Everything You Need to Know for Your First Campervan Trip

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Thanks to the rise of campervans , camping has never been more accessible. These easy-to-drive cars make it easy to see the world on the roads and go almost anywhere in the United States and Canada.

But before you jump in and start your grand road tour , it’s important to remember the basics and understand the rules that come with campervan camping. Here are the quick basics everyone needs to remember when starting out in a campervan for the first time.

What Is a Campervan?

Known in other parts of the world as a “caravan,” " Class B ,” or simply a “camper,” campervans are self-contained recreational vehicles built on the frame of a truck or van. Campervans are traditionally smaller than traditional RV vans, which makes them accessible for nearly anyone to drive.

One of the benefits of a campervan is how easy they are to get around. Because they are built on the body of production-model vehicles, anyone who has driven a large truck or minivan can learn to get around in a campervan easily! Plus, campervans often come with a lower cost compared to a traditional RV, with many of the same features.

On the downside, campervans come with much less space than a traditional RV. While a larger motorhome or recreational vehicle can fit an entire family, campervans are best fitted for much smaller groups—two or three people, at the most.

Is a Campervan Different From a Conversion Van or Traditional RV?

Although they share much of the same terminology, there is a very distinct difference between a campervan and conversion vans or even a traditional RV . The most obvious between them is size: While traditional RVs can be the size of a schoolbus, campervans are usually much smaller in size. The smallest campervans are the size of a production car, while the largest are around the size of a large truck. This distinct size difference means you can jump in and start right away with a campervan, while a traditional RV may take a lot more time to learn and get adjusted to.

Campervans are also much more different than “conversion vans,” although the two terms may be used interchangeably. While campervans usually come with dedicated cooking and sleeping spaces, conversion vans are often full-size vans with more storage space and even nicer seats, but aren’t necessarily intended for camping.

In short: if you’re ready to start camping, but aren’t interested in staying at a hotel every night or the time and money to learn how to drive a full-size RV, then the “vanlife” may be perfect for you.

The Benefits of a Campervan

Arguably, the biggest benefit of a campervan is its mobility. Often at the same size as a full-size van or truck, campervans can go anywhere you can imagine . All you need is a roadmap and a campground to get started!

Campervans come with many of the most common features found in RVs as well. A well-built campervan will feature a small kitchen area to prepare hot meals and power outlets to plug-in medical devices and charge cell phones. In addition, campervans have insulated sleeping area, so you can rest in a bed every night without exposure to the elements.

Campgrounds are often very accommodating to campervans, as they don’t take up much room and don’t need as many hook-ups to get up and running. The best campervans include plugs for “shore power,” or an external power source at the campsite. This allows you to use the kitchenette and power outlets without running down dedicated batteries.

Do I Need a Special Driver’s License for a Campervan?

In most parts of the United States, you will not need a particular driver’s license to operate a campervan. Because campervans are roughly the same size as the cars you already drive today, operating one on the street will be very similar to driving your car to work. However, before you go on your first road trip, you will want to get acquainted with your campervan. Campervans may come with back-up cameras, but not the center rear-view mirror. Be sure to go on a few test drives to understand its visibility and how it handles on the road.

Although you may not need a special driver’s license to take your campervan on the road, what you take with you might require additional paperwork. Because some campervans include propane or butane gas to power the kitchenette, you may be required to display placards to inform first responders and other drivers of what you are carrying. Be sure to check the local regulations where you are going.

What Do I Need to Pack in a Campervan?

Now that you’re sold on joining the “Vanlife” and are ready to head out on the open road, the first step is to put together a packing list. As with all travel, your packing list will change based on where you are going and how long you plan on being gone. For the basics, your campervan packing list should always include:

  • Food and beverages for the length of your trip
  • Potable water for dishwashing and other cleaning
  • Weather-appropriate clothes for the length of your trip
  • Clean linens and pillows for the bed
  • Kitchenette fuel (propane or butane, if necessary)
  • Cleaning products (wipes, soaps, and anything you can use to conveniently
  • Cash for tolls and any other unplanned expenses
  • Connection cables for campsites

Once you have your packing list together, you will also need to set a budget for your entire trip. This may vary based on how far you are going and campground costs. Your budget should account for:

  • Gasoline costs for your campervan
  • Campervan campground costs per day
  • Extra budget for food or entertainment while camping

While most charges can be paid for using a credit or debit card, it’s also important to carry a small amount of cash with you to ensure everything can get paid. If you don’t make a budget part of your campervan packing list, you might end up paying way more for your trip than you thought .

Where Can I Park My Campervan Overnight?

You’ve got the campervan, you have a destination in mind, and now you want to know where you can park your campervan overnight . Because these are registered vehicles operating on public roads, they are subject to all rules and regulations.

The easiest places to park your campervan overnight is at a campground . Many campgrounds have dedicated spaces for campervans and other recreational vehicles. If space is available, you can book just one night or your entire stay. Just be sure to check ahead if there is a space for you—otherwise, you might be caught on the road without a place to stay.

If your trip includes a visit to a national forest, then you are in luck. Because national forests are federal property, camping is usually free! If you can safely pull your car off the road, you can park your campervan for the night. Just be sure to follow local regulations: For example, some parks don’t allow open flames due to fire risks.

But as mentioned above, there are a lot of places where you may not be allowed to park your campervan overnight. You cannot park on streets where overnight parking is prohibited, or anywhere campervans or other live-in vehicles may be prohibited by local or state ordinances. This can include (but is not limited to) alongside significant highways, alongside coastlines or in dense parking lots.

If you are in a complete pinch for parking overnight , there are some emergency options available to you. Most Wal-Marts allow camping vehicles (including campervans) to park overnight, giving you a safe place to spend one night as you plan for the next leg of your adventure. Some amusement parks also have dedicated small RV and campervan space as well.

Tips and Tricks for Your Campervan Experience

If you’ve never taken a trip in a campervan before, you are in for a one-of-a-kind experience. But before you go, here’s some tips and tricks you can apply to your grand adventure.

  • Less is more: Although campervans offer a fair amount of living space, it is also very limited after you pack all your items in. Packing light allows you to enjoy still the creature comforts allowed from the campervan, without worrying about where and how to store everything when it comes time to move to the next campground (or go home).
  • Reservations save time and money: While it may be tempting to hit the open road to go wherever the wind takes you, it can also be a costly proposition if campground space is limited. By calling ahead and making reservations at campgrounds, you can ensure space is available – and at a rate in your budget. Some websites even allow you to book campground space online.
  • Leave the land better than you found it: No matter your camping style, it’s essential to make sure you are a good steward of the land. This includes picking up all trash, securing trash and other items before you leave or turn in for the night, and avoid feeding wildlife (on purpose or inadvertently). Not only is this good behavior, but it’s also the law. If you litter or start an open fire on federal lands (or where it’s against local rules), you could be fined.

Overall, campervan camping is one of the easiest ways to see the country. With a better understanding of campervan travel , you will have no trouble getting on your way and making memories that last a lifetime.

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Living his dream, Rex Vogel is a Snowbird with a passion for RVing, photography, hiking, and birding.

The Ultimate RV Travel Bucket List: 51 Best Places to Visit in North America

Your road map to hidden gems, cherished natural wonders, and iconic monuments across North America

campervan travel ideas

Are you looking for travel bucket list ideas for your next RV trip? Running out of ideas or looking for fresh ones? From epic classics to exciting newcomers, we have selected the 51 most amazing places to visit or things to do in the U.S. and Canada. Of course, there are many more than 51 places worth visiting.

We have traveled by RV in 47 states and four Canadian provinces but barely made a dent (and our list continues to grow longer and longer).

It’s time to pack the RV and discover beautiful and awe-inspiring places across North America. Following are many of our favorite destinations in the US and Canada to satisfy your wanderlust.

campervan travel ideas

Badlands National Park : South Dakota

With ochre-tinted buttes, graceful spires, and fossil-rich landscapes, Badlands National Park, in southwest South Dakota, entrances visitors with its ethereal vistas.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park : North Carolina and Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains National Park attracts outdoorsy types with its sublime mountain scenery and beautiful old-growth forests.

campervan travel ideas

Banff National Park: Alberta

Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is Canada’s first (and arguably most beautiful) National Park.

Charleston : South Carolina

With its Spanish moss, historic architecture, coastal scenery and graceful antebellum mansions, Charleston oozes Southern charm.

campervan travel ideas

Bryce Canyon National Park : Utah

Otherworldly rust-colored hoodoo rock formations are on full display at this popular national park.

Blue Ridge Parkway : North Carolina and Virginia

The nearly 500 miles of blacktop twisting through the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah national parks was built for travelers seeking Appalachian overlooks.

Sedona : Arizona

Sedona attracts nature lovers with its desert landscapes, surreal red rocks, and enchanting vortexes, places where the earth’s energy is reportedly amplified.

campervan travel ideas

Joshua Tree National Park : California

With jaw-dropping desert scenery, prickly Joshua trees, and distinct boulder rock formations, Joshua Tree mesmerizes visitors with its eye-catching landscapes.

Zion National Park : Utah

If your perfect bucket-list includes hitting scenic hiking trails, it’s hard to rival the otherworldly landscapes in Utah’s Zion National Park.

campervan travel ideas

Wells Gray Country : British Columbia

Wells Gray has something to offer every outdoor interest: lush alpine meadows, birding and wildlife viewing, hiking, boating, canoeing, kayaking, and 41 breathtaking waterfalls.

Boston Freedom Trail : Massachusetts

Walk this 2.5-mile path (just follow the red-brick line) that passes 16 historical landmarks from Paul Revere’s house and the Old North Church to Bunker Hill and Old Ironside.

campervan travel ideas

Scenic Byway 12 : Utah

The red rock majesty of Utah is on triumphant display on Scenic Byway 12 winding between Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon national parks.

Green Mountain Byway: Vermont’s Route 100

The billboard-free Route 100 winds through some of Vermont’s most quintessentially Vermonty villages, with all the cider donuts and country stores that go with them.

Dead Horse Point State Park : Utah

Towering 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, Dead Horse Point is an iconic peninsula of rock sitting on top of incredible vertical sandstone cliffs.

Tombstone: Arizona

Arguably America’s most infamous Old West town, Tombstone, is the perfect place to see what life was like during the days of the Wild West.

campervan travel ideas

Jekyll Island Club Resort : Georgia

Follow in the footsteps of visitors like J.P. Morgan and the Pulitzer family as you golf, bike, boat, swim, or trot along on a horse-drawn carriage.

Santa Fe : New Mexico

A city that embraces its natural environment, Santa Fe is a city whose beautiful adobe architecture blends with the high desert landscape.

Remember the Alamo : San Antonio, Texas

Home of the famous 1836 battle, the beautiful 300-year-old former Spanish mission turned fortress is the heart of San Antonio and Texas’ most visited historic landmark.

campervan travel ideas

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge : Georgia

Hop aboard a flat-bottomed boat and keep your eyes peeled for alligators, egrets, and hawks during a tour of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument : Arizona

Canyon de Chelly has sandstone walls rising up to 1,000 feet, scenic overlooks, well-preserved Anasazi ruins, and an insight into the present-day life of the Navajo.

Mesa Verde National Park : Colorado

A great concentration of ancestral Pueblo Indian dwellings, built from the 6th to the 12th century, can be found on the Mesa Verde plateau in southwestern Colorado.

campervan travel ideas

Red Rocks State Park : Sedona, Arizona

Red Rock State Park is a 286-acre nature preserve and environmental education center with stunning scenery.

Monument Valley : Arizona and Utah

The iconic landscape of Monument Valley symbolizes the American West worldwide with its towering buttes and sweeping skies.

My Old Kentucky Home State Park : Kentucky

My Old Kentucky Home State Park honors the home that was the symbol of Stephen Foster’s endearing song, the stately mansion on the Rowan Estate known as Federal Hill.

campervan travel ideas

Mitchell Corn Palace : South Dakota

The World’s Only Corn Palace is a quirky but cool multi-purpose arena in Mitchell.

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument : Washington

The eruption of Mount St. Helens caused a huge landslide to sweep through the Toutle River Valley and remove 1,306 feet from the top of the volcano.

campervan travel ideas

Shiner : Texas

Shiner, Texas is home to 2,069 people, Friday’s Fried Chicken, and—most famously—the Spoetzal Brewery where every drop of Shiner beer is brewed.

Gulf State Park: Alabama

Gulf State Park’s two miles of beaches greet you with plenty of white sand, surging surf, seagulls, and sea shells, but there is more than sand and surf to sink your toes into.

campervan travel ideas

Icefields Parkway: Alberta

The Icefield Parkway is a 144-mile highway winding along the Continental Divide through soaring rocky mountain peaks, icefields, and vast sweeping valleys.

Cherohala Skyway : North Carolina and Tennessee

Travel the Cherohala Skyway and enjoy panoramic vistas as you wind through the Southern Appalachian high country.

Catalina Highway : Arizona

With a nearly 7,000-foot elevation change in a mere 24 miles, the Catalina Highway is a brilliant ascent with countless curves, numerous vistas, and three major switchbacks.

Myakka River State Park : Florida

Seven miles of paved road wind through shady hammocks, along grassy marshes, and the shore of the Upper Myakka Lake. See wildlife up-close on a 45-minute boat tour.

campervan travel ideas

Natural Bridges National Monument : Utah

These three majestic natural bridges were formed by the power of water in a landscape usually defined by its absence. View them from an overlook or hit the trails.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument : Arizona

Organ Pipe Cactus is the only place in the U.S. where the organ pipe cactus grows wild.

San Antonio Missions : Texas

The San Antonio Missions are a group of five frontier mission complexes situated along a 7.7-mile stretch of the San Antonio River.

campervan travel ideas

Incline Railway : Chattanooga, Tennessee

Take the incline railway up a 72.7-percent grade on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga. It’s like driving up an insanely pretty wall.

Lassen Volcanic National Park: California

See all four types of volcanoes—cinder cone, composite, shield, and plug dome. Plenty of hydro- and geothermal activity is still found in Lassen Volcanic National Park today.

campervan travel ideas

Okanagan Wine Region : British Columbia

Okanagan wine region is possibly the most scenic wine region in North America and a place where RVers and other normal people can afford to taste wine.

Cedar Breaks National Monument : Utah

At an elevation of over 10,000 feet, Cedar Breaks looks down into a majestic geologic amphitheater, a three-mile long cirque of eroding limestone, shale, and sandstone.

campervan travel ideas

Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park : Alberta

A wide green valley, steep sandstone cliffs, strange rock formations called hoodoos, and rock art—all of these things make Writing-on-Stone a special place.

Lake Powell : Utah and Arizona

Spend a week on Lake Powell boating through slot canyons, anchoring on deserted beaches, and camping under the stars.

Creole Nature Trail : Louisiana

Louisiana’s prairies, marshes and shores teem with wildlife, and a drive along the Creole Nature Trail gives visitors a chance to experience nature’s bounty up close.

Grand Canyon National Park : Arizona

“Grand” doesn’t do this canyon justice. Measuring approximately 277 river miles in length, up to 18 miles in width and a mile deep, this massive chasm is a natural wonder.

campervan travel ideas

Jasper National Park: Alberta

The largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper is the wildest of the mountain parks and contains the world famous Columbia Icefields.

Congaree National Park : South Carolina

Congaree National Park showcases the largest tract of old-growth floodplain forest remaining on the continent.

Black Hills : South Dakota

Driving through this corner of South Dakota takes you through some of the most rugged, distinctive, and beautiful land in America.

campervan travel ideas

Blue Bell Ice Cream : Brenham, Texas

Stop by for a scoop of ice cream at the Ice Cream Parlor, view how Blue Bell is made, shop in the Country Store, and learn more Blue Bell Creameries in the Visitor Center.

Colonial Williamsburg : Virginia

A living history museum and two art museums offer something for everyone, from hands-on activities to original 18th-century buildings to a folk-art collection.

Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Awaken your senses and explore the birthplace of Bourbon as you embark on a self-guided journey to discover the story behind Kentucky’s Bourbon Culture.

campervan travel ideas

Ohio Amish Country : Holmes County

Ever wish you could turn the clock back to a time when life was simpler and the wheels turned a little more slowly? Now you can.

Arches National Park : Utah More than 2,000 sandstone arches dot the 47,000-acre landscape of this national park.

Worth Pondering…

“My favorite thing is to go where I have never been,” wrote photographer Diane Arbus, and so it is with us.

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25 Genius Campervan Hacks for Van Life & Camping Trips

Life on the road is full of bumps, twists, and unforgettable adventures. Outfitting your camper van with  versatile space-saving items  is key to making the ride that much smoother. When you’re in a small space,  making life easier  through organisation and planning is a lifesaver. 

*This post may contain affiliate links, as a result, we may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) on any bookings/purchases you make through the links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Read our full disclosure
Don’t leave your home without Travel Insurance! From the US?  We recommend   Allianz Travel Insurance,  a world leader in travel protection and  our trusted Travel Insurance partner  for the last 5 years. Allianz offers  Single Trip and Annual Travel Insurance Policies  that include medical coverage, trip cancellation, rental car insurance and more! (Benefits vary by state and by plan, so read your policy carefully!)  Not a US resident?  Consider  Safety Wing ,  a  budget friendly travel insurance provider  with travel insurance plans for Digital Nomads and travelers from all around the world.

We’ve learned a ton about van life from travelling in our  Sprinter Campervan,   Benji , in  Canada  and our campervan,  Tilly the Troopy , in  Australia . From what to use for insulation to where to shower, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that isn’t captured by the shiny #vanlife content on Instagram. 

So here are our  best van life storage hacks and tips for overnight camping in a van. 

Icefield Parkway during the winter season

Traveling Soon?  Here is a list of our favourite travel providers and accessories to help get you ready for your upcoming trip! Book Your Accommodation HERE Search for Great Tours HERE Get a Car Rental HERE Buy Travel Insurance HERE See our Favourite Camera Bag HERE Grab a Reusable Water Bottle HERE or a Filtration Straw HERE Order an eSim HERE

Our 25 Best Van Life Hacks And Campervan Tips

1. find a spot for everything.

When everything in your van has a home, it  keeps the van organised  which is crucial for keeping your small space neat and tidy. Staying organised while travelling is a challenge, especially when you’re always on the move. Working with limited space can be tough but when you keep on top of organisation, it gets a lot easier. We recommend you to use simple campervan hacks storage like packing cubes to tuck everything away will  prevent clutter and damage to your items.  Choose different colours, and packing cubes to locate items effortlessly. Organising your clothes in cubes keeps them fresh, wrinkle-free, and easily accessible, preventing any campervan chaos.

2. Pack The Essentials

Even the best camper organization hacks won’t save you if you are trying to fit a house’s worth of stuff into a tiny space. As far as storage ideas for campervans go,  minimalism is key. 

Making the most of your small space begins with  cutting down on non-essentials  and prioritising versatility. For instance, if you’re going to use a duvet, do you really need sleeping bags, too? Packing only the essentials is one of the top van life tips to make all other organising campervan hacks possible.

Packing tips 4166

READ NEXT: 52 Best Van Life Essentials That Make Van Living Easier

3. Use Apps To Find Free Places To Camp

The best way to  make van life cheap  is to find free camping spots. Thankfully, there are a lot of them! We’ve used apps to find van camping ideas throughout our travels in North America and Australia at no extra cost. 

  • iOverlander : In Canada, we use  iOverlander . It’s a community-driven platform for people and nomads seeking stay options, from camping spots, hotels, eateries, mechanics, water, propane filling, and more.
  • Backroads Mapbooks : Offering up-to-date information to help you navigate the outdoors safely. Combining city, rural, and forestry roads, these maps are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, highlighting side roads and backcountry routes not found on other maps.
  • Wikicamps  was our go-to in Australia. The app also provides direct information and addresses for essential resources like campgrounds, information centres, dump points, potable water taps, points of interest, rest stops, and more.
  • We’re also members of   Harvest Hosts ,  which has allowed us to stay at some pretty cool farms and wineries. In the US, Harvest Hosts are available in every state, along with lots of free camping on public lands. And, you might even meet other van lifers there (who might have other great campervan hacks to share!).

Qualicum Bay Campground

4. Get A Gym Membership To Take Showers

A gym membership will be your best friend when living on the road. Opt for a  nationwide gym that’s open late  so you can shower on your own schedule. We use  Anytime Fitness,  which has hundreds of locations across Canada as well as elsewhere in the world. Planet Fitness is another popular option among van lifers that’s convenient and affordable. Although we have a built-in shower in our van, not having to worry about hot water or dumping water tanks is a treat.

5. Sign Up For A Husky Membership To Get Free Showers (Canada Only)

Let’s face it, baby wipes can only get you so far when it comes to hygiene. When you don’t have access to a gym or outdoor shower,  truck stops  can be a life saver!

In Canada, one of our favourite van life hacks is to sign up for a Husky membership. Every time you get fuel, you’ll  collect points that you can redeem for free showers.  This is one of the best van life shower ideas since you’re already getting fuel anyway! You earn one shower for every 50 L of fuel you fill up, so you’ll be racking up points in no time. 

Taking a shower in the gym is an essential campervan living hack.

6. Attach Your Spice Rack Under The Cabinets For Easy Access

Magnetic spice jars are a great solution to save space in your campervan kitchen. We added a magnetic spice rack beneath our cabinets to help  save more space in our pantry.  The magnets keep the containers in place while we’re driving and they’re easy to access for cooking. You can also stick them to your fridge or a metal sheet to save counter space. Plus,   our set  came with pre-made labels, so the spices were easy to organise. Lightweight and secure, these jars make finding and using your spices hassle-free on the road. Easy to pack, they’re a must-have for any camper chef.

We buy all of our dry goods in bulk, so these magnetic containers come in handy for other things too. We can store tea, nuts, and other loose items without any unnecessary packaging.

spice containers, campervan hacks

7. Invest In A Portable Toilet

When it’s cold, and you need the bathroom in the middle of the night, these are the van life tips you’ll thank us for! Investing in a   portable toilet  was one of the best van conversion hacks we incorporated into our build. Our toilet is compact, easy to clean, and really doesn’t take up too much space inside the van. It  makes life on the road a lot more comfortable,  and our van feels a lot more like a home. 

portable toilet, campervan hacks

READ NEXT: 10 Beautiful Sprinter Van Conversions to Inspire Your Build  

8. Use Bungee Cords To Keep Items In Place

Bungee cords are essential campervan accessories. We use them to keep our toilet from sliding across the floor of our van. Bungee cords are also useful for  securing other loose items  when we’re driving. They’re great for minivan camping ideas or in van builds that don’t have much extra space to spare. Some of our best campervan storage hacks involve finding a spot for everything—and making sure it stays there. 

READ NEXT: 12 Best Van Conversion Companies That Will Build Your Van for You

9. Maximize your storage space

Anything that creates more storage space is a van life essential in our books. Adding shelves above the bed and baskets or magazine racks in the kitchen area is a great storage solution. 

You can store your van camping equipment in different places based on how easily accessible it needs to be. For example, keep cleaning supplies handy under the sink, but you can store other items that you don’t access very often under the bed. We also installed an elevator bed which allowed us to maximize the storage in our van. We gained a ton fo space by not having a permanent platform bed. 

elevator bed, campervan hacks

10. Get Collapsible Everything

One of the best campervan storage hacks is to  use collapsible storage containers . They save space by packing away into flat bundles when you’re not using them and easily expand when they’re needed. We have collapsible bowls,   storage containers , and a bucket that always comes in handy.

campervan hacks

11. Get A Wi-Fi extender Or Data Connection Booster

Some key van life and motorhome tips for working on the road rely on having internet. Adding a WiFi range extender is one of the best motorhome hacks to  make the most of weak campground WiFi.  Sometimes, your parking spot doesn’t have the best signal, so adding a booster strengthens your connection so you can work on the road.

Costa Rica beach rocks skyroam 00727

12. Don’t Forget To Insulate Drafts And Fans

If you plan on travelling in the winter, we recommend investing in fan covers and draft stoppers. Even when your fan is closed, it can let just enough air in to create a draft. You might also run into this if you have a pop-top roof, so  don’t overlook extra insulation.  We invested in a bunch of these   door draft stoppers  and used them  to get rid of drafts coming from the doors of our van. 

READ NEXT:   The Ultimate Camper Van Insulation Guide

13. Opt For Unbreakable Kitchenware

One of our best van camping tips is to save yourself the headache by opting for unbreakable kitchenware. No need to worry about bumpy roads breaking glass or dishes when you have shatterproof items. We love our wheat straw   plates  and   bowls . They are lightweight, durable and eco-friendly.  Look for lightweight, unbreakable dinnerware for your caravan adventures. Explore stylish alternatives to traditional plastic and melamine plates, opting for fully biodegradable options for plates, cups, and cutlery in smart and playful colours, ensuring it’s not only practical for your caravan interior but also environmentally friendly.

Camper Van Build

14. Use GasBuddy To Find The Cheapest Gas

Campervan life and travel usually go hand in hand, which means you’ll be doing lots of driving. And with lots of driving comes LOTS of gas. GasBuddy is the go-to app for budget-conscious drivers. Wherever you go, you will stay informed about gas price trends in the area, get money-saving tips at the pump, and receive updates on GasBuddy products. We use   GasBuddy  to help  find the cheapest fuel in gas stations across Canada.  We can even plan our stops ahead of time based on gas prices along the way. This makes budgeting for a campervan trip a lot easier.

15. Invest In Rechargeable Magnetic Lights

Rechargeable magnetic lights  have been a great addition to our van build and one of the most helpful campervan hacks. They’re better than fairy lights since they’re  cordless and can be used in a variety of places  thanks to the magnetic strip. We use them inside cabinets, above the sink when we are doing dishes and even outside. Thanks to their magnetic strip at the back, they stick to the side of our van, creating the perfect outdoor lighting setup!

magnetic led light

16. Get A Handheld Vacuum 

A full-size vacuum would take up too much space in our tiny Sprinter van, but a handheld vacuum is the perfect size. One of the best campervan hacks for keeping the van tidy is having a  portable rechargeable vacuum.  We use our   Shark WandVac  daily to keep our floors and surfaces nice and clean. It’s not just for vacuuming, but a handy travel tool too! You can compress your luggage by 50%, creating extra space in your campervan. When it’s time to unpack, unzip the vacuum bag, and your clothes fluff back up with air.

handy vacuum, campervan hacks

17. Hooks, Hooks, And More Hooks

One of our top tips for making the most of your wall space is to add hooks—and lots of ‘em.  Hang as much as possible  to keep things off the floor and organised. Hooks are a campervan essential. Install a few to keep your jacket, bag, and accessories in order. Also, keep them functional and stylish for your walls. Some of our favourite Ikea campervan hacks include these   folding hooks . They fold down when not in use, keeping the walls of your van nice and tidy. Hooks are necessary when you have wet clothing after a swim or if you are looking to  hang some laundry.  Trust us, you can never have too many!

18. Add A Doormat To Every Entrance

Depending on your van model, you might have multiple doors that can quickly get dirty from boots and shoes.  Keep the dirt of the great outdoors off of your floors  by adding doormats to every entrance. You can leave your muddy shoes on the mat without tracking in any extra mess.

READ NEXT:  Guide to Choosing the Best Campervan Solar Panel

19. Use Foam To Create A Custom Storage Area For Your Electronics

Line your drawers with   plucking foam  to keep laptops, iPads, and cameras safe while you drive. This creates a padded box for  fragile campervan storage  items that need that extra protection during bumpy rides. Cut smaller pieces and use them as dividers to keep your camera batteries from bumping into your tablet.

20. Install A Carbon Monoxide Alarm

This is one of those van living tips that you can’t skip. Being in a confined space with different types of fuels and chemicals can be dangerous. A  carbon monoxide alarm and smoke detector are essential  camper tips for any van build. We use this   2-in-1 alarm  to save space and stay safe. We also highly recommend  adding a   fire extinguisher  to every van conversion.

campervan hacks

21. Use A Memory Foam Topper As Your Mattress

If you’re looking for campervan hacks to make sleeping more comfortable, this tip is for you. Whether it’s van life or motorhome life, using a   memory foam topper  as your mattress makes for the  most comfortable sleep ever . We know that many campervans don’t have a standard-size bed. It’s a problem for regular mattresses, but if you are using a latex topper, cutting it into the right size is a breeze! Plus a latex mattress topper is natural and antimicrobial, it helps regulate temperature and supports your body for restful sleep.

campervan hacks

22. Install Swivel Seats

Installing swivel seats for your driver and passenger seats allows you to double down on space in your campervan. This way, your driving area won’t waste empty space when you’re parked and hanging out inside. 

We have installed a   Scopema Swivel Seat  from the  Swivel Shop  in our van, and it has made a world of difference! It’s perfect for eating dinner, and working and offers extra seating for guests!

Max installing the seat

23. Make Window Coverings

Window coverings can help a lot with  temperature regulation  in the summer and winter. In hot places, blocking the sun from baking into your campervan conversion makes being inside a lot more comfortable. Similarly, covering your windows can help keep heat inside and block drafts. 

You can easily make your own window coverings with Reflectix and a down blanket like we did. We use magnets to pop them into the windows so they look clean on the inside and don’t attract attention on the outside. They’re  ideal for stealth camping  and eliminate your need for curtains, so it’s a win-win!

campervan hacks

24. Add A Mosquito Net To Your Door

Travelling in a van in the summertime is amazing, except for one thing: bugs! Keeping the doors open makes the van feel bigger and helps with airflow. Adding cheap mosquito nets is a quick and easy solution for  enjoying the breeze bug-free. 

We recommend a   magnetic mosquito net  so it stays shut when you’re moving in and out.

25. Get A 12v Power Inverter

Keeping your phone and devices charged can be a challenging task if you don’t have a full electrical system in your van. Even if you have a solar system, we recommend getting a 12-volt power inverter that plugs into your cigarette lighter. This way, you can  top up your devices while you’re driving  without having to tap into your batteries. We use this   DC to AC inverter  that has a regular 120v plug and two USB ports. 

accessories for campervans, campervan hacks

Do you have any favourite campervan hacks that make living in your camper van conversion even more enjoyable? 

