Don’t let your campervan take up all your driveway space for nothing, when what you really have is the ultimate vehicle for road tripping. If thoughts of the open road are calling to you, then it’s time to start thinking about how to plan for your next adventure. We’ve put together some road-tested tips that will make sure you get the most out of your trip before heading into the (mostly) unknown.
Mark your map
The point of roadtripping is to experience that unbridled wanderlust with no set schedule, but it’s always a good idea to mark some spots on your map. Marking different points of interest or stops you might need along the way will eliminate the guessing game of finding rest areas, places to eat, gas stations, parks, etc. Knowing ahead of time will save on gas you’d be using driving in circles.
Apps such as Roadtrippers makes it easy. Type in your starting point and destination. It will tell you all the points of interest along the way. You can add different options to your list of stops, and all directions are integrated with Waze. It’s perfect for travelers who value efficiency and spontaneity. Although we are an electronic society, it’s a good idea to have printouts of your maps in case your wireless devices run into trouble.
Choose the perfect time to go
The time of year will have a lot of influence over your experience and what to pack. Are you hoping to try out your new inflatable kayak or more interested in seeing autumn colours? If you plan to visit any National Parks or camping grounds check what months they are closed and periods when rivers could be running wild.
Winter can be a great time to travel. There are fewer crowds, however campervans aren’t known for having optimal insulation. With enough blankets, thermals, and perhaps a dog or two, and you can handle some pretty cold nights. On the flipside, if you’re traveling in the middle of summer you may want to explore off the beaten path to avoid crowds. Definitely make sure your air conditioning is in working order.
Pack like a pro
Packing a campervan can be tricky. You might be thrilled to have more room than your suitcase, but campervans get cramped fast. You’ll need to resist the temptation to bring everything you want. Stick with what you’ll really need.
A few things you might consider packing
Sleep: Getting a good, comfortable sleep is something you’re not going to want to compromise. Bring ample pillows, blankets, foldable/inflatable mattresses, or anything you’ll need to get good rest.
First aid: Always a good idea. You never know if you’ll need to bandage a cut, deal with allergies, or have an accidental run-in with poison ivy (never use foreign leaves as a toilet paper substitute).
Toiletries: Being on the road doesn’t give you a free pass at neglecting hygiene. A campervan can start to smell pretty quickly after too many skipped showers. Bring deodorant, soap, wet wipes, sunscreen, and items like razors and contact solutions. Whatever you need to be comfortable. This likely won’t be a concern if you’re staying overnight in a Walmart parking lot.
Fun: Once you make it to your destination you’ll want to fill your downtime with fun activities such as frisbees, inflatables, cards or board games, or other hobby and sport equipment.
Emergency: Reserve space for items you may need to get you out of a jam. Jumper cables, gloves, shovel, flashlight, and flares are all good items to have on hand.
Other packing tips:
- Reduce waste: Remove things from packaging to add more storage space and reduce trash accumulation.
- Avoid spillage: Bring plenty of individual bags for packing things that could potentially leak/spill (and to double as trash bags later).
- Think light: Bring lightweight alternatives (such as cookware).
Use a navigation system
The most useful item you should bring is a navigational device. It takes little or no space. For a fool-proof navigating system, it’s best to have a satellite GPS that works good in areas where you won’t get much service to your phone. It can also serve as a reliable backup in situations when your phone dies or service drops.
Other useful navigation apps include Waze, or Google Maps. Save your destination points ahead of time and easily select them while on the road.
Tips for furry passengers
Naturally, road trips are great for dog owners. Bringing them along is easy especially if your planned stops will be exploring the outdoors. The safety and comfort of your pet in important. Here are a few things you’ll want to prepare:
Visit the vet: Make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccines. If your pet takes medication, you’ll want to ensure you have enough to last the duration of your trip.
Make frequent stops: Your pooch needs the hance to stretch, potty, and have a drink. You’ll appreciate not driving in a campervan smelling like doggie doo.
Bring an extra leash or tether: You want to see your pal run free, ears flapping in the wind. Be cognizant of places that require your pet to be leashed or tied. Before letting your dog loose, take a quick walk around the area to ensure there are no potential hazards.
Bring plenty of food and water: Finding fresh water for your pet might not be as predictable as you think. Pack a couple gallons for you and your dog.
Feeling ready to start packing your campervan? Follow these tips and you’ll be able to enjoy the untethered feeling of the open road and be plenty prepared to handle obstacles and reduce any bumps along the way.
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