How to Plan a Holiday in a Campervan
Dreaming about campervan holidays is a popular pastime for many, and plenty of people while away their lunch breaks checking out campervans for sale around the country. But what’s it like to actually go on holiday in a campervan? How can you make the best use of a compact camper and discover the hidden gems and remote beauty spots around the UK?
Driving a Campervan – Tips and Tricks
Many people are a little worried about driving a campervan for the first time, imagining that it ”must” be more difficult than driving a car. But in fact, most people who go on a test drive discover that it’s not very different at all.
For the first few miles it’s wise to check your lane position frequently using the wing mirrors, and make sure that you slow down a bit so that you don’t “cut the corner” when turning into side roads. You don’t want to swipe the curb or street furniture. Then after half an hour or so you will suddenly realise that you are driving the camper as easily and automatically as driving a car.
Once you hire, borrow or buy a campervan, you’ll also spot some of these advantages of driving a camper:
- Brilliant view of the road and any traffic due to the higher driving position in the cab.
- Less water spray when driving on a fast road in the rain
- Fewer drivers pull out in front of you on roundabouts and at junctions.
- All you need is on-board so you can stop for a break anywhere on your journey.
If some drivers were ever thinking that you might be slow, like the old vintage VW campervans of the 1970s, you will soon have fun proving them wrong. You’ll have no trouble pulling away from them effortlessly on the motorway in your modern camper. If you plan on taking your campervan abroad, it might be worth doing further research into campervan tips and tricks for driving in Europe.
Why Small Campervans are so Versatile
The Nissan NV200 camper is a real game-changer for thousands of people who would never have thought of buying a campervan in the past. It’s no bigger than many cars, has low emissions and delivers similar fuel economy, yet a good NV200 van conversion will be fitted with all the camping essentials you need for amazing days out, weekend breaks and full camping holidays in the UK or abroad.
Step inside the NV200 CamperCar and you’ll see that it has a front passenger swivel seat, which means that three people can face each other to dine or to eat. There’s a side kitchen with a 50-Litre fridge-freezer, Smev twin-burner hob and sink unit with a smoked glass lid to use as a worktop, a Porta-Potti underneath the rock and roll double bed in the rear, a pop-top roof with optional padded roof boards, good insulation, tinted privacy glass, blackout curtains, a water tank, an underslung refillable LPG tank powering the heating and hob, leisure battery, USB charging ports, 230V sockets, optional solar panel on the roof, wardrobe and cupboards. It’s amazing what a professional conversion can offer you within the compact dimensions of a Nissan NV200.
In style terms, the Nissan NV200 camper is very reminiscent of the beloved vintage VW campers of the past – it’s cute and manageable, fits into any car parking space, has no problems with height barriers and multi-storey car parks , and almost guaranteed to raise a smile whenever someone sees you out and about.
Packing Your Campervan
“How can you fit everything you need in a campervan?” Some people say, because although they may have managed to fit all they need into a small suitcase for a package holiday, they find it hard to imagine how to fit everything they need in their campervan. Luckily thousands of happy campervan owners prove that it’s perfectly possible to have brilliant holidays, and even tour the whole of Europe, in a campervan, without towing a trailer behind for the luggage!
The secret of campervan packing is to decide which cupboards to use for what. So the kitchen equipment and food needs to be near the hob, sink and inside the fridge. It really helps if you buy collapsible silicone cookware, which stacks neatly on a cupboard shelf. Your clothes need to be in squashable bags, fitted into another cupboard. Speaking of clothes, the best way to pack light for campervan holidays is to have trousers and shorts, then several tops, a jumper, a fleece and a waterproof. As long as you choose quick-drying fabrics you can easily wash and dry your clothes as you go, using campsite laundry facilities or the campervan sink. That way you need fewer clothes.
The bedding will often fit on the back of a rock and roll bed, or inside a seat box, depending on your campervan layout. And any outdoor equipment, such as a driveaway awning, the electric hook-up cable, spare shoes, tools and chairs, tends to be stored at the back of the campervan, under the rock and roll bed, or if it’s a rear-kitchen layout, the camping gear may travel on the kitchen floor until you arrive at your destination. Traveling with your family in a campervan doesn’t have to be difficult and can go smoothly with the right preparation.
How to Get Comfy for the Night
When you arrive at your campsite, or quiet wild camping spot, it’s good to put the pop-top roof up straight away, so that you can stand up while you fill the kettle and put it on. If there are any items of camping gear on the floor, such as folding chairs, it’s worth putting them underneath the van itself overnight. If you’re staying long enough, put the driveaway awning up and place stray items in there. Now you’re free to lounge and eat in comfort and then convert the travel seats into your bed for the night.
Touring, Not Stopping
Quite a lot of campervan owners like to go touring, moving on each night, so that they can explore further and further into the wilds. In that case, having a compact Nissan NV200 camper is ideal, because it fits down even the narrowest country lanes.
With running water, a Porta-Potti, heating, lighting, food and drink on board, you only need to check in to a campsite when you fancy a hot shower and the use of campsite laundry facilities and a chemical disposal point for emptying the loo. Some campervan owners get by entirely without using campsites, by using the showers at motorway service stations, truck stops, boat marinas and leisure centres. Saving money on campsites in this way can do wonders for your holiday budget – making those pub meals and tourist attractions a lot more affordable.
Why do People Like Campervan Holidays?
I’ve spoken to scores of campervan fans and they all have slightly different reasons for buying their campervan – but here are some of the reasons that keep popping up:
- You can be spontaneous
- You can follow the good weather
- You can wake up to a new view every day
- No need to book anywhere to stay
- You have all you need with you at all times
- There’s space for the dog
- There are 4 belted travel seats (or in some campers 5)
- Festivals are suddenly comfortable and more fun
- It’s a spare room for visitors on your drive
- You can park anywhere
- It’s a beach hut and changing room on wheels
- It’s a great base camp for walking, cycling and mountaineering holidays
- There are clubs and rallies you can join
- You’ll never have to queue for a coffee again
- You’ll never get caught short when you need a toilet
- Having a camper means you’ll take more holidays, weekenders and days out every year
- You can spend family time together without distractions
- Having more time together makes relationships stronger
- The holiday and the fun begins as soon as you get in the camper.
About The Author: Hello! My name is Daniel Lopez-Ferreiro and I’m the Managing Director at Sussex Campervans. I have the greatest job in the world, helping to equip people for travel and ensuring that they can experience adventure in complete comfort. I’ve been working with Campervans for as long as I can remember, so if you have any questions feel free to get in contact or visit our website for the latest campervan tips. I’d love to be able to use my experience for your benefit!