READ NEXT: 20 Best Accessories For Campervans & VanLife

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a camper van in Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

A campervan sits parked on Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world. These converted vehicles give travelers the freedom to explore otherwise difficult to reach destinations.

13 Tips for the Perfect Campervan Trip

Looking to live your best #vanlife? Take this advice.

The campervan craze is sweeping the globe. Scan through your social media accounts, and you’re bound to land on someone’s trip through the Pacific Northwest, New Zealand, or Iceland in one of these converted vehicles. Their popularity makes sense. In these vans, which often feature miniature kitchens and beds that transform into dinner tables, travelers can enjoy both the comfort of modern luxuries and the freedom of the wild outdoors.

If you haven’t taken a campervan trip for yourself yet, it’s destined to make its way onto your bucket list. Here are 13 tips to keep in mind when planning your own adventure.

Be Sure You Can Drive It

Your camper won’t do you much good if you can’t get it off the lot. A van can be more challenging to drive than a car if you aren’t used to the size and turning radius of a larger vehicle. Make sure you know how to drive the one you rent, and ask about manual versus automatic transmission before hitting checkout. If you haven’t driven a manual car in the past, this is not the time to learn.

Take Advantage of the Flexibility

Don’t forget about the van part of your campervan. Hopefully your new home is so comfortable, you forget you’re spending the night in an automobile. If you can’t quite get that fact out of your mind, remember the benefits of your choice. You’re transient, flexible, and free. If you want to visit someplace new in the morning, you can just pop into the driver’s seat and get a move on. You already have everything you need.

Keep an open mind while you’re driving and hiking. If you see something interesting, stop. If a campsite neighbor tells you about an amazing hike she took the day before, think about extending your stay and trying it out. Allow yourself to enjoy the freedom the van provides.

But Still Do Some Planning

While it may seem like you can just camp anywhere with your van—after all, your bedroom is on wheels—it’s best to consider your campsites beforehand. A bit of go-with-the-flow is necessary on a road trip, but you can eliminate plenty of stress by knowing where you’ll be parking at each leg.

If you can’t manage an exact plan, map out possible stopping points along your route. Once you have that information, you can take all the time you need on the road and choose the spot that’s most convenient at the time.

Bring Someone You Really Like

There’s no way around it, you’ll be in tight quarters. If you’re going on this trip with a partner, family members, or friends, be sure you like them—a lot. If you aren’t comfortable getting cozy together, you better hope you don’t run into a rainy day on the road.

Check the Gear Before You Go

Before you even show up for the van, take stock of what’s included in the rental, make a list of what you’ll need on the trip, and compare the two.

Once you pick up the camper, get a careful look at what’s there. Make sure everything you expected to be inside the van actually is. If something is missing, ask about it. After you get the keys, take out your list and reassess your needs, then head to the store. A little preparation goes a long way here, because realizing you don’t have any towels in the middle of the woods is not how you want to start your camping trip.

a camper van in Chilklot Lake, Alaska

A campervan traveler lies in his fully outfitted van at the shore of Chilklot Lake in Alaska. When staying in such a small space, it's important to keep organized and think carefully about how each inch is used.

Don’t Forget the Essentials

Yes, you have a car. But no, you don’t want to spend your vacation time driving around to track down a can opener. In order to make sure you have everything you need, be thoughtful with those packing and shopping lists. Some suggestions: baby wipes, shampoo, a decent knife, a cutting board, sandwich bags or containers for leftovers, a little broom, bug spray, and sunscreen. Make the most of your trip by getting these things at the start, so you can focus on the fun.

Do Some Meal Planning

There's little joy in scrounging through an empty cooler at 8 p.m. after a long day on the trail. To prevent an empty belly or three straight dinners of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, do a little prep before you leave. Figure out how many meals you’ll need and decide what you’ll want to eat. Remember to consider the food storage you’ll have, likely either a minifridge or cooler, and choose dishes that will be easy to make over a fire, like chili, roasted veggie skewers, or loaded baked potatoes.

There’s no need to plan exactly what you’ll eat each day, but having everything waiting for you in the van will ensure you don’t go to bed hungry, and stocking a few staple breakfast ingredients will allow you to wake up focused on the adventures of the day.

Head to the grocery store at the start of your trip with your meal plan and ingredient list in hand. There may be shops along your journey, but if you’re exploring national parks or secluded beaches, you’ll want to be sure you aren’t missing any crucial ingredients before you begin your trip. Tacos just aren’t the same without the tortillas.

a camper van in Goa, India

A family enjoys the wild outdoors while camping under a coconut tree in India.

Stock Extra Snacks

Being in a campervan allows you to venture to more remote destinations, and that means there likely won’t be many pit stops available. Take advantage when you can, because your body won’t care about the lack of nearby stores after you complete an epic trek through the forest. Before leaving civilization, buy some extra fuel, like sandwich fixings and trail mix, to take with you on your hiking, biking, or paddling excursions. And don’t forget treats for the inevitable late-night campfire sessions.

Don’t Overpack

You have limited space, and some if it is going to be taken up by you. Do you really need three swimsuits and four sweatshirts? No. You don’t. Consider what’s really going to make your trip enjoyable, then ditch everything else. You don’t want to be sifting through things you wish you’d left at home when you’re trying to get dressed in the morning.

Pick the Right Campsite

Though you have more flexibility with a van than you do with a tent, it’s still important to be thoughtful when choosing your campsite. First, only camp where you’re permitted to sleep overnight. This is primarily dependent upon local ordinances and park rules, so study up before you get on the road.

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Once you’re out and looking for your site, keep a few things in mind. You’ll want to find a level spot. It will save you from waking up smashed into one side of the van or having your blankets slide off the bed. Also try to stay away from any campground lights, which may keep you up at night and will certainly hinder your stargazing. If you can, try to pick a location that showcases the best the campground has to offer. If it’s at the beach, get that ocean view. If you’re in the mountains, look for the vista.

Campgrounds tend to have multiple lots of different shapes and sizes, so don’t be afraid to drive around a bit to find one that suits your van. Some national park websites even offer photographs and reviews of each site, so you can make an educated choice when booking in advance.

Stay Organized

Mess leads to stress. Find a place for everything at the start of your trip and put it all away when you’re done. Remember to account for the driving you’ll be doing, so place anything fragile in a secure spot.

a camper van in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Lights shine from a campervan parked next to a glowing boulder in California's Joshua Tree National Park.

Keep a Flashlight Nearby

Being in a van doesn’t change the fact that you’re still camping. Keep a flashlight close by for nighttime bathroom trips or detecting unwelcome wildlife.

Find a Spot for Your Shoes

This is not a metaphorical suggestion. You should actually plan where you’ll put your shoes when you’re in the van. You’ve probably been climbing a rocky cliff or walking through a sand dune, so they’re covered in dirt. You don’t want that in your bed. And do yourself a favor—keep them far away from your head.

You also might need them in the middle of the night or early hours, so stick to the place you’ve chosen. Your van will stay clean, and you’ll be happy you know exactly where they are in the morning.

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Campervan Road Trip Ideas for Your Next Escape

Are you looking for some campervan road trip ideas that are full of cool places to visit? We’ve got a whole list of road trip itineraries and ideas that include some of the prettiest places in North America.

Taking a California road trip? Check out our Los Angeles to Big Sur itinerary that starts at our LA depot and ends near our San Francisco depot . Planning a longer coast-to-coast trip? See our Cross Country Road Trip – Northern Route itinerary that starts at our New York depot and ends at San Francisco. We’ve also got road trip ideas and itineraries for East Coast road trips, smaller day trips, beach road trips and more.

Simply choose the itinerary you want to explore and start planning your next campervan adventure.

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How to Plan the Ultimate Campervan Trip in Iceland, According to Someone Who Did It

I spent three weeks traveling around Iceland in a campervan — here's what I learned along the way.

campervan travel ideas

I've never been camping before. There was no assembling tents at Girl Scouts or hopping into an oversized RV , not even a pop up in the backyard. So, when I told friends and family that my partner and I were renting a campervan to drive around Iceland for three weeks, they all laughed — audibly.

While spending 21 nights in a campervan wasn't without its challenges, there's no better or more affordable way to see Iceland. From the wildly remote gravel roads of the Westfjords to the snowy slopes of the Eastfjords, through the quaint northern villages and countless waterfall stops in the south, here's what I learned while camping my way around Iceland.

Choose the Right Camper

Travelers are spoiled for choice when it comes to camper companies in Iceland. There are dozens to choose from, and they all seemingly offer the same things. We went with the family-owned Happy Campers , the first mini-camper rental company in the country. They plant one tree for every booking, and when we realized we drove almost 2,500 miles, we were happy to offset the footprint, albeit slightly. The clincher for us, though, was the free 4G Wi-Fi on tablets and all the positive reviews.

Although we picked the right company, we did not select the right camper. We chose the Happy 1 Auto , a VW Caddy. While it would have been perfect for a week-long trip or for one traveler, the extra room in Happy 2 or even Happy 3 would have been better for our three-week journey. When in doubt, opt for more space. On those cold, rainy Iceland nights, you won't mind having a bigger area to hang out in the back.

When to Travel

There's no question, Iceland is at its tourism peak during the summer months . Travelers can take advantage of the midnight sun, driving, and sightseeing until, well, midnight. However, this is also the busiest time of year, so expect higher camper prices, limited supply, and crowded campsites, especially those on the Iceland Camping Card .

We opted for the shoulder season of September. There was still plenty of sunlight and much less traffic at the campsites. However, the majority of the country's campgrounds close on Sept. 15. While you can park overnight for free, all the facilities, including the toilets, are locked.

This required planning our destinations further in advance, and when in remote places like the Westfjords, it meant hours of driving to reach an open campsite. But earlier sunsets allowed us to slide open the camper door and search for the northern lights .

Which Route To Take

A common question for visitors heading to Iceland is, "Which way should we travel, clockwise around the Ring Road or counterclockwise?" The most straightforward answer is: Follow the good weather.

As you've probably heard, Iceland's weather can be as temperamental as its erupting volcanoes . We arrived right as the autumn colors started to emerge and the weather began getting colder. This meant heading clockwise around the Ring Road, up to the stunning Strandir region of the Westfjords, and stopping at Siglufjordur along the Arctic Coast Way was the best option.

We ended up making the right choice because a few days after completing the region, we got an email alert from Happy Campers, letting us know the area was being hit by massive snowstorms and 25 mph winds grounding cars and campers alike. Tip: Always check road.is for updates on road closures and en.vendur.is for accurate weather forecasts.

Pack the Essentials

When loading up the camper, we immediately realized our two checked bags and two carry-on suitcases wouldn't fit into the storage area underneath the seat-turned-bed. Our only option was to take all of our belongings out and keep our empty suitcases at the Happy Camper's headquarters. While you may want to be over prepared, try to resist bringing bulky luggage or tons of clothing options — it is camping after all.

We discovered a few items we couldn't live without during our trip — the first, quick-drying microfiber towels. Not only were they useful for the various remote hot pools, like Hellulaug and Krossneslaug, but they also came in handy as an extra layer of curtains while sleeping. Happy Campers also offers extras like an inverter, which we used to charge our phones and laptops at the end of each day.

Not All Campsites Are Equal

We referenced the Happy Campers' campsite map for all of our stays. It included details about each campsite's facilities as well as the cost, with the average being about $25 per person, per night.

Cross-checking the campsite with Google reviews came in handy more than once, alerting us to facilities we didn't want, including the occasional communal shower. During our trip, many sites had dirty bathrooms, showers, and kitchens, so be sure to pack flip-flops, shampoo, and soap. Alternatively, there were several new facilities with little luxuries like new washers and dryers, heated floors, and even instant wall heaters.

And just because you're in a campervan doesn't mean you can't treat yourself to the occasional hotel stay. We took advantage of a long, hot shower at the plush Hotel Rangá . Their aurora wake-up call also made it much easier to spot the northern lights.

Why Travel in a Campervan?

Camping is ideal for the adventurous soul. It allows you to explore remote corners of the country where you can easily set up camp and bask in the natural beauty. Being able to fall asleep next to a rushing river and wake up near a cascading waterfall connects you with nature in a way that only Iceland can.

There's also the added benefit of saving hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars on both a car rental and accommodations. Plus, travelers can store all of their belongings in one place, as they don't have to unpack and repack multiple times. There's no check-in or checkout, either. Renting a campervan offers the ease of waking up, rolling over, and starting your day exploring.

My trip has just ended, but I can't wait to return to Iceland and revisit my favorite places. Next time, I'll make sure to book a bigger van.

25 Van Life Ideas For Your Next Campervan Conversion

Looking for van life ideas to create the perfect camper conversion ? We’ve assembled this list of 25 inspirational van builds to help you out. Whether you’re starting a new build or renovating your old van, be sure to give this article a read, first.

From electronic beds to a log cabin on wheels, we’ve scoured the internet to find the best and craziest van life ideas out there. Throw them up on your Pinterest mood board,  and get inspired to build out your perfect adventure home!

The Best Van Life Ideas You Must See To Believe

Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to peruse some truly plush and unique rides–but the VanLife is constantly on our minds. We spend a good deal of our time on Instagram looking at how other vanlife influencers design and execute their builds.

Here below, we present the culmination of our collective firsthand experiences (plus copious amounts of browsing the Internet): the top 25 best van clan ideas for any adventure!

Van Life Ideas 1-10: Practical Considerations

First and foremost, your van life ideas should be grounded in reality. It’s easy to daydream and go on flights of fancy about what you might do and how you might live on your adventure van. But remember that quality of life is important–as you’re going to be spending a lot of time in that space!

Idea #1 – A Stow-able Bed that Retracts into the Ceiling

This electronic, movable bed is our top van life ideal not only because it’s amazingly practical–it is just so cool! 

Struggling to decide between the convenience and comfort of a fixed bed and the thought of being able to pack it away and have more space? Well with a bed that can retract up into the ceiling, you can have both.

There are four posts that the bed base moves up and down; stowing away in unused ceiling space by day, then lowering down again just in time for bedtime. The advantages of this are that you simply make your bed in the morning, then send it zooming up, out of sight, giving you so much more space to play with through the day time.

This is the best, quickest way to have two completely different day and night setups. On the downside, the systems can be heavy and expensive, but if you can make it work then we think the positives greatly outweigh the negatives!

Idea #2 – Clever Storage Throughout the Van

van life ideas - kitch 2

Storage is essential within any home, but that’s especially true in van life. Because this is an alternative lifestyle , you’ll have to get clever with your storage ideas to meet your needs.

There are many different types of storage out there. Drawers work better than cupboards in a van, as it is easier to access their contents and they can be kept organised more easily. Pockets and pouches on the walls of your van can be a great way to store small items such as books and phones–especially in the bed area.

When thinking about storage, remember that things slide around when driving. Smaller spaces work well, as the items within them have less room to move. Also remember that any shelving will need something to keep the items from falling out; rope can be a good solution for this.

Get clever and us every nook and cranny in your van, you can never have enough storage!

Idea #3 – Solar Panels for True Off-grid Living

van life ideas - chandra rae

If you’re wanting to build a true  off grid home , then solar panels are a must have on your van! This is one of the most practical van life ideas: Endless free power to charge all of your gadgets while you’re on the go. 

Being able to draw as much power as you like, completely independent of campsite plug-ins will greatly enhance the feeling of independence of and self-suficiency. Once you’ve gone solar, you will never want to go back. 

I know what you’re thinking: “what about when it isn’t sunny?” Well first, solar panels don’t need bright sun and clear blue skies to be effective, although they obviously work better in these conditions. Second, it’s quite possible to rig your van with a batter, where you can store the sun’s energy for a rainy day. 

Finally, producing your own power to cook, heat showers, and power gadgets is a great way to lower your carbon footprint. So, what are you waiting for?!

Idea #4 – Nothing Beats Fixed Beds at the End of the Day

van life ideas - 6. trailofus

Just picture this; you’ve had an amazing day out on the trail, you’ve just finished eating a beautifully cooked meal, and you’re more than ready to climb into your warm, soft bed.

But wait, where is the bed? Oh, of course, it’s packed away and needs putting together and then making with a sheet and the duvet and pillows… nooooo! Avoid the bed building doom and consider a fixed bed in your campervan conversions .

Having a bed constantly out really makes a campervan feel like somewhere you could spend a lot of time. Having to build your bed at the end of each day just isn’t ideal, and anyone that’s been in this position would agree that having a fixed bed is a true luxury.

Some may argue that you lose so much space in the daytime but more often than not, you’ll find that even with a fixed bed you’ll still have enough space to have everything else you may want in a van, even a seating area and table. Plus, you gain so much handy storage underneath the bed, and by not having a space to pack your duvet into every day. This is one of the van life ideas that is seriously worth considering.

Idea #5 – Swivelling Van Seats Up Front

van life ideas - rambler

The cab area in campers is often lost to those hours spent driving–and is rarely more than a dumping ground for outdoor coats and shoes that have nowhere else to go. Try making a feature out of the seats, rather than leaving them an afterthought for a little van life Aikido.

Enabling one or both of the front seats to spin round and become chairs in the living area of the van means that you don’t need to take up extra space in the back of your van by building another seating area. The front seats in a campervan are usually more comfortable than the standard bench seating, so it makes sense to utilise the comfort!

To really tie it all together, add some beautiful covers that go with the interior of your van.

Idea #6 – Garage In The Back

van life ideas - garage -

One of the biggest incentives to build a fixed bed is for the amount of storage space you can open up in the back of your van: a boot or ‘garage’ area.

This garage is a great area to store any outdoor equipment you may have, whether its climbing or beach gear. Depending on your setup, you can even get enough space to store a couple of bikes!

Overall, it’s great to have a space where you can chuck anything and everything without it taking up space in your living area. If you can accommodate it, try it out.

Idea #7 – Access The Cab With A Cut-Through

van life ideas - 3. voyage

Many vanlifers prefer the cab and the back of the van to be completely separate areas. So, next on our list of van life ideas is a cut through from one to the other. This is actually a legal requirement in some countries; but even if it isn’t in yours, it is something well-worth considering.

Being able to get to the cab from your living area means that you can always drive away without having to leave your van if you are in an unsafe situation. It’s also super handy when you leave something in the cab to just be able to nip through and get it.

Finally, it can give you more storage options, as you can use the cab as an extension of your living area. Some people even store their fridges between the two front seats, freeing up mad space in the back!

Idea #8 – Keep Clean with an Outdoor Shower

van life ideas - shower

Many people couldn’t imagine living without a full shower set up but, trust me, having a shower actually inside your van is often more of a hindrance than a help. With a built-in camper shower , you lose so much space within your tiny home. You also need to be able to carry and store LOTS of water, and have a way to heat it too.

Adventuring in the modern age shouldn’t be about the constant search for water! But then again, it is nice to be able to take a shower when you want one. This is where an outdoor shower like the Rinsekit comes in.

Now, there are many ways to attach a shower to the exterior of your van; mounted to the back door is a popular route to go down. Alternatively, you could mount a shower to the roof of your van. Solar showers are starting to appear on the market, meaning the sun heats up the water used for showering which is a great, hassle-free, option.

And even if you don’t want to mount a shower to your van, there are many portable options out there which save on so much space inside. However you go about it, outdoor showering is definitely one of the van life ideas to get on board with.

Idea #9 – Bunk Beds for Kids Living the Van Life

van life ideas - sites

If you’re travelling with kids or in a group, then you are probably going to want more than one bed. The next suggestion on our list of van life ideas is a clever solution to this problem: bunk beds!

Bunk beds are a great space-saving solution in any house, and there’s no reason why they can’t work in a van. Just make sure that they are built strong enough to take the weight of a person, and you’re good to go.

Bunk beds are fun and exciting way to provide children with their very own space, even when space is tight. Why not build on this childlike playfulness and make a feature of the bunk beds; add fairy lights or ‘stars’ to the underside of the bed or accessorise with a ladder and some storage pods for toys and books.

If you’re travelling with a group of friends, bunk beds are a practical way to ensure everyone has enough space to sleep–and to prevent that one person from stealing all of the covers!

For best results, design your bunk beds so they can fold down to give yourself more space in the daytime.

Idea #10 – Table and Chairs for Working and Eating

van life ideas - table

If you’re planning on spending a long time on the road or to living in a van full time, then a table to sit at is one of the van life ideas worth considering. Most people use a table every day; whether it be to eat at, work at, or play games on, a table will always come in handy.

Many people often think about the seating area, and the table is just an afterthought. But when you need somewhere to get some work done, then a table is essential. This doesn’t mean you can’t build a super comfortable seating area around the table, however! Balance the two considerations against space.

Van Life Ideas #11-18 – Crafting Your Lifestyle 

There’s nothing in the vanlifer’s handbook that states you can’t have fun with your camper conversion build. After all, you’re going to be spending a significant amount of time in your tiny living area. Shouldn’t it look and feel the way that makes you happy and content?

Here are some tips to help you craft your van-lifestyle.

Idea #11 – To Poo Or Not To Poo?

van life ideas - toilet

The ever challenging question: “should my van build contain a toilet?” Indeed, it is an important consideration, and one which may in large part define the rest of your build.

It’s true that you can nearly always find a public toilet during the day or, failing that, a suitable bush for your privacy. But during the night, however, this becomes much more difficult, especially if you’re city camping. If you ever intend on wild camping in the city, then a toilet is pretty essential as you can’t just pee on the street, and you probably won’t want to wait until midday to find a toilet.

Even if you’re wild camping, it’s fairly disruptive to your sleep routine to have to get dressed and put some shoes on to find a bush. And if this isn’t an issue for you, just remember 50% of the population aren’t blessed with the ability to wee standing up.

So, if you plan on spending a long time in your van, then a toilet might be a good shout.    

Idea #12 – Warm Your Bones by a Van-friendly Furnace

van life ideas - 4. Makers

Thinking of ways to heat your next van? Well, don’t miss out on this opportunity to add a flare of old-world comfort and romance to your van build. This is one of the van life ideas that is sure to impress your friends. After all, a log burner within a van never fails to be a stirring talking point.

If you’re living the van life  in colder climates, then a log burner actually makes good sense. Not only do they produce copious amounts of heat when needed, they also lend your living space an unparalleled sense of cosy warmth. And believe it or not, they’re quite economical.

Just imagine curling up in front of the burner with a good book and a hot chocolate. Ahhh, bliss!

Idea #13 – Expand the Menu with an Oven

vanlife ideas - oven

Many vanlifers get used to making stove-top meals, but sometimes there is just nothing better than a tray of roasted veg and chicken, or a simple oven pizza and chips. If you find that you often rely on an oven when cooking and plan on travelling long term in your van, then there’s no reason why you can’t squeeze one into your conversion.

An oven is one of those van life ideas that completely depends on your individual needs, but they really can work in a van–so don’t discount it!

Idea #14 – Charming Porthole Windows

van life ideas - the rolling home

Van life and Boat life are close friends by nature, sharing many similarities as well as the sense of freedom that comes from being able to be on the move. So why not add a dash of the nautical to your next van build?

These cute little circular windows are a great way to make your camper conversion stand out from the crowd. They’re a feature piece within, and on the outside of your van.

As well as looking good, portholes are a practical way to let the light shine in. If you can get your hands on some that open, it would make a great way to bring the fresh air in.

Idea #15 – Beautifully Painted Geometric Flooring

van life ideas - makers

This is a new trend that we’re starting to see in the world of van conversion, and we love it!

In particular, we love the way the geometric pattern looks almost 3-D; it really pops out at you and would give any conversion an edge. It’s also sure to be a cheaper alternative to other flooring options while still looking amazing.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be geometric designs! Think of all of the different ways you could decorate your flooring, and make your van unique to you.

Idea #16 – Illuminate Your Van Life With a Skylight

van life ideas - the van

Not content with a few windows to let natural light into your tiny home, then why not make your whole ceiling a window? We’re dead serious–this makes for an amazing feature and an even more amazing view of the starry night sky while laying in bed!

Sure, this is one of the rarer van life ideas out there, probably as many people would be unsure of how to pull it off. But if you can work it out, then the views would surely be worth the effort!

It can be difficult to get enough light into a campervan by default, but by making the whole roof a window, you will never be short of natural light. You will, however, need one pretty big blind…

Idea #17 – The Log Cabin Van

van life ideas - log cabin

Next on our list of van life ideas is wooden cladding. This is becoming a popular way to build out the interior of your campervan, and it’s easy to see why.

Natural-finished wood really gives the impression of being in a rustic cabin in the forest, rather than in a campervan. It is also a practical way to build the interior walls of your campervan as cladding is lightweight, affordable and easy to work with (especially considering the bends and curves of a van frame).

If you want to build a cosy cabin on wheels that really stands out, then wooden cladding definitely something to add to your list of van life ideas.

Idea #18 – Cool Off Hanging in Your Hammock

van life ideas - 2. hammock

There is simply nothing better than spending a sunny afternoon lazing around in a hammock. With that in mind, next on our list of van life ideas is to add a travel hammock into your next camper conversion.

The most difficult part of adding a hammock to your van isn’t hanging it. So long as the hooks are attached directly onto the metal of the van itself, they should be strong enough to hold the weight of an adult.

Instead, the real issue is having enough space to do so. You want room for it to hang freely without banging on any of the furniture, so this needs to be thought about at the planning stage of your build.

But hey, if you’re travelling solo, why not try a hammock as your bed? It gives you ultimate freedom, and you simply unhook in the day time to be able to utilise all of that extra space!

Van Life Ideas #19-25 – Next-Level Upgrades

If you’re looking for a way to make your build something really special, there are a few good ways to put any extra budget or space to good work. None of the following van life ideas are essential, but we can bet you won’t want to live without them once you have them.

Idea #19 – Double Your Space With A Roof Deck

van life ideas - roof deck

When you travel in a van, the whole world is your back garden, but sometimes it’s nice to have a space that is wholly yours. Next on our van life ideas list is a super cool way to build yourself, if not a garden, then a decking area that comes with you everywhere. That’s right, we’re talking about a super-cool roof deck!

Simply attach a ladder to the side of your van and mount a decking area to the roof of your van (much like a roof rack) and voila! You’ve got yourself a mini yard. It’s hard to picture a better place to relax and catch some sun or gaze a the starry night sky.

Idea #20 – Seating That Converts Into Bedding

As an alternative to a fixed bed, consider a seating area that converts into your bed. There are many ways to make this idea a reality: slats that slide out from a bench seat to for a wider bed; a table that drops down between two bench seats to create the bed base; or benches that hinge open to form the bed.

Whatever works for you, all of these options share one thing in common: more space when the van is in “daytime mode”. By having a bed that stores away in the daytime, you have much more room to play with during the day–most commonly for a large seating area with a table.

This is one of the van life ideas that could be a great option for travelling families!

Idea #21 – Extendable Kitchen For Outdoor Cooking

van life ideas - kitchen

If you live or travel in climates that are warm and dry all year round, then this van life idea is a great space saver. What’s more, cooking outdoors can also be much more sociable than preparing a meal in your van–a nice perk if you’re travelling with other vans.

Design your build so the kitchen slides out of either your back or side door, allowing more space within your van for other things. Also consider investing in a pull out awning above, just in case it does rain. Awnings also double your shelter space, making your tiny home seem more spacious than it is. 

Idea #22 – Flip Down Table

van life ideas - table

Fancy a table but don’t think you have enough space in your van for one? Then maybe a flip down table will do just the trick.

“Dual purpose” is a great philosophy to squeeze more essentials into your van build, especially if you have a smaller van. Your flip down table could also double as a cupboard door or a picture frame when secured back into back into place.

A flip-down table doesn’t have to be fancy to look good or function well; some rustic wood and rope would make a usable table that will look cool, too.

Idea #23 – L-track Van Conversion Systems

van life ideas - l-track

L-Track is a great way to be able to change the entire interior of your campervan quickly, and is one of those van life ideas that is great if you need different things from your van depending on the time of day, or how many people you have on board.

With smart design, you can change the number of beds, bunk beds or seats available quickly and easily and still ensure that everything is safely secured for driving!

Idea #24 – Sleeping Pods

van life ideas - pods

Travelling as a family but want a little more privacy than a campervan usually provides? Then consider integrating sleeping pods into your design.

This is one of the more unique van life ideas out there but is such a great way to get the whole family on board–especially with older children. These little pods mean that everyone feels like they have their own room, giving children (and parents!) a semblance of space apart from one another.

Pods can be exciting for kids, as they can decorate their owns pod to really feel like a home away from home–making going to bed seem a bit more inviting. It also means that kids can go to bed before the adults without too much disruption, and those wanting to stay up later can even keep the lights on!

Be clever with the design and you can still have enough room for the rest of the van to feel spacious during the daytime.

Idea #25 – Rope Surfboard Storage

van life ideas - surf

Our final van life idea is also one of the most simple; we planned it that way to show you how often simplicity really is the key to getting what you want.

Attaching your surfboard to the interior roof of your van is an innovative way to store your board inside. It’s practical, and becomes a great feature within your van, giving it a beach boho vibe. It also means that your board is kept safely inside your van, instead of on the roof, where it could be easily stolen or damaged.

Obviously, you’d need to be a keen surfer to justify the space taken up by a surfboard in the first place. But with a bit of rope, you can shred waves without having to suffer cramped spaces back home.

Share Your Own Van Life Ideas

We hope you’ve discovered some new van life ideas and that you’re inspired to put some of these whacky tricks into your own build. Let us know what your favourite van life ideas are by joining us on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram !

More Content From The Van Clan Team!

Meet the girl who lives the trailer life around the world!

Here are 20 vanlife blogs you should be following this year.

Want to cook pizza on the go? This vanlife cooking gadget should be on your list.


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7 Campervan Travel Tips To Know Before You Go

campervan travel tips

If you’re looking for a fun and affordable way to travel, consider renting a campervan! Campervans are perfect for road trips, and they provide all the comforts of home. In this blog post, we will share seven campervan travel tips.

Whether you’re traveling in a campervan for the first time or an experienced campervanner, these tips will help make your trip more enjoyable. So what are you waiting for?

