Travelling in a campervan is only as easy as you make it. That’s not to say you have to cheat your way around the UK (or further afield), but why make it any harder than it needs to be?
So, before you hit the road, get your ducks in a row, which will help you to maximise the enjoyment and minimise the risk of something unexpected and unwelcome happening to you while you’re out and about on your travels. After all, you want your trip to be action-packed not incident-packed.
A bad experience can put you off the campervan life forever, or at least force you to be a little less adventurous. The following tips, which range from meticulously planning your route to taking out the right campervan insurance, aim to help you live the campervan life to the full.
Choose the campervan that best suits your needs
If you’ve yet to buy your campervan, take some time to think about what it needs to do. Ask yourself the following questions:
How often will I be using the van?
If you plan on getting away from the 9-5 at every opportunity you have, a pull-out bed with a larger social, living and eating space is probably a good option. These types of vans tend to be smaller, which makes driving and parking them slightly easier and they are kinder on the pocket in terms of fuel. Practicalities are key for the weekend warrior. You just want to be able to chuck in a bag of clothes and toiletries and hit the road.
If you plan on using your campervan for longer trips, however, like the annual family holiday, then a larger van will probably be more appropriate. Instead of pull-out beds, you’ll have the option of more comfortable fixed beds and larger seating areas.
What type of heating should I have?
If you’re only going to use your campervan during the summer months, you might want to save a few pennies by opting for portable heating rather than installed. However, if there’s a chance that you’re going to feel the cold during the night, you’ll need a van with either a wood burner, gas heating or oil heating.
How tall does it need to be?
If you don’t like the idea of having to stoop over when inside your vehicle, you should consider a high-top van. It can be pretty uncomfortable having to bend your neck as you do things like cook and get dressed.
Will I be going off-road?
If you’re a sucker for an amazing view, that might mean going off-road. A two-wheel drive vehicle will struggle with any terrain that isn’t a road, so consider buying a four-wheel drive campervan which will allow you to park up for the night in some of the most incredible spots.
Plan your route
To some campervanners, the idea of planning a route takes away some of the fun. If that’s you, we applaud you for being comfortable feeling your way through your trip and enjoying the unpredictability that it brings.
But there’s no shame in admitting that you want a bit more certainty about where you’re going and what’s going to be waiting for you when you get there. So, go ahead and pinpoint which campsites you’re going to stay at, which restaurants you’re going to eat in and the car parks that are big enough to accommodate your campervan.
You’ll feel so much better having a plan in place – but just remember that things don’t always go to plan.
Set a budget
A campervan trip is often sold as being the cheap alternative to accommodation-based holidays. But the costs can easily stack up if you’re not careful. If you stop over at a campsite, for instance, you’ll need to pay for the privilege. It’s not cheap to eat out every night, either.
Setting a budget will not only help you keep costs down, it will also guide your trip.
Pack the essentials
What you take with you is a personal choice. Some people won’t worry about a dustpan and brush to keep their campervan tidy while on the road, for instance, while others will want to ensure their vehicle is dirt and dust free at all times.
However, here are some of the things most people need at some point during their trip:
- Can opener
- Bottle opener
- Sharp knife
- Baby wipes
- Washing up liquid
- Toilet roll
- Head torch
- First aid kit
Put it the miles before you go
If you’re new campervan driving, it pays to put in the miles before you go. The more comfortable you are driving your campervan, the smoother your trip will be.
Carry out some manoeuvres such as bay parking to help you get to grips with the size of the vehicle. This will also reduce the likelihood of having an accident while on your travels.
Secure everything down
Before you set off on the road, take the time to secure all your possessions inside your campervan. As much as anything else, it can be pretty dangerous to have a kettle flying forward into the cab… It also increases the chances of damage and breakages, and the cost of replacing those items is one you can do without.
Pick the right insurance
Finally, you need to pick campervan insurance that allows you to hit the road without a worry. Getting the right kind of coverage means you can get on with all your travel adventures knowing you're protected in the case of the unexpected. We can arrange a variety of quotes on specialist campervan insurance that could provide the following possible benefits:
- Cover for up to 365 days a year which can include foreign use
- Cover for your Campervan whilst you are converting it
- Enhanced cover for personal effects
- Discounts if you’re a member of a club
- Panel of leading Campervan insurers
- Unlimited EU cover
- Up to £3,500 of cover for your camping personal effects
- Up to six months cover to complete a self-build conversion
- Value up to £150,000