Do you want to take a campervan trip and this is a first? Can’t wait to start the engine of your campervan and hit the roads in the direction of freedom? Excellent! This spirit of adventure in you is the best prerequisite for a successful road trip.
To help you organize your trip, we have identified the important points for you to check so that your campervan vacation goes well. In this article, you will find advice on how to “not miss” your campervan trip and advantages and disadvantages of traveling by van. Happy reading and have a good trip!
The advantages of living in a van
When traveling in a van, you are free to move at your own pace, to stop wherever you want to take a photo, have lunch with a view, take a nap in a beautiful pine forest, or even sleep where you want. What we love very much about the life of nomadic van people is this feeling of independence and freedom. We are not dependent on accommodation booked for the night, an arrival time for check-in.
For some, vanlife can seem a bit precarious, I would say that it all depends on their travel habits, their priorities and their desires. Traveling by van is in fact the comfort of having a mini multifunctional house on wheels. All our belongings are concentrated in one place, no need to pack / unpack your bag or suitcase every day. Everything is there, tidy and within easy reach for any situation: moving, eating, sleeping, if the weather is nice, if it is raining and even for work. For us, it is a real weight less and a saving of time and energy on a daily basis! Our van is our own space, our little cocoon in which we feel good, in which we have our bearings. Finally, we feel at home, no matter where we are and that is magic.
Close to nature and to oneself
This is one of the big advantages of vanlife in our opinion. Being able to live as close as possible to the elements and even visit the natural wonders of the world. Luxury no longer depends on the number of stars in a hotel, but rather on those we see in the sky! Dine in the heart of nature, in an isolated place, listen to the silence (and sometimes the sounds of the fauna) of the environment that surrounds us. It’s this feeling of being back in the rough that makes us feel alive in a van. We realize that we need little to be happy.
Take your time
Space-time is different when traveling in a van. For our part, this is all the more true as our vehicle is old (1982). So we have to look at the road slower. No highway, let go to make discoveries and spontaneous encounters along the way. Regardless of the destination, the entire journey is important. In the long term, having your van allows you to adapt the adventure to your pace and needs. When you leave for several months, it is not possible to be at 100 per hour every day. Having your van allows you to have this flexibility and to discover the joys of slow travel. Slow down to better enjoy and not miss out on your trip.
The disadvantages of traveling by van
For us they are less, but it exists! Here are two in particular that can really slow down to pass the course.
Living in a van is living in 5m2! So you might as well tell you that you have to organize yourself to avoid letting yourself be invaded and overwhelmed by the mess. It is a confined space that must be functional, clean and practical. A golden rule: everything has its place! Very quickly, when traveling in a van, a routine is set up. Who does what, when and how. Essential habits that allow you to live together, as a couple or as a family in a van on the road.
Tidying up is really essential so as not to collapse under the disorder and not find anything on board! It’s true that traveling in a van accentuated our manic side. The bed is folded up as soon as you get up, the dishes are done after each meal, the clothes are put away in their cupboard and the floor swept several times a day. This makes it possible to cohabit without a fight in such a small space. We get used to it quickly (or not!). After the big advantage of traveling in a van, it is that we live outside most of the time, and this new garden changes depending on the spots found, what more could you ask for?
The toilet to be adapted
We’re not going to lie to each other, life in a van is not like living in an apartment or in a hotel, especially when it comes to hygiene. In a van, apart from going camping every night, the showers will not be daily, the toilet will have to adapt and be done with less water (which makes it possible to be aware of the scarcity of resources). The luxury of the solar shower is a supplement and if the weather is neither sunny nor hot, then a cat toilet with a glove and a basin will be the alternative.
A better mode of travel when the weather is nice
Being able to enjoy the outdoors and not having to stay locked up while waiting for it to pass! After that, you can also easily kill time on a rainy day, but it shouldn’t last a week.
12 Tips for planning the perfect road trip
Define the type of road trip
Do you want to take a mini road trip during a long weekend and taste the freedom? Or are you tired of everyday life and routine and you want to stay “underground” in road trip mode for several weeks? The duration of your road trip and the period during which you want to travel are two parameters that should not be neglected when preparing your road trip. You must also define beforehand on what types of spots you want to travel – rather in wild camping mode or on official campsites?
Reserve in advance
For a few days of adventure, you don’t need to plan your van trip too much, while for a longer trip, a few reservations in advance will allow you to avoid unpleasant surprises, especially if you choose to travel on paid spots during the summer. For example, if you travel in high season on the Atlantic coast, it doesn’t hurt anyone to reserve a place for your campervan in advance. It is also really recommended because the campsites are quickly full during the high season.