Start planning your next road trip today!

campervan travel tips

7 Important Campervan Travel Tips to Know

Planning your first or fourth campervan adventure can be stressful. With all there is to remember with packing and sightseeing, it can be easy to overlook these important campervan travel tips.

Keep reading and take note of these campervan travel tips so you can have a carefree journey.

traveling in a campervan

Are Campervans Reliable?

Before we go on our list of campervan travel tips we wanted to answer one of the most common questions about campervans. Are campervans reliable?

The answer is yes!

From first-timers to experienced travelers, campervans have been a go-to method of transportation for car camping adventures. With reliable engines and plenty of storage space, campervan traveling can be the perfect choice for a relaxing and stress-free holiday.

Not only do campervans provide an opportunity to travel far from home, but they also offer all the creature comforts that one needs on the road.

Most models come equipped with features such as stoves, fridges, microwaves, and showers, allowing individuals to stay away without compromising on amenities. Additionally, campervans come with several safety features, including airbags and anti-lock brakes that ensure everyone’s safety while on their journey.

All in all, campervans offer customers peace of mind as well as freedom during their vacation time.

If you want to learn more about hiring a campervan , you must first consider these five tips for traveling in a campervan. 

1. Plan Ahead

First on our list of campervan travel tips is an important one, plan, plan, plan. Which you’re already doing if you’re here so, bravo.

Planning ahead before traveling in a campervan can save you from experiencing any unexpected complications during your trip. Be sure to research the laws, safety regulations, and policies for both camping at each location and driving with a campervan .

Familiarizing yourself with how to properly maintain the vehicle is also essential so that you can avoid problems such as mechanical failures later on during your adventure.

Going through an RV checklist before leaving can also be helpful in ensuring that all necessary items are packed, including bedding, food, cooking materials, and cleaning supplies.

Taking the time to plan ahead will ensure that your travel experience with a campervan will run smoothly and safely.

2. Check the Weather Forecast

A second, and very important tip among our campervan travel tips, check the weather. When planning a campervan trip, one of the most important and obvious things to plan for is what you should wear.

This can make a huge difference when it comes to your overall experience. If you know what kind of climate and temperatures you’ll be facing beforehand, you can ensure that you have all of the necessary supplies on board.

Checking the weather forecast not only helps you better anticipate any inclement conditions but also allows for increased safety should severe weather arise. And if rain is on the horizon, don’t fear!

With careful planning, there are plenty of activities that can make the otherwise undesirable rain just another part of your adventure.

campervan travel

3. Choose the Right Campervan

Planning a road trip in a campervan should start with choosing the right vehicle. Whether you prefer a motorized, towable, or even a pop-top/pop-up vehicle, there are a few key points to consider along the way.

First, consider the size of your group – this is important for comfort and safety on the road.

Secondly, think about convenience and lifestyle – from built-in kitchenettes to sleeping spaces and built-in bathroom facilities.

Thirdly, determine what type of terrain best suits your trip plans – from paved roads to winding mountain trails. It’s important to assess your conditions ahead of time.

Finally, review all legal requirements for your destination so that you are sure you are registered as needed and will have plenty of parking available when you arrive at your destination. By understanding these factors before going looking at vehicles, you can better choose a campervan that’s right for your needs.

campervan travel

4. Determine Your Needs

Another important suggestion from our campervan travel tips is determining your needs. Before hitting the open road in a campervan, it’s important to know what you will need for the duration of the trip.

While packing for an adventure in a campervan may come with some additional requirements, careful preparation and planning can ensure that you have the necessities required to make your journey run smoothly.

Consider your food storage needs, bedding preferences, essential comfort items, and any other necessities that you deem necessary. Think like you’re packing for camping. In fact, some camping items will definitely come in handy.

Additionally, make sure that you are familiar with the operation and maintenance of your campervan’s electrical systems and understand how to access necessary supplies like fuel or water.

Taking the time to assess your needs beforehand is key to having a comfortable and safe experience while traveling in a campervan.

campervan travel tips

5. Think About Safety

Traveling by campervan can be an incredibly enjoyable and rewarding experience. Of course, safety must remain paramount while on the road.

As you take note of these campervan travel tips, make special note of these safety tips.

Always inspect your vehicle before setting off, checking the lights are working, the tires are in good condition, and all fluids are topped up.

Make sure you understand what kind of terrain you’ll be traveling through and if your campervan is suitable for this type of environment – don’t forget to take appropriate precautions such as carrying snow chains or waterproof coverings if there’s a chance of bad weather.

Never set out without a fully stocked first-aid kit, just in case!

Above all else, always plan your route and drive carefully – stick to speed limits, accompany directions provided on signs and maps, be aware of other drivers, rest when necessary, and keep an eye on the time so as not to arrive too late at night at any given destination.

Following these safety guidelines will ensure a safe and memorable trip by campervan every time!

campervan travel tips

6. Some Things To Remember When Traveling by Campervan

Traveling in a campervan can be an exhilarating experience, where you can explore destinations with the utmost flexibility and convenience. To make sure your trip is successful, however, it’s important to remember these campervan travel tips that will help make your journey smoother.

Start by checking your vehicle for any required maintenance or servicing before you set out. It would help if you also remembered to purchase sufficient camping insurance to cover potential damages or mishaps that may occur during your adventure.

Additionally, check the regulations of where you plan on camping, as policies may vary depending on local conditions.

Lastly, don’t forget to pack all necessary supplies and items like GPS equipment and maps that will guarantee you have the right resources along the way.

With these campervan travel tips in mind, your campervan road trip will no doubt be hassle-free and memorable!

campervan travel tips

7. Don’t Forget to Plan a Budget

Traveling by campervan is a great way to explore the world for an affordable price. Although the initial cost of buying or renting a campervan might appear expensive, in reality, it is quite economical when compared to other forms of travel.

The main expense is fuel. However, this can be minimized by finding free camping spots and avoiding toll roads.

Furthermore, you don’t have to pay for accommodation as you are already in your own mobile home. Combine that with low-cost cooking options, and it’s easy to see how you can make back any up-front costs.

And let’s not forget about the priceless memories of your travels you will gain along the way!

Final Thoughts

Traveling by campervan is a great way to experience the best of nature, so make sure you plan ahead and enjoy your trip! Always keep safety in mind and check your campervan regularly to ensure it’s running smoothly.

Make sure you’re aware of the rules and regulations that apply to you so that you can make the most of your trip.

Lastly, remember to have fun and be prepared for whatever comes your way – because with a campervan, anything is possible! 

If you take note of these campervan travel tips, you’ll be well on your way to a safe, affordable, and well-planned adventure. Travel safe!

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

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Road tripping through Europe with a campervan in 2024 (Itinerary)

campervan travel ideas

With another eventful year behind us, where our trips were less wild and our adventures less spontaneous than they used to be. A year where we were constantly inspired by the beautiful pictures and crazy videos that our social media algorithms presented us.

Since we knew the roads would be calmer in November so we decided to follow our ‘Saved Instagram pictures’ and enjoy a wonderful autumn trip through Europe.

Our bucket list took us from the outskirts of Brussels to gorgeous medieval German castles, from the astonishing Dolomites to the picturesque Venice, and finally from fashionable Milan to the peaceful Strasbourg – How is that for an adventure?

In this itinerary, we’ve listed all the info you’ll need for a road trip through Europe with a campervan; what items to pack, how to rent a campervan, itinerary ideas, and finally: some tips for a fantastic adventure on the road.

Page Contents

Our road trip summarized in numbers. 

  • 1x stuck in the Italian snow
  • Crossed 7 country borders
  • 0 Speeding tickets
  • … a thousand new adventures and stories to tell about

The roadtrip

After an earlier adventure in which we discovered the Dolomites with a campervan , we immediately knew that we wanted to travel the same way; through Europe with a campervan! 

As we see it, this is the easiest solution to travel through various countries while still complying with all the COVID measurements and having a minimal risk for infection; we’d stay in our own bubble while still having all the comfort we needed: large beds, a small kitchen, and even a shower!

Our goal would be to drive from Brussels to Venice and back while discovering the most fabulous places we could find; after all, we had an immense amount of inspiration and a huge bucket list of places to visit. 

Essentials for a road trip in a campervan

Are you planning to go on a campervan road trip, but want to make sure you have the essentials with you? We briefly listed the essentials that made sure our trip was a success.

Ecoflow River Pro Powerstation

As content creators, we’re always haunted by our fear of not having enough power, from the fear of being stranded in the middle of nowhere without a GPS to the fear of having a dying camera battery just when you’re about to shoot your favorite location. 

Either way: We’ve all been there, so we all know these are valid worries! No wonder why one of Google’s top road trip-related searches is about finding or generating power. While there are various solutions, we found one that put our minds at ease before starting our road trip; The Ecoflow River Pro Powerstation !

In essence, the Ecoflow River Pro is a massive power bank with 2 AC power outlets and a few USB connections, generating enough power to charge our Macbook M1 Pro laptop 13 times, our smartphone 58 times, and our Sony A7III camera over 30 times. Due to its dimensions, the River Pro can usually last 8 hours, being a massive help for every road trip.

Charging our electronics with the Ecoflow River Pro

When you’re planning to cross various borders or wander around mountain passes, you’ll have to switch radio stations regularly, or you’ll end up with noise. Our trick? Make sure everyone has made their own Spotify playlist in advance! That way, you won’t be bothered by the noise and leave room for spontaneous singalong moments to occur.

Data Roaming

If you are located in Europe and are traveling through various countries, you’ll need to ensure that your data roaming is enabled on your phone to keep having an internet connection. 

You shouldn’t worry about the amount of roaming you use, thanks to the European Union’s roaming regulations which say data providers can’t charge for roaming in the European Union. However, keep in mind: Switzerland is not included in this regulation! So don’t forget to turn off your Data Roaming when entering Switzerland.

What have we learned about road tripping through Europe with a campervan?

Our campervan trip through Europe confirmed something we already knew: that it’s very easy to travel between European countries. A 100 kilometers drive can bring you to a different cultural and diverse community.

Next to this, we had a few other learnings as well. 

The ease of a camping site with decent facilities

While traveling in a sustainable campervan, you’ve got different options in terms of camping:

  • You could visit an official campsite which has loads of facilities.
  • You could park overnight at Highway stops.
  • You could wild camp and stay at a new place every night.

Most European countries have different rules and regulations about camping, but generally, they (Switzerland, Italy,…) aren’t allowing wild camping … which makes it technically illegal. However, in most cases, overnight parking where you don’t set up camp or leave in less than 24 hours is allowed. 

Our tip? Make sure you can drive off at any moment so that nobody can complain about it.

The thing is: If you’re on the road for over a week, you’ll need to clean your campervan and want a more luxury shower. Don’t hesitate to stop wild camping and pause at a camping site with decent facilities. 

The ease of planning

Being prepared for your campervan trip ensures that you can switch gears faster and need to spend less time worrying. The things that helped us a lot were:

  • Backup locations. Since we used our itinerary as a guideline, we had the flexibility to skip specific locations because of bad weather. Having backup locations made it less of a hassle to find hidden gems.
  • Ecoflow River Pro . We knew we would probably wild-camp a lot, which meant not having the power to charge our electronic devices (laptop, camera,…). Luckily our friends at Dutchtravelshop.nl hooked us up with this mobile power station, which we didn’t have to recharge one single time during our 8-day trip.

The costs Tolls and Vignettes

Something we have underestimated is the fact that most European countries have toll roads, which can make your trip very expensive very fast. Luckily, there are exceptions, such as Germany, Netherlands, and Belgium.

Some countries such as Austria and Switzerland are working with a vignette, which is a prepaid motorway toll in the form of a sticker you typically purchase from petrol stations before you cross the border and which you stick on your windscreen.

Alternatively, you can always avoid tolls by picking alternative routes on Google Maps or Waze, but these will guide you through the smaller roads, resulting in a slower and longer route. 

Our tip? If you have the time, save your money and go for the slower, more scenic route. If you’re in a hurry or have a tight schedule: go via the tollways.

Our road trip Itinerary

Since the lockdown started, we’ve been saving Instagram pictures of destinations that inspired us and deserved a place on our bucket list. We’ve added them all to a Google Maps collection and started planning the regions we wanted to visit.

From there on, we casually decided that we wanted to visit the Dolomites, Venice, and Milan. Because the beauty of a road trip in a campervan is that you can make up your itinerary along the way: when you’re experiencing bad weather, you can just start a few 100 km’s and adjust your itinerary as you go.

Additionally, once your start to post Instagram stories or timeline pictures of your trip, people will automatically start to recommend locations that weren’t on your bucket list to start with!

Remember that our style is to have a flexible road trip itinerary and adjust our planning accordingly. As a result, we’ll need an internet connection during our trip, which can’t always be found when traveling to rural destinations like the dolomites.

DAY 1 – Getting started

Our first day was mainly focused on picking up our campervan, unpacking the bags, and learning how to drive the campervan properly. Ultimately we already wanted to drive to our first location so that we could start our hike early!

Pickup Campervan in Brussels

We started our trip by picking up the campervan in Brussels in the afternoon, where we finally met the owners of the campervan face-to-face, received an extensive explanation of how the campervan functions, and finally managed the paperwork (for example; noting down the milage of the car, check for damages, etc).

After unpacking our bags and filling the drawers, we started driving towards our adventure! We left Brussels around 3 pm and drove straight to our first stop in Rheinland-Pfalz. Just when we crossed the steep hills of Malmedy, darkness fell over the highway, and fog started to appear. 

Since the darkness prevented us from sightseeing opportunities, we quickly arrived at our first stopover and sleeping place – the “Wanderparkplatz” in Nothweiler on the German-French border . This parking is located in the middle of the woods, which explains why we came across some wild boars on our way to the parking spot.

Wegelnburg – Wanderparkplatz Nothweiler

After (wild) parking at Wanderparkplatz Nothweiler, we looked up at the sky and noticed how beautiful the stars were in the sky. We decided to unpack our Nanlite Pavotube II’s light tubes and used them to illuminate the (unlit) hiking trail, looking for the perfect spot to stargaze.

We decided to follow the winding hiking trail that crosses the German-French border until we found an open spot, which we used to capture the stars.

Wegelnburg Parking

Day 2 – Chasing castles

We knew in advance that during our road trip to Venice, we had to pass through the German provinces of Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg. Both regions are known for their medieval castles, of which most have a panoramic view.

Our goal was to visit the most impressive castles on our route to Venice.

Wegelnburg, Germany

Wegelnburg , a ruined castle located in a forest on the French-German border, is best known for its panoramic view and incredible sunrise.

We wanted to witness that specific 7 am sunrise, so to observe this, we had to start our hike at 6 am, where we followed the zigzagging hiking trail to the Wegelnburg. This took us 5 kilometers, regularly crosses the German-France border, and passes by several other ruins on its way. The hike was covered in darkness since the sun was still about to set, making it an authentic experience. However: seeing the sunbeams roll over the mountains with such a fantastic panoramic view was just … unreal.

Be aware tho: the entrance of Wegelnburg is surrounded by fencing, so at first, we thought it was closed to visitors, but nothing could be further from the truth!

We found a shorter hiking trail on our way back, which brought us directly to the village, only 200 meters walk to the Wanderparkplatz Nothweiler. 

Wegelnburg view - Drone shot

Schloss Lichtenstein, Germany

To make our route to Venice even more interesting, we aimed to visit interesting stopovers every 2 to 3 hours (+- 200 to 300 km). In this instance, we drove towards Schloss Lichtenstein : a 12th-century fortress built on top of an 800-meter high cliff.

We noticed that the castle was managed from a commercial point of view, where everything involved a cost: parking, entering the courtyard, etc. 

Nevertheless, the panoramic view over the valley and the fantastic color palette of the surrounding trees, hills, and valley made it worthwhile. It also struck us how beautifully everything had been restored and how detailed they had for their sculptures.

Schloss Lichtenstein

Hohenzollern Castle, Germany

Located less than 40 kilometers from Schloss Lichtenstein, you can find Germany’s most visited castle: Hohenzollern Castle! The castle has been known as “The Crown of all Castles” ever since 1267. Reason enough for us to visit it and admire it with our own eyes!

Our tight itinerary wouldn’t allow us to stop by the Hohenzollern Castle for an extended visit, so we decided to admire the castle from Zeller Horn’s legendary viewpoint ; It’s the mountain range located about 1.5 kilometers away, at the same height as the fortress. As a result, you have the best view of the castle and the surrounding area.

We have to be honest tho: it took us a while to find the exact location of the Zeller Horn viewpoint, but once we found it … we loved it! You can judge for yourself … 

Hohenzollern Castle - Zeller Horn

Plansee, Austria 

While we had already discovered some of the most amazing places, we decided to push our luck: our goal was to visit Plansee lake, located just beyond the Austrian border, and search for its very instagrammable viewpoint that looks down over the lake.

Unfortunately, a combination of traffic jams and mandatory stops (buying our Highway Vignette to enter Austria) caused us to arrive just after sunset. We learned during our road trip through the mountains that as soon as the sun has set, it’ll be pitch dark in a matter of minutes. The same goes for our visit to the Plansee lake: as soon as we crossed the bridge, we couldn’t move without using our Nanlite lights.

After our short stop at the lake, we decided to continue our journey to a place to sleep for the night: the legendary Innsbruck city.

Innsbruck city

We’ve visited Innsbruck city numerous times, and we may even say that it’s our favorite city in Austria. This is because of its beautiful mountain background, architectural gems, alternative culture, and Innsbruck’s importance on the winter sports community.

Once we arrived, we decided to head downtown to reminisce memories from the past and see how the historic buildings (such as the Liberation Monument on Landhausplatz and the building with the golden roof) are lit up at night.

We decided to end our evening at the Hard Rock cafe to explore the same downtown area the next day after dawn before the shops opened.

Day 3 – Arriving in the Dolomites

During our previous road trip, we visited the Dolomites and missed out on a few of our bucket-list locations. Since the Dolomites were only a slight detour from our route to Venice, we decided to give some of these places a second chance … but not before we wandered around Innsbruck first! 

Innsbruck, Austria

Imagine the feeling of waking up, opening the doors of your campervan, and looking out across the streets of Innsbruck with their impressive mountains as a backdrop. Well, that’s precisely how we woke up!

After a quick shower in our campervan, we decided to wander around the city again and rediscover the same historic buildings, but this time using daylight. 

Another reason why we stayed in Innsbruck is that we’ve been following Holzkern Watches on Instagram for ages and noticed we could visit their shop in Innsbruck. We made an appointment, and were welcomed by their store manager Stefan who explained to us more about Holzkern’s philosophy and lifestyle, showed us how an automatic watch works and how to replace the chains of a wristband.

During our visit to the store, we fell for the charms of the La Concorde watch and the Intergalactic watch , which we took home as a reminder of our road trip.

2021 11 03 CAMPERVAN TRIP HUD6866 2 - Road tripping through Europe with a campervan in 2024 (Itinerary)

MMM Corones

Since we visited the Dolomites last year, the MMM Corones (being designed by Zaha Hadid) have been on the top of our bucket list. When we entered the region around the Dolomites, we noticed that the lakes weren’t frozen and the roads were not covered with snow … so our first reaction was to visit MMM Corones.

Unfortunately: the ski lifts were closed because the season hadn’t started yet, and the roads were now permanently closed and accompanied by prohibition signs. So one thing is sure: MMM Corones can only be visited in a dignified manner when the ski lifts are open.

With pain in our hearts, we had to make a cross over our visit from MMM Corones, but luckily there are plenty of other places to visit in the region … so we decided to drive to the legendary Lago di Braies .

Lago di Braies

Lago Di Braies – also known as Pragser Wildsee – is the biggest lake in the Dolomites and is known as the most beautiful lake of the Alps because it’s surrounded by beautiful pine forests, towering limestone peaks, and included a unique boathouse. As a result, most people know it as (“Lago di Instagram”). 

The last time when we visited the lake, it was totally frozen and covered in snow. This setting certainly had its charm, but we also wanted to visit Lago di Braies before the snow fell. Unfortunately, there was so much fog that we still couldn’t admire the lake in its best condition. Next time!

2021 11 03 CAMPERVAN TRIP HUD6977 - Road tripping through Europe with a campervan in 2024 (Itinerary)

St. Johann church in Villnostal

Noticing that the sunset was approaching fast, we decided to revisit one of the most legendary sites in the Dolomites: St. Johann in Ranui Church in Val di Funes, Villnostal.

While driving over the winding roads, we noticed that the weather conditions would be utterly different from our previous visit: there wouldn’t be any snow, but the church and its surroundings were covered in fog. 

Unfortunately, we didn’t notice too much of the sunset since the fog blocked all the sunbeams. By the time we left the church, it was already pitch dark.

Alpe di Siusi & Earth Pyramids Renon

We decided to drive up to Compatsch to experience the sunrise at Alpe di Siusi to save some time. Last time, we missed this view since it’s located in a nature resort and has a curfew for cars: no-one can drive by between 9 am and 5 pm.

This time, we could access the road to Compatsch, but while we were driving up the mountain, it started to snow, almost to the level of a snowstorm. When we arrived in Compatsch, our van got stuck, and a local farmer had to pull us out of the snow. 

According to the local weather forecast, it would snow for the entire night, and we would miss the sunrise anyway since it would be covered in fog. In fear of getting stuck, we decided to go back down the mountain and skip our visits to both Alpe di Siusi and the Earth Pyramids of Renon. 

We ended up spending the night at a truck stop next to the road.

Day 4 – The road to Venice

We knew it wouldn’t be the shortest route to Venice, but we decided to drive via Santuario Madonna Della Corona and Lake Garda since it captured our imagination.

Santuario Madonna Della Corona 

What’s more astonishing than an ancient place of worship, located 800 meters into the side of a cliff? We wanted to experience it, so we drove towards Santuario Madonna Della Corona, only a 15 minutes drive from Lake Garda (the Italian part)!

We parked at Localita Santuario 1 in Spiazzi, on a parking lot that usually wouldn’t allow campervans and mobile homes, but we decided to risk it since it was empty. The reason for this might be the thick fog that stood over the mountain, on the fact that it’s not the most touristic period to visit Santuario Madonna Della Corona.

Although we could not fully admire the Santuario Madonna Della Corona due to the thick fog, the location continued to impress us. We also had the opportunity to check our fitness by climbing the steep stairs to access the sanctuary.

After arriving, we learned that this sanctuary is a place of pilgrimage that already existed before the year 1000! We’ve listed our findings in this specific destination article about Santuario Madonna Della Corona .

The Sanctuary of Madonna Della Corona

Lagi di Garda

In less than 24 hours, we went from a small snowstorm in the Dolomites to a 20-degree summer breeze at Lake Garda. 

The small town was quite dead, considering the tourist season was already over here, so we just briefly wandered through the city. Our goal was to catch the sunset in Venice before 5 pm anyway, so we quickly left the lake.

Venice City

Where we spent the past few days in quiet or remote regions, with endless possibilities to park and wild camping … Venice would be a bit more crowded and strict. That’s why we decided to spend the night at the campsite of Venezia village, which had some fantastic facilities: decent showers, an elegant restaurant, and a clean swimming pool. 

An additional advantage was that there is a bus stop in front of the campsite, with busses that go directly to Venice. The ride to the city takes no longer than fifteen minutes and drops you off at Piazzale Roma.  

By 4 pm we arrived at the tourist center, where we were overwhelmed by history and architecture! Strolling with our camera in hand, we followed the small corridors of the city, arriving at a (relatively empty) San Marco square just after sunset.

Unfortunately, The darkness brought in some shady types, from aggressive salespeople who punched us on the shoulder to get our attention to pickpockets popping up from sketchy streets and following us until we noticed them. As a result, we decided to skip the rest of the city and return the following day.

Pro-tip; Gelateria il Doge’s ice creams are known as the best in the old town.

2021 11 04 CAMPERVAN TRIP HUD7119 - Road tripping through Europe with a campervan in 2024 (Itinerary)

Day 5 – From Venice to Milan

By now, our road trip was already halfway through, so after enjoying Venice’s charms in the morning, we had to start on our way back. This time we chose to spend the night in the city of Milan since we wanted to discover some of their ancient buildings as well.

Be aware: Something we didn’t realize before going on this trip is how many toll stops you can find in Italy, especially between Venice and Milan.

Venice, the city of canals

Since we ended our wanderings around Venice early the night before, we decided to sleep in first… and then head back into the city!

This time we parked our campervan in Venezia Tronchetto Parking because we were only planning to stay in the city for a few hours. Ultimately, we stayed for 4 hours and realized that we had paid more for this parking spot (without any facilities except) than staying an extra night in the camping Venezia Village. Yikes!

Unlike the previous evening, where we walked to San Marco square via Basilica S.Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, we now had the time to take a different route: via Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute.

Milan and its impressive Duomo di Milano

Since we took our time to wander around Venice, we arrived in Milan during rush hour and had to endure several traffic jams before arriving in “Camping Village city of Milan.”

The campsite’s reception was already closed, but luckily google maps had a function that allowed us to know perfectly see what public transport connections would lead us to the Duomo di Milano. Our trip was a bit more delicate since we needed to transfer from the bus to the metro, in a place we had never visited before. Luckily we had google maps to fall back on.

Since this route to the center of Milan took almost an hour commute, we only found the time to discover the illuminated cathedral and the neighboring streets. To make it easy for us, we also made a quick McDonalds stop here.

Day 6 – From Milan to Strasbourg

We had less than two days to cover 1000 kilometers and go from Milan to Brussels. This gave us enough time to visit the center of Milan and then leave for Strasbourg in the afternoon.

Milan, Italy

Since Milan is such a beautiful city accompanied by ancient architecture, a sense of fashion, and art … we made a small “bucket list” of locations that we had to see during our visit to the city center. 

2021 11 06 CAMPERVAN TRIP HUD7288 - Road tripping through Europe with a campervan in 2024 (Itinerary)

Castello Sforzesco

Castello Sforzesco – also known as Sforza Castle – is a fortress that was built during the 14th century. 

Over the centuries, the fortification was destroyed in various wars, by the troops of Napoleon and during World War II. It was extensively rebuilt in 2005 and currently houses several of the city’s museums and art collections. That’s why it’s currently one of the most famous landmarks in Milan.

Arco della Pace

Arco della Pace is a huge triumphal arc located where the ancient Romans built their city gate. The gate is called “The Porta Sempione” and refers to the district it was located in.

While the origin of the arc can be found in 1807 when Napoleon was in command of the city, the construction of the “Arch of Peace” was paused when the city of Milan fell under the control of the Austrian Empire. The construction of the Arch was resumed in 1826 and was finally completed in 1838.

Bosco Verticale

The Bosco Verticale – or Vertical Forest – are two residential towers built in 2014 and are already known as the most iconic and most recognizable buildings of the last decade in Milan.

Pictures of the building often surface on Instagram and Pinterest, as it is iconic for its pioneering incorporation of a vertical forest.

Duomo di Milano

The Milan Cathedral, known as Duomo di Milano, is without any doubt the most known building in Milan.

It is logical too since they started the constructions in 1386 and only finished working on it more than six centuries later: in 1965! What’s even more impressive is the fact that the cathedral contains over 3400 different statues.

Strasbourg, France

As mentioned: Milan is still a 1000km drive from Brussels, so we had to keep going if we wanted to back on time! We decided to pass via Switzerland, which meant buying a new vignette when crossing the border and disabling our roaming data.

Once we arrived at Strasbourg, we parked at Parkplatz Friedhof since it was close to the city center, and parking on a Sunday would be free of any charge.

Strasbourg - "Le Petit Paris"

Day 7 – Back to Belgium

Every fairy tale comes to an end, and unfortunately, ours too. It was the last day where we were actually on the road; we wanted to enjoy it until the end. That is why we chose to discover Strasbourg in the morning and pass quickly via Veves Castle in the afternoon.

Being a university city on the border of France and Germany, Strassbourg is a very characteristic and cultural city, with enormous history. Proof of this is the street art that can be found all around the city or the ancient buildings scattered around the city (such as their cathedral).

We had some help from some locals; we were advised to discover the part of the city known as “Le Petit Paris.”

Vives Castle

What’s a better way to end our trip than to visit a 12th-century castle? We arrived rather last-minute: 10 minutes before the castle closed, so we didn’t have the chance get to explore it from the inside … but the sunset made up for it!

If you don’t know about Veves Castle yet, make sure to read the extensive guide we wrote, it contains the history of the castle, the legends around the castle and how to reach it. 

A fascinating part about the castle is that the same family has owned it for the last 800 years, and that is classified as an exceptional heritage by the region of Wallonia. As a result, the castle is referred to as Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

Veves Castle

Day 8 – returning the campervan

Our last day was mainly focused on bringing back the campervan, where we had to pack our bags, clean the campervan in a self carwash, and ultimately fill in the paperwork again ( check for damages, note the number of kilometers we’ve driven,…).

Europe with a campervan

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Campervan Itinerary - Road tripping through Europe with a campervan in 2024 (Itinerary)

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Hey there! I'm Elliot Clennam, a passionate photographer based in Brussels, Belgium. My love for capturing the essence of my surroundings has led me on countless adventures, from exciting road trips to bustling city escapes.

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17 Genius Hacks And Useful Tips For A Successful Campervan Trip

Hey there campers! Are you psyched about taking that campervan out of the garage and hitting the road? Of course, you are. Why else would you have bought one in the first place? Your dream campervan vacation is within reach, but, before getting there, you’ll need to consider a couple of things. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the things you should do or not do before and during your campervan trip, presenting you with 17 campervan hacks that will upgrade your travel game.

What is campervanning?

A million stars hotel - Campervan trip tips and tricks

You’ve probably heard about camping – you know, pitch a tent, light a bonfire, sharing ghost stories with your best friends, romancing the girl of your dreams under the moonlight. Well, campervanning is the more comfortable alternative to camping .

Campervanning has gain traction in recent years, probably because of televised series like Extreme RVs or Big Time RVs which showcase how comfortable life on the road can become if you have the right campervan.

Instead of carrying all that gear with a backpack (e.g., sleeping bags, cooking pots, gas stove), you can just stuff it inside this house on wheels and pitch camp wherever you darn well, please.

There are many advantages to owning a campervan, the most obvious of them being storage. However, you should keep in mind that although these jewels on wheels are spacy, you should refrain from taking half of the house with you .

