A first-timer’s guide to campervanning

With the days getting longer and the weather becoming warmer, many are looking forward to taking a well-deserved break over the Easter and summer holidays.

Hopping in a caravan or motorhome and hitting the road is an affordable way to enjoy the best that Britain and the continent have to offer. However, if you’re a first-time tourer, changing your travel techniques can be daunting. 

With this in mind, Max Schmidt, chief adventurer at Europe’s leading camper tour operator CamperDays, has shared his top tips for holidaymakers planning their first road trip in a leisure vehicle. 

Choose the right vehicle to suit your needs

When organising your first touring adventure, it’s important to choose the best vehicle to suit your needs. 

Think about whether you’ll be travelling alone, with your partner or with the whole family. Additionally, consider how much time you’ll be spending in the campervan and the distance you intend to travel each day. It’s also worth booking as early as possible to ensure the vehicle is available for your desired travel dates. 

Larger families may want to travel in a 5-6 berth motorhome, as these are typically kitted out with kitchen and shower facilities to make life much easier. Instead, couples embarking on a romantic getaway might look at renting a pop-top campervan which is easier to park and cheaper to drive. 

Choose a destination and plan your route accordingly 

Although there’s a certain allure to seeing where the road takes you, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead no matter how much experience you have. 

Whether you want to spend your day exploring Scotland’s coast or the English countryside, there are plenty of great places for touring right on your doorstep. Or, if you’re keen to spend the summer somewhere the weather’s more dependable, consider heading to the continent to discover the beauty of countries like France, Italy or Portugal. 

Once you’ve decided on a destination, take some time to plan your route and familiarise yourself with the roads and any special rules that may apply for the type of vehicle you’ll be driving. This will help you avoid any unprecedented challenges along the way. 

Get to grips with the rules of the road

Even if you’re an experienced driver, it’s always useful to do some research ahead of time to familiarise yourself with the rules of the road that apply in your destination of choice. 

For instance, many European countries have different speed limits and places like France require you to have a high-visibility jacket and warning triangle inside your vehicle. 

Apps such as Accudriver are handy as they show you the varying traffic rules in over 60 different countries to ensure you’re prepared wherever you choose to go.

Pack sensibly

When the time comes, it’s vital that you check the weather forecast and pack accordingly. In many destinations, like those across the UK, the temperature can drop significantly once the sun goes down. So be sure to pack clothing that you can layer even in the summer months. 

Additionally, if you’re travelling on a budget and plan on making the most of your campervan’s kitchen facilities, make sure you raid the kitchen cupboards and take along the necessary crockery and tools so you don’t end up buying things unnecessarily. 

You may also want to create a meal plan ahead of your trip, particularly if you want to explore more remote destinations with reduced access to restaurants and grocery shops. 

Also, don’t forget to take along the standard necessities required for every road trip, including a first-aid kit, torch, a portable charger and water. 


Image credit: lucas Favre / Unsplash