After many months of planning, designing and then building our Volkswagen camper, it was time to travel and live in the van. We spent three wonderful weeks in Catalonia and we loved the `van life`. It was simple, practical but comfortable.
Here are 5 tips for your campervan trip that will make the experience more comfortable and enjoyable.
1. Keep it practical
Our campervan used to be a RAC van so it was a lot of work to transform it into a living area. We wanted to keep it simple and practical. We wanted to be able to sleep comfortably and cook something every day. And we knew that we wouldn`t want to cook inside so Jacint built a pull out kitchen in the back. There is a storage bench that runs along the rock and roll bed that becomes part of the bed for the night.
If you want to customize your van, there are many great ideas and tips online, so make sure you spend some time planning and looking for ideas before you start any work on your van. Decide how you want to use the space and what are the most important things for you. Think about storage and practicality and consider your needs and lifestyle. There are no rights and wrongs here, just be sure that your design will work for YOU.
2.Keep it tidy
It was going to be a small space – doesn`t matter how well designed – so it was important that everything had its own place. We had to make sure that small items wouldn`t move around in the van during the drive. Camping chairs and the table were secured to the back of the seat with a strap. Kitchen equipments and food were kept in a drawer. Clothes were stored in the storage bench. And it was also important to keep the van tidy during the trip. Misplaced items can quickly make your van messy, and you would spend precious time looking for things during your campervan trip. Make sure that an untidy van is not what you remember when thinking back on the journey.
3. Keep it clean
We spent most of the time outdoors during the three weeks in Catalonia. And every time we stepped into the van to get something out of the fridge or the storage, dust and dirt found its way in. We swept the floor with a small brush whenever it was necessary. It might not seem important during a weekend getaway but when you are on the road for several weeks it is more important to have a clean and tidy `home`. After all this is your beloved holiday home.
4. Keep enough food for a few days
There is a small fridge in our camper and we made sure that we had enough food for a couple of days. We also kept coffee, some tinned ingredients, pasta, rice, wraps, and snacks. And we always had about 8-10litres of water (for drinking and cooking). Whenever you are staying at campsites or just stopping somewhere for the night (where it is allowed) make sure you have water and food in your van.
Plan some simple meals that are easy to make and make sure you have something for breakfast and (if you are hiking like us) something for sandwiches. It saves time (and maybe even money) if you don`t have to go to the supermarket every day.
5. Know where you can park for the night
We stopped for a night in the Cévennes (in France) on the way to Catalonia. It was great to have a break from driving and we continued travelling after a good night`s sleep. And being spontaneous is probably one of the most appealing things when you are travelling with a campervan. You can stop for the night where you want to. Well… almost. Before the trip we carefully checked where it was allowed to park a campervan for the night. You should familiarize yourself with the local rules and respect them. In Catalonia we stayed at campsites, so we didn`t have to spend time hunting for parking spots. And we were grateful for a shower after a hot day on the trails.
If you are travelling during the summer months you might want to pre-book some campsites to avoid disappointment. If you opt for `wild camping` make sure that you park for the night where it is tolerated or allowed. There are some apps and websites that can help you to find parking spots for campervans.
Think about these 5 tips for your campervan trip, it can make your life a lot easier when planned correctly.