Of course, the biggest turn-off of any campervanning newbie is the price. Even a used campervan can cost you up to $25,000 depending on stuff like mileage, facilities, accessories, engine power, and fuel consumption.  

It still beats having to carry your stuff to the location using a cumbersome backpack. Now, if you’re sure about that summer/fall campervanning vacation, then let us help you get set up. Here’s some advice on how to make the trip more enjoyable.

1. Pack only the essentials

campervan travel ideas

Whether you are traveling or living in a mobile home, optimize the use of space by reducing the number of utensils, kitchenware, and textiles you bring along. For example, use lightweight and easy-to-dry clothes and towels to save space and weight. Additionally, consider using foldable buckets and strainers, stackable pots, and other multifunctional gadgets that save space.

Remember that it’s a campervan, not a storage facility.  Take only the things you’ll going to need on your trip. Your checklist should contain the following stuff:

For obvious reasons, you’re going to need some extra clothes. Don’t forget to pack socks, underwear, T-shirts, pants, maybe one or two hoodies. Now, even though it’s still summer, it would be a good idea to pack some fleece jackets. The nights can get chilly, especially if you plan on hiking and i t’s kind of wasteful to keep the engine running through the night just because you forget to bring a warm jacket. In this article , there is a comprehensive and throughout packing list for a campervan trip you can check.

Bring along some baby wipes, a bottle of shampoo, one bar of soap, toothbrushes, and deodorant. Make sure they are as biodegradable and eco-friendly as possible.

Pack things you can cook over an open fire/gas stove, like sweet corn, bell peppers, beetroot, and potatoes. If your campervan has a minifridge or cooler, you could also bring along some lean meat to make a couple of steaks. Don’t overcomplicate things by bringing a rice cooker or a professional grill. In the wild, beauty lies in simplicity.

  • Miscellaneous

Bring along a phone charger, universal adapter, a foldable telescope (if you have one), flashlights, bug repellant, sunscreen, matches, and a couple of additional towels.

2. Chose where to camp carefully

campervan travel ideas

In some ways, campervanning is a deceitful activity. What we wanted to say was that we often have the drive to stop, park, and set camp anywhere. Spontaneity might be the thing that makes a trip great, but it doesn’t hurt to do some planning. Look for spots designed for campervanning. Be sure you have access to water and a flat parking space (you don’t want the blanket to fall off the bed at night).

3. Check and double-check everything before leaving

campervan travel ideas

Remember to check your campervan before setting sail. The last thing you’ll need on your trip will be for your car to have a mental break down in the middle of nowhere. It would be a good idea to take your campervan to a car service for a professional assessment.

4. Bring along some pleasant company

campervan travel ideas

If you’re flying solo (no SO), you should consider bringing along your best friend. However, before taking this step, be sure to inform your pal of what he/she is getting into (bed-sharing, going into the forest when Nature calls, cooking morsels over a small gas stove/campfire).

5. How to bear necessities

campervan travel ideas

While some campervans have their toilets, most of them don’t. So, once you set up camp, you should figure out where’s the designated toilet . Our advice is to make the toilet as far from the van as you can and, preferably, upwind.

6. Remember to water refill

campervan travel ideas

If you have one of those fancy campervans with running water and a toilet, remember to refill the water tanks and empty the waste when you’re at the gas station.

7. Avoid wasting electricity

campervan travel ideas

Before you go to sleep, don’t forget to turn off the engine and the light. We know that listening to a soothing tune before bedtime is tempting but remember that the car’s battery has only so much power. And it’s not like there’s an auto shop around the corner if your battery goes MIA.

8. Keep that flashlight handy

campervan travel ideas

Even though your car is more than capable of lighting your way, for power conservation purposes, it would be a good idea to use a flashlight. If you want to go to the bathroom in the dead of night, use of flashlight instead of firing up the engine. That way, you won’t wake up everyone. Go for a frontal headlight that will keep your hands free.

9. Don’t forget about pillows and clean bedsheets

campervan travel ideas

Although we might be stating the obvious, some campers do tend to forget to bring along a bedsheet and some pillows. If you’re planning on spending several days near a mountain retreat, remember to pack a thick blanket because, at night, it can get nippy.

Read also: Everything you need to pack for long-term travels

10. Lock your campervan

campervan travel ideas

If you want to go hiking or visit some of the local attractions, don’t forget to lock and secure your van. You never know who’s prowling around that area.

11. Air your van

campervan travel ideas

Avoid parking your car in the sun and always remember to keep those doors open as much as you can. Ventilation is pretty essential, especially when it’s time for bed. You wouldn’t want to sleep in an oven.

If you experience high humidity inside your camper van and you cannot ventilate as much as you’d like to, consider using a dehumidifier to prevent mold from forming. 

You can also make the most of your heating system by directing the air outlet towards a place where you can air-dry things like shoes or ski boots, which can cause bad smells.

Read also: 5 tips for a good night’s sleep on the road

12. Camping vs. stopping wherever you feel like it

campervan travel ideas

In theory, having a campervan means that you can pitch up camp like anywhere. Well, in reality, things are a bit different. For instance, some camping spots offer various facilities like access to a bedroom, shower, and even a place to eat.

However, these types of camping spots are rather expensive and do tend to take a toll on your patience. It’s one thing to pitch camp in the middle of nowhere, having only to deal with mosquitos and the sun, and an entirely different thing to tolerate soused campers and loud music.

Still, if you want to try out a paid camping spot, we advise you to park as far away as you can from the rest of the campers.

To maintain personal hygiene if you don’t have a shower on your campervan or you want to save water, search for municipal swimming pools along your route for affordable bathing opportunities.

13. Stock up on snacks and booze

campervan travel ideas

What’s a camping trip without a cold beer and some snacks? So, before setting out, be sure to do some shopping. If your campervan comes equipped with a minifridge, then you should have no trouble cooling that beer.

Read also: 10 Plant-based snacks you can prepare anywhere

14. Keep your eye on that fuel gauge

campervan travel ideas

It’s easy to overlook the campervan’s fuel gauge when you’re out there, on the road, cracking some jokes with your friend or significant other. Still, do keep in mind that gas stations don’t grow in trees. Plan your trip and estimate your fuel consumption so that you’ll know exactly when and where to stop.

15. Tell a family member where you’re going

campervan travel ideas

Because life on the road can be unpredictable, you would do well to tell a family member where you’re heading to in case something goes wrong . Moreover, you always make sure your smartphone is fully charged. Keep the emergency number on the quick dial.

16. Be a smart builder

When building your mobile home, keep in mind that there is a significant thermal difference between the ceiling and the floor of your van. Therefore, if possible, place your refrigerator on the floor to make it more energy-efficient.

Furthermore, use battery power when driving and connect your appliances to the power supply during daylight hours, especially on sunny days if you have solar panels.

On the other hand, to make your van feel more spacious use light-colored textiles, vinyl wrap your furniture, and place mirrors strategically.

17. Embrace cooking!

Cooking will not only save you loads of money when traveling in a campervan, but it should also make your meals healthier . If you’re cooking inside your van, use a skylight with an integrated fan to extract odors, vapors, and suspended grease.

Heading out in a campervan doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a comfortable person. Far from it. Campervans are very cool because they allow you to set camp basically anywhere. Before hitting the road don’t forget about the most basic stuff: gas for the van, food for your belly, enough water and drinks, and anything in between. As a bonus tip, we strongly advise you to take the campervan out for a spin before embarking on your journey.

Sure, the campervan’s just like any other car, but it takes getting used to it, especially if you’re driving a car with automatic transmission. Careful around those corners because the campervan is a lot heavier than a regular car.

Last, but not least, don’t forget to have fun, take tons of pictures, and share your fantastic experience with your friends and family members.

Did we forget any campervan hacks you’d like to add to this list? We are just an email away! Get in touch.

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Journey With Confidence


22 RV Trip Ideas You’ll Want To Take In the New Year

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  • Great RVing Destinations

grand canyon - one of our favorite RV trip ideas

Get on the Road in the New Year!

Planning an RV trip for the new year? The best of this beautiful country is just waiting to be explored. Check out some of these great RV trip ideas for the New Year!

On this list there are some RV trip ideas that are very familiar, some are great for families, others allow you to take in nature and its beauty, and some might have a little more urban flair.

Winners of the Best RV Trip Ideas of the Year

Check a few of these RV trip ideas off your must-do list and add your own. Make sure you plan your travels with RV LIFE Pro to find campgrounds and get RV-safe GPS directions.

1. Disney World

Disney World is one of the best RV trip ideas for families. With 6 theme parks, including 2 water parks, Disney is one of the top places to take the kids.

With its on-site campground, Fort Wilderness , you will find tons of amenities, including shuttles to the parks, heated pools, trails, campfire activities, and much more.

travel trailer on cement pad surrounded by trees

2. Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge

The small town of Gatlinburg is nestled in the middle of the mountains, and you can walk the streets to visit locally owned shops and restaurants.

SkyLift Park, reopened in 2019 with a walk in the clouds known as the SkyBridge, is a must-see. It’s the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. Walk across glass panels for a view of the canyon, or look up for the best views of the Smokies.

Take a short drive to Pigeon Forge to check out Dollywood, water parks, musical shows, and much more. The area hiking trails have beautiful mountain views that will satisfy the nature lover. Nearby RV parks abound with plenty of fishing, hiking, and relaxing.

3. Charleston, SC

Charleston is one of the best RV trip ideas for those who like history. Some say the Battery, a stretch along the city’s southern tip, is a can’t-miss. Check out the southern-style mansions overlooking Charleston Harbor, and spend time in nearby White Point Garden to see Civil War relics and memorials.

You can start at the 12-acre Waterfront Park, and follow the walking path for a nearly one-mile stroll to White Point Garden. Don’t forget to sign up for a horse drawn carriage ride, a ghost tour, or check out the Charleston City Market, one of the oldest in the country.

Nearby RV parks are plentiful. Be sure to check out the Mount Pleasant/Charleston KOA Holiday with its fishing lake, nature trails, and access to the Oakland Plantation.

Downtown Charleston in a horse drawn carriage.

4. Niagara Falls

Of course, Niagara Falls is full of attractions, events, festivals, and much more, particularly in the summer. Niagara Falls State Park is really the highlight of your visit to this quaint town.

On the U.S. side, the falls straddle the U.S. and Canada. Don’t miss a ride on the Maid of the Mist, which takes you on a boat ride up to the falls. Yes, you will get wet.

You can also descend 175 feet into the Niagara Gorge. An elevator takes you down to a series of wooden walkways to Hurricane Deck where you will be within feet of Bridal Veil Falls. You might want to plan your trip for the fall when you can add the beauty of the changing colors to your already stunning views.

Spend your evening checking out a local restaurant or winery and then return to see the falls lit at night.

Several KOA RV parks are nearby as well as a Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park .

Niagara falls with boat on the water below

5. Williamsburg, VA

Another one of the best RV trip ideas for history buffs is Williamsburg, VA. The true heart of Williamsburg is, of course, Colonial Williamsburg. History comes to life as you explore life in the 1800s. The grounds are open to visitors for free so you can explore historic buildings, see historical interpreters, and visit shops, museums, and restaurants.

During the summer, you might find a free concert. You can visit the post office and mail a letter with an official Colonial Williamsburg stamp.

Take the Jamestown-Scotland ferry, its free, across the James River to Scotland and Surry to see the plantations and other historic sites. You can bike the Virginia Capital Trail, one of the first inland paved pedestrian and bicycle trails in North America. Take in musical performances, as well as arts and crafts vendors, walk through the historic campus of William & Mary, the second oldest college in America, or enjoy cuisine from the 1800s.

Drive the 23-mile scenic parkway and take in nearby Yorktown, Jamestown, as well as Williamsburg.

Check out American Heritage RV Park below.

6. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is one of the most popular parks in the Western United States and for good reason. The park sits on top of a dormant volcano and has more geysers and hot springs than any other place on earth. The 3,500 sq. mile wilderness recreation area is mostly in Wyoming, but also spreads into parts of Montana and Idaho. There you will find lush forests, canyons, alpine rivers, geysers, including the most famous, Old Faithful. The park is also home to bears, wolves, bison, elk, and antelope.

There are five campgrounds within the park. Be sure and check for any length restrictions. Fishing Bridge Campground is the only place with full hook-ups. There are private campground options outside of the park. You will want to make your reservations well ahead of time to make sure you can stay.

7. Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is a massive canyon with layers of red rock that are millions of years old. Some 277 miles of the Colorado River runs through the canyon which is one-mile deep and up to 18 miles wide. Hiking, ranger tours, river trips, and backcountry camping are just a few of the things you can do while in the park.

The Trail of Time is a nearly 3-mile walk that traces the Grand Canyon’s geologic history. Along the way, rocks and exhibits explain how the Grand Canyon and its rocks were formed.

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park has one campground with full hook-ups inside the park. It can accommodate RVs up to 50 feet in length and is open year round. You will need to get your reservation at least 6 months in advance. There are plenty of private campgrounds nearby.

8. Redwood National And State Parks

Redwood National Park is home to some of the tallest trees in the world. The park also encompasses prairies, rivers, woodlands, and 40 miles of coastland. Tall Trees Grove is the best place to see the towering redwoods, and Red Creek Overlook is a great place to see the sunset.

Elk Meadows is the most reliable place to see elk in the park. Don’t miss the Avenue of the Giants. Although not technically in the park, this 31-mile drive through the Humboldt Redwoods State Park is a must-see. Make it a day trip; there is plenty to see along the way.

The Del Norte Redwoods State Park is one of four parks in the National and State Parks. It can accommodate RVs up to 31 feet for dry camping. Nearby Ramblin’ Redwoods Campground is one of several that provide full hook-ups and 50-amp electric.

upward view of very tall redwood trees with sky showing through leaves

9. Arches National Park

Utah has five National Parks , all of which are beautiful, very different, and very busy. Arches National Park has more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including Delicate Arch, Devils Garden, and other sandstone features such as Balanced Rock, The Three Gossips, and many more. The park is bordered by the Colorado River to the south.

If you are not up for a lot of hiking, you can see much of the beautiful scenery with a car ride. You can stop at one of the many overlooks and take pictures of the unique rock formations.

There are several parks to choose from when visiting Arches National Park. Moab Valley RV Resort is just a short drive from both Arches National Park as well as the town of Moab.

Portal RV Resort , situated between Moab and Arches, is another great place to stay. About a mile north of Moab and about three miles to Arches, the park has a pool and a hot tub, as well as a small, fenced dog park. Sites are level gravel.

sandstone arches with green bushes and person in foreground

10. Zion National Park

Zion is my favorite National Park in Utah and one of the best RV trip ideas. Here are a few hints to get the most out of your trip to Zion.

During peak season from March through late November, cars can’t drive through the park, so you must take the shuttle to the different sites and trailheads. Be sure and get up early to find a parking place at the visitor center. The shuttle begins at 7 a.m. so it’s best to get there as early as possible.

Zion is home to some famous (or perhaps infamous) trails including one of the most dangerous parts of a trail called Angel’s Landing. The Chains Section is a ½ mile route set on top of a 1,488 foot rock section. The path provides a chain to hang onto, but is only a few feet wide in some places.

There are RV spaces in Zion National Park, but they have no hookups. Your best bet is to find a campground nearby and use the park’s shuttle. Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort offers the best RV camping near Zion, with spacious RV sites and other accommodations, as well as a wide variety of activities on the eastern border of the national park.

Zion River Resort in nearby Virgin, Utah has full hook-ups sites. The resort amenities include a pool, hot tub, laundry facilities, and is situated along the Virgin River with walking access to the river from your site.

view of angels landing in Zion with sky in background - one of our favorite RV trip ideas

11. Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is another one of those bucket list RV trip ideas you can’t miss while you spend time in the West. The park is located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains and is famed for its giant ancient sequoia trees, Tunnel View and the stunning Bridalveil Fall, and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome.

An easy hike to Bridalveil Fall will take you right to the base. You can feel the spray and hear the water as it crashes on the boulders. From Tunnel View, you get a good look at the falls from a higher vantage point.

Yosemite has some great hiking trails for all abilities. Some are wheelchair accessible paths and others will take one day or several days to hike. The shorter trails are usually busiest, but you can avoid the crowds by tackling some of the longer hikes. Some trails are only accessible in the summer.

When you’ve had your fill of the beautiful scenery, head to Yosemite Village where there are shops, restaurants, and the Yosemite Museum and Ansel Adams Gallery, with black and white photography prints available of the landscapes of the area.

Most campgrounds in Yosemite allow RVs, but you will need to get a reservation at least 6 months to a year in advance. There are only 8 sites that allow for longer rigs. Some sites are first-come, first-served. Be aware there are no hookups anywhere in Yosemite National Park.

12. Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is a 1,583 sq. mile wilderness area in Montana’s Rocky Mountains. Visitors can see glacier-carved peaks and valleys while hiking some of the 700 miles of hiking trails. You can also enjoy backpacking, cycling, and camping, and see the area’s diverse range of wildlife including mountain goats, grizzly bears, moose, coyotes, wolves, elk, deer, and many others.

One of the most popular things to do at Glacier is to drive the scenic 52-mile highway through Glacier National Park called the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It crosses the Continental Divide and provides some spectacular views.

Inside the park, only primitive camping is allowed. Sites are first-come, first-serve. Just outside the park inside the Flathead National Forest you can find dispersed camping, and there are a number of RV parks nearby with full hookups.

13. Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

Choosing just one place to go in Colorado is difficult. There are so many beautiful areas. One of the most visited attractions is Garden of the Gods. You will be in awe of its enormous sandstone formations. Don’t miss a photo op of gravity-defying boulders such as Kissing Camels, Balanced Rock, Tower of Babel, and Pig’s Eye. You won’t need your wallet because Garden of the Gods is free to explore.

While you are in the area, don’t forget to take a drive or a train ride to the top of Pikes Peak. Plan for a three hour roundtrip to the top and get your tickets in advance for the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. Pikes Peak is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The 14,115 foot peak is located in Pike National Forest, 12 miles west of downtown Colorado Springs. The town of Manitou Springs lies at its base.

Garden of the Gods RV Resort has plenty of amenities and wonderful views of Pikes Peak. According to a reviewer on RV LIFE Campgrounds ,

“There is a free public bus system with a stop near the campground entrance and goes to Manitou Springs for shopping and eating options. Better than trying to take a big tow vehicle into Manitou Springs (its pretty tight all around). Campground location is close to the entrance to Pike’s Peak and Garden of the Gods Nature Center. 30-45 minutes away is the Crags Trail – a ~5 mile out/back moderate hike with great views (gets to almost 11,000′ elevation). And nearby to that trail is the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Wander in to Colorado Springs about 20 minutes to Ivywild School – a decommissioned, remodeled elementary school built in 1916 that is family friendly with several eateries and a micro brew. It has outdoor seating and saw several furry friends enjoying the atmosphere.”

Camping near Garden of the Gods in Coloroado.

14. Bar Harbor, Maine

There is a such a beauty to this area, you won’t be sorry for taking some time, either in summer or fall, to explore Bar Harbor and the surrounding area. Located on Mount Desert Island, next to Acadia National Park, this favorite tourist destination offers historic charm, a beautiful coastline, and a plethora of activities for the whole family.

The national park, located on the island, is a rugged 47,000-acre Atlantic Coast recreation area which features rocky beaches, granite peaks, and Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic Coast. Visitors can enjoy hiking, climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and birdwatching. From the town pier, the Shore Path winds along the bay overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the Porcupine Islands.

Don’t forget to take a whale watching trip, or explore the Village Green in Bar Harbor to enjoy its history and see its landmarks.

There are plenty of private RV parks near Bar Harbor , as well as in the National Park. Just make sure to make reservations well in advance.

15. Mount Washington and the Cog Railway – New Hampshire

Look down on the tops of clouds or view four states on a clear day from the top of Mount Washington, the highest elevation in the northern Appalachians. The best way to get to the top is via the Cog Railway, which has been carrying tourists since 1869. At the top, visit the Sherman Adams Visitors Center, which houses a small museum, a cafeteria, and the Mount Washington Observatory, a research station that studies the mountain’s extreme weather conditions.

Check out the Tip-Top House, a historic former hotel in Mount Washington State Park. Built in 1853, it is the oldest surviving building in the summit area and is believed to be the oldest mountain-top hostelry in the world. It features exhibits about the mountain’s history and is located near the visitor’s facility. It is open to visitors from early May to early October.

Check out the 5,775-acre Crawford Notch State Park, which is a major pass through the White Mountains. The park includes the Willey House historical site and the Dry River Campground with some RV sites (no hookups). Hiking trails in the park lead to popular destinations such as Ripley Falls and Arethusa Falls.

yellow train caboose with mountains in the background - one of our favorite RV trip ideas

16. Mustang Island

Mustang Island is an 18-mile barrier island on the Gulf Coast of Texas. If you like everything to do with beaches, water, and fishing, you will love this area. You can access the island via the Causeway Bridge from Corpus Christi, or over the Port Aransas Ferry which runs continuously.  

Watch the boats from Roberts Point Park, or explore nature at the Leonabelle Turnbill Birding Center or the Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie’s Pasture. Throw a line in right from the beach or take a walk down the Horace Caldwell Fishing Pier, some 1,200 feet long. In April, brave the crowds and check out the Texas Sandfest. Sculptors from all over the world turn sand into beautiful art pieces.

After a day in the sun and sand, take in some nightlife in Port Aransas. There are many restaurants, bars, and shops to fill an evening with fun. Don’t forget to get fresh shrimp off the Peggy Ann for a tasty treat.  

Find a spot to boondock at Mustang Island State Park, get a permit and park on the beach, or check out some great RV resorts in Port Aransas .

17. Galveston

Galveston is an island city on the Gulf Coast of Texas. While there, you can enjoy the long stretch of beaches with plenty of room to claim your spot and play in the shallow water. Check out Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier with rides, suitable for all ages, as well as games and activities. The 1,130-foot pier is a great family destination and is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and on weekends during the winter.

Stewart Beach is a family-friendly beach with chair and umbrella rentals, a children’s playground, concessions, and a lifeguard. Head to Galveston Island State Park, walk along the boardwalks, kayak and birdwatch on the bay or the ocean.

Moody Gardens is where giant glass pyramids house sharks, monkeys, and other animals. The Moody Mansion, a 28,000 sq. ft. home, is on the National Register of Historic Places and features stained glass, custom carved woodwork, decorative tiles and plasterwork, along with fine stencil work throughout. Guided tours are available, as well as special events and programs. Don’t forget to check out the vintage Cadillacs parked in the garage.

There are many RV resorts and parks that you can stay right along the Gulf with beautiful views and full hookups.

18. Beaver Lake/Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Arkansas isn’t called the Natural State for no reason. Whatever place you pick is going to be beautiful. Beaver Lake and Eureka Springs are a great combination of outdoor fun together with shopping, shows, activities, spectacular views and more.

At Beaver Lake don’t miss War Eagle Cavern. This is a one hour, one-mile guided walking tour that follows a wide, easy walkway beside a stream flowing through the cavern. The cavern features domes, streams, waterfalls, and many formations. During the tour you will learn about the Indians and outlaws and maybe see a bat up close. Above ground are hiking trails and picnic and play areas for the kids. Although not for everyone, you can join the Spelunker Tour that begins where the public tour ends. It takes at least three hours, a group of four or more, and reservations.

In Eureka Springs, make sure you see Thorncrown Chapel with its 425 windows and some 6,000 sq. ft of glass. Ride the tram for a guided tour of historic Eureka Springs. You will see Victorian buildings, landmarks such as Grotto Spring, and hear stories of Eureka’s history.

Ozark Cabins and RV provides full hookups with beautiful views near Beaver Lake and the White River. Book a trout guide or explore many trails on the grounds. You can also get your fishing supplies at the on-site convenience store.

Spider Creek Resort has just one RV pad with full hookups that can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet in length. It has a beautiful view overlooking both Spider Creek and the White River. The pad includes a separate, private bathroom and shower, as well as a charcoal grill and patio furniture. The resort offers fishing guides, and rentals of jon boats, river boats, kayaks, rafts, and canoes.

Eureka Springs Inspiration Point

19. Upper Peninsula, Michigan

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is one of the most popular RV trip ideas. The Upper Peninsula region borders three of the Great Lakes and is connected to Michigan’s Lower Peninsula by the five-mile-long Mackinac Bridge. In between the two peninsulas is Mackinac Island, a car-free vacation destination accessible by ferry and a must-see on your UP adventure.

While on the island, check out Fort Mackinac with its 14 historic buildings. Check out the museum and listen to interpreters as they depict life in the fort in the late 1900s. See Arch Rock or visit the Butterfly House and Insect World. Stay at the Grand Hotel on the island, play a round of golf, or take a carriage tour.

If you want to get away from the crowds, choose the lesser traveled Drummond Island, known for its wildlife and ORV trails, or Grand Island for wilderness camping and mountain bike riding along scenic overlooks. The Les Cheneaux is a series of islands, great for protected paddling.

Park your RV at Straits State Park with a high, straight view down the center of the Mackinac Bridge. It was used as a survey point during its construction. Also, you can choose a beachfront campsite on the shoreline of the Straits of Mackinac.  

For trip inspiration, check out this Road Trip On The Upper Peninsula Of Michigan .

20. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan

As you spend time in Michigan, check out Sleeping Bear Dunes in the state’s Lower Peninsula. The park is known for its scalable dunes at the Dune Climb. Beaches include Platte River Point, where the river flows into the lake. The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail winds through the forest with views of 19 th century farmsteads.

The park is a great place for stargazing, so be sure and plan to attend a star party. Rangers share the best spots for sky viewing. Check out the historic village of Glen Haven with some of the park’s prettiest beaches. Watch a smithy hammer hot iron into horseshoes, get penny candy at the general store, and visit the neighboring museum.

Paddle, fish, or just enjoy the views. Don’t forget to catch a beautiful sunset as well.

Make an online reservation for the Platte River Campground , which is open year round with RV spots with electrical hookups.

dune overlook in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore - one of the best RV trip ideas

21. Door County, Wisconsin

Why is Door County, Wisconsin one of our favorite RV trip ideas? Try 5 state parks, 19 county parks, and 300 miles of shoreline. Don’t miss the wineries, quaint bed and breakfasts, and unique inns. Pick your own cherries or apples, enjoy a fish boil, or visit Peninsula State Park for views of Green Bay from the top of Niagara Escarpment.

Door County Maritime Museum is also a popular place to visit. This museum has interpretive and educational programming on unique maritime topics and preserves the maritime history of the Great Lakes. Tour a restored tugboat, take a shipyard tour, or enjoy one of the seasonal festivals.

Peninsula State has a number of campgrounds but few with any amenities. Nearby Egg Harbor Campground & RV Resort has 78 full hookup sites with a game room, heated pool, playground, picnic area, and pull through sites. It is also adjacent to Orchards Golf Course.

22. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

As you travel this beautiful country, make sure you don’t consider Missouri just a pass-through state. For those who like the outdoors, there is an abundance of beautiful state parks, rivers to kayak and canoe, and lakes to enjoy. One of my favorite spots is Lake of the Ozarks. I’ve been visiting there since I was a young child, swimming, skiing, boating, and exploring the 84 sq. mile lake.

If you are ready for a break from the water fun, head out to explore Bridal Cave with its massive rock drapery formations, or Stark Caverns with a large underground lake. Ozark Caverns is famous for its Angel Shower cave phenomenon where a constant shower of water streams from the cave ceiling.

In the area you can find something to suit everyone in your family including spas, golf, go-karts, water parks, local wineries, or lakeside dining. Make a rainy day a shopping day at Osage Beach outlet marketplace.

Lake Of The Ozarks State Park has nearly 17,000 acres of place to hike, ride horses, hit the beach, or launch your boat for a day on the lake. Nearby Ha Ha Tonka State Park was named one of the four most popular state parks in the nation by 10Best. Check out its natural springs, awesome landscapes, and beautiful castle ruins.

Some 20 RV campgrounds are nearby with excellent reviews . You can even find some with lakeside parking for larger RVs.

Start trip planning today

For all of your camping and trip planning needs, look no further than RV LIFE Campgrounds and RV LIFE Trip Wizard . RV LIFE Campgrounds is a trusted source of campground and RV park reviews offered by camping and RV enthusiasts just like you. With its accompanying RV LIFE App , RV LIFE Trip Wizard gets you to your camping destinations utilizing RV-friendly routes specific to your RV and travel preferences.

Adventure and Sunshine

The Definitive Guide to Europe by Campervan

campervan travel ideas

Imagine the feeling waking up each day, grabbing your morning coffee and looking out across the lake/mountain/beach you parked next to the night before.

You take a look at the map, plot a course and make your way to the next destination. In your own time, on your own schedule, in your own home on wheels. This is life when traveling Europe by campervan.

It is a steep learning curve once you decide to campervan in Europe for the first time, particularly if you are not from Europe. 

Planning a road trip to Europe by campervan

We are here to fast track you past the initial planning stages and help you plan your trip by campervan around Europe. In this Guide to Europe by Campervan we have listed all of our best campervan travel tips.  

There is A LOT of information here so don’t forget to save or share the article to refer to later.

  • 1 How To Plan Your Europe By Campervan Itinerary
  • 2 To Buy Or Rent a Campervan In Europe?
  • 3 The Best Campervan Layouts
  • 4 Get To Know Your Campervan
  • 5 LPG Gas Bottles
  • 6 Best Campervan Gadgets
  • 7 Essentials Apps for Campervan Life
  • 8 Connectivity Tips
  • 9 Navigation Tips for Campervanning in Europe
  • 10 Toll Roads
  • 11 Using Ferries in Europe
  • 12 Campervan Camping In Europe Guide
  • 13 Campervan Security
  • 14 Campervan Meals
  • 15 Tracking your Europe Road Trip Costs
  • 16 Important Documents to Carry
  • 17 Ready To Plan Your Trip?
  • 18 Final Travel Europe By Campervan Advice

How To Plan Your Europe By Campervan Itinerary

We explored Europe by campervan for 5 months on a family gap year and it was an incredible experience. The region is well set up for touring by campervan.

