build Journal – #24 (Youtube vid opens in another window)


Packing Essentials for Your Journey

Packing the right items can make all the difference. Here’s what you should consider packing:

  • Clothing for varying weather conditions
  • Necessary equipment (and tools) for your campervan
  • Efficient storage solutions for space management

In the UK most campervans don’t get much use out of season. However even in season there’s a good chance you’ll get soaked and cold even on your average summer weekend. So finding a space to fit a hook where your wet coats can hang out of the way (when out of your shower… if you have the luxury of one in your van!) is key. Annoyingly something like a Dry Robe is probably a great dual-purpose item to find space for. After all it’s a towel and coat in one, and also great for sitting in by the fire (although whatever you do don’t get it smelling of smoke!)

I’ve written before about essential equipment for camping, and it’s always great to hear the diverse opinions of suggestions whenever the question gets asked publicly, but for me fitting a beer bottle top remover at the sliding door of the camper was a game changer! If only corkscrews could be as easily attached! Then there’s Ridge Monkeys and Dutch Ovens… I wouldn’t be without mine. Plus I love my Brai (Aussie barbecue) as I can cook a 4 hours stew on it in the afternoon and then turn it into the campfire for the evening. Heaven! What are your essentials?

Space is always of a premium in a camper. However a full set of cutlery, crockery, glasses, mugs and cooking utensils is a must. There are also now fantastic storage solutions designed for campers for them all. Amazon is a great space for this kind of thing and their essentials range is a great base, as buying posh stuff inevitably leads to disappointment after a knife or a wine glass is lost after a particularly drunken washing up session at the shower blocks! ūüôā

Links:
Best campervan gadgets
Me packing the Florida for a trip (Youtube vid opens in another window)
Melamine crockery review


Route Planning and Destination Insight

Planning your route and knowing your destinations can significantly enhance your travel experience.

  • Research and select routes that offer delightful views and locations.
  • Planning night spots with the help of tools & apps
  • Gain destination insights from past adventures for an enriching experience.

Ah #vanlife! Just the notion of it conjures up images of scantily clad bodies draped across a fixed rear bed of a self converted high top with doors open to stunning views! It’s the image we all have in our minds eye. It’s the virtual postcard photo we have behind our imaginary sun visors! Reality is of course different and it’s foolish to focus on this as a goal. In fact beauty is found everywhere with the right state of mind. I see this every time. Does the mrs? No. The kids… maybe, but in fact it’s usually down to us (dear readers) to enjoy whatever comes our way.

In the same breath the legality of where we can stay is always a consideration. I’ll talk more about wild camping in a minute, but thankfully there is always the option of a free pub overnight (with paid for meal obvs… although no camp fires in the car park folks!) and there are cheaper campsites if you look a little harder, but depending on your appetite for flexibility Google Maps is entirely useful for chancing 3 destinations to drive by for possible short overnight stays (although no deckchairs out please!), or of course the Park4Night app.

I guess the advice here is to start and build up your confidence. In essence what is the difference between driving overnight to reach somewhere for a dawn walk and arriving late after a beach-side dinner (while the kids finish their sandcastles), to fully enjoy a new area the next morning. I’m not condoning breaking any laws just stating the opportunities that come with respectful consideration…

Internal Links:
Trip planning
Trip to Greece in 2019


Campervan Safety and Etiquette

Ensuring safety and adhering to etiquette are paramount for a pleasing journey.

  • Follow common safety practices to protect yourself and others.
  • Respect campsite rules and leave spaces as you found them.
  • Parking & wild camping.

It doesn’t take much scratching of the surface to hear bad news of slap-dash and haphazard behaviour. Do you really want to be that guy/girl? Unsure of your DIY gas installation? Do you have a wiring short somewhere that you can’t find? Worried that your grey water drains straight out under the van? If you can’t do it yourself GET IT CHECKED OUT BY SOMEONE ELSE! I speak from experience and it ain’t nice for others, let alone your own family.

This is especially so if you are on a campsite.

As for wild camping, well the definition doesn’t really help, and actually the phrase is a misnomer in the context of campervans. I mean it’s hardly wild to be tucked up on a memory foam mattress on a Froli spring base with the TV and the heater on is it. Nevertheless “boondocking” is something many aspire to. It’s such a tricky and contentious issue. There are so many of us travelling now that actually you can find people parked up for a break for very real reasons so I believe we all need to be a bit more lenient towards eachother. The only hard and fast rules are to not in the slightest bit look at all like you are camping; always be ready to leap up and move on (or at least ready to have a conversation about why you shouldn’t drive any further); and always leave the place as you found it (if not cleaner). My only other advice would be to only share your locations with friends. We all know what happens when secret locations go public – so do the height barriers…

Beaches of Northern Greece

Internal Links:
Winter wild camp (Youtube vid opens in another window)


Making the Most of Your Campervan Adventure

To truly embrace the campervan lifestyle, consider:

  • Micro-expeditions.
  • Engaging in local activities and cultural experiences.
  • Capturing moments to reflect on and share with others.

We’ve all read headlines of epic drives and many, many miles covered in short breaks, but what about how few/little miles you’ve covered? What’s the shortest distance travelled one day? If you know and love a region well it’s always so disappointing to hear how someone shot through it in minutes. Taking your time to really unwind, relax and explore small areas can be such a delight. Actually making human connections even if only giving the time of day is such a treat. Revel in your time. You don’t need a major expedition to experience the world.

Internal Links:
CamperVanMan & Friends: Coastal Camp Out (Youtube vid opens in another window)
Adventure Overland Show (Youtube vid opens in another window)
CamperVanMan & Friends: Chantry Hill (Youtube vid opens in another window)


Conclusion

My experiences have taught me that the joy of campervan traveling lies in the journey, not just the destination, and in fact starts with the concept of the trip – the idea – as from this point the sense of freedom that we all crave is realised.

I hope these tips arm you with the knowledge to embark on your next adventure with confidence. Revel in the freedom, embrace the lifestyle, and most importantly, enjoy every mile of your journey, with or without friends to enjoy it with you.


This guide incorporates essential tips with relevant images and links to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of preparing for and enjoying campervan travels. Each section is aimed at addressing key considerations, enhancing your travel experience, and ensuring safety and enjoyment throughout your adventure.

Tim Aldiss

Sharing my passion for campervans, road trips and dreaming of the next escape

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