Backpacking trips in Australia (and somewhere else) are really cool – especially when you are traveling and living in a camper van or a car. Mythic road trips rime with waking up on a sunny beach in the back of a hippie camper van or a backpacker car. But it can also be challenging from times to times! To make the best of your next road trips by camper, read some travel tips from a camper van life addict!
Road trip by campervan – Dos and Don’ts
For most people, backpacking trips and traveling in Australia rimes with road trips in a camper van. Adventures on the road, sea and sun … You wake up every day on the beach with a cute surfer next to you … that’s what your friends think you are doing. Well, that’s for the best part. However, the reality sometimes is different. What you are really doing when it’s not a dream day in your road trip life: killing mosquitoes, trying to dry the clothes you forgot the night before the rain on the camper vans’ roof, or looking for your underwear every morning in the little space left in the camper van.
In the camper van, do…
Before going on a road trip
- Compare offers! a lot of camper vans and backpacker cars are sold every day on Internet – check Gumtree in Australia, TradeMe in New Zealand, and of course all the backpackers Facebook groups
- If you buy, maybe rent, a camper van or car: go to the mechanic to check the car and do the paper work carefully – regio in Australia, insurances. For those who rent: take pictures of the camper van if you see any damage before leaving.
- Equip the camper van according to your needs! build a bed in the back, leave space for luggage and gear.
- Take with you the essentials! water tanks, camping gear, second battery for the camper, tools to repair the campervan.
In the camper van during the road trip
- Be organized! The first rule number one! You will be surprised how quick the campervan gets full… of various, sometimes useless, stuff. Clothes, food, camping gear, bottles, mechanic tools – the campervan is your home on the road. Try to put every item at the same place during the road trip. Thus, you won’t lose – or will lose less! –
- Get a routine! The human being needs routine… even when being on a road trip, where the freedom is total. I tried both versions and while living in the camper van, I quickly noticed that repeating the same actions every morning and evening helps to feel more relaxed, structured and above all, organized.
My travel tips:
share the tasks with your travel mates – who makes the bed ready, who makes dishes or tidies up after eating, who cooks…
Keep up with this routine on the evenings when settling down at campsites and on the mornings when leaving with the camper van.
You will gain time for the road trip and sightseeing. Everyone will feel useful and you will avoid stress with your travel mates.
- Check the campsites! If you sleep in the city with the camper van try to park in strategic areas – where the police is less likely to see you! My travel tips: ask on Facebook or at hostels and fellow backpackers who often know the best spots to leave the camper van. If you stay on campsites outside of cities, check through the camp apps which ones are free and if they have facilities.
- Put the curtains at night! It’s a detail but an important one… if the campervan is on the street and also for your comfort.
- Keep what you need nearby! On the evenings, take your clothes and toiletry items for the next morning with you. It can be annoying to look for your stuff every morning in the bags or for your underwear in the camper van… once again, it’s all about organization!
- Get some driving skills! Driving a camper van or a big car is not that easy… you will understand it when you will experience the winding roads in Australia and New Zealand. Take it slow and give yourself time to get used to the camper van.
- Pack beer, your favorite songs and MacGyver talents! Drinking a beer around a handmade camp fire (for that, make sure you travel with some MacGyver travel mates) at the sound of electro music near a white sandy beach remains one of my best travel memories in Australia.
- Enjoy the freedom!!! That’s the most important point while traveling by campervan. The best part of the road trip is getting lost on the road, stumbling upon amazing wild campsites near the beach or in the forest, waking up with kangaroos and other fun animals around you.
Road trip by campervan – Don’t…
While being on the road trip
- Leave windows and doors open too long! The thing you don’t say to your friends back home: the fight with mosquitoes, flies and other weird insects which suddenly appear in tons at twilight. Insect repelling sprays and above all closing the windows and doors should help! Don’t forget to leave the windows a little bit open at night, though. If you sleep in a backpacker car or don’t have a lot of space in the camper van, it’s a must.
- Forget your stuff outside of the camper van at night! When it rains at night and you find your clothes or towels wet the next morning… or food left and end up with possums all around the camper van.
- Wait the last moment to fill up the fuel tank! Particularly when traveling in Australia or New Zealand, where gas stations are not that numerous – avoid the problems!
- Get stressed! At the end of a long day, when you get tired hungry or can’t find fuel, your way or campsites or when the camper van get broken… just take it as a travel experience, laugh about it and make the best of it. You will always find a solution. For me, the getting lost with the camper van at night in the Australian bush is still a really fun travel memory.
- Plan too much! It would ruin the magic of the road trip. Allow yourself to drive at random sometimes, to check spots on the way you hadn’t include in the road trip, to stay longer at a place you like. In short, follow your instinct and not your planed itinerary!
I can’t say enough how I liked traveling by camper van in Australia. The feeling of complete freedom is overwhelming – in a good way. The camper van allows you to sleep and to travel with a quite high degree of comfort. You don’t have to worry about booking hostels or whatsoever. You discover the country in the best way ever – taking paths out of the tourist tracks. It’s just you, the road, the camper van and a magical feeling of adventure.
All these travel tips are given according to my experience in the campervan. For sure you have more to say… leave a comment!