The ease of travel between countries and the cultural and natural diversity of Europe make it the perfect road trip destination.

The natural thing to do first when planning to campervan around Europe is plan the itinerary.

There are millions of different campervan routes in Europe and it can be hard to whittle it down to a manageable list. 

We suggest you start with this list of questions to help you narrow your planning efforts:

  • How much time do I have
  • Where will we start and end the road trip
  • How much driving am I prepared to do each week
  • What time of year will I be in Europe (the weather is an important consideration)
  • Do I want to travel slow or do I want to tick off as many places as I can.

Next we suggest you pull out your Europe bucket list, a spreadsheet, a map of Europe, Google Maps and your Weather App and start planning.

Expert Tip:   When looking at distances on Google maps, add half the time again to get a realistic idea of the time it will take to drive in a campervan. Travel by campervan is slower than by car and you will most likely stop a number of times on the way. In our experience a 3 hour trip on Google Maps typically becomes a 4-5 hour driving day.

We love using Lonely Planet Guide Books when we first start planning a new trip.

They give a good overview of a country or region, the key sights, and best time to go. They are a helpful way to come up with your Europe bucket list in order to start planning.

Click here for the latest prices for Lonely Planet Europe .

Campervan Routes Europe - France Chateaus

As you start to form your high level itinerary, my best piece of advice is don’t lock it all in!

The beauty of travelling Europe in a campervan is that you can also make it up as you go along. Prioritise the countries and sights you want to see and adjust your Europe itinerary as you go.

Europe Itinerary Planner

If you would like more guidance to plan your Europe itinerary, we recommend this Europe Motorhoming Travel Toolkit by motorhome experts, Wandering Bird.

The toolkit includes a Europe travel ebook, printables, video tutorials and guides to route planning, camping, motorhome security and much, much more.

It is an invaluable resource full of tips and ideas and so helpful for first time motorhome Europe travellers.

>> Click here to check the price and find out more

To Buy Or Rent a Campervan In Europe?

Buy or rent? This is one of the most difficult decisions and unfortunately there is no right answer to this question. It really depends on your situation.

So to help you choose here we guide you through a couple of key questions to help you make this important decision.

In short, renting is the simplest and easiest option and the best choice for short trips (less than 8 weeks).

There are many European motorhome rental agencies, but we recommend   Motorhome Republic . They have a huge network of vans across Europe and offer discounts for longer bookings.

Click here for a no obligation quote from Motorhome Republic.

Renting an RV in Europe makes sense for short trips, but will cost more if you are travelling around Europe for a longer period.

Considerations for renting or buying a motorhome in Europe

Here are some things to consider when weighing up whether to buy or rent an RV in Europe.

Length of trip in the campervan

The longer your trip the more sensible it is buy. On our calculations it was worth buying a camper van if the trip was longer than 2.5 months.

Less time than that and it was probably easier to hire a campervan in Europe.

The time of year

Off season rentals are typically much cheaper as loads of campervans are returned at the end of summer.

If you are brave enough to start your trip in winter and are prepared to negotiate, you should be able to get a much better price on a Europe RV rental for the off season.

Van repairs

Are you prepared to take responsibility for fixing the van, should things go wrong? When renting a campervan in Europe, if anything goes wrong, the rental company will resolve the issue.

If you buy the van you are going to have to work it out yourself.

We met a couple in Montenegro who had been holed up in the campsite for a month waiting for a part for their van to be shipped from the UK.

Thankfully we had no major issues with our van over the 5 months.

But it is a big consideration. For this reason, before purchasing a van we strongly recommend you have it checked out by a mechanically minded person.

Your country of origin makes a difference

As a non-European it is a little more complicated to purchase and insure a van in Europe.

It makes a private sale with an individual buyer very complicated unless you have friends or relatives in Europe who are prepared to purchase insurance on your behalf.

But the good news is that it is possible to purchase a campervan as a non-resident through a number of smaller European campervan companies.

If you are interested in buying a European camper van, contact us and we can put you in contact with our preferred company, a small family run business.

Expert Tip: If you need to transfer funds when purchasing a van in Europe we use and recommend Wise. Much better rates than most banks and quick and easy to set up. We saved hundreds of dollars transferring funds for our van purchase using Wise. Click here to find out more.

Look at campervan buy back schemes

If you don’t want the hassle of selling the campervan privately at the end of your trip, there are companies who will offer a guaranteed buy back. This will cost you more than purchasing and selling privately, but it is cheaper than renting.

You are assured of selling the van and it simplifies the process at the end of your trip. It is a good compromise between renting and buying privately. We opted for this option and we very happy with our decision.

If you would like to get a quote for buying a camper van in Europe through a buy back scheme, contact us and we can put you in contact with our preferred supplier.

So in summary, buying a van requires a large financial outlay but will most likely save you more over the long term.

But if you don’t want the hassle, motorhome hire for European travel is easy and worry free.

Get a campervan rental quote today and start planning your road trip!


The Best Campervan Layouts

Before you choose to purchase or rent a van, you should spend some time thinking about the best campervan layout to suit your needs.

There are literally thousands of different van configurations. It is hard to know what will work if you haven’t been RVing in Europe before.

Questions to help you find the best van layout

To simplify your van search, use these questions to prioritise what is important before you start looking.

How new do you want the van to be? What modern features does it need to have?

Are you prepared to accept an older van with older furnishings, no air conditioning, fewer mod cons. Older vans are generally much cheaper to buy or rent.

Or are these things important to you? For example, if you are considering Europe campervan routes in the south through Summer, air conditioning will make your trip much more comfortable.

Van size is a big consideration and will depend on how many people are traveling, but also the style of trip you want to take.

Do you want to go offroad on your camper van Europe trip? Do you want to free camp in out of the way places? Do you want to be able to drive the van into major cities? A smaller van is better for these types of European road trips.

Do you have kids? Do you want them to have a separate sleeping area and/or their own beds?

What size van are you comfortable driving? There are pros and cons to both. A small van is easier to drive and park and is easier to take to out of the way places.

But a larger van usually has a toilet and kitchen onboard, provides more comfort inside when traveling to colder countries and allows you to take more stuff.

It is worth noting that European camper vans on average tend to be smaller than what you find in Northern America, but are perfectly suited to RV through Europe.

Right or Left Hand Drive

Do you want a right or left hand drive? If you are going to spend most of your time on the continent, it makes more sense to buy a left hand drive vehicle.

Many vans for sale in the UK are right hand drive, so always check when enquiring if it is a left hand or right hand drive.

Bed Configuration

Are you prepared to convert a table into a bed each night or do you want permanently set up beds when you RV Europe?

If you are on a long term road trip, converting a bed each day can become pretty tiresome, but it means you can take a smaller van.

We took this compromise on our US month long road trip , but didn’t want to for a longer Europe tour.

If you have kids and they are still in car seats or booster seats this needs to be factored in to your decision.

Expert Tips: If you are traveling with kids, we talk more about bed configuration when traveling Europe by campervan with kids here .

Do you want to carry bikes or other large sporting equipment like kayaks or paddle boards that will need to be stored in or on the van?

Kitchen Appliances

Can you cook everything in your campervan kitchen on a gas cook top? Can you live without an oven and grill in the van?

Europe-campervan-interior kitchen

Camper Van Amenities

Do you want to be able to free camp for days at a time off the grid with sufficient power and amenities to do so?

A van with a fridge that runs on gas, lights that run on a dual battery and a toilet onboard will help you achieve this.

Heating and Cooling

Will you be traveling through hot climates on your campervan Europe trip?

If you don’t have air conditioning you will need a van with plenty of opening windows (preferably with insect screens).

Will you be travelling Europe in the winter? If so you will need a campervan heater.

Related: The best campervan accessories for van life

Get To Know Your Campervan

Once you have chosen your van, it is really important to familiarise yourself with the vehicle before you set off campervanning around Europe.

We cannot stress the importance of this enough: get to know your new home before you go too far from where you rent or buy it.

Travelling Van Pre-Travel Checklist

  • Check the campervan is mechanically okay. Ask when was it last serviced. Check the tyres.
  • Do all the windows and blinds open and close correctly?
  • Do all doors open, close and lock properly?
  • If there is an alarm, does it work and how does it function?
  • Confirm the appliances (fridge, heater, 12V outlets, AC outlets, air con if you are so lucky) are working and you know how to use them.
  • Have the company/seller show you how to fill the LPG tank. Have they provided the necessary attachments for the countries you are visiting?
  • Check you know how to open and close the campervan awnings.
  • Check if the awning comes with tie down ropes. If it doesn’t we recommend you buy them to secure the awning. Click here to see the tie downs we recommend .

Know the van dimensions

It is also really important to know the height, length and width of your van!

Unlike rving in the US , there were MANY occasions heading down a country road or under a small bridge we would notice a road sign indicating the maximum width or height.

We would have to stop and find another way around because we wouldn’t fit in our large motorhome. It is VERY important to know this!


Campervan Parking

Navigating into campsites and getting out of carparks is often tricky and we saw a few other drivers hitting light posts and fence posts in their attempts to reverse their RVs!

Our van didn’t have parking sensors or a reversing camera and it was impossible to see what was behind you.

We suggest that if you are traveling with other people, one of you always get out and direct the driver into or out of the spot as you campervan through Europe.  

Agree on a method for helping the driver with reverse parking. We found that hand signals worked better than voice commands.

Supermarket carparks are a good place to find large spots to park when in visiting towns in Europe.

They had more space and we could take up a few spots. Much less stressful than trying to park on a busy street!

Managing Waste Water

Larger campervans come equipped with grey water tanks. This collects all the used water – from the kitchen and bathroom sinks.

The older the van, the more likely it is this tank is going to have a unique and not so great odour.

If you rent or buy an older van our recommendation is to empty the grey water tank before setting off on long driving days.

When we didn’t empty the grey water tank we would be driving along with our sleeves held over our noses! The smell of grey water wafting through the van is terrible and was much worse in hotter weather.

We tried everything to improve the situation. From special tank cleaner to dishwashing liquid to putting ice cubes into the tank. Nothing got rid of the smell. The best solution was to have an empty grey water tank whilst driving.

If your van has a toilet we suggest you use toilet chemicals. Carry spare bottles of toilet chemicals as they were not always easy to find in smaller towns.

Thetford Aqua-Kem is a popular holding tank chemical and the one we used on our trip around Europe. Click here to check the latest prices .

LPG Gas Bottles

If your campervan has a refillable LPG bottle, monitor the gas level and don’t let it get too low. In some countries such as Portugal and Austria it was difficult to find LPG so we tried to keep it above half full.

Having said that, we used the gas for cooking, heating and cooling the fridge when off the grid and it really didn’t use much gas at all. We probably could have only filled it once or twice in 5 months.

Note also that there are four of different types of LPG gas bottle fittings used across Europe. Our campervan came with all of them and we could screw on the one we needed when we refilled.

The website mylpg.eu/adapters explains which fitting type is used in each country and also has a listing of LPG filling stations.

Also, if you were like us and had no idea how to use an LPG pump, have a look on YouTube for some guidance!

Best Campervan Gadgets

There is additional equipment and motorhome accessories you will use all the time and we recommend you purchase for travelling in Europe by campervan.

1. 12V USB Port Adaptor

You will need to buy a 12V USB port adaptor to charge your phones and tablets. Make sure you get a good quality one with a high current output to enable fast charging of your phone.

It will need to be dual USB like this one so you can power the GPS at the same time as charging a phone.

2. Voltage Inverter

If you have electronic devices such as a laptop or camera battery charger that are powered by AC voltage then see if you can find a 12V charger for them.

Alternatively, we recommend buying a voltage inverter which allows you to run an AC device from a 12V port.

When choosing an inverter you need to check that the inverter output is the correct AC voltage and is rated at a significantly higher power than the device you are powering.

For example, I needed to run my laptop power supply which was 220V at 180W so I bought a 500W Car Power Inverter. Click to check the latest prices on the Inverter.

If you are coming from the US you need a 12v to 110v inverter for US voltage electronics like this one .

Trip by Campervan Europe - Take Bikes

We also recommend you purchase bicycles when touring Europe in a campervan.

Campsites are often located a little out of town and the bikes give you more flexibility to get out and explore the local area without having to drive the van everywhere.

You can easily purchase them secondhand on ebay like we did, or look for a good deal on a new bike that you can sell at the end of your trip.

The large supermarket chains like Carrefour and Aldi often had new bikes for sale and Decathlon is a cheap sportstore found in Europe with affordable bikes.

Many campervans have a bike rack on the rear to carry bikes. If not, ask your rental agency or seller if one can be added.

An adaptor, inverter and bikes are our top three campervan products for motorhome travel to Europe.

For more of our favorite travel accessories see our list of 14 Travel Essentials here .

Read next: Best gifts for Motorhome owners

Essentials Apps for Campervan Life

It is easy to stay connected on a campervan trip around Europe. We travel with a laptop, a tablet, 2 kindles and 4 mobile phones.

The kids have a mobile device and headphones each because it was the cheapest way for them to have access to music and audio books.

We talk more about this in our article on road trip activities for kids. Click here to read it .

To satisfy everyone’s need for music, we purchased a Spotify family membership for access to music online.

Spotify is a great app. Everyone had their own playlists and could access unlimited new music throughout the trip.

It is also possible to save playlists to listen to when offline.

Download Spotify for free. Click for: Apple Store free download (iOS) Google Store free download (Android)

Another option for access to tunes is Amazon Music . They also offer a family membership plan and have the option to play music when offline, similar to Spotify.

Click here for a 30 day free unlimited trial of Amazon Music.

2. Borrowbox

We also signed up with our local public library to borrow ebooks and audio books for free. This was one of the best decisions we made for RV travel in Europe.

It has saved us hundreds of dollars and also helped entertain the kids on long drives.

Check with your local public library whether they are set up. Our library used the Borrowbox app.

The kids would listen to audiobooks on their phones as we were driving and we could download ebooks to the tablet.

Download BorrowBox for free. Click for Apple Store free download (iOS) Google Store free download (Android)

The only limitation with the Borrowbox app is that often new releases were not available, and popular books were constantly on loan.

So the other option is to sign up for an Audible account . Audible gives you access to a huge range of new release audiobooks, podcasts and originals as part of a monthly membership.  Click here to sign up for a free trial on Audible.

A podcast app is another way to download content for both kids an adults. We use Castbox.

Book exchanges seem to be a thing of the past and we very rarely found somewhere to exchange English books, especially kids books, so the kindles were essential.

We traveled with two kindles which were shared between all 4 of us.

Our family bought us an Amazon voucher as a farewell gift. We made very good use of this during the year when we couldn’t find books to borrow from the library.

Click here to see the latest Kindle and price

If you plan to work or homeschool while travelling Europe by motorhome, a laptop is essential.

We love our Microsoft Surface Pro as it is lightweight, a fully functioning laptop that can also be converted to a tablet for use by the kids.

It was well used not only for work but also for watching movies, planning our Europe trip along the way and for the kids to do login to online learning sites for homeschooling.

Click here to see the latest prices for the Surface Pro

Europe in a campervan - Site by the river in Montenegro

Connectivity Tips

Wifi vs mobile data.

One of our top campervan tips is not to rely on camp ground WiFi when you travel Europe in a campervan.

I was very surprised in Europe to find WiFi connectivity generally pretty poor. We found camp grounds almost always promised WiFi but in reality it was slow and unreliable and sometimes expensive.

Like most people these days, internet connections are an important part of travel.

Plus as we didn’t book any of our trip in advance we were planning most nights once the kids were in bed. 

To reduce frustration levels with WiFi we recommend you purchase local prepaid data plans.

In 2017 the EU introduced a new law forcing mobile data roaming costs to be the same across Europe as in the country where you purchased the SIM.

This means you can get a SIM in your first country and know it will work practically everywhere at the same rate.

While there are still huge variations in the plans on offer, it is much easier than before when it often made sense to get a new prepaid SIM in each country.

The Prepaid Data SIM Card Wiki is an amazing source of information that we used to determine the best deal.

Read Next: Best Road Trip Gifts for Travel Lovers

If you are using free WiFi it is important to protect your data by using a VPN when travelling Europe in a van.

A VPN (virtual private network) allows you to use public and open WiFi connections without the risk of your data being compromised.

We use NordVPN all around the world when we travel. Just switch it on when you connect to WiFi and know your information is safe.

Click here to see the latest deals with NordVPN.

Navigation Tips for Campervanning in Europe

We highly recommend that you have a number of different navigation tools on hand to help plan your journeys.

There was never one tool that met all of our needs and we used all of these methods most days.

1. Road Atlas

For high-level planning, our first point of call was our Philip's Big Road Atlas Europe .

This may seem a little old school, but we regularly referred to this map to give us a good overview of distances for itinerary planning.

Our son also loved highlighting our Europe road trip in the atlas to track our journey and it is a great memento of the trip.

>> Click here to check the price for the Philip's Europe Road Atlas .

Traveling with kids?   Read our tips for road trip activities for kids here

A dedicated GPS/Sat Nav with up-to-date maps is essential for a few reasons:

  • It doesn’t rely on mobile connectivity
  • It keeps your mobile free for other purposes when driving
  • The GPS shows you the speed limit when you are driving and just how sharp that upcoming bend is.

There are many different types of GPS, but you are best to look at sat navs for motorhomes with European road maps included.

We had an entry level TomTom GPS and found it simple and reliable to use plus we liked the Australian voice option who would tell us “mate, if those back seat drivers don’t keep it down, ditch them at the next servo”.

However it didn’t have settings specifically for large vehicles which would have been helpful considering the number of small roads and villages we navigated.

>> Click here to check the price for TomTom GPS for motorhomes


3. Google Maps

The only problem with a GPS is that sometimes it might suggest tiny roads or routes through village centres that our 7m/3.5 tonne van could not pass through.

Unfortunately there was no option to filter out roads not suitable for oversized campervans.

So we would also use the Google Maps app on our phone to see what route it suggested because it tended to be better at avoiding small roads.

We strongly recommend when you have WiFi you download Google Maps for use in offline mode to avoid being reliant on mobile data.

The other great thing we used Google Maps for (if you have an internet connection) is to use satellite view or street view to check just how wide a road is.

If you can see lines in the middle of the road you are good to go. If not, you may need to think twice in a large van.

4. Other Tools

We also occasionally used an app (or website) called Via Michelin which was able to give estimates for toll costs and more realistic travel times compared to Google maps.

Also ensure you research different country rules in relation to things such as driving laws, low emission zones, how tolls are charged and child restraint requirements.

The rules differ a lot between countries. We had to change our plans in and around London due to restrictions on older vehicles entering greater London.

Our Philip’s Big Road Atlas Europe had an excellent country section in the front that summarised the basic rules and regulations for each country.

Toll roads are common in Europe (except Germany and the Netherlands) and they can be very expensive to travel on in a motorhome.

We recommend you do your research on the cost of toll roads in each country, how much time they will save you on the journey and how they have to be paid. It differs country by country.

The Via Michelin site was useful for estimating tolls on different routes.

France was super expensive because our campervan was over 3m tall and classified as a bus.

We spent 30 Euros ($35 USD) on one 5 hour drive down the west coast of France. Italy and Spain were much more reasonably priced and had fewer tolls.

How to pay Tolls in Europe

In most cases you can pay the toll using cash or a credit card at a toll booth.

One exception is Portugal which has no toll booths, just toll points with cameras that scan your number plate.

In Portugal you must register a credit card against your number plate at the Welcome Points just over the border on their main motorways.

Then your card is automatically charged when you pass a toll point. More information on the process can be found here.

Another variation is the vignette. This is a prepaid motorway toll in the form of a sticker which you typically purchase from petrol stations near the border and display on your windscreen.

Vignettes are required in Switzerland, Austria & Slovenia and some other Eastern European countries.  They come with varying length validity. Being caught out will result in a hefty fine.

If you want to avoid tolls, you can set your GPS/Sat Nav and Google Maps to do this.

As a rule of thumb, if we weren’t in a hurry we would avoid toll roads. If we were traveling a long distance we generally took the toll roads to maintain the sanity of both parents and kids.

Using Ferries in Europe

It is possible to move between countries by ferry in your campervan instead of by road.

There are a number of transport ferries that operate between Spain, Italy, France, Montenegro, Greece and even Africa.

This is worth considering if you want to get to South Eastern Europe quickly to save time or if you want to extend your trip touring Europe in a motorhome into Africa.

We share our experience taking two transport ferries to get from Spain to Montenegro here .

Campervan Camping In Europe Guide

When camping through Europe you have three main options for camp sites:

  • Paid campgrounds 
  • Cheap Aires
  • Free or wild camping


Paid Camping across Europe

If you plan to use camp grounds in Europe my best recommendation is to purchase an ACSI camping card .

ACSI is a non-peak season discount program containing over 3000 campsites around Europe.

We saved hundreds of dollars camping through Europe in the low and shoulder seasons over the 5 months with our ACSI card.

You need to order this before you arrive in Europe (unless you have a friend who is local) and make sure you allow plenty of time to receive the membership card and guides.

We bought them directly from ACSI and had them sent to a UK address. They took about 6 weeks to arrive.

It was worth paying a little extra for access to their mobile app as it was a good way to search for campsites in the general direction we were heading in.

We also suggest you don’t rely too much on camp site reviews. Also, don’t believe bigger is always better.

Often in the larger campgrounds the actual sites were small and expensive. Look for smaller, locally run campsites, or look for free campsites.

Cheap Camping in Europe

One of the best ways to save money when touring in Europe by campervan is to stay at Aires. Aires are simple sites set up specifically for people travelling Europe in a motorhome. 

Three great resources to find these sites are:

  • searchforsites.co.uk
  • campercontact.com
  • park4night.com

Europe has an extensive network of Aires and they are perfect for RV camping in Europe.

They cannot be booked in advance and typically have a waste dump point, fresh water and toilets. Sometimes they have electricity hookups and showers.

The sites fill up quickly in summer so make sure you arrive by early afternoon to have a chance at a spot.

We occasionally used these but found them not to be ideal for stops of more than one night with the kids. 

We also strongly recommend checking out memberships such as France Passion .

They offer free overnight camping in wineries and farms for members. A similar system was operating in Portugal too. 

Campervan camping Europe - Aires

Free Camping in Europe

We found the park4night app to be an excellent resource for finding free or wild camping sites in Europe.

Download park4night. Click for Apple Store download (iOS) Google Store download (Android)

This app lists free (and fee based) camping sites all over Europe.

The sites and ratings are all user-generated. The sites range from supermarket car parks to gorgeous spots along the coastline.

It is available offline if you pay the small monthly fee and we recommend paying for this option.

TBH we thought we would free camp way more than we did. It is a great money saver and was much easier in some countries and places than others.

I wish we had found this guide to wild camping before our trip, as it gives a great overview of what you can and can’t do, plus recommends hundreds of good stops based on personal experience.

But in reality we had a 7 metre, 3.5 tonne, 2 wheel drive van that couldn’t sneak down little dirt tracks.

We found we stressed more when stopping in a carpark with the kids as they couldn’t go off and explore.

If I am honest, sometimes the effort to search for a free camp was beyond me at the end of a long day driving with the kids.

But, there are many people who travel all over Europe and rarely pay for a campsite. It is definitely worth doing.

Note that free camping is illegal in some countries (such as Croatia) and in others they make it hard to find a place to stop (such as Italy).

Some countries allow it in the off season but not through summer. Take a look, give it a go and see what works for you.

If you want to know more about wild camping in Europe, this wild camping guide is a fantastic resource.

It outlines how to stay legal, how to choose the best places to camp and much, much more. Click here to find out more.

Guide to Europe by Campervan

Booking Camp sites

Our best tip when you are planning your road trip by campervan in Europe is not to book too much. Resist the temptation to book anything in advance!

We had a very high level view of the countries we wanted to visit and in what order, but did not book anything before we started. We decided every couple of days where we would go next.

This approach gives you so much freedom to be flexible, to stay longer at places you like, to take up recommendations you receive along the way, or choose a place based on how everyone is feeling at the time.

We found that if we arrived at a campground by mid-afternoon we always found a site.

However, the summer school holiday periods do require a little planning.

Camp sites get very busy over the school breaks, especially those on the coast or on lakes.

While most campsites have a percentage of their sites that cannot be booked, in order to claim one you will need to arrive very early during the summer.

We dealt with this challenge by heading inland to the mountains during summer where we had no trouble finding accommodation.

So look at visiting less popular places away from the coast during these busy times or be prepared to arrive very early at your destination and cross your fingers.


Campervan Security

It is important to plan how to keep your campervan and valuables secure.

Thankfully we were never broken into during our trip but it is worth taking measures to have peace of mind that your stuff is going to stay with you.

Our van was pretty old so we figured it was unlikely to be stolen (there were much better ones around!), but we were more worried about a break in.

Being an older van there was no alarm, no deadlocks and windows that were pretty easy to pull open.

Related: Best Anti Theft Backpacks for Travel

In cities we always stayed either in camp sites or in secure parking stations. We always pulled the blinds down when leaving the van in a car park or on the street.

Often one of us would stay with the campervan when doing grocery shopping if the area didn’t have a good vibe.

We didn’t come across many other travellers who had experienced a break in so there is no need to be overly concerned.

I just really didn’t want the hassle of losing our most important things, so were happy to take precautions.

Pacsafe Portable Safe

One of the things that gave us the most peace of mind was our Pacsafe Portable Safe.

It is a theft proof bag that can be used to store valuables in your van. We used the Pacsafe Travelsafe Portable Safe to lock our passports, documents and devices in when we weren’t in the campervan.

The bag was secured under one of the seats to lock it to the van. If we were free camping we would also secure it at night.

This bag has been one of our best travel purchases. We take it on every trip and use it everywhere we stay.

>> Click here to check the price and size options for the Pacsafe Portable safe .

Campervan Meals

In a past life eating out and experiencing the local food was a key part of any trip.

However, when you are feeding 4 people every day for 5 months in Europe, eating out quickly becomes a huge expense!

So if you are keen to save money, plan to cook most meals in the van.

To try and stay on budget we rarely ate out, but we still found ways to experience the local food.

Browsing the aisles at the supermarket for local treats and buying smaller snacks/treats when we were out sightseeing became our cheaper way of experiencing the local food.

Expert Tip:   Make sure you have enough food on hand to get through Sundays! Supermarkets are usually closed on Sunday, even in large towns

We recommend purchasing a camping recipe cookbook.

In the book we purchased every recipe could be cooked on a gas top. This ultimate RV cookbook was a great resource and we used it every day during our trip.

>> Click here to check the price for the camp cookbook .

Other essential kitchen items were:

  • A stove top coffee maker for great coffee every day. We love our little Bialetti Moka Pot and it comes with us whenever we travel by camper van. Click here to check the price.
  • A gas stove toast maker. 
  • Unbreakable wine glasses. Tumblers work just fine too, but these just add a little extra!

Bialetti Moka Pot

Read more: The best campervan accessories

Grocery Shopping

It is a good idea to do your grocery shop on route between destinations.

Campgrounds are often not close to the shops and it is annoying to pack the van up to go to the supermarket once you arrive and set up camp.

Look for large supermarket chains to spend less, buy in bulk and shop less frequently.


Discount Supermarkets

Lidl and Aldi were by far the cheapest supermarkets in Europe.

We would look them up in Google maps while driving and make a detour to shop there on the way to our next camp site.

They may not have the best range of products but they saved us HUGE amounts of money. 

We can highly recommend that you buy beer, wine and spirits at the discount supermarkets.

We found many drinkable wines in the 2-4 euro price bracket and even found a decent bottle of gin at Aldi for 7 euros.

Admittedly our standards are lower when on a campervan road trip, but we still want to enjoy a glass of wine or beer at the end of the day!

Tracking your Europe Road Trip Costs

We recommend you set a budget and track your spending. I know if sounds boring, but it is not much fun if you plan to travel for 6 months and run out of cash in 3.

Costs can easily get out of hand, especially if you are doing a lot of activities, staying at camp sites and eating out.

We researched costs a lot before starting our trip. It is pretty difficult to find this information for a family of 4 and we just had to go with our gut a bit.

Expert Tip:   If you have the space, stock up on long life pantry items in cheaper countries to save money.

We set a budget by country, tracked it each day and reviewed it on a monthly basis.

Having a budget helped us make adjustments to our trip when we needed to in order to stay on track.

campervan travel ideas

Budgeting Apps

There are a number of mobile apps out there to track your travel spending once you are on the road.

The one we love and use is Trabee Pocket . It allows you to easily track all your spending by country and category in the local and home currency on the go.

Download Trabee Pocket. Click for Apple Store download (iOS) Google Store download (Android)

You can also export your costs to other applications such as excel where you can track your overall travel budget. We highly recommend this app.

Transferring Money

If you decide to purchase a van in Europe and need to transfer funds internationally, we use and recommend Wise.

Wise offer competitive exchange rates without the huge fees charged by the banks and make international money transfers so simple.

Set up is quick and money can be transferred quickly and easily. Click here find out more about Wise.

Important Documents to Carry

Ensure you have a printed copy of the insurance papers and rental agreement/proof of ownership handy. Old school I know, but trust me, it is required!

We made the mistake of only having a soft copy of our camper insurance papers available on our mobile phone.

On crossing the border from Montenegro to Bosnia, we had to deal with a very irate Bosnian border officer who insisted that only a paper copy would do.

We were in the middle of nowhere and were forced to purchase additional van insurance at the border. Let’s just say it wasn’t a good day.

Also take originals of everyone’s birth certificates and marriage certificate.

You never know if and when you may need them and it is almost impossible to get them once you are touring Europe and moving regularly.

Ready To Plan Your Trip?

We have shared a bunch of information here for you to get started.

But if you are ready to get into the detail of trip planning, we highly recommend you take a look at the Europe Motorhoming Travel Toolkit by motorhome experts, Wandering Bird.

They have been exploring Europe fulltime for the best part of 3 years and share all their best tips and experience with you in one handy toolkit that offers outstanding value.

So what’s inside? The toolkit includes:

  • Detailed Europe motorhome travel ebook
  • Printable checklists
  • Video tutorials
  • In depth guide to off-grid camping in Europe
  • Motorhome security guide, log book and MORE!

