The UK really is crazy for campervans. Any time the sun appears you’ll see thousands of proud owners motoring along the UK’s roads heading off on a trip in one of these marvellous vehicles. And it’s easy to see why they’re so popular. With their wealth of handy features travellers can enjoy both the comforts of home and the freedom of the wild outdoors.
Throwing some belongings in the back of the camper and setting off on a trip planned at the last minute is a great feeling and something all campervan enthusiasts love to do. But every owner will also dream of a perfect road trip to a long-desired destination. So, where do you start? Well, you start here!
The team at Motorhome Protect have put together this helpful guide to planning the dream road trip – whether it’s for a weekend away or a longer expedition.
Also, be sure to check your campervan insurance is up to date. It needs to cover your cherished camper – and its contents – for all the places you want to visit!
Key questions to consider
Where do you want to tour? UK, Europe or further afield?
Spontaneity is a great part of life on the road and an interesting detour is always fun to take. But you also need an ultimate destination in mind as well. After all, it can be hard work driving a large vehicle on unfamiliar roads so it’s important to at least have a rough plan of where you’re going.
You might already have a destination in mind but if you haven’t then consider what it is you like to do? Do you like sun, sea and sand or mountains and hiking? Do you want cities and nightlife or solitude and wide-open spaces? There are so many destinations open to someone in a campervan that you’ll be spoilt for choice!
Why are you going? Is it for a special occasion?
Having a destination in mind is great but another consideration is whether there are any special events you need to be in a specific place for? You might have decided to attend a long-lost friend’s birthday or a family wedding – if that’s an important part of your trip then you can’t miss it. Working out where you need to be and when will help you plan your itinerary. It’ll also avoid having to drive long-distances against the clock, which could increase your chances of having to claim on your campervan insurance.
How long do you have for the trip?
If this is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, then it’ll take more planning than a routine holiday. Also take into account how experienced you are as a campervan owner. You could be a beginner looking to take your first trip or perhaps a long-time owner who’s planning on living in your van for months.
This obviously affects how far you can go and whether you can take a more roundabout route. If you’ve only a week to travel to a place 1,000 miles away, you won’t get much sightseeing done along the way!
How do you like to travel?
Your travelling style will dictate a lot about your trip. Do you like long drives on motorways to reach your destination as soon as possible? Or do you prefer to tootle along taking your time getting there? And will you be travelling with or without children or grand children? Their needs have to be taken into account if you want a stress-free trip that’s a dream for all the family.
Whatever your travelling style, make sure you allow plenty of time for breaks and ideally rest days. And don’t forget to factor in the random detours – often it’s the unplanned adventures that end up being the favourite ones, so be sure to leave time for plenty of those!
Finally, don’t fall into the trap of planning too much in too short a time. You’ll end up feeling stressed and frustrated if you don’t get it all done. There’s always next time!
Where will you stay overnight?
Are you a keen wild camper who loves fending for yourself in the great outdoors? Or do you prefer to pitch up on a full-service campsite and relax for a few days? Whichever option you choose you’ll need to plan ahead so you’ll have a safe and secure place to stay.
This is particularly important when considering the time of year you’re travelling. Whether during the heat of summer or the depths of winter you’ll need to think about where you’ll top up with fuel and electricity, empty your waste and fill up with fresh water.
Relying on your campervan for both accommodation and transport means you need to consider what will happen if you break down or need some routine maintenance. Campervan insurance will help cover the costs of any mishaps.
What’s your budget?
Road trips in your campervan can be relatively cheap compared to other holidays, but they can also become expensive if you don’t keep your budget in mind! If you’re going on a long trip, remember to budget for fuel, food, campsites, activities, tolls, and any miscellaneous souvenirs! And make sure you’ve got funds available in case something out of the ordinary happens. It always pays to have campervan insurance in place on such a trip.
Plotting your route
Once you’ve considered these questions, then you’ll have a good idea of the practicalities of your dream road trip. And now comes the fun part, planning your route. There are a huge number of locations in the UK and Europe that are perfect for a dream road trip depending on the time of year. Take a look at these fantastic seasonal road trips to get some inspiration.
Ring of Kerry, Ireland
The Ring of Kerry is a 180km scenic loop around the Iveragh Peninsula taking in the rugged beauty of the Irish countryside from mountains to beaches, lakes, and rivers. With close to 270 days of rain a year it’s easy to see why Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle – it’s as green as they come!
