A campervan trip can be a lot of fun! What better way to see a new destination than the total transportation freedom of a campervan? Skip the worry of hotels and restaurants – the mighty campervan can meet all your needs as you seek out adventure! But be forewarned – campervan and self-drive vacations aren’t all fun and games. It can be easy to make mistakes. Take a peek at my top five campervan trip mistakes to avoid so you can live your best campervan life.
Campervan Trip Mistakes #1 – Picking the wrong campervan
This will probably seem either obvious or confusing to most. How can you pick a wrong campervan? But this is a serious mistake a lot of people overlook, especially when campervaning in a foreign location. Not all campervans are made equal. Before you click the “Book Rental” button make sure you have thought about your itinerary and where your trip will take you. For example, will you need four-wheel drive? If you are traveling Iceland’s Ring Road the answer is probably no – but if you plan to go inland at all it becomes a definite yes!
Other things to keep in mind include storage, cooking equipment and food storage, transmission, extra equipment and safety. Will you have room to store all your photography equipment? Does the campervan have a mini fridge so you can spend days in the wild with perishable goods? Can you drive a manual? Does the campervan offer camping equipment like a rooftop tent? What happens if you get a flat tire or run out of gas? Does the rental company offer support? Keep these questions in mind to avoid a costly and potentially dangerous mistake!
Mistake #2 – Not double checking everything
Once you’ve selected your perfect campervan you may be tempted to think – great! I’m ready to go! But don’t be fooled – you still have some work to do before you start your trip. When you pick up your campervan or return to it after a break make sure you double check that everything is in working order. Just because you selected a campervan with a refrigerator does not mean that refrigerator is actually working! Go over your campervan with a fine tooth comb. Are all the tires full? Does the heat work? Is the spare tire loaded up? Do you know how to fill a double gas tank? You don’t want to get caught with broken parts or questions a few days into your trip and far from a town.
Mistake #3 – Not stocking up
Sometimes, you are so eager to get on your way while on a campervan trip you don’t take the time to properly stock your vehicle. This can be another major mistake depending on your location. For example, if you are heading out on a self-drive safari in Namibia you will quickly find yourself very far from the nearest grocery store. It is important that you take the time in your starting city to grab enough groceries for a few days, extra water, first aid, and basic necessities. You don’t want to find yourself in the middle of the wilderness wishing you had toilet paper or even worse food!
Campervan Trip Mistakes #4 – Too much spontaneity
One of the great things about campervan life is the ability to go where you want when you want. You don’t have to worry about making it to a particular hotel on a particular day – your bed is built in! This gives you a lot of freedom to craft your trip as you go. But this freedom can be a double edged sword.
If you are traveling within a time frame you should craft a loose schedule to make sure you are staying on track. Returning to the Iceland example – if you have five days in Iceland but want to make it to the Westfjords to see the famous bird cliffs – you should probably not spend 3 days in the southeast admiring the glacier lagoon. Don’t let the freedom of a campervan become a mistake that limits your vacation.
Mistake #5 – Not having an emergency + mistake plan
Let’s face it – life happens. Whether we like it or not, whether we plan for it or not it is likely that something will go wrong on your campervan trip. It may be a small thing like a flat tire or a speeding ticket. It could even be something catastrophic like getting stranded in a remote area or having a bad accident.
It is extremely important that you understand what to do and have a plan ready to go for any number of circumstances. Ask the rental companies about liability coverage and what a ticket means. Also ask what safety measures they offer – for example, our rental in Namibia offered real time tracking on their vehicles so we would never be truly lost.
Make sure you have thought of or even made a list of possible situations that could arise and review how to handle each. This will definitely help you avoid costly and scary mistakes!
I hope you have found this list of common mistakes helpful and wish you the very best campervan trip! Let me know where your journeys take you!