If you have started planning your first motorhome trip to Europe, this toolkit is hands down the best purchase you can make for stress free trip planning.

Final Travel Europe By Campervan Advice

Last but not least try and get off the beaten path on your tour of Europe.

While Western Europe offers many beautiful destinations, some of our favourite places were small towns in Eastern Europe. These countries are also significantly cheaper to travel in.

The beauty of traveling Europe in a motorhome is that you aren’t constrained by train or bus lines or hotels. You can travel anywhere!

This style of travel presents you with a great deal of freedom that you can’t achieve when traveling any other way.

Our Europe campervan trip was one of the highlights of our family gap year . 

We heartily recommend it as a family friendly way to travel and cannot wait to plan another trip.

If you are planning to RV through Europe and you have questions, please let us know in the comments below or contact us – we are happy to help.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Have we missed anything in our Motorhome in Europe guide? Leave your best tips for touring Europe in a campervan!

Read more about travel to Europe

  • Europe by campervan with kids
  • The best campervan accessories to buy
  • Family Cycling Trip along the Danube River
  • How to travel the world with kids
  • Montenegro in pictures
  • Triglav National Park, Slovenia

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4 images of campervans in europe with text overlay Complete Guide to Campervanning Europe

Rachel Rodda

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19 thoughts on “the definitive guide to europe by campervan”.

Thanks for this detailed guide. We won’t be setting out for a couple of years when we retire. I am curious why you recommend bringing marriage license? Did you need to present it? Same question for birth certificate. Is a passport not enough? Thanks

Hi Cheryl, we took them as a backup precaution for two reasons – one was if we lost our passports. With copies of our birth certificates (and marriage certificate as I had changed my name), it would help fast track the process of getting new passports. When you are on the road it is quite slow to get things posted to you from your home country (and hard if you have packed everything away in storage at home). The second reason was to prove we were the parents of our children. In some countries (especially in Africa) they wanted to sight the kids birth certificates on land borders to prove we were their parents. It was also helpful if only one of us was traveling with the kids. I believe it is done to help prevent child trafficking. I hope this helps!

Rachel: THANK YOU so much for the comprehensive info! This one post answered 99% of my What About questions.

Hi Jodi, That’s great – there is a lot to learn when planning a Europe campervan trip. I’m glad we could help you out.

Hi I loved reading up on your advice . I am planning a 6 to 12 month trip around Europe. Just my wife and myself. Age 55 to 60 . We are pretty seasonal van travelers around Aus . Seeing your comments about the road access in off road camps answered my question regarding the size of van . I will be taking 2 x bikes . Is it worth getting an electric bike for my wife ? She hates hills . Also is there opportunities to tour across country a little by bikes . Maybe stay is B and Bs . One more thing did you see many travelers who carried a small boat and motor? I fond this a terrific part of my trips around Aus. Hope you can put a bit of light on these subjects. Cheers Jim Central coast NSW

Thanks for your message. We saw plenty of people with electric bikes in Europe – they are popular, so worth considering. There are plenty of opportunities to tour by bike in France, Germany and Austria. You can read about our bike tour along the Danube in this article https://www.adventureandsunshine.com/4-day-family-cycling-trip-danube-austria/ We didn’t see many campervans towing boats – but I am sure it is possible. It really depends where you want to travel. The challenge with Europe compared to Australia and the US is the size of many roads is small and narrow, which makes it especially challenging with long or wide vans, particularly in towns and mountain areas. Good luck planning your trip!

Hi Rachel Just want to say thank you for your answer. Much appreciated. We already made a budget (was around 200AUD$ per day) which then seems realistic since we are traveling without kids. Kind regards Christian

Hi Rachel, thanks for a great guide. We are looking at Rving in europe for 3 months (maybe longer) from Dec 20/21 winter with 2 kids who will be 8. We want to do some skiing in Austria and Italy and also want to take advantage of school holidays and low work commitments during those months in AUS. Hence the time of year. When i was a kid my parents took us on a 12 month trip through europe in an RV, mainly free camping with no heating when off grid and we survived, but that was the 70’s and we spent the winter mainly in southern europe. Im interested in what months you travelled and whether you think winter in and around the alps in a heated RV is a good idea. We could go a bit later and still ski through to easter, but im thinking that even if we do push the trip ending out to April, we may as well still go in Dec or Jan because work is slow and kids are on holdiays. Your thoughts?

Hi Tony, we traveled over the summer months from May through September, so I can’t give specific advice for RVing in winter. However, our van had a great heater and we were always warm when inside the van. My biggest concerns would be where to put all the ski gear (and where to dry it) and the fact you may need to spend a lot of time inside the van together. If you were skiing for just a short period that would probably be fine if you could find a campsite open where you could hang and dry your gear. Heading to southern europe over Dec/Jan is a great idea – it will still be cool, so not beach weather, but will be much quieter. Note however that many smaller areas all but close down over winter so consider where you want to go and check how much will be open over that time.

Hi Rachel Sounds like a really good trip. My girlfriend and i are thinking about taking a campervan Europe tour for +6 months…so we are ofcause interested in your trip. Is your budget to find here on this site? If not, can you share it? if yes, some level of details would be nice so that we can adjust it to our needs.

really nice site you have here. Thanks 🙂 Kind regards Christian and are spec

Hi Christian, we haven’t shared our costs on the blog, yet. Costs will vary enormously from person to person dependent on a lot of factors. Number of people, countries you visit, the size of van, whether you free camp or pay for campgrounds and how many paid activities you do. We traveled for 20 weeks with 2 adults and 2 school aged children. We mostly paid for campgrounds. Our average cost per day was $250 AUD. That includes the van, petrol and gas, laundry, campsites, food, sightseeing and activities, visas, public transport, equipment we bought for the van etc. Hopefully that is helpful! It is possible to travel much cheaper than that for 2 people who free camp more often and are able to buy and sell the van independently.

I know that Full time traveling is really hard for those who never tried any dare in normal life but peoples like you are real-life heroes. who never step back from any problem and fight with this. and your adventure always gives you great memories…. I like to read it and would like to read more n more about your van life…. Keep it up…. love all of you…

Great guide. We are at the beginning of considering a camping trip in Europe so glad to find your guide. Thanks for sharing

What great tips. We plan to travel Europe by camper van in summer next year and are just going through the shall we buy or rent scenarios. Previously rented for a month in NZ #FarawayFiles

It is a tough decision and depends on a lot of factors, with time being the biggest one. It is a fab place to visit by camper though! We would love to explore NZ by camper – one day!

What great tips Rachel. I think my favourites are – use a physical map and know the dimensions of your vehicle. We learned about those (again!) the hard way in Sicily and we only had a medium sized car. Google maps is certainly not your friend in some situations. Thanks for joining #FarawayFiles

Agreed, Katy. In a world full of online content, the physical map was still well used. I can’t recall how many times we cursed our Sat Nav or google maps! In a camper you definitely need to do a little research before you set off.

Great info here! I hope to one day go on a RV trip closer to home (across Canada, at least for my first taste of RV travel!), and even though that isn’t Europe, I think the pointers you’ve shared here are relevant! I had no clue that guaranteed buy-back ‘programs’ existed!

Thanks Bryna. The buy back schemes are a great compromise between buying and renting. Not sure of any companies in Canada who offer it. Let me know if you find one – we would love to do an RV trip across Canada!

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3 of the best campervan road trips in the UK

By Anna Prendergast

North coast 500

The joy of the road trip is in the journey, and that journey is so much more fun in a campervan. With all the extra space, endless flexibility and epic scenery along the way comes the freedom to tailor your road trip to your exact specifications, and whether you like to map out your every move or make it up as you go along, the best road trips have multiple coordinates rather than one final destination. So take to the tarmac with our guide to hiring a campervan for the first time and get behind the wheel with our recommended routes around the UK below.

Exmoor National Park along the Atlantic Way

The Atlantic Highway (and beyond)

The Atlantic Highway is the romantic name given to a 77-mile stretch of the A39, which connects Bath to Falmouth. Start out in Porlock on the edge of Exmoor National Park (pull in at the car park at the top of Porlock Hill, one of the most stunning picnic spots with ocean views of the Bristol Channel), and head towards Land’s End – only the bit between Barnstaple and Newquay is technically the ‘Highway’ but the rest is just as deserving of its own catchy moniker as it winds through little villages and rolling English countryside. There are narrow bits and sharp bends, so your speedometer won’t creep above 50mph in most places, but it’s worth taking a go-slow approach to the south-west peninsula. Pull into postcard-pretty villages such as Tintagel and Appledore, which has its own literary festival every September ; swim and stretch at Cornwall ’s sandy beaches (we like Porth Beach in Newquay, where The Mermaid Inn flips the best veggie burgers and has live music); and stock up on local produce at Strawberry Fields farm shop in Lifton or gorge on seafood at Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen in Port Isaac .

Carbis Bay is a hotspot for campervan pitches, such as Lower Penderleath Farm – it’s surrounded by peaceful countryside, so light pollution is minimal and on a clear night the Milky Way comes out to play. With St Ives just a few miles away, it’s the perfect place to release your surfboard from the roof rack and get down to the water before the crowds descend – a locally roasted Yallah coffee from the kiosk on the waterfront will keep your energy up. Towards the end of your trip, stop off at Sennen Cove and finish your route on foot by walking the South West Coast Path to Land’s End. Bringing the canvas along, too? Book in at Wild Camping Cornwall , which has three exclusive pitches on Penwith’s Heritage Coast.

Cambrian Way

The Cambrian Way

Trace the contours of Wales ’ dramatic landscape from the south to the north on this mountainous 300-mile route between Cardiff and Conwy, which snakes through Snowdonia National Park and the Brecon Beacons via the A470. The roads can be intense with hairpin bends and narrow sections that will have you holding your breath – we don’t recommend it for first-time campervanners – but with plenty of wide-open spaces and wilderness as well, taking your foot off the gas isn’t a hardship. Leaving the Welsh capital and driving through villages in the Rhondda Valley, keep an eye out for the area’s ‘Bracchi’ cafés, such as Servini’s in Aberdare or Ricci’s in Bargoed – founded by Italian immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they still serve up the best ice-cream sundaes in Wales and offer a unique insight into local history.

Snowdonia National Park on the Cambrian Way

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If you’re saving your energy for Snowdonia, explore the Brecons by horseback at Cantref Riding Centre , or go up by the narrow-gauge railway. In summer, the lavender fields near Builth Wells make for a fragrant and photogenic picnic pitstop, and Dyfi Distillery sells award-winning gin in tiny batches year-round (stash bottles for souvenirs, don’t Dyfi and drive). Pitch up in Betws-y-Coed, the best base for Snowdonia (not least for its abundance of shops selling outdoor gear), with plenty of campervan sites such as Riverside Touring Park , which is about an hour’s walk to the stunning Swallow Falls.

North Coast 500

North Coast 500

At 516 miles, the NC500 is one of the longest routes in the UK and requires at least a week to take it all in, but divide it up if you’re short on time. Looping from Inverness, around the Highlands and back, there’s everything from fairytale castles to rugged flagstone cliff faces along the way, plus birdwatching, whale spotting, hiking, hawking, walking , whisky tasting and wild swimming to break up the journey. The Historic Scotland Explorer Pass allows access to more than 70 castles, cathedrals and heritage sites, and visiting between May and October ups your chances for good weather and attractions being open (book campsites well in advance for summer). If you’re in a larger campervan, avoid Bealach na Bà, the longest continuous ascent mountain pass in the UK. Not only is the single track incredibly steep with sharp bends, but it is often closed during winter too – take the slip road up at the A896 instead.

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For an exhilarating, back-to-nature experience, the most northern section of the route is particularly magical. Catch the Northern Lights at Caithness, one of the best spots in Scotland (particularly in winter); travel east to the flagstone Whaligoe Steps, which – when they’re not swallowed by sea haar (fog) – pave the way down to a stunning harbour for picnics and cool dips; and near Culkein visit the Old Man of Stoer, an incredible sea stack of Torridonian sandstone. Ceannabeinne Beach is a beautiful spot for wild camping, while there are plenty of campsites in Durness if you need facilities, such as Sango Sands, an ideal base for visiting Smoo Cave with its gaping giant’s-mouth entrance and 80-foot underground waterfall .

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Van Layout Ideas: 20 Smart Campervan Conversion Floor Plans

Home > Vanlife > Layouts > Van Layout Ideas: 20 Smart Campervan Conversion Floor Plans

Staff Publication

Key takeaways

Deciding what van layout to choose is one of the most difficult decisions of a build.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

If you choose a fixed bed, you give up the highly useful daytime area a convertible bed provides…

If you choose a convertible bed, you lose garage space and basically have to make camp every night…

So what’s the best layout?

In this post, you’ll find a detailed description of every popular van layout – as well as its benefits and drawbacks.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a great understanding of what van layout is right for you.

But First… 6 Important Factors To Consider When Choosing A Van Layout

There’s a reason why almost every van has a unique layout.

What works for one person may not work so well for someone else (in other words, the ideal layout varies depending on your needs ) .

So, in order to help you navigate one of the most difficult decisions of vanlife , we’ve put together a list of the 6 main factors to consider when deciding what van layout to choose.

1. The Size of Your Van

Size plays an integral role in the kind of campervan layout you can have. Generally, the larger the van is, the more amenities you can enjoy. On the flip side, if you have a small van, lack of space is obviously a downside so it’s best to choose a camper van floor plan layout that maximizes space (such as one that combines the bedroom and living room).

2. Making Your Bed

Making your bed is an important (yet neglected) element to consider when picking a layout. Some camper van floor plan layouts have tricky bed set-ups that complicate the typically simple chore of making a bed. For example, if you pick a layout with a Murphy bed or pull-out couch, you should be prepared to assemble the bed every day.

3. The Number of People and Pets

When searching for the best van layout, it’s essential to consider the number of people (and pets) in your van. For example, if you’re traveling with your spouse and children, you’ll want a layout that offers multiple sleeping solutions. Ultimately, the layout should provide enough room for everyone to sleep and live comfortably.

4. Room For Entertainment

Do you want to invite friends or family to hang out in your van? If so, you need a van home layout that has space for entertaining guests. It doesn’t need to include a designated entertainment room — many layouts feature multi-functional rooms (such as entertainment spaces that double as living rooms).

5. How Often You Cook

A kitchen is an important part of many DIY camper van layout plans. By installing a kitchen , vanlifers can enjoy fresh, homemade meals right in their vehicles. On the downside, kitchens take up quite a bit of space. If you don’t cook very often, you might be better off with a small kitchen, or even no kitchen at all.

6. Bathroom

There are many van bathroom set-ups available, from simple, portable toilets to full-fledged bathrooms with showers. If you’re traveling off-the-grid and would prefer a more comfortable lifestyle, a camper van layout with a bathroom is probably worth the extra cost and effort. However, if you’re constantly around public restrooms, you may not need a bathroom at all. It’s up to you to decide which amenities you can (and can’t) live without.

So… What Is The Best Van Layout? (20 Best Van Layouts)

Coming up with the perfect layout for a cargo van is easier said than done. To help you find inspiration, we’ve assembled a list of 20 van conversion layout ideas organized by type.

Van Layouts with Murphy Beds

The first type of camper van interior layout on our list is those with Murphy beds . This set-up involves a bed that can be folded up against the wall when not in use. Although Murphy beds aren’t the most comfortable sleeping solutions, they’re great if you need to conserve space.

1) Murphy Bed with Lots of Countertop Space and a Farmhouse Sink

Murphy Bed with Lots of Countertop Space and a Farmhouse Sink

This vanlife floor plan layout makes the most out of small spaces by featuring an L-shaped couch underneath the Murphy bed. During the day, you can enjoy a space for entertainment and relaxation — then, once nighttime hits, pull the bed down over the couch. Right next to the bed are countertops and a farmhouse sink.

Best for:  Saving space

2) Murphy Bed with Work Space Underneath

Murphy Bed with Work Space Underneath

When it comes to small camper van layout ideas, you won’t find many set-ups more popular than this one. Underneath the bed is a small table and bench that fits two people. You can use it as a work space for completing remote jobs if you have internet in your van , an area for relaxation or a miniature dining room. This layout also features rear shelves which are great for storing tools and other gear.

Best for:  Remote workers

3) Murphy Bed with an Open Floor Plan

Murphy Bed with an Open Floor Plan

If you’re looking for open space, this camper van layout plan is the one for you. When the bed is folded, there’s plenty of clear floor space (which is perfect for storing camping gear). Of course, these items will need to be moved when you want to use the bed.

Best for:  Light traveling

4) Fold Away Murphy Bed with One-Wall Kitchen

Fold Away Murphy Bed with One-Wall Kitchen

Sleeping in a kitchen might seem like a strange concept, but it’s actually pretty popular among vanlifers. In this van camper layout, a fold-away bed can be assembled directly over the kitchen countertops. Although this isn’t a traditional Murphy bed, it functions the same way and saves tons of space by combining a kitchen and bedroom.

Best for:  Saving space and cooking

Convertible Bed Van Layouts

The next small camper van layout idea in our guide is convertible bed layouts. Convertible beds can be folded into a bench or sofa when not in use, essentially functioning as two furniture items in one. While they may not be as luxurious as traditional beds, they maximize space and are a step above Murphy beds in terms of comfort.

5) Convertible Bed to U-Shaped Dinette

Convertible Bed to U-Shaped Dinette

Whether you want to entertain guests or enjoy meals with family, a U-shaped dinette area is a great amenity to have. While it’s designed for eating, you can utilize the space for virtually anything (such as reading, writing or doing work). At night, just remove the foam cushions that double as your vans mattress and pull out the bed.

Best for:  Hosting guests

6) Convertible Bed to Double Large Couches With Lots of Storage

Convertible Bed to Double Large Couches With Lots of Storage

Anyone who needs extra storage space will benefit from this van layout. The front consists of the kitchen, while the back features the bed and couch conversion. The double couch set-up is great for relaxation and hosting guests. As an added perk, the wooden furniture (which supports the couch and bed) doubles as a storage container.

Best for:  Storing gear

7) Convertible Bed with Large Seating Area

Convertible Bed with Large Seating Area

Living in a van doesn’t have to be cramped or uncomfortable. For instance, take this campervan layout — it provides tons of space, from a large seating area to overhead kitchen cabinets . Best of all, it doesn’t exclude any essential amenities. The seats can turn into a bed, and the front of the vehicle offers a small kitchen area. For more pictures, follow @asobolife on Instagram.

Best for:  Hosting multiple amenities

8) Convertible Dinette with Huge Bed and a Wet Bath

Convertible Dinette with Huge Bed and a Wet Bath

If sleep is a major priority for you, this convertible dinette van layout may be what you’re looking for. The cozy dinette area (which is located in the back) folds out into a comfortable, double bed. Along with a large bed, the layout comes with a wet bath. Ultimately, it provides luxury and conserves space at the same time.

Best for:  Luxurious travelers

9) Simple Convertible Couch to Bed with Minimalist Amenities

Simple Convertible Couch to Bed with Minimalist Amenities

This set-up is one of the simplest campervan layout ideas on our list. It features just one room with a fold-out couch and storage cabinets. While it may be small, it provides enough room for storing gear and relaxing. It’s best for single vanlifers who can get by with the bare minimum.

Best for:  Solo travelers

Van Layouts with Bunk Beds

The third van layout we’re going to cover is layouts with bunk beds. Instead of taking up floor room, this set-up utilizes vertical space by stacking beds on top of each other. It’s a great solution for vanlifers with kids (or anyone who wants two separate beds). On the downside, bunk beds are difficult to install, which means you might need professional assistance.

10) Bunk Bed with Dinette Underneath

Bunk Bed with Dinette Underneath

This concept combines the benefits of bunk beds and convertible beds. The top bunk, which is installed along the walls, remains stationary. Meanwhile, the bottom bunk can be folded into a cozy dinette area for enjoying meals.

Best for:  Couples or families with kids

11) Small Kids Bunk Beds Across From Kitchen and Convertible Bed in the Back

Small Kids Bunk Beds Across From Kitchen and Convertible Bed in the Back

Hosting a family of four in a van is made easy with this unique set-up. One sleeping solution (the bunk bed) is situated directly across the van kitchen, while the other (a convertible bed) is located in the back of the van.

Best  f or:  Families with kids

12) Kids Bunk Bed with Seating and a Small Kitchen

Kids Bunk Bed with Seating and a Small Kitchen

Families looking for a roomy van layout that will accommodate their travel needs should consider this model. Rather than use two same-sized beds, the bunk bed features a small bed stacked over a full-sized one. The bottom bunk, which can be used for seating, comes with storage space and is located next to a small kitchen. Overall, it can comfortably seat three to four people.

Best for:  Families who travel often

Platform Fixed Bed Van Layouts

A fixed platform bed is one of the closest things you’ll find to a traditional, residential bed. It consists of a stationary bed that’s permanently fixed to the van (typically to an elevated platform). Compared to other models, it’s rather comfortable — plus, there’s no daily assembly required. However, it takes up more space than Murphy, convertible and bunk beds.

13) Fixed Bed Over Kids Play Area with Small Kitchen and Gear Storage

Fixed Bed Over Kids Play Area with Small Kitchen and Gear Storage

You may not be able to fold a fixed bed along the wall or transform it into a couch, but you can make the most out of the space underneath. This van layout places a fixed bed over a small children’s play area. There’s still plenty of space left over for a kitchen and gear storage.

Best for:  Families with kids

14) Fixed Platform Bed with Compartment Storage

Fixed Platform Bed with Compartment Storage

This van layout optimizes space through the power of elevation. The platform bed is installed in the back of the vehicle, along the upper portion of the wall. Underneath the bed is shelf space for storing gear. The bed is easily accessible from the front of the van, while the supplies can be reached from the back.

15) Fixed Platform Bed with Slide-Out Bike Storage, Seating and a Full Kitchen

Fixed Platform Bed with Slide-Out Bike Storage, Seating and a Full Kitchen

If you’re worried about bumping your head on the bottom of a platform bed, this van conversion layout solves that pesky problem for you. The storage space under the bed can actually slide out of the van, allowing for easy access to bicycles (or anything else you want to put on the platform). In front of the bed is a small couch and a full kitchen (which comes with a sink, fridge and three burners).

Best for:  Avid travelers

16) Fixed Platform Bed Over Fridge with a Two-Person Workspace and Wet Bath

Fixed Platform Bed Over Fridge with a Two-Person Workspace and Wet Bath

This campervan layout provides a sleeping solution, storage space and kitchen appliances all in one convenient furniture item. The top features the bed, while the bottom hosts a small fridge (accessible from the inside) and storage containers (accessible from the outside). Right next to this set-up is a cozy workspace that can accommodate two people, as well as a wet bath.

Best for:  Couples who travel frequently

17) Fixed Bed with Gear Storage, Seating and a Kitchen Skylight

Fixed Bed with Gear Storage, Seating and a Kitchen Skylight

If you like unique designs that optimize natural light, this van layout is for you. Unlike most set-ups, this one features a skylight in the kitchen, letting sunlight illuminate the space. It also comes with your standard amenities, such as benches, fixed beds and storage space.

Layouts with Bathrooms

Bathrooms take up a lot of room, but — for some vanlifers — they’re an absolute-must. If you can’t imagine living without a bathroom on-hand, these conversion van layouts are for you. They range from simplistic toilets and outdoor shower set-ups to comprehensive toilet, sink and shower units.

18) Zig Zag Kitchen around Wet Bath with Cassette Toilet

Zig Zag Kitchen around Wet Bath with Cassette Toilet

Staying true to its name, this van layout plays around with the interior design to fit all the amenities in. Rather than place all kitchen amenities in a single space, the kitchen becomes disjointed to fit in the bathroom (which features an indoor van shower setup and cassette toilet ).

Best for:  Small vehicle owners who want a bathroom

19) Small Wet Bath with Platform Bed at the Back and a Large Kitchen Sink

Small Wet Bath with Platform Bed at the Back and a Large Kitchen Sink

If you want the convenience of an easily accessible toilet, but don’t want to lose much space, this van layout provides a solution. It has enough space for a platform bed, kitchen sink and very small wet bath (which can fit a cassette toilet).

Best for:  Vanlifers who want a toilet

20) Platform Bed with Lots of Seating and an In-Drawer Hidden Toilet

Platform Bed with Lots of Seating and an In-Drawer Hidden Toilet

This van layout proves you don’t need a bathroom to have a toilet. It features an in-drawer, hidden toilet — when not in use, the toilet is closed into the drawer, blending seamlessly into the background. This provides a clean, polished look that’s great if you want to invite guests (which is easily doable thanks to the expansive seating options).

Best for:  Vanlifers who want to entertain guests

How Do I Plan My Campervan Layout?

Once you’ve measured dimensions, chosen your amenities and devised an idea of the kind of van layout you’d like, you have to actually plan it out. This can be done through one of the following methods:

  • Draw it on paper
  • Use 2D editing software (like Photoshop)
  • Use 3D editing software (like  vanspace 3D )

Any visual representation can help you efficiently plan where everything is going to go.

What is the Best Layout for a Small Van?

In general, the best van conversion layout is one that prioritizes functionality. Each area of the van should serve multiple purposes to maximize the space. For example, seating areas should convert into beds, platform beds should provide storage space, and so on. This doesn’t mean it has to be uncomfortable or look disheveled — with the right aesthetic flair, most van interiors look quite cozy.

The layout should also prioritize your needs. For example, if you don’t need a shower or toilet, you don’t want to waste space with a bathroom. Ultimately, the best camper van layout will vary from person to person. If you need help finding a design that works for you, reach out today!

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11 All-Time Best Campervan Routes in the UK

There are some great campervan routes in the UK. Hiring a camper is a wonderful way to see as much of the countryside and coastline of our fair kingdom as possible.

Forget the hotels and the big cities, see the UK from the comfort of your own wheels, and home, through the windows of your van. 

If you’re looking for campervan trips, the UK has some great routes to follow. 

cows and cars in somerset

Companies such as Campanda , can arrange for you to collect your campervan from hundreds of rental outlets across the UK. You can simply choose the one nearest you, and book your trip in. 

But before you start looking at all the campervans available for your nomadic holiday experience, where are you going to go ?

11 Best Campervan Routes UK Style 

Here are 11 great campervan routes in the UK, to give you a taste of what you could experience on a UK campervan holiday.

1. Campervan in Devon & Cornwall

C:\Users\David Ulbrich\Downloads\coast-4288090_1920.jpg

– Cornwall has some of the most popular campervan routes in the UK

Depending where you begin your journey, pick up the main trunk road (A38) or motorway (M5), and head for the beautiful south-west of England. You can stay on the A38 from Exeter through to Plymouth, but to make the most of this stunning area of natural beauty, head for the coast roads.

Take in Teignmouth, Torquay, Paignton, the quaint fishing port of Brixham, and historic Dartmouth on the River Dart. I used to spend all my childhood holidays on the River Dart and can definitely recommend it for an adventure.

If you want a full itinerary for an awesome road trip in Devon, click this post .

Campervan routes uk

– Padstow makes for a wonderful stop of a UK motorhome holiday 

If you want to visit Cornwall via north Devon, pick up the A39 at Bath. The road will take you through Wells, Glastonbury, and Bridgewater in Somerset, before taking you into north Devon along the Exmoor National Park and ending at Falmouth, Cornwall.

And if water sports are your thing hit Bude, Padstow and Newquay, for some serious surfing on the north Atlantic coast. I also have a stop by stop guide to an awesome Cornwall road trip too !

2. Campervan in t he Highlands of Scotland

C:\Users\David Ulbrich\Downloads\scotland-1789699_1920.jpg

If your interests lay in photography, wild rugged wilderness, magnificent wildlife, ancient castles, impressive lakes (lochs), breathtaking scenery, friendly towns and quaint old villages, the Highlands and Islands are beckoning.

For those with a love of Scottish history, pick the Highland route from Aberdeen to Inverness. A route that provides four castles, a large number of museums, and which wends its way through the Cairngorms National Park with its phenomenal views and abundant wildlife.

Road trip in Scotland

– Imagine scenes like this from your campervan in the UK! 

If the coast and marine life is your thing, consider the North Coast 500, a road trip that begins and ends at Inverness. You need a week plus for this one, and make sure your fuel tank is full. You’ll be moving away from civilisation as we know it. The 500-mile route wends its way up the east coast of Scotland to its highest mainland point, and back down the west coast.

Take in its castles, practise a little trout fishing with the experts, and enjoy a wee dram at the Glen Ord Distillery.

After you’ve parked-up for the day of course.

The Highlands are one of the best spots in the UK for an adventurous weekend . Enjoy!

  • READ MORE : How to Do a Scotland Road Trip from Edinburgh to Dumfries and Galloway / How to Save Money Exploring the UK

3. Campervan in Lake District & North York Moors

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If you want to cut your campervan teeth on a short break, the Lake District and North York Moors are the ideal areas to do it. Although you’ll be enjoying some of the most amazing traditional English countryside in these National Parks, you’re never far from civilisation.

Travel up the M6, and take the A591 through Kendal if you want to tour the lakes around Windermere. Head south at Windermere for lakes around Bowness, Grizedale, Hawkshead, and Coniston Water, or north to get to Ambleside, Derwentwater, Keswick and Bassenthwaite.

If you prefer moors to the fells and valleys, get a little fresh air and exercise with a walk on the remarkable North York Moors. The colours of the heathers are phenomenal during the autumn, the birdlife a twitcher’s paradise, and the landscape amazing. But, you can only spend so long on the moors right?

campervan routes uk

This part of Yorkshire also has some fabulous traditional coastal towns to enjoy the sites, gourmet restaurants and traditional English pubs. Coastal towns like Whitby and Scarborough, market towns like Helmsley and Malton, and the city of York with its beautiful cathedral of York Minster.

If you want a walk around Yorkshire then this post on 50 of the best waterfalls in Yorkshire, will give you some inspiration. 

uk campervan routes

If you prefer to plan your route and stopovers rather than winging it, contact pitchup.com . They can pre-book you and your campervan into hundreds of campsites and campervan sites up and down the UK. All you have to do is tell them your destination preference, where you would like to stop, and for how long, and they will do the rest.

