Increasingly popular, camper vans are all the rage. A less plan-plan and more trendy alternative to the famous motorhomes and other caravans that calls for long road trips. The van is a bit of freedom. We go where we want, we stop where we want, we drive at the speed we want. However, a trip by van needs to be prepared well in advance. Just so as not to end up on the side of the road only a few hours after the start because an essential stage of the preparations was skipped. Overview of things to do imperatively before leaving!
1. Know where you are going
Because it’s fine to ride, but if you don’t know where you’re going, sometimes you end up going nowhere. This is also just as valid when you leave for a long time or just for the weekend. Preparing a route well allows you not to miss out on nice points of interest, to optimize your fuel and therefore your budget and not to waste time driving around aimlessly.
That said, you can also determine a point of arrival or several stages and let yourself be more or less carried away afterwards. We can also allow ourselves improvised detours. After all, it is adventure. It’s all about finding the right balance between anarchy and military preparation.
2. Find out before you go
And in particular on the laws of the countries crossed. Especially if you are traveling with your dog or cat. A truly essential step when going abroad. Just to avoid unpleasant surprises. For trips to France, it may be useful to familiarize yourself with parking laws.
3. Secure the budget
Regarding money, it is best to calculate before leaving essential expenses such as fuel, food, car parks, tolls and other ferries and then add a reserve. Reserve dedicated to the unexpected (a breakdown or other) and small pleasures.
4. Don’t overload yourself
It’s kind of the golden rule when traveling by van: travel light and essential. Basically, we forget to forward the whole library or the whole dressing room and we limit ourselves to the essentials. A few outfits relevant to the climate, which are washed afterwards, are more than enough.
5. Prepare and take care of your mount
Van travel without a van is of course not possible. In other words, here, the vehicle is at the center of everything. It is therefore essential to prepare it well before leaving and to leave nothing to chance. This involves checking the oil level, the coolant, the tire pressure, the spare wheel, the lights, the windscreen wipers, etc… The best being if possible to have the van completely overhauled before a major road trip.
6. Do not forget the essential papers
Van travel experts advise to make a photocopy of all identity documents and of course to also take the originals on board. For trips abroad, it is possible to easily obtain a European health insurance card. The key is to never leave without your papers.
7. Do not zap handy objects either
We are thinking here of sunscreen, a headlamp, a first aid kit, possibly an electric cooler, a solar shower for washing… And a small smartphone, even if it breaks the trip a bit. cut off from everything, remains very practical for the GPS and to call if necessary.
8. Keep the van tidy
Again, this is particularly valid for long trips. A tidy van is always more pleasant than a vehicle whose floor is littered with leftover food, dirty clothes and empty packaging. It’s also more practical for immediately finding what you’re looking for.
9. Consider the negatives
When you go for a walk on Instagram, you quickly have the impression that traveling by van is a bit of paradise. Everything is perfect, from the light to the landscape and nothing ever comes to spoil the party. To make a success of your trip, however, it seems interesting to find out about the details, perhaps a little less glam. Especially when traveling together. The question of toilets and showers, for example, is sometimes enough to make the less adventurous disillusioned…
10. Don’t over-prepare either
Again this story of compromise. A successful van trip leaves a little room for improvisation!