Here are our top campervan tips and tricks. These tips and tricks have all added to our good experiences of travelling the UK in our campervan and have made our trips a little easier – let’s hope that you find them useful too!
CAMPERVAN TIPS AND ADVICE FOR BEGINNERS
Pick your travel times wisely:
If you have a choice, then try to plan your trip so that you will miss the rush hour when people are hurrying to or from work, or on the school run.
If you are using motorways, it is also good to bear in mind that if you do the majority of your distance driving on Sunday there are fewer lorries (with their restricted speed) on the road.
If your mobile phone has a good data package (and coverage in remote areas) you have the option of making your mobile phone an internet hot spot (most modern smartphones have this option) and you can then pair your laptop to your mobile so you have internet access. (If you are having a problem getting a signal, then read our article about Campervan WiFi on the move.)
Also, remember that most of the well-known coffee chains have free wifi. Pop in, have a coffee, check your emails and research your next day’s adventures!
Know your vehicle:
Write down, or commit to memory the width, height and length of your vehicle. Then if you are faced with a barrier in a car park or supermarket, you won’t have any ‘will it, or won’t it’, moments.
Before you relax for the evening, make sure that you fill up with fresh water and empty your waste water containers. When you wake up in the morning you’ll have plenty of everything and won’t have to rush around getting water before you can have a cup of tea.
Same goes with the toilet. Make sure that that has been emptied if it needs it, so in the morning you will (literally) be good to go. 🙂
Check out this DIY Aquaroll filler tube – what a great idea!
Don’t cook like you’re at home:
It is a bad idea to try and like you do at home at home – too many pots and pans and too much washing up! Try to rustle up things that only use one pan (two at the most).
Think scrambled egg, or beans on toast.
Better still, get yourself a microwave! We did and wished we’d done it ages ago. It speeds everything up and you also have the option of ready meals too.
Where to park:
Instead of following the signs straight to the car park, have a quick drive around first and check out the area. You can often find free parking at the side of the road.
Once you’ve sussed out how far it is from the main attraction or sights, you then make an informed decision whether to head for the car park, or go back to the on-street parking and save yourself some money.
This has saved us a small fortune!
Take some quick and easy food with you:
After a long drive, the last thing you are going to feel like doing is preparing a meal. There’s always the option of a takeaway, but if you are miles from anywhere and just pulled up on your pitch, you are not going to be wanting to go out again to track down something to fill your growling tummy.
The key is to take something really easy (and preferably instant) with you – think packed lunches or Pot Noodles. Of course, if you’ve got a microwave in your campervan, that changes things: you can bring food from home that just needs heating up, or a ‘ready meal’ to pop in the microwave.
- If you haven’t got a microwave and are considering getting one, then read our guide to the Best Campervan Microwave. It will give you all the information you need to buy the right one – so you don’t end up tripping the campsites RCD unit!
SETTING UP YOUR CAMPERVAN – WHAT TO TAKE
Pack your campervan with essentials that can ‘live’ onboard:
You’ll pack and unpack your campervan before and after trips, but there are some things that can live permanently in your campervan. That way, you’ll never find yourself searching for the little essential things you might just forget to pack.
Here’s a list of the things that live permanently in our campervan…
- Plates, bowls, mugs, and glasses.
- Knives, forks and spoons (including a bread knife and sharp vegetable knife) kitchen utensils.
- Tin opener, bottle opener, tin foil, cling film, bin liners.
- Pots and pans, a couple of plastic tubs with lids, a fold-down colander and a small plastic bread/chopping board.
- A whistling kettle for the times we don’t use hook up, and a conventional plug-in camping electric kettle for when we do.
- Tea towels, washing up liquid and clothes wash liquid.
- Hand wash, sun cream, baby wipes, scissors, nail file.
- Basic first aid kit: plasters, paracetamol, rehydration sachets, insect repellent, etc.
Living Area drawers/under seats:
- Phone charger.
- Dustpan and brush.
- Hot water bottle – just in case it gets chilly.
- Small electric fan (you’ll thank yourself in the height of summer).
- Small electric blow heater (ideal for chilly mornings) and an electric oil radiator for when we need overnight warmth. (Read our buyers guide to electric heaters for your campervan.)
- Local map (pick one up at the campsite or local tourist information, it is always good to have a close-up view of the area).
- Fold up picnic blanket for days at the beach.
- A rucksack.
- A small travel rotary airer.
Keep a cloth handy for wiping condensation off the windows in the morning.
Don’t forget to carry these essentials:
- Hook up lead
- Chocks for the wheels
- Spare wheel/tyre
- Pump for tyres
- Puncture repair foam
- Jump leads
Carry a spirit level; your vehicle needs to be level for your fridge to work properly.
Remember your lighting:
We wouldn’t do without…
- The obligatory torch. Keep it somewhere handy!
- A nightlight. When we have hook-up, we plug a nightlight into a socket near the toilet. That way we can find our way in the middle of the night without having to turn the main lights on.
- A clock. At night, we either use a clock with an illuminated face, or our phone with a clock app. It saves squinting into the darkness to try to see what time it is.
- A small plug in table lamp for when it gets dark early and we’re chilling in the campervan and want some soft lighting to add to the ambience.
- A clip-on reading light. It’s ideal for those times in the middle of the night when you just can’t sleep. You can clip it to your book and read without disturbing anyone.
- Battery powered fairy lights. Adds a bit of sparkle to a dark corner.
- An outside solar stake light. So we can find our way back to the campervan in the dark.
MORE TIPS TRICKS AND ADVICE
Claim your pitch:
If you are going to be returning to the same pitch after your day out (and you haven’t got a drive away awning to show the pitch is taken) then you may want to leave a windbreak pegged into the ground, or a sign like this one, to let people know that the pitch is in use.
Get a good nights sleep:
In our campervan we have big scatter cushions that double as sleeping pillows. (The cushions were picked to be the exact same thickness as our usual pillows at home.)
It saves us having to cart pillows around with us – and it doesn’t use up any storage space. When it’s time for bed, we just put the cushions in a pillowcase, lay our head down and close our eyes.
Instead of using sheets to make up the bed, we use a thin 3 tog double quilt (in a duvet cover) to sleep on, and another 10 tog one to cover us. We tried sleeping bags, but much prefer our snug and comfy solution.
Roll quilts tightly and put a bungee cord around them, it makes them easier to store.
Be prepared for the weather:
- Take clothes that can be worn in layers if it’s chilly, and removed if it is warm. (Roll clothes rather than folding for more space and less creasing.)
- Work around the weather. Check the forecast (BBC Weather has hourly updates) then you can pick pockets of fine weather to do all the things you need good weather for. It’ll help you avoid the downpours as well.
- Make sure to take a good waterproof jacket, we have ones that pack up really small – trousers too.
- Use microfibre towels for drying off. They don’t take up much space and they also dry really easily.
Get some shelter:
In the height of summer when arriving at your campsite, it is good to take note where the sun falls before you pitch up. It is much better to get the sun in the morning or evening, rather than at mid day. Pick a pitch with some shade, you’ll thank yourself.
Breakdown cover definitely makes you breathe a little easier. Shop around for a good deal that includes home recovery, so that wherever you are you know you can always get back home.
These tips have all helped make life easier when we’ve been touring around the UK in our campervan. I dare say some may seem quite obvious to you, but if you are a campervan beginner and any of these tips can help you, then our experience will have been put to good use. 🙂
Happy travelling – we’ll see you on the road!
While you are here:
If you haven’t done so already, then why not check out our post Campervan Storage Ideas, for more great campervan tips and ideas.
“Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.”
– Lovelle Drachman