4. Campervan in t he Cotswolds 

campervan trips in the uk

– The Cotswolds provide one of the most popular campervan routes in the UK

I recently did a road trip in the Cotswolds in a Citroen C3 Aircross SUV. In my head I thought that the roads would be really thin, but we actually did ok. I can remember a few instances of it being a bit of a tight fit, but many of the roads are A roads and you’ll be fine. 

The Cotswolds are stunning – and a great place to enjoy a road trip from village to village. If you have a campervan in the Cotswolds you can explore the best of the great outdoors, and get some good food while you’re there too. 

My top recommendations would be Cirencester and Broadway – both beautiful villages with a buzz and a good few shops, restaurants and cafes to enjoy. Some of the big tourist attractions in The Cotswolds include Broadway Tower, the Cotswold Wildlife Park (had a wonderful time there) and Blenheim Palace.

Campervans in the Cotswolds

The absolute number one though, is to visit Bibury. A really cute town with a row of thatched houses that the Instagrammers, just lurrrrrrve. Get there early to get a pic! 

If you want a three day Cotswolds road trip mapped out for you, check out my itinerary. Both hotels I mention have huge car parks, so if you did want to trade in the beauty of the campervan for the luxury of a hotel, you could do. Otherwise, just enjoy for some route tips!

Check out my post on the best campervan gadgets for your adventure – so many easy ways to make your road trip a little easier!

5. Campervan in the Mendip Hills 

My boyfriend and I once rented a campervan and took it to the Mendip Hills in Somerset. Unfortunately it was one of the rainiest weekends England had seen that August and so it kinda limited our options. We still had a great time, but, y’know, when your campervan is full of wet jeans, it’s not the best. 

campervan routes in the uk

– If you’re looking for campervan routes, the UK has loads to choose from

The highlight of our Mendips Hill road trip was Cheddar Gorge. It’s a quaint little village set in the gorge of Cheddar. If pottering round the village isn’t enough, you can actually go in the caves and learn more about the geology and history. If it’s not absolutely chucking it down, like it was for us, then you can also take some nice walks along the gorge and enjoy the beautiful views over the Mendips. 

Blagdon Lake was a highlight, as was the fact we were near Bristol. When the rain got too much for our countryside plans, we decided to pop into the city and see what fun we could have there. 

Boyd valley lake camping

The campsites were easy to find in the Mendips and we just booked on the day. If you want the best deals, and the cheapest pitches, I’d definitely recommend booking in advance.

If you’re hiring a campervan I’d definitely recommend taking a look at my best campervan accessories list to find out some cool gadgets you could buy to make your campervan weekend even better.

6. Campervan in Belfast to Londonderry 

Now, I haven’t actually done this one but it’s high on my list. And I wanted to include friends in Northern Ireland on this campervan routes in the UK list, of course. 

The road trip from Belfast to Londonderry is described by many as one of the world’s greatest roads. I know, amazing hey? And so close to us. Travel this Northern Irish route and you’ll meander through the ‘nine Green Glens of Antrim’ from the capital, Belfast, to the second largest city, in the North-West corner, Londonderry.

For most of the route you’ll be hugging the seawall – make sure to look out for wildlife along the way. 

Giants Causeway Belfast

– This road trip is one of the best UK campervan trips, enjoy

The most exciting tourist attractions along the route include The Giant’s Causeway – a World Heritage Site and recognised as one of the many wonders of the modern world. It’s a geographical wonder and well worth a stop to admire the intricate formations, formed over thousands of years. You can get amazing views from here too. 

Carry on with your campervan road trip and you’ll come to the Gobbins Cliff Path, another highlight of the road trip. This is the best way to see the rich wealth of wildlife that lives on the peninsula, and to get out on the Islandmagee Peninsula. 

campervan uk routes

– Derry girls mural, Derry city walls, Londonderry

Once you reach Derry-Londonderry you’ll come to a city with so much culture, it was awarded the City of Culture in 2013. Walk the City Walls, and get a selfie by the gable wall before you explore the food, drink and shops of the city. 

7. Campervan in Norfolk 

The east of the UK is very popular with the older folk among us, mainly thanks to the beautiful area we call Norfolk. The main city here is Norwich, with its 11th century cathedral, but there’s also the Norfolk Broads which Brits love a wander along.

If you fancy a break from your campervan trip then taking a boat on the scenic waterways is a great idea.

Enjoy that wildlife! 

campervan uk routes

Other campervan-friendly stop offs in Norfolk include the coastal roads towards the traditional seaside resort of Cromer, and the windswept Norfolk beaches of the likes of Brancaster even further north. The red and white Happisburgh Lighthouse is a favourite among the Instagrammers, and there are over 100 round tower churches in Norfolk, some dating back to the 11th century. Nice for a pic! 

Check out my road trip itinerary for the North Norfolk coast , and this North Norfolk coast walking itinerary too.

Norfolk would be a great place to hire a VW Campervan thanks to the flat topography, click that link to read my tips!

8. Campervan the North Coast 500 in Scotland 

Kylesku Bridge, Scotland

Ooo, second entry on the list from Scotland. The North Coast 500 is fast becoming one of the most iconic road trips in the UK, and I want to do it. Stretching across 805km of back roads, this circular route runs from Inverness and the Black Isle, past the seaboard crags of Caithness, Sutherland and Wester Ross.

campervan route uk

Take your campervan on the North Coast 500 and you’ll get to see gothic ruins, rugged fairways, historic castles, shingle-sand beaches, tiny fishing hamlets and peaty whisky distilleries. Enjoy the villages, and the peaks of Loch Maree before reaching the Bealach na Bà, which loops up and over the Applecross Peninsula. 

Look out for the Highland cows along the way, and avoid doing this route in peak season. Unfortunately everybody knows about it!

9. Campervan the Black Mountain Pass, Wales

We needed a bit of Wales in this UK campervan trips post, right?

The Black Mountain Pass in Wales is the shortest of these campervan routes in the UK, but there’s plenty to do either side to make it a memorable journey. 

A campervan trip on the Black Mountain Pass will reveal spectacular Brecon Beacons views, and amazing vistas of the Tywi Valley. You need to be confident with your campervan before embarking on this trip, as the hairpin bends can be a bit crazy. 

Best UK campervan routes

You’ll pass Llandovery in the north, and cross the dragon’s humps of Pont Aber and Herbert’s Pass – be prepared for the incredible views here. Next up is the low village of Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen. Look out for sheep as you travel. 

You can probably do the trip in a day, but what’s the rush? Plan to stay 48 hours in the Brecon Beacons area, to make more from the road trip. 

Campervan UK Brecon Beacons

If you want to stay in Wales even longer, then carry on and drive through Snowdonia National Park and out across the Menai Strait to Anglesey. This was you can enjoy the famous Betws-y-Coed and head west past Swallow Falls into the heart of Snowdonia. Follow the A4086 either to Snowdon, or past. I’d strongly recommend climbing the mountain though – it’s one of the best New Year’s Eves I’ve ever had climbing that beast! 

At the right time of year you can pick up the Snowdon Mountain Railway to get to the top if you’re not up to the climb. 

Program the scenic route to the Isle of Anglesey in your phone by going via historic Caernarfon first. The town has a stylish waterfront and a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site castle too. 

10. Motorhome in the Peak District

How about driving a motorhome in the Peak District for your next adventure? All the details in that link!

So, how about a little campervan touring for you next trip?

Check out the best motorhome routes in France for a bit of inspiration , and these great gifts for campervan lovers too.

11. The Outer Hebrides in Scotland

Check out my blog post about our road trip through the Western Isles , aka the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. You could see these incredible Outer Hebrides beaches , and enjoy a spot of wild camping in the Western Isles too.


Explore more of England 

NEW SITE: I recently launched a brand new website dedicated entirely to days out in England.

It’s called… DAY OUT IN ENGLAND . Ha!

It’s packed full of local knowledge, awesome things to do, and more.

Few of my favourite posts for you: how about the best adventurous days out in England , or the most popular English beaches ? I’ve also put together a guide on saving money on days out , and even an English food quiz too. Go and check it out – you’re guaranteed to learn more about England!

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Hi, I'm Vicky! I wrote this. You can find me on all the social media @VickyFlipFlop. I love a bit of adventure, will try anything once, and have a strong passion for the local food and drink, whatever it may be. I'm here to help inspire you to travel to places a little out of your comfort zone, or at least to explore the usual destinations in a different way. Stay, have a look around, and if you have any questions – let me know below.

can’t wait to export i’m flying form la california to see england ive ten days in england the first five will be london! thinking of getting a can to tour where can i go?

Can’t wait to get started!

Any info for road trips in Kent ? Dorset ?

Some great UK route suggestions here, thank you!

Hi Vicki. We are travelling to the UK in June/July this year and like the idea of a motorhome but have been told it’s difficult to travel though smaller towns and impossible to park in larger towns. Would you agree?

If they’re really tiny villages, like in Wales and Cornwall, then yes, you may have difficulty. I’d say in 95% of places you’ll be fine though. Just don’t get one that’s too big, and have a good practice in the larger places first. Also, get a good insurance.

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The 21 Best Motorhome Routes in the UK

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Motorhome & Campervan Holidays in the UK

What better way to travel in the United Kingdom than in a motorhome or campervan? Forget the big cities and make for the great British countryside, unlike anywhere else in the world. Head to all the amazing places to visit in the UK, in the comfort and safety of your home on wheels, following these motorhome routes. 

Whether you own your own motorhome or are looking at first time campervan rental for a fantastic UK staycation , Great Britain and Northern Ireland are full of incredible places to visit and touring the UK by motorhome is a great way to see them all.

motorhome trips united kingdom

Motorhome Tours UK Map

From the hidden coves and glorious weather of Cornwall to the drama and mountains of Scotland, the UK has all the elements needed for a great motorhome holiday – we can’t guarantee you great weather, but we know you’ll have a lot of fun!

Use our popular motorhome route planner for the UK to help plan your road trip itinerary. Whether you’re looking for motorhome holiday ideas, motorhome tour routes in the UK or just how to holiday in a motorhome, you’ll find what you need here, in our choice of the best motorhome and campervan routes in UK.

motorhome routes UK map

UK Motorhome Holiday Destinations

Cornwall, england.

This glorious part of the UK has some of the best beaches and campsites the country has to offer. Along with quaint sea-side towns, beautiful landscapes and some  great Cornish attractions , this is one of our favourite amazing places in Britain and has all the makings of a great motorhome trip in the UK.

The drive down the M5 or A303 can be unpleasant, especially at the weekends when everyone seems to go on holiday. Try and head down mid-week and break up the journey if you can before you get to the A30, the main arterial road through the county. 

Visit the Eden Project  on the way, a fantastic stop and not to be missed when you’re passing so close by. Cornwall has lots of narrow lanes and many towns and villages are unsuitable for large motorhome traffic, be mindful of this when travelling and route planning.  

Highlights & Where to Stay

The Camel Estuary

With trendy Rock on one side of the estuary and pretty Padstow on the other, this is a fantastic destination. Try your hand at surfing in Rock or just have fun in the waves on a body board. Eat amazing fish in Padstow and enjoy strolling the harbour and town.

Stay at the popular  Padstow Touring Park  for great facilities and fantastic views. It’s within walking distance, or a short bike ride, of Padstow and an excellent base for exploring the area. This is one of the most popular places to go in the UK, so holiday there out of season if you can. If not, book your pitch early!

The quintessential Cornish holiday town, St Ives is blessed with a couple of fantastic beaches and a vibrant atmosphere. With shops, bars and restaurants open into the evening and several world renowned galleries, St Ives has a cosmopolitan feel.

It can get busy here in the high season, visit before UK schools break up if you possibly can.

Stay at the simple and family run  Ayr Holiday Park  which has a coastal path down to Porthmoer beach (where I’ve spent many happy hours as a child and adult with a body board!) and from there into St Ives itself, or check out Campsites.co.uk , a great place to find motorhome parks in the UK.

Porthcurno & Around

Visit the end of the peninsula on your Cornwall road trip for amazing coves and beaches. Porthcurno is one of my all-time favourite beaches, overlooked by the spectacular and must-see Minack Theatre.  

Explore Sennen Cove and the tin mines at Botallack, for a taste of Cornish history and head east for charming Mousehole (pronounced Mouzle), one of Cornwall’s hidden gems  (as much as anything in this part of the world can be!).

Pretty Penzance and the splendid St. Michael’s Mount, accessible on foot when the tide is out, are all within a few miles if each other and well worth a visit.

Stay at  Trevedra Farm Campsite  for a back to nature feel, great beach access and a warm welcome for motorhome travellers from the farm owners.

RELATED POST: Cornwall Road Trip: The Best Itinerary, Map & Tips

Motorhome trips uk

Is this your first time visiting the UK? Get all the information you need in our United Kingdom Travel Guide , including what to pack, the best time of year to go, getting there and practical tips to help you have the best trip!

Snowdonia & Anglesey, Wales

Head for spectacular Snowdonia in north Wales for drama, huge skies and outdoor adventures.

Cross the iconic Menai suspension bridge in your campervan, to reach the Isle of Anglesey. Home to some of the best beaches in Wales, fantastic coastal hiking and cycling paths and with a good dose of remoteness, this is one of the best travel routes in the UK to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life.

The A5 is easily accessible from the M6 and brings you right into the buzzy climbing town of Betws-y-Coed, on the edge of one of the  UK’s best national parks  and the gateway to Snowdonia. From there, its a hop and a skip on to Anglesey. 

Snowdonia National Park

Test yourself by climbing to the peak of Snowden, the highest mountain in England and Wales, some 1,085m above sea level. If you still want to enjoy the views but don’t fancy the hike, take the train up and hike down!

Stay at  Bryn Gloch Caravan and Camping Park , surrounded by nature and right at the foot of Snowden itself.

Newborough Beach & Llanddwyn Island

Newborough beach is our favourite beach on Anglesey, backed by the tranquil Newborough Forest, where you might see red squirrels.

Take a walk through the forest and dunes and out to the peninsula of Llanddwyn Island to see the fascinating pilots cottages and lighthouse. Newborough is a great start point to head off around the coast in a campervan!

Stay on the grassy meadow of  Awelfryn Caravan Park , a mile away from the beach after a good walk through Newborough Forest.


Set in a beautiful valley, Betws-y-Coed is a typical mountain town, full of shops selling outdoor gear and companies offering outdoor adventures. Pubs are full of climbers talking about the day’s exploits and adventures.

The town is a great base for  outdoor sports and activities  such as climbing, hiking, abseiling, zip-lining and mountain biking. You’ll also find natural beauty spots such as Fairy Glen and Swallow Falls to visit on your much needed rest days.

Stay at the  Riverside Touring Park  for excellent customer service, five star facilities and easy access to Betws-y-Coed itself.

UK Motorhome Itineraries

campervan travel ideas

The Lake District, England

This rugged and scenic national park in Cumbria has something for everyone. Head for the busy towns of Ambleside and Keswick or find remoteness by one of the sixteen beautiful bodies of water and tarns in this stunning part of the UK.

The Lake District lies to the west of the M6 and is easily accessible to motorhomes but be prepared for some narrow and twisting country lanes which may be congested in summer once you come off the main A roads.

There are some spectacular mountain passes but they are not all suitable for large vehicles and you should check this prior to your trip, or go in a camper van!  Otherwise head for the the  stunning Peak District , which is motorhome friendly and perhaps a road a little less travelled.

The second largest lake, Ullswater is nestled amongst some of the best fells the Lake District has to offer and is home to the stunning Aira Force waterfall, an easy Lake District walk .

With water sports, hiking and  Lake District wild swimming  amongst the lush green landscape (the setting of Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’ poem) on your doorstep, this is a perfect spot for motorhomers and campervanners to enjoy nature and outdoor activity and some of the  best Lake District hikes .

Stay at the family owned and run  Gillside Farm  at the foot of Helvellyn and close to the pretty village of Glenridding for excellent access to the surrounding fells and Ullswater itself.

Keswick is a busy market town with a mining history which lies between the imposing Skiddaw mountains and the natural beauty of Derwentwater.

Take a cruise on the lake and head up to the prehistoric Castelrigg stone circle, literally surrounded by fells and sky in every direction.

There’s also lots of great hiking in the area, including many easy trails like Catbells, which also has the added benefit of incredible views of the surrounding mountains and lakes.

Stay at  Derwentwater Camping and Caravanning Club Site , one of the best sites for motorhomes in the Lake District. You don’t have to be a member to stay, although the cost is discounted if you are. This friendly and popular site is a few minutes walk from Keswick and Derwentwater.

Wild Camping in the Lake District for motorhomes is possible in the more off-the-beaten-track parts, but around the lakes and towns it is likely you will be moved on pretty quickly, especially in summer.

Honister Slate Mine

At the southern end of Derwentwater is the valley of Borrowdale, leading to the Honister Pass and the home of the Honister Slate Mine, the last working slate mine in Europe.

The mine has a visitor centre which provides underground guided mine tours and a range of adventure activities including a Via Ferrata (by ropes) course which is not for the faint hearted!

The Honister pass is not suitable for large motorhomes and has a width restriction of 6’6″, although it is possible to get the bus there from Keswick.

Stay at  Chapel House Farm Campsite  in the Borrowdale Valley, surrounded by rolling hills and rushing streams to lull you to sleep at night.

RELATED POST: Motorhomers Choice – Top 10 Motorhome Campsites UK

campervan routes uk

The North Coast 500, Scotland

This iconic Scottish motorhome route had to make the list! The NC500 is a 516 mile spectacular route around the north coast of Scotland, starting and ending at Inverness Castle and passing through  some of the most beautiful places in Scotland . 

Tackle the whole route, for which you’ll need at least several weeks, or do a bit of it. Whichever, you’ll find incredible landscapes, legendary Scottish hospitality and the thrill of the open road.

This is surely one of the best motorhome routes in the UK and one of the best  driving roads in Scotland .

RELATED POST: How to Take a North Coast 500 Motorhome Trip

Both the start and finish point of your motorhome holiday in Scotland, this cultured and ancient cathedral city is full of history and interest. Go monster hunting on Loch Ness, take a trip to the haunting battlefield at Culloden and visit Inverness Castle.

Fans of the book and tv show ‘Outlander’ can also visit bucket-list destinations  in this region.

Stay at  Bunchrew Caravan Park  on the edge of Beauly Firth, in twenty acres of mature woodland and advertised as being free from midges, pretty unusual for motorhome holidays in Scotland!

One of the last great wilderness’ of Europe, a large chunk of the NC500 passes through this raw and beautiful county. With the sea always on your right, the coast of this part of the route is unspoilt and diverse, from huge sandy beaches to the rugged and aptly named Cape Wrath cliffs.

Stay at the stunning Clachtoll Beach Campsite right on the edge of the beach, which boasts crystal clear water and amazing snorkelling; we think it’s one of the best campervan sites in Scotland.

There is a lot of Scottish wild camping for motorhomes in this part of the UK, Scotland seems to be more tolerant than other areas. Use  Park4Night  to find a great spot with a fabulous view and follow our wild camping tips for the best experience.

Home to John O’Groats and Dunnet Head, the most northerly village and northerly point respectively, Caithness is right at the top of the UK!  It is so far north that in favourable conditions, it’s possible to see the northern lights from here.

The coastline here features soaring sea-stacks and towering headlands, home to puffins and other sea birds.

Stay at  Dunnet Bay Caravan and Motorhome Club Site . You don’t have to be a member to stay, although the cost is discounted if you are. This is a site for those that enjoy solitude, sublime views and long beach walks.

The New Forest, England

This historic forest in Hampshire, planted in 1079 by William the Conquerer, retains a strong sense of history and tradition.

Home to New Forest wild ponies, roaming pigs, Highland cattle and deer, this haven for wildlife offers peace and tranquility to all who visit.

The forest is particularly special in autumn , when the crowds have gone and the colours are spectacular.

The forest is also a hub for outdoor activity, including water sports, cycling and hiking, you can find the top  New Forest outdoor activities here .

Easily accessible via the M3 and M27, the main roads through the forest are all suitable for large motorhomes and there are lots of designated car parks and places to stop for lunch or a walk.

You cannot wild camp in the New Forest, there are active rangers who move on all vehicles at dusk. 

For a longer road trip, add  Dorset and the incredible Jurassic Coast  to your itinerary.

RELATED POST: Top 16 New Forest Outdoor Activities


A charming village to the south of the forest and and an excellent base for cycling and walking. With a few good pubs in the village and a seriously good  takeaway fish and chip shop , this is a great place from which to explore.

You can hire bikes in the village or bring you own; download this helpful map for routes.

Stay at  Hollands Wood Campsite  run by Camping in the Forest, who offer some of the best motorhome sites across the forest. Within walking distance of the village, this mainly wooded site is on the edge of the open forest.

New Forest Water Park

At the western edge of the forest, the New Forest Water Park offers wakeboarding and a giant inflatable aqua park, the best fun you can have in a wet-suit! Try your hand at wakeboarding, kayaking and stand up paddle before running the gauntlet on the aqua park course…its a lot, lot harder than it looks!

Stay at the  Red Shoot Camping Park   a few miles away and on the edge of the open forest. Situated behind the highly rated Red Shoot Inn, this is a friendly and family run site.

Not technically in the New Forest, but right on the south-western edge, Lymington is a charming and bustling market town.  With a busy harbour and easy access to the Solent, this is a haven for sailors.

From your base in Lymington, take a trip to  Hurst Castle , built by Henry VIII and situated in a shingle spit stretching towards the Isle of Wight. On hot days, take a dip in the seawater swimming baths on the edge of Lymington town.

Stay at the tranquil retreat of  Harry’s Field  and enjoy their camping philosophy, complete with roaming deer, ponies and donkeys. A stay in a campervan here is good for the soul!

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UK Motorhome Trip Essentials

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Lonely Planet Great Britain

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Trespass waterproof jacket

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Great British adventure map

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Vango windbreak

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AA Camping & Caravan Guide

The Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland

The gorgeous and unspoilt Causeway Coastal Route is a part of the UK that may require a ferry crossing if you don’t live there. But, it is a motorhome coastal road trip in the UK that’s worth making the effort for.

From the breathtaking natural beauty of the  Giant’s Causeway  to the huge Benone Beach, the coastline is studded with Game of Thrones locations and pretty seaside towns.

End your trip in  Londonderry, a city that has overcome a difficult past to become a popular tourist destination  in its own right, and if you have time, pop over the border into the Republic of Ireland and drive the dramatic Wild Atlantic Way down the west coast of Ireland.

We suggest getting the boat to the  busy and fun city of Dublin  before heading north, it’s not in the UK but if you’re crossing the water you might as well make the most of it! From Dublin, Belfast makes a natural stop on the road north – if you only do one thing in Belfast , visit the Titanic Quarter.

If you’re short on time though, depart from  Stranraer to Larne , for the quickest route north once you arrive in Northern Ireland, unless you live there of course!

RELATED POST: Causeway Coastal Route: The Best Road Trip In Ireland?

The Giants Causeway & Around

Forged by volcanic nature some 50 to 60 million years ago, these 40,000 columns of basalt spilling into the wild North Atlantic have to be seen to be believed.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of  Northern Ireland’s best historic landmarks  and an awe-inspiring place that really gets you thinking about man’s insignificance in the grand scheme of things.

Climb the Shepherd’s Steps and hike along the clifftop trail for an aerial view of the dramatic causeway coast or take the road less travelled on an active five-mile hike along the stunning cliff-top path.  

Don’t forget to visit the cute harbour at Ballintoy (also a Game of Thrones location) but be mindful that there is very limited parking and you may struggle to turn in a larger rig. Just along the coast, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge  will test your head for heights!

Stay At Craig House Campsite , situated in an area of Irish outstanding natural beauty with magnificent sea views.

Portstewart & Portrush

Literally next to each other, both are pretty sea-side, bucket and spade type towns. With souvenir shops, restaurants and bars, Portrush is livelier and has a night club and amusements.

Portstewart has a lovely, laid-back feel and has some interesting boutique shops along the prom.

Both have great beaches and excellent golf courses. Take your pick depending on what you enjoy! If you like motorbikes, head here in May for the infamous  North West 200 .

Stay at  Juniper Hill Holiday Park  for access to both towns along the Port Path or catch the bus that stops right outside.

Benone Beach

A favourite of surfers, this huge beach stretches from Castlerock in the east to Magilligan point in the west. From here you can visit the Mussenden Temple on the headland and the demesne at Downhill.

The mighty Binevenagh mountain sits to the south and is excellent for hiking, with stunning views of the coast and Donegal from the summit.

Stay at the  Golden Sands  and don’t forget to pop in to the  Sea Shed Cafe  for amazing Spanish hot chocolate and home made cake right on the beach!

Norfolk, England

One of the most beautiful areas of east England, Norfolk enjoys an incredible and unspoilt heritage coastline, traditional seaside towns like Cromer , and the famous Norfolk Broads, where you will find huge skies and tranquility, even in the height of summer.

A national park and a haven for wildlife and birds, the Broads are a nature lovers paradise and can be explored on foot or by boat.

The roads to Norfolk don’t go anywhere else, one of the reasons the county has remained a peaceful holiday destination. Take the A11 or A47 to Norwich, right in the heart of Norfolk.

The historic city of Norwich is a hidden gem and a must-visit if you’re in Norfolk. Considered the UK’s best preserved medieval city, you’ll find a Norman cathedral with the second highest spire in England, a vibrant bar and restaurant scene and the Norwich Lanes, a tangle of pedestrian street full of interesting shops and independent boutiques.

Stay at the simple and relaxed  Whitlingham Broad Campsite just outside the city, an easy fifteen minute bike ride away. If you want to enjoy the broad, then you can hire kayaks and canoes a few minutes away for the campsite.

For a fabulous day out just ten miles away,  visit BeWILDerwood , a magical adventure park that’s perfect for children, and the big kid in all of us!

This quaint coastal village lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The nature reserve is a fantastic spacious landscape with salt marshes, sand and shingle spit, sand dunes and horizons stretching far out to sea.

Practice your crabbing skills on the harbour or take a trip out to Blakeney Point to to see the Common and Grey seals that breed here in winter.

Stay at the natural paradise of  Highland Creek Camp Site  which is surrounded by salt marshes, woodlands, mud creeks and beaches. 


The royal estate at Sandringham is set in beautiful woodlands perfect for walking. Visit the house, gardens and transport museum before heading to see the St Mary Magdalene church where the Queen attends services when she is staying at Sandringham.

There are often events here too, such as farmers markets and craft fairs, check the Sandringham Estate website for details and dates.

Stay at the Sandringham Camping and Caravanning Club Site,  set amongst woodland and with the royal estate on the doorstep.

Helpful Motorhoming Resources

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Motorhomers Choice – Top 10 Motorhome Campsites UK

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Motorhome Wild Camping – Your Complete Guide

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The Best Motorhome Holidays in Europe

Dorset, england.

The beautiful county of Dorset boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Site coastline, pretty villages and towns and some great bucket and spade resorts.

The cliffs of the 95 mile long  Jurassic Coast  contain millions of fossils and interesting rock formations and there is even a forest of fossilised trees.

With Bournemouth, Swanage and Weymouth providing good old fashioned sea-side entertainment, there’s a lot to recommend Dorset, making it one of the best campervan trips you can take.

Dorset is very accessible by taking the M3 and M27 from London before picking up the A31 into the county.

Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door

Lulworth Cove is an almost perfect circle and considered one of the best examples in Europe of marine erosion.

Whatever the reason for Lulworth Cove, it really is a beautiful spot and perfect for kayaking and stand up paddling. Stop at the  Boat Shed Cafe  for a relaxed lunch before hitting the pebble beach.

There are many fantastic  coastal walks in Dorset , with the walk from  Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door being one of the best, and taking around 45 minutes.

Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch in the sea, caused by millions of years of erosion. On hot days, the kids swim out here and climb up, before jumping off with glee. Durdle Door is backed by a truly beautiful beach with imposing limestone cliffs that the Jurassic coast is famous for, and for us, is one of the best scenic places in England.

Stay at  Durdle Door Holiday Park  for incredible sea views and easy access to both Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove beaches.

Chesil Beach & Around

The iconic  Chesil Beach  is an eighteen mile long shingle barrier beach made up of 180 billion pebbles and stretching from West Bay to Portland.

This wild and natural place seems made of sea and sky and being here clears your head and fills your soul.

Head for Abbotsbury Gardens for one of the best views of Chesil Beach from above, stretching miles in either direction and then pop in to see the mute swan colony at the swannery.

If you’ve got energy left after all that, head south to the iconic Portland Bill lighthouse at the tip of Portland, for more dramatic sea scapes.

Stay at East Fleet Touring Park  for its stunning location overlooking Chesil Beach and the sea beyond.

Swanage & Around

A quintessential English sea-side resort, Swanage was a hit with the Victorians when sea bathing became fashionable.

With a safe sandy beach, steam train, nearby Corfe Castle, great wreck diving and Durlston Country Park there’s a great deal to keep you entertained.

Throw in a bag of newspaper-wrapped fish and chips and you’ve got the perfect motorhome holiday destination!

Stay at the friendly and welcoming  Ulwell Cottage Holiday Park  for easy access to Swanage and its pretty surroundings.

campervan itinerary uk

Pembrokeshire, Wales

Famous for its glorious beaches, cliffs, islands and wildlife, the stunning coast of Pembrokeshire offers infinite opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and is one of the most beautiful places in the UK.

From the Victorian sea-side town of Tenby to the puffins of Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire has something to suit everyone planning a Welsh road trip , nature lovers and outdoor adventurers alike.

Take the M4 west until you pick up the A40 which will take you into the heart of this beautiful and eclectic county. Why not take in the  prime walking country of the Cotswolds  or the awe-inspiring Brecon Beacons on the way?

RELATED POST: Motorhoming & Campervanning in Wales – Complete Guide


Pembrokeshire is perfect for a Welsh motorhome trip and boasts that it invented coasteering, so how could we leave it off our list? The sport of cliff scrambling, jumping from land to sea and swimming between rocks will stretch you physically and mentally and give you hours of fun!

