The essentials not to forget when preparing your trip in a converted van
Here is a checklist to prepare your trip in a converted van, the first word of order: pack light but useful! Before you leave, make sure you take the essentials with you, for the rest the adventure will reveal itself!
Things not to forget
Identity papers, driving licence and credit card are essential for your roadtrip! Remember to check in advance the regulations in force in your destination country concerning your driving licence, sometimes the European licence is not enough. Do not hesitate to visit the website or contact the automobile club association. Finally, it is always a good idea to bring some change for the start of your van road trip in case you cannot find any ATMs.
The little extras that don’t require space
Here is a non-exhaustive list of accessories to take with you in your van to make your daily life easier:
-Soft travel bag
-Swiss Army knife
-A bar of biodegradable soap (body and hair, to avoid clutter)
-A pair of flip-flops, easy to remove to get into the camper van without dirtying it
-A sleeping bag
-Car lighter charger / USB-Converter 12V / 220V if you want to recharge your laptop
-A sun cream
-An anti-mosquito product
-A good book
-A set of cards
-One or two tea towels
If you rent your van from VanBreak, most of the essentials are already included in the vans, for the rest think about looking at our options and have a look at our article How to prepare your trip in a VanBreak van.
Do not load up unnecessarily
Prefer soft bags to suitcases, they are easier to store in your campervan.
We can never say it enough, going on a road trip in a van or campervan is not like going on holiday in an all-inclusive hotel. Clothes, accessories and unnecessary products are not welcome: they take up space and are not essential. It is well known that “who can do more can do less”, so you will have no trouble simplifying your life during your road trip in a van!
Make sure you know the weather forecast for your destination so that you only take the essentials. Also, if you really need something during your van trip, you’ll be able to find it on the spot. Remember that you are going to live an adventure, leave room for the unexpected and improvisation, it is part of the programme!
The checklist of night spots to prepare your road trip in a converted van
The night is certainly one of the most important moments during your trip. Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to enjoy a camper van road trip! Depending on where you sleep, you will probably be woken up by some noises, but this will not take away from the magic of the nights in your van or camper van.
There are several possibilities, the ideal being to go where you feel comfortable! ParkFornight will help you find the nightspot that suits you best.
There is no doubt that sleeping in the wild will seduce many! If you choose to spend the night in a quiet place and wake up in a natural area, remember to prepare your night.
Indeed, check in advance if the nightspot considered is not forbidden and if your van or converted van can easily access it. To do this, take a topographical map on your phone or a road map that will show you the relief and the paths to get there. Our article Roadtrip in Campervan or MotorHome : Map or GPS? will give you a better idea.
Finally, remember to check out the area and the state of the ground before nightfall. This is essential if you don’t want to have any unpleasant surprises after nightfall. At VanBreak, we provide you with wedges to adjust the level of your van!
Staying with locals
Spending one or more nights in a host family’s home with your van or camper van is possible and allows you to get advice on the places not to be missed in the region, but above all to meet new people and to spend unforgettable moments.
To do this, you can let yourself go to unexpected encounters but also use the HomeCamper website which will allow you to find hosts around you offering a more or less equipped place for the night.
The advantage: the rates are often very affordable!
Sleeping in a camping
The best known option is probably camping. If you want to get a bit of comfort (electricity or shower for example), you can stop at a camping site during your van road trip. The advantage of the campervan is that it will take you (almost) everywhere, so consider varying the nightspots to make your trip more pleasant!
Places to avoid
It seems so obvious, but think about anticipating the noises that could occur in the spot where you plan to spend the night. Park away from shops and nightclubs or even churches whose bells might wake you up if you are not a morning person!
Finally, it is not recommended to sleep on motorway service areas. Although they are usually strategic on your route, motorway service areas are prone to unwanted visitors and night-time disturbances.
Check the regulations
In general, if no signs explicitly prohibit vans or motorhomes from parking overnight, you have the right to sleep in the place of your choice. However, be sure to check the regulations in force in the region of your road trip by asking other van travellers!
To avoid any inconvenience, make sure you don’t spread out: put away tables, chairs and other accessories in the van before sleeping, so you can be more discrete!
Of course, wherever you sleep, don’t leave any traces! Waste, accessories and dirty water do not belong on your nihgtspot. So remember to put all your rubbish (as well as toilet paper and cigarette butts) in a rubbish bag which you will throw away at the end of your stay on the spot.
Finally, it goes without saying that respect for other campers and nature is essential! So don’t be too noisy and enjoy the silence.
Where to find waterduring your roadtrip in a van or motorhome?
Water in the van is an essential. Cooking and showering will be impossible if your water tank runs dry. Always remember to keep an eye on the level of your water tank. VanBreak’s water tanks have a capacity of 20 to 100 litres.
As the water is often very calcareous and in permanent contact with the plastic, it is preferable not to consume it directly but to boil it before drinking it. It is ideal for preparing hot drinks or cooking pasta and eggs… For hydration, we advise you to never run out of water bottles, especially if you are going on an adventure in Andalusia!
