So you’ve decided to hire the campervan to try out #vanlife (or you’ve just bought one!). I asked a few seasoned campers on Facebook and Twitter to share their top tips to make your trip as easy as possible.
Planning your trip
One of the things to think about is whether you are going to “wing it” and literally go where your fancy takes you. After all, this is one of the advantages of hiring a campervan. This is absolutely fine if you are travelling without children, you are travelling out of season and if you are somewhere off the beaten path where campsites are not likely to be fully booked.
When travelling with our children, especially when they were younger, we found it best to plan a rough itinerary and book campsites for the first few nights. I like using http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/ for planning ahead. We would often leave the last few nights free in case we wanted to change our plans or stay a bit longer if we had found nice campsite. If you are going to a popular area, you might find that all the good quality campsites are fully booked. You might also set your heart on a small campsite in a great location but, if it has a smaller number of pitches, you might not be able to book in.
What to take
The beauty of hiring from us at Wirral Campervan is that we have tried to make your life easier already. We provide all the crockery, cutlery and pots and pans and a few things like some cooking oil, salt and pepper and washing up liquid. Camping chairs are included. You need to think about your bedding, clothes, wash bag and shoes. Campervan living is cosy but it is a small space so really do heed the advice to get out what you think you need and only pack half of it.
It’s probably best to be a little bit organised and take some food with you. You might be planning to get fish and chips or pub food when you get there but what happens if you are delayed by the traffic and the pub stops serving food (it happened to us once!). Best to have a few basics with you: pasta, sausages, cheese, to rustle something up if the unexpected happens.
One of the tips I received was to keep a hamper full of various teas, coffees and hot chocolate decanted into small plastic containers along with the cups and spoons so that a cuppa of whatever you fancy could be made quickly and easily.
Another camper said she had a hamper with games, her laptop and books as a mini entertainment centre. It sounds similar to the bag we always packed for the kids with some board games, colouring pencils and books, frisbees. We always brought their “screens” but often the Wi-Fi at campsites can be poor and not worth paying for. We always used it as a great excuse to get the screens off, get the kids out playing or, if it was raining, doing some colouring or playing board games.
One last tip and, it depends if you like them or not, but I find my Kindle is really handy in the van, you can carry so many more books on a trip (saving space) and switch off all the lights (saving battery life if not hooked up and not annoying the other van occupants).
A lot of tips revolved around hot water! One thing I always do is that when I boil the kettle in the morning for the first coffee of the day, I always boil enough for coffee at mid-morning or lunch and pour it into a flask to keep warm until then. Some suggested that you should only boil enough for each cup; others suggested putting on extra for washing up or hot water bottles! Then the hot water bottle water could be used again for doing the dishes in the morning. All good tips with a view to saving gas.
Our van has a water heater though so you can have lovely hot water from the taps for washing up. Luxury!
Life on the road
A great tip was to have laminated list of what to do and in what order when arriving at the campsite or when breaking camp. We haven’t had any major disasters luckily, but it takes the stress out of the process especially if you arrive when it is getting dark and you are also trying to feed hungry kids. We have quite often pulled away to find that we have left one of the cupboards open. One person told me that they tried to pull away with their awning still attached!
Don’t worry if you are new to camping, or vanlife, we will provide a list in our instructions with the van.
The best tip is to simply enjoy the family time and closeness that campervan living brings. We often play card games and board games in the evening in the van, something that we don’t do (often enough) at home. Great memories have been created on those evenings.
I’ll leave you with one final tip was to switch off the sat nav and “head in the general direction of your destination, adventure is out there”. I couldn’t agree more.