Visit charming villages along the way and revel in the sweeping views of the Atlantic. While summer gives you lots of daylight hours to explore and appreciate the views the roads can get crowded. If you don’t mind trading clouds for crowds then March or April is a great time to visit.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
Driving the Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy will whisk any traveller back in time, with the beautiful culture of Italy on full display. From town to town, you’ll visit one incredible destination after another with a heady mix of history, architecture, food and scenery to take your breath away. Visit in May when the temperatures are just right, the land is lush, and there are fewer tourists.
Estoril Coast Drive, Portugal
At the most western point of continental Europe, this beautiful drive will take you along part of the amazing and often under-rated coast of Portugal. From the hills of Lisbon you pass through the beautiful seaside town of Cascais, the watersport heaven that is Praia do Guincho, the dramatic views of Cabo da Roca before ending at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sintra. Described by some as ‘Disneyland for grown-ups’, Sintra was made for Instagram! Much like anywhere else in Portugal, a spring visit is the best way to avoid the tourists and still benefit from the warm weather.
La Route des Grandes Alpes, France
Ideal for drivers wanting to travel a scenic route through this mountainous region of France, La Route des Grandes Alpes will take your campervan through four national parks and 16 mountain passes. Make sure to enjoy the incredibly beautiful Geneva Lake, just one of the highlights of this picturesque drive. Cycling enthusiasts may want to visit during July when the Tour de France passes through his region.
Klausen Pass, Switzerland
The Swiss love their mountains and this winding drive along the 46km Alpine road connecting Altdorf in the canton of Uri with Linthal in the canton of Glarus is a favourite! The Klausen Pass is normally closed between October and May, due to the high snowfall on the pass, so a visit in August is most likely to result in a trouble-free drive.
Romantic Road, Germany
This 350km scenic road that cuts through the heart of Germany from the wine-region city of Würzburg to Füssen, in the foothills of the Alps, feels like a step back into medieval times. Soak up the architecture and art dating back hundreds of years, but make sure to visit in September for the annual Oktoberfest celebrations. For more inspiration on your travels in Germany, please check out our guide.
Known as the Troll Route, this steep serpentine road along mountain slopes is not for those suffering from vertigo or novice drivers! From dramatic mountains to stunning waterfalls, around 600,000 drivers every year come to experience the beauty of Norway while traveling from Åndalsnes to Valldal in the heart of the country.
October is a good time to visit when the roads aren’t as crowded and haven’t yet become blocked by snow. Whatever the time of year, it’s still advisable to check weather forecasts for fog, as thick mists may hide the beauty.
Atlantic Highway, England
You can feel wonderfully alone in the depths of winter when driving the coastal roads around Cornwall’s sea-battered peninsula. Gaze at the stormy seas battering the rugged cliffs on one side, while on the other the rolling hills are enveloped in mist or a glistening frost. When you’ve had enough sea breeze and dramatic wonder then visit one of the welcoming villages along your route and indulge in some hearty fare and roaring fires.
You won’t be disappointed with any of these routes but always make sure the particular one you’ve picked is suitable for your campervan. Steep winding roads through rough country can play havoc with your clutch! Making sure you’ve got campervan insurance in place early means you can plan ahead knowing there’ll be help available if you get into trouble.
Practical tips before you leave
Follow these handy hints before you leave to make sure your trip is a dream and not a nightmare.
- Let a friend or relative know where you’re headed.
- Check the rules of the road. If you’re leaving the UK then there can be many rules and regulations you’ll need to follow.
- Take some emergency cash. You never know when a disaster could strike and you need cash in a hurry.
- Check your campervan insurance. Having the right level of cover in place is essential to guard against theft, breakdown and damage.
- Don’t overpack. Packing just what you need is important when you have only limited space. Consider what’s really going to make your trip enjoyable, then ditch everything else.
- Download a language app. If your dream trip takes you to foreign lands, then make the effort to learn at least some common phrases.
- Think about your tech. As well as mobile phones and tablets to keep you connected to home make sure you pack a decent camera, too. In years to come you’ll be sure to want to look back at some of the best bits!
- Service your camper before setting off. Perform a full check-up both inside and out before you hit the road.
Protect your dream road trip with campervan insurance
Wherever your dream trip takes you, don’t forget to arrange that all-important part of the equation: campervan insurance. By putting time into arranging the right kind of coverage for you and your vehicle you can get on with your adventure, safe in the knowledge you're protected.
The team at Motorhome Protect can provide a range of quotes on specialist campervan insurance with the following benefits:
- Cover for up to 365 days a year which can include foreign use
- 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
- Quotes available for customers with claims and convictions
Get a quick quote for campervan insurance today.
Policy benefits and features offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.