Planning for your first campervan trip? This guide is for you!

People choose to go camping for various reasons, like improving health, getting a digital detox, and developing life skills.

Many also do it because it’s a fun way to experience the outdoors.

Wishing for a momentary escape from the urban jungle? A campervan trip might be your perfect remedy.

Campervans let you hit the road whenever you please and chase adventure wherever it leads. Compare that to traditional camping, where you’re tied to one spot. If you’re new to campervan trips, it might take a bit more planning and preparation on your end.

First-timers, this guide is for you. Here, you’ll learn practical tips to plan a safe and fun campervan trip that’ll make you want to go on another one.

What to expect in the campervan life


Campervan trips offer more flexibility while traveling. Want to change locations on a whim? A campervan makes it easy. No van? No problem! You can search for an available campervan hire Christchurch offers, for instance, to get a reliable ride.

Campervans are also considerably cost-effective. With your main shelter on wheels, booking a room will be an afterthought. Budget travelers can save more with campervans, especially considering that hotel bookings could cost a base rate of USD$212 a night.

But it’s important to note that campervan life isn’t for everyone. First, there’s size and space. Most campervans can only accommodate around four people. If you’re traveling in a big group, you might need another vehicle or pack a separate tent. Second, campervans could break down. You need to double-check its vitals to ensure a smooth journey.

The campervan life also provides a different level of comfort and amenities than traditional hotels do. Despite that, the overall experience is enriching and outweighs any minor inconveniences.

Planning your dream trip


Now that you know what to expect from a campervan trip, you can start planning. Here are the essential steps you need to consider:

1. Destination selection

You could go virtually anywhere as long as your ideal destination allows campervans. When choosing where to camp, consider your interests and goals. Would you rather tour historic sites or swim on the beaches of the Canary Islands? That should give you an idea.

As a first-time campervan traveler, you can try designated campgrounds in the country to start. These places are well-loved for their accessibility and available amenities for novice campers and traveling groups.

Once you’ve settled on a destination, figure out the duration of your trip. Keeping in mind the time lets you explore and relax for as long as you need.

2. Itinerary building

Next is building an itinerary. It includes gauging travel distances, marking rest stops, and planning your desired activities. You’ll also note potential weather conditions at your destination.

Make it a point to craft a feasible itinerary. You’d want to do as much as possible. But time and budget constraints will bring you back to reality. Factor in driving times and avoid cramming too many activities at once. Special events or festivals might also affect your plans. So recognize those too.

Remember to leave room for spontaneity! Fun and worthwhile trips usually don’t follow the itinerary to the point. It’s there to guide you but feel free to add or remove ideas when you need to. Just make sure they’re all within your allotted timeframe.

3. Camping options

Campervan trips aren’t limited to parking your vehicle in one remote spot and calling it a day. You have different camping options to get the full experience. The three notable ones include:


Many modern campsites now offer amenities like showers, electricity, and dump stations. They provide convenience at a cost. But expect to share the area with traditional tent campers and several families. In 2021 alone, nearly 25.9 million households went camping. That trend could shoot upward in the coming years.


Craving adventure on a budget? Boondocking might be the one you’re looking for! This economical option lets you stretch your dollars further while still experiencing the thrill of the outdoors. Remember, though, to follow local regulations and practice proper waste management to keep these natural spaces clean.

Private campgrounds

Camping on private campgrounds may be pricey. But for the cost, you could receive luxury amenities for extra comfort. Some offer Wi-Fi connections and spots for activities like fishing and biking. These locations often require reservations and additional fees. So if you can splurge on a trip, consider these places.

Take time to consult online resources, apps, and guidebooks for more tips on these camping options. It’s better to begin your trip prepared than not.

4. Choosing your perfect campervan

The quality of your trip will depend on your campervan. So always consider the following factors:

  • Size: Compact campervans offer maneuverability and fuel efficiency, while larger models provide more living space and amenities.
  • Conversion style: From basic cargo van conversions to luxurious, fully equipped motorhomes, choose the level of amenities that suits your needs and budget.
  • Passenger capacity: Determine how many people will be traveling for adequate seating and sleeping arrangements.
  • Driving comfort: Test drive potential rentals to evaluate handling, visibility, and overall driving experience.

Here’s a little secret: renting is a budget-friendly choice for first-time campers. Rates can be as low as USD$100 a night, depending on the van type. So you can find the perfect fit for your needs and explore without the commitment of buying.

5. Essential gear and packing tips

Campervans don’t have much space, so you must pack efficiently. Grab your checklist because you’ll need stuff for:

  • Sleeping: Bedding, pillows, and sleeping pads or mats
  • Cooking: Portable stove, cooking utensils, dishes, and a cooler
  • Hygiene: Toiletries, towels, and a portable shower (if desired)
  • General supplies: Flashlight, first-aid kit, multi-tool, and camping chairs

Don’t forget clothes! Pack clothing that is apt for the weather and consider investing in space-saving multi-purpose items. Remember, less is often more when living in a campervan.

Tips for hitting the road


1. Vehicle Prep

Before going on your campervan trip, ensure your vehicle is in top condition. Conduct maintenance checks, including fluid levels, tire pressure, and brakes. Essential tools like a spare tire and an emergency kit could come in handy.

2. On the road

Always practice safe driving when on the road. Make sure you have maps to navigate unfamiliar terrain and follow local traffic regulations. If you start feeling tired, take a rest stop or let someone else drive.

3. Campsite life

Upon arrival at your campsite, familiarize yourself with the facilities and rules. Set up camp efficiently, manage waste responsibly, and respect quiet hours and campground etiquette. If boondocking, research water sources and follow Leave No Trace principles for responsible waste management.

Wrapping up


Planning for your first campervan trip should be much easier now that you’ve got these tips to help you. List all the main steps, like choosing a destination, planning the itinerary, and packing the essentials. But allow room for spontaneous detours that can enrich your trip.

A campervan trip is, in essence, a chance to travel and gain personal growth, discover yourself, and create memories. Take the wheel and set off on an adventure!

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