A Successful Road Trip in a Van
Going on the road with a van, an adventure more and more fashionable and often watered down by social networks. After 3 summers aboard our Markus van, a 1982 VW, we have learned a lot and in this article, we share what you absolutely need to know to prepare well for your road trip in a van.
Our advice for preparing you A Successful Road Trip in a Van
Who to go with, choose the right travel companion
Traveling by van means living with the same person (s) 24/7 in a very small space. Long live promiscuously and goodbye privacy. Better to get along well!
The choice of travel partner (s) is necessarily essential in this kind of adventure. Van life can be a nightmare if you don’t travel with the right person! It is therefore essential to have the same vacation desires, the same pace, and a common vision of travel. Otherwise, the tensions will be felt very quickly on the road…
Party and meet people or rather hike and isolate yourself far from the crowds to recharge your batteries? Do you have the same notion of storage? Hygiene? Comfort? In any case, it is important to make compromises, but also to communicate a lot to avoid frustrations and problems.
After whatever the cast, only the road will finally tell if you made the right choice!
Choosing the right vehicle for your needs
Your van, converted vans will be your best ally: they will transport you and provide you with board and lodging. You should therefore not take this decision lightly on the risk of regretting it on the road!
Depending on the number of people in the adventure (solo, couple, family, etc.), the destination chosen (cold, hot, need for a 4 × 4, etc.), the nature of the trip (adventure lasting several months or beach and lazing around for a few days), your expectations in terms of comfort (shower, WC, storage), you can define the car you need.
Here are a few accounts to consider:
When you’re young, for example, it’s not a problem to be hunched over in your van, over the years, you appreciate being able to have an extension allowing you to stand up inside to cook for example.
A Motorhome is bulky, a van is compact and goes everywhere.
A modern camper van costs a lot more (to buy) and has less charm, but will be more reliable than a vintage combo! For rental, both are expensive in the end!
Sleeping in a tent on the roof is great, but when it rains or it’s cold, it’s less fun. Are you going to travel thousands of kilometers halfway around the world or just a few hundred around your home?
The question of mechanics and repairs arises if you buy your van. For example, we favor a well-known brand, Volkswagen, and a model with a basic engine to be able to find spare parts and competent people everywhere.
There is also the question of the insurance to choose in order to be able to experience your trip in a van with complete peace of mind and safety. If the vehicle needs to be insured, so do you! Do not ignore your travel insurance if you are going on a road trip abroad. Very important to be taken care of in the event of a health problem (outside French territory) but also to benefit from assistance/repatriation if necessary.
In short, so many points to study and compare to find your ideal partner.
Plan broadly and leave room for the unexpected
There is no point in planning your steps and activities day by day because in the end, everything will not go as planned. Going on a road trip in a van means leaving room for the unexpected, living the present moment.
An engine failure, an encounter that will change the route, capricious weather. It’s important to be flexible and constantly adapt so that you don’t get constantly frustrated. Write down your essentials, plan your road trip in outline, do not underestimate the distances, the goal is not to have to drive all day!
Plan a little, but don’t worry too much before departure. Life in a van is made up of hazards that cannot be mastered in advance.
Take the minimum amount of business!
When you travel in a van, you have the luxury of being able to take a lot of things (with good storage!). But beware, space is limited and the more you accumulate, the more you clutter up and the less pleasant it will be to live inside. Moreover, we will admit one thing to you: we always take too much business!
In the end, life is basic and simple in a van. We dress according to the weather in the morning and we often put on the same clothes! We forget the fashion show, we must think practical above all (the style)!
To choose your equipment and your clothes, think in terms of position: what I absolutely need to eat/sleep / to wash / to explore when it’s hot when it’s raining when it’s cold.
No need for 4 pairs of shorts or 3 jackets. Choose comfortable and technical basics (to stay dry and warm) and above all do not duplicate them. Two down jackets, two pairs of sandals… You will always wear the same one!
Think of a playlist, it is a must for A Successful Road Trip in a Van
Like any good self-respecting road trip, the music that will accompany you is essential. It will punctuate your days, soothe your mood, and boost you during long driving sessions.
Depending on the type of trip planned, plan several hundred songs and different moods to be able to adapt to the situation and your mood.