Have an idea of the destination
Lucky for you, you decided to go camping in a campervan! It is during this kind of trip that you do not have to organize everything in advance. Freedom is what you are looking for when traveling this way. To organize your van trip, you just need to have a rough idea of where you want to go and prepare the necessary equipment according to the activities you want to practice (mountain biking, hiking, beach, …). If for some reason you cannot reach your original destination, you can simply choose to go in another direction – where the wind will carry you. Nature is truly beautiful in many places in Europe.
Travel with the best friends
On a short road trip, for example over a long weekend, you can choose to travel with just about everyone, even just acquaintances. After all, a van trip is a great opportunity to get to know yourself better. Countless friendships and encounters have already been made during road trips. However, whether you like it or not, you will really get to know your travel partner better.
We travel in “camping” mode, we have to distribute the tasks, etc. If you’re planning a long road trip, it’s best to play it safe and choose people you’ve known for ages as travel partners. Honestly, it is very likely that you and your friends will have one of the best times of your life choosing to travel in a campervan. After all, what could be better than sharing all the best and most exciting moments with friends ? The campervan trip offers this possibility.
Find the right camper
The most important thing when organizing a campervan trip: choosing the right model of campervan! It is advisable to select a campervan according to the parameters of your road trip. How much will you travel? With animals? Will you be spending more time in wild mode or on official campsites? (access to showers, toilets, etc.) What are your primary needs when you travel? So many questions that ultimately allow you to find something that suits you.
At roadsurfer, eight different and colorful models are available for a campervan trip. All roadsurfer campervans have one advantage in common: they are compact and manoeuvrable to make your journey as flexible as possible. We present them to you in a few words here, it will help you better understand the differences between vans to define your needs on the sidelines of a van trip.
Budget the campervan trip
To plan a campervan trip, you first need to have an overview of your finances. Determine your overall budget by thinking ahead of time about the maximum amount you want to spend per day. The main expenses of a road trip revolve around four axes: fuel, tolls, campsites and food. Don’t forget to budget for your outings and activities as well.
Budgeting for your campervan trip is essential in order not to have unpleasant surprises: it gives an idea of the daily costs and will allow you to adapt the duration of the trip, the itinerary and the choice of campsites to your budget. If you travel with friends, you can create a common travel fund for all of your travel expenses, with everyone contributing the same amount.
Stock up on food
Our advice: stock up on your road trip, prepare some food at home before leaving (dishes to heat up on the way, for example) – and don’t forget snacks, crisps, dried nuts. It is essential to always have a few things to eat during a road trip. For example, it allows you to cut your hunger while you find a place to eat or cook meals. Otherwise, you have several options for eating while on the road.
The luxury option: if your budget allows it, you can go out for a meal every day and enjoy many dishes and local specialties. This allows you to save time, take less in your van and laze around as much as you want (without having to do the dishes). The eco option: you make delicious meals on your own!
Don’t forget anything to set the mood
The good music is what gives the final touch to your trip van! Something you shouldn’t overlook when you’re on the road. Create a common playlist with catchy songs to listen to while on vacation. Afterwards, you’ll associate this music with your road trip – and you’ll smile when you hear it.
Also, don’t forget to bring a connection cable so that you can listen to music from your phone when you are on the road. Bluetooth connection is normally available on newer van models, but prevention is better than cure by carrying a cable. On Spotify, you will find many playlists dedicated to the theme of the “road trip”. Take your guitar for long evenings by the fireside or a travel journal to record your exciting experiences. In case of rain, take a good book, games or puzzle so you can have fun.
Take official documents and cash
A little paperwork can make planning your van trip easier: scan and make a hard copy of important documents such as your ID card and, if necessary, booking confirmations. Keep copies in a location other than the original. Do the same with your cash and divide it into different bags. If you lose a piece of luggage, you won’t lose everything all at once.
Family road tripper
If you are traveling with children, don’t forget to check that your destination and the campsite chosen are suitable for them. We also recommend opting for official campsites or pitches with locals (on the farm, for example). You benefit from all the on-site services for your children – and they have plenty to do there. Nothing better than seeing your little toddlers having fun with other children: the campsites dedicated to families include play areas for children, for the pleasure of young and old.
Traveling by van with a dog
Can’t you part with your faithful companion, even on vacation? This is understandable. And you don’t need to do that if you choose to travel in a campervan. In our “Dog Suite”, your four-legged companion is allowed. When planning your van trip, find out if dogs are allowed on the chosen campsite (s) and if a daily supplement is due. Also take a look around. Are there enough authorized spaces to go for a walk with your dog? With a little preparation, you won’t be surprised and you can fully enjoy your vacation with your pet.
Check the vehicle before the trip
A trip in a campervan is only possible if the vehicle is functional. Before leaving for a mop, it is important that all the indicators are in the green: tire pressure, oil level, headlight settings, etc. The camping equipment integrated into the van must also function properly: refrigerator, second battery, gas, etc. In short, you have to invest a little time to check that everything is as it should, for a successful holiday! This is especially true if you have your own van.