But then, where to fill your tank?
Clean water is usually available for free at gas stations.
Car parks for motorhomes
Car parks and areas for campervans and motorhomes generally have a water point accessible to all.
The camping sites are designed to accommodate motorhomes, vans and other types of camper vans and are equipped with water points for refilling your tank.
We forget it, but nothing forbids you from filling up a bottle or two in advance in the fountains and taps available in public parks and gardens. Be careful to check that it is drinkable
-Park 4 Night: in addition to helping you find your nightspot, this collaborative application will show you the facilities of the nightspot: electricity, grey water disposal and water!
-FreeTaps: ideal for preparing your trip in a van, this free application allows you to find drinking water points around you. Enriched by its users, this application’s listing of drinking water points is complete and encourages you not to use plastic bottles but your own water bottles or glass bottles!
-MapsMe : It also allows you to locate and find the water points available around you. Please note that the application does not always indicate whether the water is drinkable or not. The plus: the maps can be consulted offline!
Nature: your best ally
We tend to forget that water is all around us, especially when we travel in a van far from the city centre. Showering with river water may seem a bit rudimentary but the experience is worth it! Rivers, lakes, waterfalls… don’t hesitate to let yourself be tempted by a shower in harmony with nature!
Not always drinkable, this water deserves to be filtered if you have no more resources! Think of the straws and filtering bottles that will allow you to purify your water and make it drinkable.
Among the locals
Some farmers, producers, or locals will be happy to help you out in case of emergency in exchange for a small ticket or a small gift from you! Road-trips in a campervan will allow you to interact with the local population much more easily than from your hotel room!
Recipe ideas to prepare your van trip
It is possible to enjoy your meals in a converted van! The good news is that it doesn’t always require a lot of preparation, just a bit of organisation. There are quick and easy recipes that will allow all travellers to enjoy themselves without going to a restaurant every day. Here are some ideas for dishes you can prepare in your van…
Easy to prepare, these recipes will delight your taste buds without complicating your daily routine. Here are some ideas for cold dishes:
With rice, pasta or tomatoes, a mixed salad is the dish that suits everyone. Don’t forget to add a starch to it so that you don’t feel hungry an hour later. We suggest an original recipe that can be quickly prepared in your van:
Sandwichs or wraps
An essential part of the menu, sandwiches and wraps can be prepared in an infinite number of styles: vegetarian, with or without vegetables, with tuna or with ham… Don’t hesitate to change recipes and dare to try new combinations, you’re never safe from tasty surprises!
Fresh and original, spring rolls are delicious, affordable and quick to make in your van or on your folding table!
Fruit bowls and granola
For a complete breakfast or a small snack, this recipe is a must for your healthy road trip! Make it according to your desires of the day and seasonal fruits, add a yogurt and granola warmed in the pan and your bowl is ready!
The good hot dishes
Needing a little comfort food? Don’t panic, white rice and buttered pasta are not the only dishes you can eat when you go on an adventure in a van. Better still, you don’t have to go to a restaurant every night during your road trip. We’ve put together a few simple but original recipes to keep your meal pleasant and convivial!
Penne, zucchini, curry cream sauce
A classic, but it will have a whole different flavour if it is prepared with a view on the sea or the forest! Recipe here.
Omelette with tomato, garlic and basil
Accompanied by a salad, this omelette will only take you a few minutes to prepare. Don’t hesitate to make it with your children, the adventure in a van or motorhome is above all living in community!
Fried rice with bacon and mushrooms
You could almost find it on a restaurant menu… So why deprive yourself of such a beautiful dish?
The french “pain perdu”
A gourmet pleasure that will comfort you on rainy afternoons or difficult mornings! Never say no to a good french pain perdu.
Finally, don’t forget that during your adventure you will have to improvise. Depending on your destination, small local restaurants, roadside vendors and other travellers in the van will also be part of your culinary roadtrip!
Essential: an itinerary to prepare your road trip in a van or in a motorhome
Although improvisation and changes in schedule will be part of your adventure, we recommend that you consider a global itinerary before you leave. This will allow you to anticipate your overnight stops and reserve available slots if you wish to visit!
Route of your road trip
Setting up a route takes time and is not easy when you don’t know the area. That’s why VanBreak has thought of everything and offers you numerous itineraries so that you can leave feeling at peace!
You can find all our itineraries here.
Anticipating the itinerary of your road trip in a converted van will allow you to save time and to fully enjoy your days without spending the day on the road! We advise you not to drive more than 100 to 150km per day.
A road trip fitted to your van or camper van
The campervans are not all-terrain vehicles, so don’t venture out onto roads that don’t seem suitable. Your journey can quickly take a different turn if you have to call the tow truck…
Also, try to anticipate as much as possible where the height of the van would be a problem. Vans and motorhomes are low and often higher than your cars. So be sensible when preparing your van trip as your campervan is your home and it would be silly to damage it!
Whatever happens, remember that the key to enjoying your van road trip is to be flexible and ready for a great adventure!