You can find a pace to suit you, there are courses and guided expeditions for beginners of all ages, some of which include marine biology education along the way!

Stay at  Pencarnan Farm Camping and Caravan Park , just up the road from St Davids, a coasteering hub, and with access to the gorgeous sandy Porthsele beach, safe for swimming and kayaking.

Skomer Island

The wild island of  Skomer  is a haven for migrant birds such as puffins, guillemots and razorbills.

You may also see seals here, which come to moult in April, along with owls, peregrine falcons and buzzards. In the spring, wild flowers carpet the island, making it a truly beautiful and fascinating place to visit.

Tickets are on a first come, first served basis and numbers are limited so make sure you get to Lockley Lodge visitor centre early!

Stay at the family run  West Hook Farm Camping , with simple facilities and superb sea views, and just up the road from Lockley Lodge.

Tenby is one of the most iconic seaside towns in Wales, steeped in ancient history and surrounded by an imposing medieval stone wall.

With several great sandy beaches, a pretty and colourful harbour and narrow cobbled streets with a fantastic selection of gift shops, independent boutiques, cafes and pubs, this charming and lively town is perfect for a day out. 

If you base yourself here, you’re within striking distance of two of the  best castles in Wales , Pembroke and Carew, both well worth a visit.

Stay at  Meadow Farm , with fantastic panoramic views and easy access to Tenby, the coastal path and local beaches.

motorhome tours uk

Isle of Skye, Scotland

The Isle of Skye is Scotland’s second largest island, a 50 mile long stretch of heather covered moors, rugged mountains, clear sparkling lochs and dramatic sea cliffs.

This incredible landscape is the main draw, but there is plenty to do when the mist descends, including castles, museums and craft studios, as well as the odd pub or two!

Come here for real solitude and remoteness,  some of the best hiking in the UK , and to breath the bracing air and remind yourself of why van life is good!

The driving route to Skye is spectacular . There are two main routes from Stirling, we would suggest the most southerly, taking the A84 north and skirting the Trossachs to your west before heading through Glencoe and Fort William, both worthy of a visit.

Take the road bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh or do it the traditional way on a ferry from Mallaig. The Isle of Skye makes for a good 7 day motorhome itinerary in Scotland.

RELATED POST: The Ultimate Guide to Motorhoming & Campervanning in Scotland

Dunvegan Castle

In a beautiful position at the edge of Loch Dunvegan, Skye’s most famous historic building, Dunvegan Castle is the seat of the chief of Clan MacLeod and has been so for over 800 years.

The castle itself is fascinating and the formal gardens make a fantastic contrast to the stark beauty of the surrounding landscape. It’s a busy tourist attraction though, and best visited outside of the peak months of July and August.

Stay at  Kinloch Campsite , with a superb waterfront location and access to the local village of Dunvegan itself.

The Sleat Peninsula

Commonly referred to as ‘the garden of Skye’, the Sleat peninsula is home to lush gardens, dense forests and mountains surrounded by beautiful beaches and sparking seas.

This eclectic corner of Skye not only has nature on its doorstep, it also has some of the best restaurants on the island and of course, a  whisky distillery !

Stay at  Camping Skye , well situated for the whole island and opened in 2018 with modern facilities in a peaceful woodland setting.

The Trotternish Peninsula

Trotternish is the most northerly peninsula and enjoys Skye’s most striking and dramatic landscapes. As you drive north your attention will be captured by The Storr.

This 719m summit rises above the east-facing cliffs that run down the centre of the peninsula. Sitting at the foot of these cliffs is a 50m high tooth of rock, the Old Man of Storr.

The Old Man is part of a distinctive rocky outcrop that lies below the cliffs and a fascinating sight.

Head for The Quiraing for some fantastic hiking and to see the best of these ancient landscapes in this remote and stunning part of the island.

Stay at  Torvaig Caravan and Camp Site   for amazing views of the Cuillin mountain range from your camper van, and easy access to Portree. 

Wild camping on Skye in a motorhome is possible if you are discreet, the Trotternish peninsula is remote and a good place to find a quiet spot.

motorhome routes Scotland

UK Motorhome Holiday Ideas

If you’re looking for more UK motorhome holiday inspiration, then check out these ideas of places to explore in your home on wheels.

North East 250, Scotland

The North East 250 is the perfect seven day motorhome tour of Scotland for lovers of mountains, coastlines and whisky.

Wend your way through the dramatic countryside and towns of Speyside, Royal Deeside, Cairngorms, the east coast and the Moray Firth coast, stopping to enjoy fantastic hiking, distillery tours and spectacular views.

Argyll Coastal Route

One of the most stunning motorhome holidays in Scotland , the Argyll Coastal Route will take you from stunning loch-sides to sea shores and mountain tops.

The ultimate west coast of Scotland road trip is for seafood gourmets, sunset lovers and those that want to get under the skin of Scotland, and feel it’s turbulent history in the air and glens of the incredible landscapes. 

Starting in Glasgow and finishing in Inverness allows you to make the most of this linear route as you cross the Highland Boundary Fault and enjoy the gentle lowlands giving way to the dramatic and wild highlands.

Northumbria, England

This gorgeous and unspoilt area of north east England is perfect for a motorhome holiday.

With huge empty beaches and pretty villages strung along the coast, Northumberland is a great place for a motorhome trip if you’re looking to get away from it all.

campervan travel ideas

County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland

The least populated of Northern Ireland’s six counties (and I have no idea why!), Fermanagh is dominated by lakes and waterways.

Lough Erne spreads over 80km long between the Upper Lough to the south of Enniskillen, and the Lower Lough to the north and are connected by the River Erne, which begins its journey in Ireland.

The jewel in Northern Ireland’s crown, Fermanagh is a great region for exploring with your campervan, enjoying water sports, hiking and nature. You’re also on the doorstep of Ireland, a wonderful country in which to take a motorhome or campervan holiday.

The Yorkshire Dales

In ‘God’s own country’ of Yorkshire, the roads snake between patchwork fields, glacial valleys, flat-topped hills and rocky outcrops. Every so often you’ll come across a picture perfect village with a quaint pub and windswept hiking trails nearby.

There’s lots of history here too, in land that was once host to the War of the Roses, the bloody struggle between the royal houses of York and Lancaster.

Skirting the couty of Lancashire , the Yorkshire Dales National Park a mecca for tour buses which cause major headaches both on the roads and in car-parks at the most popular spots. Avoid the summer months if you possibly can, or head into the North York Moors for the coast and wider roads!

The Peak District

Sitting pretty between the cities of Manchester and Sheffield is the wonderful Peak District.

Straddling the Pennines lie pretty stone villages, grand stately homes and rocky outcrops in every direction, but no peaks, despite the name.

To the north, the Dark Peak area is dominated by exposed moorland and gritstone ‘edges’, while to the south, the White Peak is made up of rolling limestone dales.

The diverse and soaring landscapes of the Peak District mean some seriously good drives, making for a great motorhome road trip.

The Cotswolds

The perfectly English Cotswolds are set in the lush rolling countryside of south west England.

Sprinkled with honeyed stone villages set around duck ponds and greens, the winding country lanes are lined with stone walls and hedgerows.

The region is recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and offers close encounters with wildlife, and birdwatching opportunities at the  Slimbridge Wetland Centre .

If you prefer a bit more activity, paddle boarding, kayaking and archery are all available at the  Cotswold Water Park , and there are lots of great cycling and hiking routes in the area. 

If you’re in a large motorhome, check your planned route as some roads here are narrow and you may struggle to negotiate them safely.

Suffolk is one of the six counties of East Anglia, and is blessed with picturesque villages, fabulous churches and lavish Tudor houses.

To the west are the picture-postcard villages of Lavenham and Long Melford. Further north, historic Bury St Edmunds has a great market town atmosphere, while the appealing coastal resorts of Aldeburgh and Southwold overflow with charm and a laid back holiday pace.

campervan travel ideas

Devon’s beach-fringed landscape is studded with lively cities, historic homes and the wild moors or Exmoor National Park. Perfect for exploring by motorhome or campervan, you’ll find lots to do along the Atlantic Highway , especially if you’re travelling as a family.

From the historic cities of Exeter and Plymouth to the varied coastlines and abundance of AONBs, the popular English Riviera is packed with attractions.

The south east England county of Kent really is the garden of England, even though it’s on the doorstep of London . Much of it’s border is coastal, and within this you’ll find a beautiful landscape of rolling hills, fertile farmland and country estates.

Some of the best beaches near London are in the county, as well as orchards bursting with fruit, including the world-renowned Kent hops.

At its heart is ancient Canterbury, and it’s historic cathedral. You’ll also find beautiful coastal stretches, home to sea-side towns and villages, from traditional Broadstairs to hispter Whitstable and everything in between.

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is getting a bit of a reputation as a cool place to visit, and we can see why.

For decades this island anchored off Portsmouth was a magnet for family holidays, and it still has a lot of bucket and spade appeal.

But now the Isle of Wight Festival draws party lovers for live music, freshly caught seafood and cool camping.

Cowes Week also offers live music, parties and champagne for a week every year when the famous Cowes sailing regatta takes place.

Head here one one of the ferries from Southampton or Lymington for a week in your motorhome – and if you prefer not to party, you’ll still enjoy the gorgeous climate, outdoor activities and the islands stunning shoreline.

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The Wayward Home

The Wayward Home

15 Campervan Interiors to Spark Your Imagination

Posted: April 7, 2024 | Last updated: April 7, 2024

<p>Designing the interior of your campervan is arguably the most thrilling aspect of embracing van life. When we acquired our new Sprinter van, countless hours were devoted to scouring the internet for the perfect photos and products to include in our DIY van project. Choosing the right layout was no small feat.</p> <p>Whether you’re embarking on a DIY build like we did or collaborating with a custom van builder, exploring different campervan interior ideas is both enjoyable and motivating.</p> <p>With that in mind, we’ve selected some standout interiors to share with you, hoping to spark inspiration for your own campervan journey.</p>

Designing the interior of your campervan is arguably the most thrilling aspect of embracing van life. When we acquired our new Sprinter van, countless hours were devoted to scouring the internet for the perfect photos and products to include in our DIY van project. Choosing the right layout was no small feat.

Whether you’re embarking on a DIY build like we did or collaborating with a custom van builder, exploring different campervan interior ideas is both enjoyable and motivating.

With that in mind, we’ve selected some standout interiors to share with you, hoping to spark inspiration for your own campervan journey.

<p>Esplori is the latest custom van builder looking to solve long wait times and expense concerns with a brand new conversion kit for Sprinter vans. These kits are really unique as they are made out of aluminum.</p><p>Esplori says their wall and ceiling panels are 40% lighter than traditional materials and are fireproof, recyclable, easy to clean and come in a variety of colors. Also included in the kit will be a complete wiring harness for a van, lighting, a fan, insulation and charging outlets.</p><p>What’s really cool is that you can decide to do a DIY install, an assisted DIY install or bring your van into Esplori headquarters for a professional install.</p>

1. Lightweight Campervan Interior Paneling

We really love Esplori’s lightweight aluminum interior panel kits for Sprinter vans. If you don’t have a Sprinter, never fear, you can still use these van walls to inspire your own build.

If you do have a Sprinter, you might want to take a closer eye at these kits.

Esplori says the wall and ceiling panels for a Mercedes Sprinter van are 40% lighter than traditional materials, are fireproof, recyclable, easy to clean, and come in a variety of colors. Also included in the kit will be a complete wiring harness for a van, lighting, a fan, insulation, soundproofing, and charging outlets.

What’s really cool is that you can decide to do a DIY install, an assisted DIY install or bring your van into Esplori headquarters in Oregon for a professional install.

<p>Some people wonder if it’s possible to bring a family along for the ride in a campervan. The short answer is: yes!! You just have to design your campervan interior to be accommodating for a larger group.</p><p>One of the ways you can do this is with <a href="https://www.thewaywardhome.com/sprinter-van-bunk-beds/">campervan bunk beds.</a> If you install an L-track system in your van, you can attach beds at two different heights in the back. You can also do this without the L-track, but it’s a bit harder to create your own support system. L-tracks are available from companies like Esplori, Adventure Wagon and Titan vans.</p>

2. Bunk Beds for a Family

Some people wonder if it’s possible to bring a family along for the ride in a campervan. The short answer is: yes!! You just have to design your campervan interior to be accommodating for a larger group.

One of the ways you can do this is with campervan bunk beds. If you install an L-track system in your van, you can attach beds at two different heights in the back. You can also do this without the L-track, but it’s a bit harder to create your own support system. L-tracks are available from companies like Esplori, Adventure Wagon and Titan vans.

<p>If you have a larger campervan, you might consider adding both a dinette and a bed. This campervan interior idea works best with a long van like a 170″ Mercedes Sprinter van.</p><p>We love the high-end luxury look of this Sprinter, with its red-and-white cushion covers and comfy bed. It looks more like a hotel than an RV, right?</p><p>This van offers lots of storage, with cabinets underneath the bench seats and overhead cabinets as well. We love the cream-colored siding and bunk windows that let in plenty of fresh air while you sleep.</p>

3. Dinette and Length-Wise Bed Layout

If you have a larger campervan, you might consider adding both a dinette and a bed. This campervan interior idea works best with a long van like a 170″ Mercedes Sprinter van.

We love the high-end luxury look of this Sprinter, with its red-and-white cushion covers and comfy bed. It looks more like a hotel than an RV, right?

This van offers lots of storage, with cabinets underneath the bench seats and overhead cabinets as well. We love the cream-colored siding and bunk windows that let in plenty of fresh air while you sleep.

<p>If you are doing a smaller van build, there are lots of simple conversion kits that help you easily put together an interior.</p><p>You can install the Roadloft kit in minutes, and you’ll get an extra-long bed with a sectional mattress made of high-density foam. During the day, you can turn part of the bed into a bench seat and table where you can work, eat or play games.</p><p>A Roadloft kit makes great use of limited space, and even includes a kitchen with a drawer for a two-burner stove and a removable shelf. You’ll also get space for a large cooler, a counter with a retractable sink and a cutting board.</p><p>What’s cool is you can easily take this kit in and out of your van if you aren’t ready to live full-time <a href="https://www.thewaywardhome.com/how-to-start-van-life-a-beginners-guide/">van life</a> yet.</p><p>We think this is a great option for smaller vans, especially if you don’t want to build out an entire campervan interior yourself.</p>

4. Camper Kit for Minivans

If you are doing a smaller van build, there are lots of simple conversion kits that help you easily put together an interior.

You can install the Roadloft kit in minutes, and you’ll get an extra-long bed with a sectional mattress made of high-density foam. During the day, you can turn part of the bed into a bench seat and table where you can work, eat or play games.

A Roadloft kit makes great use of limited space, and even includes a kitchen with a drawer for a two-burner stove and a removable shelf. You’ll also get space for a large cooler, a counter with a retractable sink and a cutting board.

What’s cool is you can easily take this kit in and out of your van if you aren’t ready to live full-time van life yet.

We think this is a great option for smaller vans, especially if you don’t want to build out an entire campervan interior yourself.

<p>Coming up with the right cabinetry and storage ideas for your campervan conversion can be challenging. Should you build your own or go with a kit? Should you get soft-sided cabinets, wooden cabinets or aluminum?</p><p>One cool option is the lightweight aluminum cabinets from Esplori. Their upper cabinets for Sprinter vans are easy to install yourself.</p><p>They are lightweight, strong and attach to an L-track in six places. <a href="https://www.thewaywardhome.com/camper-van-cabinets/">Cabinets</a> are available in 50″ and 25″ versions and 100% powder-coated aluminum, with soft-close hinges and struts for opening and closing.</p><p>You can also get a custom color for an extra fee.</p>

5. Lightweight Upper Cabinetry

Coming up with the right cabinetry and storage ideas for your campervan conversion can be challenging. Should you build your own or go with a kit? Should you get soft-sided cabinets, wooden cabinets or aluminum?

One cool option is the lightweight aluminum cabinets from Esplori. Their upper cabinets for Sprinter vans are easy to install yourself.

They are lightweight, strong and attach to an L-track in six places. Cabinets are available in 50″ and 25″ versions and 100% powder-coated aluminum, with soft-close hinges and struts for opening and closing.

You can also get a custom color for an extra fee.

<p>One popular idea in a camper van interior is to create a convertible bed system. This saves space in a van by giving you the option to have either a bed or two couches and a table.</p><p>A convertible bed also offers tons of storage underneath the benches. We love what Hilary Bird did with her budget campervan interior. She wanted a convertible bed system so she had a place to sit and work during the day.</p><p>We are super impressed with Hilary’s van conversion as she completed it for just a few thousand bucks.</p>

6. Convertible Bed

One popular idea in a camper van interior is to create a convertible bed system. This saves space in a van by giving you the option to have either a bed or two couches and a table.

A convertible bed also offers tons of storage underneath the benches. We love what Hilary Bird did with her budget campervan interior. She wanted a convertible bed system so she had a place to sit and work during the day.

We are super impressed with Hilary’s van conversion as she completed it for just a few thousand bucks.

<p>Another space-saving tip for a van build is to create a pull-out <a href="https://www.thewaywardhome.com/campervan-kitchen/">kitchen for your campervan.</a> This is also a good way to keep food splatter and cooking smells from your van’s interior space.</p><p>While we’ve seen some pull out kitchens for campervans come out the side door, we think this one by the_turquoise_transit is especially interesting. This kitchen includes a sink, cooktop, counter space, and fridge.</p><p>Another style of pullout kitchens include drawers that extend out the rear of your van. You can then set your cook stove on top of the drawers and use the tops of the drawers as counter space.</p><p>We also love cooking outside our van, and think it’s a great way to go about preparing meals.</p>

7. Pull Out Kitchen

Another space-saving tip for a van build is to create a pull-out kitchen for your campervan. This is also a good way to keep food splatter and cooking smells from your van’s interior space.

While we’ve seen some pull out kitchens for campervans come out the side door, we think this one by the_turquoise_transit is especially interesting. This kitchen includes a sink, cooktop, counter space, and fridge.

Another style of pullout kitchens include drawers that extend out the rear of your van. You can then set your cook stove on top of the drawers and use the tops of the drawers as counter space.

We also love cooking outside our van, and think it’s a great way to go about preparing meals.

<p>Those of us who live in campervan conversions know just how hard it is to fit all our gear in such a small space. One way to tackle that problem is with gear storage trays.</p><p>This is great if you’re storing bicycles or larger bins that you need to access regularly. A slide-out tray is way easier to manage than crawling underneath your bed and rooting around in your campervan garage.</p><p>This van’s gear garage by @the_lostvan has ample room for hiking boots, bikes, surf boards, and anything else you might need for your van life adventures.</p>

8. Gear Storage Trays

Those of us who live in campervan conversions know just how hard it is to fit all our gear in such a small space. One way to tackle that problem is with gear storage trays.

This is great if you’re storing bicycles or larger bins that you need to access regularly. A slide-out tray is way easier to manage than crawling underneath your bed and rooting around in your campervan garage.

This van’s gear garage by @the_lostvan has ample room for hiking boots, bikes, surf boards, and anything else you might need for your van life adventures.

<p>Some people can’t handle the idea of not having a <a href="https://www.thewaywardhome.com/campervans-with-bathrooms/">bathroom inside their campervan</a>. An enclosed wet bath solves this problem. A wet bath features a toilet and a shower in one tiny room, which means everything inside the bathroom gets wet when you shower.</p><p>You can either add a composting toilet or portable toilet to your campervan interior. This is especially good for people who will be spending a lot of time stealth camping and don’t have the great outdoors to use as a restroom.</p><p>It also offers the privacy of having a bathroom in your own van build, instead of always needing to seek one out.</p>

9. An Enclosed Wet Bath

Some people can’t handle the idea of not having a bathroom inside their campervan . An enclosed wet bath solves this problem. A wet bath features a toilet and a shower in one tiny room, which means everything inside the bathroom gets wet when you shower.

You can either add a composting toilet or portable toilet to your campervan interior. This is especially good for people who will be spending a lot of time stealth camping and don’t have the great outdoors to use as a restroom.

It also offers the privacy of having a bathroom in your own van build, instead of always needing to seek one out.

<p>You don’t see this campervan interior idea in many van builds yet, but a sunroof or skylight could be just what you need in your dream vehicle.</p><p>Cutting a hole in your roof isn’t for everyone, especially if you need space for lots of solar panels, a roof rack and gear on your van. But if you don’t need those things, a skylight is a way to get more light into a van interior.</p><p>This is another way to get airflow and light in your van if your van is mostly for<a href="https://www.thewaywardhome.com/stealth-camping/"> stealth camping.</a> You can leave the side and rear windows out and use a sunroof instead.</p>

9. A Sun Roof or Skylight

You don’t see this campervan interior idea in many van builds yet, but a sunroof or skylight could be just what you need in your dream vehicle.

Cutting a hole in your roof isn’t for everyone, especially if you need space for lots of solar panels, a roof rack and gear on your van. But if you don’t need those things, a skylight is a way to get more light into a van interior.

This is another way to get airflow and light in your van if your van is mostly for stealth camping. You can leave the side and rear windows out and use a sunroof instead.

<p>You might not think it possible to put an oven in such a tiny home like a van, but the Camp Chef cooktop and oven is the perfect solution.</p><p>We love Wandering Woods’ camper interior with its sleek white cabinets and wood countertops.</p><p>These two van lifers enjoy baking pizzas, cookies and bread right inside their campervan. This would be wonderful if you’re living <a href="https://www.thewaywardhome.com/best-van-life-apps/">van life</a> in the mountains in winter.</p>

10. A Van Oven

You might not think it possible to put an oven in such a tiny home like a van, but the Camp Chef cooktop and oven is the perfect solution.

We love Wandering Woods’ camper interior with its sleek white cabinets and wood countertops.

These two van lifers enjoy baking pizzas, cookies and bread right inside their campervan. This would be wonderful if you’re living van life in the mountains in winter.

<p>Who would have ever thought you could have a bath inside a campervan? This doesn’t happen very often, but I have seen one or two campervan interiors with bathtubs.</p><p>A small bathtub means you have more space above for upper cabinetry, and you can use it for storage when it’s not in use.</p><p>However, van lifers like @bryceandkatie say they use theirs more as a shower than a bath. If you think about it, a bath usually takes more water than van lifers can carry. But on those days you do want to take a bath, it sure would feel great!</p>

11. A Bathtub Instead of a Shower

Who would have ever thought you could have a bath inside a campervan? This doesn’t happen very often, but I have seen one or two campervan interiors with bathtubs.

A small bathtub means you have more space above for upper cabinetry, and you can use it for storage when it’s not in use.

However, van lifers like @bryceandkatie say they use theirs more as a shower than a bath. If you think about it, a bath usually takes more water than van lifers can carry. But on those days you do want to take a bath, it sure would feel great!

<p>Let’s face it: the bed, especially a <a href="https://www.thewaywardhome.com/campervan-bed-ideas/">permanent bed</a>, takes up a lot of room inside a campervan. Some van lifers decide not to even add a bed and use a hammock instead.</p><p>Below your hammock (which you could stash to the side during the day), you could have space to do yoga inside your campervan, keep a low-lying table (seated on cushions around the floor), access extra storage more easily, or store your bike safely.</p><p><strong>The options are really endless, but in exchange, you’d have to be comfortable sleeping in a hammock night after night.</strong></p><p>Whatever you choose, make sure you keep the weight as evenly distributed as possible throughout the campervan.</p>

12. Ditch the Bed and Use a Hammock

Let’s face it: the bed, especially a permanent bed , takes up a lot of room inside a campervan. Some van lifers decide not to even add a bed and use a hammock instead.

Below your hammock (which you could stash to the side during the day), you could have space to do yoga inside your campervan, keep a low-lying table (seated on cushions around the floor), access extra storage more easily, or store your bike safely.

The options are really endless, but in exchange, you’d have to be comfortable sleeping in a hammock night after night.

Whatever you choose, make sure you keep the weight as evenly distributed as possible throughout the campervan.

<p>Part of good van interior design is creating a layout that saves space. Campervans are tiny homes, even if you have a longer wheelbase version. One thing we love to see is pull-out tables or even swivel tables like the Lagun table.</p><p>@bai.en.den.indevan built out their own campervan with space-saving furniture. Their table fits into a notch under the bed, then pulls out when they need to work or eat. Here’s what they used to build it:</p><p>“We used a solid piece of bamboo plywood, 2cm thick. We have used a bamboo-specific, water-based clear coat to protect the wood and give an extremely smooth finish. The width is 65cm and it slides out to a length of 60cm, enough to enjoy a meal for 2, some computer work and an evening card game. It sits on a set of undermount slides so they are almost invisible, and can hold up to 45kg on top.”</p><p>In our campervan, we have a teak table off our sailboat that can fold toward the ceiling and attach high up, leaving us even more floor space.</p>

13. A Space-Saving Pull-Out Table

Part of good van interior design is creating a layout that saves space. Campervans are tiny homes, even if you have a longer wheelbase version. One thing we love to see is pull-out tables or even swivel tables like the Lagun table.

@bai.en.den.indevan built out their own campervan with space-saving furniture. Their table fits into a notch under the bed, then pulls out when they need to work or eat. Here’s what they used to build it:

“We used a solid piece of bamboo plywood, 2cm thick. We have used a bamboo-specific, water-based clear coat to protect the wood and give an extremely smooth finish. The width is 65cm and it slides out to a length of 60cm, enough to enjoy a meal for 2, some computer work and an evening card game. It sits on a set of undermount slides so they are almost invisible, and can hold up to 45kg on top.”

In our campervan, we have a teak table off our sailboat that can fold toward the ceiling and attach high up, leaving us even more floor space.

<p>Working while living out of a camper van doesn’t have to be difficult with a <a href="https://www.thewaywardhome.com/van-office/">mobile office</a>. We just love what @goandlivefree did with their 2008 self-converted campervan.</p><p>Every part of their van conversion feels like home, from their plush bed to their functional kitchen complete with a deep sink, fridge and cupboards to store larger appliances like a food processor and Vitamix.</p><p>Their mobile office leaves little to be desired, with a large pull-out screen that doubles as a TV and ergonomic swivel seat.</p>

14. A Mobile Office

Working while living out of a camper van doesn’t have to be difficult with a mobile office . We just love what @goandlivefree did with their 2008 self-converted campervan.

Every part of their van conversion feels like home, from their plush bed to their functional kitchen complete with a deep sink, fridge and cupboards to store larger appliances like a food processor and Vitamix.

Their mobile office leaves little to be desired, with a large pull-out screen that doubles as a TV and ergonomic swivel seat.

<p>My older campervan – the 1994 Chevy Astro – is a tight squeeze inside. The bench folds down into a bed but it only goes down to mid-thigh. That’s when we found these awesome storage ottomans at TJ Maxx.</p><p>Not only do they extend our bed and make it comfortable enough for sleeping, but they are also where we store our clothes. Each of us gets one ottoman, and that’s all the clothes we can take! We use packing cubes to condense our clothes down into a smaller package.</p><p>Furniture you can use for more than one thing is a great addition to any <a href="https://www.thewaywardhome.com/camper-van-ideas/">campervan’s living space.</a></p>

15. Furniture that Doubles as Storage

My older campervan – the 1994 Chevy Astro – is a tight squeeze inside. The bench folds down into a bed but it only goes down to mid-thigh. That’s when we found these awesome storage ottomans at TJ Maxx.

Not only do they extend our bed and make it comfortable enough for sleeping, but they are also where we store our clothes. Each of us gets one ottoman, and that’s all the clothes we can take! We use packing cubes to condense our clothes down into a smaller package.

Furniture you can use for more than one thing is a great addition to any campervan’s living space.

<p>If you’re considering living the van life, a lot goes into choosing the right type of van for your needs. If you want a campervan but don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered! </p><p>I’ve lived in a Toyota Prius, a Chevy Astro Van and now a self-converted Sprinter van. In this post, we’ll outline the best vans for van life so you can travel as a weekend warrior or full-time van lifer.</p><ul> <li><strong>Read More: <a href="https://www.thewaywardhome.com/best-vans-to-live-in/">The Van Life VIP List: 16 Dream Vans You’ll Want to Live In</a></strong></li> </ul>

Want to Live the Van Life? Here are the 16 Best Vans to Live In

If you’re considering living the van life, a lot goes into choosing the right type of van for your needs. If you want a campervan but don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered! 

I’ve lived in a Toyota Prius, a Chevy Astro Van and now a self-converted Sprinter van. In this post, we’ll outline the best vans for van life so you can travel as a weekend warrior or full-time van lifer.

  • Read More: The Van Life VIP List: 16 Dream Vans You’ll Want to Live In

<p>Built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, the <a href="https://www.hymer.com/de/en/technology-innovation/vision-venture" rel="noopener">Hymer Vision Future</a> is a camper van available for sale in Germany. Even though it was launched in 2020, it still looks futuristic. The design won a bunch of automotive awards in Europe for innovation. It comes with off-road tires, a custom lift kit, a luxurious wet bath, a modern kitchen area, and two cushy benches that turn into a bed.</p><p>This rig definitely stands out. At the back, there’s a custom-made fold-down tailgate that acts as a decking area where to chill and eat. On the roof, there’s a huge inflatable pop-top, which can sleep up to three adults. The temperature-regulating Chromacool technology can reduce the surface temperature of the van by 68 degrees and that of the interior by up to 40 degrees. It’s safe to say you’ll be cozy anywhere, in any season, on the Vision Venture.</p>

12 Ridiculously Overpriced Camper Vans And Trucks

With over 16 million posts tagged #vanlife on Instagram, it’s no wonder the van life trend has now become mainstream. But it’s not just Millennials and Zoomers self-converting old vans posting on the platform. 

More and more people are hoping to hit the road and go on a long off-grid adventure, but they don’t want to give up the luxuries they have at home. So manufacturers are responding by producing rigs that can travel anywhere while resembling a 5-star hotel room inside.

Here are the most expensive camper vans and trucks we could find on the market.

  • Read More: 12 Ridiculously Overpriced Campervans and Trucks for Van Life Adventures

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