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. By marking different points of interest or stops you might need along the way, you’ll eliminate the guessing game of trying to find rest areas, places to eat, gas stations, parks, etc. By knowing ahead of time, you’ll save the gas you’d be using driving in circles.
Apps such as Roadtrippers makes it easier: just type in your starting point and destination and it’ll 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. Perfect for travelers who value efficiency as well as 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’re visiting any National Parks or camping grounds make sure to check which months they may be closed and periods when rivers may be running wild.
Winter can be a great time to travel because there are fewer crowds, however campervans aren’t known for having optimal insulation. Though, 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, and definitely make sure your air conditioning is in working order.
Pack Like A Pro
Packing a campervan can be tricky. You might be thrilled at having more room than your suitcase, but campervans can get cramped fast. For this reason, you’ll have to resist the temptation to bring everything you want, and stick with what you’ll really need. Here is a general list of things we’ve found useful to bring:
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 when 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: Just because you’re 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. You’ll want to bring deodorant, soap, wet wipes, sunscreen, or other items like razors, contact solution, or whatever you need to be comfortable. This 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 some space for items you may need to get you out of a jam, such as jumper cables, gloves, shovel, flashlight, flares, etc.
Other Packing Tips:
- Reduce waste:
- Avoid spillage:
- Think light:
Take things out of packages before packing to reduce trash accumulation.
Bring plenty of individual bags for packing things that could potentially leak/spill (and to double as trash bags later).
Bring lightweight alternatives when possible (such as cookware).
Use A Navigation System
The most useful item you end up bringing doesn’t take much space at all, which is your navigation device. For a fool-proof navigating system, it’s best to have a satellite GPS that works great in areas where you won’t get much service to your phone, and also serve as a reliable backup in situations where your phone dies or drops service.
Other navigation apps you can use include Waze, or Google maps. To save time later, save destination points ahead of time, so you can easily select them while on the road.
Tips for Furry Passengers
Naturally, road trips are great for dog owners because bringing them along is easy, especially if most of your stops will be exploring the outdoors. However, for the safety and comfort of your pet, there’s a few things you’ll want to prepare:
Visit the vet: Make sure you’re all up-to-date on vaccines before heading out into the great outdoors. If your pet takes medication, you’ll want to make sure you have enough of those too.
Take frequent stops: Your pooch will need the chance to stretch, potty, and have a drink, and 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, but there are some places you’ll need to keep your dog close by or tied. Before letting your dog loose you may want to take a quick walk around the area to see if there are any potential hazards.
Bring plenty of food and water: Finding fresh water for your pet might not be too predictable while on the road, so pack a couple gallons for you and your dog.
Feeling ready to start packing your campervan yet? Follow these tips and you’ll be able to enjoy the untethered feeling of the open road, while being prepared enough to handle obstacles and reduce bumps along the way.